We've now reached a point where there's little meaningful difference between an anti-bike editorial and a pro-bike editorial. For example, consider the headline:
"Bike lanes give cyclists free ride at expense of drivers, urban planning"
I mean, yeah? So? They say that like it's a bad thing. Even the writer realizes we've reached "peak driving." Indeed, it's not until the sixth paragraph it becomes clear he's against bike lanes, mostly because they force him to look before making a right turn:
Which is fine with me … except for the darned bike lanes. Of all the hoped-for alternatives to the family car — high-speed rail, shared cars, more compact towns, etc. — it's those bike lanes that get me going.
Not all bike lanes, mind you, but lanes like the one on Davis Street in downtown Evanston.
There bikers get their green-painted lane of pavement along the north curb; the line of parked cars gets moved out into the street; and motorized traffic gets squeezed into the middle. God forbid you should make a right turn without first checking if a biker is pedaling up behind that row of parked cars.
He's got a point here. It's unfair to ask decent, hard-working Americans to operate their motor vehicles with due care--especially when people who ride bicycles are exempt from ticketing and taxes:
They are rarely ticketed for these behaviors because they have no operator's license, no vehicle registration, no practical way, really, for the police to process them into the judicial/enforcement system. Which also means they don't pay for much. No gas tax. No fees. Theirs is pretty much a free ride.
I don't know how it is in Chicago, but obviously here in New York City they love ticketing cyclists. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've received more tickets as a cyclist than as a driver. They didn't seem to have any problem "processing me into the judicial/enforcement system," either. You know, because I have a name. Come on, by that logic you should also need a license to go grocery shopping so they can "process" you properly if you "accidentally" eat that whole bag of Cheetos before you get to the checkout line.
As for the "no gas tax" thing, I guess everybody should move to Chicago, because whenever I purchase gasoline they still make me pay tax on it even though I explain I'm a cyclist. Sure, I point to the bike on the roof rack and I beg and plead, yet still I have to pay the same as all the other schmucks, which is TOTAL BULLSHIT.
It's tempting to say that drivers hate cyclists, but that's not true. What they hate is physics. It bothers them that the big machine needs to burn gasoline, which makes it more expensive, and that it takes up a lot of space, which makes it difficult to use in a city. They resent classical mechanics, and the fact that a big heavy vehicle requires lots of care on the part of the operator, and that failure to exercise that care results in destruction and death.
The upshot of their hatred of physics and their refusal to accept the laws concerning how matter and energy interact is that they feel they should be exempt from those laws. They should not have to pay the expense, and they should not have to exercise the care. Governments and police mostly agree, which is why they've done their best to bend time and space for drivers. Sure, your SUV takes up lots of space, but even in the most dense cities they've made sure there are plenty of voids where only the cars can go. And sure, if you lose control of your SUV you'll cause all sorts of destruction and mayhem, but at least you won't be responsible for any of it.
But that's not enough. If drivers are forced to obey the laws of physics, cyclists should be forced to obey them too--not the laws of physics that govern bikes, but the ones that govern cars. Cyclists should pay money for resources they don't consume, and they should use an infrastructure designed exclusively for fast-moving vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds. At this point I'm waiting for someone to suggest all cyclists should be forced to tow a trailer that's at least the size and weight of a Honda Accord.
And most importantly, drivers should never be forced to acknowledge the fact that the "free ride" of a bicycle is also available to them. After all, if we're getting such a sweet deal you'd think they'd want to get in on it too. I can only assume the reason they don't is that they're afraid of other drivers like themselves, but they needn't worry. After all, this is America, where you can always count on someone with a gun coming to your rescue:
As Stevil points out, it's hard not to suspect this was less about helping a cyclist than it was an excuse to whip out a gun.
In other news, remember the Coros Lynx helmet? You know, the somewhat uncomfortable one that didn't work properly? Well, it's on Kickstarter now, and it's already raised over $100,000:
Just to recap:
--The audio quality is kinda lousy;
--It's heavier and less comfortable than your current helmet;
--No "MIPS," which I don't even know what that is, but it's something helmets are supposed to be made out of now;
--Does nothing you can't do with a phone or a Garmin and Strava.*
*[Strava even has a "Beacon" feature now so your loved ones can check in on you; the Coros Lynx has an emergency notification function I couldn't get to work.]
I've shared my critiques with two PR companies representing this product so far and nobody seems to care, yet this thing is apparently raking it in, so go figure. Perhaps the helmet's success is on the strength of this riveting video:
I'm not sure how listening to music, taking calls, and interacting with your riding partners over an intercom makes cycling more "social." Then again I never thought Budnitz would make it, and here they are making an e-bike:
Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai.