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.

  • thielges

    “[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.

  • Roger R.

    Possessed by Rob Ford?

  • earl hickey

    She has a good point.

  • disqus_1pvtRUVrlr

    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.

  • qatzelok

    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.

  • com63

    She really got ratio’ed

  • Chris Keam

    Some of us who ride bikes in Vancouver are enjoying a tall glass of Schadenfruede right now as the candidate’s double standard on scofflaws is exposed.

  • Daniel

    what, no comparison to having your daughters be dragged off by cops and forcibly given whole-body tattoos?

  • Bernard Finucane

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

  • Mary Lavin

    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.

  • 8FH

    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.

  • Mary Lavin

    “anything that removes drivers … benefits … drivers” does not make any sense.