Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles magazine, and beyond.
A new video from Streetfilms assembles the most head-scratching attacks employed by bike-lane foes, such as: Don’t let the terrorists win!
Why wouldn’t you want a friendly neighborhood bike lane? As advocates of enhanced bicycle infrastructure know all too well, the reasons bike-lane foes give for opposing projects are as numerous and imaginative as a child’s excuses for skipping her homework. The latest short by Clarence Eckerson, tireless auteur of the Streetfilms video series, checks in with activists attending the National Bike Summit outside Washington, D.C., this week. They’re all asked to recall the anti-bike arguments that made them go huh.
A sampling of head-scratchers: If you build a bike lane, the terrorists will win! The local fauna will go extinct! We don’t have the money to put paint on the road!
Some of these bike-lane battles royale—from Baltimore to Minneapolis—have been covered in more detail by CityLab. Unfortunately for advocates, when other community members set out to kill a bike lane proposal, it often doesn’t matter how ridiculous the chosen anti-cycling myths may be.
Overcoming resistance can take assertive political leadership, on top of grassroots activism, as L.A. journalist Matt Tinoco reported in his 2018 look at why bike-lane NIMBYs are so effective. But as this video proves, they’re also very unintentionally funny.