I want to introduce an article by Bill Lazarus. I Just want to add that bicycling and walking is a much better alternative to driving and watching TV. It improves health, reduces our dependency on fossil fuels, reduces air pollution. In short it will reduce the budget deficit and will fix Medicare and Medicaid insolvency. Way to go Bill!
Folks on Spokes Club conservatives – though I don’t count myself among you, I personally ask for an alliance.
I’m sure that, like the rest of us, you’ve been besieged this February by emails bearing news of the tinkering to transportation funding in House Bill 7.
Tinkering, as in absolute cut. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing and more nothing in federal transportation funds for improvements for bicycling and walking.
To be fair, House Bill 7 provides the same treatment for all mass transit programs, which would be eliminated from the $260 billion federal transport funds up for renewal in March.
I can only say thank God that Congress is looking after the best interests of the oil industry.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s not the argument we wish to make. But I suppose we could bring God into the picture. After all, it’s a known fact that when you are on your bicycle, it’s impossible to engage in sex. In fact, after a long ride, you’re likely not to have energy left for such activities. Natural birth control!
As it stands, biking and other forms of active transportation get a whooping 1.5 percent of federal transit dollars.
In contrast, bicyclists and pedestrians make up 14 percent of all travel fatalities. Maybe there’s another argument lurking here: dead folks don’t have sex either: eliminate life and you also eliminate the need for birth control!
Maybe that’s what the House was thinking when it also decided to fully gut the Safe Routes to School funding that now is a piece of the federal transportation pie.
Why this fierce attack? It’s not just happening in that august body known as the House of Representatives. Bike and pedestrian programs are also under attack in the Senate, albeit in a slightly less savage fashion: cutbacks, not elimination, are being pushed in that body politic. The pro-cyclists and pedestrian forces are pushing for an amendment that would give some choice to local governments to dedicate funds for sidewalks, crosswalks and bike-ways.
Perhaps a compromise makes sense. Sidewalks, after all, might be used for sex, but that’s highly unlikely to happen in the middle of crosswalks and on bike-ways.
A different paradigm may be in order. Remember culture wars? As I recall, conservatives like harking back to classical white and European (and yes – even Greek – have a, ahem, cup of wine, Socrates) culture.
Remember to write your congressman (or that Republican Floridian or Texan representative for those GOP snowbirds among us) and tell him, or her, all about Al Sturges’ talk at Folks on Spokes’ monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. on February 23 at the Flossmoor Village Hall: Biking from Prague to Vienna. Now, you can’t get more classical than that!
When you compose those letters, remember to renew your membership in Folks on Spokes. Warmer days will be around the corner, and we’re going to want to go on some bike trips together. Meanwhile, we can dream about them. And when you receive your zillionth email urging you to protest bike funding cuts, consider putting in your missive, and maybe even coming up with a new insight. We need to get these folks’ attention.
William Lazarus firstname.lastname@example.org www.lazaruslegal.com