Hey, look at the bright side, Rob Ford only likes crack when he’s really drunk. He’s Toronto’s crack smokin’, bike hatin’ Mayor.
Now there’s a video surfacing of Rob ranting about wanting to kill someone – I’m assuming it’s not a cyclist this time but I might be wrong. Obviously this would be a mob killing because, well let’s face it Rob, you’re not killing anyone unless you’ve got a couple of people holding your intended target down. There’s no way he’s catching anyone (well maybe he could catch a few Torontonians).
Now, for the sake of the taxpayer, the Mayor wants to get back to work “immediately”. How’s about for your benefit Rob? Isn’t crack illegal in Toronto Rob? Aren’t you caught doing the exact same thing you’ve allowed others to be jailed for? Here’s a funny one – how exactly did Rob come across the crack and did he turn in his crack dealer after he illegally acquired said crack in the first place?
Humorously enough, the Mayor of Toronto and many others like to label cyclists as “Pinkos” – could you imagine that? Me, labeled a pinko? A tree-hugger? ME? Not in this lifetime, baby. Without adding to the lunacy anymore than I already have, the war on bikes or cars (depending on which side you’re on), is stupid – and I’ve written about the execrable Mayor once before, here.
The real issue at hand is a simple one: Bicyclists don’t deserve to die because they ride a bike on the road and motorists don’t deserve to have cyclists weaving around in traffic like they own the roads either. The problem here is extremists on both sides making it difficult for the vast majority of us in the middle of this.
For example, take the tree-huggers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They passed an ordinance giving right-of-way to pedestrians, then cyclists, then motor vehicles in that order. In other words, when a pedestrian gets to a cross walk, motorists must stop their vehicle and allow the pedestrian to cross. Michigan law only requires vehicles to stop when pedestrians are actually in the road, on the cross walk. If you click on the link, the architects of the new ordinance claim pride in their status as a bike and pedestrian friendly City – but look at the dates: 2008-2010 of their accolades… Since the ordinance went into effect, pedestrian accidents have gone up, markedly so, between 20% and almost doubling depending on the year you look at.
So, what did this piece of legislative lunacy do in reality? Pedestrians no longer pay attention to where they’re walking and, almost inexplicably, wander aimlessly into the paths of motor vehicles, expecting them to stop under any circumstances just because they’ve walked up to a cross walk – they don’t even pause before walking onto the road. Having driven in Ann Arbor on a regular basis back in the day, I can tell you, it was tense ten years ago – my mother (who worked there for two decades until retiring recently) told me that pedestrians have become too insane to drive downtown.
Ann Arbor is extremism on one end of spectrum. Toronto’s Mayor Ford is the other. The reality, and I can write this because I’m not going to run for political office any time soon, is that sometimes bad things happen. Pedestrians who wander into the road are going to get hit. When motorists fail to pay attention, pedestrians and cyclists will get hit. When cyclists don’t pay attention, they will hit pedestrians and be hit by motorists. When pedestrians don’t pay attention they will be hit by cyclists and motorists. No amount of legislation will make motorists, cyclists or pedestrians pay better attention. No amount of leniency towards pedestrians will make them safer. No amount of bike lanes will end bicycle accidents altogether, nor will more traffic lights. No amount of additional legislation will end accidents. You can make texting illegal while operating a vehicle – does this mean everyone will follow that law? Of course not.
For the answer we can look at one simple principle used in recovery: I must be responsible for that which I have control of. I have control only of myself. I am completely powerless over other people. In other words, I must look within and do my part to be the solution. As a cyclist I must do everything in my power to be respectful of motorists and pedestrians, to be a good steward of the sport I love. I must follow the laws of the road. Most importantly I must remember that I will make mistakes from time to time, as will others. Someone else doing something boneheaded does not give me the right to belligerently fly off the handle.
If all of humanity remembered the golden rule, we would be happier for it: Thou shalt not be an asshole. Rob.