Vancouver Mayoral Candidate Attacks Bike Lanes … For the Moms!

Photo:  Adam Coppola
Photo: Adam Coppola

Word to the wise: Do not try to use single moms to make your case against bike lanes — especially on Twitter.

Wai Young, a conservative candidate for Vancouver Mayor, learned that lesson the hard way last week, after Tweeting that bike lanes “discriminate” against single moms, seniors and other groups.

The Tweet inspired a much-more popular series of responses. Including this :

This line of attack reflects stereotypes about who bikes and who benefits from investments in cycling infrastructure. Men are more likely to bike than women — but in Vancouver, where a whopping 10 percent of residents bike to work, there are still a huge number of female cyclists.

An anti-bike lane group made the same argument in Seattle about a year ago and local moms had a field day.

Twitter feuds aside, Young is a pretty serious in her antagonism. The local news site, the Tyee, reports Wai spent 20 minutes at a recent campaign event talking about how horrible Vancouver is for drivers. Her plan? To blast cyclists and pedestrians with tickets until they learn “mutual respect.” She also wants to make street parking free on Sunday.

Her candidacy in Vancouver, that includes some other divisive remarks, has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump, the Vancouver Sun reports. But perhaps the more apt comparison is former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who harnessed suburban votes to win election as mayor of Canada’s largest city on an anti-urban platform that played on the same kinds of stereotypes and resentment Young is peddling. She is a former member of Canada’s House of Commons.

15 thoughts on Vancouver Mayoral Candidate Attacks Bike Lanes … For the Moms!

  1. “[Wai Young] also wants to make street parking free on Sunday.”

    “a parking spot for every car” is the modern day version of the old-timey “chicken in every pot” vote bait.

  2. I’m sure the 10% of commuters (by bike) wouldn’t have any impact on driver convenience if they all switch to single-occupant motor vehicles.

  3. In the world of international relations, her comment would have been:

    “Every small country needs to have nukes. Nuclear weapons are the least expensive way for small countries to defend themselves.”

    School safety: “Every child needs to carry a loaded assault weapon. This is the most practical and democratic way for children to defend themselves in a crisis.”

    Clean coal: “We need to burn it all now and quickly to create jobs.”

    This is what politics looks like when greed has burned a hole in most people’s brain.

  4. This is how Republicans try to use progressive language to promote regressive policies in the US. Lovely to see it in Canada as well.

  5. The fact is that bike lanes for even 6-10% of a population (not a “whopping” number, in truth) do discriminate against the majority, the other 90% (the real “whopping” number), who are motorists, transit users or pedestrians and are forced to use less roadway space (which is less safe) because of bike lanes occupying that space. The fact is that many people (indeed the majority), which include single moms, seniors, the disabled, and all those who do not find a bicycle convenient, efficient, comfortable, safe or reliable enough for transporting themselves and others, are not benefitted by bike lanes but are negatively impacted by the bike lanes increasing the road congestion, slowing down traffic, which wastes time and endangers all transportation mode users. By not qualifying her statements to allow for exceptions (those single moms, seniors, disabled and others who are able-bodied enough, have time enough, like to cycle, and are willing or have to put up with the discomfort, inclement weather conditions and potential dangers of cycling), Wai Young left herself open to accusations of stereotyping. She misspoke by over-generalizing, but she was not entirely inaccurate. You are guilty of the same logical fallacy as Wai when you do not acknowledge the fact that SOME single moms, SOME seniors, and SOME others are not going to get on a bike, or can’t, ever. I agree that it is Trumpian to grossly over-state truth solely to try to mislead people into believing a falsehood, or to get elected, but you also lose the validity of your argument if you fall victim to the same error in logic.

  6. Bike lanes generally reduce pedestrian injuries and death, and when properly designed, increase or have no effect on automotive traffic speeds. Bikes are also much more space efficient than cars, and anything that removes drivers from the roads benefits anyone, including drivers.

  7. You’ve had a bee in your bonnet about the bike lanes for years now. And you’re really just against it for your own personal reasons that are irrational. The truth is that the bike lanes benefit all Vancouverites. Having fewer cars on the road increases safety. It also decreases the cost on infrastructure, and nearly eliminates any impact on the environment from those who get out of their cars and ride bicycles to wok. Bikes do far less daily damage to city roads than cars or buses too, so they save tax dollars. Despite how you feel about having a bike lane on Point Grey Road, it’s better for everyone. Wai Young is a far right extremist. Bicycles can’t be the only mode of popular transportation with no infrastructure support. The real danger is posed by cars and trucks, to pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists, and those who tale transit. Not to mention the environmental damage in the long term. When the bike lanes aren’t there, cyclists are in danger from much larger vehicles that kill 2,000+ Canadians per year. Some people will never walk to work, but we should not get rid of sidewalks. Some people never take transit, but we don’t get rid of buses and trains.

    …Kennedy Stewart just won the election. Good.

  8. Don’t know where you got the idea that I oppose all bike lanes; I don’t. I oppose all unsafe bike lanes. Transportation Engineers are supposed to follow Best Practices, as outlined in TAC, which was written by Road Safety Engineer and Road Safety Auditor Geoffrey Ho. He analyzed the Point Grey Road bike route and determined that it was “less safe” than when the road was not a bike route and did not have the bike lanes on it. The residential driveways do not allow for safe sightlines of ingress-egress, and the narrowed roadway due to the new extra-wide 12-foot sidewalk and grass boulevard congests cyclists and local motorists, positioning them too close together. Indeed, more accidents have happened on Point Grey Road since Vision installed the bike route than before. Similarly, a bike lane immediately in front of the emergency (ambulance) pickup and drop off area at VGH, which causes patients on stretchers to have to be wheeled across a bike lane and put into an ambulance that has to park on the bike lane is a bizarre configuration of Transportation Engineering; it places already disabled, health-challenged individuals at more risk of harm. No safety studies were conducted prior to these implementations of bike lanes and bike routes, which violates Best Practices and puts the public at risk. That is my beef, my concern, not the issue of bike lanes generally. Strange that you applaud all bike lanes regardless of safety hazards: I suggest that you might want to adjust your priorities.

  9. Odinn, and I support some of Wai Young’s policies, not all. I did not vote for her for Mayor. I also did not vote for Kennedy Stewart because I don’t believe his claim that he will build 85,000 more housing units in the next 10 years (8,500 per year), and I disagree with his intention to triple the vacancy tax. Homeowners are already taxed much higher than their ability to pay. You say, “good” about Stewart becoming Mayor. Why?How do you think you will benefit, and what will you do if he lets you down?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


How Vancouver Designs Intersections With Bike Lanes to Minimize Conflicts

For the last installment of our series previewing the Pro-Walk Pro-Bike Pro-Place conference, which starts Monday in Pittsburgh, I talked to Jerry Dobrovolny, transportation director of the city of Vancouver, BC, about how the city designs intersections where there are protected bike lanes. (The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.) Members of his […]

Four Cities Race to Finish the Country’s First Protected Intersection

Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. Sometimes, change builds up for years. And sometimes, it bursts. Fifteen months after American bikeway designer Nick Falbo coined the phrase “protected intersection” to refer to a Dutch-style intersection between two streets […]