For some reason, cycling has become politicized. If you ride a bike or are in favor of making your community more bike and pedestrian friendly, people assume you must be some kind of a liberal freak.
Far from the truth.
Though there is some conjecture about how this came to be – perhaps it’s because the original ISTEA bill funding bike accommodations was sponsored by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1991? Who knows.
Either way, to the chagrin of many, making communities bicycle friendly has become fodder for the political parties rather than an intelligent discussion in the investment for our countries future and the health and dare I say welfare of our citizens.
Next time you have a conversation with a conservative about why the country needs to make these changes, show them this article about the king of conservatives and founder of the National Review, William F. Buckley .
Yes, Buckley, captain of conservatism, was calling for New York to become more bike friendly when he ran for mayor in 1965! Buckley even spoke of elevated bike ways. He envisioned residents cycling to work and for exercise.
Fast forward to 2011, and unabashed conservative and bike commuter, Tom Bowden waves the Buckley-esque banner proudly.
This author feels that it’s time for all of us – including our elected officials – to take a step back and consider some of the challenges facing our communities, state and country: an out of control health care system; rising energy costs; a crumbling highway infrastructure.
It’s time for leaders from both parties to engage in some critical thinking about ways we can intelligently and inexpensively make changes to address these issues. Namely invest in a safe bike and ped infrastructure.Giving people the option to safely walk or bike to work, school, go shopping or even getting some exercise isn’t about red or blue, liberal or conservative: it’s about doing what’s right for the country and our citizens. And compared to building more highways, it’s an incredibly cheap investment.
Let’s cut the rhetoric and demand that our elected officials to sit down together to create a transportation system that will work for the next hundred years and make America stronger in many ways. I’m tired of the mean spirited political talk and feel it’s time our government makes it safe for citizens to leave their cars and find alternative ways to get around in their communities.
Whether you read the Wall Street Journal or prefer perusing Mother Jones, biking and walking is good for our country and good for our citizens no matter your political bent.
It’s time our politicians hear the call and make these changes starting now.