Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quotable Link: New York City bike lanes...

I know, this one has been given a lot of attention lately, and not just in the cycling and transportation spheres, but seemingly everywhere. It is so utterly and grossly over-the-top:

"I am sure that the level of emotional and psychological damage wrought by the bicycle far exceeds the damage done by cars...It is homegrown terrorism. The cumulative effect is equivalent to what happened on 9/11.”

If you can stomach these sorts of feeble-minded witticisms check out the full article as it is studded with them. As for the quote above, I can probably count the number of times I have been psychologically damaged by the sight of an approaching bicycle on one hand, and a hand lacking fingers at that. As for cars, I think I can attribute most of the grey hairs atop my head to them. I mean honestly, in what possible world could a thinking person conceivably equate the potential for damage done by bicycle with that of a car? 

And then to go beyond this and equate the monstrous cost of bicycle-inflicted damage with terrorism is an unwarranted punch to the gut of every rider simply striving to carry on through the routine of daily activity. Ignoring the fact that this use of the term terrorism completely warps the definition enough to cause the gods of the English language to shudder, the above quote sounds like it has been uttered by someone who has not pedaled a single day of his adult life. For if he had spent any time on the road he would have a clear understanding of from whence terror truly originates, that is of course unless it comes out of nowhere at 50 mph. The irony is that the quote comes from the mouth of a former bike shop owner. It makes me wonder how many of those weapons of terror roaming the streets of New York were sold from his shop.

The reasoning behind the decision to publish a quote such as this escapes me. Its place would seem to be solidly in the sphere of tabloid journalism, not the pages of the New Yorker. If there is something so desperately dangerous about the bike lanes in New York City (which is what the story is really about), tell me what that is in straightforward terms. Inflammatory quotes which are so far beyond the scope of reality do nothing to promote dialogue, or contribute to the resolution of an issue which, does indeed, affect the safety and well-being of many people. Literally everything I have read about the New York bike lanes suggests great success - numbers of deaths and injuries are down, by not being trapped in stifling auto-dominated congestion people are saving time, and because they are participating in an active transportation mode, they stand to reap the benefits of a healthier life. It is an interesting story, worth the time to read. I must say though that it simply confirmed my belief that bike lane opponents are afraid of the inevitable changes which are going to effect the only lifestyle they have ever known, and for which they are inadequately prepared.

I leave you with one more: 

“Bikers really think they’re doing work for the environment if, instead of taking the car a block, they take the bike to the food co-op. That’s touching. But it’s silly.”

Sorry, but silly to me is needing a car for an errand located one block away. Oh, and though it might be a nice after-effect, most of us are not doing it for the environment, we are doing it mostly, because it is good for us, it is easier and/or it beats hell out of driving.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...