We Need More Bike Lanes : The ‘Big Lie’

Background Reading

Nico Deportago-Cabrera and Christina Peck.

Nico Deportago-Cabrera and Christina Peck.

Can a Bike Messenger Beat a Taxi?

“The city kind of becomes this living, breathing organism,” said professional bicycle messenger Nico Deportago-Cabrera. “All these streets are like veins and arteries. You start to notice the rhythm and the timing of the city – the order in which the lights change and how long you can ride a set of greens before before you’re going to hit a red light.”

Taxi drivers and messengers both need to know how to navigate city streets in and out. But who is fastest?

“I’ve always been curious – how my knowledge fares up against a pro cab” Cabrera said.

Can I get downtown faster than a cab?

With a couple clicks of a taxi-summoning phone app, the competition was set. “It’s the middle of the afternoon, pre-rush hour traffic,” Cabrera said, “Can I get downtown faster than a cab?”

The race: Across Chicago proper – start at Willis Tower, finish at Wrigley Field.

Watch the video above to see the contest, as recorded by Sony Action Cams mounted to the cab and bike.


It’s considered an essential point in the catechism of the Church of Urban Cycling, bicyclists cannot ride safely without ‘bike lanes‘. There are also the notions that people will not come out to ride without feeling safe. Supposedly places like Michigan Avenue are so terrifying that cyclists need to ride the sidewalks.

During the church service you can hear the ‘old folks‘ shout ‘amen‘. The organist revs up a Gospel tune and the pews rock with the fervor of people who simply cannot negotiate the ‘evil city‘ without a Rosary and a Protected Bike Lane.

But evidently the ‘youth pastor‘ when he is not diddling the younger children likes to ‘feel alive‘. And so he rides his bike. He rides fast and even races other vehicles. But does he require ‘bike lanes‘?

He tells those in the church each Sunday that they do. But how does he behave on his ‘day off‘?

Mixed Messages

We lie out of one side of our cruel mouths and when we are found out we declare that those exposing the lie are ‘haters‘. We want the public to stop pumping money into schools so that we can have our precious bike lanes. But evidently when no one is looking, or more correctly when we have a captive audience we are more than willing to expose the hypocrisy in our message about the necessity of ‘bicycle comfort‘ in order to make us safe.

So when you watch videos like this one, ask yourself the question. What does this say about our willingness to obey the traffic laws? What does it tell the general public about the inherent need we say we have for bike lanes to keep up safe? And what does it say about the companies that pour money into the coffers of the Church of Urban Cycling that they would make movies that expose the very lie we offer up to the public?

In the interest of full disclosure, these videos are great! They put to rest the myth that cyclist actually want and need bike lanes to be safe. They make a general mockery of the claim that we need to have ‘3 feet laws‘. And the fact that groups like Active Transportation Alliance needs the monies that Red Bull can provide guarantees that you will likely never hear a peep out of them about the obvious discrepancy between the drivel they spew on a weekly basis and the reality of what Urban Cyclists actual do when going about their daily circuits.

And before I started seeing these videos, I used to wonder why the Nazis always documented their misdeeds. I am no longer questioning why they did that. It seems that Urban Cyclists share the same compulsion.

Can I get an ‘Amen‘?