The nanny-state ninnies in DeeCee are at it again, slipping a mandatory sidepath provision into the draft of the Senate’s transportation authorization, a.k.a. S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
The portion dealing with the federal lands transportation program reads as follows:
(d) BICYCLE SAFETY—The Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall prohibit the use of bicycles on each federally owned road that has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or greater and an adjacent paved path for use by bicycles within 100 yards of the road.
No, no and hell no, thanks all the same. As the League of American Bicyclists notes, this egregious bit of transportation segregation “ignores our fundamental right to the road.”
There’s a perfect example of why this is a ridiculous notion right here in Bibleburg. North 30th Street is a narrow, high-speed road that cyclists use to get to the Garden of the Gods or to the hilly roads around the Flying W Ranch. There is an alternative route — a “multipurpose path” east of the street that connects to a serviceable west-side path — but the eastern leg is in woeful condition, a hodgepodge of lumpy, thousand-year-old chip-seal and pulverized-granite road base that erodes at the slightest bit of run-off.
I don’t mind riding it, but I’m usually on a old steel cyclo-cross bike. Some more sensitive types with five-figure plastic fantastics find the trail less navigable and so stick to the road.
And why shouldn’t they? These are our roads, as in everyone’s, not just the folks texting their office-mates, kinfolk and sweethearts while barreling along behind the wheel of a multiton hunk of Detroit iron.
The choice to use road or path is and should remain an individual one. The League is on this like a sweaty jersey, but if you’d like to add your voice to theirs, sign their petition reminding the Senate that bikes have a right to the road. Tell the silly sods to Occupy the clues closet for a change.
A tip of the Mad Dog Media riot helmet to Khal S., LAB rat and longtime friend of the DogS(h)ite.