Archive for April, 2014

Cycling Infrastructure Should Not Be Subject to Public Approval

April 1, 2014

Public approval. It sounds fair. Should not local business owners, homeowners, and long term residents of a community have a say in how it is designed?

Of course.

However, but only to a point.

I have come to believe that one stealth way that the powers that be sabotage cycling infrastructure is by subjecting it to public approval.

Why is this so bad?

In order to answer this question, we need to go the Unbound source that we trust the most; Wikipedia.

I was doing some political research for my Dungeons and Dragons adventures, and I stumbled on an article on Ochlocracy or Mob Rule.

Is this just a scary word for democracy by elitists who are of a totalitarian, we know better, opinion.


From the source:

“The distinction between “good” and “bad” [government] was made according to whether the government form would act in the interest of the whole community (“good”) or the exclusive interests of a group or individual at the expense of justice (“bad”).”

I’d argue that the people who dominate local community meetings are, at times, self-serving. Certainly there are those of us in communities who are too terrified to ride bicycles but would like to. If we don’t accommodate these people, then we are putting the exclusive interests of the motoring community over all the rest.

How do we ensure that the motoring community doesn’t create situations where they happen to literally kill others (and each other) in the community?

“The threat of “mob rule” to a democracy is restrained by ensuring that the rule of law protects minorities or individuals against short-term demagoguery or moral panic.”

Demagoguery in the motoring community? Yes, it comes in the form of the calm and rational arguments that there is a conspiracy which is perpetrating Agenda 21 and its war on cars. It comes in the form of moral panic where cyclists are chastised for not “knowing how to share the road.”

While this talk is good in a back woods bar, it doesn’t make for sane, rational nor safe road conditions. At times, it’s easy for a few demagogues to derail a community meeting with chants of “Agenda 21” and “USA”. Making the process more “democratic” lets those who are not sympathetic to cycling and walking to do institutional violence against their own community members. And it’s sold as making the government more responsive to its community, but in fact, by not making all modes of transportation equally efficient, inexpensive, and accessible, it’s actually making the government less responsive to the community as a whole because there are always going to many members of the community who can not or do not wish to drive everywhere. Not only that, but the non-motoring community is often under-represented in these meetings for many reaons but one of them is because often the meetings are inaccessible to those who don’t have a car!

And yet, the its claimed that these meetings “represent the community”. What a joke.

As I stated earlier, from a moral perspective, all members of the community need to get around safely and easily and to say that “nobody bicycles” is to advocate for a “tyranny of the majority”.

A good and sane society protects all of its members and it rewards people for making sensible, economically prudent, and healthy choices.

Cycling infrastructure is the only means to give a large number of people their right to freedom of movement and even their right to life itself. These fundamental rights should not be give up to the mob to veto.