Segways are coming? Not.
The Statesman called me a
few days ago to get my opinion about legislation
which would allow the Segway
(a glorified electric scooter) on heretofore
bike-only paths. They wanted to know whether I
thought this was a good thing or a bad thing for
First of all, if the Statesman
would pull its head out, they would realize that we
don't have any bike-only paths in Austin.
(Except maybe the Veloway, which hardly counts.)
All our trails are mixed-use, for both bikes and
pedestrians. Besides, is the Statesman so clueless
that they really believe that our hike & bike
trails are suddenly about to be overrun by people
rushing out to buy $5000 Segways?
Second, I wish the Statesman would
ask me about something that's actually important.
On the bike path issue I told them that I couldn't
think of an issue that concerns me less. As usual,
I encouraged them to look into a real juicy bike
story, like, oh, the fact that bicyclists can go to
jail for minor traffic offenses while at-fault
motorists who injure or kill cyclists often
even get traffic tickets. As usual, they
off his Segway
And while we're talking about
Segways, President Bush fell off his. The better
articles about this are in the foreign press, which
don't treat the President with kid gloves like the
domestic media. The BBC's
article is headlined "Bush fails the Segway
test", and has a photo of Bush taking a dive.
Not surprisingly, the White House
couldn't even cop to this minor mishap by Bush, as
though he could never be less than perfect. In the
daily press briefing White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer said, "I thought he made a particularly
excellent rebound. He looked very athletic as he
emerged from that."
Fleischer admitted that Bush is
friends with the Segway inventor.
You all did a
great job in telling CAMPO not to cut bike
funding. The comments that many of you added to
the form letter were well thought-out, polite,
and inspiring, so much so that I want to share
them with the whole list. Here are the
personalized comments that were made -- all of
By the way, CAMPO
decided to postpone their decision on whether to
cut bike funding until this fall. We won -- for
"I would like American cities to have more of a mix
so that people have safer routes to walk and
bike. I own a car and pay taxes. However, I
mostly ride my bike for errands, etc., so please
give me my fair share of services."
- "I don't know the outcome of your
meeting, but want to belatedly share my concern
at the possibility of even further resources
being directed AWAY from bike commuters. I
am writing as the daughter of a man who commuted
to work by bicycle for 40 years, the last ten
from the Ben White area to UT -- many miles. My
father became a quadriplegic (and then died
three days later) as the result of a bicycle
accident on Austin streets. He followed all the
rules, paid taxes, voted etc. etc. etc. More
people should be ENCOURAGED to seek the
health-enhancing, pollution-reducing effects of
biking -- if anything please INCREASE your
consideration of bikers."
"As a daily commuter to downtown Austin, I
value the bike infrastructure and crave more.
Moreover, many of my employees ride in an effort to
alleviate road congestion and enjoy our fine city.
Please maintain the current bike/ped funding."
- "I find it ironic that projects proposed
to improve air quality come at the expense of
one of the IDEAL methods of transportation in
terms of environmental friendliness. WE need
to support pedestrians, bikes, bike riders and
the attitude that motorists aren't the only show
on the road. Please don't cut the funding!"
"I cycle every day, and frequently try to get
others to get out of their cars and ride with
me. By far, the reason I hear most often for
refusals is that the people I am talking to don't
feel safe on the roads. Bike lanes and trails are
critical to increasing the number of people who
will choose biking as an alternative
(non-polluting) form of transportation. Please do
not cut funding that goes to bike and pedestrian
- "Please do not reduce or eliminate
funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Such funding is increasingly important in
Central Texas, especially for areas where
population is concentrated. Although light
synchronization and intersection widening are
also important, these changes should not be
funded from budgetary allocations for cycling
and pedestrian projects."
"Austin is headed towards disaster by only
providing for automobile transportation -- and
yes, it's the only way for most of us to get to
work. There is no rail service, bus service from
North Austin, along the 183/Mopac areas can take
you over a hour to get to work down town - and it's
only 11 miles! Could we bike it each day in the
same time? Yes, except we'd be risking our lives -
there are NO bike lanes north of Far West and very
few if any for work commuters. So Austin is
condemned to suffer from worsening pollution and
- "Let me get this straight. After
spending more money on roads per capita in the
last 10 years than any other metropolitan area
other than Tucson, AZ, you want to spend EVEN
MORE money on increasing automobile traffic?
Surely this must be some kind of joke!"
"I bike to work each day. The trip is four
miles each way. I firmly believe that roads are
designed to encourage cars to go faster with little
concern for safety of the driver and or other
commuters (e.g. bikers, pedestrians, and other
cars). Please save the funding for sidewalks."
- "I have recently resumed bicycle
commuting into downtown from NE Austin, across
I-35, and while I don't miss the drudgery of
sitting in my car in traffic, I'm afraid.
Really, I'm afraid I'll be run over by an Austin
driver. The marginalization of cyclist commuters
has gone on far too long, and to even *consider*
taking away this measly 1.5% is... what?
Politics as usual? I hope not."
"Although traffic light synchronization is
important, taking away all earmarked money for bike
and ped eviscerates the program and may have a hard
time coming back. We must exhaust all other
avenues of funding for traffic light
synchronization before we bleed bike and ped
- "Please don't remove our current funding
for bicyclists and pedestrians. I ride my bike
to work everyday and these funds keep me safe
while on the road. The roads are dangerous
enough as it is, this funding insures that for
years to come. If this funding only saves one
extra life - isn't that worth it?"
"I am a cyclist who owns a car, but I prefer
to ride a bike on my daily commute to work so that
- 1. save money on gas
- 2. keep miles off of my car
- 3. reduce air pollution
- 4. get some exercise
- 5. hopefully encourage others to ride
I would add "get some fresh air" to the list,
but the air quality in the Austin area is
sickening, and the idea that improving it by
encouraging driving (synchronizing traffic lights,
widening intersections) is nearly as disgusting. I
look forward to future correspondence from CAMPO
detailing how making it easier for people to drive
will reduce air pollution."
- "I would like to remind you that bikers
also drive when we have to, and pay into the
same tax pool as those who don't bike. We
sincerely appreciate the few amenities bikers
receive, and would hate to see our funding cut.
We feel as if we are already doing more than
most citizens in terms of air quality."
"The reason more people don't bike-commute is
that it is too difficult or dangerous to do so.
It is shameful and should be an embarrassment
in a city home to Lance Armstrong, that more
complete bikeways are not produced and maintained.
We don't need piecemeal projects: there are
countless bike lanes that just END without any
thought to continuity. Routes need to be planned
for full north-south and east-west access with
parallel feeders and routes RESERVED and dedicated
to bikes. Countless miles of simple paths could be
made for the cost of a mile of a reinforced
concrete or asphalt road designed to carry an 18
wheeler. It is time to do the right thing and
create a truly bikable city."
- "I believe you have the best interest of
all citizens in mind when you make your
decisions. I also realize that you may have
pressure from groups with political leverage
influencing your decisions. I ask you, not only
as a citizen, but as a human being, please leave
this meager fund intact. Cyclists need all the
help they can get, even if it is not much."
"As a member of the Clean Air Force Board of
Directors, I am very aware of the impending air
pollution problems central Texas faces. As a
community we can not solve our ozone/smog problems
if we continue to design our city totally depended
on the automobile. It is essential that we provide
alternatives and the most cost effective options
are pedestrian and bike improvements. Please keep
these funds dedicated to these alternative mobility
options and help keep our air clean."
- "I have lived in Austin for almost eight
years now. The little things in life and in this
town are what make life neat. Cyclists on
the roads keep this town not just different but
also energetic. Austin has been known to be one
of the healthiest cities in America, let's keep
it that way. Please don't take the bike and
pedestrian funding away."
"We absolutely cannot afford to give up the
precious little funding that is currently being
allocated to bicyclists and pedestrians. We
need options and at the rate we're headed, those
options are being drowned out. Please don't do it.
It's already dangerous enough for cyclists and peds
out on the road. Help us out a bit eh?"
- "Part of the reason you don't see an
immediate benefit to air quality & traffic
congestion from increases to bike &
pedestrian funding is that few people commute
this way. A major reason for this is that,
quite honestly, it is scary to commute by bike.
I escape death by inches at least once every
time I ride home from work. Most people won't
put up with this kind of risk just to help the
environment. Until cycling is made safer by
adequate facilities & driver education, the
traffic situation will just get worse and worse.
With more & more, larger & larger
vehicles on the road, you know very well we will
never be able to 'widen' or 'synchronize' our
way out of the traffic problem. We have to
encourage other means of transportation. Please
continue to give cyclists & pedestrians the
minimal funding we have received. It will pay
off in the long run."
"Not every bicycling advocate is a left-wing
radical. Plenty of us understand that it's a
daunting task facing today's officials who deal
with the Central Texas mobility issues, especially
with the current budget situations. I encourage you
to keep your sights fixed on the big picture.
Business and industry, commerce and art--what
attracts these elements to this area is that Austin
is not Houston. It's not Los Angeles. This area
values the environment and has the unique chance to
learn from the mistakes already made by the
now-congested MPOs who've only built more roads.
Keep Austin growing in the right direction. Do not
cut bicycling & pedestrian funding. Doing so is
a short-term fix and a long-term mistake."
- "If you improve bicycle access in a city
and provide a safe environment to bike and walk,
people WILL use it. I use bicycle commuting
about 50% of the time now, but if the streets
get any more congested or unsafe for me or my
bike I will give up. And then I will get in my
car and be a part of the problem. Please don't
spend more money to make it easier for people to
use their cars instead of their feet."
"Austin is known as a bicycle-friendly city.
However, the infrastructure for bicyclists is
lagging far behind many other major cities.
Those funds could be used instead to noticeably
improve the options of those who wish to bicycle
around town safely by providing bike lines or bike
- "I would hope this small amount of
funding could be retained toward encouraging
more people to get out of their cars and
consider alternative modes of transportation.
This will never happen if we do not create
safe and pleasant throughways for vehicles other
than cars. I believe public boards should be
more forward thinking and establish the "big
picture". Hopefully the big picture isn't paving
all over creation with highways...we need to
create incentives to get cars off the road, not
create more roads for more cars."
"If anything I think that this needs to be
increased in funding for bicycles."
- "Providing safe facilities for cyclists
and pedestrians is key to enabling more people
to cycle or walk to work. Getting people out
of cars will reduce emissions much more than
shaving a few seconds off of the waiting time at
traffic lights. In addition, bicycle and
pedestrian facilities are much cheaper to build
than enhanced roadway intersections. In other
words, it is a more efficient use of our scarce
"It has been my experience that synchronizing
lights in congested areas results in dangerous
cycling conditions. Motorists get a sense,
after driving the same route day after day, of just
how much they need to speed up or(more
optimistically) to slow down in order to roll
through the light. The motorist times the light,
and this can lead to disastrous consequences. If
the light synchronization should change during
certain hours of the day, for instance, then the
motorist might assume a green light that doesn't
turn green. As a cyclist traveling many crossroads
in Austin - my bicycle is my transportation - I
would rather the traffic in congested areas stay
congested. I would prefer to slow motorists down. I
would like to make them see red.
Regardless, as someone who rides the streets and
bike/ped paths of Austin, I would like to see 15%
of STP4C funds go toward improving the safety and
convenience of existing routes for cyclists, or
initiating new projects intended for those who
ride. (e.g. The Lamar Street path could provide a
safe route for cyclists traveling downtown or
uptown. Unfortunately, the path east of Lamar -
running along Shoal Creek - and from about 15th to
the Town Lake seems to be in a constant state of
disrepair). I know that you have pressures to
reduce traffic and pollution in this city, but
pushing the cyclists to the side is not the answer.
There are voices in the crowd that say CAMPO is
trying to change perceptions rather then solve
traffic problems. I sure hope so because the only
way this city will be able to effectively grow is
if perceptions do change, if a bus ride doesn't
seem so bad, or if a bicycle ride to your local
convenience store seems more convenient than
hopping in a car, or if light rail sounds
- "Cyclists deserve support for their
continued use of alternative
transportation...something the rest of us
should certainly heed."
"Bus turn outs is also a good use of the
funds -- more so than synchronization in my
opinion. Nevertheless, pedestrian ROW and bike
ROW is CRITICAL in Oak Hill on 290 with the 290
extension to Scenic Brook. Please include bike ROW
behind barriers and Pedestrian Crossing buttons at
FM 1826 and other intersections. We would like to
get other ways besides the car to get around out
Ads are FREE for
individuals and run for at least four months or
until you tell me to remove it. Please keep it to
four lines, don't write a novel. :)
15" Giant Cypress DX Hybrid
Bike. Like new, super comfy. Front &
2002 Giant Rincon: 17" Frame (Red). In
good condition. Entry level Shimano components.
Will include new brake cables.
$150. tjauyuencheung(at)yahoo.com 10-02
Zullo steel racing / track bike, 56 mm
frame, all Campy parts, derailer gearing but has
one-speed dropouts for fixed gear conversion, in
good shape expect for torn decal,
2001 model Marin Larkspur. 17.5".
Aluminum frame, Shimano components, lock,
lights, shock seat post. Great transportation.
Recently purchased for $350 (have receipt), will
sell for $250. Excellent condition, like
512-476-2887 or 512-689-9266.
inventory at Waterloo
as of June 16, 2003. All bikes subject
to prior sale, limited to stock on
hand, not responsible for typographical
errors, prices may change without
notice, batteries not included.
- $179 Maruishi AT-12 20"
- $229 Diamondback Sorrento
- $369 Haro Extreme Comp
- $399 KHS Montana Comp
- $399 Diamondback Response
- $449 Diamondback Response
- $549 Kona Lava Dome 20"
- $699 Cannondale F400
- $699 Kona Sex One 20"
- $ 99 Alpine Sporten
- $399 Specialized Allez
- $499 KHS Aero Turbo
- $499 Diamondback Expert 58
- $499 Specialized Sirrus
- $549 Fuji Opus III 49cm
- $699 Bianchi Campione
- $99 Schwinn
- $129 Diamondback
- $329 Redline Signature
all, thanks for reading!