Riders and drivers seem to have too much of a “them against us” attitude, and that makes it difficult for anyone to like each other. If we aren’t liking and respecting each other, there will be no productive end-result.I was driving my truck downtown today and after pulling through an intersection, I noticed a commuter in my left side view mirror. I thought it was smart of him to position himself into my direct line of view. This is also the proper place to be when following a line of traffic since every one of us has to wait our turn. This is especially important when traffic is moving slowly.Immediately after clearing the intersection, he moved over to the far right of the lane – where a bike lane would be should there actually be one. This too is fine. I don’t think there’s a problem for cyclists to pass traffic when they can get through faster.However, he was trying to pass me as we both approached a stop sign. I had been ahead of him, and I knew that I would be accelerating faster, and we both seemed to be going straight, so I pulled out first to make it 20 yards down to the next stop sign.Here comes the part that irks me…he shouts out, “Hey, share the road, huh?” He then turns left from the right side of the lane, allowing me to share a few thoughts within earshot of my open window.The first thing that came to my mind, was “Are you kidding me?! I RIDE A BIKE TOO!!” I’m watching him this whole time, making sure that he’s got space, staying off of the brakes, and ready for him to do something squirrelly, and then I get to watch him get self-righteous because I didn’t let him pull out in front of me.I’ve probably met the guy before, or drank beer with him at the same Bike Love party. I support SORBA, do trail maintenance, support the school mountain biking club, commute when I can, and teach my children how to ride safely through traffic. I quiz my kids in the car about traffic rules and road safety.“You need to ride your bike as if you are driving a car,” I said to him, which I thought was accurate, forthright and non-emotional. “I ride a bike, too!”I realize this blog is probably a lame excuse for me to rant over something that happened today, so I want to offer all of you a safe space to expel a little road rage. Please comment, and I really hope the guy I met today gets his peace too, because I’m really curious. 1 2
The four largest Dutch pension funds are enthusiastic about the outline for a new pensions system that was presented this week. However, there are concerns about the possibility of pension cuts in the years leading up to 2026, when the new system will be fully operational.“The agreement that has now almost been concluded means pension funds can finally say goodbye to this nasty discount rate for liabilities,” director Peter Borgdorff of healthcare fund PFZW wrote in a blogpost.“Because interest rates just kept going down, we haven’t been able to increase pensions for years, even though our assets under management have more than doubled in the past 10 years. We were even close to having to cut pensions. But with this agreement, interest rates are no longer relevant”, Borgdorff added.The PFZW director added that expected pensions will now be higher for everyone because pensions will be able to move up and down with the economy. He considers the introduction of personal pension pots a positive too. “If everybody can see how much pension is available for them, nobody will have to worry anymore about not having a pension upon retirement,” he said.This is a concern widely shared among young people, Borgdorff noted.ABP, PMT and PMEOther pension funds are also positive. The metal industry scheme PME voiced its “wholehearted support” for the plans. “It’s a good step in the direction of the changes that are badly needed,” a spokesperson said.The other metal industry scheme, PMT, called the deal “good news”. “This is an improvement of the system because we are no longer dependent on discount rates for liabilities or coverage ratios,” a spokesperson said.“This offers a perspective for pensions that can preserve purchasing power.”Civil servants fund ABP said the new pensions system is “realistic” and hails the fact scheme members will profit more directly from investment returns.The Dutch pension federation’s interim-president José Meijer said it’s “especially gratifying there now is a perspective for a future-proof pensions contract, one that can be executed in practice and shows participants more clearly how their pension is created.”Pension funds are “looking forward to implement this contract,” she added.Pension rights cutsIn a critical note, consultancy Aon said it expects the conversion of existing defined benefit (DB) pensions to defined contribution (DC) arrangements will lead to “painful measures” because of the current funding shortfalls of many pension funds.In the years until 2026, funds will have to repair their deficits to avoid pension cuts.“To avoid pension cuts younger people will have to carry the burden of deficits completely, pensioners’ allowances need to be adjusted,” the consultant said in a press release. “We believe there is too little attention for this in the current plans.”ABP was the only pension fund to note in its reaction that there are no rules as of yet to govern possible pension cuts in the run-up to the introduction of the new pensions system.The civil servants fund believes these yet-to-be-made rules should be designed “in the spirit of the new system”.“This means we wouldn’t find it logical if we were to continue to cut pensions according to current rules, because they were designed for the old system,” a spokesperson said.ABP had a coverage ratio of 84.5% at the end of May, the lowest such figure of all four large funds.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.