Thursday, November 28, 2013

Insanity Rules in the War on Bikes

So the week has not been quite so cheery for cyclists.  The news was so bad it could have left a reasonable cyclist believing that the anti-bike set exists in a separate reality, with different facts.

Best to get the bad news out of the way first.

In a Washington, D.C. suburb, a grand jury investigated a driver who killed a cyclist by hitting her from behind.  Instead of returning an indictment on manslaughter charges, the grand jury determined that the offense amounted to a lesser charge sparking outrage and dismay in the cycling community.  Apparently the penalty for the offense requires a fine of $2,000.  Oh my.  Holy nonsense, Batman.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, the police identified a driver who struck and killed a cyclist.  Apparently the driver was eating his cereal behind the wheel.  A video of the distracted and hungry driver was located on Youtube.  How good could that cereal have been to have caused the death of a human being?  Was it some small batch musli? Count Chocula with extra chocula?  Honestly.  It could have waited for terra firma.

Bike lanes along King Street in Alexandria, Virginia were held up for greater study by a minority of people who testified at public hearing.  Among the anti-bike lane group was a law professor who stated that the bike lanes were anti-car.  Hmmmm.  Interesting logic indeed, professor.  Perhaps you could study this problem from an unbiased perspective.  The best lawyers always look at issues from both sides to calculate a reasoned response.  This would not be reason.

Not as serious as a car-on-cycle death, but appalling just the same:
A married couple, founders of a conservative think-tank that denies global warming, berated a cyclist who reported a van parked in the bike lane.  The two were captured on a helmet-cam being . . . well just terrible and out of touch.  Appropos of nothing, the husband offered the view that Washington was once a nice place where people got along, implying the bike rider was part of the demise of this imagined Washington civility.  Yes, I know.  Please stop snorting with laughter.  Clearly they were not rational.  Remember what Harry Truman said:  "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."  My guess is that they will not read this, but I do not have hurt feelings.  I hope the guy who captured this with his helmet cam gets a bonus from his employer or wins a scratch-off this week.  He did God's work.

In London there is a certain madness when it comes to cyclists and cars.
The Times reports that Met police have a bike ticket quota of 10 citations for cyclists a month.  Not the greatest use of police resources in a town with elevated deaths of cyclists hit by cars.  But I am not the Queen.  If I were, I would stop this at once, provided it was permissible under whatever laws govern in the instance.

On an up note, Road cc reports on Twitter that the Minister of Labour will ride his Brompton about London.  He will make a point of riding through the worst intersections in support of cyclists and to better understand the the problems they face.  The sooner the better since so many deaths have occurred that tomorrow, November 29, 2013, stopthekilling is holding a protest.  Any U.K. cyclist who is half healthy should really attend.  No really.  If you are there, you should attend.

This is all so dreadful I had to take a deep breath and watch a video of a cat wearing a hat while riding on the back of a bicycle.  I did feel a little better afterwards.

So how did they get all those bike lanes in Holland?  Well, apparently cyclists protested, and even held a mass die-in.  This is what the stopthekilling group hopes to replicate tomorrow in the U.K., and frankly, I hope it works.

There were high notes to the week as well.  The M Street cycle lanes began to be installed in D.C., though the cold weather that made biking tough apparently stopped the painting of the lanes too.

WABA is hosting the first ever Cider Ride in Maryland next month, with three lengths for every rider.

And a random note to end the week's review.
Springfield, Massachusetts is getting bike lanes.  Wooo-hoo.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, even if you are a cat, and you are not parked in it,  let's be smug.

Elisa P.

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