I should have known better, but yesterday I sllowed myself to be drawn into one of those nasty online debates with a crush-big-government conservative who was trying to defend Senator Rand Paul’s recent attempts to strip funding for so-called transportation enhancements. After this particular online battle I felt like taking a hot shower. Always remember: When you wrestle with a pig, you both end up covered in slop – and the pig likes it.
On Oct. 3, Senator Rand Paul roundly condemned both “the opposition party” – did he mean Democrats? – and the existing paltry bike and pedestrian funding in his commentary in The Courier-Journal:
“A senator in leadership from the opposition party proudly told me that he would never take money from bike paths to repair bridges. That sums up many of the transportation problems in Washington.”
Does it, really?
Very often decision makers are confused about the need for safe access to our roadways by users other than motorists — and these same leaders, like Senator Paul, lose sight of their role in all this.
After all, sidewalks and bikeways are basically a matter of public health, safety and national security, all of which our leaders have sworn to protect and defend. When my roadways are unsafe for walking and cycling, my elected officials prove themselves guilty of malpractice and breach of their sworn duty to protect and defend my life, liberty and safety.
Cars, trucks and their operators are licensed for good reason. Motor vehicle owners and operators are granted a privilege to drive at the expense of our people and our planet. Motorists are, as a class, the recipients of the greatest welfare program in the history of civilization. So long have they enjoyed our subsidies that they now assume they have rights or status above those who get around by their own power.
To the contrary, pedestrians and cyclists are the ones who earn special status and deserve every preference. Why? Simply because they do their part to conserve – rather than squander – the land, air, fuel, national treasure and other precious resources, while they themselves put less pressure on our overburdened health care system.
And let’s start holding leaders accountable for protecting the most vulnerable road users.
The League of American Bicyclists sent out the following email blast to members like me who helped defeat yet another shameful attempt in the U.S. Senate to strip funding for bikeways and sidewalks. This one was led by Kentucky’s own Senator Rand Paul.
The League would like to thank you for taking the time to contact your Senators in response to Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) amendment to divert Transportation Enhancement funds to bridge repairs.
We are happy to report that 7700 people took action and the amendment was soundly defeated by of vote of 60 -38.
This was the third time in three months that we had to ask you to help in the fight to protect the Transportation Enhancements program by reminding your Senators that this program is a critical and beneficial transportation program.
So far, they’re hearing us, but we still to have to remain vigilant in the coming months.
Thank you for your continued support!
There are a great many reasons why Kentucky is the sixth most obese state in the United States. And there are a great many reasons why Louisville is among the 20 most dangerous places to walk in the entire nation. And there are a great many reasons why our city ranks at the bottom of the National Fitness Index.
Add Senator Rand Paul to the long list of reasons why active transportation like walking and riding a bicycle account for less than one percent of our everyday trips to destinations within two miles.
Now, what can we do about it?
Grace. Peace. Bicycle Grease.
PS: Remember, every lane is a bike lane. Share the road.
…….( )/ ( )
Enjoy the ride home.