It’s a racket

If you build it, they will confine you to it.

Have you ever heard of General Smedley Butler? He was a major public figure in the 1930’s. He was disgusted by the corrupt profiteering he witnessed during WWI, and stumped around the US beginning in 1930, giving a speech entitled “War is a Racket”. He published a written version as a small book in 1935. Pro-Nazi “isolationists” tried to use him as their figurehead in a 1933 fascist coup plot against Roosevelt, but that collapsed when Butler refused to go along with it and blew the whistle on it before a congressional committee.

This is Butler’s definition of a racket:

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.

Does that ring a bell?

I was just reading the NACTO guidelines. About bike lanes, they claim that bike lanes are good because they reduce uncertainty about where bicyclists should be on the road, and should be expected to be on the road. And at present, this is how the public and uninformed advocates perceive them. Yet in fact, bike lanes do exactly the opposite, by promoting the false doctrine that there is a single correct lateral position for bicyclists and creating increased confusion about where bicyclists should be, especially on intersection approaches, where it matters the most.

Note the door zone bikelane leading to a “sucicide slot” at the intersection in the photo above-right. (Location: SW Barbur Blvd in Portland, OR,–Ryan Conrad photo)

Segregated sidepaths and buffered bike lanes are even worse, because you can’t get out of them.

And a small number of people make money off these bogus safety measures, and actively promote the lie.

That is a racket.

Mark Ortiz

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One Response to It’s a racket

  1. Khal Spencer says:

    “If you build it, they will confine you to it” also applies to the section in the new Federal transportation bill that could ban bicycling on some Federal roads:

    http://john-s-allen.com/blog/?p=4181

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