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May 07, 2005

The Green Party and the Bicycle

The Green Party professes to be made up of grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters and regular citizens who've had enough of corporate-dominated politics.

The Party obviously thinks that encouraging the use of Bicycles as a viable form of transportation is a good thing, and says so in their 2004 Party Platform ( more on that further down. )

I found a line in the Platform that Ol' Scott might want to re-read, though:

"We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity."

This particular Other "Conservative" Lifeform is encouraged by this sign of inclusiveness, and open-mindedness.... :-D

I got to thinking, this morning...

Why not do a search of the Green Party Website for anything related to Bicycling?

Why wasn't I suprised by some of what I found?

The word BICYCLE turned up 18 results and, of those, these are relevant to my current focus on Critical Mass, and the use of Bicycles in the forwarding of causes not related to Bicycling:

1. Greens to Join Global Day of Protest Against Iraq War, March 19th:

...Greens have planned rallies and other events in rural areas as well as cities. Some noteworthy examples:

-- North Caroline, Friday, March 18 The Campus Greens at North Carolina State University will hold a press conference in Raleigh and then ride their bicycles to Fayetteville, NC for the anti-war march the following day, in order to raise awareness about the environmental impact of war (including the effects of depleted uranium) and the destructive and destabilizing effect of fossil fuel dependence. NCGREENPARTY.ORG

2. In the Fall 2004 issue of Green Pages there apparently was an article mentioning the CM from the Republican Convention...

'Die-in' leads to arrests
Action demanded attention for Iraq dead
by Charles Shaw

After a weekend of stunning mass actions during the Republican National Convention - thousands of Critical Mass bicycle riders on Friday, the Green World festival on Saturday, the half-million strong United for Peace and Justice march on Sunday and the explosive Poor People's Marches on Monday - it was time for a different kind of action, to communicate a very different message.

Now for some positives ( What?  You thought this was going to be a rousing Fisking, from start to finish? ):

The 2004 Party Platform has some interesting things to say about Bicycling in its section on Transportation issues.

In its fight to turn back the tide of what they see as a world-wide culture of the automobile the Party has some strategies regarding Mass Transit, the Automobile, Air Travel, and Pedestrians/Bicycling:

1. Make streets, neighborhoods and commercial districts more pedestrian friendly.

2. Increase the greenery of streets.

3. Utilize traffic-calming methods, where the design of streets promotes safe speeds and safe interaction with pedestrians. Create auto-free zones.

4. Develop extensive networks of bikeways, bicycle lanes and paths. Include bike racks on all public transit.

5. Maintain free community bicycle fleets, and provide necessary support for cyclists.

While the "Fleet" in #5 may be difficult to achieve, I don't find fault with the pursuing the other ideas, and #4 has been showing much progress, and success for at least a decade now.

Stories related to #4 are a particular interest of mine.

Regarding Urban Land Use the Platform says:

1. Include bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in development plans. For example, inter-connected bike paths and pedestrian-only malls.

2. Rather than move populations back to the land, it is important to bring the land back to cities. This requires consolidating housing into such structures as ecolonies, to free open space, and to move about by bicycle, train, bus and on foot so that roadways may be converted to parkland and agriculture. This would replenish urban soils and reduce water waste by shifting from flush toilets to compost toilets. Also in other ways we should restructure cities to respect the capacities of nature and rely on the creativity of neighborhoods.

The thing to remember, in my mind, is that the car is here to stay, folks, so get over it.

Mass Transit, Pedal Power, and "Feets, don't fail me now!" commuting methods need to develope so that they co-exist with, and compliment, the dominant forms of transportation, not eliminate them from the scene.

That idea is something folks of all political persuasions can work toward.

There are cyclists who are not enthusiastic about Bike Lanes, and believe that cyclists should not have to rely on them as drivers of "vehicles" that have the same rights as cars to the road.

While I agree, to an extent ( bike lanes to the left of parked cars should be banned! ), I think Bike Lanes have their place, and don't mind using them if I have to.

So there you have it...

A positive peek at the Green Party, and its thoughts on Bicycling, by a Moderately inclined Conservative, who otherwise has a whole lot of issues with the Party, and its support of, and co-habitation with, a whole host of Left-leaning causes.

Anyone STILL think I'm Closed Minded? :-D

May 7, 2005 in Critical Mass | Permalink


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