This tweet garnered bicycle enthusiasts’ expected collective (scornful?) sigh. The Prof is out of touch and out to maintain the status quo. The activists are on the right side of history and will ride in on mechanical transportation, victory torches ablaze. But in the article, both parties are guilty of obstructed views.
First, consider the professor’s opinion that emissions increase when traffic quieting and bike lanes are installed. One would think there is research on this. It makes sense that when vehicles take longer to arrive at their destinations they emit additional pollutants. But intuition is not a substitute for facts. Even a report from taxi drivers verifying additional time taken to deliver passengers through said areas would be helpful. I judge claim number one as a fail. It makes sense to me but no proof is offered.
There is an indirect claim in the number of emails generated for support of bike lanes. The coalition is noted to have sent out a total of 93,000 emails. I’m not buying that there is a live citizen behind each of these carpings to elected officials. I have an inkling that a scan of the electronic documents would reveal automated generation. For claim number 2 in the matter of mobilized residents I give a fail. Spamming of office holders also takes their time away from other issues.
Another pressing issue that falls in the same interest group of concern for the climate is the decrease in transit ridership. The serious drop in locals who use light rail and busses is real and documented. It’s all green lights for claim number 3. And hence this would be one of the areas that should attract time and attention.
Safety is always on the top of people’s priorities. I’m not sure I follow the cliams being made about mortality and walkers. Pedestrian deaths were at an all time high in 2021 but compared to what and are the numbers still quite small? That said I’ve seen and heard about a lot of accidents regarding older riders in particular and their road experiences. Encouraging recreational weekend cylists to tackle roadsharing with four thousand pound chunks of metal seems a bit precarious. Claims about safety strong but not intirely thorough.
I know people who bike to work year around. They love it. It gets their day started with a vigorous activity that gives off energy throughout the day. It can’t possibly be that difficult to track two-wheeled commuters. A city can also use counters to enumerate the activity on trails and roadways at times to give estimates. The demand for bike lanes can be measured in better ways than spam. An same goes for pollution. Reader at intersection in before and after scenarios is easy enough.
If officials want to make sensible decisions they’ll need to look to everyday folks. Will a core group utilize the infrastructure or is it an appeasement to people who want to feel they are making a difference?