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Bike sharing delayed

Never mind that wetter November weather translates into fewer cyclists on the road these days.<br />Bike enthusiasts are still doing cartwheels over the extension of theBurrard Bridge bike lane trial. It’s a development that solidifies 2009as being the year of the two-wheeler in Vancouver.<br />

Never mind that wetter November weather translates into fewer cyclists on the road these days.

Bike enthusiasts are still doing cartwheels over the extension of the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial. It’s a development that solidifies 2009 as being the year of the two-wheeler in Vancouver.

As for 2010? Not so much.

It was recently announced that a bike sharing program would not take place during the 2010 Winter Olympics. So don’t expect to see spandex-clad sightseers circling the athletes’ village on communal cruisers in February.

Now the program’s debut is being pushed back until summer, and even that time frame is seen as aggressive.

I’ll be blunt: I’m not holding out much hope. If and when this scheme gets off the ground, it has too many variables working against it.

Draconian helmet laws are a case in point. Our prevailing nanny state mentality means you can’t hop on a bike unless your head is covered with a hard hat.

So how are folks supposed to spontaneously use a shared bike without headgear?

By wearing a communal helmet? I didn’t think so.

Then there’s this region’s awful bike theft epidemic. A fleet of shiny sharing bikes won’t stand a chance once it is eyeballed by our enthusiastic criminal class.

That’s not to say Vancouver is the only place where such a program could go bust.

A recent New York Times article about bike sharing in Paris noted that 80 per cent of the 20,000-plus bikes in its program have either been stolen or trashed — with many going to black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. What a shame — especially with each bike worth a whopping $3,500.

Can Vancouver really afford this kind of fiscal fiasco?

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A recent fist fight on a New York City subway between two women — one of whom allegedly coughed without covering her mouth to the chagrin of the other — has underscored fears over spreading the H1N1 virus on public transit.

TransLink has issued a statement about H1N1, noting that its Access Transit drivers — such as HandyDART drivers — will be wearing masks to mitigate the fear of influenza spread among those with health concerns.

But why stop there? Why not give out masks to transit riders? Masks are commonplace in other world cities. When used correctly, they can provide extra defence in the fight against spreading this sickness.

 
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