Friday, January 9, 2009

don't get mad, move forward

Reading other peoples blogs is (IMHO) a better way to tap into our society than reading the news. Sometimes blogs make me think long and hard about issues. This blog from the LFoaB has had me thinking a lot. I always feel hurt, sadness and outrage when car drivers spout hatred towards cyclists. I want to defend my tribe. All of the hardwiring we carry to encourage us to rise up and make war against each other starts to spark and crackle. We are programmed to have an angry response to anger, but civilised people suppress the response and carry on.

Then this blog entry from Holland got me thinking about what our governments give us for transport infrastructure, and why conflicts arise. We can’t stop “them vs us”, people will always devolve into tribes and look for conflict. Look at the anti vs pro helmet debate that goes on amongst cyclists for crying out loud!

What we can do is thank people like Joe Soucheray for reminding us that the old way of doing things just isn’t working. It isn’t good enough to pretend people don’t cycle in winter, or that on road bike lanes are the best solution. Sure they are a cheap solution, but cheap is usually nasty, so a nasty response to cheap should be expected. The reaction to this sort of conflict needs to be a collective rolling up of the sleeves to fix the problem. Governments are spending up on infrastructure to combat the recession. Cyclists who are forced to share Soucheray’s turf should start asking for a big piece of the funding pie. Confound the enemy by slapping him on the back and saying “welcome aboard, we totally agree!” Spin all that anti-bike energy into a pro bike infrastructure lobby. Make the car centric bas*ards do some work on our behalf.
Good luck! It isn’t going to be easy, not even for those of us who don’t have the cold climate issues. Cyclists can see a clear way forward to the future, and it is up to us to realise that vision for everyone. They may even thank us one day.

Thanks to Streetsblog for the photos.


David Hembrow said...

Hi, it's interesting that you post a link to my blog and then talk about the "them vs. us" problem.

I'm British, so have experienced at first hand the amount of anti-cycling hostility that is seen in that country. However, in the Netherlands ? No. There is no anti-cycling hostility here. None at all.

The vast majority of people here are cyclists. The vast majority of motorists are cyclists too. Hence no "them" vs. "us"

Dee said...

Lots of people here own bikes, but they are not cyclists. The blog post I was referring to was about how the separate bikeways are better maintained than the roads. We don't have a quality cycling infrastructure, so conflict is assured.

I am afraid I have been exposed to some anti recreational cycling hostility from the copenhaganize bloke, so there are 'them and us' issues, just not where you would expect to find them! It is nice to know Holland is better than that.

I always said if I was going to race a Tour it would have to be the Tour of Holland, I have zero hill climbing skills.