Booting Bikes is Bicycle Friendly?
Imagine that you’re driving your car. You get in. You crank it up. You turn on the AC, letting it blow mercifully in your face. You pull out of your driveway and propel your car to your desired destination.
Imagine arriving at your desired destination. You drive around and around and around your desired destination. Then, imagine driving around some more, fruitlessly seeking a parking space that is legal, that won’t have you booted, ticketed or towed.
You can’t find a space to park your vehicle. ANYWHERE.
Do you return to this destination again? Or, do you decide it’s not worth the trouble?
Now, replace all those car references with the word “bicycle.” You want to ride your freaking bicycle to the same place. You’re choosing to 1. save some gasoline; 2. burn some calories; 3. take advantage of natural AC; 4. take a car off the road; 5. pave the way for others to ride their bikes for the same (or other) reasons.
Now, imagine a city that makes it illegal for you to do all of those things, because they’re basically making it against the law to park your bicycle. ANYWHERE.
Yes, people, the City of Charleston, South Carolina City Council is considering an ordinance this evening that would do just that. As the ordinance is currently written, parking a bicycle downtown on any surface other than a bike rack will be illegal.
Illegal? For crying out loud!
The King Street area has around 4,000 parking spaces currently. There are probably fewer than 100 bike racks along the same street, leaving bikers who want to visit King Street to shop or hang out the unfortunate option of attaching their bicycles to other things – parking meters, light poles, and signs.
The City currently doesn’t require businesses to provide bike racks for patrons of a given area, nor does the City itself install nearly enough bike racks to service the number of folks who obviously want to ride their bicycles to visit King Street establishments.
I’m one of those people. I ride my bicycle to King Street establishments. All. The. Time.
Or, I used to. I guess all of those struggling businesses won’t be getting one red cent of my money anymore, particularly if I find out they’re behind this accursed “make bike parking illegal” nonsense.
What’s even more ludicrous – and hyper-hypocritical, I might add – is that the City of Charleston just applied to be certified a Bicycle Friendly Community by The League of American Bicyclists. On what planet can a city that doesn’t support bike parking, that would propose such a ridiculous ordinance, actually obtain this certification?
Please, good people at LAB, put a big, fat REJECTED stamp on this application if this preposterous ordinance is passed. This short-sighted city does not deserve it if we care more about what things “look like” than we do about joining the movement of progressive cities in the 21st century.
And, if anyone comments, “But, this is Charleston…..” on this post, please be warned that I will come through the computer and pound you one. With a friendly, Charleston smile affixed to my face, of course.