We were driving around today doing the shopping and a couple of grown men on bicycles shot thru the red light crossing lanes, against traffic against the lights with no regard.
"This is why people hate bicyclists," came the commentary. "This is why it's pointless to build bike lanes."
I wasn't entirely in a position to argue against this sentiment, but I did point out that we have no education, culture, incentive or punishment in regard to operating bicycle in our city either. I went on to compare it to base ball and buses. While I understand baseball is a fairly well understood sport around the world I arbitrarily chose Sweden for illustrations stake.
If you built a ball park in Sweden but gave no instructions on how to play, no equipment and no demonstrations do you think you'd get a spontaneous ball game, let along a well played one? I continued, "we have buses in this city with no instructions on how to ride, poor outreach, no incentive or punishment associated with use. It's a catch 22 asking the transit authority to expand operations."
I thought about something from high school. The universal playground observation, where I stated that we had a fuzzy agreement on what we were all doing together as people. Limited by the prison of our bodies and human communication when I say the stop sign is red and you agree we're not both seeing Red, were both agreeing that what we see is redish enough to not be anything else. I wasn't very popular in high school.
We can build a beautiful shul with state of art access for all peoples and all times. We can have a weekly demonstration of using the place as a point of meditation, or transcendence or worship. We can equip the place with the tools of such enterprising ideals. We can make programming available on how to use it all. And still are we falling prey to the idea that the mantra, "if you build it they will come" is true?
How do we know that we're reaching people? How do we know that we're all seeing the same thing when maybe it's not red anymore but more purple for this one and more orange for that? Close enough to maybe be reddish, but still on opposite sides enough to be lost in translation? From best intentions to a happy game? From anarchy on the streets to a transportation system we can all enjoy? To building an equitable, not just equal chance of a community reaching spiritual fulfillment?
For all the kvetching I read, and hear about I wonder how much action is taken? Running down someone on the internet isn't a solution, it's not even a pathway to a solution. Let go of the, "when are 'they' going to do something" attitude and adopt the position of "how can 'I/we' make a difference" stance. I think in large part it is about being involved. Then come patients, trust and more communication. Take steps not knowing if it will work. Trust others to do their part and to honestly communicate back and forth about progress and lack of progress. Recognize when we have to try something else.