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Bikes – Bike Snob NYC

After I began this weblog again in 2007, change as afoot–or awheel–right here in New York Metropolis. Our mayor was this man Michael Bloomberg:

And he’d simply appointed somebody named Janette Sadik-Khan as commissioner of the Division of Transportation:

Who instantly set aside doing bizarre Euro stuff like carving out little plazas and constructing bicycle lanes, together with town’s first “protected” one:

We’d had a bizarre blip again in like 1980 when then-mayor Ed Koch put in a motorcycle lane on sixth Avenue for 5 minutes:

And we’d additionally had a bizarre bicycle-riding mayor earlier than that:

And we’ve all the time had numerous bike paths due to–look ahead to it–that Robert Moses man:

However this was actually the primary time within the metropolis’s historical past it had made a sustained try to include bicycles into the road grid. The bike paths of the Moses period had been to serve those that “derive pleasure from this type of train” in mild of the truth that “use of Metropolis streets and boulevards for bicycling is harmful to the bicyclist.” Whereas Bloomberg’s bike-centric planning was additionally within the curiosity of public well being (this was the man who tried to ban giant sodas), it finally endeavored to remodel these streets and boulevards in order that they had been now not “harmful to the bicyclist,” and to undermine the primacy of the car. This additionally marked the purpose at which the bicycle advocates and the Division of Transportation started to overtly cooperate:

Collectively they harnessed the facility of the cultural elite:

Really we had been witnessing some form of a Golden Age of Smugness, and a few say 2007’s “David Byrne Presents: How New Yorkers Journey Bikes” was its Woodstock.

Even Lance Armstrong obtained into the act:

These had been heady days certainly–particularly in the event you had been a semi-professional bike blogger:

And between all of the celebrities, and the media protection, and the daring public coverage, and the excesses of hipsterism and gentrification as embodied by all these totally ridiculous fixies, it appeared like the nice occasions would by no means finish:

However finish they did. Lance Armstrong confessed to doping and have become a podcaster. David Byrne obtained bored with getting made enjoyable of and moved on to different issues. Blogs turned more and more irrelevant as they had been supplanted by Twitter, and Instagram, and TikTok. Any city hipster fixie riders who didn’t stop bikes altogether moved to the desert, purchased classic Tacomas, and reinvented themselves as gravelistas. And whereas town saved putting in bike lanes, they finally turned bike lanes in identify solely, and at the moment are principally simply stuffed with fast-moving automobiles with motors (each gasoline-powered and electrical) which have little in widespread aside from the truth that they’re not automobiles:

And it’s not simply occurring in New York. Even when I visited Amsterdam in 2011, folks had been already grumbling in regards to the growing presence of motor scooters within the bike paths. Now, in accordance with David Hembrow’s weblog (and because of the commenter who linked to this within the feedback not too long ago) bicycle gross sales are in decline as e-bikes take over:

Furthermore, they’re turning into a “menace” (although, to be truthful, that is the Guardian, so it’s most likely extra like an irritation):

And there’s a name to decrease e-bike speeds to 12 American Freedom Miles Per Hour:

I imply who thought you’d ever learn a headline like this?

When you’re even passingly acquainted with urbanism and transportation infrastructure and all that different dorky stuff you’ve heard of the idea of “induced demand.” I assume it comes from economics, however in urbanist converse it signifies that, virtually talking, if you widen a freeway to cut back site visitors you simply get extra assholes in automobiles, and due to this fact extra site visitors:

Every time anybody desires to widen a highway, advocates wield the “induced demand” argument like a Zefal body pump. Nevertheless, now New York Metropolis is widening the bike lanes to make extra room for faster-moving e-vehicles. Advocates are all in favor of this, and whereas I agree it’s nearly definitely each needed and inevitable, no person desires to think about that induced demand may simply imply extra and quicker automobiles making the “bike” lanes much less and fewer hospitable to the customers for whom they had been ostensibly construct:

Is a motorcycle lane stuffed with “Citi e-bikers, deliveristas and scooters” actually a motorcycle lane in any respect?

And irrespective of who’s utilizing them, ought to growing velocity actually be the aim?

As I’ve talked about earlier than, it actually doesn’t matter how an previous curmudgeon like me thinks folks ought to get round, and if folks desire simpler and quicker automobiles then that’s the best way it’s gonna be irrespective of how I really feel about it–and in no level in human historical past have nearly all of folks opted for the slower and harder mode of transportation as soon as know-how offered them with a quicker various that required much less effort. It’s unhappy that the bicycle mania that characterised the Roaring Aughts is over, however looking back it was inevitable, as a result of finally what’s going to maintain the old style bike (particularly as e-bikes proceed to take over) isn’t bike lanes or coverage selections or celeb endorsements or the rest. No, the one factor that’s going to maintain them is individuals who love bikes.

We had our transient flirtation with the mainstream, however we’ll all the time be weirdos, and in the long run we’re on our personal.

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