Posts Tagged ‘advocate’

Bikes Don’t Belong on the Sidewalk

May 17, 2008

Over on London Topic, Dan O’Neil has written an article in which he describes his wife’s collision with a vehicle while riding her bicycle on the sidewalk, and he tries to make a case for why such behaviour should be allowed.

Sorry Dan, but that’s completely wrong.

I agree that riding bicycles on this city’s roads is hazardous, and that something ought to be done about that. But putting pedestrians at risk by allowing bicycles to share sidewalks with us is unfair to pedestrians, and completely contrary to the widely accepted concept of a transportation hierarchy that places pedestrians at the top.

We are all pedestrians, to some degree or other. We were all born pedestrians, and walking is a ‘natural right.’ As opposed to other forms of transportation, which are simply artificial constructs.

Dan writes that he has “never been able to find a case of a fatality resulting from a bike striking a pedestrian.” It took me about 5 seconds to find THIS ARTICLE. And I have no doubt that I could find more.

I’m sorry that Mr. O’Neils wife was hurt, and I hope that she recovers quickly. And London needs people who are willing to advocate for bicycling. For that, I commend Mr. O’Neil.

But we also need strong advocates for pedestrians and public transit.

And we need a police force that does a better job of enforcing the rules of the road than what I see day in and day out.

We need to elect people who can recognize the imbalance between automobile transportation and other forms, and the terrible price that our society and the environment are paying beause of our reliance on cars. People who are prepared to say so, and mean it.

Let’s Import Ralph Nader

February 24, 2008

“Consumer activist Ralph Nader today launched his third bid for the presidency…” 01

Famous for his consumer activism, Ralph Nader has decided to make his 5th bid for the U.S. Presidency. “In 1992 he ran as a write-in in both the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic primaries, and other primaries. In 1996 and 2000, he was the nominee of the Green Party; in 2004, he ran as an independent, but was also endorsed by the Reform Party.” 02

01. 2008/02/24 – Washington Post: Nader Hopes Third Presidential Run…
02. Wikipedia: Ralph Nader

Other Links:
2008/02/24 – Scholars & Rogues: Nader reaction defines…

Saying ‘No’ to Montreal Parking Spots

December 8, 2007

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Private automobile use is said to be outpacing Montreal’s population growth by a multiple of at least 3.

Speeding on residential streets has become an increased problem as drivers use them as shortcuts and/or in order to avoid main arteries.

Representing approx. 42 community groups and at least 10,000 Montrealers, the Coalition for the Reduction of Montreal Traffic is trying to make it more difficult for people to bring cars into the city by advocating for a reduction in the number of all-day parking spots.

As is happening in many urban centres, calls are being heard for the creation of an environment that encourages alternate transportation modes like walking and biking. And “an increase in the frequency, reach, comfort and reliability of public transit.”

2007/12/07 – Gazette: Clamp down on cars, coalition urges city
2007/12/07 – SpacingMontreal: Community groups want…

Pedestrian Stats Noticeably Absent

November 28, 2007

Q: How often have pedestrians been struck by hit/run drivers in London ?
A: At least twice within the past week.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it… a brief mention in today’s paper (“Police seek hit and run info“; London Free Press; 2007/11/28) about “a girl” who sustained “minor” injuries last Wednesday evening after she was “knocked down by a dark-coloured station wagon” which then left the scene. And of another female who was “thrown onto the hood” of “a four-door, white Honda Civic” on Saturday afternoon. In both cases, the operators of the automobiles left without identifying themselves. Presumably that means that they left before police arrived.

    Appended 2007/11/30 @ 21:00I just revisited the LPS website and … quelle surprise! … there’s now a “Media Releases” link on the main page pointing to a brand new page (which isn’t dated) all about these recent vehicle/pedestrian incidents and the driver’s “legal obligation” to identify themself before leaving the scene. It seems I may have caught somebody’s attention 😉

As short on information as the newspaper article may be, it puts the London Police Services website to shame. Because there’s no mention of these incidents at all on it’s “Media Releases” page. Or on it’s “Wanted” page. Or on it’s “FYI” page. In fact, when I typed “pedestrian” into the search facility on the LPS website, I got a sum total of only 8 articles. One of those (2006/03/23 LPS Board Minutes) refers to “statistical information on Pedestrian Safety” that had been presented by Sgt. Tom O’Brien, but does not provide those stats.

So, how often do incidents involving automobiles and pedestrians happen in London? If we can’t get that information from the police website, perhaps we can get it from our elected officials.

Yeah, right ;(

I’ve been fighting for such disclosure for many years.Plod on, dear reader…


NDP Pay Pledge

September 13, 2007

pig picKerry Gillespie correctly writes that “The NDP have long cried foul over the wage hike Liberal and Progressive Conservatives MPPs voted for just before Christmas” (“Hampton vows $10 wage, MPP pay cut“; Toronto Star; 2007/09/13). He tells us that Hampton has “vowed” to “immediately” raise the minimum wage to $10 “if elected” and then “index it to inflation.”

To begin with, if you hop on over to the NDP site you’ll see that this is listed under “Headlines” as a “Key Commitment” instead of one of the Party “Campaigns.”

Next, a reminder that political promises are worth a big fat ZERO. No politician can be trusted to keep them, even if he’s wearing NDP orange. Remember the NDP’s policies re: Sunday Shopping, Public Auto Insurance, etc. and what happened after Bob Rae was elected?

Does the fact that Mr. Hampton is raising the stakes matter to you? A vow, I’m sure you know, is more than just a simple promise. It is a promise before God. Does Mr. Hampton even believe in God? Does it matter? Mr. McGuinty is a Catholic, and that didn’t stop his record number of broken promises in the last election campaign.

Even if Hampton and the NDP genuinely care about the poor, does the vow platform promise commitment talking point go far enough?

The minimum wage shouldn’t just be indexed to inflation. That won’t do anything to suppress the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in our society. That won’t do anything to keep our political “leaders” in touch with the reality of being poor. As I have advocated for so long, better to tie political salaries to what people on social assistance receive.

2007/09/13 – NDP promises to raise…
2007/09/13 – Globe and Mail: Ontario NDP promises $10 minimum wage
2007/09/13 – LFP: Hampton promises to roll MPP raise back
2007/09/14 – Toronto Star: Hampton vows $10 wage, MPP pay cut
2007/09/14 – Globe and Mail: NDP in office would increase…