Hump Day: No Metro bylaw can correct a lack of common courtesy

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Why do we even have laws? Sometimes I wonder. I feel a rant coming on about a number of things. I feel like whining and being judgmental. Bear with me this week as I point fingers and act holier than thou. If you thought Archie Bunker was cranky, I’m going to try to give him a run for his money.

A few months ago, I took on those who constantly complained about illegally parked cars in downtown Moncton. Basically, my argument was simple. As long as people keep ignoring signs and continue to park on other people’s private property, you will get fined, booted or towed.

Pay your fine like an adult. You made a mistake – or you parked illegally on purpose and played the odds. Perhaps you do this often and never get caught, but this time you did. Your vehicle’s been impounded or you find yourself immobilized by a boot that stops your car’s wheel from turning and you need to pay a hefty fee to have it removed. But really, you need to suck it up, buttercup!

You’re not happy. I don’t blame you. You tell everyone you know about how the the boot should be illegal, etc. You post on Facebook. Many of your friends agree with you. The entire world is out to get you. You are a victim. “The Man” has it in for you. “The Man” wants you to die poor with no car.

Well, sorry to say, but my advice hasn’t changed: Stop parking where you’re not supposed to. Simple as that! (Send my Nobel Peace Prize c/o this newspaper).

And then there are bike lanes. Yeah, bike lanes. No — this isn’t a rant against bike lanes. Far from it. Properly planned and installed, bike lanes are a good thing and are safer for cyclists to use than just riding on the road or on the sidewalk — where they’re not supposed to be anyway.

Whenever I see someone driving in a bike lane who’s wearing a helmet and obeying the rules of the road, it makes me happy. How hard can that be? Here’s what bike lanes in Moncton are not for, however: people pushing baby carriages, skateboarders going the wrong way (or even the right way), pedestrians (there’s a perfectly good sidewalk!) or my favourite… runners running against traffic.

I had a debate online a few weeks ago about how runners are not allowed in bike lanes in Moncton. Oh boy, was I berated for that one. I was lectured on runner safety, etiquette, etc., by a number of people. Unfortunately, it seems runners in this city are being taught to run in bike lanes even though it is categorically prohibited in the City of Moncton’s own literature regarding bike lanes and I quote: “The bicycle lanes are restricted to bicycle travel only. Pedestrians, roller blades, skateboards, and strollers are not permitted on designated bike lanes.”

Every day, I see children riding around my neighbourhood on their bikes while not wearing a helmet. I would say that 75 per cent have no helmet on. This week, I saw a child who was no more than four years old riding on his bicycle alongside an older boy (perhaps his brother of around 10 years of age). Neither was wearing a helmet and, to make matters worse, they were attempting to cross Lewisville Road in Moncton against heavy traffic. Where are the parents in all of this?

I would just like to see some enforcement here. I realize that bike helmets aren’t on the same level as murder, kidnapping or bank robbery, but why even have the laws on the books if they’re going to be blatantly ignored? Bicycle helmets and handheld cell phone use in cars — both have got to be the most widely ignored laws I’ve ever seen.

I was at an event this weekend where a bunch of dogs were present. Dogs were sniffing each others’ butts all over the place. For the most part, everything went well. There was the odd growl and angry bark here and there, but it was a fun event with not much doggie drama — that is, until a boxer (who was actually on a leash) sniffed my dog and took a lunge at her head to try to bite her. Those big jaws opened up and my dog bolted out of reach pretty quickly.

The consequences would have not been pretty had he managed to grab her in those powerful jaws. Even with both owners there, it wouldn’t take long for damage to occur — especially since the other dog was five times the size of my little white fluff ball. Oh trust me, I would have bit the other dog so hard he’d still be yelping if he’d attacked mine. You bite my dog, I bite you.

The owner’s attitude upon his dog nearly biting off my dog’s head? Didn’t say a word. Acted like it never happened. The woman I was with was traumatized by what nearly occurred. He didn’t berate the dog or bring him away from mine. He just stood there watching his dog literally lunge at mine and try to snap his jaws or my dog’s pretty little head. A simple, “Rover! Bad dog! Sorry about that!” would have done. Anything!

Yeah, I was feeling a bit stressed today, so I even treated myself to a nice glass of wine. I had a hangover before the glass was empty. Shoot me now.

OK, I feel this tantrum subsiding. I guess I just had to vent. Venting is a good thing every so often. I’m writing this late at night, so maybe it’s time to get out my soother, change my diaper and take my sippy cup to bed with me so that I wake up tomorrow a little bit less cranky and judgmental.

2 Responses to Hump Day: No Metro bylaw can correct a lack of common courtesy

  1. All this bad behavior has a name: the lack of civility. Incredible how people fotgot about it. It’s waiting a few seconds to let an old lady, or anybody for that matter, cross a pedestrian corridor (those with the big whide white line); it’s saying “How are you” to someone while walking your dog; it’s making sure your dog won’t scare anyone on the street even though your dog is a white puff of cotton or a friendly papillon who just wants to say “Hi!”; it’s respecting the laws because you understand it’s only logical to wear a helmet while bicycling, not talking on the phone while driving, and so on and on. Civility makes friends – you never know when you’ll need someone to help you in a distress situation. Simply put, if everyone would be civil with everyone else, life would be so much simple. I make a point of always being civil with everybody, but if someone’s dog attacks my dogs, I will indeed bite that dog until it’s ready to be barbecued. (Incredible how you and I, Brian, think alike on this matter. Even about the metaphors.)

  2. What I hate is cyclists who insist on going on the road, when there’s a bicycle lane and those riding facing the traffic.