A Call for Separate Cycling Infrastructure

RECEIVED Wed., June 19, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Austin's current cycling infrastructure (or real lack thereof) is a dangerous Frankenstein's monster of sorts, one hobbled together from a severe lack of understanding, compassion, and democracy. None of this is really surprising, though; our transportation system is completely consumed by the designs of oil, auto, and road-building lobbies – some of the most powerful and secretive entities ever realized on Earth. In choosing to cycle, one embodies an aversion to this caricatured power elite of jowl-overhung suits and black-hearted oilmen; one denies "research" brought by the industry to delay any threat to their profit (such as the case with adding lead to gasoline), as well as denying the general sense of alienation and detachment to life that puttering around in steel-glass carapaces brings.
    Driving has fundamentally changed our cities and our psyches, which is why breaking this norm causes such seething hatred toward cyclists. Driving as a transportation system is built around delays; all that speed and power up a hill is a commercially orchestrated illusion, especially when everyone has to drive. Cyclists form easy targets of wrath in a world of semi-professional drivers on an open course to a stop and idling hydrocarbon deadlock.
    But questions of driving never really belonged to rational discussion; rather, emulation has always been one of the key factors in people's wholesale acceptance of designed obsolescence and conflation of status with evidence of conspicuous consumption. You drive that giant fucking "light" truck or "sport utility vehicle" because you've become convinced that you need such things to cart your ego around, because you consider it necessary for representation in an illusory middle class. The gulf between the most powerful and the rest of traffic-jammed humanity has become astronomical in its reckoning – and the powerful don't need such foul concepts as movement democracy mucking that about.
Roger Lara
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