Saturday, March 25, 2017

Equal, But Separate – Why Road Diets Suck. Part I

A solid component of man’s quest for knowledge used to be the pursuit of Truth (and Fact).  The major barrier to this endeavor, sadly, is people don’t care much for either of them.  However, to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in the movie Jurassic Park - Truth breaks free; it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but Truth… finds a way. 

And, when I refer to the Truth, I am referring to societal customs of universally held beliefs, aka, Dogma.  In short, is something really true, or do we all just hope it is, and plow on with our lives, regardless?  One relevant example of these societal myths is the phrase “Sharing the Road.”  In truth, it is a complete fantasy.  It is something we like to think is benevolently so, but Zeitgeist tells us otherwise.

Humans do not really interact all that well, together.  In any collection of people, someone always thinks they are better, faster, smarter, a leader, or worst yet, “Deserving.”  The realties of human interaction are actually quite a bit darker than we care to admit when humanity is viewed along its historical record.  We have to be taught to be nice.  It is not innate.  Fish can swim in a school, and birds can fly in massive flocks, all the while not colliding into each other with disastrous results.  They work together and behave beyond the individual.  Humans cannot even walk together without bumping into one-another, and forget about driving (or riding) in large groups – Disaster!

Where am I going with this?  I really don’t like to get into the politics of everyday life on this blog, however, when decisions are being made for me (and others), it is time to take note and speak up.  What I am directly referring to is the term “Bicycle Advocate” (whatever that means?).  There is more than enough evidence to argue that those who propose to speak for me, and all cyclists, are really not looking out for everyone’s best interests but are only looking out for their own, narrowly-focused interests. 

Here is a perfect example of the phenomenon, and with all due respects to comedian Henny Youngman, take the subject of Road Diets.  Please!

The Road Diet - It is an innocuous, pretty sounding, name for militantly screwing over your fellow human beings for the sheer reason they do not ride a bicycle, nor happen to commute via one.  In concise terms, if someone else does not do what you do, attack and demonize them – Wash, rinse, repeat.  This has been a popular tactic of activists since Adam taught his kids how to walk.   It is blatant discrimination at its best, and terrorism via Public Policy at worst.  Someone does not do as you do, so you seek to limit, and in some cases, outright ban their legal, chosen mode of conveyance.  Don’t scoff.  It is happening all over the World, right now.

See, while some people live by the bicycle, not all of us do.  The bike is a component of our lives, however, it is not the entire reason for our existence.  Sorry!  This explanation will get you into a fight with a “Cycling Advocate” faster than you can say, “Road Diets Suck!"  That is why I have no faith in, nor have time for, any so-called Bicycle “Advocate “ or “Coalition.”  For a group of citizens claiming to be “Community Based,” these folks certainly are pretty dang discriminatory, and mean, to boot.  These peeps are actually motor vehicle loathing anarchists.

Another weapon used to support the cause of the Anti-Vehicular Jihadist is the self-imposed, miraculous, sacrosanct Truth by Personal Observation (TPO).  This is a case where facts are completely irrelevant, and “What I saw” is deemed as true because it is, well, “How I see things!”  Meanwhile, the wicked step-child of this advocate sophistry is, “It’s what I feel!”  This process of madness is utilized to justify less capacity for motor vehicles.  And, we have all heard (and read) it, too.  “I sat at a corner, and I saw only two cars, but I saw twenty bikes.  We need more personal space for bicycles, since there are hardly any cars, anyway.”   Oh really?  Where were you standing, what time of day was it, what day of the week was it, what road was it, and how many trucks, buses, motorcycles and pedestrians did you see???   

Consider this quote lifted from a Southern California blog:

“Car-centric planning has been an abysmal failure for Los Angeles on every level (safety, property values, travel times, you name it.) It’s time motorists start sharing, instead of acting like entitled children anytime the issue of complete streets comes up. We pay taxes for the streets just the same as you.” 

And, truth be told, that author was absolutely correct – About the infrastructure.  Transportation infrastructure has been an abysmal failure, because it was IMCOMPENTELY PLANNED, POORLY CONSTRUCTED, AND IS INCOMPENTENTLY MANAGED!  With the logic of Comrade Blog Writer, should the Wright Brothers have stayed on the ground after the first failure of their new invention?  Since the first wheel did not roll, should the idea have just dropped, right there?  Bunk!  Good ideas evolve, thrive, and live on, while bad ideas rightfully die, unless it is a Public Policy ploy, whereby untold amounts of tax dollars are funneled into it to keep the bad idea alive (and bureaucrats employed) – Our transportation infrastructure in a nutshell. 

This leads me to another affliction of the so-called “Activist.” When it is in THEIR best interest, a concept must be tried, and tried, and tried until it “Succeeds,” even if it is a horrible, unworkable, and expensive idea (by the way, it’s never their own  money being spent).  However, when it comes to the needs of Motorists, it is “Oh well.  We tried the road building thing once, now it is time to move on.”  The latter is the “Abysmal Failure” aforementioned Comrade Blog Writer was referring to.  Thus, upon further investigation, it is interesting that the loudest advocates for “Share the Road,” in reality, do not really want to.  Theses people want to OWN the road.  It is classic Bourgeois-Proletariat philosophy: “We are all equal users of the road.  However, some of us are more equal than others.”

Bottom line, I am not in favor of anything which takes away capacity, PERIOD!  People seem to think Road Diets are harmless, but they are truly a Zero Sum Gain, i.e., someone must lose, so someone else can gain.  And, the device to advance that zero-sum gain is to first demonize a segment of the population, i.e. Motorists, to gain sympathetic support for the cycling advocates ideas.  And, like the proverbial moth to a flame, the useless idiots (their army of zombies) follow in lock-step. 

For those who claim more vehicle lanes will bring increased traffic, well, wake up – The traffic of tomorrow is already here, TODAY!  We need more, and better, infrastructure, not less of it.  The ire of the “Activist” in the State of California (and everywhere), for instance, is the Motorist, but their sights should be purely upon that bastion of Expensive Bureaucratic Incompetence, the California Department of Transportation, aka, Caltrans.  And, in regards to Caltrans, to paraphrase the great Sir Winston Churchill: Never before has an agency done so little, for so many, for such an exorbitant cost.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Is The Traditional Riding Club Obsolete?

The Traditional Riding Club.  Usually a place of friendship, support, and good times. However, recently, it seems the Traditional Riding Club (TRC) has morphed into something far less appealing.  Wrought with petty-politics, harsh commitments, ever-rising dues, constant hammering on rides, dropped souls, and dwindling memberships, things appear to not be as rosy as they once were.  Has the TRC possibly met its end?  Maybe so, however, there is always hope for Humanity when it chooses to mingle in packs.

Overall, I have met more people in my travels who share a general negative reaction to TRC’s, and I admit some of their bitter thoughts have merit while some do not. The overall telling tale is that most negative concerns are actually founded in truth.  From Leadership that cares nothing about the Membership’s well-being, to high dues, ridiculous “Rules,” boring rides, and internal politics, a lot of riders just don’t seem too keen on the structured regimen of a club, anymore.  

While riding with friends, and loose associations of like-minded riders, morphed into Clubs, it appears to be heading back in the other direction, as riding with friends, and loose associations of like-minded riders, are shunning TRC’s.  And, this is not just my opinion, as I have asked, and heard from, a great number of riders on the subject – Especially new riders.

Case in point;

I previously wrote about my experiences in TRC’s (Cycling Dynamics, 10-09-2012). I mentioned how they rise, how they can thrive, and unfortunately, how some will eventually fail – Unless they put the membership first.  Well, I was unfortunately correct in one particular club’s case, because it is basically dead now.  Killed by its own internal arrogance, it is a name which now elicits a negative reaction from cyclists in that part of the world.  And, the fall was as predictable as it was inevitable. 

First, that club’s internal clique chased away all of the kind, helpful, empathetic, people-minded folks.  They were also rude to new riders, dropping them, without a care for their well-being, or whereabouts, on rides. Gee, how inclusive! Then, after all of those aforementioned people were gone, they finally turned on each other.  And, as always happens in arrogant, authoritarian organizations, after the wreck of this once reputable club was a pile of smoldering ruins, the guilty offenders drifted off into oblivion, leaving the once great organization on life support. It was all too sad to watch what had once been one of the gold-standards of the cycling community completely destroyed. Sadder still, the biggest of the assholes went on to wreak havoc on other unsuspecting clubs.

Another negative aspect of the TRC is the dreaded “Liability” thing (don’t get me started on Tort Reform!).  The whole “Dues” thing gains traction from club talking heads as they claim lawyers cost money (go figure), so in order for the club to not be sued for anyone being injured on a ride (Club’s fault, or not), money must be forked over.  Lots of it.  Throw in the still additional cost of a website (most suck), plus riding kit (again, most suck) and the dues can soon become a drain on peoples resources and patience.  The Red Tape was not why we got into cycling to begin with, and that is why Meetup, and informal non-club-clubs, are now thriving. Hey, people really do still enjoy unencumbered free-association with like-minded happy cyclists.

One, nice alternative to the TRC: The “Non-Club Club.”

I personally have ridden with some of those (I call them) non-club-clubs, and the experience was quite liberating.  They had basic safety rules, such as mandatory helmet use, hydration, and spare tubes, published routes for all skill levels, a set meet point, multiple, reasonable start times (not everyone wants to ride at 0700!), and if you showed up great, and, if not, that was great, too.  It was a ride at your own risk affair, and you were responsible for you own safety.  It was the most mature approach to organized riding I had encountered to date, with exercise, and fun, being the name of the game.  No pressure, no dropping, do dues, no politics, and no bullshit.  The way organized riding ought to be – The way God intended it! 

So, while informal riding groups are gaining in popularity, from casual friends, to word of mouth, to Meetup, the TRC is far from dead, and rightfully so.  I am not anti-club in anyway, as I have ridden with some fine organizations, though, unfortunately, fine riding clubs are in the minority. 

The difference being those, fine TRC’s actually put their membership first, and the club officers were in the role of Servants, not Masters over the Serfs. Those TRC’s will always thrive, and live on, while the previously mentioned authoritarian-type club will always die - And, rightfully so. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Vision Zero: A Cyclist’s Perspective. How The Nation’s Road Networks Are Being Hijacked By Special Interests.

In case you may not have heard of Vision Zero, well, you are among very good, societal company.  The bad news is that you will hear about it, soon.  And, Vision Zero will be very costly in freedom, lives, and money. 

From Wikipedia:

“Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic. It started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997.”

Sounds noble, and virtuous, doesn’t it?  I mean, who, in their right-mind, would be against that?  Well, all that glitters, or tugs at your heart-strings, is not road-going gold.  Vision Zero is a Trojan Horse of Social-Engineering, wrapped up in a pretty, benevolent, noble-sounding, enema.  It is, in actuality, a creature built by Very Special Interests, and it is intended to pit citizen against citizen.  And, it is going to be very, very expensive.
Down your throat, or up your ass, the force behind this rather innocuous sounding, truly non-benevolent movement, are in fact people who think they are smarter than the rest of us and seek to Centrally Plan, a.k.a., Control, all aspects of our lives.  Vision Zero really should be called Vision Delusional, or V.D., for short.  And, both Cycling “Advocates,” and Government Officials, alike, want everyone to get V.D., as it is in THEIR best interest, not ours. How does one spell G-R-A-F-T? Let us count the ways…

Point of Historical Fact #1: Everywhere these nebulous types of Social Engineering plots have been tried, they have failed – Miserably. 

And, since these schemes are in fact nebulous by nature, they cam mean whatever the proponents want them to be. So, set the bar impossibly high, and demand action via other people’s money, to attain the unattainable, delusional goal.  Additionally, since the goal is an impossible dream, the schemers keep demanding, pushing, and protesting, until the struggle itself becomes a way of life (and taxpayer funded employment). That is how Bureaucrats are born.  And, the battle does not cost the anti-vehicle zealots anything, zero, zilch, nada, being the war on the free-movement of citizens is waged with the taxpayers own money.  Meanwhile, the majority are left victimized in the wake of another storm of the well-intentioned, as the Law of Unintended Consequences will be proven – AGAIN! 

Don’t believe me?  Check out the following excerpt from a cycling “advocacy” website:

“Vision Zero is a long process requiring a dramatic shift in infrastructure, attitudes and enforcement, making quick results highly unlikely.”

Notice the phraseology of that sentence.  It highlights the cycling-anarchist’s modus operandi of permanent warfare on those whom are not one of them – Again, all at the Public’s expense.  There will be a forced change, people will accept the change, and by the way, you will pay for the change the anarchist’s want, as the movement is right out of the Fabian Socialist’s playbook.  It is the same dream of the Alchemist’s of old.  And, just as the goal of the Alchemist was as futile as it was a waste of time (and money), so too is the plan of Vision Zeroist’s.  As for the why, well, that is simple.  As the Alchemist’s could not change the Laws of Nature, the Vision Zero cabal cannot change Human Nature (though they think they can given enough public funds and the force of law).  In a nutshell, though the V.D. Crowd has a noble sounding goal – Zero deaths and injuries – the vision itself is impossible due to Darryl’s Postulate of The Universe #5:

No human system can be fool-proofed, because the fools are so damn persistent.

There are those whom hate bikes, and there are those whom hate motorists.  The majority of people, however, love both bicycles and motor vehicles.  We can do that because we are mature, free-thinking individuals.  In short, we get along, and have a live-and-let-live attitude.  Anarchists are zero-sum minded.  For them to win, someone else must lose, whilst they claim to be “Fighting” for the rights of all people.  It is their way, or there will be hell to pay!  Look at them as children in adult bodies, because that is exactly what they are.
Meanwhile, the very same Government agencies the V.D. Crowd are working with to realize their dream, are the very same entities that have completely screwed-up, and hopelessly mismanaged, the entire transportation system from top-to-bottom!  Let that sink in.  They are looking to the same government entities that have, and currently, mismanage the transportation system to, in-turn, alter the system to their own narrowly focused, unattainable, unworkable, and discriminatory viewpoint.  Last I checked they had doctors for that brand of insanity.
So, to put this all into context, do I knock those who seek safer streets?  No, not at all.  We all want safer streets.  However, the problems do not fall solely upon the Motorist.  The issues are the transportation system itself, from bad planning, to sub-par construction, to gross mismanagement, to non-existent, unsafe licensing requirements, and an acute lack of training on everyone’s part which utilize the system.  That is where the problems of a dream of safer streets exists. Bad design, bad users, and bad management, all adds up to one, giant, freaking mess. Fix all of the former, and streets will become safer – Over time.  Simple.

In closing, we all want a safer society.  However, forcefully altering people’s behavior, and ultimately, their God given freewill, is not the way to bring humanity together in perfect harmony.  There are better (less expensive) ways to make the streets livable, and safe. 

Vision Zero is nothing but a poison pill that will kill the patient to cure a hang-nail – At the patent’s own expense, of course.

In the future I will address some of the ways we can all get along. 

And, no one needs contract V.D while doing it, either.