More on the Ride the Ducks and the 2nd Avenue bike lanes
On Sunday, one of our Ish Eds tweeted these tweets after seeing/hearing a Ride the Ducks tour going up University, making a left on 3rd Avenue. As any pedestrian knows, Duck tours are very loud and you can hear everything that the driver tells their passengers.
Just heard a @SeattleDucks driver lament his new route (due to bike lanes) on 2nd & University, directly in front of the ghost bike. Fucked.— Seattlish (@seattlish)September 8, 2014
Like srsly, that attitude that poor tourists can’t go by Pike Place because of necessary safety changes WHERE A HUMAN DIED is so telling.— Seattlish (@seattlish)September 8, 2014
As the Duck passed the corner of 2nd and University — where a cyclist died last week and there is now a very powerful memorial, including a ghost bike — the driver noted that Pike Place Market was back that way, and that there was a lot of stuff on First and Second, and that they usually go down that way, but that now they couldn’t because there were new cycling lanes in place.
“Which is great for the cyclists,” noted the “wacky” driver, “but it does mean we don’t get to go that way today.”
^^Part of the Ducks usual route, though on their website, they do note that “While we do our best to stick to the tour route, throughout the year, we will re-route from time to time for a variety of reasons – marathons, parades, construction, traffic snarls and the all-encompassing “etc.” We’ll do our best to communicate to you in advance of your tour, but we reserve the right to change or modify the tour route at any time for the enjoyment of your experience.” Their methods of communication leave something to be desired.
The people in the Duck boat groaned. They did not seem to have noticed what was very clearly a memorial for a deceased cyclist. At the memorial, there were at least three people standing quietly. One was crying with her head bowed.
Somewhere in a city, there is a child without a mother.
The tourists were left feeling, it seems, that cyclists make everything worse. Cyclists, who have been in peril on at that exact intersection for years. Cyclists, who have died there and at Seattle’s myriad other extremely dangerous corners and intersections. Cyclists, who were already organizing an awareness ride to bring attention to that very corner just days after Sher Kung was killed.
But like, that sentiment persists. A lot. In a Seattle Times piece about the new Second Avenue bike lanes, whose first day of operation was this morning, the lede literally put motorists first:
and describes the corner — where a woman was killed last week — as “where bikes and left-turning cars have tangled.”
Other news stations addressed the issue of cyclist perception. Over on King 5, the following exchange was documented:
"It’s kind of confusing," said Ryan Wilson, a cyclist on his way to work. As he waited for his signal to go, a passing driver yelled ‘You’re ruining it for the rest of us!’"
"You can’t please everyone," Wilson said with a smile.
Human beings are dying. People (like a 12-year-old boy) are being injured. And still, the narrative that cyclists are annoying, inconvenient, and a problem continues. We’re waging a “War on Cars,” but it’s pedestrians and cyclists who are losing their lives. Transit-dependent individuals are losing their livelihoods as their bus lines are cut. We, as a city, are losing out on improved density because of increased gridlock, caused largely by too fucking many people driving to work because every other option seems worse or is unavailable.
All motorists are losing is parking and their patience.
But sure. Bikes are the problem.