I really and truly do wish that Protestants had someone as dynamic to help them get out of their prayer position.
But alas we have wedded ourselves mostly to Conservative Politics and that in itself has its problems. But this Pope has really ratcheted up his critique of complacency to the point that those outside the Faith have taken notice.
We need more like him in the Urban Cycling Movement. There are those in Copenhagen who aspire to that sort of position but fall very far short. You really cannot be both a consultant and a prophet in the same instance.
And as for the folks who should be providing some guidance (because they claim to speak for cyclists) none that I have seen are above pandering to their donors. You simply cannot lead a group when you are fumbling to catch the dollars falling from their wallets.
Nope, it takes some very serious focus and a willingness to be more than a LapDog to the tired and rather lame agendas that have been floating around for a half century. Nope. We need some fresh thinking.
There has to be a way forward that is not hypocritical (i.e. the ‘War On Cars Crowd‘) and it honest enough to draw people in who would otherwise never have given cycling a chance. But we do not need the Castro’s Cuba Approach that is so very prevalent amongst Urban Cyclists these days.
It should never be the case that you conspire to force people out of their cars by eliminating parking and generally making driving within city limits miserable, while catering to cyclists who frankly do not deserve it. The playing field has to be leveled.
Where Can We Find Leaders Like This Guy?
The Urban Cycling Movement is by turns idealist and unrealistic all at once. It wants to artificially create a gender neutral world as well as one where demographics are not an issue. But that has never been the case in all of history.
The wealth, educational opportunities and social status of people are a reality. We need to understand that not every woman wants or needs to be riding a bicycle. The trick is to offer a plan for those who do to be comfortable in attaining their goals.
The same holds true for ‘people of color‘. But more than this we desperately need to realize that reshaping pavement does nothing to influence the hearts of people who travel our streets.
Failing to consider the needs of others is the single greatest obstacle to safety on the road.
Reshaping our streets will do nothing to foster the spirit of cooperation that exists in countries whose levels of participation we covet. All that Road Diets can effect are slower traffic, not safer traffic. All you have to do is realize that riding in a pack in the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day is a good deal safer than your local arterial streets.
The speed in races is fantastic when compared to your average street. And just think about the ‘close quarters‘ these cars travel in. This is all possible because for the most part these drivers know how to keep one another safe while striving to get ahead in a race.
Our roadways reflect our divisive society in large degree. Cyclists are as likely to disregard the more vulnerable users around them as are motorists. And when they really let that disregard overtake them someone dies by their hands.
But our so-called leaders spend far too much time pointing the finger at whoever else they can find to blame for the terrible conditions they perceive. And that ends up bringing about the kinds of conflict that we see on our streets between the police and the people they serve.
There are none with ‘clean hands‘ when it comes to the kinds of selfishness we know exists on the roadway. There is nothing less inviting than the kind of arrogance displayed in our so-called Urban Cyclists Manifesto. But rather than distance themselves from this document our advocates turn a blind eye to its existence for fear that alienating those in their midst who believe it it will cost them dollars over time.
The money be damned! If you do not have the integrity to ‘let the chips fall where they may‘ then find another line of work. Urging people (as did Randy Cohen) to disregard the social order when it comes to obeying the very restraints designed to keep us safe is both silly and dangerous.
Maybe, just maybe we can get this guy Francis to switch jobs and provide some real leadership for us. I am certain that the folks in his religious hierarchy who dislike his brashness would find a kindred spirit amongst the types we currently have at the helm.
Seems like a fair trade to me!