Safe streets for seniors
- The latest from Streetfilms is a mini-documentary about measures being
taken in New York City to improve the safety of street crossings for
seniors with reduced mobility. If you walk only slowly and with
difficulty and have a reduced reaction time, it is that much harder to
get to the other side of an intersection safely.
I think this is pretty germane as well to the discussion about who can
or cannot cycle and why (not). Certainly a large portion of the
population everywhere is in principle capable of cycling and many use
cars when they are likely capable of getting where they want to go as
easily and fast by bike. (This is probably the vast majority of
inhabitants of dense inner city districts who elect to drive
everywhere they go.) Even so, under ideal circumstances, a 30-minute
commute time is about what most people aim at and if they can't do
that by biking, it's their right to elect a more practical and time-
saving mode (in a car-free context, public transit).
There are many people, like some of those in the streetfilms clip, who
would have a difficult time of it even on tricycles. Other people,
like Joel has said for his own case, are not able to bike anywhere and
everywhere in any weather, even if many people are hardy enough to do
It's not fair to assume that those who for whatever reason don't feel
they would be able to bike everywhere all the time are somehow lazy
for that. Cycling does need to be promoted, encouraged and given a
larger place in cities across the industrialised world and elsewhere,
but browbeating non-cyclists only serves to put an intolerant,
hectoring face on the carfree movement (which some opponents would be
all too happy to leap upon and tar us all with) that in the end will
only be counterproductive.
Remember the parable of the sun and the north wind. The more the north
wind tried to blow the traveller's cape of, the tighter he drew it
around his body to protect himself. However the sun, by beaming his
warm rays down onto the traveller, quickly got him to take off the cape.
Montreal QC Canada