The next few years are going to get ‘ugly‘. We are going to be engaged in a debate about the future of the bicycle and mass transit. Heck even the folks who are often lost in this debate the pedestrians are going want to have their say.
Not long ago we had this frantic debate over exactly who pays for the roads. The group that I will call the ‘War On Cars Tribe‘ (WOCT) went out of their way to try and prove that bicyclists have as much right to the control of funding as do motorists. The claim was that we payed our ‘fair share‘ too.
Well that lie has fallen flat on its fiduciary irresponsibility. The simple fact is that motorists have always been at the forefront of the battle to keep roads repaired and safety improvements made. That should not have surprised anyone given the fact that the single most important revenue stream for transportation funding has been the U. S. Highway Trust Fund.
Well that little piggy was gobbled up this past summer by the fuel efficiency wolf. At the very same time that the WOCT was haranguing everyone about the need to tax fuel to drive down the number of cars on the road and spitting fire over the fact that municipalities either have free or nearly free parking this money supply was dwindling down to nothing.
Now here is the really odd thing. The WOCT is fully determined to keep the levels of income to its pet projects as steady as before. And I guess that despite the fact that they represent less than 1% of the total transportation landscape they feel their mission is best for everyone in the long run. But heres the thing. The number of folks being killed by bicycles is rising! And those on foot are the targets.
We are about to see in the very near future a 3 Feet Rule that applies to bicyclists. Sooner or later the bill to outlaw the use of SmartPhones while Biking will pass. And suddenly bicyclists will be put on notice that like motorists and pedestrians, operating a moving vehicle while distracted ‘is not safe‘. We are about to have to move towards the rear of the line.
No longer will we be allowed to ‘cut to the front‘. City Halls all over the country are going to have to answer to the general public about how their dollars get spent. This time everyone will indeed be on the same footing.
If you have the numbers to push for this or that project, fine. But there is no place that I know of that majority rule suddenly takes a back seat to the minority unless of course believe that Civil Rights Legislation applies to bicyclists as well. We are not now nor have we ever been a protected class. Nor should we be.
If the goal is to have the kind of participation levels for cycling as are seen in the Netherlands and Denmark then granting cyclist some sort of special protection makes little sense. When you are the majority then your wishes get consideration above everyone else. And frankly I find the notion that the sons and daughters of racists in both the North and South are to be granted special status just because they threw a leg over a bicycle, repugnant.
WOCT would do itself a great favor to drop the arrogance about what is or is not the best plan to provide safety and focus on getting its members to ride like they deserve it. When you demand protected bike lanes and then run over pedestrians in crosswalks while fiddling with your SmartPhone to discover if you have matched the time of yet another Strava-Idiot in a meaningless contest, then something is entirely amiss in your vision of ‘safety‘.
Speeding on highways by drivers is bad enough! Just imagine what the StreetsBlog crowd would be saying if they learned that sports car drivers were racing from their homes to work each morning in a virtual competition so that they could earn bragging rights amongst their peers who took the same route to work! That is in essence what the WOCT gang is willing to overlook in their quest to get more pretty green paint slathered on perfectly good pavement before being adorned with essentially useless PVC bollards.
That reminds me, at least the AlleyCat folks have the guts to tape their misdeeds and dare you to question them about it.