Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Those Evil Cars

I just finished reading
The Immortal Class by Travis Hugh Culley. It's a memoir of sorts about Culley's vocation as a bike messenger, but the larger theme is that American urban development has done nothing to encourage the use of bicycles for commuting (quite the opposite, in fact). It's an entertaining read, even if you don't agree (I do) with his anti-car politics. I'd be curious to hear what Culley thinks about the recent discussions suggesting that a "no rules" Bangkok style of urban traffic control is superior to ours.

As I read this, I found myself thinking of a horrible 1981 Lee Majors movie called The Last Chase. The premise hinged on the idea that the rather Big Brotherly government had outlawed cars. Even in 1981, as the fuel crisis was just ending, this idea was totally outrageous -- Those bastards took away our cars! From where I sat, their society looked a whole lot more pleasant than ours does, but somehow that was made out to be a bad thing. The creeps made us recycle, too.

Finally, in related news, bravo to Arlington County. They've taken a number of those ridiculous four-lane divided residential roads and turned the rightmost lane in each direction into a bike lane. Calms traffic and encourages alternative transportation in one step! Arlington is the only suburb I've ever encountered that does a credible job of providing a comprehensive enough bicycle infrastructure to make bike commuting feasible for most anyone who desires it.

Ride your bike somewhere today instead of driving. And next time you encounter a bicyclist on the road, even if they're impeding you, remember that they have the moral high ground--they could have chosen to drive a smoker like you are--and be nice to them.

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