By Brian Moore @brithewebguy RedEye
November 21, 2013
‘Extra-Large Car People,’ we forgive you.
It’s not your fault you are so insufferable. You don’t know any better. American culture has shaped your sense of entitlement from the days you were in diapers playing with your first toy truck. It’s hard to grow up and grow out of those habits.
So, you’re forgiven.
- You’re forgiven for contributing to Chicago’s paralyzing traffic woes.
- You’re forgiven for slowly helping destroy the earth’s environment.
- You’re forgiven for adding to the decay and destruction of Chicago’s roadways.
- You’re forgiven for enabling people to charge hundreds of dollars per month for garage parking spots.
- You’re forgiven for allowing the state of Illinois to continue the tollway system that was supposed to end after construction bonds were repaid decades ago.
- You’re forgiven for exacerbating our sedentary lifestyle and overall degradation of Americans’ health (and thus driving up health-care costs) by sitting in your car for hours and hours per week.
But you’re not forgiven for being pompous jerks who feel as though the roads were made for you and only you and have no regard for the safety of bikers or pedestrians.
Even Little Bike People have to draw a line somewhere.
We won’t look the other way as you bully your way through the city in your Douchemobiles. More and more of us are taking to the streets on our fixies, our mountain bikes, our folding bikes, our street bikes, making sensible decisions about commuting that actually contribute to the overall well-being of the city.
City Hall supports us.
Bike racks can be found on almost every block downtown—and more pop up all the time. New bike lanes are being added at a rapid pace, rightly taking over street parking, driving lanes, turn lanes. New laws have been enacted just to protect bikers from the monsters on four—or more—wheels.
The city has even joined the revolution, introducing the Divvy bike-share program that has already become one of the largest and most successful in the world. Yes, the world.
Like gay marriage, which went from being recognized at a glacial pace to the full-blown snowball barreling down the side of a mountain, bikers’ rights are growing in leaps and bounds.
We don’t blame you for being scared, Extra-Large Car People. The Little Bike People are coming hard and fast, like you do in those 2-ton missiles at yellow lights.
- We’re coming for your streets.
- We’re coming for your parking spots.
- We’re coming for your self-entitled sense of ownership of the roads.
- We’re coming, and we’ve got Mayor Emanuel on our side. We’ve got the law on our side. And we’ve got science on our side.
It was a good ride while it lasted for you, Extra-Large Car People, but your days are numbered.
And the Little Bike People are doing the counting.
This sort of thing had to happen sooner or later. And frankly it is a good thing! It means that no more are we listening to platitudes from those in the Cycling Community about wanting merely to make life better for everyone, hence their need for Protected Bike Lanes. This is in fact a confirmation that there is indeed a move afoot to usurp control of the streets and if you are a motorist, then you have been warned.
I remember the days of the Black Panther Party in California. Similar ultimatums were issued then to the Elites of Los Angeles. We have come full circle in our struggle as a society to bring about the change that a Leftist Movement wishes to make a reality. This is similar in nature to what the Tea Party wishes to force on the American People. But that thrust is coming from the Far Right.
What has not been clear until now is whether the Cycling Movement was all about change for the purposes of “safety” and “personal transport” or whether this was a power grab by that transportation segment of the which represents less than 2% of the population. Now you know!
This is a cause for celebration the same way it would be if you finally got to know who was behind the money being poured into campaigns from the Far Right. It is always dangerous for a Democracy if we are seeing a battle fought by combatants who are not wearing uniforms. Today the Far Left which is bulk of those who represent the Cycling Movement have shown us not only their uniforms but their intentions.
Cycling Should Be About “People On Bicycles” Not About Anything Else
The problem with this manifesto’s focus is on what is essentially revenge for slights real or imagined. This is not about finding a way for cars and automobiles to “Share The Road“, this is about removing your options to actually park on the streets of the city. Just imagine what it would be like if the tables were reversed and the 98% of the population was hellbent on removing all on-street bike parking. That would be an equally loathsome situation.
Lost in all of this is the fact that in neighbors where the Non-Elites lives virtually none of these stated policies for cycling will change the fact that the residents there understand better than most that the white stripes on the pavement are among the first evidences of coming gentrification. So in a sense while declaring “war” on automobiles and their owners implicit in all of this is the fact that “people of color” will soon be targets as well.
Their housing and quality of life will probably be replaced by those same “little bike people” who having the resources will buy their buildings and rehab them for more of their kind and quietly push out those who were there first. If you are a resident on the South and West Sides of the City of Chicago know that these members of the Cycling Movement consider your neck of the woods “shitholes“. It would please them and their pals in City Hall if you would simply “self-deport“.
Vulnerable User Laws and Their Unintended Consequences
Cyclists are being told that there is an epidemic of “Doorings” occurring all across Chicago. These are collisions with open doors on parked vehicles which are avoidable. If you ride far enough to the left of parked cars you simply cannot be hit. Yet we read of the continued “bad luck” of riders who have three or four such collisions in a 6-month period. A vulnerable user law is easily used by those intent on defrauding to create such nightmares for the drivers and the general public that it could change public policy.
If as I suspect would happen pedestrians would be considered the most vulnerable it would mean that even bicyclists could find themselves in situations where their personal liability insurance is insufficient to cover claims brought against them. BikeShare systems like Divvy, whose clientele are sometimes inexperienced riders is likely to see an “epidemic of collisions” between riders crossing pedestrian crosswalks and the walkers in them. This is of course made even more likely as Divvy riders make the awful mistake of riding on sidewalks while either trying to reach a cutout in the corner of a sidewalk or are simply trying to avoid riding in traffic for as long as possible.
Again the driving public needs to be aware of the future legislative attempts that will be made to ensure that they drive mindfully, but which can be subverted by folks who are hellbent on fraud.