My local paper that covers the Southwest area of Minneapolis is on the bicycle bandwagon this week in an issue with no less than three articles on bicycling. There was a very good ten point scree basically to frighten people. Unless you prepare your helmeted head and stuff it with nonsense before attempting to wrestle auto traffic you will be nothing more than another accident statistic. While the author is an employee of the city of Minneapolis I can understand not having full free reign to emphasize a lifetime of learning safety rather than a cram session for an occasional venture into the asphalt jungle. Rather telling the reader what to do instead tell them to watch other bicycle riders and see what they are doing. The first step is to encourage people to bike ride not fill them full of fear. While bike riding on a street is different than a roadway, a lot streets take people to the same places as a roadway. Streets and in particular side streets are safer than heavy traffic roadways. Experience takes practice. This is what some women are doing in the next article.
Discriminating women combat the “dude” that are running America’s bicycle shops. WTF, no that is not what you think, it stands for women, trans and femme bicycle riders gathering together for Grease Rag night to kibbitz and learn about bikes. Nothing could be finer than to have women finally join in the fun. As a guy, not a dude, I have to side with this group. But it’s not really some dude conspiracy but rather bike riding in America has an elitist feel and yeah that is because it is predominately males in racing get ups or some kind of bike culture wack on a fix gear. So some grass roots is a good thing. People with a common interest helping those that want to learn more. What’s next an all girl bike shop? Bring it on Minneapolis! The day will come.
The third article in the SW Journal led off on the front page and went on and on about painted bike lanes and the cost and then named some lame city engineer who admits that putting down similar paint as house paint on asphalt isn’t a good idea and that it was a big waste of money, my words, so what we are getting for our trouble is an experiment by the city government to F with the street in a couple places and not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground. My words.
So what did we learn from these articles? Remember, it is automobiles that have first dibs on street space and bike riders are for ever warned where they are in the hierarchy.