Letters to the Editor – Oct. 21, 2009

Feel Good Letter of the Month

Hi, my name is Caitlin Howard and I am a first year student at the U of M. I was just emailing you because I was wondering if I would be able to get a little thank you letter posted in the Manitoban. On Wednesday, October 7, I was really nervous because i was writing my first midterm (It’s kind of lame, but I’m new to this whole university thing). Anyways my head was in the clouds and when I was washing my hands in the downstairs bathroom of Tier, I took off my rings, which one of them was my grad present, and one was from my sister. After washing my hands I forgot to put them back on and left to go study. When I remembered two hours later that I didn’t have them on, I ran back to the washroom, and obviously they were not there. I then had to go write my midterm, how fun, and was really disappointed because I thought they were lost forever. When I went back to check to see it there was a lost and found in Tier at the end of the day, I went to the U1 help centre and asked if anyone had found them. Well, they were there :), both of my rings. It might seem odd because they are just rings, but they mean so much to me, and I really wanted to thank whoever turned them in. It would have been so easy to just put them on yourself and carry on your merry way. Therefore, I was just hoping you might be able to put a little something in the Manitoban thanking whoever found them and returned them, because it really did mean the world to me. I guess seeing as I just joined the University, I thought it’s alot more like the ” real world” and no one would think of turning them in, but seeing as someone did, it definitely made a positive impact on my faith in this school.

So thanks, and I hope it won’t be too much of a trouble to put something in the paper thanking whoever it was who turned them in.

Caitlin Howard

Insulting Yore Intelligence

I’m really starting to get tired of “Yore Lore.” I have no beef with your choice of topics. The stuff is interesting. Rather, it is your conceited and pretentious way of presenting them that I take issue with. I understand that, by definition, Lore is meant to explain the facts and traditions about a particular subject, but there are ways of doing that without alluding to a belief that you are the only ones who know anything about it. Yes, I do know more about Salmon Rushdie beyond “an episode of Seinfeld” and that he’s “a controversial writer.” Thanks for assuming that I don’t.

Instead, wouldn’t it be wise to write in a prose conducive to a sense of equality between you and the reader. Certainly there is much to learn from such a column, but there are ways of educating that tailor to both the knowledgeable and the novices. In the future I would appreciate it if you could give us our history lessons with slightly more respect. If not, you may as well rename the column to “Insulting Yore Intelligence.”

Jen Anderson

RE: All your lanes belong to us

Have you ever been run down by a bicycle? Ok, I haven’t but I’ve had a few close calls, most of which also involved being yelled at to get out of the way by the bicyclist (after the encounter, not before, when I could have obliged), who had approached me from behind, while I was walking, on the sidewalk.

I don’t mean to discredit cycling as a means of transportation. In fact, I highly support using a means of transportation that is both healthy and good for the environment. I also do my best to respect cyclists on the road when I’m driving. I use the entire other lane to pass cyclists if possible, and if not, I give as wide a berth as possible. Nor do I react in anger when a cyclist passes a row of cars stopped at a red light. My issue, however, is with many cyclists who display a complete disregard for traffic laws. I don’t mean relatively obscure laws like how much of the lane a cyclist is allowed to occupy. Instead, Im referring to simple and obvious laws. Laws like, ‘stop at stop signs’ and ‘don’t run red lights.’

Many motorists will slow down but still roll through a stop sign if they think no other cars are present, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them. However, I have yet to see a cyclist even slow down when approaching a stop sign. Every single one I’ve seen has cruised right through it. Even more alarming is the frequency with which I’ve seen cyclists blow through red lights. Maybe they think that, because they’re not travelling as fast, they have more information about the intersection or that they can better react than a car. That doesn’t matter, it’s the law to stop.

Just recently my elderly great-aunt was riding the bus when the bus was cut-off by a cyclist. The bus was forced to slam on the breaks, causing my aunt to fall down (she was standing, not seated) and hit her head, not on the ground, or a seat, or even a poll. No, she hit her head on the change/ticket receptacle on the bus, causing her to loose consciousness and be taken to the hospital.

Glass Houses, eh? If the cycling community wishes for respect from the motoring community, they need to abide by the laws that bind them. Not that I’m directly accusing Ms. Finniegan. I’m sure she’s a lovely individual and not one of “those” cyclists. Though it’s interesting to note that, socially, I’ve only ever met good, law-biding cyclists. On the road, however, I only seem to encounter the wrong kind of cyclist. I guess I’m just unlucky.

Eric Ens
2nd year M.Sc. student in Mathematic

This is in reply to Shawna Finnegan’s letter of October 14 (Re: “All ‘your’ lanes belong to us”). Being a driver and not a cyclist, especially a driver taught and practiced in the country and fairly new to the city, it was hard for me to get used to seeing and driving with cyclists on the road. But I have tried really hard to fit in a cyclist’s shoes, so I think it’s only fair that they do the same for us.

I can understand how scary it can be on Winnipeg’s roads when there’s nothing between you and a several-ton vehicle; it’s scary enough sometimes being protected by a shell of metal and polymers.

I’m not against sharing the road. Take a lane if you want. But if you’re going to insist on being treated like a vehicle, all I ask if that you act like one.

Several times I’ve watched cyclists make a turn without any sort of signal. More than once I’ve had a cyclist in front of me creep into the left lane, presumably with intentions to turn left up ahead, without more than a quick glance over their shoulder – again, no signalling whatsoever. Similarly, I’ve seen bikers charge out suddenly from a side street without even slowing, so that they plunge at top speed into moving traffic.

And then intersections. One time remains vividly in my mind: I came to a stop at my light, waiting for it to turn green, when a cyclist passed between me and the side-walk and, without slowing and certainly without stopping, went through the red-light (fortunately there were no cars coming and the cyclist made it across in one piece).

Those cyclists are not only throwing their own lives into danger, but putting everyone else around them at risk. A dangerous biker can be as destructive as a dangerous driver.

I’m not saying there are no responsible cyclists out there. For all the bad ones I come across on the road, there’s at least one good rider. Still, those bad riders put a bad image on all cyclists, and it’s hard to be courteous with anyone on a bike because of them.

So, cyclists, use the road. But if you’re going to ride with cars and trucks, you have to ride like a car or truck. Use your signals, stop at stop lights and signs, and just remember that it’s to your own everyone else’s best interests to drive safely.

Fair is fair.

Tyler Vitt