Opinion Column

Craziness on the Lions Gate Bridge

The Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. (Carmine Marinelli/Postmedia Network File Photo)

The Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. (Carmine Marinelli/Postmedia Network File Photo)

Vancouver offers many great facilities for summer fun. Beaches, parks, bike paths and, apparently, the Lions Gate Bridge. If you think of the bridge only as part of our transportation infrastructure, you may have overlooked the opportunities it presents for fun and frolic. Last week, a couple of thrill-seeking tourists climbed one of the towers, a beautiful vantage point to take photos of the huge traffic jam that began developing at that very moment for some unknown reason. Whether or not they got any great selfies, they now probably have an excellent selection of courtroom sketches and, perhaps, even priceless photos of themselves leaving the Law Courts building with jackets over their heads.

The previous week, it was more wacky good times as the Lions Gate was transformed into a Formula One track by a West Vancouver Ferrari owner who puttered across the span at a clocked speed of 210 km/h. 210 km/h is fast. How fast? Faster than the speed of a dumb presidential tweet. Faster than the people racing for stage-front blanket space at the Vancouver Folk Festival. 210 km/h is the scientifically tested speed at which an ice cream truck might actually outrun a crowd of eight-year-olds. But instead of thanking the Ferrari driver for saving wear and tear by crossing the bridge without touching the pavement, police charged him and impounded the vehicle. Some people just hate fun.

This story was of particular interest to me because I live close enough to the Stanley Park causeway to wonder on some nights, lying in bed, whether it gets roped off and turned into a professional drag strip after 11:30 PM. It has sometimes occurred to me as I am gently lulled to sleep by the soothing roar of high-powered engines that police might pay for a whole range of local services just by setting up a permanent radar facility out there. At the very least they could build up quite a fancy car collection.

The point is, summer is supposed to be fun. Last weekend, I saw a group of Japanese students playing a game that might be called watermelon hockey. A player is blindfolded, spun around, and must then try to smack a watermelon with a hockey stick. A crowd gathered to cheer each failed attempt. Everybody was having a blast. Poor souls, they didn't even realize they were missing the giant bridge and the $250,000 sports cars that add up to real fun.