One idea came to mind tonight about the forces in society like careless drivers who try to destroy healthy pre-occupations like cycling. Rumour had it that a speed trap had been set on one Calgary pathway this summer and cyclists were being targeted for speeding over 10 kph. Sounds ridiculous, right?
I’m waiting for the day when these crazy law gurus start ticketing joggers for running over 10 kph through the same speed trap. Eventually, the city might just decide that anyone going over 3 kph on a city pathway or sidewalk is speeding and is a danger to society.
Haven’t cyclists been burdened all these years in Calgary by a penalizing pathway system where cycling to work at a leisurely 30 kph has become a crime? The majority of drivers on Deerfoot do at least 10 kph over the speed limit of 100 kph and Deerfoot has never been closed to ticket every person driving faster than the law dictates is safe. No, it makes more money for the city if the gurus of cash cow enterprises sit in vehicles for hours at a time raking in criminal amounts of money which do nothing to target bad drivers who cause the majority of accidents every day.
When one looks at the current pathway system of disjointed and twistedly slow routes that often lead nowhere, it becomes obvious that the past hype about Calgary becoming a cycling mecca was just that, all hype and no action.
Crazy logic which targets healthy activities is what fills hospitals with obesity and drains money from the health care system to cure people who’s logic for survival has become as twisted as hell. If the healthcare system cared about saving money they’d buy bikes for everyone instead of complaining there isn’t enough money in the health care system for those who really have no other option to becoming or staying healthy.
There are all kinds of people in society who would rather make a living off everyone else's suffering while adding nothing of value to society themselves. (Read Richard Mayberry’s “Whatever Happened to Justice”)
As I have learned from experience, the legal system usually helps criminals and dangerous law breakers, not victims, for the most part. Has anyone ever sued and recovered health care costs because of toxic chemicals lining canned goods? Not to my knowledge! Such dangerous technology is what society has become dependent on for too long. Why did we ever stop questioning if technology was safe for us?
Hospitals are filled with people, some of which are ill because of sedentary lifestyles for example (which all of us are paying for). Each one of us is trying to fulfill the reason for our existence. Unfortunately, some of us are milking money from people who are doing society a favour through regular exercise while reducing pollution, traffic congestion and dependance on toxic technologies like automobiles which waste power by using several tons of metal to move a few hundred pounds of human being every day to work and back while spewing hundreds of pounds of air pollution per trip.
Have you ever added up the time wasted with city transit each week and multiplied it by your hourly wage? Or calculate the lost time commuting in rush hour traffic? Costs plenty doesn’t it? An article I read months ago said that an hour commuting via car per day requires a 40% increase in wages to cover the expense of driving. Have any of us been paid for lost time putting along on Deerfoot at a pace which cyclists would find as familiar as the snail pace speed limits on pathways?
There are also those in society who believe in burning everything we can dig up, tear down, or nuke to make machinery do the work for us while we are rusting like unused machinery. Does the logic of perfecting the technology to avoid healthy activities sound rational to you? Many of us use such technology every day to avoid meaningful lifestyles including becoming a TV couch potato or working at stressful jobs that ruin our health or driving an hour to work for a higher hourly wage when it would make more sense working closer to home with less pay?
Many people who have had life changing events because of cycling have become strong advocates for a real cycling mecca instead of a just a few juicy words from select politicians. Even today, cyclists have no fast routes through a maze of streets devoted to gas guzzling, time wasting, gridlock technologies. Isn’t it about time that we start realizing the opportunities of a real cycling mecca must be built by actions and founded by a common need to stay healthy?
When the City of Calgary decided to build a ring road to ease traffic congestion, Why were cyclist’s activities never included in the design? We have wide shoulders on both sides of the ring road around the north end of Calgary and over to 17th Ave near Chestermere. How many dollars would it cost to mark the median shoulder for bicycle use only? How many dollars would it cost to add a few ramps from overpasses for cyclists to access the median shoulder safely?
Would it make sense to force cyclists to continue using the right shoulder while clashing with cars and thoughtless drivers hell bound for exits with no regard for cyclists having to cross streams of raging maniacs behind the wheel who’s whole universe consists only of their own selfish interests to get somewhere fast?
Why don’t cyclists have the same rights to fast routes in and around Calgary free of automobiles in the same way that automobiles have fast routes free of cyclists? The infrastructure exists but apparently cyclists aren’t allowed to use fast routes in Calgary and until this changes the idea that Calgary could ever be a cycling mecca ranks with fart jokes and remains a mockery of every cyclist’s right to safe commuting.
Do you know why cyclists are not required by law to buy insurance in order to use bicycles? It is because cycling is an inherently safe activity due to relatively low speeds (most of the time in spite of brainwashing helmet laws) whereas driving an automobile is inherently dangerous because human beings were never designed to react in the micro seconds required for safe driving at typical highway speeds where almost every Calgarian tailgates at over 100 kph.
Automobiles are responsible for the high costs of property damage and self inflicted injuries by drivers who lack basic driving skills and courtesy to other users of the roads. If we were to judge the typical driver training which most drivers receive when trying to get a driver’s license the whole system would receive a failing grade. Every day more motorists get licenses while having a serious lack of basic driving and thinking skills. More meat to the butchering technology where one crazy lady decided to swerve on Deerfoot to avoid an obstacle on the road which she couldn’t see in time because she was tailgating. What would make anyone think they can crank the steering wheel at that speed and get away with it? Apparently, she did get lucky and survive the experience as I listened to her story several years ago while on a city transit commute to work. I was very tempted to ask her if she was crazy twisting the steering wheel at high speed or if she was never educated about such perils in her driving lessons. Rather than sound arrogant, I left it up to her as to what she would gain from that experience.
Although cycling from Coventry to Chestermere can be done in around 90 minutes by reasonably fit cyclists, cyclists are forced to do so by sharing the road with largely irresponsible drivers who are a danger to everyone. As cyclists have told the City of Calgary... WE DO NOT FEEL SAFE SHARING THE ROAD WITH AUTOMOBILES! The City of Calgary has responded by painting lines on streets that somehow have the magic to prevent trespassing on a cyclist’s space by motorists. Statistics reinforce the fact that mixing cars and bicycles is dangerous and yet cyclists are denied the right to fast and safe routes for commuting to work which are free of automobiles.
Back when I cycled to work in the southeast, it took me around an hour to bike and anywhere from 90 minutes to two and a half hours via city transit while speeding on unmaintained pathways and back roads during times when the pathway was often void of any other life except a few commuters on bicycles or the odd gopher.
Today, nothing has changed. The pathways are still cracked and still require a mountain bike with shock absorbers even after a decade of living in Calgary. Now I can’t even cycle onto the pathways down a rough dirt path without being forced into a long round about route on busy residential streets. My bet is that cyclist’s needs also won’t be addressed by the new 96th Ave six lane road joining Airport Trail next year.
The fact is that people are afraid of change even when it is good for them. Trying to change the typical motorist’s lack of concern for anyone but themselves will not happen by building more routes to fatten a motorist’s ego for driving faster. If anything, building a cycling route along Deerfoot would do more for educating most motorists about the benefits of cycling... Less traffic congestion and faster commute times as they are forced to sit and watch cyclist after cyclist pass them on highways built only for bicycles!