So this happened today. Several organizations are moving out of the building where I work. It's on Laurier, facing the awesome new two-way bike path and new one-way only Laurier. The moving truck came to deliver a bunch of empty plastic moving boxes to the tenants to start packing.
I come downstairs around eleven to check on something else and one of my colleagues who was outside having a cigarette points out this doofus on a Bixi. He's berating the moving men for parking their van in the bike path. I didn't get involved, but lurked while the conversation went on for literally almost 20 minutes. It went from the guy spazzing out to him calming down and trying to have a "reasonable" conversation with him where he tried to argue that they were somehow doing something terribly wrong. Even though there is nowhere else for them to park and he could have quite easily just gone around as it was late morning and there was practically no traffic on Laurier. He claimed that he worked for the city, but when pressed about exactly what it was he did, he remained vague. He was wearing a relaxed grey blazer and looked every bit the stereotypical Plateau yuppy. He finally rode off. The moving guys were far from impressed. 10 minutes later a cop showed up. Because the moving dudes were finishing up their job, I went and talked to him. He was reasonable and when I told them they would be done in 10 minutes, he let them finish their work and go. When I asked if he had just driven by or if there was a complaint, he said he had received many complaints.
I mean what the fuck? Look I am pretty fascistically pro-bike. If I had my way, cars would simply be outlawed and anyone owning an SUV sent to intensive work re-education camps. But for fuck's sake, be reasonable! People have to move. Movers have to park to put people's stuff in the truck. What are they supposed to do? Find a parking spot around the block and walk the furniture back and forth to the truck so you don't have to deviate from your straight line Bixi ride to the coffee shop where you are going to rail against people who have jobs on your laptop?
Here's the problem with grey blazer fuckstick. He doesn't understand about work. He has clearly never done a real job in his life. These are the kind of people that everybody hates about the Plateau. Their selfish, spoiled, ignorant behaviour completely undermines any rational argument for bikes and improved, less-polluting systems of transportation. How are those movers going to vote when they see someone stumping for more public transport and better bike lanes now?
The world is getting more crowded. There are more cars in cities than ever before and more bikes. Everybody is going to have to be a little flexible and try extra hard to be mindful of others. So when bikes make a strong political victory, just like anytime you win, you should be gracious and generous about it. You should not be a righteous cockface and get all up in a couple of dudes grills who are simply doing their job, especially when nothing they are doing is bothering anyone at all.
And Ferrandez and company, I don't know how much of it is true, but I am starting to hear more and more complaints and frustration from Plateau citizens about the utter inflexibility of your laws. Maybe this is a perception problem, maybe it's real, but it is growing. If you are going to make a real, lasting impact for the good, you need to get buy-in from all the parties. Making draconian, inflexible laws that don't take into account the reality of day-to-day life and work in our community (such as not allowing delivery men to stop for 10 minutes in a bike path), is going to alienate a lot of potential voters. This is especially the case when the changes you are making are radical ones. And to car addicts, anything that restricts them is radical.