A letter to the star

I've been pretty upset with the usage of the term "war on cars." Today I read this opinion in the Star, in an article "Time to stop nutty war on cars":
As I inched my car along Wellesley St. East in morning traffic earlier this week, I watched a lone bicyclist merrily speed by me in his designated bike lane.

For cyclists like him, the recently installed bike lane on Wellesley is a welcome development.

But for fuming motorists like me, the bike lane is an unmitigated disaster because it has narrowed the street, slowing traffic and significantly increasing commuting time. And then there's all the extra pollution caused by having our cars and trucks stuck longer in traffic.

The Wellesley bike lane – used only by that one cyclist as I sat idling in traffic – is just another scrimmage in the rapidly escalating "war on cars" raging these days across Toronto.

This is bullshit! Many have pointed out that the war analogy is offensive; nothing remotely resembling a war is happening in Toronto, least of all traffic-wise. Since they've started using this term, I have noticed that drivers are acting out their frustrations more against cyclists. To me, there seems to be an obvious connection between a group being told that they are at war and an increase in violence from that group.

I sent this letter to the Star:
The phrase "war on cars" is being used frequently in the local media to describe some restrictions on driving. The use of the expression is not only offensively inaccurate, but also dangerous.

This term implies a violence that was not part of this discussion a month ago. Since the term became popular, I've noticed a dramatic increase both in the number and in the severity of incidents of aggressive drivers threatening me with their vehicles.

I used to encounter only one or two aggressive or threatening drivers per week during commutes or other recreational cycling. Now it is more often a daily event. A group of people is repeatedly being told that they are at war; the increase in violence from this group is natural.

Please stop referring to the democratically enacted replanning of a small number of streets and intersections as a war. You are imparting a violence into the discussion that has the potential to harm people.
The image is modified from barn with old car by lapstrake.

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