Sunday, October 2, 2011

People who should know better, but don't . . .

College students pedaling in downtown Flagstaff . . . yeah, on the sidewalk.
Recently, Ted at Commute by Bike asked me if I had any editorial ideas that I wanted to share on their blog.  At this point, he's known me long enough to know the answer to that question.  I possess a wealth of opinions that I'm more than happy to share.  The recent Congressional budget squabble over the inclusion of funding for bike infrastructure and other transit alternatives in the six month extension of the Transportation Bill provoked my most recent rant.  Ultimately, the critical funding was saved but the debate reminded me of the insistence by many I encounter that roads are only for cars and that "people won't/don't ride bikes to work", followed by my reminder to them that I do and that many among us have no other option but to do just that.
A Portland commuter knows how lucky she's got it.
As I stress in my Commute by Bike post, linked here, bike commuting is not just something that is reserved for tough economic times or for the poor, and it is wrong to assume that the only reason that a person who rides a bike does so because he or she cannot afford a car.  However, a lot of people are going through financial hardship, or at least getting by on considerably less money than they have in the past, and may well remain in that situation for a good long while.  Is it too much to ask that a small slice of our auto subsidizing budget be used to support more economical options such a bicycling?

4 comments:

OldBikeRider said...

I really enjoy your blog.

I think you've put your finger on a problem, and into the eye of the highway/automobile interests.

Not only are we citizens feeling the squeeze, but states & municipalities are too.

It would seem like a no-brainer to invest in low cost bicycle infrastructure rather than the traditional high cost highway improvements which allow people to drive bigger vehicles.
And yet.....where goeth the $$$?

Time for some new thinking?

She Rides a Bike said...

Thx,OldBikeRider! Glad you stopped by.

It is a no-brainer and it frustrates me that it's a conversation that we're not actively engaged in. I am convinced that this is not just an issue for the poor and that most of us weren't even when times appeared flush as well off as we thought. I think we need to develop a culture of saying "I can't afford that" for the frivilous stuff, and by that I don't mean education or social services. I'm referring to yet another flat screen TV or an oversized house or car. One of my favorite blog, Strong Towns, talks about this a lot when it comes to how communities struggle to pay for unlimited growth and the sprawl that is also known as "the American dream".

Ted Johnson said...

Great posts in both places.

I like how you linked the anecdotal to the macro. Not what I was expected when we discussed this post -- better!

Ted Johnson said...

Not what I was expecting...