Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Read This Second

You may notice as you read David Darlington's Bicycling piece via the link below or in an actual copy of the magazine, that the piece is accompanied by ads for automobiles.

You may conclude as you read his piece that automobiles are the natural enemies of us cyclists. If you do decide that they are, welcome aboard.

Just as no one thinks twice before using a car for any trip of any length, no one at Bicycling thought twice before placing car ads next to an article about cyclists killed and maimed by cars - oh, and their careless, inebriated or emotionally distraught drivers.

After all, ads pay for the magazine. The articles are bait to attract readers so they'll see the ads. Car companies pay well for ads and their checks are good. The magazine business, like so many others, makes strange bedfellows. A magazine about cycling depends on ads from car makers.

And why not? Cars are, after all, how we get around in America. Cars are transportation. Bikes are fun.

Many cyclists, club cyclists especially, drive to every ride. They don't like to ride in their own neighborhoods - too many cars. They have never been on a bus or light rail train - with or without their bikes. They have never run an errand on a bike or gone to coffee on a bike, a Sunday NY Times in a bag slung over one shoulder.

They don't have a bag to sling over one shoulder. Whatever for?

If you're a cyclist, and I don't know why you'd be reading this if you're not, please think twice before driving your car. If there's another way, a way that does not put another two-ton projectile on our streets traveling 15-over, please choose that way. You don't always have to drive.

If you do always drive and never consider the options, you're just like your non-riding neighbors. How would you feel if you hit a cyclist? What if your bike was on the roof of your car?

We're supposed to behave as we wish others would, right? Let's start by choosing not to drive every time.



Kurt said...

Good post Maynard. I agree with you; we need to, as a society, be less lazy. Some of the best memories I have are of riding to school in MT and then to coffee. I never felt more in shape, and more connected with my surroundings. I have something that I would like to bring up though. Sometimes, I have to drive not out of laziness, but out of a concern for my safety. I live in Golden, and as such, the roads out here aren't nearly as bike friendly as in town. Some are, some aren't. Take south Golden road, no bike lanes, no sidewalk, and 45 mph traffic to Denver west which is even more of a death trap. I agree with a lot of what you said, but it seems that bike travel is most often an afterthought in city planning. Just something else to consider I guess.


Maynard said...

Thanks for the comment, Kurt!
I've ridden those very roads and I agree. Like most suburbs, it's not so bike friendly out there. It's a vicious circle, huh? We want to ride so as not to be more motor traffic, but the motor traffic scares us back into our cars. We become one more element of it.

Even just thinking about not driving sets you apart from your neighbors. I hope you can ride once in a while. Perhaps seeing you and an increasing number of us out there on our bikes will "normalize" us for all those drivers. And perhaps we can teach wolves to sit up and beg...