Proposed downtown ‘horse riding lanes’ ignite controversy among angry cyclists
By Sharon Miki, Humour Editor
There’s a new thing for people to be mad about in the city, thanks to a particularly foal and controversial new proposal being pushed by newly re-elected Vancouver mayor, Igor Smobertson: downtown horse lanes.
“Last year we did the whole bike lane thing downtown, and it was great. It created a really heated, angry dichotomy between drivers and cyclists, and made it significantly more difficult for motorists to travel in our already-congested city,” explained Smobertson at a press conference on Monday. “So I thought to myself, ‘Hay, there must be more ways that we can split up the roads and stirrup some animosity.’ And then it hit me: horse lanes.”
Indeed, in the wake of 2014’s installation of bike lanes in Vancouver’s downtown core, a division between motorists and cyclists ignited heated debate over the fair division of prime roadways in the city. Today, however, people are starting to get used to applying kindergarten principles of sharing during their commutes—which is something that Smobertson will not stand for.
“The fact is that I just don’t want anyone to ever get used to stable traffic flow. As a mayor, that’s not on my agenda,” said Smobertson.
The proposed Vancouver horse lanes would allow anyone with the money to buy a horse the ability to trot along down a new centre lane on all downtown streets.
“I’m not horsing around here—why should the roads be out there just to make transportation safe and comfortable for the motorists and the cyclists? What about the interests of the very small community of people who want to ride their horses in our urban core?” explained Smobertson.
However, many cyclists are up in arms and indignant at the suggestion that they might lose some of the road real estate that they’ve grown to love.
“The road is ours now,” complained cyclist Dan McMannning, 28. “Why should we have to share it with a slower-moving form of traffic? Besides, isn’t it dangerous to have people just riding horses around cars? They don’t have the protection of a bicycle in the event of an accident. It’s a safety issue!”
But would anyone actually use the horse lanes? Thus far, equestrian enthusiasts seem wary of the initiative.
“I am a bit surprised at the idea, because it seems like it’s a long-outdated idea to ride horses in the city,” said horse owner Sheila Smeila, 35. “But whatever, I guess so. Who is going to pick up after the horses though? Maybe that’s one positive thing—job creation? Like would it literally be the transit police’s job to pick up actual horse shit then?”
No official conclusions have been reached yet, but it seems that the horse lane idea might be picking up momentum in the court of public opinion: locomotion analysts are noting an upswing in urban horse riding culture, with three new retail clothing stores slated to open this month that will sell overpriced, pretentiously designed outfits that will let everyone know that you are better than them because you rode a horse to work this morning and so you’re saving the planet.
So what will Smobertson do if his horse lane idea is ultimately rejected?
“Hay, you whinny some, you lose some. I’ll just have to rein in some more great ideas!”