Here's an odd local story (the man is pictured standing just a couple of blocks from my house). Our neighboring town of Arlington has decided to redesign the main street through town (Massachusetts Avenue), to allow for easier and safer bicycling.
The gentleman pictured, Mr. Berger, objects. He is motivated by "a deep distrust of government". And he fears "that the redesign would make it difficult for emergency crews to pass through snarled traffic, endangering lives."
I haven't seen the plan, and can't judge how well it would actually work. But, as I have wondered before, why does opposition to bicycles always take on such a melodramatic tone? Mr. Berger seems to feel that the Mass Ave. exists in a state of nature, untouched by the hand of man, or oppressive government. Clearly any road redesign will involve government action. Just, in this case, government action of which he does not approve. Car-oriented design is just natural, dammit. Why mess with it?
And this "emergency vehicle" thing gets trotted out in all sorts of urban design issues, from raised pedestrian crossings to alleys. It's childish. Yes, I picture a flood of bikes, like Peking before capitalism, so dense that fire trucks are stranded, wailing their sirens desperately as small children are burned alive in their ramshackle Arlington slums.
Now, maybe he can't actually say, "I think bicyclists are a bunch of smug jerks, and don't want them in my town. Every time I see one I want to run over him." But that is, I think, what underlies a lot of opposition.