Wednesday, October 31

Unintended Cycling Effects

Handicap Signs Make Nice Short-Term Bike Parking. Thanks, ADA!
One problem with the large, complex laws that seem to come out with ever-greater frequency from our Congress is that unexpected things happen. HERE, I noted that the very first effect I saw from the Health Care Reform Law came from a little item stuck back on page 1239. We lost the showers that were perfect for cycling commuters. Certainly that was unintended, though it was also very real.

Showers for Cyclists - Added by
ADA - Taken by Obamacare!
Actually, that was not really an unintended effect, strictly speaking. It was an unintended modification of an unintended effect. Which brings us to the story of this post. You see, our wonderful bike commuter showers were a very nice consequence of a previous attempt to solve a real problem with complex legislation. The legislation was, I was recently surprised to learn, an attempt to extend protection to the disabled similar to that afforded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADA was passed and signed into law by George W Bush's dad. An amendment was later passed in 2008 and signed into law by George HW Bush's son. Both events were an example, all too rare recently, of bipartisan cooperation since both bills were passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Republican President.

Well, to make a long story short, besides the bike commuter shower, the photos that accompany this post show two more unintended effects of the ADA that affect people on bikes. The one at top has little downside for cyclists. Those handicap parking signs provide supplemental short-term bike parking. I wouldn't trust most of these to stand up long to a determined thief, but they are great for a short coffee stop. The wheelchair ramp makes them even more convenient for a thirsty cyclist.

The second effect is more mixed. When I was a kid, men were men, women were women, and corners were corners. Nowadays, the first two are still true, but corners have virtually disappeared from our sidewalks. Now we have ramps. These are less clearly a good thing for cyclists. Clearly it can be nice to have added choices when you are getting off the road at the corner deli, and if you have a heavily loaded bike you are walking because you have a flat tire, they can be WONDERFUL, but such features not only encourage sidewalk riding, but they make it temptingly easy for sidewalk riders to simply SHOOT across the street compared to the corners of old. I see such behavior often. Whatever the drafters of the ADA had in mind, I don't expect that encouraging wrong-way sidewalk riding without slowing down for intersections was on the list? Anybody else know of unintended effects of major laws that affect cyclists. No fair citing laws where cyclists are specifically intended as targets or beneficiaries. We're talking accidental (no pun intended) effects.

Handicap Corners Help Get That Crippled Bike up Over the Corner. Thanks, ADA!

Handicap Ramps Encourage Sidewalk Cyclists NOT to "Stop, Look, and Listen." Hmm, ADA!

1 comment:

RANTWICK said...

Sorry, I got nuthin', but I bring up the curb cut thing all the time when I discuss sidewalk riding with people. I like to take them back to the days of their childhood, when, as you say, corners were corners... did they stay on the sidewalk then?

Post a Comment

No Need for Non-Robot proof here!