Monday, May 2, 2011

not there for you

on his blog earlier this week, joe rose (i know, i know, consider the source) gives the briefest possible summary of an interview he recently had with rob sadowsky over an eight dollar sandwich.

supposedly they talked about "the directions that [sic] the BTA is moving this year," but all we are allowed to hear is that "the word 'integration' was used a lot."

anyway, the money quote is here:
The BTA will also work on its image. It's not there for the "take the lane" cyclists who want to fight motorists for the right of way around every corner. "They don't even want bike lanes," Sadowsky said.

let's parse this a little.

first, if the BTA has an image problem, i am pretty sure it is not that it is identified with the vehicular cyclist agenda. but that is what rose implies here. joe sixpack thinking g*dd*mn BTA out there pushing this here hardcore foresterite agenda.

on the contrary, the BTA has positioned itself as a largely uncritical cheerleader of whatever the hell PBoT throws down.

second, who exactly is it -- rose or sadowsky -- who characterizes vehicular cyclists as "fight[ing] motorists for the right of way"? the offhand use of the phrase "around every corner" here suggests that this is rose, not sadowsky, speaking. "taking the lane" got not much to do with corners.

no one is "fighting motorists," and the issue is not "the right of way." the vehicular cyclist simply wants to be permitted to share the roads under existing right of way principles. build all the sidepaths you want, but repeal the far to right and mandatory sidepath statutes. and educate the motoring public that cyclists are not required to use the sidepaths.

i will accept that sadowsky probably said "they don't even want bike lanes," because this is a roughly accurate statement about vehicular cyclists. well, except for the word "even," which seems to suggest that anyone who does not "want" a striped bike lane is some kind of luddite. but maybe even the word "even" made sense in some fuller context, which we are not given.

to clarify, incidentally, what a vehicular cyclist "does not want" is to be legally required to use a bike lane where safety considerations would indicate asserting a position somewhat farther left. the mandatory sidepath law literally forbids a cyclist to exercise this judgment.

but again, the way rose has framed this, it would appear that what sadowsky is saying is that the BTA wants nothing to do with vehicular cyclists, or has no interest in representing their concerns. i asked rose whether his notes reflected a full, verbatim quote, in context. he deflected the question.

if it is in fact the case that the BTA would openly oppose any effort to repeal the mandatory sidepath statute, i think sadowsky needs to state the matter plainly, not in some garbled paraphrase in joe rose's blog.

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