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  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    My wife (not a cyclist, yet) and I were talking this morning. She said she saw a government official on t.v. talking about how the government promotes cycling as part of reducing air pollution.

    "Now I see it," she said. "they want to appear as if they are fighting air pollution. That's why they build all those paths and things, to get their money back (to build roads--Atlanta has lost federal dollars due to non-compliance with clean air standards).

    I think she is a prophetess.

  2. #2
    TriBob
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    Yep, it is probably the cheapest payoff around. In Philly, we have noticed some hints of improvement. our Mayor and Police Commisioner are avid cyclists and commuters. However, there is not any room to add lanes to existing streets. Mostly it has been share the road signs and a bike map that has been extremely popular with area cyclists. They show the safest routes for cyclists and were designed by cyclist and area clubs.

  3. #3
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Yeah it is a great idea. However as I have spoken with other's we have come to the conclusion that the individuals creating these plans do not include thenselves. Look at it this way how many Congressman, and state reps are going to bike from Northern Va. or Maryland to D.C.? How many local state lawmakers and planners are going to do the same? It appeases cyclists sure it makes us happy to hear it. In the long run they say that cars, trucks, planes etc. cause all this pollution, and should be regulated as they drive to work in their Caddies, Lexus', and Mercede's.

  4. #4
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I am no treehugger. My father is a Petroleum Engineer. My upbringing was financed by the petroleum industry. My daughter graduates in Petroleum Engineering next month and has a job with a major oil company. I am a strong advocate of the industry. I acknowledge that the industry ran an environmentally dirty shop, but it has made great strides. Even though his bread is buttered by petroleum usage, my father is very much a conservationist and is environmentally concerned. He decries the geometrically growing use of plastic packaging as a terrible waste of a finite resource (I assume everyone realizes plastic is made from oil.) driven by lazy consumers who value convenience above all. Face it, the enemy is not the petroleum industry, it is those same consumers who demand more convenience, bigger badder SUVs, constant air conditioning, etc., etc..
    Whoa! Where did that soapbox come from?
    Anyway, it just makes sense for the government to encourage bicycle use. Look at the billions of dollars spent every year on highway construction to relieve the congestion caused by increasing numbers of cars. Look at the billions of dollars spent on healthcare to treat degenerative diseases caused by the inactivity promoted by an automobile/air conditioning/television centered lifestyle. For a fraction of the cost, safe bike friendly routes could be developed and the improved health promoted by regular cycling would reduce healthcare costs. I am convinced there are many people out there who would love to ride to work but are afraid of the traffic.
    My $0.02
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    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  5. #5
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,

    Allow me to clarify my views. I believe government bicycle facility programs are too often built on these beliefs:

    1) Motorists want cyclists off the road and out of the way.

    While this may be true, it is wrong because it places motorists' desires above cyclists' needs.

    2) Cyclists are afraid of motor traffic and want to be removed from it.

    This is often true of inexperienced cyclists, but removing cyclists from motor traffic will not substitute for their learning adequate cycling skills.

    3) Cycling will never be a good alternative to motoring.

    To accept this would spell doom for cycling. Millions prove it false everyday. But this belief is prevalent among transportation planners.
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-11-01 at 11:50 AM.

  6. #6
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Loud and clear Pete! I also agree wtih Rainman's points. "(I assume everyone realizes plastic is made from oil.) driven by lazy consumers who value convenience above all. Face it, the enemy is not the petroleum industry, it is those same consumers who demand more convenience, bigger badder SUVs, constant air conditioning, etc., etc.. " I also agree with your statement pete of "3) Cycling can never be a feasable alternative to motoring. This false assumption would spell doom for the promotion of cycling at any level. I have already proven it false as have millions of others. But this assumption is prevelant in almost every urban transportation design study used today." This is all so true. Bottom line is that as much catering to us cyclists as we would like to see it is cnsidered minimal in comparison to convenience, and the mass market who demands and needs require motorized transportaion whatever mode it is. I also agree that without it there would be alot of regressing in this nation (US) and others. However it was like this before the worldliness of others and even myself at times does not allow anything else.

  7. #7
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    I thought there were zoning laws in the USA that forbid you building a place to live within convinient distance of a place to work or shop.

  8. #8
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Where did you here that? There are many people here in the US that live above, behind, beside, etc.. of their work place.

  9. #9
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Good one, MichaelW! No it only seems that way. Our urban sprawl is just a manifestation of our ME, ME, ME outlook on life. Everyone wants the biggest house they can afford on the biggest lot they can afford. Of course, such things are only affordable farther and farther from the city, so we buy up all the farm land and pasture land and anything else green we can find to build developments farther and farther away. Then, of course, only families with two working spouses can afford such a spread plus the two cars it takes to support living so far out plus daycare for the kids...
    In America, land of the free, home of the brave, this is what we call "Quality of Life". And as you can see from the evening news every day, EVERYONE is VERY happy with our Quality of Life.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  10. #10
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    NO , I just did a quick web search on zoning laws, and they are alive and well and hampering "smart developement" in the USA. Being local ordinances, they tend to change from town to town.
    There is a trend towards smarter laws, but there is a lot of dumb legislation on the books.

  11. #11
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Michael,
    First off let me say most of the zoning laws in the US are set up according to location of commercial buisnesses, and residential housing. They are for the most part voted on by the population in a given area. They can also be applied for. Yes they do change from town to town for not everyone agrees with zoning restrictions from town to town or city to city. As far as "smart development" I do not agree with this principal. In the US there would be alot of people probably interested in this. It is good from the aspect of promoting cycling, but that is all. I am sorry for those who have to read yet another one of my rants but I do not support environmental green agendas! The US is far bigger than England and if I want to live 140 miles from work I can. I am not a tree hugger as many of you know. I also do not support any UN directed initiative or idea on urban sprawl the environment or anything else that is influenced by them. I agree that may parts of the US are not cycling freindly but we dont need a green agenda to straighten it out. If it is a opinion of yours or something that goes on in England remember this, England is not the US! Alot could be said for "dumb legislation" all over this planet.
    Last edited by Hunter; 04-12-01 at 05:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I've noticed that the USA is a very diverse nation, not only in its geography, but its people, though we share a common heritage. Most of us came from somewhere else, and we all love our land. Some live in sparsely populated regions and others live in dense urban areas, both of which have different needs.

    As Americans we have the freedom to criticize ourselves, each other and our government without fear of imprisonment. But it's kind of hard to take from
    others, I know that from experience!

    As an American transplanted into Australia in the mid-70's, I learned that we are not as popular around the world as we like to think we are. Yet the stereotypes of the "Rough American," "John Wayne" image tends to disappear after people get to know you for who you are.

    America is America, England is England, Australia is Australia, etc. Let's learn to appreciate each others differences. We may never be the same, but we can learn from each other.
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-12-01 at 10:15 PM.

  13. #13
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Absolutely, Pete. In Canada we have a very similar culture to yours, but with some differences. There are many nationalities here as well, learning to live side by side, although within the country we have two official languages, and some say cultures, which newcomers can choose from, hopefully in the process still considering themselves Canadian, while retaining their own traditions.
    This forum is a good example of how many different people, from all over the country, continent and world can come together to exchange ideas, drawn by a common interest, in this case biking. We all get to hear each other's opinions, and maybe not agreeing, but hopefully learning from each.
    :thumbup:
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  14. #14
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Getting back to the thread....
    Yes I thing governments should promote cycling. Just on the basis of the health benefits alone it would be worthwhile. The emphasis of the healthcare system is on dealing with ill health and disease, where a lot of that could be prevented in the first place, by advocating healthy lifestyles.
    Governments should also promote alternative methods of transportation for the benefit of the environment, the reasons for which have been discussed in many of the other posts and threads.
    As has been mentioned, we still need fuel driven modes of transport, but they can exist side by side with cycling, complementing each other with proper planning.
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  15. #15
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I know my last posts are a little out of the way of this thread, but I would like to visit Canada, in fact, I would like to see as much of the entire world as I can. I just don't know if I will ever get to!

    Heck, just touring the USA (off the bike) is a job! The USA by itself has quite a lot of amazing things to see!


  16. #16
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Ain't that the truth! We always think the grass is greener....but there's more to do at home than we'll ever get to do.
    :cool:
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  17. #17
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I would like to see the government promote cycling, but perhaps they could just stop subsidising motoring. I know people who choose to live 40km from their place of work because, under the stupid tax arrangements we have in this country (Australia), they can get a rebate from driving that sort of distance regularly that is actually greater than the cost of the fuel (I kid you not).

    The fact is, we all face choices about where we live. If you want to live miles from where you work, that is your own decision entirely, but don't bother asking for a hand-out because it's so far away.

    Chris
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  18. #18
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Is it true that in Canada there are some tax breaks for those who commute by bicycle? I even heard a story about a bicycle messenger that claimed food as a "fuel" like gasoline on his tax forms as a
    business expense. After much legal haggling, his exemptions were permitted. Is this true?

  19. #19
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    Pete I havn't heard of any tax breaks for bike commuters, except for the lower insurance premiums if you don't drive your car to work (it's gov't car insurance in my province). The story about the bike messenger who claimed food on his income tax as fuel is, to the best of my knowledge, true. It was in the papers here (that MUST make it true, right?).
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jramsey's Avatar
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    These are some great points.

    My opinions tend to focus on the points Rainman made.

    If we cycled or walked more than we do now:

    • Road construction would be less of a hassle and less expensive.
    • Traffic would be less congested.
    • Pollution would be reduced.
    • People would save money on gas and other auto expense.
    • Lower road costs would lower tax revenue needs.
    • People would be healthier.
    • People might save on fitness expenses.
    • People would save time spent exercizing, since it's combined with commute/travel time.
    • Healthier people require less health care.
    • People requiring less health care reduces insurance costs.
    • Healthier, more alert people are more productive at work.


    You'd think this would be a no brainer, but nothing is that easy to promote.

    Jonathan
    Playing and singing the music of Ireland
    http://www.jonathanramsey.com

  21. #21
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    The best way to promote cycling is this: use the experience of veteran cyclists to teach new cyclists, motorists, police, govenment officials and the general public. Ask expert cyclists what cyclists need, not planners who don't even know how to ride a bike properly (though they think they do, because the "rode one as a kid").

  22. #22
    Donating member Anastasia's Avatar
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    Michael
    You are so right. The zoning here in These (supposidly) United States of America is very dumb. The zoning promotes Urban Sprawl which contributes to no tax base sharing. I gotta say this is more prevelant in the MidWest and less urban cities. In fact there was a town in this area that wanted the zoning to forbid placing sidewalks in people's HUGE front lawns - so that stangers wouldn't be able to trapse across their property.

    There are many industries which get HUGE tax breaks by locating a plant in a poor neighborhood. The talking head politicians talk it up as an economic boost (via employment and taxes) when it is in fact neither. Since the industries locate in a poor neighborhood (unfortunately in this country poor is usually drawn right down color and race lines), people in those areas are charictaristically undereducated, and not employable by the big industry in their neighborhood.

    Anyway - Urban Sprawl is just another symptom of the fattness and waste-driven consumerism here in the states - where self intrest seems to be the only interest, and looking out for our neighbors, community and region is of secondary interest. I would like to see the day when we cyclists are welcomed on the road, instead of being yelled at (which I have been on NUMEROUS occasions), honked at, and run off the road.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I am somewhat of a tree hugger, but not fanatical. I know everyone can't live in pristine Vermont. I do think the petroleum/auto industry feathers their own nests and perpetuates the petroleum culture. And the gasoline age is finite and unhealthy for living organisms.
    The only activity subsudized in the U.S. are those encouraged by bribe money to the politicians, through campaign contributions.
    I do not think of biking as political, but to have a high quality of llife- guess everything is political. I bike with lots of "business types," and they despise the increased traffic and congestion and guess to get bike paths built, it takes government money to do such.
    I am sick of the urban sprawl because I think the unbridled urbanization without any sense of preservation is causing urban America to go 'mental.' The anger I see on the roads,scarry.
    Without 'greenspace,' there is no going back. Once gone- gone.
    The bike lobby is weak, so do not expect much. Yes, promoting something to make us healthier and less gasoline dependent is great. Take the Netherlands, public transit systems are designed with biking in mind. What I would give to have such values here.

  24. #24
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    I don't think promotion of cycling is realistic.

    Cycling is dangerous. Cyclists are generally underaged and require no licence.
    If you compare the number of cyclists you see on the road, and the number of accidents, the accident rate is vastly disproportionate, and not much lower than for motorcycles - which the government actively discourge the use of.

    If the bicycle was only a recent invention, they probably wouldn't be allowed on the roads - children certainly wouldn't be allowed on roads.

    Cyclists relative freedom is an accident of history ; the only trend is to more restriction.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Now you have me angry. :You have no right to dictate my means of transportation. I pay taxes every bit you do. I decide to ride to work that is my business. Automobiles have no more right to the road than any other means of transportation.. As gasoline prices go ever higher, maybe Critical Mass will gain support.
    You have the income that allows such a luxury, good for you. Many don't and bikes of often the poors only means of getting to work.
    But I find driving the automobile an increasingly ugly proposition. Could have been killed the other night, (driving my car, with two nut cases ahead of me, in pick up trucks.).
    It is the competition of the motoring primate, trying to jockey ahead of one another for some redicilious chunk of road that is increasingly causing the need for prozac. Traffic, auto fumes, stalled traffic moving in impossible patterns due to overcrowded roads. The highway is the impratical means of transport.
    Unlike Ozzie and harriett days, motoring is no fun, it is a miserable experience. Angry motorists with obscene gestures. If I could I would primarily commute to work on bike and sell one of the dam cars. Unfortunately, I live too far to commute on bike that often.
    Besides the bike was invented before the gas guzzling automobile. how I get to work is nobody's business but my own. The government takes about 35% of my income and owes me whatever transportation system I desire to do my business.
    Putting in mandatory bike lanes, like Oregon stipulates under their laws is not an enfringement on Motorists rights, but gives us all our right of choice. I thought that was the American way.

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