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LaHood: Bikes Are As Important As Cars

From an approving Associated Press:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talks during a television interview after a ceremony to break ground on the C-470 bike trail and highway reconstruction project in the west Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colo.

Transportation’s bicycle policy hits potholes

By Joan Lowy, Associated Press Writer Wed Apr 14

WASHINGTON – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a weekend bicyclist, might consider keeping his head down and his helmet on. A backlash is brewing over his new bicycling policy.

LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling — and walking, too — the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the "sea change" in transportation policy last month.

"This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized," he wrote in his government blog.

The blog was accompanied by a DOT policy statement urging states and transportation agencies to treat "walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes." It recommends, among other things, including biking and walking lanes on bridges and clearing snow from bike paths.

This is a problem you have when you have a nation that is ruled by ‘czars’ instead of laws. If a czar likes bicycles, then there will be federally subsidized bicycle paths.

If a czar likes hot chocolate, then hot chocolate will be subsidized by the taxpayer.

The new policy is a natural extension of the Obama administration’s livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving — buses, streetcars, trolleys and trains, as well as biking and walking — as central to solving the nation’s transportation woes

The National Association of Manufacturers’ blog, Shopfloor.org, called the policy "dumb and irresponsible."

"LaHood’s pedal parity is nonsensical for a modern industrial nation," said the blog. "We don’t call it sacrilege, but radical is a fair description. It is indeed a sea change in federal transportation policy that could have profound implications for the U.S. economy and the 80 percent of freight that moves by truck."

LaHood said he has been surprised by the response.

"It didn’t seem that controversial to me," he wrote in a second blog item…

[I]t’s LaHood’s view "that the federal government should not take the position that roads and trains are real transportation and walking and biking is not," [Transportation undersecretary for policy Roy] Kienitz said…

LaHood, 64, said he and his wife have biked on weekends for years. Three days before his announcement of the new policy, LaHood stood on a table to speak to a gathering of hundreds of bike enthusiasts in Washington. He drew cheers when he vowed the Obama administration will put affordable housing next to walking and biking paths.

The Obama utopia sounds better and better.

By the way, what does the Secretary of Transportation have to do with ‘affordable housing’?

"I’m not going to apologize for any of it," he said in the interview. "I think this is what the people want."

How can Mr. LaHood be sure that he knows “what the people want”? Divine revelation?

It’s very easy to claim that “the people” want all kinds of crazy things. Especially things that promote your agenda. That’s what dictators (and czars) have done throughout history.

On the other hand, we do know for a fact that a gasoline tax paid by motorists pays for federal highways. Let’s start taxing bicyclists and pedestrians for all these federal bike trails and walkways – since we want to treat bikes and walking just like cars.

Let’s see how much "the people" want them then.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “LaHood: Bikes Are As Important As Cars”

  1. confucius says:

    I like the idea of taxing cyclists. They should have to pay registration fees, licensing fees, property taxes and have their bicycles annually inspected. They should also be ticketed for moving violations like going to slow, riding on the wrong side of the road, not wearing a seatbelt, not stopping at stop signs and missing brake and headlights.

    I’m even for installing toll booths on bicycle trails.

    And how about mandatory bicycle insurance?

  2. proreason says:

    Germany and Japan were bicycle economies after WWII. There were hundreds of bikes for every car on the road.

    Oh how happy they must have been.

  3. GetBackJack says:

    I’m going to start lobbying for Lahood Obama, Pelosi and Reid to bicycle to work in DC during December, January and February. No cheating. Then bicycle to work during July and August. Including their security details. And Michelle Obama must shop for groceries for the White House kitchen, on a bicycle. And pick up all our arriving heads of state by the official White House Diplomatic Bicycle Corps.

    I’m pretty sure that will be the end of this discussion.

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Since when does this nation suffer from “trasnportation woes”?

    I mean, what’d I miss?

  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    Every time I think of cyclists, I think of the type that participate in the “Critical Mass” rallies in SF.
    Hateful, selfish, entitled little schmucks that think they own the whole road.
    Most bike riders are decent people, but many are in their own little world and ignore the rights of others they share the road with.
    They insist that they have the same rights as those driving powered vehicles, but ignore the responsibilities they share:
    You are not allowed to ride side by side.
    You are not allowed to impede traffic.
    You are required to indicate turns.
    You are required to stop at red lights and stop signs (pop those shoes out of the clips).

    They also seem to forget the most important and unavoidable fact: In any collision between a powered vehicle and a bicycle, the bike loses and the cyclist is the one most likely to be injured or killed.
    Insisting that you have “rights” by risking your life when you have access to the political process is not the act of a sane person.

  6. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    “He drew cheers when he vowed the Obama administration will put affordable housing next to walking and biking paths. “

    Affordable housing = section 8 most likely. So don’t worry thugs and trailer trash we’re gonna herd victims right to your doorstep.

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