Monday, July 20, 2009

5 Ottawa Cyclists Mown Down - So Don't Ride A Bike Unless You Are Insane.

A group of 5 cyclists were run over in our nation's capitol over the weekend. Tragedies like this happen from time to time, all over the world. What I want to comment upon is the news coverage I saw last night on CTV.

News clip #1

Half of the coverage is about how dangerous it is to ride your bike. As bad as this single incident is, cycling is not a dangerous activity.

News Clip #2

This time there is at least some focus on car speed. But what burns is the "despite there being a bike lane" reference. Bike lanes rarely make cyclists more safe. Follow these links to see what I mean:

Many thanks to ChipSeal for providing me with these links. He also wrote some stuff in an email to me that I am confident he would be OK with me posting in public:

In the USA, we have about 800 people on bicycles killed every year, and naturally the majority of them happen in the warmer months when there are more cyclists out. Given that, we ought to expect at least two bicycle deaths a day, on average. And they all make the news because it is unusual. The 43,000 (117 a day) deaths of motorists is so common it rarely makes news unless there is a celebrity or scandal involved. Kids are no longer allowed outside to play because of hysteria over child abductions, which are extremely rare. Every year we are warned to avoid receiving fruit in Halloween excursions for fear of razor-blade sabotage..... an event that has never (That is; Not even once.) been officially recorded by any law enforcement agency in the whole of the United States. These are media generated hysteria! We are losing freedoms because of irresponsible media outlets breathless headlines to garner a bigger audience. Just turn them off and you will be a lot happier!

I thought that was pretty well said. Thanks again ChipSeal.

Stuff like this is awful. Please use it as a reason to keep riding safely. Do not let it make you ride fearfully or not at all. That would be a terrible shame.

PS - I tried to find out how the cyclists were doing here.
PPS - Ocotber 2011 Driver Pleads Not Guilty here.


ChipSeal said...

Oh yes, let the hysteria ensue!

For your first link request, this is a good one:

And I have three that seem to address your second request in a reasonable manner:

ChipSeal said...

Oh, and while you don't HAVE to be crazy to ride a bike in traffic, it certainly helps!


Steve A said...

Ottawa says it all! It's where I learned about whisky flasks hidden in curling broom handles. The part I don't understand is that curling season has been over for months and I would have thought things would be a little more stable by now...

RANTWICK said...

Steve - Canadians drink from curling broom handles the whole year round... I thought you would know something so fundamental to our Northern party scene...

Steve A said...

I can't claim to be a curling expert, except perhaps by Texas standards (you have to know that curling involves rocks with handles and not hair dryers with handles).

I have NEVER seen a Canadian drink from a curling broom handle at any car show I've ever gone to (those occur in the Canadian summer month). They mostly drink wine and hard cider from bottles taken from classy wicker picnic suitcases they take out of the boot (trunk in the US). Perhaps things are different in Ontario than BC? As I recall, you lot have socialized liquor stores just like BC.

ChipSeal said...

Once again, dear Rantwick, you flatter me!

While those were my words, they are not my original ideas, but thoughts gathered over the years from various deeper thinkers than me.

Thanks for the hat tip, and of course you are welcome!

RANTWICK said...

Steve - OK, you caught me. Although I've seen such a broom, I've never seen anybody use one.

As for "boots" and drinking wine or cider drawn from a picnic basket, I think we may hang with very different crowds.

Yes, our liquor stores are run by the Province. There was a good possibility of a strike reecently that caused quite a booze panic and rush at the stores. Catastrophe, however, was averted in the end.

ChipSeal said...

That's the spirit!

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