Comment 38470

By arienc (registered) | Posted February 26, 2010 at 09:16:47

For many people, voting against bike lanes speaks to what they want here and now.

They recognize that at some point in the future there is a need to rebalance our tranportation network, and relying entirely on one-person automobiles is not a sustainable situation.

But they also see that in the now, (especially late February) there are very few people actually using the bike lanes, and they have reservations about giving up their supposed ability to move freely in their cars.

For the 90% of the population who don't have a direct stake in bike lanes, what matters NOW is most important. Self-interest always wins out over enlightened future interests.

This is why governments have continued to get elected on the basis of pandering to the lowest common denominator of self-interest - for things like tax cuts, without making any connection to just what, exactly will pay for those tax cuts, and whether or not those tax cuts lead to a better society.

A robust bike lane network is the easiest and cheapest way of shifting the mix from the one-occupant automobile to other modes of transportation. It doesn't require massive capital cost, such as building new transit lines or roadways. Bike lanes have low maintenance costs. Bicycles also provide society with positive externalities (i.e. a healthier population), instead of negative ones like pollution and obesity.

But the "average voter" doesn't care about these things. They should, but they don't.

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