|The pernicious spirit of high-viz and victim-blaming.|
Is this really the vision for our streets?
To make my point, I am going to exaggerate bit. Probably you will want to dial back the criticism some. But the problems will still be there, I think.
What the video is not is a celebration of #BikeMonth and #BikeMore. It's not "yay bikes!"
Instead it's bicycling is dangerous and a constant source of misbehavior and lawlessness. If you are going to undertake this dangerous enterprise, make sure you are blameless. It's a dumb thing to do, but if you're going to do it, here's some things to protect yourself.
It comes at bicycling from a seemingly benign perspective of a concern for safety that actually masks the real threat from cars. It recycles the "lawless cyclist" trope and privileges hydraulic autoism and frames people on bike as the disrupters of normal street functioning. They are a regrettable compromise - but if they behave, we can manage. It's scolding and treats lesser causes of death and mayhem as the main cause.
It leads with "the most important thing is to wear a helmet."
|title card from the video|
They don't protect you from getting hit. They don't ward off the precipitating event in a catastrophe. They only mitigate after-crash severity. They don't make you "safer" if you define safety as avoiding the catastrophe of a crash itself.
(If we were serious about this logic, we would require car drivers to wear a helmet! The fact that we don't shows the hollowness of the argument.)
The video trades too much again on the victim-blaming, and minimizes ways that our hydraulic autoism, not bicyclist behavior, is the great threat to people on bike.
|4245 people/day speed more than 10mph over limit|
Salem Presentation Slides, Dec2014
During the month of March, Salem Police officers arrested 48 people for driving under the influence, issued 87 citations for driving while suspended and issued another 881 citations and warnings for various other offenses.Cars and their operators. Vehicles with weights measured in tons, with power measured in hundreds of horse equivalents, going speeds with lethal force. That's what is the main problem, not wayward cyclists.
Biking and walking should not require bravery, should not require extra planning and care. They should be the most banal of ordinary activities.
Using an automobile should be the problematic activity that requires extra care, attention, and planning. We have to switch the frame.
Our current frame may look like it's encouraging bicycling, but I contend that a person considering a bike commute for the first time will not be encouraged by the City video and instead will feel marginalized, weird, or wrong.