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The Rest is Noise

April 14, 2013
As the world moves into a bike-friendly future, NBBL still has an active lawsuit against this.

As the world moves into a bike-friendly future, NBBL still has an active lawsuit against this.

I’ve been saying for a long time that the most comforting fact of the now-dwindling bikelash is that its most fervent agents have so far been unable to come up with any new ideas.  So it’s always comforting when someone far smarter than I agrees.  Writing in the Guardian, Oliver Burkeman declares that “All the major cycling-related arguments have been won.”

“…bike lanes are popular; they don’t hurt local businesses; more biking doesn’t lead to more accidents; bike lanes make pedestrians safer and don’t impede the flow of car traffic.”

This is bad news for tabloid writers, editors measuring page views, and notorious bike lane opponents such as Iris Weinshall, Norman Steisel, and Louise Hainline, but good news for everyone else.

Burkeman writes that “the anti-bike lobby urgently needs some new arguments,” and provides a few suggestions.

In some contexts, bikes are much more dangerous than cars. Consider a heavy bike, dropped from a height of 20ft onto a playground where numerous small children are playing, innocently unaware of the tragedy about to befall them. Now compare this to a car parked on a quiet street. Only the most biased, Brooklyn-dwelling NPR listener could deny the obvious: the bike, in this example, is much, much more dangerous.

It’s ridiculous, of course, but in a way it makes more sense than the bike lane that is unnecessary because no one uses it but dangerous to cross because of the many cyclists using it.

There will be bumps along the bike lane to a people-first future, and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but whatever opposition exists from here on out is just noise.  “The great bike war is over,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said recently.  “And the opponents lost.”


  1. April 14, 2013 9:54 pm

    Actually in this instance, shopping carts are much, much, much more dangerous than cars.

  2. April 14, 2013 10:01 pm

    I heartily agree with your logic.


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