I was riding my electric hybrid bike to the basketball court last night and stumbled upon the Ride of Silence staging area at Gasworks Park here in Seattle. Too bad I didn’t have my camera. Anyone who rides a bike in Seattle is aware of the sorry state of our streets. On my way home that night I counted five potholes big enough to take out any unwary bicyclist.
A cop had stopped me earlier that same day (while taking a carload of kids to school) for having expired license tabs and gave me a $190 ticket. Although I had taken the emissions test, for some reason my check never made it to the transportation department. Anyway, I rode my bike to the emissions “station” this morning to get a copy of my emissions “statement” to take to the license branch to get my license “tabs.” I will also need this statement as evidence to present to the judge when I go to beg for clemency (only to be verbally abused because he hates his mind-numbing job as a glorified bureaucrat). It’s almost enough to make me shit-can my car altogether … arrgh. $120.00 of the license fee went to pay for the now defunct monorail project, which was just salt in the wound.
Coincidentally, I saw our governor on TV last week talking up the latest tax hike to help pay for road maintenance. Why can’t they afford to keep the roads safe for bikers? Well, aside from all of the tax money we are still paying for the monorail, when you also pay tens of thousands of dollars for elaborate paint schemes on your buses to advertise to the world your intent to stop global warming, become energy independent, and boost the local economy, something has to give.
Where is the glory in spending money on ads to get people on bikes and providing a world-class bike infrastructure? There are about 300,000 people in Seattle of working and biking age. What would happen if you could motivate 3,000 Seattlites who also work in Seattle to commute by bike (1% of total working population). Lets see, this is equivalent to about 100 metro buses with a fleet average of about 38 MPG at rush hour, each spewing CO2, and consuming a lot of precious liquid fuel (95% of which is regular diesel).
I also think that electric hybrid bikes would greatly enhance the numbers of people willing to ride once word gets out that they exist and once they improve in quality and price. Those brushless hub motors make a tremendous difference in headwinds, and especially on hills.