Radio discussion, "Do Chicago bike riders blindly support the mayor?"
In an interview by Ben Joravsky with Dave Glowacz on WCPT-AM's Ben Joravsky Show, Ben and Dave discuss the loyalty of Chicago bicycle riders to bike-friendly mayors. Length 5.2 minutes.
Link to audio:
What do you think?
"Progressive" cyclists feeling threatened in 3, 2, 1....
I'm at work so I can't currently listen to the audio to know what their conclusion was. But a lot of my friends that use a bike as their primary mode of transportation were Chuy supporters in the last election. From what I recall Chuy was not very pro bike lane or active transport friendly plus he was hostile to red light and speed cameras.
So to answer the question at the top, no I don't think bike riders blindly support the mayor.
There was no conclusion to the question presented during the segment. It was curiously brief. It seems like they were just getting started with the discussion and then the 5.2 minute recording was over.
Hopefully the next time around we won't have to choose between a so called progressive who didn't support cycling and opposed basic road safety (speed and red light cameras) and the incumbent.
I thought that the whole thing was too brief to get into any substance. Joravsky generally does good work. I felt like he took an overly snarky, simplistic approach.
I agree with Tony's comments. I would love to have better candidate choices. I'd like to think that most of us aren't voting based on only one issue.
Follow up article on Chicago Streetsblog by John Greenfield:
Recently my Chicago Reader colleague, political commentator Ben Joravsky, had an interesting conversation with Dave “Mr. Bike” Glowacz, author of the excellent guide “Urban Bikers’ Tips and Tricks,” on Joravsky’s WCPT-AM radio show. Joravsky, who said that he often bikes himself, argued that “so many” local cyclists have slavishly supported mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel simply because they built bike infrastructure and have claimed to be avid cyclists. The pundit said this is “one of my pet peeves about bicyclists.”
“It doesn’t matter what a mayor does,” Joravsky said. “You give a bike rider a bike lane and you own them for life, sort of like the Chicago resident in general with garbage cans. You give a homeowner a garbage can and that homeowner will be voting for the aldermen forever, no matter what kind of a scoundrel he or she may be.”
Glowacz (who is, disclosure, an old friend of mine from the bike scene) countered that mayors winning votes by building bike infrastructure isn’t any different than them appeasing any other constituency. He brought up the South Red Line reconstruction and Emanuel’s policies in favor of magnet and charter schools as examples of the mayor throwing a bone to particular demographics.
Joravsky’s viewpoint on the matter seemed to be heavily influenced by a single encounter he had in the early 2000s:
"A biking enthusiast came up to me at a bar and he was very drunk and he said, “Give me a good reason why I should vote against Mayor Daley. He opened up bike lanes. I’m happy.” How do I deal with that? How do I argue [against] a point like that?"
Glowacz replied that Joravsky should be used to dealing with one issue voters. “I expect more from bikers because you presume that bike riders would be more open to saving the environment,” Joravsky responded. “The city doesn’t have the best environmental policies. You’d think the bikers would be more liberal, be more about saving our public schools from going bankrupt.”