Monday, March 14, 2011

A Guide to the Recent Flurry of Bicycle Articles

You can thank John Cassidy for starting it all.

His blog post, "Battle of the Bike Lanes" went up on the New Yorker website on March 8 2011 and sparked an immediate flurry of counter-arguments and fist-shaking from the pro-bike lane crowd. The next day, Adam Sternbergh, over at the New York Times Magazine, responded by comparing Cassidy line-by-line to Tea Partiers in his article "'I Was a Teenage Cyclist,' or, How Anti-Bike Lane Arguments Echo the Tea Party".

The Economist responded with an article titled "The World is His Parking Lot", in which the idea of the tragedy of the commons is invoked to explain how motorists are getting a free ride while off-loading the externalities of driving onto the environment.

Felix Salmon attempted his Cassidy take-down by fixating on his use of the word 'bipeds' in his article "John Cassidy vs. Bipeds", something Cassidy himself addressed in a follow-up article he published on the New Yorker titled "The Condemned Motorist Speaks". Ezra Klein at The Washington Post attempted to turn Cassidy's argument on its head when he argued that New York's proliferation of bike lanes can be seen as pro-car in his article "Love Driving? Buy Your Neighbor a Bike."

Olaf Storbeck, a self-professed admirer of John Cassidy, performed an erudite economic oh-snap in his blog post "The Economics of Bike Lanes - How Can John Cassidy Get it So Wrong?" in which he explained the problems with free parking written about by Donald Shoup.

John Cassidy felt the need to respond a third time in his own defence in "A Closing Word", which spurred Felix Salmon at Reuters to write another post, which then spurred John Cassidy to write an addendum to his closing word, reminding me of kids who vow to stop speaking staaaaarrrttting now....OK now......OK now.

It is now, by the way, only two days later at this point.

Finally, not necessarily part of this dialogue, Dave Meslin wrote a piece in the Toronto Star called "Rob Ford: Cycling Advocate" where he made the case for getting rid of the "Ford Nation Vs. Left-Wing Pinko framework" in an effort to actually work together.

What a novel idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment