Freaky Bike Blindness

I’m starting to see a huge pattern here in our rush to “fix” the current transportation mess: bicycle blindness (BB).

I don’t mean the fact that it’s extremely difficult to see a cyclist in front of you while going tens of miles per hour faster despite the canary colors and flashing lights. That’s something that can only be fixed by physical separation of the humans from the heavy machinery work area.

What I mean by bicycle blindness is where the bicycle is our fix to our problems and yet it is totally ignored while we chase after a much less tested, more expensive non-solution that perpetuates 99% of the original problems that it’s trying to fix.

In this case, Freakonomics gets it badly, but predictably, wrong. (We should call them Trollonomics from their posts which are only slightly less histrionic than yours truly). 🙂

If you do peruse it, you’ll see I ended with the hope that technology will bail us out of our transportation problems just like it bailed us out of those caused by the horse. At that time, a deus ex machina descended from the heavens to improbably solve the insoluble. The savior was known as the automobile, and as it went from obscurity to ubiquity in a few decades it banished the working horse—a primary mode of transportation for thousands of years—to oblivion.

There was only one problem with my call for a miraculous technological fix: I did not have the slightest idea what that technology would be.”

The bicycle! This was around at the same time that we were “saved” by the auto, yes?


“There is little doubt it will be the biggest innovation in transportation since internal combustion itself. It is cars that drive themselves.”

Yes, let’s replace something that’s dangerous, which makes a huge impact on our environment both natural and human perception, and which takes up too much space with something that’s perhaps safer, but has all the rest of the same problems. Great idea.

Plus, let’s make it really, really complicated.

Overall, I’d prefer to have well programmed cars in the future than the poorly driven ones in the past.

However, each time we get a solution like this we are seduced away from simpler solutions. Each one, for me, creates a grim, and ugly alternate universe.

Other possible alternate universes of doom include e-bikes, mopeds, and the Zero Death project which aims to make motoring 100% safe, but make cycling and walking to be that much more deadly so we can, by the force of violence, coerce everyone to live the way that we’d like.

Great job, Freakonomics.

Idiots! 🙂


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