"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.