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Progress Rises from the Bikelash

Bikelash: some cities dish it out more than others and some bike advocates deal with it better than others. But could it be a sign that the pro-bike agenda is advancing?
September 17, 2014, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"'Bikelash' is a snappy little word that names a condition quite familiar to anyone who’s been following the politics of city streets in the United States over the past few years," writes Sarah Goodyear. "It describes the resistance and hostility that the increasing presence of bikes on city streets sometimes produces in people who don’t ride bikes." 

Goodyear links to articles making use of the term in cities around the city, namely SeattlePhiladelphiaColumbus, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.

Goodyear also calls attention to a newly released video by Clarence Eckerson of Streetfilms "interviewing bike advocates from around the country at this year's Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place conference, held earlier this month in Pittsburgh, about their response to bikelash."

In addition to suggesting some strategies for dealing with bikelash, Goodyear quotes an expert to make this point about the stages of societal evolution, and how bikelash might be, in fact, a sign of progress for the multi-modal agenda:

Kit Keller, executive director of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, says that bikelash is part of the cycle that happens along with any big societal shift. “We say there are three stages of social change,” says Keller. “Ridicule, violent opposition, and then acceptance. And sometimes there’s a fourth stage, too, where someone who has been opposed to it from the beginning will say, ‘Oh, that was such a great idea, I was really for it from the start.’ And it makes all of us giggle and be happy, and we just go on doing good work.”

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Published on Monday, September 15, 2014 in CityLab
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