“A Bicycle Is Not a Transportation Device”

Did you commute by bike this morning? (I’m not at the office yet
today, but that’s how I’m going to get there.) If so, you might be
surprised to hear that "a bicycle is not a transportation device."
Those are the perplexing words of John Cook, a supervisor in Fairfax
County, Virginia. 

The FABB Blog (a project of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling) has the story: 

IMG_3461_703398.jpgTry telling these Fairfax County commuters their bikes aren’t "transportation devices." (Photo: FABB Blog)

[A]t a recent Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting, [Cook] said,
"I don’t believe a bicycle is a transportation device. I think it’s a
recreation device. The big problem is people don’t want to ride their
bike in the rain or get sweaty before work."

Supervisor Cook
needs to get out more. Every day people in Fairfax County use bicycles
to get to work, shops, and to run errands. They use bikes to get to
Metro, to libraries, and yes, some even ride to jobs at the Government
Center. Some people don’t want to ride in the rain but many do because
they have few other options. You could ask some of the workers pictured [right] who are receiving free bike lights. They ride in the rain, snow, and darkness to get to jobs around the county.

It’s great to learn that FABB has a lights giveaway program similar to the Los Angeles–based "Ciudad de Luces"
one we mentioned a couple of weeks back. But it sounds like it will
take more than flashing blinkies for Supervisor Cook to see the
bicycles being used for transportation right in front of him. So the
FABB Blog is asking its readers to give him a call and let him know
that people do ride to get things done.

More from around the network: The National Journal’s Transportation Expert Blog asks if the TIGER grants announced last week should serve as a model for the next surface transportation bill. Louisville’s CART blog has the latest on pending transit cuts in that Kentucky city. And WalkBikeJersey asks if three-foot passing laws might not actually put cyclists in more danger.

  • ZA

    Yep, and this has more to do with wintersports than Nordic stubbornness.

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/02/just-getting-on-with-it.html

    Supervisor, can I sell you a bridge?

  • sigh.

  • peternatural

    It’s an understandable error, considering what Paul Dorn has to say on his “bike commuting tips” web page (http://www.runmuki.com/commute/commuting3.html):

    In much of the world — in such countries as Japan, Denmark, France or Holland — the bicycle is valued as a utilitarian vehicle. And bikes sold in those countries come equipped with fenders, bells, lights, kickstands, racks, and, very important, chainguards.

    In the US the bicycle is generally considered a toy, a recreational device, or as exercise equipment. Something you load on top of your car, like skis or a surfboard, and travel to some remote area to “play.” That’s why bike shops are filled with mountain bikes. They thrive on selling the “sport” of cycling. Travel they leave to other vehicle retailers, i.e. auto dealerships. This is a big mistake.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

Fire Officials Challenge Street Safety Improvements in Virginia

|
In Virginia’s Fairfax County, advocates for livable neighborhoods have been making progress toward “context sensitive streets.” County officials have been considering narrower, urban-style streets in low-traffic residential areas rather than wide suburban-style roads, cleared of obstacles to allow for high speeds. The narrower design standards would discourage speeding and increase safety for pedestrians as well […]

A Cyclist by Any Other Name

|
If you are a person who rides a bicycle, how do you refer to yourself? As a cyclist? A biker? A bicyclist? Or simply as…a person? Who rides a bicycle? As riding a bicycle for transportation has become more common around the country, the question comes up more and more often. The word "cyclist," in […]

Bicycle Rides Aplenty This Weekend

|
David Baker leading the AIA Architectural Gems San Francisco Bike Tour. Photo: jordanfischer In case you hadn’t already noticed from reading Today’s Headlines, there are a bunch of good bicycle rides this weekend, two of which I want to highlight here. For a good list of rides check out SFBC’s Chain of Events. First, Architect, […]