Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Bike to Work week, Steve Nass!

With session over Rep. Steve Nass is waging warfare against a nasty new demon threatening life as we know it in the Badger state.
Shield the children’s eyes. This new malicious entity … is a bike box.
What is wrong with colored pavement or markings at a busy intersection that are basically an advance stop line for motorists with a waiting area in front for bicyclists during red lights? They’ve been highly successful in Europe at minimizing conflicts between cyclists and cars. And the city of Madison just installed pilot project to test them out in a few locations, as the Wisconsin State Journal reported last week.
“It’s basically about liberal extremists in Madison who hate cars and think everyone should bike to work,” Nass told the State Journal here. “It is basically making it difficult to use an automobile.”
It’s odd – Rep. Nass didn’t seem to mind using a circuitous route to work which was a far greater inconvenience than a bike box could ever cause.
Isthmus’ Jason Joyce summed it up well on The Daily Page: “This is what happens when you let the Vicki McKenna show determine your legislative agenda. Steve Nass says the bike boxes, which received mostly positive response last week with a decent amount of apathy tossed in, are a liberal plot. Worse, they encourage bikes to get in the way of cars when the light turns green. I guess that means cars might have to yield occasionally. The horror!”
Yet Nass told the State Journal he plans to introduce legislation in January to ban such boxes. When one of my constituents, Rosemary Lee, phoned his office to complain – she was told by a staffer that state resources might be used. The call got more heated, according to Lee and she says the staffer told her that if she wants bike boxes, she should move to Europe.
FYI, we’ve been assured by the Madison Mayor’s office that not only was the vast majority of this pilot funded by the private company that makes the pavement markings – no state or federal money was used to test this creative idea.
I’m sure this news will make Rep. Nass so happy that he’ll take to the streets on his bicycle with the huge numbers of Madisonians who will be celebrating Bike to Work week next week, June 6 to 11.
If he does so, he’s welcome to use the City of Madison bike boxes.