The P.J. O’Rourke Article

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in Bike | One Comment

I like P.J. O’Rourke. Mostly. He’s extremely sarcastic, satirical, and ironic. And usually when anyone is any one of those things, people get angry, offended, and defiant. He recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal on the “scourge of bike lanes” and the urban cyclist. Of course, cyclists were (rightfully?) angry, offended and defiant. From the comment section:

Wow… terribly disappointed to see such a sharp wit so completely off target with commentary. Much of the comments here are of the baseless variety dreged up by the worst of the inflammatory talking heads in our society.

And this:

This “satire” is not significantly different than the usual lies made against cyclists by people who are absolutely serious about it. Ignorant stupid people will read it and agree with it.

And maybe my favorite:

Le sigh.

Really? Le sigh?

A sample from the article itself:

Given that riding a bike in a city is insane and that very few cities need more insane people on their streets, why the profusion of urban bike lanes? One excuse for bike lanes is that an increase in bicycle riding means a decrease in traffic congestion. A visit to New York—or Bogotá—gives the lie to this notion. You can’t decrease traffic congestion by putting things in the way of traffic.

Here’s the rub. I kind of agree with P.J.’s general point. But even if his sarcasm is cloaking a greater hostility toward bikes, so what? Are we that sensitive? Do we really care if others don’t enjoy what we enjoy? Or that there are people who’d rather not see city governments spend money on things that do not benefit them in any perceivable way? I imagine that cyclists cause consternation for many people in large cities. Who among us has not had to drive around a clueless cyclist? I can only imagine how irritating that might be in Manhattan.

But, rather than join the fray against bike lanes—which, really, I “support”, if rather indifferently—I think we (cyclists) need to lighten up. Laugh a little. After all, cyclists, like Mormons and conservative women, are one of the few American minorities whose mistreatment is socially, politically, and culturally acceptable. We (cyclists) are the lower rung citizens of the transportation hierarchy.

Big deal.

One more from the comments:

I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my Trek! 25,000 miles on my bike in the ten years since I turned 60 has convinced me that there is no better way to return to childhood. I feel 14! Oh the seriousness with which “serious” bicyclists take themselves! Relax all ye sober cyclists! I’m with Mark Twain: “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.”

In other words, it’s a joke son!

1 Comment

  1. keith
    April 6, 2011

    The cyclists are much less of an annoyance in NYC when compared to the masses of pedestrians who can’t seem to hobble, roll or stroll themselves across the numerous crosswalks in a timely manner. Having driven in NYC I recommend they lengthen the cross-walk timer to accommodate the increasingly ‘unfit’ population who seem incapable of transporting themselves by two legs with any haste whatsoever.

    Furthermore I’m curious as to when our judiciary will begin to classify auto/bike “accidents” as hate crimes and vigorously punish those motorists who injure or kill a cyclist. As it’s obvious from the general sentiment that these incidents are less likely to be “sun in my eyes accidents” and more likely to be a blatant hatred of a perceived lower class of citizen who either cannot afford a car and current fuel charges or simply chooses to go by bike.

    I’m tolerating their horns, exhaust and middle fingered gestures, can’t they tolerate some fool on a bike? No, well then perhaps it is time to take advantage of my second amendment rights. (@<#! you too O'Rourke!

    haha. Yeah your right it is funny to make fun of idiots.

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