Closing the ‘Performance Gap’

Background Reading


Chicago Lakefront Trail

Chicago Lakefront Trail


To hear Urban Cyclists tell it the key to Vision Zero is the complete elimination of automobiles. I always feel a bit queasy when I hear this sort of rhetoric. It is so very reminiscent of the Nazi Approach to problem solving. But there it is. You just get rid of the offending ‘group‘ and voila you have a 1,000 year reign.

But friends if you really and truly believe that bullshit, then you deserve every lump and bit of road rash you acquire the next time you are out riding where the only two modes of transportation allowed are bicycles and pedestrians.

And guess what, you are going to have to be as alert around bicycles as you ever were around cars. Keep in mind that the users of bicycles are never required to understand how to handle their vehicles or taught strategies for dealing with crowded MUP-use situations.

Nope. We can just hie ourselves over to the local rental place, or a Divvy station or better yet pull that old 10-speed out of the garage or basement, pump air into the tires or not and though failing to check whether the brakes work or the chain is sound head off for an ‘afternoon of mayhem‘.

The only problem is that if you are an Urban Cycling Community advocate you have few trite phrases that you have learned to describe who the victim and who the villain are when pedestrians or even other bicycles collide with a bicycle.

Most of these folks are pretty ready to ‘point the finger‘ at the pedestrian. After all they wander all over the place, with pets and those nasty little humans known as ‘children‘ and when they walk they often walk two abreast or even rollerblade together. And as everyone knows rollerblades are well not cool anymore so they should be banned from the MUP!

But bicycles should never be considered the aggressors in MUP situations, unless of course two of them collide. And even then you have the option of determining whether one was a hipster and the other not. And in that case you always side with the hipster.

But fear not! Help is on the way! There is going to be a split in the Chicago LFT which will segregate those failed excuses for humanity (i.e. pedestrians) from the ‘Salvation of the Human Race‘ (i.e. bicyclists) That should completely elimination the problems bicyclists suffer with.

© Jesse K Fixed Gear Bike Poseur

© Jesse K
Fixed Gear Bike Poseur

But what on Earth do we do when two bicycles collide? Darn! Maybe we need a third lane which is ‘hipster only‘? Yeah that will work! All you have to do is either flash your beard or your tattoos (leg or arm is acceptable) and of course look gnarly.

Now if we can only get the world further pared down to include only those on bicycles with beards and skinny jeans and tattoos and fixed gear drivetrains and …