I’m posting this in response to something on Twitter yesterday that I read after posting yesterday’s post. The post was to the effect that because cyclists choose to ride in the roads we are responsible for what happens to us.
First is the false “choice” of riding in the street. If you want to get someplace you have no bicycle infrastructure for 99+% of all trips so it’s not a “choice” to ride in the street. It is a necessity.
Second we are not the ones using WMD as transportation that kills ~40K people/annum directly by impact and another million or so by pollution, and that’s just in the US. So it’s drivers killing cyclists, not cyclists forcing drivers to kill us. Drivers are not paying proper attention to traffic (and bicycles are traffic) and cyclists are suffering for their inattention. Or for their choice to drive on short trips. And for their demands for free storage for their property when not in use has literally destroyed city centers.
And for you not reading my recent posts I have a soft spot in my heart for cars, when used in an appropriate manner like motorsports in a controlled environment, or making long trips between places not served by any form of public transit like rural areas. Cars are a good fit for rural areas, but then we try to force them into urban areas where they are a crappy fit or worse. Unfortunately I’m not smart enough to figure out how to bridge between areas where cars are a good fit and cars are bad-to-deadly-on-a-daily-basis fit. I mean I’m no dummy, people in rural areas need cars and light to heavy trucks for their daily lives or they will be forced into poverty. On the other side of the coin those same cars and trucks are killing people in cities. And they are not so good for rural people either.
The real problem is we have baked automobilism into our economies so much that trying to prevent the harm it causes will cause as much harm as the harm we prevent, just of a different kind. To put this in a different perspective it’s like you have a cancer that will kill you painfully in a few weeks, and the operation to cure the cancer will kill you in a year, but it won’t hurt much. Either way you still die ahead of schedule. And there are times when it would be so much easier to be an absolutist instead of looking on both sides of the argument.