You ever start reading a newspaper story and think, “Wow! They get it!, ” but read a little further and realize, nope, it’s more of the same crapola. The old “bait and switch.”
That was my experience with an Inquirer story headlined (in the print edition) “There’s got to be a better path, ” written by Bill Hangley, Jr., a dedicated bicycle nut.
The online version carried a headline saying “It’s time to stop fighting for bike lanes, ” because they’re too small and too dangerous. (Not to mention, very, very underutilized.)
Since the Inquirer habitually hands valuable op-ed propaganda space over to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a lobby group, I was surprised to see a seeming deviation from the pro-bike, anti-car orthodoxy it pushes.
Hangley’s piece opens with a quote from the Coalition’s Randy LoBasso (who writes the free, pro-bike, Coalition op-eds in the paper), saying the bike lanes on the Martin Luther King Drive are insufficient. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone use them.”
His bright idea, of course, is to close the drive to cars, and turn it over to bikes. Along with pretty much everything else.
He’s had at least three bylines in the Inquirer since February 2021.
How many free op-eds has the opposing side had? Since I stopped writing there, none that I can find, other than an occasional letter to the editor. The Inquirer likes to pretend there is no opposition.
One thing we all know about the tiny Coalition — it is effective and it is never satisfied, despite the reality that bike usage has remained basically flat for a decade, despite the addition of hundreds of miles of bike lanes that were supposed to drive biking into the stratosphere.
People commuting by bike? That’s 2.1%, according to the Coalition’s own stats.
And yet this cult thinks that more of Philadelphia’s streets ought to be remade for the tiny percentage of bikeheads.
In 2010, the city announced a goal of having 6% of commuters use bikes by 2010.
I said for years that it would not happen. It hasn’t.
Why hasn’t it happened? I’ll let Hangley tell you, in words I have used 100 times: “Bicycles aren’t useful enough to people. Hills, distances, weather, deadly traffic — these aren’t minor concerns. Philly is home to 900,000 jobs, but only about 14,000 people bike to work regularly.” Not daily, mind you, but “regularly.”
Remember — he is a bike advocate. He suggests bigger bike lanes are one answer, but we have bigger bike lanes all over town and the number of bicyclists has barely budged. I think we’ve topped out.
At this point, Hangley goes berserk and suggests we should encourage more motorized bikes, scooters, motorized skateboards, folding mini bikes — “anything that can help us drag Philadelphia into the 21st Century.”
I would advocate unicycles, too, to help “drag Philadelphia into the 21st Century.” 😀
If you live in Center City, you have seen the proliferation of motorized bikes, which act like bicycles, meaning they ride on sidewalks and ignore red lights.
Add to that the ATV’s, dirt bikes, and other illegal vehicles that take over our roads. It is a goddamn zoo.
What we need is less illegal activity, more law enforcement and some sanity in our city planning.
One quick point: The Coalition and bikeheads seem to think that cars are an alien species. LoBasso wants to close MLK for “people,” who are already accommodated by wide sidewalks and acres of grass.
Here’s a News Flash: There are people inside the cars. Yes, people — and they have rights, too.
The Great Bike Experiment has failed. The city had a goal of 6%. It didn’t get halfway there because bikes aren’t the solution to jammed streets.
Mass transit is.
Forget bikes and make Septa run on time at affordable prices.
That might get people out of their cars, rather than bicycles that favor the young, male, and fit. They never have been the solution and never will be.
The facts on the Coalition’s own website prove that.