Friday, March 24, 2006

Bush, oil, and the anti-car movement

Posted by Anonymous to District 5 Diary:
"The anti-car fanatics logic is as follows: Cars require oil, oil requires a war in Iraq, Bush started the Iraq war for oil, we hate Bush. It's neat, it's simple, and covers all bases. Problem is they dominate City Hall, and the Mayor will go along with this logic if it preserves his non-existent high poll numbers."

I agree. The emotion that fuels, so to speak, their self-righteousness largely comes from the fact that bikes don't burn fossil fuels, which makes them Good People by definition. Some of them---Sue Vaughn and Tim Holt, for example---even think that, once gas prices get high enough, motor vehicles in general will become obsolete, even though hybrid engine technology is getting better all the time. For those of us still inhabiting planet earth, it's reasonable to think that cars and motor vehicles are here to stay. People like the mobility and convenience of motor vehicles and are willing to pay for it.

The self-righteous emotion on the fossil fuel issue blurs other aspects of the bike issue, too. Take safety, for example: even the SF Bicycle Coaliton's own safety expert, Bert Hill, admits that most bicycle accidents have nothing to do with other vehicles: 45% are solo falls/accidents, and only 18% involve other vehicles. That is, even if there were no other vehicles on the streets, cycling would still be an inherently unsafe activity. That city government is encouraging people, including children, to engage in an unsafe---though Politically Correct---activity is worrisome: There was no dissent on the Board of Supervisors last year when it voted 11-0 to make the Bicycle Plan part of the General Plan. The bike people are pushing the idea that bikes should have the right to share lanes with motor traffic---including buses, SUVs, and trucks---on an equal basis, an idea so foolish it confirms the sense that these folks are fanatics, that the bicycle is really the political symbol of a utopian cult that has little contact with reality on the streets of the city. I agree, too, about Mayor Newsom. He deserves a lot of credit for tackling the homeless issue in SF and the gay marriage issue, though his push on gay marriage arguably cost Kerry the election in 2004. But he's entirely conventional on other issues, like housing and the bike bullshit.

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