When I was a kid, we rode our bikes around the neighborhood without making a big deal about it. We didn’t wear helmets, and we understood that we were pedestrians who must yield at all times to motor vehicle traffic. Yielding meant getting off the street and out of the way. Everyone understood this. It made sense, and it worked pretty well.
Somewhere along the line, the culture started to embrace the nutty idea that bicycles should be treated, not like pedestrians, but like street vehicles. It’s actually illegal to ride bikes on sidewalks in some towns, which is nuts. Entire columns of traffic get held up on some city streets by one person on a bike riding right next to a sidewalk they can’t or won’t use.
That’s all by design. It’s not about the bikes. It’s about the cars. It’s about hating on automobiles and fossil fuels, and staging little microagressions in protest.
Case in point: a bicycle organization in the Twin Cities seeks legislation at the state level to slow city traffic from 30 to 25 miles per hour. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
A limit of 25 miles per hour has long been a goal for Minneapolis, St. Paul and other communities. Supporters argue a lower limit would reduce the crash danger for pedestrians and cyclists and get more people out exercising.
The present urban limit of 30 mph was cited by the League of American Bicyclists as an area needing improvement when Minneapolis recently tried unsuccessfully to upgrade its status as a bike-friendly community from gold to platinum, a status held by only five cities nationally.
Gotta get that platinum status to make it into the super-elite stinkless poop club. Of course, as the article goes on to note, changing the law doesn’t change behavior. People tend to drive at the speed they find reasonable. As a result, actually effecting a 25 mph speed limit will require more invasive measures.
The feedback report from the League of American Bicyclists said… that traffic-calming measures, which involve such techniques as speed rises or raised pedestrian crossings, could help compliance by drivers.
There you go. Physically obstructing automobile traffic. That’s what the bicycle movement is all about.