Liberals live in a ‘bubble‘ of their own making. And like Conservatives they assume ‘the other guys‘ are all wrong. But the disconnect is greater within the Liberal/Progressive Camp that they can even imagine.
Part of the problem is the ‘age gap‘. Hipsters are just now ‘getting their feet wet‘ in the family starting experience. The folks who are car drivers have full-fledged families and already understand that a car is more than a luxury. You simply cannot cart a family of four (or more) around on errands in a goddam cargo bike bucket or on the back of said vehicle in the dead of winter.
And the more spread out your living environment (think suburbs) the more likely it will be that you clearly ‘get‘ what I am talking about. The Chicago experience of living in a cheek-by-jowl environment is anathema to more than 70-80% of the population. The search for schools, parks, safe streets and forest preserves leads you away from big cities.
Big cities appeal to folks whose primary recreation is ‘eating out and partying hard‘. About the only time people who have had children start thinking about cities as viable places to live is when you are retired and in search of a condominium or luxury townhouse. Otherwise who needs the bullets whizzing overhead? And frankly there are only so many weekends you can spend visiting the museums in the city.
The Chicago Lakefront Trail is nice but there are roads that leads into Chicago from all points on the compass and if you need to enjoy the lakefront you can always drive in. You really do not have to live in a ‘war zone‘ to enjoy what few safe opportunities it offers on the weekend.
The Gas Tax Is Not About What You Think It Is About
People who drive cars are not wedded to the idea of having one just because they love it. As I said before it is a necessity for more than a few people. And many of those folks are city dwellers. The rest are like most Americans living outside large metropolitan areas.
The very last thing that members of the Urban Cycling Movement and those who identify as Progressives should be doing is trying to paint car owners as greedy. Save that moniker for those who refuse to have their vehicles registered and license-plated.
The real problem here is that less than 1% of the people on the roadways in any given area of the country are committed to full-time bicycle commuting. They see no special reason to incur higher taxes just so that more pretty green paint and PVC bollards can be applied to the roads, screwed into the pavement only to have it all plowed away each winter just to satisfy a mythical notion that Americans want to ride a goddam bicycle to work each day. They don’t.
There is nothing in Scripture that predicts that bike lanes will become the norm in the country because the Almighty has ordained it. And given the coming fight over the purse strings of the country it is highly unlikely that Americans will forego having schools torn down in order to create 100 miles of protected bike lanes. Only in a city like Chicago would anyone even consider shutting down 50+ schools and adding money-grabbing speed cameras while installing bike lanes that nobody needs except the shooters following orders from their gang leaders.
So do not presume that bike lanes are inevitable, they are not. And for that reason it behooves the Urban Cycling Community to climb down off their high horse to exhibit a more approachable demeanor rather than continuing with their arrogant and entitled ways.
You cannot get journalists to write enough articles to make it seem as if the mix of users of these goddam bike lanes come from all walks of life and are eagerly being embraced by an aspiring middle class moving into the city.
Corporations will bring people into the city. And many of the younger members will ride bikes to work. That will continue about as long as the leisure suit did as a fashion statement. But like most everything else the idea of riding a bike to work will become passé.
Already the kids who are young enough to ride something to school are using skateboards and scooters and not necessarily bicycles. In fact this is true not only of grade/high school kids but college students as well. It seems that everyone has picked up on the fact that smaller vehicles that can be carried inside and placed in a locker or stowed under a desk make more sense.
So it seems that already the defection from ‘basic transportation‘ being a fixed gear beater is well underway. It sucks to be under 40 years of age and already considered to be in the ‘backwaters‘ of the vehicle use wars.
And the next time to get the urge to write that you pay as much as a driver does to fund bicycle and auto infrastructure think twice about having your buddies write that crap. Or if you really cannot refrain from offering up meaningless lies in propaganda reports then consider beginning your attempts to sell drivers on the raising of the gas tax but offering to get your bicycle licensed and yourself trained well enough to stop riding through red lights and dying.