Rise of Anti Car Movement
There’s an anti-car movement brewing across America. They’re well funded, tech savvy, and politically active. They guise their hatred of cars under pretenses of environmental protection, mass transit, and health, but underneath it’s all because they hate the car.
A large proportion of these car haters are cyclists. Cyclists in urban cities like New York, Toronto, and San Francisco are a loud and vocal minority. They ingratiate themselves into various levels of government, activist groups, and communities to push their agenda. I first discovered them when joining a mass transit advocacy group, only to find that its members cared less about mass transit than taking what they could away from cars and hurting drivers.
The Push for Above Ground Transit
The secret car haters join or form mass transit advocacy groups in hopes of steering municipalities towards projects that hurt driving. A great example of this is their push for above ground dedicated transit lanes that replace lanes for cars.
Underground subways are great for mass transit. They carry incredible density, minimal risk of accidents since they run on dedicated underground tracks not accessible to the public, and don’t have to worry about snow, ice, or hail that could halt above ground mass transit. Unfortunately for the anti-car movement, they don’t take anything away from cars. Therefore anti-car activists join mass transit advocacy groups and try to steer them away from subways. They claim it’s “too expensive” or “the density won’t support it”, rather than just admitting that they hate cars and want something that take away lanes for drivers. They push their “dedicated bus lanes” or “above ground rail projects”.
Subways promote density because subways can handle density.
When the Toronto subways were being built in 1954, there were 1.2 million people. Fast forward to 2016 and there are 2.7 million people in Toronto. The Toronto subway carries 1.58 million people per day, more than the total population in the city when it was first built. Residents of Toronto are extremely grateful that people had the foresight to dig underground tunnels. Yet some “transit advocacy” groups still tried recently to stop building new subways in the city in favor of re-purposing above ground car lanes for transit. These cycling activists hate cars so much that they would purposely hurt future generations of residents in the city by depriving them of subways, just to hurt car users.
New York City
In 2019, plans were drawn up to shut down a busy subway line for tunnel repair. Among the various initiatives to lessen the impact, the city planned to shut down a small but busy street to cars to create dedicated bus lanes. Obviously buses cannot replace the subways, as argued above, even if the road was dedicated to buses. But this was one part of a multi part plan to lessen the disruption. Cycling activists cheered, claiming that it was for the good of the people since the subway shutdown was going to be so catastrophic for the city (and yet cyclists try to sabotage plans for new subways, saying they aren’t needed or appropriate). The subway shutdown plan gets canceled. Yet these same anti-car cyclists try to shut down the street anyways… because they hate cars and drivers.
Hypocritical Claims of Cyclists
But do cyclists have a point in their hatred of cars? Let’s examine their claims one by one.
Claim – Cycling is Better for Health
Claim: Cyclists claim that cycling is better for health since it’s exercise and takes more effort than driving.
Debunked: Running is better for your health than cycling.
Running is better for your lung capacity and heart capacity. Even walking uses more calories (on flat ground). These two alternatives are significantly better for your health than cycling because they burn more calories, increase lung capacity and is better for your heart. Bikers then change their argument saying “I don’t want to be all sweaty when I get to work” or “It’s too far to run, I need a bike”. Running makes people sweaty because it’s exercise and more intense/better than biking! Suddenly they present biking as a way to do less exercise, because exercise is now bad?
Claim – Bike lanes take up less space than car lanes
Claim: Cyclists claim that in a crowded city, bike lanes are more efficient because bikes are smaller than cars.
Debunked: Buses and subways allow for far more density than bikes in a bike lane.
Above is an image created by a pro-cyclist, anti-car project. However, what you’ll notice are two things:
1) The cycling picture is unrealistic. Outside of the starting point of a race, when do you see bikes so close together? They’d run into each other and crash. Even during a bike race, that density isn’t seen. On the other hand, you’ve seen gridlock of cars with that density and you’ve seen buses and subways with that density.
2) Even with the bikes crammed so close together than they won’t be able to ride anywhere, you still see that buses have better density by about 50%. Subways even more so. In a realistic real world situation, subways beat bikes by a vast margin in terms of density.
Yet cyclists advocate for dedicated bike lanes and try to deprive cars of car lanes, trying to hide the fact that their argument is deeply flawed and biking is an inefficient way to get around in a crowded city compared to walking, subways, and buses.
Claim – Drivers are getting Subsidized Roads
Claim: Cyclists claim that taxpayers are subsidizing drivers with roads
Debunked: Drivers pay gasoline tax, which goes towards mass transit. Bikers don’t pay nearly the same amount of tax yet want their own dedicated lanes.
Drivers pay sales tax on cars, licensing fees to government, insurance fees that are taxed by the government, and fuel taxes to the government.
Cyclists pay sales tax on their bikes, which are cheaper than cars, and none of the other taxes. It’s the cyclists who aren’t paying their fair weight.