I have a personal hero of the day, and his name is Artūras Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Zuokas, who is described in news reports as an “avid cyclist” and who is bringing a bike-share program to Lithuania’s capital, staged a fairly awesome stunt (and it is clearly a stunt) the other day: He ran over a Mercedes parked in a bike lane. With an armored personnel carrier.
The whole thing is pretty obviously staged. (You have to love the “owner” of the vehicle who emerges from a store in “shock” — a hangdog middle-aged man wearing a white suit, black T-shirt, and fat gold chain.)
Cheesy though the video may be, the mayor is making a real point about privileged drivers hogging the tiny sliver of real estate reserved for bikes. It’s a problem that bike riders in New York, for instance, are all too familiar with — although here, some of the major offenders are police vehicles.
Mayor Bloomberg, any chance you might consider crushing an improperly parked NYPD cruiser in the name of bike safety? I’m sure that Mayor Zuokas would be happy to give you some tank-driving lessons. Think of it as a cultural exchange.
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