November 20th, 2008

Public Perception of Bicycles

Posted in Canada, Transportation by Zvi Leve

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The City of Montreal recently began its annual operation of removing on-street bike racks. This year, it seems that they have been particularly bad about putting up warning signs on the bike racks and many people have had their bicycles removed together along with the bike rack that it was attached to. One new resident of Montreal called in to one of the local radio programs to complain about just such an incident at a Mile End bike parking site.

This news item generated a few lively responses which demonstrate the range of emotions around bicycles. On voice mail…

I live in Mile End. On Saturday I was standing on my balcony and I saw a black pick-up truck, with no markings on it, towing a trailer taking away bike racks and throwing entire bike racks, with the bikes attached, into the back of the pickup truck and into the trailer. Now the funny part, and maybe it’s not so funny, was that just moments prior to that I saw people locking their bikes to the bike rack and going into the cafe and coming back and their bikes being gone. You know, there is no respect for bicycles. Bicycles are not toys. Bicycles aren’t just somebody’s hobby. People actually use them for transportation, and I don’t think that Helen Fotopulos [the borough, who is also on Montreal's executive committee for urban planning] or anybody else at City Hall realizes that.

And by text message…

That bike story — WOW, that’s hard-hitting news. For a small town! What’s next? Little Billy from Dorval got a scout’s badge?


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3 comments

  1. MsUnreliable says:

    Wow, and I thought Australians had a bad attitude towards cyclists!

    November 23rd, 2008 at 8:44 pm

  2. Owen Rose says:

    The Ville is getting better at providing bike parking, but this ecological transportation is not respected enough – especially when roadwork is concerned. We should be replacing car parking spots with bike racks and trees for that matter. As for cyclists, we have to STOP riding on sidewalks in respect for the safety of our pedestrian friends.

    And one final word, I would like to see our bike parking look far more aesthetically integrated into our urban landscape.

    November 25th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

  3. Mary Soderstrom says:

    Saturday Nov. 15, a day of drenching rain, the crews were cutting bikes from racks along St. Viateur. I was really shocked and sent a message tot he mayor of the aroundissement Helen Fotopolus who replied in effect that there had been warnings given and that the bikes all had to go over the next two weeks because of the difficulties of snow removal.

    Now I’m not a bike rider (got run over by one at the age of 5, actuallly, and haven’t felt comfortable around them since) but it seems to me that they are necessary to a denseer city. Call in s to talk shows don’t g very far, but I hope that some of the enraged folks showed up at the meeting of teh arronidssement council Decenber 1, The only way to protest is to protest directly to those involved.

    Mary

    And by the way if you’d like to talk more about the walkable city (which also is bikeable) I’m doing a reading/disussion on my new book The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond at

    3 p.m. Saturday December 6 at the Mile End Library, 5434 Park Avenue.

    December 3rd, 2008 at 11:01 am