Do cyclists really want to “have it both ways”?
I cringe at much of the cycling behavior I see on New York City streets and share some of the sentiment expressed by Sarah Goodyear in her lament in the Atlantic Cities, but I think her piece misses the mark.
Goodyear’s analysis has already inspired a spirited discussion online, with this take from Wash Cycle reflecting my own opinion that one can hope, wish, and work for better behavior while still believing that fidelity to the law should not be a prerequisite for better infrastructure.
But as someone who is very entrenched in the advocacy community, my biggest issue is with this passage:
“I am truly sick, at this late date, of people wanting to have it both ways: calling for protected bike lanes and a bike-share system, demanding that cops step up enforcement when it comes to cars, and then blithely salmoning up a major thoroughfare and expecting everyone look the other way.”
This is a straw man, and I think Goodyear undermines her point by creating it. The people who want better infrastructure and the people who “blithely” salmon “expecting everyone look the other way” are not generally the same people. Those who advocate for better infrastructure and enforcement are often among the most law-abiding and courteous cyclists in their city. However, the cyclists you see blowing through intersections filled with pedestrians are not, with some exceptions, attending community board meetings, lobbying their elected officials for “special” rights, or drooling over the mainstream cycling cultures of Copenhagen or Amsterdam. They’re just reckless assholes. Or delivery people.
Are there cyclists who want to have it both ways? People who think it’s their right to ride so close to a little old lady in a crosswalk that they can see their reflection in her walker? Sure. I just don’t think too many of them exist to warrant this type of scolding.