Second Class Citizens|
Sunday, March 11, 2001
For years bicyclists have been the persecuted, the unwanted, the dirty. We are considered second class citizens and seen as a nuisance. We are unwelcome in our cities and on our public streets. Oh, sure everyone says they want to encourage "alternatives" to the car, but that is nothing but cheap politically correct talk.
Bike lanes are still extremely rare in our cities. The few bike lanes found around often never seem to go where they are needed. New paths in rural sub divisions are of little help to the bicycle commuter venturing into our cities. We are forced to the streets.
Riding the streets is no easy task. The cars, trucks and buses all play the game -- see how close they can pass the lowly bicyclist. The same people who talk the P.C. talk are furious at you for interfering with their right as an American to drive and drive fast. As they pass we hear their angry screams, "Get off the streets you...!"
|"Now our oppressors have discovered our hideaways and once again we are being chased away."|
Scorned and virtually exiled from city streets, the recreational bicyclist found an alternative. No longer did we need to ride the busy streets and risk certain death on our precious roadways. We took to the hills. Banished from the city we found a new home on mountain trails. For over a decade we had a safe haven from the persecution we had grown to expect elsewhere.
We were free at last. In our safe havens we were able to evolve a new sport and create our own culture. Bicyclists thrived under these conditions. We were at peace with ourselves and the world. No one could touch us here miles from the stench of urbanization. Surrounded by a calming silence we would ride through the forests in total harmony.
Now our oppressors have discovered our hideaways and once again we are being chased away. "Ride on the streets," they shout. We are being forced to leave our forests not for well founded or justified reasons, but because of habit. Non-cyclists donít want to share and will do anything to stop us.
I want to encourage every one of you to stand up and be heard. Get involved in local trail advocacy and become a part of the solution. Bicyclists have been second class citizens long enough. Weíve come full circle. It is time to stop the oppression!