Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Obligation of the cyclist, responsibility of the community

I have said it before. I still believe it. I'll say it again: cyclists have two absolute ethical responsibilities. One, to everyone that loves us and waits for us at home, to take care of our own safety. Two, to our fellow vulnerable road users, meaning other cyclists and pedestrians, to do them no harm.

I don't believe cyclists have any other absolute obligations. It makes sense to ride with good "style", to adhere to the traffic laws (if only to avoid the expense of traffic fines). Treat all other road users with courtesy and insist on courtesy in return. Advocate for respect and room for cyclists on the road. All these things matter, and as a cyclist I try to do them; I don't believe they rise to the level of a moral obligation.

That brings us to the cyclist who rode into an elderly couple and knocked them down, The man escaped severe injuries, but the woman suffered serious fractures and succumbed to her injuries earlier this month. The cyclist fled the scene. Don't do this. Don't ride like this. Don't duck your responsibilities like this. Don't do it, not because it hurts the image of cyclists, not because it gives irresponsible pandering politicians an opening to call for restrictions on cyclists, but because it hurts people. It kills people. It kills vulnerable road users just like us, people we have a responsibility not to injure. Don't flee the scene because the law forbids you to do so; don't flee the scene because leaving another human being in the street, in pain, someone you injured is wrong. It's wrong when motorists do it, and using a two-wheeled human powered vehicle doesn't make it right.

Another modest proposal

By Guilhermeduartegarcia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Guilhermeduartegarcia CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons
Almost exactly ten years have passed since Brian Ashton lamented the decision by the Canadian government to decline to submit a bid for Expo 2015 on Toronto's behalf. Today we s another flurry of efforts to promote a bid for the 2025 international exhibition. As before, press reports focus on the political and business leaders supporting the idea of a bid, with sometimes a quick note of the potential costs and the number of jobs "created". The reports don't address the environmental sustainability of the fair or of the changes to urban structure required for the fair.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The big reveal of Donald Trump

The conservative website the Federalist (via Rod Dreher) has a story up, regarding what they claim to regard as suspicious timing of the revelations about Donald Trump's history of assaulting and harassing women. Mollie Hemingway, the author of the article, quotes an "opposition researcher" named Luke Thompson as follows:
First, notice the mix of local outlets and national outlets. There’s a great mix of print and broadcast as well. Start with the NYT to get eyeballs on the web and TV. CNN picks it up immediately. Ok. Now you’ve got a story rolling. Within an hour, you start to get multiple waves coming out of local outlets. These get picked up. Within ninety minutes you’ve got reporters reporting on existing reporting. The cycle is locked in. Nobody’s assessing the stories. And here’s the kicker: the victims live in FL, OH, even UT. THEY’RE ALL SWING STATES! It’s masterful to be honest. 
By Michael Vadon (Own work) [<a href="">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>], <a href="">via Wikimedia Commons</a>
By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Ms. Hemingway  probably has the case backward here. In May of this year, with Mr. Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, James Fallows started a regular feature on the Atlantic Monthly site called "Trump Time Capsule" in which he detailed things said and done by Donald Trump, and things publicly known about him, that no previous presidential candidate had said or done before, at least in living memory. Mr. Fallows made no bones about his belief these things disqualified the Republican candidate from the presidency:
...if Donald Trump were the Democratic nominee, I would not vote for him. 
I believe he should not become president mainly because of his temperament. Presidents make an astonishingly large number of hour-by-hour judgment calls. Nothing about Donald Trump’s judgment is reassuring from my point of view. His Tweets are highly entertaining! But so is Tosh.0 Again, I’m not trying to persuade anyone. I am just laying out my logic.