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Of cyclists and sidewalks

Re: Good use for sidewalks (Letters, June 18). I live in Osborne Village and walk to work downtown. On any given morning, the Osborne Bridge sidewalks are crowded with all types of walkers, people using wheelchairs and, of course, the inevitable sidewalk cyclists.

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These cyclists race across the bridge, ignoring the signs asking them to dismount when crossing. They expect everyone else to watch out for them and get out of their way, with or without ringing their bells. Instead of a pleasant walk to work, it becomes an exercise in dodging danger.

People should be able to stop and have a chat on a sidewalk without being plowed into by a bicycle and then be told to "be careful."

If cycling is going to become a more common and accepted means of commuting, urban cyclists will need to become more skilled and learn to negotiate the roads safely and in accordance with the reasonable rules of the road.

I support more bike paths and dedicated bike lanes to make streets safer — but sidewalks are not the answer. Riding bicycles on sidewalks is illegal, for the very good reason it is dangerous for all concerned.




I agree with Hillaine Kroft’s letter Good use for sidewalks.

There are so many sidewalks where hardly anyone ever walks — it makes good sense to let cyclists use these sidewalks with the courtesy of alerting pedestrians with a bell.

It’s much easier to avoid an accident with a cyclist and the occasional pedestrian than it is for a cyclist and the continuous traffic of fast-moving vehicles.

Licensing bicycles is not going to make a difference in the safety of cyclists. As always, obeying the rules of the road is key.




Wage hike not the answer

Re: Minimum-wage hike takes effect in October (June 19). You would think Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun would know better. Raising the minimum wage only serves to guarantee inflation will also take a hike. It always has and always will — so who wins?

If Braun had any real concern in "providing better" for low-wage earners, it would be to reduce taxes overall, from personal income to sales taxes. But that’s not how the NDP operates.

In reality, this is just another cheap attempt by a desperate party trying to garner votes for the next provincial election.




Embrace wildlife’s ‘pests’

In our urban garden, our family welcomes nature with open arms — this includes wildlife such as raccoons, cottontails, jackrabbits and squirrels. As avid gardeners, we also take great joy in knowing our backyard offers a safe haven our wild visitors can enjoy.

How very sad that we denigrate forests and fields at a maddening pace, ousting wild animals from their former homes and refusing to tolerate their return. We have replaced wildflowers and insects with sterility and concrete and have adopted attitudes of ignorance and paranoia instead of calm acceptance.

If we really want a "pest" stress-action plan, why not start by cutting back on noise, high-speed traffic and pollution? How about picking up the litter we human pests love to scatter around?

Finally, what about taking a deep, stress-busting breath and simply enjoying all the wonders nature has to offer?




Reporting a report error

The article Crown urges jail for sex abuse by ex-archbishop (June 19) by James Turner refers to a "psychological report authored by top provincial psychiatrist Dr. Jeff Waldman."

This is in error. Psychiatrists write psychiatric reports, not psychological reports.

Adversely, psychologists write psychological reports, not psychiatric reports.




Cutting tuition good insurance

Al Mackling is correct in his letter regarding reducing post-secondary school-tuition fees to zero (Funding crucial for students, Letters, June 19).

Everyone knows a person with higher education will earn many times more than someone with only a high school education. Much of the higher earnings go back to the government as taxes.

Government-funded tuition is, in a way, an insurance policy. But taking action requires foresight and leadership — an oxymoron when it comes to government.




Address prostitution’s roots

Since when is fear of punishment the most effective and responsible way to deter people from unlawful behaviour?

Instead of focusing on who ought to be punished for engaging in acts of prostitution, we need to be addressing why people feel the need to engage in such acts. This means not only addressing why and how women become prostitutes and how to get them out of prostitution but also why men solicit prostitutes.

The presence of prostitution in a society should be a red flag we need to pay more attention to sexual health and well-being. It’s time to open up the discussion.




No horsing around at Ex

Seniors day-gate admission at the Red River Ex on Wednesday included one free ride on both the merry-go-round and the giant ferris wheel.

After I had mounted my horse on the merry-go-round, I was informed seniors weren’t allowed on the horses and must sit on one of the benches.

I wonder where I would have had to sit if I decided to go on the ferris wheel.




Updated on Friday, June 20, 2014 at 6:42 AM CDT: adds links

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