Deirdre Alden

Bike Lanes Are Racist

WARNING: This post contains foul language at the end.

The Birmingham Post (UK) reports today on the political shenanigans of transforming the northern English town into a “Cycle City”:

A £23 million scheme intended to transform cycling in Birmingham has been blasted as discriminatory and only benefiting “white, young men”.

The Department for Transport has given Birmingham £17 million to become a “Cycle City” which will create a network of safe new routes aimed at tempting commuters out of their cars.

The council will also put £6.3 million into the project which will see an upgrade to some of the busiest routes in the city including Hagley Road and Bristol Road, with dedicated cycle lanes and safety improvements at junctions to encourage more cycling.

After the views were published in the Post, there was a strong backlash on social media.

But at the Edgbaston District committee Coun Deirdre Alden (Con, Edgbaston) said she was concerned that such a large amount of effort and investment was being spent on a mode of transport predominantly used by young men.

“The vast majority of cyclists on our roads are young, white men,” she said.

So let’s follow this logic. The argument for bike lanes goes something like this:

– cyclists are part of the transportation mix and should be provided with a safe way to travel

– bicycle lanes make the road safe for cyclists

– if we build more bike lanes, more people will cycle

– cycling is good for the environment, reduces traffic congestion, and benefits everyone

– so let’s build bike lanes

Councillor Alden says:

– only young, white men use bike lanes so FUCK THEM!

Putting aside the fact I don’t like bike lanes for a variety of reasons, I would never think to argue that they are racist. Perhaps I’m not trying hard enough. Ageist maybe? After all, I am white but I’m not young.