Well It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time…

    It’s human nature to take things just a little too far, to never be satisfied, and to push our luck. Sooner or later, each one of us falls victim to hubris. This is why we have that myth about the naked guy who flew too close to the sun:

    You can see this throughout history, everywhere you look. Someone has a good idea, it brings them success, then invariably they have to push it, with disastrous consequences. Consider Cannondale, who figured, “Hey, everyone loves our bikes, so let’s make a motorcycle!”

    Or take Jerry Lewis, who decided, “Hey, everyone loves my comedies, so why don’t I make a movie where I’m a clown in a concentration camp?”

    Okay, I regret even bringing that one up, so let’s just stick to bikes–and when it comes to cycling, what company is more iconic than Campagnolo? They may have owned the road, but nevertheless in the late ’80s concluded, “Hey, why don’t we take a stab at this mountain bike thing?”

    For chrissakes they even had a group called Icarus!

    I mean come on, Campagnolo, clearly your own subconscious was trying to tell you something.

    Anyway, given this universal truth about humanity, should we expect any different when it comes to our advocates? Here in New York, advocates had a fantastic idea, which was that it should be easy to walk and ride bikes without getting killed, so we should have bike lanes and stuff. Arguably, this peaked under the Bloomberg administration, when the city built a bunch of bike lanes and urban cycling experienced the sort of growth it hadn’t seen since the age of the pennyfarthing:

    [Today the fixie and the yellow taxi industry are both mere shadows of their former selves, proving once again that when Specialized appropriates something it’s the kiss of death.]

    But in the ensuing years advocacy went from a grassroots movement to a sociopolitical philosophy or something, and by 2020 they were saying the police shouldn’t be doing traffic enforcement:

    Because is harms people of color:

    Which I only mention because the same outlet new reports that the city’s streets have become more dangerous due to…a reduction in police traffic enforcement:

    Which harms people of color:

    Insert record scratch sound here:

    But what about those egalitarian cameras that were supposed to save us back in 2020? Well, now Streetsblog wants you to know that you need human enforcement too, go figure:

    That’s not to say we should have artisanal one-at-a-time hand-curated traffic stops instead of speed cameras. However it is to say we should probably have plenty of both. You don’t get rid of police enforcement just because you have speed cameras. Sure, the advocates probably thought getting rid of traffic stops in favor of cameras was like getting rid of your landline when you get a cellphone, but if they’d actually stopped to think about it for two seconds they might have realized it’s more like getting rid of your kitchen sink because you got a dishwasher. Yes, the dishwasher helps, but when the grime is really stubborn sometimes you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get in there.

    Meanwhile, I pointed out this irony on Twitter and people were like, “We never said there shouldn’t be traffic stops, we just said someone else should be doing them,” though it was only four years ago and I totally remember that they quite literally thought we didn’t need to pull people over anymore:

    But I don’t blame the advocates, because again it’s human nature to try to squeeze in that last morsel of self-righteousness:

    Or to spend years and years praising every dubious bike industry “innovation” only to complain when a simple stem adjustment now requires “a few hundred dollars” and an appointment at a service center:

    Well, I mean there are a lot of reasons to make you go through that. For example, when you bring the bike in they need to be able to say, “Wow, still riding the F5?,” so they can talk you into a new Dogma:

    There’s not a lot of information in the video, but I’m pretty sure he needs a stem adjustment and he’s trying to get to the shop before it closes.

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