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Old 08-18-07, 12:45 PM   #1
tallard
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How to protest mandatory bike lanes?

I have just returned to my old arctic home of Whitehorse Yukon and have just found out that the City of Whitehorse has recently passed legislation (city bylaw) that prohibits cyclists from using the motorist lanes if a Bike Lane is present, here is the wording:

OPERATION (5) No person who is operating a bicycle shall ride upon the highway if there is a usable path adjacent to the highway intended for the use of bicycles and designated as such by appropriate signs.

Note: according to the Yukon Motor Vehicles Act, the word highway includes all roadways...


In addition, most BLs here aren't even exclusive but what they call "multi use lanes" and have speed limits of 30 km/h. The Yukon is all hills, so downhills are always naturally much faster than 30 km/h!...

Mandatory BLs have been mentioned on a few other threads, but this is my first time ever seeing it applied across the board. It's what some of us have been saying all along. Eventually, by pushing for BLs, cyclists are banning themselves from the streets altogether and it's why the 2 tier approach to cycling is bound to fail. Any voluntary "security measure" or "Big Brother" measure eventually becomes mandatory and anyone who doesn't realize that is not understanding how government legislatures operate.

I would like to hear from anyone having successfully fought mandatory bike lanes.
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Old 08-18-07, 12:51 PM   #2
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Those sound like paths, not really bike lanes.
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Old 08-18-07, 01:06 PM   #3
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Those sound like paths, not really bike lanes.
Governments aren't very concerned with semantics when it comes to extinguishing cyclists rights, that's why I need some veteran successful experience stories here... I realize it's pretty hard finding "experience" with fighting these kinds of laws when in fact we're still only in the infancy of this exclusionary trend. But there will be much more to come so we'd best get at it. Also to note, no BLs here have any relevance to BL definitions. They are all either shoulders with a stenciled cycle on them, a multi-use path or within car door zones. Most of them have stop signs at ALL intersections. It's basically mandating pedestrian cycling.
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Old 08-18-07, 01:11 PM   #4
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Do you know of any instances of someone getting cited for riding 'in the road' near a bike lane?

Enforcement would greatly depend upon just how busy law enforcement is at the time, I imagine.

There are a lot of laws around here that aren't too heavily enforced (like spitting on the sidewalk) and others that are very heavily enforced (like cruising in your car).
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Old 08-18-07, 01:24 PM   #5
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Part of my job involves covering city council. I've seen all sorts of groups and organizations work with the council when they have concerns. Here are a few suggestions that might work for you.

1. Is there anyone on city council who rides a bike or cares about fitness or is a progressive thinker? Contact that person and outline your concerns. Offer to take him or her out on a bike ride around Whitehorse to show the conditions you're facing. If you can have two or three other cyclists with you, it will have a huge impact.

2. You may need to make a presentation to city council on this. There is generally room on city council agendas for delegations. Contact the city clerk or administrator to find out how to go about this. The policies in the Yukon may be a little different than here in B.C. If you make a presentation, it will give you some visibility. Whitehorse has two newspapers and other media outlets such as radio and television. They will have reporters regularly covering council. If you have a strong, articulate and persuasive argument, they may run stories on you and your concerns. Once again, don't go solo. There's strength in numbers and if you can bring other cyclists with you, it will have an impact. I've seen councils reverse decisions on more than one occasion when residents made presentations.

3. Letters to the editor are amazing at raising awareness in a hurry. At my paper, our letters page is the best-read page in the paper and people will talk about what they're reading there. Although letters are powerful, I'd suggest you use this avenue after you've first approached council.

Good luck. I'm hoping you'll soon have a letter to the editor congratulating council on changing its policy.
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Old 08-18-07, 02:06 PM   #6
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Well my city has the same law, and what I did was when they started talking about adding bike lanes to the roads here, I ran for council, and put a stop to the bike lanes. I tried for two years to get the regulation removed from our books, but was unsucessful.
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Old 08-18-07, 02:40 PM   #7
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Well my city has the same law, and what I did was when they started talking about adding bike lanes to the roads here, I ran for council, and put a stop to the bike lanes. I tried for two years to get the regulation removed from our books, but was unsucessful.
The Cincinnati anti-bike law is probably no longer enforceable. Since last September, this has been the law in Ohio:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Rev. Code § 4511.07(A)(8)
Regulating the operation of bicycles: provided that no such regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the uniform rules of the road prescribed by this chapter and that no such regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway except as provided in section 4511.051 of the Revised Code (which governs freeways).
Source: Ohio Bike Federation
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Old 08-18-07, 02:59 PM   #8
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Well my city has the same law, and what I did was when they started talking about adding bike lanes to the roads here, I ran for council, and put a stop to the bike lanes. I tried for two years to get the regulation removed from our books, but was unsucessful.
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The Cincinnati anti-bike law is probably no longer enforceable. Since last September, this has been the law in Ohio:


Source: Ohio Bike Federation
Will Maddyfish be working to add those bike lanes that he previously stopped now that the law is null and void?
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Old 08-18-07, 03:18 PM   #9
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I have my own opinion that I will mercifully keep to myself....
But, there had to be an ongoing situation to precipitate this new law.
I wonder what it was ?
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Old 08-18-07, 07:10 PM   #10
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Will Maddyfish be working to add those bike lanes that he previously stopped now that the law is null and void?
I wouldn't.

I think Daily Commute covered the key to this problem. Work with the state to supersede local laws.
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Old 08-18-07, 08:29 PM   #11
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The Cincinnati anti-bike law is probably no longer enforceable. Since last September, this has been the law in Ohio:


Source: Ohio Bike Federation
I don't actually live in the Cinty of Cincinnati.
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Old 08-18-07, 08:30 PM   #12
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Will Maddyfish be working to add those bike lanes that he previously stopped now that the law is null and void?
There are bike lanes everywhere, they go from the front door of my house to everywhere that I want to go. They are called roads. They work great!
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Old 08-18-07, 09:05 PM   #13
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Governments aren't very concerned with semantics (about "bike paths" vs. "bike lanes") when it comes to extinguishing cyclists rights, that's why I need some veteran successful experience stories here...
I don't think ralph was quibbling about semantics; he was pointing out that it seems like your city passed not just a mandatory bike lane ordinance, but a mandatory sidepath ordinance, which is even worse.

Here are a few success stories where cycling activists helped to get mandatory sidepath or bike lane laws were repealed:
Cary, North Carolina
State of Utah (with some good links to studies showing that riding sidepaths is dangerous.)
State of Wyoming
Palo Alto, California (overturned thanks in large part to John Forester, who was once a damned good cyclists' advocate...)
You can find lots more examples of fights both successful and (so far) unsuccessful; just goodle "mandatory sidepath law" and "mandatory bike lane law".

As for how to fight it:

First, see if the city had any legal right to pass that law in the first place. Research Yukon Territory law and Canadian federal law. If either of those recognize cyclists' right to use every public road (or every public road except for controlled-access freeways), then the city ordinance is illegal -- unless the territory or federal laws explicitly give cities the right to legislate exceptions. (Which, unfortunately, might be the case. In the States, for example, the closest thing we have to unified federal traffic law is the Uniform Vehicle Code, but states aren't obligated to follow it. State law does trump county or municipal law...but some states explicitly allow each town to write its own cycling restrictions. The result is a bizarre patchwork of poorly thought out, conflicting laws.)

If it turns out that the ordinance is legal, then attack it on two fronts: public relations and fear of liability. (If it's illegal, but they want to keep it on the books anyway, then add a third front: direct court challenge.)

Recruit other cyclists, get lots of different people to write letters and editorials to local papers and do interviews for TV stations. People interviewed in a feel-good context like Bike-to-Work Week, or just a human0interest story about bike commuters, can make a point of mentioning the need to repeal that sidepath law. Attend city council meetings, and get the issue on the meeting agenda as often as possible.

In all these contexts, point out that most car-bike crashes happen at intersections, and that entering an intersection from a sidepath (or even from near the right edge of the road, where bike lanes tend to be located) is dangerous. If you need studies to back up these claims, you can start with the links from the Utah site above...but say the word if you would like some help digging up relevant data.

This same evidence of danger powers your second blunt implement: potential legal liability. If city law requires cyclists to put themselves in danger of right hooks, doorings, and general "I didn't see you" style mayhem, then the city shares the blame for the consequences. Note that "liability" doesn't just mean legal liability...a politician might be less worried about lawsuits than about the damage that an angry, media-savvy injured cyclist or a grieving spouse might do to their next election campaign.

Best of luck, and fight the good fight. Hope you get this idiocy sorted out soon.
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Old 08-19-07, 05:06 AM   #14
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The Cincinnati anti-bike law is probably no longer enforceable. Since last September, this has been the law in Ohio:
Source: Ohio Bike Federation
Thanks for that, I've written to them to find out if their wording of that law sees the same meaning in "excluding cyclists from those some streets altogether" or only "excluding cyclists from motoring lanes". I'm afraid the wording of that law leaves things a little bit open...

To all : Keep the help coming, I appreciate it
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Old 08-19-07, 05:17 AM   #15
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I don't think ralph was quibbling about semantics; he was pointing out that it seems like your city passed not just a mandatory bike lane ordinance, but a mandatory sidepath ordinance, which is even worse.
Yes absolutely, no belligerance meant

Quote:
Here are a few success stories where cycling activists helped to get mandatory sidepath or bike lane laws were repealed:
...
Best of luck, and fight the good fight. Hope you get this idiocy sorted out soon.
Thank you so much, looks like I'll have lots of interesting reading. My one main fear is most cyclists here are absolutely convinced the main reason they're still alive is helmets and segregated cycling. It's odd as when I first moved up to the arctic, it was still very much frontier/freedom land. But now it's being taken over by government employees suburbanites. I've been having this discussion a lot the last couple of days, and I'm finding almost no agreement. People here have been completely brainwashed even though stats all show different!

Thank you again, you'll probably hear from me again soon.
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Old 08-19-07, 05:23 AM   #16
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I have my own opinion that I will mercifully keep to myself....
But, there had to be an ongoing situation to precipitate this new law. I wonder what it was ?
The ongoing factor is wussy misinformation in this case, a lot of really really square people But this is not uncommon in Canada. For a majority of Canadians, privacy is not important "since we're all perfectly behaved and have nothing to hide"... And the more laws we can create to protect ourselves from life, the better. So it's not really a particular situation, it's a generalized ongoing trend in Canada.

I love your little FL icon, I wish I could teleport myself back there right now!
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Old 08-19-07, 05:26 AM   #17
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Well my city has the same law, and what I did was when they started talking about adding bike lanes to the roads here, I ran for council, and put a stop to the bike lanes. I tried for two years to get the regulation removed from our books, but was unsucessful.
UNsuccessful, that bites. How long has it been? How is the enforcement like?
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Old 08-19-07, 05:44 AM   #18
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^^^^My city has "must use bike lane if available", so I voted against, and lobbied against adding bike lanes in my city. So we have the law, but no bike lanes. So as of now, no problem.
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Old 08-19-07, 05:49 AM   #19
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There are bike lanes everywhere, they go from the front door of my house to everywhere that I want to go. They are called roads. They work great!
Cute. Were those the "bike lanes" you voted against, and lobbied against, and stopped in your official government role?
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Old 08-19-07, 05:53 AM   #20
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^^^^My city has "must use bike lane if available", so I voted against, and lobbied against adding bike lanes in my city. So we have the law, but no bike lanes. So as of now, no problem.
that's a good one. Well in fact it's not yet too bad here percentage wise. But the worst is the 2mile hill. I think it's a 5% grade and the motorist's pavement is really wide so I fly down that hill. The multi-use lane is however as narrow as can be, bidirectional, and not very clean, but mostly IT'S THE ONLY WAY INTO TOWN. The wonderful thing about this hill is outside of rush hour, with a little planning, I can pretty much get down without any cars passing me, I figure I'm doing around 70 km/h. It's my favorite riding segment.
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Old 08-19-07, 06:30 AM   #21
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I don't have any advice about the bike lanes, but in theYukon aren't you limited to riding like 4 months of the year because of the snow?
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Old 08-19-07, 07:52 AM   #22
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Were those the "bike lanes" you voted against, and lobbied against, and stopped in your official government role?
I was on city council, I voted against adding bike lanes to a couple of our streets, and helped convince 2 others on council to vote agisnt them as well. The plan was to add a couple of stripes to the outside 2 ft of the street.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:05 AM   #23
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I was on city council, I voted against adding bike lanes to a couple of our streets, and helped convince 2 others on council to vote agisnt them as well. The plan was to add a couple of stripes to the outside 2 ft of the street.
If the mandatory law was the reason for your blanket opposition to bike lanes in the past, what is it now?

BTW, Did the majority of bike riders in your district appreciate your efforts?
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Old 08-19-07, 09:55 AM   #24
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Thanks for that, I've written to them to find out if their wording of that law sees the same meaning in "excluding cyclists from those some streets altogether" or only "excluding cyclists from motoring lanes". I'm afraid the wording of that law leaves things a little bit open...

To all : Keep the help coming, I appreciate it
I agree that this law probably would not prohibit mandatory bike lane laws, but it would bar mandatory sidepath laws.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:26 AM   #25
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If the mandatory law was the reason for your blanket opposition to bike lanes in the past, what is it now?

BTW, Did the majority of bike riders in your district appreciate your efforts?
It was not the reason for my opposition to bike lanes. But if we were going to have bike lanes, I sure wouldn't want to be restricted to them.


Don't know, very few bikers here make their feelings known. Although there are quite a few serious, and alot of not so serious bikers here in town.
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