US town bans bicycles

From the New Zealand Herald (hat tip to Unity at Auckland Cycle Chic).

Black Hawk, Colorado

What’s wrong with this logic?

(I’m paraphrasing: )

The streets are narrow in this town, but there is enough room for cars, buses and trucks.
But the streets are narrow in this town, so there is no room for bicycles.

I know a non sequitur when I see one. Here’s another.

The streets are narrow in this town, so people must walk their bicycles.
Even though this doubles their width.

Put it down to sloppy thinking if you like. Personally I’m increasingly regarding actions like this as a form of discrimination. No-one would ever say there’s no room for pedestrians.

So here’s the discussion question of the day:

Why are so many people openly and/or subconsciously prejudiced against people on bicycles?

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2 thoughts on “US town bans bicycles

  1. Interesting question. I like trains and there is a discussion in Sweden about having faster trains, like in France. Some environmentalists question the need and ask, “why does everything have to be so fast?” The obvious answer, “to get people out of cars and airplanes” doesn’t seem to be good enough. A philosopher once pulled the emergency brake on the X2000 train (which goes 200 km/h) in protest of everything going so fast [1]. Interestingly, he didn’t do this in an airplane, at an airport, on a motorway or in a computer factory. Fast trains are not really THAT fast, only an hour or so faster than driving or flying, door to door.

    My explanation is that people are simply used to cars and airplanes being the biggest, best and fastest. In 1959, air travel overtook ocean liners as the most popular choice between London and New York, and that was also the year that the Boeing 707 first started flying non-stop [2]. Previously they needed to stop along the way for refueling. So cars and airplanes are now seen as the norm.

    So… fast trains are bad because they are faster and more hi-tech than cars. And bicycles are bad because they are slower and more simple than cars. What part don’t you understand? 😉

    [1] http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladislaus_Horatius
    [2] The Opening of the Commercial Jet Era. http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Commercial_Aviation/Opening_of_Jet_era/Tran6.htm

    • There’s no reason why planes need be faster, cheaper or more convenient than trains for, say, Europe-wide trips. Although there are state subsidies for trains as well as planes, in terms of tax-free jet fuel and maintenance (and occasional upgrading) of the rail network, there is a strong case for putting a moratorium on airline subsidies until they come up with a massively less polluting fuel. (An acquaintance of mine working with Hyundai Finance here assures me a lot of money is being pumped into developing biofuels here in Korea, for example.)

      The biggest advantage trains already have over planes is they go direct from city centre to city centre. My experience of airports is they are normally located in some distant and inaccessible suburb. However, it’s my view that European train operators seriously need to work with their counterparts in neighbouring countries to allow customers to book multi-country trips in an easy and hassle-free way. Preferably from the comfort of their own homes, via a very user-friendly website. Think of the customers and experience they stand to gain a lot from such a service.

      One last note on trains, if only they could all be like this one in Shanghai:

      Now, back to bicycles… 🙂

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