White Folks Learning To ‘Shuck and Jive’

Background Reading

Summary

Alderman Dowell with bike safety campers. Would these kids have to pay a licensing fee? Photo: John Greenfield

Alderman Dowell with bike safety campers. Would these kids have to pay a licensing fee? Photo: John Greenfield

Alderman Patricia Dowell (3rd, Bronzeville, South Loop) floated the idea yesterday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget proposal to raise the cable television tax could be eliminated by charging a licensing fee to ride a bicycle instead. She pegged the fee at about $25 a year and said one would have to complete one hour of classroom education to receive the license to ride a bicycle.

This idea notwithstanding, Dowell has a pretty good, though sparse, record on bike issues. She mediated a situation between the Chicago Department of Transportation and Bronzeville church leaders that ensured King Drive received upgraded bike lanes instead of leaving them as-is. After returning from a trip to cities in Denmark — sponsored by Bikes Belong — she started a program with CDOT to teach young people bicycling safety.

But Dowell’s bike license proposal doesn’t make any sense. There are a few reasons almost all major cities don’t license bikes: It would discourage people from using a healthy, affordable mode of transport, and it would cost more to administer and enforce than it would generate in fees.

A bike license fee that’s actually enforced would strangle Chicago’s budding bike culture and be completely at odds with the city’s policy goals. The City Council adopted the Bike 2015 Plan seven years ago stating two overarching goals, to reduce the number of injuries by 50 percent from 2006 levels and to “increase bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips less than five miles are by bicycle.” Licensing would run counter to both.

Anyone with a bike would have to visit a website, city clerk’s office, or police station to pay the fee and obtain a license. Enforcing the license requirement — stopping and fining people riding without one — would create another barrier to bicycling. Every new barrier reduces the number of people bicycling, which in turn increases the injury rate, because the “safety in numbers” effect would diminish. Goodbye, goals.

Former Active Trans cycling instructor Dave “Mr Bike” Glowacz teaches a class on Elston. Photo: Active Trans

Former Active Trans cycling instructor Dave “Mr Bike” Glowacz teaches a class on Elston. Photo: Active Trans

To help coax the key “Interested but Concerned” demographic to try urban bike commuting, the Active Transportation Alliance is launching a monthly series of City Cycling classes at its downtown headquarters, 9 West Hubbard.

“To be honest, I wish something like this had existed back in 2006 when I moved to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Active Trans membership manager Kevin Dekkinga. “I hadn’t touched a bike since high school, so I was riding down big streets like North Avenue, simply because I didn’t know better. I would have definitely appreciated some help if it had been offered.”

The series will be taught from 9 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month, from May through December, with upcoming classes on May 9, June 13, July 11 and August 8. Each session is a complete tutorial (i.e., no need to attend the class more than once), featuring 90-minutes of discussion followed by 90 minutes of on-bicycle training. It’s open to participants 14 or older – those age 14 to 17 must have written permission from a parent or guardian. Register for the class here.

The fee is $15 for Active Trans members or $50 for non-members, which includes a one-year membership. “That gets you discounts at 120 local businesses, as well as a discount on a Divvy membership, so it’s easy to make it pay for itself,” Dekkinga said. The $50 fee could be a barrier to many Chicagoans who would benefit from learning to safely ride on city streets, but Dekkinga said Active Trans may look into offering scholarships in the future.

Dekkinga and Active Trans membership instructor Jason Jenkins, both League of American Bicyclists-certifiedcycling instructors, will lead the class. Course material includes rules of the road, selecting a good commuter bike, correct helmet fit, techniques for navigating intersections, and strategies for avoiding crashes.

Attendees will learn basic maintenance skills, such as the “ABC Quick Check” — making sure that there’s Air in the tires, the Brakes are working, the Chain is lubed, and the Quick-release levers are engaged – plus flat fixes. The instructors will also share commuting tips and tricks, such as how to dress for the weather, pick low-stress routes, and keep from getting “doored” by motorists.

The in-the-saddle portion will take place in downtown parking lots and streets. However, Dekkinga said the danger level should be low on these thoroughfares, since downtown is relatively quiet on Saturday mornings.

“I’m excited that we’re going to be helping people on a one-to-one basis,” he said. “Many of our peer organizations in other cities hold similar classes, but Active Trans hasn’t done any adult education during the six years I’ve been working here. I’m looking forward to meeting the class participants and sharing the exhilaration and enjoyment I still get out of biking to work in Chicago ten years later.”


TakeAways

Niggers‘ get no respect in Chicago. White folks have all sorts of reason for telling ‘niggers‘ they are always wrong. But when it comes down to it, sometimes it turns out that they were right and when that happens rather than admitting that they were hasty in their condemnation, they do what they have done to every other group in these United States, they co-opt the idea and claim it as their own.

Such was the case with Alderman Patricia Dowell (3rd, Bronzeville, South Loop) who as they laptops at StreetsBlog wrote:

she floated the idea yesterday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget proposal to raise the cable television tax could be eliminated by charging a licensing fee to ride a bicycle instead. She pegged the fee at about $25 a year and said one would have to complete one hour of classroom education to receive the license to ride a bicycle.

So these two white boys decided to tell us all why this ‘nigger‘ was wrong:

But Dowell’s bike license proposal doesn’t make any sense. There are a few reasons almost all major cities don’t license bikes: It would discourage people from using a healthy, affordable mode of transport, and it would cost more to administer and enforce than it would generate in fees.

A bike license fee that’s actually enforced would strangle Chicago’s budding bike culture and be completely at odds with the city’s policy goals. The City Council adopted the Bike 2015 Plan seven years ago stating two overarching goals, to reduce the number of injuries by 50 percent from 2006 levels and to “increase bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips less than five miles are by bicycle.” Licensing would run counter to both.

Now having been born a ‘nigger‘ I need to admit that it is awfully hard for my ‘darkie brain‘ to keep up with all this fancy math. But isn’t $50 more than $25? Well, yes. But it depends on where that money ends up, right? So when it goes into the pockets of some ‘white folks‘ who decried the ‘niggers idea‘ of having a $25 fee then perhaps that makes it OK?

But even ‘silly white folks‘ recognize that their logic is a bit faulty. So they added in that bit of BS about:

Active Trans may look into offering scholarships in the future

Yeah, right. That’s kinds what they told the Native Americans when they were confiscating their land. We’ll give this land back to you as soon as we have had a chance to survey it and find out where the ‘bad patches‘ are. So in the meantime you ‘redskins‘ should be happy that we are naming a football team after your sorry asses and smile for the camera.

So once again the Liberal Whites who claim that the only real racists in America vote Republican are up to their tricks. They are offering Divvy to the rest of the City once it had been shown that their measly contributions to that transportation system were insufficient to keep it afloat.

And so long as they can keep telling themselves and us that they are the voice of Walking, Biking and Mass Transit and we keep nodding as if we all believed it and smiling broadly like so many ‘step-and-fetch-it characters‘ then all will be well. But the honest truth is that this is the group that was pulling against Chuy.

They won’t talk much about that going forward, but that is what the record shows. And the two lapdogs at StreetsBlog Chicago fell all over themselves trying to ‘white-splain‘ why ‘niggers‘ needed to be glad they were being gouged by a rigged system known as the Red Light Camera. And even while states across the country are getting into the act of banning this ‘rigged system‘ they keep defending it because of course the ‘ends justify the means‘.

I Now Understand The Alcohol Emphasis In Cycling

You have to be either born stupid or arrogant or both to believe that what is ‘gospel‘ in the Church of Urban Cycling is good for people of color. These are the folks who can stand by and demand that they get their bike lanes despite the fact that 50 of your neighborhood schools are being closed.

So you have to know that they will lie to your face and try to give you a spot on the next brochure they churn out to make sure that you feel included. And I too would take up heavy drinking if I had to face myself every day knowing that I was being duped.

These are the folks who create rides with high sounding names and purposes and yet things never change in this city. It is still hard to explain why you would tout a mass transit system that offers either arm robbery or armed robbery along with a dose of rape. And yet that is what is happening every day.

We complain that $25 is too big a price to pay for a license but $50 is worth it since we are tossing in a membership to an organization meant to keep us subjugated. Their sole purpose is to get us to see that having bike lanes is import because well, because they want them. How else can you effective push through ‘gentrification‘ without laying the groundwork for those looking to buy out your neighborhood?