A backlash against biking – known as 'bikelash' – may be happening in the city you ride in. That's according to Streetfilms, which made a short documentary about the phenomenon.
Bikelash, according to some of the bike advocates in the film, is actually a good thing, because it signals that urban cycling and bike commuting are being taken seriously - seriously enough to be creating a media/measurable backlash.
According to Kit Keller of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, bikelash just signals that we are moving through the three stages of social change, in which a new idea or concept is 1) ridiculed; 2) violently opposed, and 3) gradually accepted. Keller also said there's a fourth phase in this arc, in which people who either ridiculed or opposed a movement do an about-face, saying they thought it was a great idea right from the start.
Bikelash can wax and wane in this social-change cycle. In fact, Joe Biel, publisher of Microcosm and long-time cycling agitator in Portland, Oregon, implied it can be a permanent affliction.
"We've been stuck in bikelash in Portland for the last twenty years," Biel said.
Local media and some parts of the business community have fundamentally misunderstood how bicycling is good for the economy, he added. Let's hope that the cycle will move faster in popular biking cities like New York and Chicago.
Have you been feeling the bikelash in your cycling community?