Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weirdness In the Great Suburban Outback

Public meetings in the Great Suburban Outback occasionally degenerate into Twilight Zone episodes, as was the case recently when some residents went apoplectic over a certain proposal. Before I tell you the story, though, you have to guess the offending proposal. What got everyone so riled up?

Could it have been a tax increase? Nope. Was someone hoping to use those new U.S. Supreme Court-granted eminent domain powers to demolish an orphanage in favor of a gambling casino? Nah. Nothing like that.

All the fuss was about extending the Great Suburban Outback's network of BIKE PATHS. That's right: bike paths.

Here are some actual quotes from the newspaper article on the hearing:

"(The path) is only going to cause more traffic and it's not safe..." opined one resident. More traffic? Bicyclists are "more traffic?"

"I live less than 20 feet away from where the path is supposed to be, and I have a 4-year-old daughter. What if she goes out there and gets hit by a bicyclist? Who's going to be responsible?" whined another. Responsible? Aren't YOU her parent? What about the r-o-a-d in f-r-o-n-t of your house?

You never need to look very far to find good 'ol American weirdness on display, do you? Bicyclists are just "more traffic." And it's now residents and the parents of 4-year-olds who should fear bicyclists, not the other way around. And of course everyone wants to know who is responsible, when really the question is 'who do I include in my lawsuit?'

Parents taking responsibility? Way too much to ask. Bikers getting a safe place to ride for a change, away from cell-phone-yacking, minivan-driving soccer moms? Unacceptable. We just can't have that now, can we? That'd be weird.

1 comment:

bunnygirl said...

This is funny because I just came back from a quick visit to my New England relatives. Rail trails are ubiquitous in the region and everyone seems to love them. Homes near a rail trail are prized.

Heck, considering that I've never heard of a single instance of a serious runner or cyclist also being of a criminal mindset, I'd love having more of them in my neighborhood.