Enjoying the Ride
Does anyone else share the thrill of bike-inspired personality shifts? As the bike evolution picks up speed, maybe we should consider image as tactic.
Sometimes when I ride down McAllister, I pretend I am a horse-riding cowboy. I lash my hind wheel with an imaginary whip, and I shoot at red lights with an imaginary rifle. Blow off the smoke when the lights turn green. Then, to watching car drivers, a peace sign and a smile saying, "Oh yes my tin friend, it's all good."
Other times, (especially when climbing) I paddle a canoe and wipe sweat from my forehead. "Oh yes," I say with my eyes, "you may have the car but I have the tide."
There are many good reasons to ride. But since most cars are really just little angry-boxes, one of our most seductive arguments may be controlled madness. Commuting in drag? Blowing bubbles on Market? Anthem singing on Broadway? Come to our side, tired souls. We have more fun.
On June 1st, messengers at San Francisco's Ultra Ex Delivery (originally Speedway) voted 27-to-15 in favor of being represented by International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6. All 42 messengers (4 walkers, 9 drivers and 29 bikers) voted. It is the first victory in the current messenger organizing effort started more than two years ago.
Ultra is one of the better paying companies in the industry and offers shared cost benefits packages, but the union's appeal to improve the Bay Area's entire messenger industry struck a chord. Workers voted their consciences, and we take respect in our 100% turnout.
Thanks is due to too many people to list here, but special mention should be made of Wendy Fallin and the messengers of Philadelphia. Thanks go to messengers from Seattle, NYC, Chicago, Toronto, and London, as well as SF. Thanks to ILWU and IWW supporters from the West Coast, Louisville (Kentucky), Lawrence (Kansas), Ypsilanti (Michigan), Toronto, and the UK.
We hope this vote will encourage other companies in SF and other cities to organize for our rights and our earnings.
Howard A. Williams
President, SF Bike Messenger Association
Defeat on Hayward-San Mateo Bridge
Like a swift kick in the head, the Bay Conservation and Development Commissioners (BCDC) voted 14-2 in May to permit Caltrans to build a new trestle span of the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge without offering any bicycle access. Not now, not ever! The HSM may become the only one of eight bay crossings that restrict bicycle access in the next century.
Either we accept the decision and turn our attention to other pressing issues, or we stand up for bicyclists' rights, in particular, the rights of bicyclists who are not served by the mitigation measures. We need to ensure that bicycle access on the HSM bridge is revisited.
We live in an age of large and costly transportation projects. It is prudent to recognize that some bicycle projects, like the HSM bridge, will need to be incremental. Abundant precedent exists to build facilities in anticipation of future projects.
Director, East Bay Bicycle Coalition
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