The funniest part of all of this, though, is Cassidy's derisive witticism "bipedalists" for bike-lane advocates.
Cyclists and pedestrians have a lot of shared interests: traffic fatalities are one of the leading causes of death in this country, and while many of these deaths are motorists hitting motoriests, a great many of them are motorists hitting cyclists and pedestrians. So, per mile travelled, walking is the most dangerous way to travel in this country, bar none. Cyclists and pedestrians want to get to where they're going without being killed, and destinations to be relatively close. These issues are often put in confrontational terms, but we all share these needs; cyclists are also drivers, most people teach their kids to ride a bike (and don't want them hit). And of course, we are all bipeds. Safer for some of us is safer for all of us, as Tom Vanderbilt points out in his fair, awesome, and worth-reading article "Rage Against Your Machine" in Outside, March 2011:
As various studies have found, the more cyclists and cycling infrastructure a town has, the safer it becomes statistically, not just for cyclists but for drivers and pedestrians alike. When New York City put a protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue, some protested it as unsafe for people on foot. But since the lane's opening, pedestrian injuries on Ninth have dropped by 29 percent. Last year, as miles of bike lanes were added, New York had its best pedestrian-safety record ever.So this seems like the perfect label to re-appropriate, under which cyclists and pedestrians can advocate together for our common interests in safe, two-legged locomotion. Call me a bipedalist.
It's the way of these things that noone can ever stop. More Cassidy, Salmon, and some Olaf Storbeck.
Matthew Shaer has a great piece in New York, "Not Quite Copenhagen", on the Prospect Park West bike lane controversy. It's a long piece worth reading in full, but here are some random, our-of-context fun facts:
Bike lanes are relatively easy to install. The Prospect Park West path, with all its safety paraphernalia, was built in about a month; unprotected lanes can be created in a matter of days. Bike lanes are also inexpensive. The Bloomberg administration estimates that over the past four years, the city has spent $11 million installing bike lanes, with two thirds of that cash provided by the federal government. Over the same period, the city spent $1.5 billion on street repair alone. And since streets with protected bike lanes see 40 percent fewer accidents, according to City Hall, and traffic crashes set the city back over $4 billion a year, bike lanes can actually save New York money. They also cut pollution, which is good for everyone. Bike lanes, when framed this way, are just common sense.
...Still, the Ninth Avenue lane is an ideal place to experience the unfettered freedom that can come with riding a bike in New York. As any urban rider (and I am one of them) can attest, there is something infinitely joyful in putting foot to pedal, something intoxicating in not being bound by the whims of a bus driver or subway conductor or thick tangles of crosstown traffic. Whipping down the street, completely protected from the cars zooming by just a few feet away, may be the closest any New Yorker comes to flying.