Ah, the Blame Game


Once again I woke this morning to another intrepid reporter blaming bikes for the ills of the world, or at least his little part of it. Interesting that, not once, did he place any blame on the overabundance of motor vehicles for causing even a small portion of the congestion he found himself stuck in. Instead it was all the fault of those bikes and their riders.

Typical.

The story, which probably would not have been written if not for being "tortured by about 2000 of them", quickly became one about money and paying for the roads. (Funny thing is that these 2000 were actually triathletes, not exclusively cyclists, so I guess runners should be reaching out to share some of the blame right about now). Anyway, and you guessed it by now I am sure - the tired old, disproven "cyclists don't pay their share" argument reared it biased head. What got my gall, in particular, is that Mr. Skelton actually admitted that "they're often one and the same. Except for kids, bike riders usually drive cars, too." Yet apparently that word "too" is enough to make us pay twice. Or more, if you own more than one bike; god help those of us with a family - we could owe more in registration fees than we pay for our cars, all while contributing less than 1% to the wear and tear of our roadways. 

Mr. Skelton believes that closing down a road for a major cycling (triathlon) event is arrogant and self-indulgent, and his argument once again came down to money. I can guarantee you, Mr. Skelton, that closing down a state highway takes a whole lot of money, far more than most promoters can afford, and is the reason it is almost never done. It is cost prohibitive, and very likely the reason this particular race won't be run again next year. It is the reason most races are run on little out of the way circuits in industrial parks. Heck even the largest bike race in the state rarely closes a road down entirely.

Instead of advocating for a creative way to raise funds to fix our roadways, go ahead with your gut reaction, blame the cyclists. I guess it is all you've got.

If Mr. Skelton had left his argument at having his heart set on a fun day at the lake and having to change those plans, I could have sympathized. After all I, myself, have had to alter a favored biking route, because of too many of those pesky, murderous cars around. But no, he had to go and play the blame game, missing the mark in the process.

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