Guess who says there’s a war on cars

A person can almost always save some time by skipping to the end of a guest commentary in a newspaper, magazine or other publication to get an idea of who the guest is behind the commentary.

Take Denver is waging a war on cars and drivers, as a recent example.

The guest is identified as Tim Jackson, president and CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. I could have stopped reading then, but I didn’t. Call me curious.

Key takeaway: If a guy representing car dealers can pin the blame on someone other than those who pay him, he will do exactly that.

Toward the end of his commentary, Jackson quotes an op-ed* from a California newspaper. The authors of that piece maintain that deliberately slowing traffic to increase safety for pedestrians kills anywhere from 35 to 85 victims of cardiac arrest “due to delayed emergency response.”

What Jackson fails to point out: Emergency responders would get to people who need help much more quickly if there weren’t so many damn automobiles on the streets.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

* By a Cato Institute senior fellow and his lawyer co-author.

Yes, make things worse to discourage driving

Image by pixaoppa from Pixabay

The Denver Post said in a Sunday morning editorial it is “thrilled” the city remains committed to improving and adding to safer infrastructure for cyclists.

It spent the next several paragraphs with cautions, “questioning the wisdom” of plans for such improvements on Broadway, and saying the city shouldn’t be “spineless in this matter.” Then it wound up being spineless:

In short, we support the addition of bicycle lanes. Just don’t make things worse.

The Denver Post, January 26, 2020

That doesn’t sound like it came from an editorial board that is thrilled. Indeed, it is more akin to committed to the status quo. God forbid that anyone be inconvenienced by making the roads safer and encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.

Only a week ago, the same newspaper reported on how denizens of the Denver area are driving more when they should be driving less and on the unacceptable pollution of Colorado’s air.

The dangerous pollution that we breathe in every day inconveniences all of us while contributing to increasingly deadly changes in our atmosphere.

This is no time for weasel words and half-hearted measures that signal no real commitment to improving our lives. It is time to make people uncomfortable enough – to inconvenience them enough – to change their driving behavior.

Again, ask yourself why you drive and see if you can find another way to get around.

Pedal on.

B.J.

Thread: Why do you drive?

From @bjsmith on Twitter

~~~~~

Ever wonder why you can’t see the Flatirons when you know they’re just a few miles away?

If you drive when you could take a bus or train or ride a bicycle or walk, it’s partly because of you. denverpost.com/2020/01/17/den…

The Denver Post @denverpost
What’s polluting Colorado’s air? 125 million tons a year of heat-trapping and hazardous gases

No, you don’t personally generate much of the more than 125 million metric tons of hazardous and heat-trapping gases that pollute Colorado’s air every year. But you contribute to the toxic mess we inhale every day. denverpost.com/2020/01/19/col…

Image by susancycles from Pixabay 

I’ve heard all of the reasons people commute by themselves in a motor vehicle every day. If you’re one of those people, ask yourself if you have a good reason or a lame excuse.

Take me, for example. I could drive my fuel-efficient car every day and save myself a little time between Longmont and Boulder. But…

My employer provides an EcoPass for me and everyone I work with.

I can read or write or talk to people on the bus rather than worry about the many motorists on their phones or texting at 65+ miles per hour on the Diagonal Highway.

I can spend almost $0.00/day on gas.

Fortunately, I’m healthy enough to enjoy commuting by bicycle some of the time, or some combination of bicycle and bus.

I am surprised and disappointed some days to see few others on their bicycles. This is Boulder County and I expect better.

All things and privileges considered, I have no real, valid reason to drive myself to work and back every day.

So I don’t.

What’s your excuse?

Confession: I almost said I’d try an electric “bike”

When I heard that CU Boulder was looking for people who were willing to try riding an “electrically assisted bike” for a few weeks to get a chance at winning a free one, I almost threw my helmet in the ring.

Electric motor
Electric motor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story said the Exercise Science Lab is recruiting people who usually commute by car or bus for a study of the potential benefits of commuting with such a “bike.”

Then I asked myself:

  1. Is a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor really a bike?
  2. I usually commute by bus or by bicycle (without an electric motor), and will do almost anything to avoid driving a car to Boulder, so would I even be eligible?
  3. Didn’t I just spend too much for a new wheel and hub for the ass end of my commuter/MTB? Shouldn’t I start amortizing that?
  4. Can I commit to doing four weeks of anything?

Then I answered myself:

  1. Not really.
  2. Probably not.
  3. Yes. Yes.
  4. Um…

Don’t daydream on a bicycle?

…every cyclist must assume that every car driver could kill them. And you should never daydream.

Here at the Smith Compound (SC) we can’t say that Timothy Egan is wrong in this sad NYTimes piece about the death of a 31-year-old Seattle woman.

Indeed, while cycling we assume that every motorist, pedestrian and cyclist in the immediate vicinity is about to do something stupid, as they very often do.

But never daydream? It is surprisingly easy to become lost in thought while pedaling down the road or trail.

To never daydream is to deny one of the greatest pleasures of going about the countryside on two wheels.

Never is asking too much.

The SC prefers a more moderate approach: Be aware of your surroundings, and daydream when there’s no one else in sight.

empty road
Time to think, to dream