Feature

How bike lanes threaten democracy

Not only is urban cycling "insane," argues P.J. O'Rourke in The Wall Street Journal — it's also downright un-American

A "fibrosis of bicycle lanes" is popping up in cities across the world, says satirist P.J. O'Rourke in The Wall Street Journal, and it is bringing the scourge of "sanctimonious pedal-pushing" to unlikely places like Boston. Advocates say that bike lanes lesson congestion and help the environment. In fact, neither of those assertions is necessarily true, O'Rourke insists in his tongue-in-cheek column. Plus, a bicycle is just a silly piece of machinery — a "parody of a wheeled vehicle" — that makes riders look like unserious children. And "bike lanes violate a fundamental principle of democracy" by "forcing car owners to sacrifice our left turns, parking places, and chances to squeeze by delivery trucks so that an affluent elite can feel good about itself." Here, an excerpt:

Bike lanes must be intended to foster immaturity or New York would have chosen instead to create 670 miles of bridle paths. Being on horseback has adult gravitas. Search plazas, parks and city squares the world over and you won't fine a single statue of a national hero riding a bike.

This promotion of childishness in the electorate means that bike lanes are just the beginning. Soon we'll be making room on our city streets for scooter and skateboard lanes, Soapbox Derby lanes, pogo-stick lanes, lanes for Radio Flyer wagons (actually more practical than bicycles since you can carry a case of beer — if we're still allowed to drink beer), stilt lanes, three-legged-race lanes, lanes for skipping while playing the comb and wax paper, hopscotch lanes and Mother-May-I lanes with Mayor Bloomberg at the top of Lenox Hill shouting to the people on Park Avenue, "Take three baby steps!"

Read the entire article in The Wall Street Journal.

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