Saturday, March 8, 2014

Byline Urbane

Shocked to read CNN's bold headline, "City Cycling: Road to Fitness, or Accident Waiting to Happen?" Probably an editor's addition, it did attract attention. Read long article, which dispels dangers and suggests enhancements. Many cities have already embraced transportation modes that don't involve toxic fumes. Cycling not only remains twenty times safer than motoring, it represents practically zero risk to others. Author wasn't bashing bicycling after all, but public and readers don't care. Cars will always be too convenient a luxury to relinquish, particularly poorly maintained vehicles with lax licensing, loose steering, scratched glass, thin brakes, and whatever else puts cyclists and pedestrians most at risk.

Cycle commuting only works where business opportunities can be had within short distances, cities. In today's chaotic socioeconomic climate, workers have to commute increasingly far, while finding nearby housing can be a terrible hardship if you aren't settling for more than 6 months. Consequently, you have huge highway jams caused by collision cleanups. Got behind one yesterday that abruptly ended with only a crumpled W-beam guardrail in evidence. Since sunset and sunup, when most commute, represent worst times for solar glare and traffic snarl, you'd think that big employers would stagger arrival times.

Nicholas Bakalar's New York Times analysis confirms that top cyclists are not only healthier but look better than you. Another Times article touts nice places to ride in one of the busiest cities in the World. Thanks to advocates as Transportation Alternatives, former Republican mayor Bloomberg did a 180° turnaround to support the half million who were already cycling among the boroughs every day without floods or snow.

You'd think given a chance more would choose cycling in red states with warmer weather. Conservative rag The Atlantic puzzles over why riding is more dangerous in Southern states than elsewhere in nation, or, in other words, where conservative legislators have defied federal regulations and left roads unsafe on purpose, so Big Oil buddies can profit and constituents die as collateral damage. Appears that's where anti-bike strategies succeeded. Comments following feature the usual invectives against cycling. Excuse that motorists are stupid can no longer be used to rationalize why cyclists must suffer. With the slightest official will licenses may be revoked or withheld.

None of this is news. Labann has written about it for 2 decades. Roman's blog of a year ago, Episode 76: The Modern Moloch, cited a 1924 Times article screaming for action against motorists wantonly killing children. After 90 years that added padded dashboards, passive restraints, and seat belts, not much has improved except for urbane chatter meant to keep issues invisible.

No comments:

Post a Comment