I think that we are collectively involved in a wrong war. I’m not talking the middle east here (save that one for another post!), I’m talking about the war in NYC between bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s been going on for some time now, with flare ups interspersed between coldwar-esqe lulls that never mean peace but aren’t quite war. And I have two major quarrels with this war. They are really one and the same, but I need some substance here so bear with me.
My first quarrel is one of general principle. When we, the citizens of this fine city (if you don’t live here that’s fine too, just keep bearing with me – the relevance to your life is coming soon) engage in this war, we are participating in the downfall of humanity via that well trodden path known as Divide and Conquer. Of course we are on the receiving end – i.e. We are not conquering anything, we are actively participating in our own defeat. Stay with me here, this is important if you want to fully grasp my point. God created Man, and gave us feet to walk on. And Man created bicycles, so, indirectly, God created bicycles. But, and here is the important distinction, automobiles, and the entire suburban culture, are products of the devil, in the form of giant, evil corporations and the cold war era fear of nuclear annihilation (whereas feelings about nuclear annihilation today, by those who still think about such things, are different – generally an almost fatalistic, even optimistic, view that whether or not we blow the world to smithereens, it has to get better than this). Don’t argue with me or try to persuade me with contrary facts – I know what I’m talking about here!
Now the real enemy of both pedestrians and bicyclists is, obviously, cars and their drivers. Think about it. If they’d stop bringing their big stupid vehicles into town, the streets would have plenty of room to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists. (Anybody who dares to bring up even the slightest flaw in this logic will be mocked mercilessly and then beaten into obscurity with an “I can’t hear you” stick!)
Now, this brings me to my second issue. The fault of this whole situation clearly lies with city management (they’re trying to conquer us!!! – ok, maybe not really. Maybe…). I won’t harp on too much because the mayor appears to be baby stepping in the right direction, but I’d really like to see a communist style redistribution of wealth, applied, of course, to the wealth of moving-around space in this city. Get the cars the hell out of here and let’s see some better resource management!
Have any of you ever taken a good, close look at some of the lane dividers painted on our streets? Or taken a civil engineer’s eye to some of our less perpendicular intersections, particularly in the outer boroughs? I don’t think anyone from the city has either… It’s a miracle more people aren’t killed on these streets every day, whether they’re walking, biking, or participating in the destruction of all life on earth by driving a car.
Oh, and if you really want to get in shape, you should probably get your fat ass out of your car and walk a little!