The Red Deer Bike Lane Pilot Project. It’s everywhere. In the news, online and around the water cooler. People either love them or hate them. Never before has the city been so polarized in its opinion on one singular subject. Or has it?
I propose a comparison. An equally important issue that, historically, generates the same kind of passion as the bike lanes. The difference being, this issue doesn’t seem to elicit the same fervor of citizen involvement. The issue is fluoride (or, more accurately, hexafluorosilicic acid). I would like to compare 4 distinct ways that these issues parallel, to illustrate why citizens should care as much about fluoride as they do about bike lanes.
1. Reckless City spending of your tax dollars.
I have read that the Bike Lane pilot project will cost upwards of $800,000 to implement and perfect. Comparatively, fluoride seems cheap at $75,000 per year. But when you look deeper you can see that is not the case. Since water fluoridation in Red Deer began in the 1950’s, we have been washing, watering, showering and cooking 99% of the chemical down the drain. Also, it’s now been proven that fluoride works topically, and not systemically. That means all you need is fluoride in your toothpaste for it to work. How’s that for wasteful?
Red Deer citizens have made it clear that they do not like to be inconvenienced by taking away lanes previously designated for vehicles. Comparing this item with the fluoride issue frames that inconvenience as an issue of health. Excessive fluoride exposure is well known to cause many health issues, including a painful bone disease (skeletal fluorosis), discolouration of the teeth (dental fluorosis), and has been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including arthritis, glucose intolerance, gastrointestinal distress and thyroid disease. Inconvenient, huh?
3. Percentage of population usage.
Bike Lane detractors state that the percentage of those using the bike lanes is disproportionate to the percentage of automobiles using the same stretch of road. The drivers have, since the implementation of bike lanes, lost the ability of lane choice. This comparison, when framed within the fluoride debate, illustrates the fact that Red Deer citizens have no choice in the matter of fluoridated water, either. The freedom of personal choice is a fundamental right, and should not be taken away.
4. It’s dangerous.
The City of Red Deer has implemented a project that may be deemed dangerous, in some ways, to the very citizens it wishes to protect. I think the parallel here is obvious.
Citizen involvement should stretch far beyond lines painted on the road. Your City Council will revisit this issue on October 29th. Please, take some time to research the chemical that you drink each and every day. It’s not sodium fluoride, as some would have you believe. It is called hexafluorosilicic acid (also known as hydrafluorosilicic acid) and I think you might be surprised when you discover it’s origins.
Once you are informed, please let your councillors know how you feel. In or out? It’s an important question.