It is human nature – when you are aware and think of a particular topic, you tend to find things related to that topic in the world around you. Even so, my eyes kinda bugged out of my head when I ran across an article about a New Jersey lawmaker Cleopatra Tucker wanted mandatory license plates for bicycles.
I’ve received some interesting responses – both directly and indirectly – about my recent post titled ‘Anti-bike Propaganda.’ In that article, I picked random comments made by folks on various websites, forums and news posts. All of the quoted comments – by design – had a decidedly anti-cycling flavor.
I’ve now taken some time to ponder some of the responses, and I think I’ll start selectively addressing some of the statements I collected. The first statement I’d like to examine deals with the issue of bicycle registration, or licensing
Share the road. Make insurance mandatory along with license plates on bicycles, they can cause accidents just as cars, and be used in crimes just like cars so the laws should be made “center of the road” so it is equal for both parties using the road. Simple.
It has been a secret desire of mine for some time to get myself some studded snow tires for my bike, and then drive somewhere where they are actually required.
But what about those poor folks that already live somewhere where they are required. Or worse yet, those poor folks that wake up one morning to find that they are suddenly and unexpectedly required.
In an odd series of connections I found a great video of tips for cyclists, given from the point of view of a driver. This was actually posted over 3 years ago on Brian Acord’s blog over at GreenWheels.org. Brian is actually a fellow CycleFolsom member and ride leader. Yup – I’m referring to that Brian. Have a look at the video – and share it with friends and family!
“Jolly old soul.” Bahhh Humbug. These days, the world could benefit if America’s favorite holiday icon was trim enough to sport some lycra. With childhood obesity considered to be at epidemic levels, do we really need a “jolly old soul” who is overweight and probably very out of shape? Would we think a little differently about fitness throughout the year if we new that Santa was planning to give the reindeer a break and ride a bike for next year’s delivery instead of his sled?
Apparently, Mr. Clause has been getting pressure from all sides recently. On the health front, especially, it is reported by insiders that Mrs. Clause has been pushing Santa hard. One elf, that asked to remain anonymous, said:
Clearly he have to consider if shaking like a bowl full if jelly is still the right image to portray to our children. But it is also a lot more personal than that for the boss. Even though he is immortal, heart attacks still hurt like hot cocoa in the lap. And Santa’s cholesterol numbers have been through the roof lately.
Divisions, divides and cultures. Divisions, divides and cultures. It seems to have been my mantra of the last couple of months. And apparently I’m not the only person somehow entranced by these topics.
On the other side of things, I’ve talked ad nauseam about the cycling world’s habit of dividing up into subcultures. Truth be told, I don’t really think this is a “cycling world” issue as much as it is just human nature. Us versus them seems to be an innate human tenancy.
Sacramento Press has put out an article titled Tips for deterring bicycle thieves. Most of the article is repeating the “lock it, lock it, lock it” mantra. However, urban cycling supports in the comments for the article took minor exception to the description of cycling as a sport.
Interestingly enough, the statement made by a Sacramento Police Offices – as quoted in the article – is one of some contention as well:
Try not to leave it in areas that aren’t well-traveled,” said Sgt. Norm Leong, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.
The Auburn-Reporter recently posted an article on the future of cycling in Auburn, WA. Situated in a North-South valley south of Seattle, Auburn actually provides many opportunities for cyclists. The terrain is basically flat around town, but has ample opportunities for reasonably challenging hills surrounding the valley for those that want to climb. The local rail service – the Sounder – allows bikes to be taken on board, making bicycles a viable option for large portions of the region. In addition, the Interurban Trail travels nearly 15 miles of the North-South corridor, providing yet more out-of-traffic travel opportunities.
With eyes fixed on the future rushing onward like a freight train — a future in which Auburn is expected to swell to a city of more than 150,000 within 50 years — Mayor Pete Lewis formed the Bicycle Task Force last March to study bike trails and routes within the city.
Pro Cycling is, unfortunately, not very well covered on television in the US. For most of us, that pushes us to either insane satellite TV receiver hacking, or the internet. And for the internet, nothing is as valuable a resource as www.cyclingfans.com. You can follow them on twitter, or facebook.
And thanks to them, use yankees (and non-yankees, as the case may be) can catch a glimpse of the 2011 pro team presentations. Even though we already know who will be on most of these teams, these presentations are still fun to watch.
I may, however, be changing my mind. And you, dear reader, get to come along for the ride.
So to stop skirting the issue, I’ll state my opinion, as it exists today:
I don’t really mind wearing a helmet, but I really don’t think they do squat to protect me. The risks the helmet protect me from are the same risks I experience when walking down the street. I’m just as comfortable riding my bike without a helmet as I am walking across my living room without a helmet.
And that is when the “Say what” and “this guy’s nuts” comments come on. “Clearly you’re safer with a helmet on. It’s obvious. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron,” is another possible retort to my sentiment.