They drive among us: an astounding display of far right anti-bike bias

Honestly, I thought anti-bike stupidity reached it’s peak in the ‘80s.

That’s when Denver sportswriter Woody Paige, then writing for the late Rocky Mountain News, unfavorably compared professional cyclists competing in the Coors Classic — including Greg LeMond and the legendary Bernard Hinault — to children riding with playing cards stuck in their spokes.

Tony Kornheiser’s misguided rant not withstanding.

Yet in an online edition of the Waterbury, CT Republican-American, which — despite an obvious conservative bent — has nothing to do with the political party of the same name, D. Dowd Muska does his best to trump them all.

Starting with his headline: 4 wheels are good; two wheels are bad. (Note: The Republican-American has blocked access to the column, but you can find it online by searching for the author’s name).

Seriously, I should have stopped reading right then. But then, I’ve always been one to rush in where wise men fear to tread, to wit:

There is something profoundly wrong with a nation where more adults ride bicycles than children.

America might now be such a nation.

Yeah, seriously. Denmark, and much of Europe, should be ashamed to place such a high priority on two-wheeled transport over man’s God-given right to drive a Hummer whenever and wherever he damn well pleases.

While kids sit at home texting their friends and slaying computer-generated monsters, a growing number of their parents and grandparents are clogging the roads atop a contraption that once was considered a child’s toy.

Amazingly, it goes downhill from there.

Two odious ideologies fuel the popularity of bicycling: anti-obesity extremism and eco-lunacy. Pedal power, we are told, will not only make you thinner, it will reduce your “carbon footprint.” (It’s a nanny-state twofer.)

Already slim, or pursuing other means to lose weight? Like your SUV, and don’t swallow the discredited theory that man is baking the planet? Then obviously you’re an idiot.

Well, if the shoe fits.

Of course, he goes on to spout the usual nonsense about scofflaw cyclists, since no drivers ever speed, fail to come to complete stops or forget to use turns signals. And describes the industry trade group Bikes Belong as an “agitprop shop,” citing their clearly insidious goal of “putting more people on bikes more often.”

There’s more, of course.

Isn’t there always?

Rants about “dubious bike schemes” and “Big Bicycle” dipping its toe into federal gas tax funds and the bank bailout. And quoting a self-hating cyclist and Cato Institute scholar as saying:

“There really is very little evidence that any of (these efforts) are reducing the amount of driving. They’re just making it more annoying to drivers.”

Then again, Muska had already refuted that himself in the third paragraph, where he noted the recent rapid rise in ridership, as exemplified by Philadelphia’s 97% increase in bike commuters over just three years.

Or maybe those people formerly commuted by flying carpet before switching to bikes.

But then, I suppose you can’t expect someone like that to confuse himself with something as trivial as the facts.

Or rational thought, for that matter.

………

The Art Theater of Long Beach is screening Riding Bikes with the Dutch tonight (Thursday) at 7 pm.

………

More coverage of the Critical Mass Takedown, as the Times reports on Mayor Villaraigosa’s letter to the LACBC, yet oddly, has nothing to add to the story. L.A. Weekly goes into far more depth to cover the story, but doesn’t quite grasp the concept of Critical Mass, or that a lot of cyclists who don’t ride Critical Mass still care very deeply about the problem of hit-and-runs.

………

Cyclelicious offers a couple of great looks at the Blackhawk, Colorado bike ban, which was supposedly done for safety reasons — even though there were no cyclist or pedestrian deaths in the entire county in the last four years for which records are available. Meanwhile, the Denver bus driver who ran over a 72-year old cyclist, leading to a possible bike ban on the city’s 16th Street Mall, didn’t brake because he “had passengers” on board; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

………

Transportation Committee members reconsider plans to widen the historic North Spring Street bridge, supposedly for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. Gary gets credit for better Broadway bike lanes. LADOT’s bike blogger offers a recap of last Sunday’s River Ride. Forty percent of Claremont car trips are short enough for a 6-year old to bike, while local authorities want to pave the Wilderness Park to put in more parking; maybe they don’t understand the meaning of Park in this context. The scum bucket suspect accused of attacking four cyclists in San Francisco appears in court. Good advice on how to share the road with cyclists. The Chicago Sun-Times talks to bike blogger Dottie Brackett of Let’s Go Ride a Bike. A two-inch crack in a New York bridge results in 40 stitches and a fractured hand. Sharrows are popping up everywhere in Portland — and soon here, we hope? How lawyers and legislators devalue your life. Georgia is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law. UCI warned Floyd Landis not to go public with his doping allegations against one of their officials. Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France winner, is doubtful for this year’s Tour due to a back injury. A Belgian biking Olympian finally gets his gold 62 years later. A Lycra-free London guide to cycle chic; then again, who needs bike shorts when you can ride naked? There’s enough crap in the bike lane without having to deal with crap in the bike lane. You could be riding on your recycled printer cartridge on the newest Aussie bikeway; just another reason to continue those “discredited” eco policies anyway.

Finally, why you should always wear a helmet, tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek edition.

7 comments

  1. Chewie says:

    This is why I think there should be “share the road” bumper stickers for sale at every bike shop. Activists have to fight so hard to get things like signage that it seems a waste to let any car bumper go unadorned with pro-bike messages.

    BTW, thanks for the advice. I started riding my bike again. Suburbia is intolerable without it.

    • bikinginla says:

      Glad to hear it, Chewie. Speaking strictly from experience, you’ll feel better and be a lot happier. Just ride smart and you’ll be fine.

  2. Digital Dame says:

    :::snicker, snort, guffaw:::

    Do you think anyone actually takes that guy seriously?? I started laughing halfway through. Maybe it was meant as a humor piece? No thinking adult with more than 2 synapses firing could possibly believe that nonsense. He’s another carhead, cocooned in his own tiny little world with absolutely no concept that there are other places in the world apart from his tiny little town. (and believe it or not, I know where Waterbury, CT is).

    I think this kind of stuff comes from a guilty conscience. Somewhere deep down inside he knows he’s in the wrong, but is one of those people who cannot imagine altering their lazy habits for anything, and they strike out at whoever is making them feel bad about themselves, like people who defend obesity.

    • bikinginla says:

      Personally, I think it comes from a knee-jerk right wing view of the world with no connection whatsoever to reality. I used to call myself a conservative, but some of those folks out there now make Atilla the Hun look good.

  3. The TricksterNZ says:

    For some reason I couldn’t view the original story. Thing is retards will be retards. Also, I’d love to see how Woody Page would do dealing with an enraged Hinault (then or now) as from memory I’ve heard stories about how he makes some of the ‘hardmen’ riding now look like teddybears.

    Anyway, got a link for you courtesy of my flatmate. While it does show the economic benefits of cycling I’d rather see the source report before I take it as gospal.

    http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/cycling-equals-big-financial-benefits-plus-fewer-cars-says-new-study/

    As for me, unless I supported our ultra-right-wing/libertarian party here I’d be considered an extreme liberal over there – says something about both the political spectrum here and there.

    • bikinginla says:

      Yeah, the paper seems to have blocked access unless you’re a registered user; however, if you Google Muska’s name, you can find the article on his site.

      It’s pretty bizarre what’s happened in American politics in recent years. A columnist for the L.A. Times recently wrote a great story saying that current conservatives are far to the right of Ronald Reagan, who was pretty conservative himself.

      Thanks for the link. I’d be very curious what a similar study would show here. but I can’t imagine that anyone would actually conduct one.

      And good luck against Slovakia; looks like you guys have a pretty tough group in the Cup. But with a little luck on both sides, maybe we’ll see you in the knockout rounds.

  4. The TricksterNZ says:

    If by tough you mean for us and nobody else, well you’re right. However really Italy should get through by a stroll and I’d probably put my money on Paraguay as 2nd through.

    If we’re going to pick up points however I’d say it’d be against the Slovaks and maybe Italy for a draw if they just cruise. I’d doubt we’ll get anything out of Paraguay as they’ll simply be too fast and too attack-minded and traditionally we don’t do well against South American teams as they just snuff out our “smash em, then long ball” style tactics.

    Keep an eye out for Shane Smeltz, Rory Fallon and Leo Bertos as if anyone is going to open the games up for us, it’ll be one of those three.

    Good luck against the English (although just quietly I hope they win as they’re my second team :P ).

    By the way, your link to the article just links back to here.

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