The Urban Cycling Movement’s ‘Fundamental Lack of Clarity’

Background Reading



Ronda Locke, Ald. Joe Moreno and Andrew Hamilton at the Jan. 7 debate. Candidate Anne Shaw is not pictured. Photo: Izabella West

You know your movement is in trouble when the political candidates in the most politically active areas of Chicago are unclear about your demands or at least unclear about how to resolve the issues that are uppermost in your mind.

The article cited above leads with bit about bike lanes along Milwaukee during a candidates debate:

Candidates Hazy On Bike Lanes, Rahm Re-Election

Cyclists in Logan Square have good reason to be alarmed after Wednesday’s debate, as none of the candidates appeared ready to answer a question about dedicated bike lanes in the neighborhood. The candidates were asked if they would support a dedicated bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue between Western and Ashland avenues, even if it meant the loss of parking along that corridor.

Moreno, who answered last on the question, ripped the other candidates for calling it a “tough decision,” saying, “When you’re alderman, you have to make tough decisions.” However, he did not offer an answer himself, instead mentioning the Divvy program, describing his wife’s dislike of cyclists and criticizing “cyclists that aren’t obeying the law.” The rest of the candidates said they’d need to confer with experts on traffic and city planning.

Most candidates suggested adding a dedicated bike lane to other streets as a workaround without acknowledging the fact that cyclists, like drivers, use Milwaukee Avenue as a direct line to downtown. None of the candidates addressed the unlikelihood that cyclists would use bike lanes on north-south or east-west streets rather than the direct diagonal route.

Only one candidate, Locke, had a straight answer when the candidates were asked whether they’d like to see Mayor Rahm Emanuel re-elected. Locke said no and called for new leadership, citing a litany of issues. Moreno said he had not endorsed the mayor and would consult with an endorsement committee before making a decision. Shaw said Emanuel’s policies “really critically hurt the 1st Ward” and she is “leaning towards one of the challengers,” but did not openly oppose Emanuel’s re-election. And Hamilton said he likes Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s vision and his plan for education, but he also did not specifically say he was opposed to Emanuel.

The candidates will debate again at 7 pm on Jan. 29 at Wells High School, located at 936 N. Ashland Ave.

The ‘Nub of the Problem’

There is a giant, huge, humongous disconnect between the rhetoric of the Urban Cycling Movement and its actions. We talk ‘safety‘ and then do stupid things that indicate that our real sentiments are different than our speech. You for instance cannot be ‘safety-minded‘ and a scofflaw in the same breath. We are almost caricatures of the Tea Party and other Right-Wing Organizations.

It is almost as if we do not see the gigantic railroad tie in our eyes when criticizing others for have splinters in theirs.

The Golden Rule of Cycling

The Golden Rule of Cycling

How does a cyclist justify being a bartender and then criticizing motorists who ‘drink and drive‘? How in fact does a cyclist get puffed up with indignation about the use of marijuana when driving a car or perhaps drivers texting while standing at an intersection but think it is ‘cool‘ to attend a ChainLink Bar Night gathering where they get so drunk that they cannot find their bikes afterwards? Duh?

Why get all ‘hot and bothered‘ about motorists who speed on city streets and then ‘run red lights‘ and even ‘ignore stop signs‘ and then fart out some lame, smelly, ill-reasoned bullshit about hoping that the Idaho Stop Law comes to Illinois? Is there no one in this so-called movement that is in charge of having us all on the same page?

Logan Square is hardly red neck country. So when your candidates for office in your own backyard are clueless, then something is terribly wrong.

And someone ought to clue in the Church of Urban Cycling Faithful that asking whether automobile parking lanes can be removed in favor of adding bike lanes where in fact you plan to place bicycle parking racks is really, really stupid. But hey, I have never been overly awed by the intellectual prowess of even the so-called journalists who present the cyclists side of things, so why am I not surprised?