Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Depressing news from Iowa

"Shared roadways are no longer safe or practical in today's society." So says a group in Iowa seeking to have bicycles banned from most of their state's highways. A group that calls itself the "Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa" is circulating a petition to get an initiative on the ballot for 2010 that would make cycling on "farm to market" routes illegal. Given the distribution of farms and markets in Iowa, that effectively ends much road cycling. Get on the bike path!

This news comes on the heels of the move by Jefferson County, Colorado, commissioners, to push through state legislation giving Colorado counties power to ban cycling from any roads they choose.

This is how transportation cycling ends, if we let it. One battlefield at a time, motorists push us back, push us back, waaay back.

If you're not a resident of the state in question, you can't do much to affect legislators there. If you can't vote them out of office, they don't give a shit what you have to say. It's obvious they have a thing against cyclists. Cyclists who can't possibly grab them by the political balls will rate no attention at all. You have to be ready to fight the war when it comes to you, or prevent it by continuous lobbying before the fact.

It always comes down to money. Many of the opponents of road cycling will not believe that they are persecuting low-income citizens. Many low-income citizens dutifully enslave themselves to motor vehicles and try to live like "normal" people. But if road cycling is outlawed, only outlaws will cycle on the road. Some of those desperadoes are bound to be decent, striving workers facing one more hurdle in their battle to make ends meet. I count myself among their number. I do all right, but a lot of that depends on being able to keep my transportation expenses in check.

Then there are the health advantages cycling bans will take from us. Those of us willing to be as active as our natural physiology requires deserve to be able to integrate physical activity into the practical workings of our lives.

Perhaps the opponents of cycling would like to see a big clot of motor vehicles blocking their favorite highway. Forget Critical Mass with bikes. Get out there in cars, the way they want us to, and drive like little old ladies. Get around us NOW, bitches!

I think I need to take a break and get some decent food into me. I can't think about moto-centric bigots for a while.

19 comments:

Doohickie said...

Did you know there are more bike owners than gun owners? Time to flex some muscle and seize your roads back before they're taken away. You guys seriously need to mobilize. Start at the grass roots; you may be surprised at the clout you have.

Good luck in the coming battle.

ChipSeal said...

there has been a counter-petition started that can be found here:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-sharing-iowa-fm-roads

The comments have set a good tone!

[gather][typne]

Mcdavid said...

if you are going to protest by driving cars really really slow then get bumper stickers that say: " my bike drives faster"

SiouxGeonz said...

Another tactic might be to petition to have another category of vehicle removed -- but something that would be plausible and get support from enough for people to realize how bad the idea is.
It might be time to bring in the ACLU...

BikeLemming said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BikeLemming said...

I thought segregation ended in the 60s...

das451 said...

Let's hear it for obesity. Might as well take the walkers and runners off the road while they are at it.

Anonymous said...

Lets flip it around, I mean bikes have been around before cars. Cars make me feel unsafe sometimes on the road while biking, so lets ban cars, the root of the problem after all! This is way out of line. Have we forgot that more cars equal more green house emissions, we are already damaging it enough without a ban on emission free vehicles.
These old blue haired cadillac driving, barely see over the dash board idiots need something else to do! They are messing with the wrong crowd.

sydney said...

@Mcdavid: That's a great idea.

Anonymous said...

These are probably the same nutjobs that think designing communities without concern for pedestrian or cycling alternatives is the way to go.
You would think that the gas prices would have some influence.

RCMC467 said...

Wow, there are bigots everywhere these days, aren't there?

It seems that all it takes is for someone else to engage in an activity which makes them feel less virtuous than they would like to believe themselves to be and they become self-righteous instead.

Next, they'll begin crearing perjorative names for us, too; something along the lines of "wet back" or the "N" word.

Well, I'll be glad to be know as a "Sweatback." How about you?

Horst before the cart said...

If this group are concerned for safety then how about creating a community education program to teach motorist that roads are for the use of everyone, not just cars, buses,and trucks. God help them if they were to try driving on eastern European, African, or SE Asian roads where cars are often in the minority.

Anonymous said...

RCMC: "Next, they'll begin crearing perjorative names for us . . ."

"Between the wars" Billy Bishop was invited to dinner with Hermann Goering and a few other German fliers.

During the course of after dinner conversation Bishop asked:

You know, during the war we called you "The Hun," because it was the worst thing we could think of, and I've always wondered what you called us.

Goering replied:

We called you "Britishers" for the same reason.

KFG

Anonymous said...

Isn't there something in the US Constitution about interfering with interstate commerce? Ride your bike across state lines, and it becomes a Federal issue

Anonymous said...

If the concern is safety on Farm to Market Roads, what about tractors and other farm equipment on them? Farm equipment is often slower than bikes and more dangerous to pass. By this logic, let's ban farm equipment on Farm to Market roads too!

RCMC467 said...

Good news--conflicting news--from Colorado.

Yesterday, Friday the 31st, their new statewide "Three Foot" law went into effect.

Think, maybe, this is why Jeffco County Commissioners want to be able to ban all bikes?

redcliffs said...

Just a point about CO -- there's essentially no chance whatsoever that this will pass. The governor just completed the largest one-day ride in the state, the Tripal Bypass, numerous legislators are active cyclists and the Front Range area has one of the most developed biking infrastructures, both in bike paths and bike lanes, of any area in the country. Bicycle Colorado is definitely paying close attention and fighting the movement, as they and others should, but it's not much to worry about.

Anonymous said...

I've had two near death experiences driving in my car. Both were caused by farmers. The first was a farmer who drove a combine across the road from his field to his house, in the dark without looking for traffic. We went into the ditch and spun twice before regaining control. The second was a combine parked in the middle of the road at 5:30 PM with only a small light that was pointed down to where the operator was sitting. So, tell me, who are the real hazards on rural roads. My solution is to make them break down their equipment and haul it on flat bed trucks. If a paving company "drove into town" in something as big as today's farm implements, they's be fined to the nines.

cafiend said...

Back in the 1980s a state legislator in Maryland tried to get bicycles banned on any road with a speed limit above 30 miles per hour. The measure was defeated. Things like it keep coming up, however.