26 November 2009

The Destructive Power of Individual Bicycle Haters

Solo Conversation
It takes the appearance of many cyclists on the urban landscape to start changing the perception of societies about the role of the bicycle as an accepted, respected and feasible transport form.

All too often, it only takes one anti-bicycle individual on a personal crusade to ruin it for everybody.

The Crown Prince of Anti-Bicycle LandAlthou has to be Rob Andersen, of San Francisco. He has succesfully halted all implementation of bicycle infrastructure in that city for almost three years. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting today, however, that there is hope on the horizon. The city has 45 projects ready to go and they were given green lights today for starting them - as long as they can easily be reversed, since another hearing is scheduled for June 2010.

Mr Comedy, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s verbal bowel movement has attained cult status since we posted his piece from 1980. Although he's so silly that it's hard to take him seriously.

Toronto has an elected official on a crusade called Councillor Michael Walker to thank for negative bicycle intiatives. Thanks to him the tide risks being reversed in that city.

Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter is on the right [cycle] track, but he's now up against Councilman Frank DiCicco, who is making right-wing noise and launching his personal war on bikes by wanting bicycle registration.

Philip L. Graitcer
is a one-man wrecking ball. He has managed to completely split the World Health Organisation with his eagerness to promote helmets. Half of the WHO would rather promote public health but he has been vocal in swinging it the other way. His connections to the auto industry certainly don't help his street cred.

We even have such individuals here in Denmark, in positions of influence at the car-centric Danish Road Safety Council, happily manipulating statistics and the press.

The power of the individual is usually a force that can be transferred into strengthening the Common Good but it's quite amazing to see how so many of these individuals gain so much influence and use it against increasing the modal share for bicycles and all the benefits to be gained from doing so.

Not surprisingly, most of them seem to be men, but there may be exceptions.

Feel free to add your personal favourite to the Anti-Bicycle Hall of Shame in the comments.