Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ride your bike to work day?

So Ontario's ministry of transportation (or something along those lines) has these electronic signs spread throughout their highways. During rush hour they will say "Express and collectors moving slowly past next transfer" which really is pretty obvious seeing as how it's Toronto and there is traffic everywhere. When there isn't traffic, I get really paranoid that there's some sort of natural disaster approaching and everyone got the notice but me, and they're all in their secret bunkers and panic rooms. And perhaps I should get a panic room because it obviously worked for Jodie Foster and I've already had one stranger peer through my window at me...

So anyway, there are these signs. Sometimes they just tell you to "buckle up" or that the highway is police patrolled. But most recently it has been advertising that May 27th is the day to ride your bike to work day.
An example of these signs from mrc.ca

In theory it's a grand idea, but realistically, it's a death trap.

I'm actually laughing at the irony because Toronto just got rid of a bunch of bike lanes downtown a few years ago, did it not?

In general, I don't think this part of Ontario is designed for bikers. I would LOVE to bike everywhere... if it was safe, and all the streets where level (which they are NOT in Halton Hills... hence the "hills" part). But many of our streets don't have bike lanes. Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to ride a bike in the city?? It's insane. I don't trust anyone in a car in Toronto. There is a very good chance that they will hit you. And there are a lot of people who still don't wear helmets out there - which is a cranial hemorrhage or a skull fracture just waiting to happen.

Side note: Parents, make your kids wear helmets if they are on anything with wheels! Also parents, set a good example and wear one yourself!

In this area, a lot of people work so far away from their home that a bike ride to work would probably take 1-2 hours ... and then you'd arrive to work all sweaty and gross, your face all red and your neck all splotchy. You'd have sunglasses tan and your thighs would be burnt red; guzzling back water that you're spilling all over yourself.
So really, perhaps we should implement "Install-showers-in-your-workplace Day" so that when you do arrive all sweaty and smelly, you can just go shower and change into your nice clean dry work clothes.

And then we really should have bike lanes on all of our roads.

I wish I could post my own messages to the province's ministry of transportation. Each time they wrote "Express moving very slowly" I would reply, "Thanks. I hadn't noticed that I was sitting on the highway, not moving." And then sometimes when it says "Express moving well, collectors moving slowly" and then two seconds down the road you realize it's actually the exact opposite, I want to scream "YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES!"

Sorry, that's another tangent. But my point is that I'm glad our provincial government is telling people to bike rather than drive, but they should also support this suggestion. It's going to take time to change our streets and be more accommodating to bikers. I'm hoping that since they're encouraging biking, that our roadways will change. Only time will tell. Until then, wear a helmet!