Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things I saw on my day off...

I took the day off last Friday to celebrate Bike-to-Work week by biking instead of working (there's a logic of sorts to it) and I saw a few things.

First there was our cycling Mayor of Vancouver Gregor tuck-in-those-pant-cuffs Robertson who I spotted crossing Broadway at Yukon looking every bit the perfect ad for the commuter lifestyle. Too bad about the message that the helmet gives off (cycling is scary and dangerous) but it's the law and I suppose as a civic employee he has to toe that line and it's likely that he agrees with helmet use anyhow -- sigh.

I didn't have my camera ready so I didn't take this shot,
but this is essentially what I saw.

And he walks the walk too. Not only can you catch him biking around town or spot him at a Critical Mass ride but Vancouver city council has now voted to close one of the Burrard Bridge’s six lanes to traffic in favour of cyclists. Whoo-hoo! The six-month trial is scheduled to begin some time in June. The southbound curb lane will be dedicated to southbound cyclists only and the eastside sidewalk will be dedicated to northbound cyclists only. While all pedestrians will be directed to the westside sidewalk.

Then there was the Google camera car which I saw coming out of an alley about a block from my house and then again about two blocks away near 10th & Fraser. At first I had no idea what I was looking at, but hopefully if I'm in the shot they'll blur out the stunned look on my face.

Again, camera not ready, but it looked just like this.

Google has announced that its cars will be driving around taking photos in the coming weeks in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and Saint John. Google is now rolling down the streets of Vancouver in time for the 2010 Games. There has been quite a bit of controversy regarding Street View in other countries, notably the United Kingdom, but I haven't really heard an argument against it that I can agree with... yet.

And then while cycling along the bike trail around Sunset Beach I was stopped by a camera man and reporter doing a video survey of some sort for BCAA regarding their new service called Bike Assist. They talked to me and filmed for about 5 minutes or so. So as of June 1, cyclists in B.C. -- with BCAA memberships -- can get the same services as motorists when they run into trouble on the road. A phone call will bring a BCAA mechanic with bike tools and training to fix common problems, from a flat tire to a broken chain. If the problem is more serious, the mechanic will put the bike onto the truck’s bike rack and bring it, and its rider, home or to a bike shop. Apparently they draw the line at picking bike locks. Unfortunately they couldn't tell me if you could get a BCAA membership if you didn't have a car.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what Gregor would have thought of the young cyclist - possibly a high school student, obviously in a hurry - I saw run a four-way stop the other morning. I'd stopped - foot down - the car to the right had the right of way to turn left across my - our - path. This youngster barrelled through, right in front of the car as it started its turn. Not surprisingly, the driver - a mom-looking type dropping of her kid(s) to school - leaned on her horn. I shook my head, hoping the driver would notice that I was also not impressed. I don't think the saw me, though. Anyway, I caught up to the young "speedster", without any effort I might add, and managed to let her know that "That kind of move doesn't help cyclists!" Her response was, "I didn't know there was a car there." "It was four-way stop," I pointed out. Then she disappeared from my mirror, right by the high school. I hope she learns about four-way stops when she starts learning to drive a car!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.