Not that Team Gahan plans to do anything about it: “Bike commuting’s worst enemy isn’t what you think.”


At some indeterminate point, but quite soon now, Pinocchio Rosenbarger will be out there with the paint crews, drawing those trademark “Chickenshit Sharrows” symbols on streets where cyclists accepting them at face value will be the target of open season by unreconstructed and imbecilic drivers.

Rosenbarger will cluck, dance, declare victory, and cash yet another paycheck.

And Team Gahan still won’t get it … not one bit. The street grid transformation might have made the streets safe for cyclists. It will go only halfway, primarily because drivers (and paving contractors) are New Albany’s only real protected species.

BIKE COMMUTING’S WORST ENEMY ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK, by Arian Horbovetz (The Urban Phoenix via Strong Towns)

 … Most people in my home city of Rochester, New York don’t fully understand why anyone would commute using any form of transportation other than a car. This mental construct is so pervasive that any form of transit other than driving is seen as either “fringe,” or worse, seen as a reflection of the person’s socioeconomic status in life.

As we continue to crawl our way toward making cities more bike friendly for cycling commuters, the biggest barrier we may have to tackle, the one that gives people a license to dismiss it as a transit outlier, is simply perception — the misconception that bikes are a means of recreation instead of a tool for empowerment, as well as the commonly held notion that biking for transportation has to be motivated by a negative catalyst (poverty, loss of license, etc.). In fairness, bikes are tremendous resources for folks that are in these positions. It can be a game changer, helping to level the playing field for our poorest communities. But there are a multitude of other reasons people make the choice to ride instead of drive.

Many think the ultimate enemy of the bicycle is the car, but the reason cars are so dangerous is simply the false perception that our streets and roads are made for driving and nothing else. It is the complete dismissal, whether conscious or unconscious, of any other practical way of getting around. It is the lack of understanding that cars are one of many forms of transit, albeit by far the most popular one. It is the lack of respect for bikes as a viable vehicle for traveling to where you need to go.

In sum, it is the mindset that categorizes cycling as an inferior way of moving about rather than an appreciation for the personal and community health benefits it provides.

To conclude …

Seeing bikes as transit machines, like cars only slower, is an important mental hurdle for non-cyclists to overcome. It is no different than choosing a pickup over a sedan, a sub-compact versus an SUV, or a luxury car over a coupe. It is simply another way to get from point A to point B, with advantages and disadvantages. The sooner we all accept this fact, the sooner we will begin to open our eyes to a multitude of transit options for our cities that truly benefit everyone.