Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence

For me, this ride was about two main themes; community and awareness. Community in the sense that there has been this basic idea being bounced around lately, perhaps mostly in my own head, but also most prominently by Pier Giorgio Di Ciccio (from a past Agenda), that community is one of the sure fire ways toward sustainability. Sustainability, as most anything I think, is best achieved when there is a strong incentive for the participating individuals to achieve.

Many people are choosing not to have kids, or, when they do have kids they plan to move and raise them out of the city, and when they do have kids in the suburbs there is a general plan to care for them in a certain way as to not let them out after dark, seldom outdoors alone, etc. Individually one could deny this, but just look at the dis-inhabited parks and playgrounds in your area after school hours; people are staying inside.

When building a sustainable community there needs to be interaction within the public realm to build trust, a sense of co-dependence, co-responsibility and cooperation (sustainability does not necessarily equal livability!) within that community, to be able to build that incentive for sustainability, be that economical, social, or environmental. Long term involvement is a good way to increase people's incentives towards long term sustainability and livability, and this ride, like so many other events in Toronto, is a free and easy way to get this idea on the pavement.

Secondly, awareness. People's deaths, caused by city limits should not be ignored. When charges aren't laid in the aftermath of a collision between a cyclist and a vehicle operator - as I understand is the result in most cases - this provides evidence toward consistent systematic errors within the system. If there are systematic errors involved in these collisions, then not only should addressing these errors be a goal of the government, but it is also their responsibility. These deaths should not and can not continue to be ignored and blamed on human error time after time. It is abundantly clear in the data (given that a large number of cities are doing things differently and resulting in intrinsically safer infrastructure) that this is not just human error.

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