By Dan Amira
5 June 2013
Source: Daily Intelligencer
What is it about bike shares that so enrages conservatives? They’re just bikes! That people share! And yet the New York Post has a new story every day about the endless disasters that Citi Bike has brought upon the helpless populace of New York. (Problems at a bike station delayed a person for five minutes! That never happens with the subway!) Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journalcalled the Bloomberg administration “totalitarian” for … encouraging the riding of bikes, we guess. In perhaps the best unhinged rant of any kind ever, Daniel Greenfield at the always enjoyable FrontPage Magazine refers to Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s pro-bike transportation chief, as a “Muslim Nazi collaborator’s granddaughter” who in “partial revenge … made many New York streets nearly as impassable as those of her grandfather’s wartime Dresden.”
But, in a way, the depth of conservative animosity for a bike-share program makes perfect sense. Because, as the Venn diagram above indicates, Citi Bike finds itself at the very nexus of five different things that conservatives hate.
Mayor Bloomberg: Conservatives hate Mayor Bloomberg, a cosmopolitan billionaire who thinks he knows better than them and has the right to control their lives. Bloomberg wants to take their guns, and, even worse, he wants to take their enormous sodas. Which brings us to …
Healthy: Bike riding is healthy, especially when the alternative is sitting in a cab, train, or bus. But conservatives hate being told to be healthy. Look at how much scorn they have for Michelle Obama simply for encouraging kids to exercise more and eat more vegetables. As Americans, it is our God-given right to eat as much crap as we want, pass our medical bills onto the government, and then yell at the government for spending too much money on health care. Which brings us to …
Sharing: So central to the concept of bike shares, they put it right in the name. But conservatives hate sharing — tax dollars, calamari, doesn’t matter. True story: Louie Gohmert never shared a toy for the duration of his childhood.
It is a very slippery slope from sharing bikes to sharing everything. You blink and all of a sudden we’re a socialist dystopia, and everyone’s eating Bloomberg Vitamin Mush for every meal.
Environmental: Bike are also good for the environment. This will please you if you think the environment actually needs help. But if you think carbon emissions and climate change are conspiracies (like 58 percent of Republicans) perpetrated by Al Gore and a handful of scientists at the University of East Anglia, then bikes are just lies on wheels.
Vaguely French: French people ride bikes, right? Like, more than other people? There’s something vaguely French about this whole thing. Doesn’t sit well.