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Free wheelin'

Bike licence? Lezlie Lowe assumes you're joking.

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Now they're going to charge us for riding our bikes. I am apoplectic. I am banging my head against the wall.

OK council, don't get your knickers in a knot. I know what Gloria McClusky told CBC: "We are not in a position where we're going to bring licensing in for bicycles at this time." I know you only voted to send it to staff for a report.

Report, my foot.

This is how it begins. It's like the first click into pornotube.com. Sure, you're not in a position to squander five hours in front of the computer wondering how a man can fellate himself—then five hours later you're sitting there with your ass going numb, wondering how that man you're watching is doing that.

People: They are going to CHARGE US FOR RIDING OUR BIKES.

I don't know why I'm surprised.

We have a year-old Active Transportation Plan that we've adopted "in principle" and I've seen no sign of it in my day-to-day navigation of the city.

According to halifax.ca's web page for the Active Transportation Plan, the city wants to create a "well-connected, safe and functional active transportation network...utilizing non-motorized modes of transportation." It's going to take 20 years, they say, to develop it. Fine. But why are they working in the opposite direction now?

The city is widening Chebucto Road to make it easier for people to carbon-fart onto the peninsula by car. It's incomprehensible. Widening. For cars. I feel, thinking about this, like I'm living in opposite-land. Or like we're the source of a satire piece in The Onion: Headline? ""We drive because we're fat and we're fat because we drive!' moans councillor."

And biking?

THUNK.

Oh, sorry. That was my head again.

It's bad enough on the asphalt for people who are tooting around downtown on two wheels, but it is epically difficult for commuters.

Consider, as one example, the Macdonald Bridge bike lane. To enter it on the Halifax side from North Street, you have to drive down to Barrington Street, roller-derbying with cars in the swirling concrete tunnel of death, then you have to bike back up the hill to enter the bridge.

Coming home and want to go back up North Street? Sorry. Nope. You can't. It's a motion-sickness-inducing 270-degree turn down the hill to Barrington Street—that is, unless you want to clean-and-jerk your bike and toss it over the barrier at the exit to the bridge, then scale the railing yourself and stage-dive into a lane of traffic.

Commuting to Dartmouth by bike is like being filmed for a Just for Laughs secret-camera gag. Next they'll want a toll. Look, extra charges to fund extra services, I'm not against. Just so long as I know up front what the additional costs will be. Like

McClusky said after council last week, "People feel that their taxes should also cover bike lanes."

Darn tootin', Gloria.

And when council signs us on for an Active Transportation Plan, I assume, unless I'm told differently, that its implementation will be worked out within the constraints of existing and evolving budgets.

I don't expect—either in its financial reality or its theoretical embrace—that it means bike-riders and bike-commuters will get fucked five ways from Friday.

That's the relative few bikers who are out there on the roads—the scanty handful who brave the hordes of handlebar-grazing drivers (pouring downtown to work every day from the other side of the Armdale traffic mess?), the poor bastards who pray for mercy from bike lane-crossing drivers turning right onto Sackville Street from Brunswick, the teeth-clenching pedallers who must endure the annoyance of being honked and screamed at for taking up the portion of the road they're entitled to.

And now council is studying the feasibility of charging bikers for these everyday indignities. It's an exercise in insanity.

And not even for the patently obvious reasons.

Councillor Andrew Younger asked his colleagues to instantly put the damn thing to bed and save staff the time. Mayoral candidate Sheila Fougere said staff already studied it and found it wouldn't work.

And the result? Eleven to six in favour of the study. THUNK.

BONK. EMAIL. lezliel@thecoast.ca KRONG.

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