Letters Aug. 21: Commonwealth Games, safe cycling

Commonwealth Games an event to remember

This week we reminisce, with great pride, about the biggest and most successful international event the Greater Victoria area ever hosted a mere 25 years ago, from Aug. 10 to 28, 1994: The XV Commonwealth Games.

The Opening Ceremonies were spectacular, and so too was the entertainment at the Inner Harbour. The sporting events were awe-inspiring.

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Sixty-three Commonwealth nations participated and there were 3,471 participants — 2,557 competitors and 914 team officials.

More than 14,000 volunteers dedicated their time, energy, expertise and enthusiasm for the Games.

Kudos to all and thanks for the glorious memories.

Ben Pires
(Director of communication services for the Games)

Streets are not safer for all users

I am glad some cyclists feel safer, according to a recent article.

As a driver, I do not.

Fort Street has become almost impossible for me to navigate and especially to park on. I counted seven traffic lights at Fort and Vancouver, at least five of which I had to be watching at all times, with different lights for left turns, straight ahead, cyclists and pedestrians.

Parking has become too difficult to manage, especially the spaces next to traffic islands that force me to actually cross into the opposite lane to get out of (a bus knocked off a mirror a few weeks ago).

With all the “improvements” for cyclists, I still see cyclists roaring down sidewalks and cutting across crosswalks without dismounting (yup, that is the law). Recently on Pandora, I saw a powered skateboard and a powered unicycle on the sidewalk.

I think Victoria might have been better off to divide up the streets between cars and bicycles, alternating roads for each.

Gregory G. Middleton

Insurance still needed? Then I’ll use my car

As a taxpayer in the City of Victoria seeing my tax dollars paying for bicycle lanes, I decided to join the movement. My car road insurance expired in the spring so I thought: “Why not park the car for the summer and ride my bike?”

I moved the car to the backyard, put ICBC storage insurance on it and thought that saving money and a healthier lifestyle was in store.

No, what was in store was a visit from the City of Victoria bylaw inspector, who informed me that the city forbids the parking of vehicles that are not “fully insured for the road” in your driveway or backyard, etc. Towing and impounding are to follow.

So much for parking the car and bicycling in Victoria. If I’m having to pay for full road insurance, I’m sure as hell going to use it.

City council is a farce, unfortunately being played on the tax-paying residents of Victoria.

Peter Harrison

Keep your distance for greater safety

Respect must go both ways with brave cyclists who share busy roads with motorists, including heavy transport trucks, buses and so on.

Too often, we see cyclists taking over an entire lane, or veering over from the bike lanes into traffic in pairs for reasons unknown.

Cyclists are mere inches from vehicles and trucks that could severely injure or kill them. So motorists should want to maintain a maximum safe separation distance for best practice as well.

But at the same time, cyclists should also maintain as much distance as possible from traffic lanes. This will improve safety and lessen the chances of an crash or miscalculation.

In the day and age of legalized pot making its way on the road, texting and distracted drivers, elderly or dementia patients on the road, the very real risk should be the consideration of every cyclist and driver.

Personally, the risk outweighs the benefit, as I have almost been killed biking on the road and had several near misses before I quit bike riding on busy roads.

As far as possible, drivers and cyclists must keep the distance and the peace to avoid frustrations and unacceptable risk factors.

David R. Carlos

There is a beef with carbon claims

Re: “Amid climate crisis, we must change the way we look at land,” column, Aug. 18.

David Suzuki presents the claim that “… producing one kilogram of beef uses an average of 1,250 kilograms of carbon — roughly equal to driving a new car for a year or flying from London to New York and back.”

According to the National Research Council of Canada (NRCAN), the average distance driven by light-duty vehicle owners was 15,990 kilometres.

An International Energy Agency study entitled “Fuel Economy in Major Car Markets” suggests that the Canadian vehicle fleet, which collectively is the least efficient in the developed world, averages 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres.

These two data points suggest that the average new car in Canada consumes 1,423 litres of gasoline in a year.

Numerous sources, including NRCAN, indicate that the average emissions of a litre of fuel is about 2.3 kilograms, and if you multiple that by the number of litres consumed by the average new car, it adds up to 3,300 kilograms of GHG emissions each year.

Less Emissions Inc. sells carbon offsets for air travel on its website, and its online calculator indicates that a round-trip flight from London to New York generates 2,200 kilograms of carbon emissions.

Multiple studies, completed by actual scientists, indicate that a kilogram of Canadian retail beef has a carbon footprint of less than 20 kilograms.

The sad result here is that Suzuki’s outrageously inaccurate claims threaten the livelihoods of 85,000 Canadian beef producers, most of whom are small family farms who work hard to provide Canadians with safe and reliable food.

Kim Lonsdale
Qualicum Beach

Oil tankers in the East are carrying Canadian oil

Re: “Learning the facts about climate change,” letter, Aug. 9.

The letter states that oil tankers are allowed to service the East Coast through the St. Lawrence, carrying oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola and Algeria, and supporting their economies.

This is totally false.

Most of the supply of crude oil going to the Quebec refineries comes from North America, and Western Canada is Quebec’s top source of crude.

The sources of crude oil for the two refineries, Suncor in Montreal, and Valero in Lévis, mostly consist of conventional crude from Alberta and shale oil from the United States.

The Enbridge pipeline, line 9B, takes western crude between North Westover, Ont., and Montreal. This gave refineries in Quebec a pipeline connection to western Canadian crude oil. But line 9B alone, with a capacity of 300,000 barrels a day, cannot supply Quebec with all of the crude oil it needs.

The rest comes directly by oil tanker. The Montreal refinery produces everything from gasoline to petrochemicals. These are distributed primarily across Quebec and Ontario via the Trans-Northern Pipeline from Montreal.

The Lévis refinery refines crude oil from Western Canada and the United States, which is shipped by pipelines to Montreal, and by tankers from there, to its deep-water port that operates year-round on the St. Lawrence River.

So, most of the oil refined and consumed in Quebec, originates in Western Canada. The province is a vital part of Canada’s energy structure, and it is supportive of Western Canadian crude oil.

It is erroneous to state that tankers in the East carry oil from a host of foreign nations.

Roger Cyr

Yes, facts matter in a complex discussion

Re: “Facts matter in discussing fossil fuels,” column, Aug. 18.

Trevor Hancock takes Gwyn Morgan to task for his depiction of carbon dioxide concentration changes in the atmosphere.

While he might have a point, Hancock himself cheerfully assumes in his column that carbon dioxide is the sole villain of climate change without offering any real proof.

To list just a few points, I am sure that he knows that the most important greenhouse gas is water vapour, a fact incidentally acknowledged by both Andrew Weaver and Elizabeth May.

Hancock will also know that a statistical analysis of the correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution demonstrates that almost one half of the temperature change cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide.

He will also know that over an extended period of the world’s history there is no correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature. None of the above bears on whether manmade carbon dioxide is contributing to current temperature changes, but these facts do certainly indicate that the causes of climate change are much more complex than he suggests and that there is a much more open discussion needed.

What I found most about his article is that a man with a distinguished reputation as an academic scholar would stoop to such levels of denigration.

Just because someone has the temerity to disagree with Hancock does not mean that he (Morgan) is indulging in offering misleading propaganda.

What we definitely do not need is someone speaking “ex cathedra”!

John Sutherland

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