Back in September a cyclist was almost sideswiped by a dangerous security driver at the Calgary Airport who ignored a solid line on a blind corner while speeding and cutting off the cyclist into oncoming traffic just to make a left turn long after the cyclist passed him. Had the driver obeyed the law and been patient for 10 seconds he would have been able to make the turn without stopping.
The video went to the police and Calgary Airport. The cyclist began receiving harassment from some of the security guards at the airport. It was the case of one security driver giving the majority of the security a bad rap and a few of his friends who supported the driver's abuse.
The first incident was an intimidation tactic by a group of guards having coffee at Tim Hortons who yelled while talking about the cyclist. The second incident was a security guard starting an argument by saying bicycles are not allowed on the airport and the cyclist laughed in his face. When the first line out of someone's mouth is to insult their own intelligence we're inclined to believe they are what they say they are.
The airport provides a bike rack for cyclists. The airport makes money from people flying with bicycles to Calgary for events like the Tour Divide and the Alberta Tour plus people fly to other destinations from Calgary to ride bicycles in warmer climates during the winter. Cycling is becoming big business in Calgary if it isn't already.
It makes no sense to turn away business in order to support the kinds of prejudices and ignorance which lead to civil war in the USA over slavery and then segregation by skin color. Has society learned nothing since then?
Anyone who has a driver's license is expected to know the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians as well as their legal requirement to drive with due care and attention. Cyclists and pedestrians share the roads with other traffic. Some drivers will not even share roads with other drivers, never mind the bicycles or the 6 pedestrians killed by drivers in Calgary this year and the rising anger against these drivers which is leading to legal action and hopefully better laws to protect vulnerable road users. Motorists are burning their own bridges in Calgary.
The following YouTube video links were recorded because there have been too many drivers at the airport driving like idiots around cyclists and pedestrians. It has become necessary to record videos for our own safety and to prosecute disturbed drivers who endanger other people. As much as we would like to just cycle or walk to/from the airport without the use of cameras it has become necessary to record daily videos which says a lot about how irresponsible some Calgary drivers are.
Front Camera View of Dangerous Security Driver
Short clip of third harassment by Calgary Airport Security. Notice the driver's window is down in order to shout profanity.
The result of this third incident was another complaint to the airport and the police. Some people prefer to dig their own graves without any help by proving that their acts are road rage. In a work environment where mental and emotional stability is required, this kind of abuse cannot be tolerated. The fact that there has been four complaints in total since the original driving complaint was made makes it obvious that none of these incidents were accidental in nature and that they are hate crimes.
This blog discusses the implications about society in general. One is free to draw one's own conclusions. I merely offer some content to think about how we got to this socially acceptable habit of using cars as weapons.
When the American Civil War began, it was about the right to enslave people. When the Civil War and liberties for all finally became a reality, the plantation owners began to realize that paying a fair wage to blacks resulted in better wealth for them too. A mistreated and abused slave will do as little as possible. A man who is paid and has a right to build a better life for himself becomes wealthier and so do the people they work for.
Even then, racial prejudice ruined American and lead to other uprisings in the 50's and 60's. It was not the law that upheld the rights of people (the law then supported racial hatred and abuse), it was the people who refused to tolerate abuse that forced the law to change.
Even today there is still racial prejudice in America but it is less tolerated by the majority of Americans whereas before the civil war, the reverse was true. This hatred against cyclists and pedestrians is no different and we have to fight hatred and unjust laws if we want freedom and good health in this country which are being ruined by too much dependency on automobiles. In Britain, ten times more people are killed by lung disease from car exhaust than are killed in car accidents. In one comment I read it said that England has been ruined by cars.
In Canada, we protected the rights of blacks who escaped racism in America. Even as a child there was racial tension in Toronto. I found it sickening. Unlike the security driver, I didn't blame anyone but myself for harboring such feelings and took responsibility to change them. We can't be children and childish forever. Some day we have to grow up.
As adults we have to take responsibility for our actions and stop whining, complaining, and blaming other people for our own stupidity and reckless driving habits. A careless driver will continue to put him/herself in danger more frequently than anyone else. So why would a careless driver oppose being responsible unless that person is trying to commit homicide or suicide? Neither of which is a legal right to my knowledge in this country.
The first prejudices most people receive when riding a bicycle is that cycling is very dangerous. This is simply not true. In 2012, over 33,000 car accidents occurred in Calgary. About 507 pedestrian collisions and only about 250 or so bicycle collisions. That makes cycling twice as safe as walking in Calgary and about 132 times less dangerous than being in car. 50% of brain injuries happen in cars and only 5% to cyclists while cyclists are targeted with BC helmet laws and drivers aren't. This would seem to indicate that a cyclist's life is worth more by law than a driver's life since so much more is being done to protect cyclists than drivers through helmet laws.
It is not bicycling that is dangerous, it is motorists who are dangerous. Driving a bicycle requires no insurance or registration. Why? Because there is so little property damage and injury caused by bicycles. On the other hand, every driver is legally required to be licensed and insured because cars cause the most injuries and property damage. Plus, automobiles destroy pavement so quickly that it makes more sense to pay people to ride a bicycle and pay less to maintain the pavement. Drunk drivers kill more people than drunk cyclists or drunk pedestrians on crosswalks to the point where law has changed to support stiffer penalties for drunk drivers.
Today we are fighting for the right to choose a mode of transportation in Calgary. One extra vote for cycle tracks is a very slim margin and reveals how deeply entrenched the ignorance and prejudices against cyclists are in this city. The fact that the cycle track passed indicates that a prejudice limiting acceptable transportation options is waning. It also shows how brain washed most motorists are because of failing to recognize cycle tracks benefit drivers and pedestrians. Do people who walk or bike ever get thanked for reducing traffic congestion? Never!
My last drive through downtown took 1 ½ hours to get out of the downtown core, about the same time as walking and yet we have people like Councilor Sean Chu who seems to want more cars so that people will simply quit driving downtown out of frustration. Last estimate was 36% of people drive downtown. Last estimate on the 7th St cycle track was saying that cycling went up by over 400% there. Law is change by majority rule that has historically lead to abusing the minority. Cars take up too much space downtown that could be put to more efficient transportation use and to generate jobs.
As a society we have had enough decades of automobile use to know that drivers have a poor record for driving safely along with the high cost to human and animal life. We know that the infernal combustion engine is largely responsible for poisoning our air, water, and food. We know that obesity and diseases like diabetes and heart disease are on the rise because of declining physical exercise. We know that mental illness is triggered by rising stress, decreasing nourishment and lack of exercise. We know the automobile is bad for us but too many people are afraid to change because they are already so unfit, ill, and spending so much times in cars that it is unlikely they will ever realize there can be more free time when commuting on a bicycle.
We have all these indicators to say that road rage against people who are not in cars is just plain stupid. Road rage often targets the very people who are working to solve transportation problems and free up our roads.
The saying that Calgary is a car city is no longer true. Even as cycling becomes a major transportation option for most of us in Calgary, the old prejudices and ignorance remains.
Having cycled in Calgary all winter for the last several years I had to educate myself about how bicycle technology works in winter. The answer was to buy studded tires and once that was known it really isn't anymore difficult to cycle during the winter than drive.
Most adults gave up cycling as children. Having never developed anything but a 'toy' mentality about bicycles is why such childhood prejudice and ignorance remains today because there are still many of us who have a lack of education about the new technology like studded bike tires (which actually isn't all that new). I bike all winter because it takes too long to warm up the car and instead of staying warm by exercise I freeze all winter driving to work and then walking another 15 minutes in -30C temps. A warm bike ride takes less time and financial savings are immense.
Last winter some smart ass drivers tried to make a joke about me being cold cycling to work. They were shocked that I was sweating in temperatures that caused cars not to start. They were freezing their asses off and always feel cold in a car whereas after 5 minutes on a bike I tend to get way too hot.
In this world, bicycles outnumber cars. North America is ass backwards in promoting car use at the expense of our cities, lives, and well being. Anytime someone tells me they have to commute too far in Calgary its always the same... You can cycle that far?
Its not that difficult. A bicycle always starts when cold and is way more efficient than a car ever will be. The main problem is getting the city to clear pathways and roads.
If the average cyclist says, so what? Its not that far and during rush hour a bicycle is also faster then its like culture shock, How dare you move my cheese!
The automobile industry promotes the car as the only viable way to get anywhere in Calgary. Driving in Calgary is becoming a pointless exercise of futility and traffic jams. If all you experience is a car centric society, you will never know any better unless you make an effort to learn otherwise.
When drivers consider anyone's life to be less valuable than the saving of a few seconds, they are thinking like terrorists and should do the time for the crime. I have no pity for people who destroy families and lives because they are too narcissistic to give a damn about anyone but themselves. In a round about way, this kind of thinking is responsible for killing the drivers themselves when they become too complacent about their own safety. Cars are too comfortable. People get lazy when driving, stop thinking, stop paying attention, start cheating the laws and then they die in their cars. Driving in Calgary is more dangerous and scary than being on a bicycle, especially when there are pathways and cycle tracks to ride on.
Bicycles have the same legal rights to use roads as cars unless signs indicate otherwise. As a driver, if you do not pass cars in the same lane why pass people on bicycles in the same lane unless you want to face criminal charges? More and more cyclists have been forced to use cameras on their bicycles and as a result, more drivers will face criminal charges.
We all could have gotten along without twisting each other's shorts into a knot. Sometimes the only winning move is not to play the terrorist's game.