I’m reading an excellent book called _The Inner Ape_.
In it, I found some parallels to cycling advocacy.
One of the them is more detail on how a young upstart chimp challenges the tribe’s alpha male. He doesn’t have to attack the alpha. Just refusing to bow and maintain the proper level of deference will often enrage the alpha male who will later single out the disrespectful upstart for violence.
Similarly, those who ride bicycles must defer to the all powerful transportation alpha, motoring, by paying them the proper level of kowtowing.
Thus, instead of doing what’s intelligent and sensible, and making motoring safer, those who oppose cycling LOVE cycling helmets as the panacea for all road danger. This is because donning a helmet, to a primitive part of the motorist’s brain, is kowtowing. As is wearing neon yellow.
This why “share the road” will NEVER work. There’s an unspoken, and too often spoken, notion that a motorist can kill a cyclist. Until we totally emasculate our normal human minds, the powerful will take advantage of the less powerful.
This also explains why many people have no idea why one would ever want to ride a bicycle. Why roll with the beta class transportation when you are a credit check and a monthly payment away from alpha status?
We can rise above animal instincts through logic and reason, but we must do so in the city planning stage and NOT while cruising through space at 50 MPH plus.
The punishment for not kowtowing, aka not wearing a helmet is the same for not kowtowing in the ape world: the threat of violence. The only difference is that for cyclist’s the threat of violence is veiled. We don’t want cyclists to die, they get hit by “accident”. But if you notice the readiness that anti-cyclists are quick to point out a cyclist’s potential risk, without consulting statistics first, you can see that the violence against cyclists isn’t to be mitigated, it’s to be relished. It needs to be a constant reminder.
We need to constantly hear the danger that cyclists are in because this way, we can keep the threat of violence alive.
I have seen this happen time and time again during debates where I’d flip the script, and I point out that most children die INSIDE cars.
The same people who are quick to protect my poor brain from a high speed car with a piece of Styrofoam are so disinterested at the thought of their own vulnerability, they completely ignore it. This is because the notion of safety is actually a masquerade of subtle threats to control cyclist’s behavior. To dominate. To keep the alpha mode in alpha place.
One who truly cares about safety, as I do, will focus on: triage (the biggest number of deaths need to be focused on first), statistics (bike haters don’t know and don’t care), good design (bike haters blather about “not invented here” nonsense). The jury is in the solutions have been found, but this will restrict motoring a little bit, and as I said above challenge the alpha. Taking away parking isn’t merely refusing to kowtow, but it’s a punch in the face to the motoring ape brain.
Like nearly every other American, I motor, too. But I realize that the only way to win the struggle is by aiming for the heart of the alpha transportation beast. And this means directly attacking the notion that all is well in motoring, We need to stop concealing from ourselves the massive direct carnage and the even less noticeable but more pervasive destruction of human health that is a result of our kowtowing to the motoring alpha.
Thus, to win, we must be able to make people uncomfortable, to put up with some bad feelings, to argue, and yes to “fight”.
Unlike anti-cyclists, who continually blame the victim in an attempt to terrorize the rest of cyclists to start motoring, only, cyclists fight by pointing out the hypocrisy of the government that has money to make the streets dangerous and to victim blame, but not to make cycling safe. We fight by publicizing the shameful amount of deaths that those who design the roads would rather brush under a rug. And we fight at the ballot box. All of this is democratic, civil, legal, compassionate, and moral unlike the underhanded and unethical (and potentially illegal) tactics that anti-cyclists use daily at our places of work, at parties, and on comment forums. How many times are we going to read that “roads are for cars”? This is alpha muscle flexing and yes, a subtle death threat.
The beta who bows and refuses to raise one’s voice and refuses to fight is the eternal beta. The advocate who act beta and urges “peace at any price” sabotage it for the rest of us; they are worse than do nothings; they are counter-advocates.
Put on a helmet. Wear neon. Share the road. (sic)