Interest in bicycling is at an all-time high, and steadily rising, as each year more people discover the benefits of a lifestyle that includes cycling. There are many converging reasons for bicycling’s increasing popularity. Riding a bike is a way to stretch tight budgets in a time of prolonged economic downturn. In the midst of rising rates of obesity, bicycling counters the sedentary lifestyle and over-consumption of calories that lies at the root of the obesity epidemic. And of course, bicycling is an environmentally-friendly means of transportation through which individuals can reduce both their petroleum consumption and their carbon footprint. Did I mention that it’s also just flat-out fun, whether riding solo, with family and friends, or with a club?
“They’re at it again.”
Every now and then, some town gets a “ban bikes” bug. This issue has come up in Jupiter Island, Florida, Crawford and Hardin Counties in Iowa, and Black Hawk, Colorado. Usually, this is in response to complaints about everything from conflicts between motorists and cyclists, to cyclists not obeying the law, to cyclists not sharing the road.
Picture this: A pedestrian is standing on the curb, waiting for the light to change. The light changes, and the pedestrian steps out into the crosswalk and begins crossing the street. Before the pedestrian can reach he other side, a motorist runs the red light and hits the pedestrian. The pedestrian survives, but has sustained some injuries, and is transported to the hospital.
Police report that the pedestrian had been walking “too fast,” and hit the car.
The media dutifully reports this fact. Outraged by this incident, an op-ed column suggests that “the only solution” to this problem is to require pedestrians to be licensed and insured.
Does that sound far-fetched? Of course it does. That would never happen.
But suppose that, instead of a pedestrian, we are talking about a collision between a motorist and a cyclist. Does that sound so far-fetched now?
[This article from The Sunbreak, Seattle's Socialist War on Driving Cars Gears Up, was so good we had to share. You can read the entire article by following the link.]
Alternate title: "Misinformed People Outraged by Their Hasty Generalizations"
People who complain about cyclists--and correct me if I'm wrong--seem to do so because they're in a hurry. Here's a thought experiment: If we take away Seattle's three percent of bicycling commuters and add the same number of cars to the road, can you imagine what happens?
Reliably, the Seattle Times story on the event has over 100 comments, largely from people who feel that road safety should be based solely on anecdotal stories about how all cyclists run red lights or who argue that cyclists, being a strange breed of being who pay no sales, property, or gas taxes (Did you know no cyclists own cars? Not one! It's ideological) should have to pay for license and registration.
To read the rest of this article, click here.