Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bend bike rack threatens car culture

Like the Chinese, people in Bend like to ride bicycles, even on roadways where cars, trucks and buses dodge them daily.

Unlike cars, though, there aren't many places to park bikes in Bend, unless you're in grade school.

Last month, the city made a major effort to rectify this problem. It took a single parking place downtown and converted it into a corral for 12 bicycles.

Naturally, the daily paper's editorialists considered this a crime against the auto's humanity.

Nevermind that a multi-level parking garage is 50 feet from this bicycle hitching post.

To lose one single parking space is but a slippery slope to forcing people to pedal Schwinn's, even when it's snowing outside. It could be considered a Communist plot by the same people opposed to fluoridated water.

It doesn't matter that the $13 million parking garage is mostly vacant throughout the week.

No, this $3,500 bike corral sacrificed the freedom of a downtown driver from parking in this spot.

Where are the protests?

We're losing more of our freedoms every day. Can't drive without strapping on a seat belt. Can't drive while texting. Now, can't park in front of Thump Coffee in downtown Bend.

And, if 12 more people ride bikes instead of drive cars, are we now going to take up another critical parking space to provide showers for sweaty cyclists?

While it is true that a bicycle costs less to purchase than a car, it's also true that a bike doesn't use any gas. This means we don't collect any gas taxes from bicycle riders, which means we won't have enough money to build more parking garages.

It's a vicious cycle.

Bicycles may not pollute the atmosphere or contribute to global warming or cause traffic jams.

They do, however, command a single bike rack in Bend, which is the beginning of the end, as we know it.

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