Thursday, September 3, 2009

A vicious cycle

Word of the day: cul-pa-ble (adjective) Deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.

By now, I’m sure everyone not living under a rock has heard something about the Michael Bryant-Darcy Allan Sheppard incident earlier this week.  It’s a horrible tragedy for sure.  And, of course, it has led to the inevitable outcry from the cycling community for better bike lanes in the city.
I’m not a cyclist (because biking in this city terrifies me) but bike lanes are needed.  Here’s what I’m curious about: why is it, every time there is an accident involving cars and bikes, that it’s only cyclists who demand better bike lanes?  Why don’t motorists want them too?  Is it because they don’t want to share the streets with cyclists?  If so, I’ve got news for you: bikes aren’t going anywhere.  Whether it’s for transportation, exercise or employment, cyclists are here to stay.  So shouldn’t all sides want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get around? 
As a pedestrian, I sure as hell want better bike lanes because I want cyclists off my sidewalks (see, they’re called sideWALKS not sideRIDES – get on the street). 
Maybe there are motorists out there who are advocating bike lanes; I guess it’s just because the media rarely/never highlights their arguments.  I suppose it makes for better news to pit cars against bikes in the battle for asphalt. 
Regarding battles – to go back to the Bryan/Sheppard tragedy – what kind of outcome can be expected when the victim isn’t so victim-y?  Depending on where you get your information, Sheppard was more than a bit of a jerk and was as antagonistic (if not more) than Bryant.  Unfortunately, Sheppard’s death makes it impossible to ever know what really happened between them and it’s hard to say both parties are guilty when one lost his life. 
I’m not trying to say Michael Bryant isn’t guilty because he pretty clearly is.  It’s just that Darcy Allan Sheppard isn’t the martyr some people would like to make him out to be and there’s more to this than a bad ol’ car taking out a poor innocent bike. 
Of course, people will fight and point fingers and try to lay blame instead of accepting responsibility where they should and then moving on to work towards a solution. 
Oh, and I’m pretty tired of hearing that Michael Bryant got special treatment when he was arrested and released and such.  Of course he got special treatment.  He’s a former politician and Attorney General; therefore he gets special treatment.  If you haven’t realized that’s the kind of society we live in, you really do need to come out from under your rock a little more frequently. 

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