Grocery Land

So I finally took the big plunge for groceries.

As I locked up,  I met a lovely elderly Italian Trikerster! He had put together a huge cargo trike with a welding torch and old bicycle parts he found in the garbage. He’d attached a big aluminum cargo holder on the back and was hauling off at least 100lbs of groceries between the back boot and a big box bungy corded between his legs on the frame.

He told me he has 3 car batteries and a motor rig ready to hook up this summer because the arthritis in his knees is becoming too painful for him to pedal uphill anymore.

I tried to catch his name so I could put it here but he pedalled off before I could catch it.

I was embarrassed really. Here was my n00b-looking trike and he had this spiffy, decrepit, well-loved trike that looked like it would be at home in the backwoods attached to a donkey. He’d even built a special piece to “roll” off the boot full of groceries straight into his house.

Here’s to human ingenuity!

A Toast to Ingenuity

A Toast to Ingenuity

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The Law Is An Azz

One of the top struggles for those wishing to cycle, is knowing that if anything happens to them–they are, in both the legal and physical sense, road pizza.

Yes, civil liability is one way to force motorists to obey the law. However, it’s far from effective as they are driving an intimidating ton of steel. That’s as foolish as saying that knowing there was a pending lawsuit would have stopped OJ from murdering his wife.

Contrary to the Highway Traffic Act, cycles and e-scooters are not “vehicles” in the same sense as an automobile and should not be treated as such. Do the following scenarios prove that both vehicles are  ‘Equally dangerous’ to you?

  • What happens if you ride a bike into a telephone pole doing 30mph? What happens if you drive a car into one at the same speed?
  • What happens if you ride a bike into a pedestrian? What happens if you drive a car into one at the same speed?
  • What happens if two cars collide?
  • What happens if two cyclists collide?
  • What happens if a bike and a car collide?

Having laws that pretty much equate cycles and e-scooters with motor vehicles is not only ludicrous, it pretty much assures that drivers will never take cyclists seriously since cyclists are barely a threat to their paint job. Behind their wall of steel and tempered glass hitting a person riding a bike not much more dangerous than being hit by a flying Coke can.

The big difference is this. A car has a driver and/or passengers. On a cycle, the vehicle IS the driver. Someone in a car has protection from debris, sewer grates, potholes, other vehicles, weather and countless other protections. A cyclist does not. The cyclist, is in a very real sense vulnerably naked since s/he is not covered in a huge plate of steel armor.

Cyclists are essentially, pedestrians with wheels. We are not lightweight tanks with the capacity to kill half a dozen people if the brakes fail.

Any time that a car hits a cyclist, it’s pretty much assured that the cyclist will be injured. The same cannot be said, in the reverse.

Now, I suggest, if this present trend of not criminally charging drivers with hitting cyclists continues, and the government refuses to change the laws regarding cyclists–that the victims of vehicular crimes come forward and start a mass action lawsuit against the government for crimes against humanity or some such legalese due to the implementation of the Highway Traffic Act.

They might actually take THAT seriously.

For more on other countries and their laws protecting cyclists see:

http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/Irresistible.pdf

Activism 101

Thanks to EnigMatic from ibiketo for the inspiration on this one.

This is the long version of my post.

As Cicero said, “Either the people are the slaves of the government, or the government is the servant of the people.”

”]Thank You to Steve Rhodes [CC License]

Having been to countless homeless/poverty committees in the past 10 years that have spent millions, if not billions of taxpayer dollars in this province/city with damned little to show for it I have utterly no faith in the power of politically based committees. HAC is a case in point. How much money have they spent to do nothing? How many activists have wasted their time with presentation after presentation?

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got–and that’s usually NOTHING.

Committees are powerless to make policy changes. All they can do is present watered-down recommendations to politicians. If I see one more self-serving media charade about another committee on poverty I am going to woof my cookies.

When they call now I tell them, “Are we going to walk out and do something? Because if we’re not, and you’re not willing to walk out the door and TAKE something, I’m not willing to talk. Talk is cheap. 70,000 families waiting for housing is 70,000+ too many. Walk out the door with me and we can cut it down to 69,990 today.”

*What do I suggest? I’ll tell you. Develop a vision and sell it.*–EnigMatic from ibiketo.

Precisely. Stop letting bureaucrats and politicians define the visions of the citizens. Let the cyclists define the dream.

I have respect for Critical Mass. One day a month they *take* the streets. They don’t beg, whine and although some may sit on committees, once a month they show their power to take the streets back. Do you all know how inspiring that really is? Even a cyclist pulling up for a bag of Fritos is bound to wave.

Why don’t we get serious like the no-car Sundays in Kensington? They didn’t ‘committee’ that to death. The citizens of Kensington took it.

Why are we begging our own elected officials to do the right, environmentally friendly thing? THEY are the public servants. We don’t owe them anything other than their more-than-adequate paycheques.

  • How soon do you think it would be before there would be bike lanes if hundreds of cyclists “flash raided” the major arteries of Toronto during rush hour one day a week?
  • How quickly do you think they would move on legal bike lanes? How seriously do you think they’d take cyclists then?
  • What would have happened if instead of supporting GM which, by it’s very nature, lives in the past and must go down unfortunately, that money was diverted to non-gasoline dependent infrastructure?
  • How fast do you think decent bike lanes and e-vehicle registration would happen *then* in major cities?
  • Gas vehicles are not sustainable. Cycling and e-vehicles are. Why are we begging for crumbs from the vehicular table?

The theory of a successful social/political movement is very simple. It’s two-fold. First the radical elements [anarchists, Black Panthers, AIM etc] demand change by direct action. This forces the state to deal with those who are moderate.

Before the following happens we need only make one decision. Do we want the whole road or do we want extensive cycling lanes?

In this case, direct action cyclists take over the roads while the moderates fight for bike lanes. Yet, both agree most of the time about the dream they share. They simply disagree on tactics and support the outcome, regardless. What the state hopes to do is to wear down the resistance over time or split the ranks by using the media.

Be smart. Don’t buy into the “you’re the good cyclists–they’re the bad cyclists” argument. If we stay solid, it’s an unbeatable poker hand.

It’s the history of political change 101.

Just ask the Bolivians how they took their water back.

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