It's not Tommy Menino's fault that he looks like a kid left in the bath too long. He is responsible for his bicycle problem though.
I'm betting he fell off bikes a lot as a kid and is squeamish about scabs and a milquetoast about pain. Da Mare hates and fears bicycles.
The latest proof appeared in today's Boston Herald. He followed through on his illogical threat to save us from the horrifying perils of party cycles. He's perfectly willing to destroy one small business to continue his vendetta against cycling.
Like some crazed old Great-Aunt Edna, Tommy has been claiming for a year or so that Boston Pedal Party (hurry while the site is still up) was death and dismemberment (any day, any second now) disguised as safe fun. While there has never been a problem, Da Mare knew for sure and certain and real that something terrible would happen.
Our tabloid quotes the honorable hysteric as, "We don’t want anyone to get hurt. We are not going to wait for a tragedy to occur before we do something."
He even got an apparently brow-beaten minion, the commissioner of the transportation department to join the cycling phychosis. Tim Tinlin's statement was "Essentially, we spoke to the designer of the bikes and he said they are not safe for city streets. They were made for parks and college campuses, not to impede traffic on city streets. Emergency vehicles couldn’t even get around them."
It's hard to pick which deceit to pick first. Consider:
- Width. These bikes are no wider than a car and considerably less narrow than even a UPS truck. They travel on four-lane or wider streets. The emergency-vehicle squeal is total jive.
- Speed. They go at 12 to 15 miles per hour, without pushing it. This is a typical bicycle speed and as fast as a cruising cab or much of downtown traffic. They congest nothing.
- Safety. These are very heavy, have extraordinary brakes and other safety equipment. They can't fall over either.
The big fact instead is that these are safe and fun for those without childhood scars of cycling. As the distributor's site claims:
The Conference Bike is a revolutionary way to bring people together. The Conference Bike is pedaled by 7 riders sitting in a circle. One person steers while the other 6 pedal (or not) as the bike moves effortlessly along. More than 150 Conference Bikes are now being enjoyed by a wide variety of groups in 10 countries. It is a tour bike in Paris and New York, a tool for corporate team-building in San Diego, a way for blind people to bike in Dublin, a human-powered bus in Germany and a vehicle to convey people at theme parks in Japan and Spain. Conference Bikes are also being used to transport employees on the Amazon.com campus in California.Let us recall that our car-bound mayor is the same fellow who eliminated the part-time office of bicycle advocate. He refuses to set up bicycle lanes, even though they work well in neighboring Cambridge. He has repeatedly stymied every bike-positive action the city could take. While we carp about too much car traffic downtown, Da Mare tells the cyclists to suck it. No safety. No lanes. No street racks.
The state laws and regulations require accommodation of both pedestrians and bicycles whenever there is new paving or rehab of streets. Da Mare could make that happen with certainty and vigor. He doesn't.
The closest we've come to accommodation has been some bicycle racks on a very limited subset of distant MBTA buses. Numerous cities, like Seattle, use them as standard bus equipment and actively encourage combo bus/bike trips to keep cars out of downtown. Their mayors must have had good pedaling experiences as kids.
We can only surmise why he has such an emotional problem with bicycles, particularly when it is where the civilized world that cares about congestion, safety and the environment is headed. He seems set in his wrinkled-boy mind though.
Related Frivolity: Over at Universal Hub, Adam has a poll on what else TM might ban.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Boston, MBTA, cycling, Menino, Boston Pedal Party, Party Bikes, Dutch Bikes, safety