Bike identity is a product of the degrowth movement

“They’re killing us” muttered Stacey Randecker as she watched the ambulance finally pull out of her bike lane on a rainy San Francisco morning. 

We live in a kingdom of victimhood, and Stacey has just been crowned the new Queen. Because, you see, Bicyclist is now a recognized identity, and according to a recent SF Chronicle op-ed by Ruth Malone

Ultimately, hate of bicyclists comes from the same place as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia: a desire to cling to the status quo power arrangements that favor some over others. As the bicycle becomes re-popularized as a legitimate form of transportation, there are inevitably more conflicts with those who continually and mindlessly assert that “streets are for cars.” But just as gay people are no longer willing to stay in the closet, nor women in the kitchen, bicyclists are no longer willing to settle for crumbs in terms of use of our public roadways.

In short, hating on Bicyclists is the modern form of bigotry. Rightfully so, these people did not choose to live as Bicyclists. They were born into a world of impending doom, urban overpopulation, air pollution and emissions accelerating climate change. At least, that is, according to a recent briefing by the World Economic Forum:

Electrifying private vehicles is not enough to achieve the emissions reduction targets agreed in the Paris Agreement on climate. In order to create more equitable, liveable and healthy cities, a diverse range of approaches is required. 

Electrification needs to be accelerated in sync with a powerful push towards more efficient, accessible and connected public transport, improved infrastructure and priority for cycling and walking

In order to save the world, we must prioritize Ruth and Stacey. We must center their voices and lived experiences. They are valid.

Prioritizing bikes is a major pillar of the degrowth movement

It’s easy to write this absurd behavior off as a top-down brainwashing from the Davos Reptile Class. But something about that rings hollow. Why would these women relate their experiences as People of Cycling to that of black or gay people, who, despite the insanely-woke current culture, actually were historically subject to real bigotry? How do these women not see this clear absurdity on the face of it?

The promotion of bicycling as the dominant form of transportation has been pushed in concert from top-down, and bottom up for decades now via the Degrowth Movement. At the 2010 Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equality, a working group of volunteers and academics came up with a number of political and research proposals. On a slide titled Moratoria on new infrastructure, one bullet states “transformation of some existing infrastructure must be promoted: smaller and more compact cities, converting car based infrastructure to walking and cycling”

Just like virtually every other “social justice” organization, degrowth emerged out of the “grassroots” halls of academia where eager, well-meaning young minds were massaged to be radical in just the right way to conform with ruling elite policy, but still feel like it they had an idea which originated with them, and therefore representative of the ailing masses. Like loaded guns, these young minds have had their youthful angst and ambition to “fight the power” manipulated to act in service of the power they purport to be fighting. 

The 2010 Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equality, of course, followed from the first international conference (Paris, April 2008), that took place with the support of the Malthusian Club of Rome, the think tank behind the World Economic Forum.

Bike Identity is one of those weird multi-headed monsters. Because it has no legitimate ties to any kind of real bigotry, it’s completely built off of an elite policy of forced poverty and austerity, but has a false air of grassroots indignation, it creates a group of people who are self-righteous for exactly the wrong reasons.

All that without even mentioning the uptick of of excess deaths in places where degrowth bike policy is pushed hardest.

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20 thoughts on “Bike identity is a product of the degrowth movement

  • Ok but biking is fun and good exercise. I don’t want to force people to bike, but I’ve had the experience of drivers trying to run me off the road even when I’m in a bike lane because they’re entitled not to follow traffic law (Massholes).

  • Streets are for cars. Period. If Bicyclists want an Identity, how come I can’t have an Identity as a Smoker? Huh? But NO! You’ll NEVER hear these people defend smokers from laws and propaganda against them. Not that I would want to make smokers into an identity; I just deal with it. But my point is bicycling is a choice that you do, as an activity, not something you’re born as. Just like smoking. These people are such hypocrites and have such double standards.

    • At least in North America, bicycles have been legally permitted to use public roadways well before the automobile took over. That of course also means their users are required to operate the machines obeying the rules of the road which sadly many do not understand.

      That said, the “streets are for cars” phrase can/does backfire on non-bicyclists since that’s also what pro-bikeway advocates believe. And it’s that belief that in part drives them to want to remove general-use space for all vehicles (motorized or not) and replace them with cycling exclusive lanes.

      • Let me tell you about my background. I grew up in a city and, for most of my life, did not have a car but relied on a bike for transportation. I could get around pretty much everywhere. I lost teeth from bicycle accidents. This was before the present movement for bicycling. This was back when people didn’t care. With the arrival of cellphones, and after too many accidents, I started to rely on foot and public transportation instead, because bicycling got too dangerous. With drivers looking at their phones instead of looking at what’s around them.

        Then, something happened. The 2008 fiscal crisis happened. Homeownership went down and renting went up. Speculators drove up the cost of rent dramatically, and people started flipping houses. During this time (the Obama administration), I started seeing sculptures of bicycles being screwed into the street, and started seeing all this bicycling propaganda. And my rent was going up and up. I saw friends get pushed out of the city. Then I got pushed out of the city. My apartment got sold and then flipped. They kicked everybody out and doubled the rent. And we couldn’t rent anywhere nearby in the city…the city where I grew up. They wanted you to prove, with paystubs, that you could make three times the rent, which was now astronomically high.

        Now, I live in the suburbs and drive a car. Because I’m too poor to live in the city. With what they charge now, on average, for a 1 or 2 br apartment per month, which is around $2000, I can buy a used car and insurance.

        Now, when I drive to the city there are bike lanes everywhere, and no where to park and traffic is congested as hell. And so I see all this pro-biking propaganda, how it’s green, and good for the environment, and how you shouldn’t drive, and how cars are bad, etc etc. I’m like, “well that’s fine for YOU, champagne Liberal, Gentrified Hipster, who can afford to live here.” That’s what I’m thinking in my mind now as I drive through the city that I grew up in, that I’ve been pushed out of. If someone were to preach to me about how bad cars are and how I should bike, I would be like “get the fuck out of my face! Maybe if your RENTS were affordable for people like me, then maybe I could do that. But until then…” And don’t get me started on the anti-smoking culture, how landlords put it in their leases that you can’t even smoke on THE PUBLIC SIDEWALK out in front of the apartment (which happened to a friend of mine.) No one objects. No one calls Smokers and Identity and gives them any protective status. And they make leases that control what you do beyond the borders of their property. You can’t have barbecues, can’t barbecue your chicken, can’t do nothing. And you have to pay an arm and a leg with these shit apartments. So, yes, when somebody says to me that Bicycling is an Identity, I’m going to be the Reactionary Bad Guy and shout “Streets are for Cars!”

        • I hear you on the frustration and thank you for writing about your background in such detail. You’ve hit the nail on the head of the types who act like this. Everything they touch turns to shit and they throw regular legitimate cyclists (Who don’t wish to remove lane space or force anybody else to bike) under the bus.

          I just wanted to be clear that with or without these assholes, the phrase “Streets are for cars” is untrue and inaccurate.
          Buses, trucks, and motorcycles are also not cars.

          Most of the pro bikeway, pro segregation types, like the ones you’ve encountered are notoriously unaware of the history too.

          https://principledbicycling.substack.com/p/the-marginalization-of-bicyclists
          https://principledbicycling.substack.com/p/my-bike-or-my-2-ton-land-missile

          • It IS untrue and inaccurate, I know, and I agree with you, actually. But…”Streets are for Cars” is more meant to be a conversation-starter and meant to be deliberately contrarian and provocative precisely because it’s politically incorrect. For example, suppose I had a T-shirt that said, on the front, “Streets are for Cars” and it had a circle around a bicycle with a diagonal line crossed through it, the symbol for negating it. So that if someone asked me about it or interrogated me about it, I would take off my long sleeved, overshirt, turned around, and showed them what’s on the BACK of the T-shirt. On the back would be an apartment building, with ridiculous price tags off each floor, like $2000 for rent, $3000 for rent, and $4000 for rent. And the caption read something like: “It’s easy to feel good about yourself being a bicycle rider when you can afford to live in a neighborhood that is bikable.” Or something like that. Shifting the conversation away from biking and bicycle lanes and so on, and onto the REAL topic at hand, which is affordability of housing and gentrification.

            My point being that Radicalization and Polarization is caused by Inflation. Would the Weimar Republic have fallen for Hitler if the Weimar Republic didn’t have hyperinflation? Would the Arab Spring and all the attendant violence of 2011 not happened without the price of grain rising so high back then? Would there be such polarization along the lines of race in America if Black people weren’t being kicked out of their neighborhoods by gentrification? (I am not Black by the way, and inflation affects all. But it hurts the poorest most, and since Blacks in America on average are the poorest, it hurts them hardest). When Inflation happens, people get angry at ludicrous statements such as “Ultimately, hate of bicyclists comes from the same place as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia: a desire to cling to the status quo power arrangements that favor some over others. ” as seen at the beginning of this article. Or statements from rich comedians that say stuff like “people can just take the bus” or “I’m willing to endure high gas prices to support Ukraine.” It’s alot like “Let Them Eat Cake.” It’s an arrogance that comes from a sheltered existence talking down from an ivory tower that pisses people off and get them riled up and into taking the opposite position, even if the opposite is equally stupid.

            Inflation makes people dumb, and reduces everybody down to radicalized camps that act dumber and dumber and less like adults and more like schoolyard fights as it intensifies.

            That’s the point: to say the dumb, provocative, statement first, the RADICAL statement, and then dial it back once the conversation gets started, onto the REAL topic at hand which is really about Power. Albeit maybe not the same sense as “Power” as that above Woke pro-bicyclist person at the beginning would describe it.

          • You nailed it Scott. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. “champagne Liberal, Gentrified Hipster” lol, perfect description!

          • This whole thing started for me with the above quote, from the feminist in the article: “Ultimately, hate of bicyclists comes from the same place as racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia: a desire to cling to the status quo power arrangements that favor some over others. ”

            The implication in this paragraph is that “people who drive cars are the status quo in power.” Well, for me, who was once a bike rider before my neighborhood got gentrified, and now have a car because I live in a much less bikable area out in the suburbs, and now need a car to see my friends who I used to live in close proximity to, the above statement incenses me. Infuriates me. Who is the one with power here? The people who live in the City, the Coastal Elites? Or me, the one in “flyover country” out in the semi rural boondocks? It’s statements like that, that make me out to be the Bad Guy, that really piss me off, and cause me to say the equally stupid thing, out of emotion “Streets Are For Cars” just to piss them off and stir up the pot.

          • I gotcha now.

            If you’re up for it and want to guest post on Principled Bicycling, let me know. I think your viewpoints are more than valuable and a wake up call to reality!

  • I hate bikers so much. They have the most entitled views of themselves as too cool to follow any traffic rules and yet somehow they have the right away over both motor vehicles AND pedestrians in all cases.

    Plus, riding bikes hurts my taint.

      • Yes but the gigantic ego that happens as soon as someone gets on a 2 wheeled vehicle somehow eliminates following rules and safety from consideration. This is also true of motorcycles, so I think it is some bizzarre birädal phenomenon that is innate within humans or something.

        Don’t worry, I won’t judge you for riding a bike Leap!

          • Bicyclism is just virtue signaling for people who can afford to live in Bikeable and Walkable neighborhoods. For the rest of us, rural and suburban and exurban folks who have been pushed out of the cities due to gentrification/inflation/speculation, we can just go fuck off, I guess. Or maybe rely on public transportation, which is minimal and useless outside the cities.

          • It’s a time thing you know too. Easy for a bachelor with no spouse and kids to not mind spending the extra time biking places. But even in the cities most of them drive cars more than they want to admit, especially once they shack up and have kids.

  • As a lifelong cyclist, I am dismayed by how much codling the typical commuter cyclist requires. First, in most cases, those committing by bicycle are usually well off enough to live near their work, which in almost every scenario equates to housing that costs significantly more than the median. Second, the jobs of the commuter class enable a disheveled, sweaty aesthetic that many jobs do not allow. We could argue that employers should abandon any semblance of a dress code in favor of commuter cyclists, but that is another topic.

    I have only had the luxury of committing to work by bicycle a small number of times in my life, but even then, I lived at elevation, and winter weather precluded year-round commuting. However, being smart about how you present to traffic while on your bicycle and creative in the routes you choose and the moves you make on the road were always part of the fun for me. Unfortunately, the new commuter class seems to have no sense of adventure, humor, or creativity in cycling. Cynically, I attribute that to being more concerned with their carbon footprint than the joy of cycling. I do believe better cycling infrastructure can be a reasonable component when appropriate, but many of the commuters I know want a level of protection that isn’t realistic. I have recreationally cycled some of California’s busiest and most dangerous roads and the Seattle area. I completely understand that some areas are challenging and could use the help of appropriate infrastructure.

    Lastly, I work a job that frequently requires me to respond to people an hour’s drive from me. I work primarily from home but have an office sixteen miles from home I sometimes visit. Bicycle commuting is not an option, no matter what infrastructure is created. I take my hat off to the dedicated cycling commuters out there and suspect that the whiny commuters prevalent on social media are the minority. But, as a cyclist, I am ashamed to be even remotely associated with the Karens that whine about being discriminated against because they are cyclists. I long ago chose to distance myself from a large part of the bike racing community I used to be a part of because I didn’t particularly appreciate being lumped into a group that seemed hell-bent on speaking with one unified voice. Many people enjoy “finding their tribe” and assuming a group identity. I look at cycling as the ultimate individual pursuit, and many times do not let people know I am a cyclist to prevent association with a group I share so little in common with.

    • A lot of it is the activists trying to coddle “would be” cyclists too. Bikeway segregation ideology insists our cities could have Amsterdam-level bike rates if there was a lot of investment in segregated lanes. The reality is there are many more factors that lead to their higher mode share. But they insist there are millions of would be cyclists ready to go only once all their projects are built.
      At the core the modern bike activists is largely anti-car, anti-freedom.

  • Let me tell you about my background. I grew up in a city and, for most of my life, did not have a car but relied on a bike for transportation. I could get around pretty much everywhere. I lost teeth from bicycle accidents. This was before the present movement for bicycling. This was back when people didn’t care. With the arrival of cellphones, and after too many accidents, I started to rely on foot and public transportation instead, because bicycling got too dangerous. With drivers looking at their phones instead of looking at what’s around them.

    Then, something happened. The 2008 fiscal crisis happened. Homeownership went down and renting went up. Speculators drove up the cost of rent dramatically, and people started flipping houses. During this time (the Obama administration), I started seeing sculptures of bicycles being screwed into the street, and started seeing all this bicycling propaganda. And my rent was going up and up. I saw friends get pushed out of the city. Then I got pushed out of the city. My apartment got sold and then flipped. They kicked everybody out and doubled the rent. And we couldn’t rent anywhere nearby in the city…the city where I grew up. They wanted you to prove, with paystubs, that you could make three times the rent, which was now astronomically high.

    Now, I live in the suburbs and drive a car. Because I’m too poor to live in the city. With what they charge now, on average, for a 1 or 2 br apartment per month, which is around $2000, I can buy a used car and insurance.

    Now, when I drive to the city there are bike lanes everywhere, and no where to park and traffic is congested as hell. And so I see all this pro-biking propaganda, how it’s green, and good for the environment, and how you shouldn’t drive, and how cars are bad, etc etc. I’m like, “well that’s fine for YOU, champagne Liberal, Gentrified Hipster, who can afford to live here.” That’s what I’m thinking in my mind now as I drive through the city that I grew up in, that I’ve been pushed out of. If someone were to preach to me about how bad cars are and how I should bike, I would be like “get the fuck out of my face! Maybe if your RENTS were affordable for people like me, then maybe I could do that. But until then…” And don’t get me started on the anti-smoking culture, how landlords put it in their leases that you can’t even smoke on THE PUBLIC SIDEWALK out in front of the apartment (which happened to a friend of mine.) No one objects. No one calls Smokers and Identity and gives them any protective status. And they make leases that control what you do beyond the borders of their property. You can’t have barbecues, can’t barbecue your chicken, can’t do nothing. And you have to pay an arm and a leg with these shit apartments. So, yes, when somebody says to me that Bicycling is an Identity, I’m going to be the Reactionary Bad Guy and shout “Streets are for Cars!”

  • 50 Years a Bicyclist here…..
    Commuted in LA, Orange County, San Franciso. Ridden thousands of miles in Great Britain, the Continent, Mexico, and Canada with very few nasty encounters with motorists.
    It ain’t luck. It ain’t cause I ride in the wee hours or on deserted roads.
    Bicyclists can legally and safely ride with motor traffic if you give it respect and demand it in return.
    Having taught the League of American Bicyclists Traffic 101 classes and the American Bicycling Education Association’s Cycling Savvy classes I can say confidently that the skills and behaviors can be learned by virtually anyone.
    I can also say that as of today, Americans don’t and will never “bicycle” in any significant numbers despite the whines of victims like ol’ Stacey. In fact, the jokes on all of ’em.
    The facilities they cry for– “infra” to the Advocacy Industrial Complex– will soon be overrun by fat assed, lazy, and entitled Americans who will never bicycle. They have demonstrated their contempt for bicycles with their purchase of Ebikes, a clear commitment to never pedaling again in their lives.
    Those who swore they would never bicycle “because there’s no safe place to ride,” will pedal their butts all over town as soon as you remove all that nasty exercise. Oh, sure they want to get a “little bit of exercise” they’ll tell you, and that’s all they will ever get, very little exercise. But they do want to go as fast as they please– 20, 28, 40mph– any damn place they want. Sidewalks, bike lanes, separated cycletracks, and all those damn lycra clad bicyclists better get the fuck outt’a the way.
    Including you, Stacey.

  • “support social campaigns that change the imagination of people regarding the need to travel” = brainwash people to stop wanting freedom of movement

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