Trickle-Down Dorothy

November 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

I feel like I’ve read 10 articles since Monday regarding “how to be safe” on your bicycle, sometimes from people who admittedly have not taken their bike out of the basement in years. I’ve read a few rebuttals and my favorite is from the Bike Snob.

Then I was told about this video from the Sun-Times this morning.

According to whoever made the video, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “won’t stop until every Chicagoan from Laramie to Lawrence is on a powder blue bicycle” because as a kid his bike was stolen in Wilmette.

Then the narrator goes on to explain that the system will be expanded to be as large as 475 stations next year (300 now), even though Chicago is cold, and windy, and snow, and why didn’t they do this in San Diego or Miami or Phoenix where it’s warm!?

Well, the other “largest” systems, by some measures, are Montréal, New York City, and Washington, D.C., not to mention cities like Paris where yes, it does get cold and sometimes snows. But that’s not the point – it doesn’t always snow in Chicago. It may snow (and stick) 3 or 4 months of the year. It just snowed this week, but the snow is gone and I have Divvy’d to work (from the red line station) every day this week. It beats walking.

Did I mention he calls them “powder blue girls bikes”?

I would not expect a major newspaper to publish a video where the argument against something is because it’s too “girly.”

Still from the video.

Still from the video.

Also according to the narrator is that some streets like Dearborn are now a “disaster” thanks to the removal of a parking lane (actually no, the parking is still there) for a two-way bike lane. I find it a bit funny that the video they chose to play during this narration shows at least 14 people riding bikes next to a traffic jam.

And did you know that none of the bicyclists follow the bike signals at the intersections… Except they do. If whoever made this video stepped outside once in a while and looked, they would have seen this. Perhaps they’d make a video about drivers who do not stop at marked crosswalks?

Basically, the narrator tells us that he knows bicycling is good for the environment and some people like it, and even he had a bike for ten years! But after the “fifty-seventh” close call, he gave it up. Hey, you know what prevents those close calls?

Protected bike lanes.

(Also, report your close calls in Chicago on this website).

Then he goes into how someone was just accidentally on Lake Shore Drive. But I’d rather have a person riding a bike somewhere they’re not supposed to be than a car where they’re not supposed to be:

And to close, the narrator feigns interest in bicycle safety by wondering why the system doesn’t require helmets (hint: it would fail, and then you’d make a video about how the city wasted all this money on an unpopular system), and tells everyone to just “be safe.”