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Thursday, October 25, 2007

And I was expecting -- what, exactly?

Our duly-elected representatives at City Hall are, once again, hard at work reviewing bylaws. You will recall that they are working on bylaws that would punish people who cut down trees and who idle their vehicles. You will also recall that they recently voted down a proposed anti-spitting bylaw because it might unfairly target homeless people.

The latest proposed bylaw to come before city council would have required all cyclists to wear helmets when operating a bicycle. I should have known that this would not go far, considering that its goal is to protect humans rather than trees. When they voted against the bylaw, councilors gave the following explanations:

Councilor Paul Falvo: Residents don't like being told what to do. (Um...this didn't stop these guys when someone suggested banning shopping bags.)

Councilor Lydia Bardak: She needs to vote with her left-leaning liberal side. (Yes, this is shocking. I'll pause here so you can pick yourself up off the floor.)

Councilor Kevin Kennedy: This bylaw might discourage people from riding their bikes. (OH YES HE DID.)

I personally used to believe that helmet bylaws were bad for our society. I felt that if a person was dumb enough to go without a helmet, he should have his DNA removed from our gene pool before he was able to reproduce, perhaps in a tragic accident involving a left turn from the right lane. Yes, this is my left-leaning liberal side. Perhaps Councilor Bardak and I can be friends.

That was before I read that one benefit of a helmet bylaw is a reduction in bike thefts. People who steal bikes don't usually have helmets with them, so bylaw officers are able to stop them and return the stolen property to its rightful owner. As an annual victim of bike theft, I am now in favour of the death penalty for people who ride bikes without helmets. I also believe there should be a toll-free snitch line that could be used to report bare-headed cyclists. Not only that, but I would be willing to be implanted with a GPS device that could send my coordinates to the bylaw office at all times to allow for faster tracking of people who don't wear helmets.