A Selfish and Arrogant Movement
Chicago is full of a great number of Urban Cyclists who really believe the ‘sky is falling‘. But unfortunately that ‘sky‘ is only of injury to them. For several years now there has been a feeding frenzy regarding the ‘dire need‘ for bike lanes. All sorts of reasons for the need have been put forth but few as compelling as the deaths of cyclists.
- A Completely Avoidable Problem Keeps Reoccurring (BeezodogsPlace)
As it turns out one of the more dramatic variations is the ‘Door Zone Collision‘. And as is usual the onus for the problem is generally believed to be on the driver emerging from their vehicle.
But evidently the general lack of understanding of these types of collisions and strategies for their avoidance have not been put out there for the general cycling public read, understand and employ. I put that onus onto the backs of the Urban Cycling Movement itself.
Rather than embracing a training and educational curriculum to help get members ‘up to speed‘ it has largely buried its head in the sand and relied on the kind of inscrutable logic that says such training and education are a sign of caving in to the demands of others and should be avoided at all costs.
The groups that serve as bicycling advocates even supported this approach. But sadly nothing seems to change until people remove their craniums from their rectal cavities long enough to breath a bit of fresh air. And when that happens the study cited above happen.
It is difficult to believe that it took this long for the CDOT to discover that the kinds of bike lanes it was building were actually making things worse, not better. But that is what happens when you have blind and unquestioning faith in the charlatans who parade around getting ‘financially fat‘ off the masses who are more than willing to buy their snake oil with which to anoint themselves.
The Mayoral Race of 2015 Has Been A Blessing In Disguise
This afternoon I read a response to a critique of the Chicago Club Debate between Chuy and Rahm. It was more revealing than I had expected. Here are the salient points:
- The writer evidently wants those who are planning to vote for Rahm to know that he believes that what he terms the ‘fiscal crisis‘ of our city is real and not merely an ‘election cycle ploy‘.
- They go on to admit that it is their understanding that this has been a problem since the 1990s. That is essentially a problem that is about a quarter century in duration. Presumably this would mean that Rahm was part of the problem.
- He tries to make the case that the ‘facts’ about the depth and extent of the ‘fiscal crisis‘ are being obscured. I can only assume that this is a suggestion that the current mayor is hiding what he later describes as the ‘cooking of the books‘. Again this is an attempt it would seem to smear the current occupant of the mayors office in City Hall.
- Property taxes are something that most politicians these days have been avoiding talking about. For one thing, the folks in Chicago who are property owners are white. Having them flee the city is likely to make ‘fiscal matters‘ even worse.
- But the writer seems to believe that the inevitable outcome will be the raising of taxes of all sorts. This is pleads is unfair because it would be done on the ‘backs of the struggling poor‘. Mention is made of Rahm’s attempt to have Governor Quinn ‘do an end run‘ around the problem, by actually levying additional property taxes at the state level. And kudos are given to the former governor because of his resistance to the ploy.
- What I found most interesting was the admission that much of what gets done in this city benefits the Downtown Sector. But frankly that is not unusual in any of the major cities in America. The business district has to be visually attractive in order to draw tourist and corporations whose presence means employees whose wages are taxed by the city and who spend money with various businesses at lunchtime and later during Happy Hour.
- It concludes with the usual drivel about ‘protecting the poor‘. Evidently to hear this person talk America has suddenly abandoned the ‘little guy‘ in favor of ‘special interest groups‘.
It was all I could do to keep the tears flowing from my eyes off my laptop. Really?
Few Of Us In The Cycling Movement Have Clean Hands
I suppose that it never really occurs to us that we are part of the problem. Those lanes that we really never needed cost money. That $500K price tag for Dearborn Street’s PBL did not come out of the monies collected from cyclists for licensing their bicycles. It came out of the thin coffers that the writer talked about in his diatribe against the current mayor.
I am not really interested in which guy wins. I will go on record as saying that I think Rahm is the more capable of the two. But I have issues with an administration that closes 50 public schools and in the same breath announces that Active Transportation Alliance is helping City Hall by developing ‘safe routes to school‘. That in itself is ironic on so many levels.
It should be noted that there was no discernible outrage expressed on the Chicago ‘Whine and Jeez‘ Bicycle Forum. It was as if this outrage never happened. Every time in fact that the bullets start to fly there is a deafening silence from these Sunshine Liberals whose collective agenda extends about as far as their navels.
Like Detroit our city has suffered a great deal. But despite the admissions that there is a likelihood that the ‘books are being cooked‘ a collective blind eye has been turned towards the problem. We have preferred to instead focus on our own selfish goals of having:
- the Bloomingdale Trail “606” built
- the Chicago Lakefront Trail Flyover completed
- the Dearborn Street PBL which some riders actually avoid in favor of side streets
- the Berteau Greenway which is neither green (any longer) nor very pleasant to look at
- the Protected Bike Lane under the Lake Street ‘L‘ which is always full of glass and debris and riders dislike for that reason
- 100 miles of pretty green paint and PVC bollards used to create bike lanes across the city
- a separate trail extension on the north end of the Chicago Lakefront Trail to protect pedestrians from cyclists who have been known to run them down from behind and leave the scene (bicycle version of hit and run)
- Installation of red light and speed cameras intended to be primarily revenue sources under the guise of creating ‘safer streets‘
But it turns out that our willingness to talk about the overspending that has been going on for all these years suddenly gets voiced when we think that ‘our candidate‘ might not win. That to me is both unconscionable and arrogant.
The Urban Bicycle Movement is a bit like a teenaged child who whines that he wants a pair of sneakers like all his peers are wearing and despite the $200 price tag withholds his affection until his mother forgoes doctor appointments to pay for the shoes.
And as is usually the case once the shoes are worn and his peers are no longer ‘into‘ sneakers, deciding instead to seek out $500 SmartPhones he develops a new dissatisfaction with his life.
We will never achieve Vision Zero in the US or anywhere else for that matter because it is simply an impossibility. Everyone knows that. But it gives the politicians cover when they come asking to raise property taxes or even income taxes to attempt its achievement. How could anyone say no to the idea of saving lives?
Just don’t show them the videos of cyclists riding across town to race a taxi and everyone should feed good about spending money we don’t have to provide solutions to traffic problems that do not work.
But the moment that people recognize that our cycling heroes are doing things that contradict all the things we said were necessary to keep us safe there will be hell to pay. But that is a worry for a later date. Right now we need to get through this sham of an election and the crocodile tears being shed by the emotional activists who simply cannot figure out who exactly to support.
First it was Rahm and now for some reason he has disappointed them. No wonder John Boehner is always so close to tears. He too has a wild-eyed lunatic fringe known as the Tea Party whose thirst for more like that of the Urban Cycling Movement can never really be satisfied.
In a decade or so if commuter cycling has not succeeded in doing any better than Divvy or CitiBike this crowd will be off to slay the next dragon and we will be left to pick up the pieces and pay the increases in property taxes needed to cover all their whimsical demands.
Such is the life of a parent of a teenager.