Alex Kent: Bikes and Cars

Published: 08/15/2022 16:05:30

Modified: 08/15/2022 16:02:02

Two letters caught my eye in the August 12 Gazette: Donald Torrey’s public service announcement about a hitherto unknown disease called “bicycle brain” (“Suffering from a ‘bicycle brain’ in Easthampton” ) and that of Mike Smith on an infamous plot to keep cars out of Northampton town centre. (Northampton traffic plan)

Well done to both authors. I know now that I was afflicted with “bike brain” for many years. I recognize the presentation of this disease: the belief that bicycles do not pollute, that using them improves the well-being of the cyclist while not contributing to climate change, that it is easier to say hello to someone bike than from a car, and that bikes are traffic and therefore deserve safe streets, bike lanes and other infrastructure. I even worked under the illusion that it is reasonable to cross an intersection while riding a bicycle.

Thank you, Mr. Torrey, for alerting me to this debilitating condition. I will seek treatment.

Smith corrected my mistaken belief that streets should be shared by a healthy mix of pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. Wider sidewalks? Cycle paths? Useless nonsense! It even forestalls any thoughts I might have had of a trolley service that would transport downtown visitors from the parking lots to a quiet, safe and welcoming downtown for shoppers and strollers. What nonsense! We are indebted to Mr. Smith for torpedoing this idea before anyone else had it. Hi King Car! All hail his devoted sidekick Lord Driver!

Alex Kent

Amherst

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