Why helmet laws and glow-in-the-dark paint just show who really owns the road

Yesterday, when writing Bounce off trucks in your Babel Bike, "the world's safest bicycle" I mused about whether it was such a bad thing to be designing a bike that was sort of like a car, with passive safety measures like roll cages. I wish I had read this Washington Post article, Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them by Eben Weiss, also known as the Bike Snob NYC. I probably would have written a very different piece.

Eben Weiss is a very funny writer, full of snark. He explains how we "lost equal access to the public roadways unless we’re willing and able to foot the hefty bill for a car. Instead, what we have is an infrastructure optimized for private vehicles and a nation of subsidized drivers who balk at the idea of subsidizing any other form of transit."

Volvo/Screen capture

But the real core argument against Volvo's stupid paint and their ridiculous beeping helmet, and frankly, the bike I wrote about yesterday, is this:

What the auto companies have planned is so devious, so insidious, so science-fictionally terrifying that it’s going to make the whole “jaywalking” flim-flam look like philanthropy in comparison:

They’re turning us into cars.

He points out that helmet laws, legislation like the proposal in California that cyclists have to wear reflective clothing are all designed to shift responsibility from the drivers and on to cyclists to absolve the governments from having to build proper infrastructure or enforce traffic laws for drivers.

“Want to be safer? We’re not gonna build any bike lanes. They take up too much free parking. Put this foam dunce cap on your head, you’ll be fine!” Done, and done.

Alan Wake shows us how to dress as a pedestrian in New York/Screen capture

Eben had already pointed out that pedestrians are criminalized of they don't get across the street in a few seconds before the numbers start counting down; he is certain that the car-loving politicians are coming after them next.

And that’s when they’ll move onto the pedestrians. You may find cyclists annoying — it’s the American way, after all — but don’t laugh too long. Pretty soon we’ll all be walking around town like Dynamo from “The Running Man.” Say goodbye to non-augmented analog locomotion.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Brilliant and dead on. Read all of Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them.

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Biking


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