Tuesday, February 06, 2007

AANews round-up

Our housekeeping staff fell asleep at the wheel while the local rag covered a few items of interest to the carfree community.

Ridetrak
We mentioned this in December and January, so the News' announcement is a bit behind the times [insert your own snarky comment on "old media" here]. However, it is nice to find that riders are actually making use of this tool and that it seems to work for them (we were skeptical about the usability of this feature when it first came out).

a serious culture change
The biker banter that we've heard has been pretty positive about this article. Sure, it overlooks the dangers of cycling on the sidewalk, but at least the News is creating a discussion on the topic of road-sharing culture, right? The point of the article, that infrastructure alone will not encourage walking and biking, is a fair criticism.
However, instead of offering examples of other aspects of change, the editorial's advice dwindles at this point. They sum up by saying that, "We'll need a serious culture change, one in which bike riders are viewed as having a legitimate place on our roads." Yet they fail to identify any implementable goals or policies that might bring about this serious cultural change By the end of the article, we were left feeling hopeless about the future of NMT in Ann Arbor instead of inspired.
We also have a gripe with the over-played caveat they tack on that, "That respect cuts both ways, though - cyclists also need to respect the rules of the road, and too often that's not the case."
We're taking the hard line here. Unlawful traffic behavior by a few cyclists should not lead to a less safe environment for all cyclists. This line of argument seems to condone the flawed and dangerous concept of some motorists that cutting off cyclists, running them off the road, not giving sufficient clearance when passing, throwing garbage at bikers as they pass by is justified because some cyclists roll through stop signs or disobey other traffic laws. The News makes the mistake of equating a culture of law with a culture of respect and decency, and they completely disregard the "might is right" attitude that dominates interaction between large, heavy, and fast-moving automobiles with bicycles.

it's cold
AANews declares the recent temperature drop to be a sort of cosmic equalizing to make up for any joy Michiganders may have gotten out of a balmy December. This weather should be taken seriously by carfree folks. Especially those with kids, who lose body heat quickly. Stay warm and keep trips short or stop along the way to warm up. Of course the bus is usually a toasty option. And dress appropriately, as the article points out:

The CDC recommends that in extreme cold, adults and children should wear a hat; a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth; sleeves that are snug at the wrist; mittens (warmer than gloves); water-resistant coat and boots; and several layers of loose-fitting clothing.

They're warm, they're stylish, and they're statriotic. As we've said before, wear mittens and drink Michigan beer!

1 comment:

Edward said...

Ridetrak has changed how I ride the bus. Now I know if I've missed it, rather than just wondering. And more than once I've been able to get in an extra 5 or 10 minutes of pleasant walking to the next stops, knowing just about how late the bus will be so that I can walk ahead of it.

I don't know how many people have mobile internet access on their phones; I hope I'm not the only user.