Monday, September 12, 2016

Bike Lanes are Destroying America

Last Friday I mentioned this humorous Internet thingy from Chicago, which I assume was inspired by this recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune:


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.

57 comments:

C.L. said...

Doing the Victor Cruz Salsa

Anonymous said...

Podium.

McFly said...

I got your gas tax right here.

[Farts loudly then awkwardly starts shuffling towards the men's room]

dop said...

Monday scranus

CommieCanuck said...

That bike run over was a Rocky Mountain Vapor, frames are like tanks.
I guess things are getting better in Canada's scranus, as a black man holding a gun on someone was not gunned down by police immediately.

bad boy of the north said...

gas tax my ass...and i'm in the first group.nah nah nah nah nah nah.

N/A said...

I go to the special gas station in town that has the "cyclists tax-exempt" lane when I buy my gas.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Top Dix

Freddy Murcks said...

The amazing thing is that John McCarron has the mental capacity needed to operate a car (or, for that matter, type) while also furiously fumbling in his pants trying to find his dick.

mike w. said...

i guess it's a lost cause to point out to Mr. McCarron that "bikers" ride Harley Davidsons...

Freddy Murcks said...

The Budnitz Model-E is a Hyundai.

Am I the only person who finds the Budnitz origin myth to be a crock of fairly hilarious bullshit? "Buy a $5000 Ti version of a Wal-Mart bike and simplify your life."

Dave - Everywheere said...

The only thing worse than cycling lanes are these damned sidewalks that are provided free of charge to the moochers known as "pedestrians" (notice how closely that resembles "pederasts"?). You put in sidewalks, freakin' everywhere it seems, and now I cannot park my 4,000 pound steel, chrome and glass chariot close to the store that I want to visit, not to mention the fact that I have to check my right side for these pederasts - I mean pedestrians - every time I want to slide through a red light under the guise of "right on red". If people don't want to drive to a destination in a car, then stay the hell home!!

The King of Park Slope said...

No Lover Boy lyrics?

None said...

Nature Deficit Disorder is a real thing.

That is all.

-Chazu

Frickus Rungus said...

I'm confused by the electric motor on the budschnitzel. According to the manufacturer, The electric hub "is able to optimize the rider’s energy while biking and never needs to be rechaged since is running a patended algorithm able to manage the energy flows between the rider and the system itself, optimizing the overall efficency without need to add energy from the external."

So, have they invented the perpetual motion machine? Or do they just not have a very good grasp of English?

Grump said...

Snobby, not only do driver hate to have to look for cyclists when they make a right (or left) turn on green, they also hate to have to come to a complete stop before running over a pedestrian, or cyclist in the crosswalk. They only time they come to a complete stop is when there is a "red light camera" guarding the intersection. Such "red light cameras" are a common thing in many Chicago suburbs......Great for raising suburban revenues.


Anonymous said...

What is it with the guns? It's insane to me that anyone can carry a gun on them here. Even as the bodies continue to stack up, it still seems to be viewed as a god given "right" and one that needs to be protected at all cost. Kind of like the "right" to drive cars around unimpeded like fucking idiots. What is wrong with us?

Anonymous said...

E-bikes are stupid. that's all I wanted to say.

dem_bieks! said...

MIPS is a patented method of adding an inner flexible cage that allows the head to rotate inside the helment on impact.

Federal safety-type orgs support the feature as the goal seems to be to limit rotational force damage to the human noggin and the feature tests well.

I gots a helment with it. I hated paying a huge patent premium, but seems like a good idea. Hopefully, I will never have to find out if it worked.

wle said...

geez, right on target with the anti car stuff!

wle

wle said...

does it seem ironic to anyone else that gun guy defends cyclist?

usually gun guys are not exactly cycle.friendly

wle

Anonymous said...

It is fair to expect traffic engineers not to design conflict with users at intersections. I mean, when you are running two parallel roadways systems side by side, you have to take into account that some users may turn. And without separate signals OR merged lanes so each user does not interfere with the others, you get an increased likelihood of crashes.

I prefer skills of both cyclists and drivers to be increased, ESPECIALLY drivers as they are already legally restricted and for good reason. They are operating powerful heavy motorized machinery in public spaces.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Why do I have to pay the gas tax when I am filling up my jerry can to bring gas home to run my portable generator?

Maybe the cars and SUV's that kill and maim so many pedestrians minding their own business on the actual sidewalks do so because they get annoyed from all the time they spend waiting for these pedestrians to get out of the sidewalk.

And finally, the driver who hit the cyclist and kept driving for so long dragging the bike along was a pretty big pussy (apologies to all feline types) once outside of his urban assault vehicle and confronted with a firearm.

That is all.

Asshole Porsche Driver said...

While I am sad that bike lanes and the PC-addled politicians who insist on putting them in are destroying the fabric of American civilization, I am glad that Snob has finally acknowledged it. Now maybe we can finally agree that we should pave over the whole country and declare ourselves a bunch of car fucking autosexuals.

Hugh Janus, Expert Motorist...and Marksman said...

The only part of physics that you jaggoffs really need to learn: Car big. Pedal-toy not. Also, glad to know that I ain't the only one driving around strapped. Can't say I woulda hunted down some clod just for smashing into some turd on a bike though. Now if he had a bumper sticker I didn't like or was blaring some song I hated then, yeah, sure I'd draw down on his ass. But running over a biker and driving away? Pffft...please. I got shit to do and places to be.

JuanOffhue said...

Conflict at intersections is one of the reasons John Forester doesn’t like bike lanes, and argues instead for traffic lanes wide enough to accommodate motor vehicles and cyclists.

http://www.johnforester.com/

Anonymous said...

You getting a Hyundai? Get theTeam Wiggins Santa Fe..
New car smell?, not so much, more embrocation and 2 day old chamois.

http://www.marshallweb.co.uk/hyundai/new-car-offers/team-wiggins/?gclid=CKWaxqvAis8CFWEo0wodU8YIeg

Spokey said...

dem_bieks!


yeah a mips is more expensive, but you can get them for not much more.

a regular bell draft helmet is $34.95 at amazon.

a Bell Draft MIPS Helmet is $53.95 at amazon.

seems reasonable if you're thinking mips is important.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, you should try yoga if you want to stretch this much:


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.


I mean, who hates physics? Who buys a car and doesn't realize it's going to burn gasoline? Classical mechanics (whatever that is, do you mean the laws governing motion?) and vehicle maintenance are unrelated and failure to exercise care may or may not result in accidents. Perhaps one day the big, expensive thing will simply refuse to start.

Calm down, go for a bike ride. Try not to hate the laws of physics that keep you upright.

janinedm said...

Frickus Rungus, I think the Budnitz marketing people are talking about regenerative braking (I did a lot of research into up converting a bike into an e-bike during my first year of #bikelyfe. Thank goodness some conditioning kicked in before I succumbed to weakness.)

Anonymous said...

While it's chilling to see anyone pull a gun on someone, given the high likelihood of road-chase theatrics and subsequent injuries had the police been called upon to stop the driver, gun guy should be commended for taking control of the situation and acting in more or less of a levelheaded manner. Albuquerque's a depressingly violent city and its drivers may be some of the worst in the country. That this incident ended without a death is amazing.

NHcycler said...

Anonymous @3:12PM:

Of course people who buy cars know they must buy gasoline. The problem is that after watching the TV car ads that convince them that they "deserve" that large, expensive, luxury SUV, they don't think about the cost of operating said machine. The average American thinks that 22 mpg is a reasonable rate, and maintenance can be put off until it really costs. Plus, those 20 inch, low profile tires sure look great!

mongo said...

mongo love gun guy.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:12pm,

And you should try another blog.

--Wildcat Etc.

BamaPhred said...

Just run off road gas and bypass those pesky gas taxes.....pay no attention to that red dye

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

" it's those bike lanes that get me going. Not all bike lanes,"
JUST THE ONES THAT I ENCOUNTER!

Dooth said...

You know what else drivers hate? Philosophy. They're always asking such deep questions, like, "where the fuck do you think you're going"?

babble on said...

Yay!! You said MIPS!! I love you, snobberdoodums.

Spokey, I learned the hard way just a couple of weeks ago now that not all MIPS healments are created equal, and that it's crucial that your MIPS helmet is actially fixed to your skull with something other than pads. SO any helmet that claims to have the MIPS system in it yet doesn't have the adjustable band to secure it to your head is just glorified styrofoam destined to fail once you've owned it for a month or so and the pads have worn in enough that you can easily put it on and take it off, and it needs the straps done up JUST SO to keep it in place.

Sorry GIRO. I was thinking of coming out of blogger retirement to do a product review, comparing it's mid range MIPS equipped Quarter with something that is actually useful, like my beloved, light as a feather LAZER Helium. Sure it's expensive, but it's yer brain fer fucksake, and till they figure out how to transplant that, it's the only one you've got. What's it worth to you?

Re The Entitled Motorist: what I want to know is where everyone figuted that they have the God given RIGHT to drive everywhere they want, as if there were unlimited supplies of petroleum products, and as if the Earth could take an all out assault indefinitely. And how they all just assume that in paying tax on the gasoline they consume that they have paid for the infrastructure that allows them to use the roads to maim, torture and kill at will. Do we lay it at the feet of the MadMen who tricked everyone into thinking they couldn't function properly in a western society without a fucking CAR, or is it just collective unconsciousness that allows so many idiots out on the roads??

EricBikeCO said...

The $6000+ I pay in property tax every year covers the use of the roads. Income tax doesn't cover roads? Idiots. Tax on gas is a PENALTY for using your VEEhickle. I went for a run today instead of a ride, didn't not take my "jogging license plate". Idiots.

Freddy Murcks said...

Babble - I am quite fond of my MIPS-equipped Giro Montaro. I have yet to do a "Babble" with it so I have yet to see how well it does or does not deal with a good bell ringer, but I find that the chin strap generally keeps the helmet (and the MIPS liner therein) pretty firmly attached to my head.

leroy said...

Mr. McCarron is just grumpy because he heard that if you have a bike on a roof rack, they give you free gas at filling stations when non-cyclists aren't looking.

It's like that scene from Eddie Murphy's classic "White Like Me" when he gets the newspaper.

You know, some day a guy could run for President by selling privileged folks the notion that inequality is an entitlement that has to be protected.

wishiwasmerckx said...

RIP Crazy Eddie.

His prices were INSANE!!!

Some guy from upstate said...

Bike lanes that hide bikes and cars from each other are dumb. It's like a right-hook-generating machine.

Hey - we got bike lanes on Madison Ave here in the fluffy ball of NYC's touque. I saw my first salmon last week.

Anonymous said...

re: MIPS
http://www.helmets.org/mips.htm

Actual benefit or marketing hype? Let's see some actual data, one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

No, you should try another blog.

No, I'm Don Francesco's sister.

No, you should try another blog.

No, I'm Don Francesco's sister.

dancesonpedals said...

On avenues without bike lanes (I'm looking at you, Lexington) I like to ride in the bus lane. Cars stay clear of it for the most part. Better still, cars standing in no standing zones every two blocks act as speed bumps and prevent the buses from picking up enough speed to be dangerous.

Anonymous said...

RE: John Forester:

When I was in my teens, maybe into my 20s, I rode like John Forester's "Vehicular Cyclist". I thought what he wrote made sense. At some point I got tired of all that stress. I am still in the fairly confident biking type, but I strongly dislike mixing with and slowing traffic that's trying to go 30+ MPH to prove my vehicularity. I'm not a fan of John any more.

janinedm said...

I tend to ride on the opposite side of the bus lane. i figure that if I'm going to inconvenience anyone, it shouldn't be the 30 people on public transportation, but rather the 30 special snowflake who just HAD to drive in the city. Plus, when buses do come, they have even less patience than cars. Double plus, they have bigger blind spots. But really the only time I regularly ride on an ave with a bus lane is on 5th. The last time I rode on Lex the pavement was so terrible it nearly justified gravel bikes. I was on a steel bike with a Brooks saddle and I swear, if I had filled my bag with fruit on 59th, I would have had a smoothie by the time I got to 42nd.

Anonymous said...

No nother blog never! The Evanston lanes stop their wall-o-cars well before the intersections. Streetsblog Chicago ran a solid rebuttal of the editorial, and although it wasn't as fun as yours, Wildcat, it does feature a (startlingly) funny caption. That's here:
http://chi.streetsblog.org/2016/09/10/the-rant-is-due-yet-another-anti-bike-screed-from-the-tribs-john-mccarron/#more-113089

JLRB said...

50

Congress should amend the laws of physics, which are so un-American

JLRB said...

AND I am not surprised to Walter White pull a gun to help a cyclist, and I do not attribute it to his wanting to whip out his gun. This is the one thing that puzzled me about THE DONALD's 2nd Amendment bit - not all gun owners are right wing nut jobs!

Un nun y un moose said...

Snob you nailed it today. The laws of physics dictate that our current car-centric Amurican infrastructure is impossible to maintain. Bicycle transport runs counter to the wasteful myths that keep the US rolling in cars. More simply we're all a buncha frickin hippies, and that's infuriating.

Anonymous said...

Here's some snark that's based on nothing:

"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."

What do you and Stevil see that I don't? Was there something to indicate the good samaritan's motives were not genuine? It just seems like you have a pre-existing bias against citizens with guns. Why else would you assign a negative motive to this gentleman based on absolutely nothing?

It makes you sound dumber than the people you mock. But set me straight if there's something I missed in the article.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:39pm,

I do have a bias. Americans are too stupid to drive, let alone carry guns.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

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Three Fingered Knuck Tat said...

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Anonymous said...

"Coros Lynx helmet"; impossible to over-estimate human susceptibility to "bright, shiny things" ...