Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Motor-Dependent Drivel...

from someone who should know better.


I saw something posted as a link on the VeloImages Facebook page yesterday morning. I knew right off I should just ignore it, but it was too intriguing. I tried, but I couldn't ignore THIS ONE; after reading the whole thing, the only way to get my blood pressure back down was to either go for a ride (which I had already done), or respond with a post of my own. There is just so much wrong with this that I decided the best way of examining it was to start at the beginning and examine it bit by bit (the quotes are from the linked post):

"...I realized the nearly stand still traffic was being caused by a bicycle and my blood boiled." 

Besides any obvious anger management issues in this quote, as an inanimate object, traffic cannot be caused by a bicycle, any more than crashes are caused by cars, murders are caused by guns, etc. The quicker you realize that human beings are involved in these actions, the more real your perspective will become. Taking the human out of the equation is an easy way to demonize any situation and devalues everyone. Second, and as has been said time and time again, bicyclists do not cause traffic, they are traffic, with just as much right to be a part of it as you in your car. 

"I will honestly say that I do not believe in sharing the road."

Pure arrogance. This road is mine, everyone else get the hell off. Guess what lady, everyone pays for that road, and deserves a share of it.

"The weight of a car can be 4,000 pounds and a car can reach speeds well over 100 mph."

Pure arrogance again. Never mind the fact that there is not road in these United States with a speed limit of 100 mph. This is the argument that bullies use - the I'm bigger than you, so you better do as I say, or get out of the way. To make matters worse, the author is a lesbian, and I can only assume should be well aware of the anti-gay sentiment long directed against those of a different orientation. Yet here she is attempting to bully a group of people based on their different means of mobility. How hypocritical can you be?

"Often, I see a bicyclist merge into existing traffic and block a lane while holding his or her hand out impatiently for us to slow down as if we 'car people' are the problem."

Guess what - you car people (I will use your own term since you deem it necessary to split people into these seemingly neat little groups, as if there were only car people and only bike people) are the problem. Bicyclists don't kill over 30,000 others each year by their inattention and recklessness. Bicyclists don't contribute massive amounts of noise, and air pollution, nor multiple tons of waste each year. Bicycles don't destroy communities by their insatiable demand for more freeways, more lanes, more parking, nor disrupt the quiet of residential neighborhoods by cutting through in order to avoid the traffic created by all those other cars on the road. Bicyclists don't waste limited resources with no regard for the well-being of future generations.

Impatience works both ways. There are two pedals on the floor of your car. Drivers, like you, seem all to eager to use one, and hesitant to use the other, yet they both require essentially the same amount of energy to use. Really, how much trouble is it to apply a little pressure to the brake pedal in order to allow another road user, another human, to safely make their way across the street? Look in the mirror, before you bring up the topic of impatience.

"Once, I saw a cyclist who did decide to wait on the light actually lean on my car for support..."

This is a two-parter: Really, you once saw a cyclist wait at a light? ONCE? Over-exageration for effect is cheap, and will garner you no respect. That is just so far from my experience. And as for the cyclist leaning on my car... My Precious..., the Golum has nothing on you, has he? It is a hunk of metal, rubber, plastic and glass; just a mobility tool and nothing more. To attach any greater sentiment to it, suggests something might be lacking from your life. Try a bike to balance things out.

"This arrogance increases threefold if a cyclist is 'sponsored.'"

You just knew lycra would work its way into her argument at some point, right? Some people just don't get it.

"Sometimes they seem to be tempting someone to hit them."

This is the worst quote of the bunch, and if I were her editor I would dock her pay, at the least. As a lifetime cyclist, I will guarantee, no cyclist, not a single one, is out there wanting to be hit. To suggest the idea is completely irresponsible, and for me at least, puts this GA Voice for which the author writes, in the category of "rag".

"...flippant disregard for all the other tax paying citizens on the road..."

Ah, the old cyclists don't pay taxes bit. Somehow, somewhere, we cyclists became a privileged group. However, somewhere along the line I missed the memo, I guess; though I can't figure out what all those deductions over the years have been. You know I used to work at a research library specializing in American Indian affairs. People used to come forward all the time asking if it were true that American Indians didn't have to pay taxes. Everyone pays taxes (excepting anti-social cheats), but somehow the myths persist.

You know decades ago certain people in positions of influence made decisions about the course of transportation options for this country with little, or no, regard for what those decisions would mean for the future. Those decisions, for a myriad of reasons, have been perpetuated by each succeeding generation. Today, people find themselves backed into an uncontrollable mess of traffic delays and wasted time from which they can conceive no viable way out. Time locked behind the wheel increases, well-being declines. In their daily frustration, they seek a scapegoat to the problem. Rather than look at things objectively in search of a real solution, they lash out at the easy target. In truth all they need to do is to peek in the mirror to see where the real problem lies. Once that realization of the problem is made, the solution is easy.

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