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As Bicycling Gets Popular

The Brooklyn Paper has a frustrating (and poorly written) story about a vigilante who's been going around Williamsburg and gluing peoples' bike locks shut. It seems that the vigilante is upset because there are so many bikes locked up all over the neighborhood. This is an ironic style of justice, of course, because he/she is effectively making it impossible to move those bikes.

(from Flickr user animalvegetable)

A lot can be said on this topic. I'll put the vigilante aside for a moment and point out that bikes, in neighborhoods where it's becoming increasingly popular, suffer from problems like traffic, lack of parking, etc. The idea that bicyclists have an advantage because they can wiz past traffic and park, cost-free, wherever they want, is usually true; but there comes a saturation point when it starts to become less true. Williamsburg is probably a good example of where this is occurring.

That's not to say that there isn't safety in numbers. It certainly feels much safer to be out biking around when others are with you, and evidence suggests that it actually is. But it's also frustrating to pull up to a bike rack and not find a single place to lock-up.

People are starting to talk about registering bicycles, paying licensing fees, and generally making bicycling more like driving. These aren't necessarily bad ideas. If bicycling becomes prominent enough in the United States that such measures make sense (and that's a far way off), then I don't see why I would oppose it.


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