Arno Schortinghuis has passed away, and many people feel deep sadness today. He’s gone now, but his kindness, even disposition, dedication, lack of pretention, twinkle-eyed sense of humour, his open nature and deep knowledge — all live on in us, our memories and the things we’ve learned.
He was a champion for expanding choices in transportation, and in particular the creation of safe and effective infrastructure for those who choose to travel by bicycle. He could be found in boardrooms, meeting rooms, open house events and online — taking on the issues and providing cogent, well-thought-out opinion.
I remember Arno as a conciliator, who always looked for the common ground to try and secure agreement and move a group or an issue forward. He also focused on the positive, the benefit, the happiness and pleasure. His patience is legendary.
Colin Stein, Price Tags’ managing editor, has updated his lovely piece on Arno. A snippet here, with Arno’s thoughts on how to go about making change:
It’s two parts. It’s encouraging the decision-makers to do way more to make cycling an everyday, safe, convenient activity. Getting the decision-makers on board — that’s probably the most important.
The other is getting the public on-board — encouraging them to cycle more and accept cycling as a real mode of transportation. Some of the people who drive a lot and don’t cycle have a very negative opinion of cycling.
We have to get over that because the politicians aren’t going to act unless the public is on-side as well.
I can remember Arno as “Cycling Santa”, and as the person who delivered Translink’s training bus rack to various events. Every so often today, I hear his voice in my head, saying “Hello Ken”, with characteristic enthusiasm and a rising inflection. Always makes me feel good.
A few photos below, and yes, you can gaze upon a photo of Arno in a suit, with the then-mayor.