21 August 2008

Activism, Advocacy & Cycling

Yesterday I pointed out how I Get Way Too Mad Too Easily At People. A lot of good points were brought up in the comment section, and I don't even want to start to go into it in the comment section. I just don't feel I could do it justice. So the following will be answers, opinions, and agreement on comments from yesterday.
Personally I, and everyone I have ridden with so far, have always managed to stay well within traffic laws. I guess that's might be why I am so anal-retentive about people in cars. We always ride single file unless we are in an area that has wide lanes or easy passing to allow for two deep. Never try and ride three, four, etc. deep. Only "roll" a stop sign where we absolutely can, in the country there's places where there are acres of flat land that you could see cars at a mile and a half away so we may slow and double check than roll. But with that said I have not ridden with anyone yet where we've actually blow stop signs or lights in the city and where there is traffic. I think this is important, since some cyclists have a tendency to disregard traffic laws as though we are immune.
With the previous said, this also does not make it OK, or right for a person in a car to do something dangerous to prove that they have the bigger stick in the fight. I think that people don't truly realize the potential of their automobile as a weapon. Even something as simple as coming down a hill at about twenty or thirty miles per hour and having someone slam on the brakes. You run into the back bumper, putting you over the top of your handlebars and through their back window and crushing your skull. Bottom line is we're in far more danger and I don't think the average person stops to think about it. This makes me feel as though people who would do something maliciously should absolutely be punished to the fullest extent of the law at the first offense, no matter how small it may be.
As for the cyclist, I do think we need to change our ways sometimes. I think sometimes we might come across as militant and that it turns off motorists. An extreme example of this would be Critical Mass. The way they overtake the roads does prove a point, but what point does it prove? People in cars are forced to stop, they get angry, verbal altercations ensue, and nobody wins. I guess I outed myself a bit there. I'm not a huge fan of the Critical Mass tactics. We need to come across a little bit more soft and cuddly to the average motorist. We need them to realize that we are just like them, but we like to get around differently. That we are cool with them being on the road, we just want to be able to share it with them. That we too have a family to get home to. We are all in such a damn hurry in this world, for what? To die of a heart attack at forty because we had to drop five miles per hour behind a cyclist until we could pass him to get home after work? It's just not healthy for anyone.
Well, for what it's worth, that was my last rant on the subject for the week. I'll let it go at that, but I wanted to dialog a bit with the awesome readers who left comments yesterday. Thanks to Jeff and Kathy, Harp, Blue and Yeahdog for your comments. Let's all try to be better cyclists, and work for a greater understanding of what it is that we love so much for the world.

4 comments:

cyclonecross said...

It's going to take effort from both sides to improve the current situation on the roadways. I think cyclists obeying more traffic laws is important, because we have the most to gain or lose!

Ray Huang said...

Critical mass is to me like peace activists carrying flowers and singing happy songs trying to prove how nice life would be without war or violence, then taking the first opportunity to start yelling obsenities, speaking in tongues and beating the living snot out of anything they can get there hands on...in the name of peace of course.

Kevin Love said...

From original post:

"...we are cool with them being on the road, we just want to be able to share it with them."

This "we" definitely does not include myself and many other people here in Toronto.

What finally convinced me to work for a car-free Toronto was the official report of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health that car pollution kills 440 people in Toronto every year and injures another 1,700 people to the extent that they require hospitalization.

This does not include car crashes - that is just the death and injury toll in Toronto from car pollution.

We would not tolerate a terrorist gang that killed 440 people every year and injured 1,700. Why should any less strong measures be taken against car drivers?

This report may be found on the official government website at:

http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/pdf/air_pollution_burden.pdf

Kevin Love said...

From original post:

"...we are cool with them being on the road, we just want to be able to share it with them."

This "we" definitely does not include myself and many other people here in Toronto.

What finally convinced me to work for a car-free Toronto was the official report of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health that car pollution kills 440 people in Toronto every year and injures another 1,700 people to the extent that they require hospitalization.

This does not include car crashes - that is just the death and injury toll in Toronto from car pollution.

We would not tolerate a terrorist gang that killed 440 people every year and injured 1,700. Why should any less strong measures be taken against car drivers?

This report may be found on the official government website at:

http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/pdf/air_pollution_burden.pdf