The cyclist who was subject to racist harassment in Edmonton from two white motorists has spoken with the Edmonton Mayor, Don Iveson. According to Mayor Iveson, the cyclist raised points about the scarcity of bike lanes as an exacerbating factor:
“I can’t tell you how frustrating it is having been a cyclist and a cycling advocate for years and that we have taken steps backwards as a city on this,” he said, adding that better infrastructure is shown to reduce conflict on the road. “I think council is ready to make some investments in our downtown.”
Iveson said the issue of infrastructure was raised by Bashir Mohamed during a discussion with city staff following a racist incident.
I was about to chastise Iveson for a seemingly tone deaf response (blaming the incident on the lack of bike lanes), but Iveson does point out the racism in the incident was unacceptable regardless.
“My staff met with him a couple of days ago and I understand it was a good discussion,” Iveson said. “(The incident) shows the very bad behaviour of a motorist who should be ashamed of himself … but the even worse behaviour as a human being using language like that.”
“This individual should be doubly ashamed of themselves,” he added.
Mohamed had requested a meeting with the mayor to discuss the issue, which Iveson said he is more than happy to do.
“I’m appalled to hear Mr. Mohamed had that experience in our city,” he said. “Any incident of racism or discrimination in our city has to be unequivocally challenged and condemned.”
Needless to say, this still leaves the cyclist with no legal recourse. As far as I can tell, the police have not recanted on their statement that the cyclist would be charged with “something” if he were to press charges on the drivers, despite following all laws. Meanwhile the white racist rednecks carry on with their lives, and all they’ve received are strong words.
I’m still not terribly impressed. Talk is cheap, Iveson.