I Like My Mobility The Outdated Customary Approach – Bike Snob NYC


Mobility. The dictionary defines “mobility” as follows:

I, nevertheless, outline it thusly:

Alas, the dignified nature of my conveyance is usually in stark distinction to town during which I pilot it. The streets are filled with lethal pitfalls, and chances are you’ll not even understand it till you virtually step into one. Take into account:

In case you’re a security minded rider, you would possibly assume at an intersection like this it’s best to cease on the line, the place the rider pictured above is. (He didn’t truly cease, however conveniently he was proper there once I snapped the photograph.)


See, there’s what’s presupposed to occur, and what the traces on the road inform it’s best to occur, after which there’s what actually occurs. What’s presupposed to occur is that the drivers who’re turning left from the roadway perpendicular to this one are presupposed to proceed straight, go previous that subway monitor assist girder with the “preserve proper” signal on it, after which make the left:

However what actually occurs is that they gun it, reduce the nook, beat the naive drivers who’re making the flip correctly, and velocity proper over the meaningless yellow paint, which is why it has tire tracks throughout it:

I do know this as a result of I’ve been in that spot when a driver is bearing down on me–it’s precisely the spot during which town would have you ever wait, and it’s probably the most harmful one it’s potential to decide on. (Effectively, technically they need you to make use of the signed bike route a number of blocks over, however these don’t all the time get you the place you need to go, now do they.) Today I do know higher–and clearly so does that different rider, who has taken up the most secure potential spot, proper subsequent to the assist girder. In actual fact, that is a type of site visitors lights it’s virtually all the time most secure to run in the event you’re on a bicycle, since while you’re working a lightweight no less than you might be 100% positive no drivers are going to cease.

Sure, whether or not it’s traces on the road, or site visitors lights, or anything, it’s vital to recollect they’re largely simply options and wishful considering, and that the one factor that actually stops a automotive is a wall–or possibly a Dunkin’ Donuts:

Sadly, with regards to constructing partitions, it’s actually laborious to get everybody to agree the place they need to go. Certain, most of us agree we must always have them round the place we eat, sleep, and go to the lavatory, however past that everybody’s bought a distinct opinion. The result’s that we don’t have as many partitions as we must always, which is why as quickly as you step exterior your own home it’s a complete shitshow on the market. Plus, even the partitions round your own home don’t aways work, as a result of typically drivers discover alternate technique of ingress:

God by no means closes a door with out opening a window.

Anyway, for the reason that enterprise of arguing over the place vehicles ought to and shouldn’t be bodily permitted is such a fraught one, advocates have not too long ago turned to language to type of reframe society’s perceptions from inside. That is what’s behind the entire “Crash Not Accident” factor:

I occur to assume this can be a excellent marketing campaign. If you consider it, it’s loopy that all of us merely name automotive crashes “accidents” earlier than we even know what occurs–and that features the police and the media. We don’t do this with shootings or airplane crashes. (I imply we’d name one thing an “unintended taking pictures,” however solely after we all know all the small print, or the shooter is a sitting vp.) So why ought to automotive crashes be any totally different?

Nevertheless, I discover the nascent motion (so nascent that it solely consists of 1 individual so far as I can inform) to put off the phrase “micromobility” significantly much less compelling:

The concept right here is that “micro” suggests scooters and all that different stuff are weirdly small, however Chevy Tahoes or no matter are regular measurement:

Due to this fact we must always cease calling the little stuff “micro,” and begin calling the massive stuff massive, solely pejoratively so:

Alas, this foolish for a lot of causes. For one factor, auto makers already describe their merchandise in precisely this manner. This one’s known as a “Huge Horn:”

BIG, see?

This factor’s known as an Armada, which is a fuckload of ships:

And this factor’s known as a Raptor, which is an precise dinosaur:

Not solely do automakers already embrace the entire outsized idea, however folks completely find it irresistible. “I can match my youngsters and their mates in my Armada the place they are going to be secure!” “This Huge Horn will make folks assume I’ve a ‘Huge Horn!’” And so forth. Welcome to advertising, Streetsblog!

Conversely, except microphallus (a situation suffered by 4 out of 10 Huge Horn house owners), “micro” doesn’t have a nasty connotation in any respect; in truth, folks love micro stuff! Micro means transportable, handy, environment friendly and futuristic:

It’s all of the stuff that inner combustion automobiles aren’t, and there’s no motive to shrink back from it. Ought to we additionally name microphones “telephones?” Ought to we simply name microscopes “scopes,” for the reason that “micro” makes it look like you’ll be able to’t do actual science on them, and reframe this stuff as “massive silly overcompensating space-hogging scopes?”

Going all Starbucks with sizing isn’t going to alter something. An electrical scooter is an electrical scooter whether or not you name it micro, grande, or venti. Anyway, isn’t making the smaller stuff regular simply mainly “shrinkflation?”

Sure, I notice the concept with specializing in the largeness of automobiles as a substitute of the smallness is partly to stigmatize massive vehicles the identical approach Morgan Spurlock did the “Supersize” menu at McDonalds, however individuals who love massive vehicles unapologetically love them, and individuals who experience round on this stuff love them too:

I do agree that the time period “micromobility” is dangerous, although–not as a result of it implies massive automobiles are regular or something like that, however as a result of it’s designed to make it look like it’s a social motion reasonably than folks merely doing what occurs to be handy for them in a approach that may at instances be actually annoying. I don’t begrudge Uni-Tron up there his electrical unicycle, however I additionally don’t assume his alternative of gizmo is essentially going to make cities higher or make streets safer or finish automotive dependence or no matter else they are saying micromobility goes to do. If something the individuals who experience this stuff are dangerously battery-dependent and are tethered to a lithium-ion existence by their USB umbilicals.

A smart individual as soon as dubbed riders of recumbents and the like “Contraption Captains.” Possibly it’s time to repurpose that time period for the present technology of battery bros.


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