Friday, June 29, 2007

Taking It Into Their Own Hands

Toronto, Canada, is a city that has apparently been promising bike lanes but not delivering. So a few industrious sorts have taken on the mission of providing bike lanes to the cyclists of TO on their own - and covertly.

Apparently, this group - the "Official Urban Repair Squad" is painting their own bike lanes on the streets that need it in Canada's largest city and doing it under cover. Martino, of the Bike Lane Diary blog, has been covering this admirably.

I'm for and against this tactic. I love the idea of picking up where the city has already promised bike lanes and putting them in because the city won't live up to their promises. And I'm just irreverent enough to love the civil disobedience bit of this (I'm also for putting up stop signs of our own in my neighborhood at the corner I referred to in my previous blog entry).

On the other hand, it's easy for things like this to get out of control, and the idea of doing this is only going to make the city its motorists more upset. And as BikeBoy said yesterday in his blog, "wish everybody who straddled a bike and rode in public would realize that, like it or not, he (or she) is an "ambassador" for cyclists. Other roadway users will observe his behavior and form stereotypes, either positive or negative. His behavior might result in other cyclists getting cooperation from motorists, or it might create resentment and hostility." I think a situation like this is only going to create hostility.

But I can't deny that I admire the chutzpah and irreverence of the OURS.

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