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March 31, 2011

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Which generation of conservatives?

The root word for conservatives and conservation being the same, Lolly Walsh is echoing the kind of conservatism my Depression-era, WWII parents practiced ("use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without") but not what is branded as conservatism today by those who speak the loudest.

For this to spark a real debate you'd have to have someone who IS anti-bike expressing that viewpoint. I appreciate the sentiments expressed but two people agreeing doesn't start a debate.

Barb Chamberlain more than 2 years ago

Actual Fiscal Responsibillty

• I don't think fiscal conservatism has been a real thing since the days of Barry Goldwater, and even he might have been posturing. The Hart/Spivak book was a major work that made the fiscally conservative case for alternatives to cars, and even Paul Weyrich floated the notion for a while, but these have gone nowhere.

Instead, every influential conservative group from the Cato Institute to the Teabaggers have argued quite the opposite, money for cars and highways above all else, even if the arguments for that requires bogus research to contradict the laws of physics. I imagine this has something to do with their reliance on money from the oil industry.

As for Rob Ford, talk is cheap. Remember that he invited a sports announcer to his inauguration who wore a pink suit in honor of the "pinkos" who ride in "socialist" bike lanes -- bike lanes that Ford would later rip out at greater public expense than it took to build them. So much for fiscal responsibility.

Jym Dyer more than 2 years ago

I'm not sure that I see the point of this debate or take us anywhere new. I don't see transportation cycling as either a conservative or liberal question at all. I know plenty of liberal-progressives who don't think twice about hopping in their car to take their kids on a play-day two blocks away. I believe the issue is whether one has bought in to the decades old mantra that we can't live without our cars. Some conservatives do seem to fall prey to the notion that transportation cycling is a socialist plot to take cars away from people but that simply indicates a lack of critical thinking - no reasonable person is suggesting we get rid of cars, only that we use them less and support options to cars.

I suspect the North American tug-o'-war between funding for cycling infrasture and that of cars is largely driven by resistance to change by the culture at large and a failure of the vast majority of our leadership in carrying the water. How many electeds in your community doing any biking beyond recreational. I can think of only 3 across all of North America that I am aware regularly bike to work or where they otherwise need to go. Certainly, numerous corporate interests have no interest in disrupting the car culture status quo either so they aren't handing out cash lobbying for more cycle tracks and bike corrals..

Karen Voyer-Caravona more than 2 years ago

real world

Lolly Walsh is out of touch with the real world. Real world conservatives want to remove all the pedestrians and bicyclists from "their roads" so they can drive faster. This policy applies all the way from the Federal transportation budget down to local city projects. Maybe the Republican Party is full of fake conservatives, but that is the real world.

real world more than 2 years ago


All you did was lit the fire on this topic. How about some more light and less heat. I will cogitate on this as I pedal home from work tonight-- for about two seconds. Then I will enjoy the ride... which is why I'm out there. The health, financial and eco benefits just bolster my justification to continue the practice!

dave more than 2 years ago

politics & bikes

I don't believe that this post answers the question it set out to explore. I also believe that it is impossible to ignore the part politics plays in enabling, or making difficult, the integration of safe, convenient cycling back into the mix of transportation alternatives.

I <a href="">had a kick at the can</a> myself recently, with predictable results.

As far as the excuse that commuting distances are too vast here, consider that over half of North Americans live within 8 km of their workplace.

We still need to completely rethink the way we are building our communities (around the automobile) and integrate public transit. This won't happen as long as we are subsidizing the present model and are ruled by the oil czars--who happen to prosper via right wing, laissez faire "governments."

Raymond Parker more than 3 years ago

Ideals are rarely realities

I love my bike. I would ride my bike all day, every day if I could. If it made sense for me to do so at this stage I would sell my car and only ride my bike. I don't do it for the environment, I don't do it because it's the fashionably urban thing to do, and I don't do it to save money. As those who know me would tell you, I've been in a love affair with bicycles since I first swung my leg over one. I ride because I love it, and I think that given the opportunity others who have yet to experience the joy would also love it. The more people get on the roads with their bikes the better, and as it becomes more commonplace in appearance, the population will look upon cycling as less of a nerd-ridden oddity and more of a regularity.

Here is an issue with the argument that America should do away with cars. While cycling is more than viable and downright more practical in tightly contained urban environments and even in the close surrounding areas where there is convenient public transport to the city centers, the VAST majority of our immense country is not this way. Driving across the country on any of our interstate systems will show that aside from the few large urban areas in between and the rest along the coasts, most of the USA is sprawling land and rather sparsely populated in comparison. The nature of things in our box-store country requires that the folks who live in the middle still have access to things like grocers, healthcare, etc. Often this requires rather long journeys that would make frequent trips a hassle, especially on a bicycle. Given the poor state of our public transportation options, individual automobiles are the best alternative. My political leanings have had nothing to do with my arrival at this dead end. In such a large (area-wise) country, with so much space between urban centers, it would be incredibly difficult to reduce automobile use without a total commitment by each state to improve/install transportation alternatives. This should not be a job for the federal government. They are already too far in the hole to dig themselves out. Private contracting could do it, but all the states need to be on board.

We can dream all day and debate the merits of new and better systems, but none of this can be an immediate change, and until the psyche of the populous evolves, we will need automobiles to get us where we need to go.

PS I hope we do see a change in my lifetime, because I love traveling and the USA, but hate driving. Dilemmas.

vaultbrad more than 3 years ago

Right wing, left wing, chicken wing

Please, please please: Never mix politics and bicycling. Don't do it ever again.

This article was also too short and not very informative.

Second, I am so glad Lolly Wash loves the "elegance" of bicycles and that Elly Blue is a "transportationist." Seriously, wtf? Where do you people come from?

The real issue that needs addressing here is not conservatism, but rather how Americans are addicted to gasoline, and when it is threatened they react violently. This is what is keeping all of us from riding bicycles, and being safe and respected on our bicycles.

Remember that there are deeper social issues here and that politics are simply the last refuge of the pseudo-intellectual.

Ryan more than 3 years ago

right or left

Its not a right/left issue, nor an evil oil conspiracy - it's a lifestyle choice, simple as that.
Suburban soccer moms driving their kids 6 blocks to school in the minivan; Al Gore, RFK Jr and Hollywood's limousine liberals hectoring the public from their limos and private jets about conservation.
Unfortunately progressives think they know whats best for everyone, whether they live up to it themselves or not, and rarely think through the unintended consequences - whether it's light bulbs, toilets or bike issues.

RW Cook more than 3 years ago

left or right

problem is that they're both correct.

Janice Dougherty more than 3 years ago