Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bikes on a Global Roll: Coincidence? I think not!

Bike-hating drivers---this one's for you. I say bike-hating drivers because I don't think all drivers hate bikes and cyclists. After all, studies show most cyclists own cars and even drive them from time to time.

But back to you, bike-hating drivers: this is it.

Clearly, there is a vast bike-wing conspiracy out there, with cyclists just waiting to roll all over driver hegemony on the roadways. It's not just local. It's not just national. It's global, people.

First, New York City goes all bike-y with the announcement that it will jump on the bike share bandwagon by contracting with Alta Bicycle Share. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because Alta is the same outfit that brought the now ubiquitous red bikes to DC and Northern Virginia in the form of Capital Bikeshare. And Alta is--brace yourselves--based in Portland. Yes, Portland. Home of shell art, things with birds on them, and guys on bikes.

Not content with spreading the red bikes to NYC, the folks at Capital Bikeshare will be flaunting their red-bike cuteness by throwing a birthday party. They'll be celebrating the one year anniversary of the little-red-bikes-that-could on September 22nd at Yards Park. They'll no doubt be all smug and superior, with that "ride where and when you want" attitude of theirs.

As if that weren't enough, images of bike docks on National Park Service property are dancing in their heads, since Tim Craig at the Washington Post reported that six--count 'em six--members of Congress want to see those red bikes dot the Mall and the Park Service says they're working on ironing out all the details.

Ok, and here's proof that this bike thing is global: Julian Ferguson at the European Cycling Federation sent the following release detailing how European nations are cooperating to add 10,000 kilometers to the network of trans-European bike routes.

So is this bike thing a fad? I wonder from time to time myself--I'm old enough to remember when NYC installed--and then ripped up--bike lanes in the Koch administration. But it looks like for now, these cyclists are intent on joining drivers on the roadways.

As someone who bikes, drives and walks and has issues with the stupid and even dangerous behavior I see by all players from time to time, I suggest we work harder than ever to get along out there. The cost of doing otherwise is just too high.

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