Saturday, 27 July 2013

Kanata's Secret Segregated Bike Lane

Yes, Kanata has a secret, or at least unpublicized, segregated bike lane on Huntmar Drive from Maple Grove Road to the Canadian Tire Centre parking lot, even if, for some strange reason, it is only on one side of the road.

This is not like the high profile (and more costly) Laurier Street Segregated Bike Lane (SBL). It is done on the cheap, with only the use of concrete curbs to separate the bike lane from traffic, but it is effective. It achieves the most important goal, which is to prevent cars from parking in the bike lane, as cars parked in bike lanes not only render them ineffective but make them dangerous as jutting in and out of traffic from behind parked cars is not a safe practice.

All that separates most sidewalks from roadways are concrete curbs and they are the safety standard for pedestrians so they can make a safe and cost-effective separator for bike lanes. This should be standard practice for most bike lanes. There may be special cases, such as in the busy downtown core, where more separation may be needed. However, white lines on the road should not be the standard when the use of concrete curbs only requires a small one time expense, probably less than the ongoing cost of repainting white lines.

As to the argument that it will make snow clearance and street cleaning more difficult than the current practice, which seems to be to just plough all the crap into the bike lanes, well we need to change that policy anyway.

We can only hope that this is a quiet pilot project and that we will see more of these (starting with the other side of this section of Huntmar Drive) and that it will indeed become the minimum standard for Ottawa bike lanes. Just don't tell Allan “Roads are for Cars” Hubley about this.

What Are These White Lines All About

While we are talking about bike lanes, what about pseudo bike lanes. These are on what I would call collector streets in our neighbourhood. And yes, they look like bike lines. However they have no signage and are not marked on the cycling map as bike lanes. And the fact that cars are allowed to park on them makes them ineffective and possibly even dangerous if used as bike lanes. Indeed, on these streets I follow the general rule of keeping to the right of the roadway but if a series of cars are parked in these lanes I keep to the middle to avoid jutting in and out from behind parked cars.

Perhaps they are parking lanes, but as you can see they are not wide enough for parking within the lines. If they were in the country it would be obvious, they would be paved shoulders, but in a suburb.

I think they are just “make the cyclists feel good” lanes.


After posting this I received this via Twitter:

Charles A-M ‏@Centretowner
@the5thColumnist @auxonic technically it's not a bike lane but an at-grade asphalt sidewalk. I tweeted pic of this 2y ago.
27 July 2013 20:49

Monday, 15 July 2013

The George Zimmerman Verdict: How Does an Aggressor Successfully Argue Self Defence

After my initial shock at hearing the verdict and my attempt to rationalize it I have further reflected on the verdict.

Perhaps it all comes down to the difference between Canadian and Floridian/American attitudes to vigilantism.

I consider myself to be a reasonable man and my interpretation of self defence does not allow for an aggressor to claim self defence. For example, you cannot start a fight with someone and kill them and then argue that because they fought back you killed them in self defence.

In this case, perhaps because the actual physical altercation was not witnessed, the jury seemed to have difficulty seeing who the aggressor really was. I had no difficulty determining that at all. The aggression started with the vigilante stalking of Trayvon Martin (who was doing nothing wrong) by George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman was clearly the aggressor. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman was guilty of murder.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The George Zimmerman Verdict and The British Justice System

The not guilty verdicts in the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Travyon Martin may be a result of the British criminal justice system (that is shared by both Canada and the United States) and it's most important principle that it is better that the guilty go free than the innocent be convicted.

One of the earliest expressionless of this principle was Blackstone's formulation: "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", further amplified in the United States by Benjamin Franklin: "It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer".

This principle is expressed in practice by the principle that juries must find an accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal prosecutions.

So we have a jury presented with a case involving an altercation with no witnesses and a defendant that apparently has significant injuries and that, along with other factors, may be enough to create reasonable doubt in the jurors minds and thus a not guilty verdict.

None of that changes the fact that Zimmerman, having a vigilante attitude, profiled Martin (whether racially or otherwise) and pursued him even after being advised not to by authorities - a chain of events set in motion by Zimmerman and controlled by him that led to the death of Trayvon Martin who was doing nothing wrong when Zimmerman set these actions into motion.

A reasonable person would conclude that, even if not criminally guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, George Zimmerman was responsible for the death of Trayvon Martin.

One would expect a very different outcome if a wrongful death claim was filed against Zimmerman where the standard of proof would not be beyond a reasonable doubt but a preponderance of the evidence.

Federal prosecution under federal civil rights law may also result in a different outcome.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Sunday it would review the Travyon Martin-George Zimmerman case to determine if it should consider prosecuting Zimmerman, who was acquitted in a Florida court in the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager.

"Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department's policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial," said a statement released by the department.

As further events unfold we should all heed United States President Obama's call for calm.