Bike Lanes Kill

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Suggests that the dangers of riding brakeless fixed-gears may be at issue. As a rider of a brakeless fixed gear, I respond maybe, in the immediate context, but riding brakeless is not inherently unsafe. Even if the rider is unskilled, people who use cars are responsible for the danger. As evidence, I offer the documented fact that until the unquestioned establishment of the car hegemony, all bicycles were brakeless fixed-gears. The market felt no pressure from consumers or law-makers to supply chain-driven bicycles with the already perfected rim brake technology. It was the growing number of cars that made riding brakeless unsafe, so ultimately cars and our society’s relationship to them are still to blame for this cyclist’s death and for the deaths of many like him.

It’s true; cars are rotten and if we lived in a more sensible society cars would be marginalized rather than us. But that’s the thing: we don’t. Until things change, riding on city streets without a brake is (or at least looks) really dangerous. I’ll admit, I don’t ride a fixie, so maybe I’ve got a mistaken notion of how hard it is to stop on one of those things, but it seems as if it would be pretty hard, especially at 15mph+. The guy quoted above seems to concede as much, but he persists in riding one. Why? Because fixies were safe once upon time? As a sort of protest against “car hegemony”? I mean, the system might be at fault if he gets run over — I’m sympathetic to this view–but he’ll still be dead. I guess that’s my point: I don’t hate fixies, bike punks, messengers; I just hate to see people getting hurt or killed unecessarily.

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