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I (and you) subsidize Road Raging ‘cycle killers’

Qu’est Que C’est?
(Talking Heads, Psycho Killer)

Joe T published “The Star: Car Drivers on the “Gravy Train” a link piece to a Toronto Star article by City Columnist Joe Fiorito: “Fiorito: Cyclists doing good for all of us“.

At the end of this seemingly over edited article is a strange, lonesome addition,

“All I’m saying is we ought to pay a little more attention to bike riders in this city because right now, there are far too many motorists on the gravy train.”

Oddly, it is this ‘after-thought’ that seems to be getting all the attention around here at BikingToronto.

We likes it (my precious).

I assume it’s an ironic reference to one of Rob Fords favourite ‘yelling points’ from the just past election – “Putting an end to the gravy train”.

As an addict of the bicycle as much as the rest of the culture seems to be addicted to pumping gasoline, I couldn’t agree more with Mayor Ford. The subsidies on the price of gasoline I pay through my taxes add up to $2.00 per litre!

From a study by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) entitled, The Real Price of Gasoline (pdf):

“..costs [...] are passed on to both gasoline users and nonusers by way of higher taxes, insurances costs, and retail prices for items other than gasoline. Effectively, the cost of gasoline is substantially higher than the price consumers pay at the pump, even though the majority of this cost is hidden from the public.”

These gasoline subsidies spin off into other sectors of the economy, thus subsidizing them as well. Big oil, the auto industry, the plastics industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, not to mention road construction industry all profit from the subsidies we collectively pay.

Collectively these cornerstone industries institutionalize oil and make it very hard to wean the economy off of. Thus we pursue a reckless coarse substituting plastics because they’re cheaper, because we subsidize them, and more and more replacing plastic where renewable materials have worked fine in the past. So now our homes are filled with polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene and polypropylene (the top three), all of which leach toxins as they cure, and fill our new, tightly sealed homes and condos with toxins – making our very homes toxic places like used to be in just poor neighbourhoods – downwind of industrial areas – like where I always seemed to live (Queen West & Queen East).

(It should be noted that plastics are constantly curing through out their usable life – as they become brittle and break easily when they’re fully cured.)

Next, outside our front doors we use asphalt on top of concrete for our transportation infrastructure. The asphalt seals the underlying concrete structure from water, so that in the winter there is less buckling from freezing and thus less maintenance cost. One has to wonder if we’ve fully considered the price of this.

Asphalt is a bi-product of gasoline distillation. Incredibly, the complete list of the contents of asphalt, is unknown! There are too many different molecules to count, goes one explanation.

I would say,  no one wants to know: the government doesn’t want to know because then they’ll have to re-surface every road, the asphalt producers don’t want to know because they got a great thing going ($$$), and road construction companies don’t want to know because they’d be sued by every worker they’d ever employed (a lot of bankruptcy lawyers to pay and new companies to invent – they’d never pay one single worker one red cent).

This continues because it is dirt cheap – because our government subsidizes it.

For primary industry like big oil it is a good way to get rid of all the toxic bi-products of gasoline distillation. They basically give the stuff away, it’s a lower cost alternative to disposing of it in sealed pits for an eternity, so the toxins don’t leach in the water table.

This idea of spreading highly toxic industrial pollutants across a wide an area as possible is a very recent and really smart bit of evil. It comes from a really invective understanding of the biosphere and how it functions, the fact that it is being used as a way to avoid social responsibility by soulless corporations and their underpaid minions makes this writer particularly chest fallen crestfallen.

Government gasoline subsidies make asphalt a really cheap way to seal concrete roads;  the City of Toronto buy this waste from big oil and spread it all over our streets. This blacktop slowly releases harmful toxins into the immediate vicinity of our homes and into the lake and the ground water.  So instead of super-high smoke stacks belching toxic chemicals across the continent (which can be photographed for the six o’clock news), ‘we’ have chosen to release toxic elements locally by paving the streets with them! We thus spread  the toxic bi-products of gasoline production more thinly and across a much wider area than any smoke stack of any height could ever do. This is the petrochemical industries (and many other industries) solution to the public’s concern about pollution.  It must make executives laugh heartily, every day.

Gasoline subsidies are false economy beyond any doubt. The highest costs in government ledgers is heath care, and as cancer rates continue to explode despite 30 years of cigarette smoking cessation programs, the cost of health care is escalating to the point where the hospitals mandate is on the verge of destroying the viability of the institutions!

This inanity can be traced back to subsidies on gasoline the bi-products of which cause epidemic disease.

And I haven’t even mentioned global warming.


Posted: November 12th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

6 Comments on “I (and you) subsidize Road Raging ‘cycle killers’”

  1. 1 Joe T. said at 11:15 am on November 12th, 2010:

    Wow. Very Extreme Title.

    While a certain segment of car drivers rage (probably a similar % to cyclists who rage), almost none of them are killers.

  2. 2 michael holloway said at 11:34 am on November 12th, 2010:

    Meant to read as, those that would kill the idea of safe cycling infrastructure.

    “cycle killers” is a pun on the Talking Heads song title, a song written by cycling advocate David Byrne – pointed to in the sub header, “Qu’est Que C’est?” which is linked to the song “Psycho Killer” at Youtube.

  3. 3 lock said at 11:02 am on November 18th, 2010:

    Good one Michael…
    I also believe insurance never covers full losses either. From the Citys latest “Collision Clock”:

    One collision every 9.6 minutes.
    One fatality every 7.6 days.
    One person injured every 31.8 minutes.
    One pedestrian injured every 4.3 hours.
    One cyclist injured every 8.8 hours.
    One truck collision every 4.9 hours.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not cyclists causing this mayhem… but we all pay.

  4. 4 michael holloway said at 3:27 pm on November 18th, 2010:

    Thanks for the link Lock, it’s a great idea, good concept.

    It’s from the City of Toronto? Yes, so of coarse it’s in pdf format. A Great idea badly executed..” as designer Christian LaCroix once said, “..isn’t worth the *time*.”


    I think I’m going to see what can be done to turn that idea into a real time html widget.

  5. 5 Gary said at 8:30 am on November 19th, 2010:

    Interesting points in here, though overall very depressing. However, I feel compelled to be a nitpicker and point out that one does not become “chest fallen” unless, perhaps, they have been a victim of a botched boob job. I think “crestfallen” is the word you’re seeking:

    Crestfallen. 1. dejected; dispirited; discouraged 2. having a drooping crest or head”.

  6. 6 michael holloway said at 9:21 am on November 19th, 2010:

    Thank you Gary,

    I appreciate all the help I can get as far a spelling goes; this one though is more egregious than the usual bad spelling I’m afflicted by – this is a mishearing.

    Thanks again,

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