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One Person, Multiple Identities

The Guardian has an interesting article about how bicycle sales in the UK are being driven by 'middle-aged family men', many of whom also wealthy, well-educated, and own multiple vehicles. The piece suggests that the drivers vs. bicyclists war is not as black and white as it often appears.

(from Flickr user JulianBleecker)

In a way, this seems obvious. Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists are often the same person. Just riding around DC, I see tons of cars with bike racks on the trunk on the roof. Considering how much those racks cost - I'm somewhat confident you wouldn't have one if you never used it.

More to the point, though. Most people have been to sports games or concerts or other big events. Sometimes you'll see people leave the game, brazenly jaywalk across a busy street, get into their car, and then honk and the people jaywalking and preventing them from getting anywhere. Is it one person with two personalities? Does context dictate how you identify in a given situation? I would argue that the answer is often yes.

Needless to say, the idea that there are just drivers, or just pedestrians, and that every person in the group behaves in a homogeneous way is silly. For the sake of having meaningful conversations about transportation, we ought to be able to get past this.


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