Being At Odds With Your Benefactors

Background Reading

Summary

The articles above are a very limited glimpse into the chaos that surrounds the recommendations of groups that offer Bicycle Advocacy Ideas here in the Chicagoland Area and the reality of willful ignorance when making those recommendations.

A cyclist pauses at a pedestrian-activated flashing crosswalk light at Kirk Road and the Prairie Path in Geneva. A similar signal has created controversy in Mount Prospect after a cyclist died when a driver failed to yield in June. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

If you look closely you will see that there is a rectangular flashing area just above the STOP sign next to which the bicyclist is waiting. Here is what it looks like up close:

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Signal located off Montgomery Road near Waubonsie Lake Park Trail.


TakeAways

Why do supposed bicycle advocacy groups prefer this model to the more effective and older designs (think round lights similar to those used near railroad crossings) ? The answer is cost. When you are wandering around with your hand out looking for bicycle infrastructure that most folks would be loathe to pay for (especially given that your Urban Cycling Movement has opted out of vehicle registration and training) you have to come up with cheap if not altogether effective alternatives.

Of course in the meantime you spend your time writing articles about the cluelessness of the NTSB and yet want them to fund more and more crap that does not work. Just this week we learn that an on street coned section of a race results in a woman participant being struck and killed. Now understand that this is just about the equivalent of a pretty green painted bike lane with PVC bollards, sans the immediate newsworthiness of the collision.

Chicago's Leftist Cycling Movement Manifesto

Chicago’s Left Cycling Movement Manifesto

Too Much Time Fund-Raising And Not Enough Time Reading The Research

What is probably going to happen is that townships all over the country and most certainly here in Northern Illinois are going to re-examine all the ‘iffy‘ advice they have been getting from Bicycle Advocacy Groups more interested in beefing up their resumes to get more members and grow their business.

But ‘enough is enough‘! You cannot be a journalist who is both asking the rest of the country to accept the rather expensive notion of bicycle infrastructure while ‘bad-mouthing‘ the government agencies the Urban Cycling Movement needs to provide the funding for said infrastructure. And for goodness sakes bicyclists, why would you trust people who don’t have enough sense to read the scientific literature and make good suggestions, rather than just the cheapest/newest thing on the market. Sometimes the ‘old ways‘ work best!

The Urban Cycling Movement is far too focused on photo-ops, journalist interviews and anything else that brings glory to an individual (in the name of the movement) to have things turn out well. We need to get our heads on straight and stop all the ‘show-boating‘. Money is tight. And yet we act as if the source of funding is endless.

Just think, a city the size of Chicago is touting the fact that it is on target to pave another 300 miles of pavement but cannot figure out how to pay for its education system without going further into debt. This is lunacy when viewed in the context of a cycling movement which is unwilling to accept registration and training in exchange for the right to have its fellow citizens carve out a slice of the roadway for their exclusive use!

Time To Call The Urban Cycling Movement What It Really Is…

We are a movement which is ‘all hat and no cattle‘. We cannot raise money unless we attract people with alcohol. We are too stingy to contribute to the creation of our own infrastructure but spend most of our time taking snapshots of cars and buses and trucks parked up against the curb in places which used to have parking. And after all of this nonsense (where we phone city hall and threaten to hold our breath until we turn purple) we still cannot figure out a way to keep from hitting pedestrians and either maiming or killing them.

Look it does not take a brain surgeon to realize that the reason for adding another lane to the Chicago Lakefront Trail was to help keep the city out of hot water from having cyclists knock over runners who end up suing the city after a cost injury recovery protocol. And in the meantime we spend the better part of each year whining about how vulnerable we are. This sort of thing is eventually going to get more than old and people are going to smell the bullshit beneath our tires.

We kill and maim and telling ourselves that we do it less often than motorists is just a ‘copout‘.