Sunday, January 19, 2014

the other great debate

Do you realize that the expression "good fences make good neighbors" 
is turning one hundred years old ? Not true at all!

But which side of the fence are you on:  mandatory helmet usage …. or not ?

No, wait. First, we can debate whether the more important debate is about this:

                  "vehicular cycling" versus "investing in bike infrastructure"

I hadn't noticed that the NY Times ran a "Room for Debate" op-ed piece about this
last October. CLICK HERE to view it.  There are 5 debaters, and over 500 comments
all told. One debater is John Forester, the provocative "father of vehicular cycling".

Meanwhile, Ayfer Baykal of Copenhagen says this:

          Our focus as city administrators is not on the bicycle itself. It's on creating the 
          framework for a good life and an attractive city; by happy coincidence, the bicycle 
          is an extremely efficient tool to achieve that. 

Click here or here to read more about the debate. Let us know who wins, okay ?

In 2009, Rutgers' well-known advocate for segregated infrastructure, John Pucher, published
paper which makes for an interesting rebuttal to Forester (or in this case, Bjorn Haake).

I mean, Pucher is readable but his policy ideas like "greatly increased taxes and fees on car
ownership, use, and parking to reflect the high social andenvironmental costs of the car"
make we wonder whether he resides in the state which employs him, The Garden State.

It so happens that I became a vehicular cyclist, for reasons explained in this snippet of
dialog from the movie "Three Kings", where Archie was portrayed by George Clooney:

Archie: What's the most important thing in life?
Troy: Respect.
Archie: Too dependent on other people.
Conrad: What, love?
Archie: A little Disneyland, isn't it?
Chief Elgin: God's will.
Archie: Close.
Troy: What is it then?
Archie: Necessity.
Troy: As in?
Archie: As in "people do what is most necessary to them at any given moment".

When you needed to bike everywhere and it was decades ago, you needed to be a vehicular cyclist.

And bike helmets were still in the future.


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