Fair Cost Benefit Analysis

In every cost benefit analysis, I have seen regarding government cycling spending, there are grievous errors.

That is, each analysis begs the question:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

(Yes, I know this phrase is used and abused, but I mean it in its original form.)

That is, the purported goal is to prioritize spending based on how much money we have.

In it, we have to decide what we can afford to build.

However, if we have all ready decided _what_ we will build BEFORE we do the analysis, then the whole point of the analysis is lost.

If I want to see if I can live in a luxury home, but then I decide that it’s a given that I’m going to be on the beach in Malibu and have fourteen bedrooms, then you’d laugh at me.

However, if I were to do a transportation study, and decide that we must spend most of our money on the least efficient and most expensive mode, then you’d give me a job.

Why?

BECAUSE EVEN BIKE ADVOCATES ASSUME MOTORING FOR EVERYONE AS A GIVE; BECAUSE OF THIS BICYCLES WILL ALWAYS LOSE.

Again:

ASSUMING MONEY FOR PARKING AND ROADS FOR THE ENTIRE POPULATION TO DRIVE EVERYWHERE MEANS CYCLING WILL SUCK.

Let’s look at it a different way.

If there were only walking paths to people’s jobs then they would work closer to home and not drive.

On the other end of the spectrum, if I had a helicopter and there were helipads on my house and my job reserved just for me, jobs in LA would look a whole lot more “practical”.

Then I’d look at places like where I work now and decide that I can’t work there because “there’s no (helicopter) parking).”

And so on.

At the same time, cycling is seen as something that only yellow clad, alien headed freaks will do and we get that result. Amazing!

So when we say, “we can’t afford to cycle”, the evidence in favor of this conclusion will come only as some tightly wound tautology.

Finally, there’s a similar fallacy called a “complex question” that is also used to make cycling seem impossibly expensive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_question

These questions assume that cycling is NOT affordable such as “can we afford cycling infrastructure.”

Of course, we can afford it, but the question itself is unfair because it assumes something that’s totally untrue.

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