Mobility. The dictionary defines “mobility” as follows:
I, nevertheless, outline it thusly:
Alas, the dignified nature of my conveyance is usually in stark distinction to the town during which I pilot it. The streets are stuffed with lethal pitfalls, and chances are you’ll not even realize it till you virtually step into one. Contemplate:
Should you’re a security minded rider, you may assume at an intersection like this you must cease on the line, the place the rider pictured above is. (He didn’t really cease, however conveniently he was proper there once I snapped the picture.)
See, there’s what’s imagined to occur, and what the strains on the road inform you must occur, after which there’s what actually occurs. What’s imagined to occur is that the drivers who’re turning left from the roadway perpendicular to this one are imagined to proceed straight, go previous that subway monitor assist girder with the “hold proper” signal on it, after which make the left:
However what actually occurs is that they gun it, minimize the nook, beat the naive drivers who’re making the flip correctly, and pace proper over the meaningless yellow paint, which is why it has tire tracks throughout it:
I do know this as a result of I’ve been in that spot when a driver is bearing down on me–it’s precisely the spot during which the town would have you ever wait, and it’s probably the most harmful one it’s attainable to decide on. (Nicely, technically they need you to make use of the signed bike route a couple of blocks over, however these don’t all the time get you the place you wish to go, now do they.) Today I do know higher–and clearly so does that different rider, who has taken up the most secure attainable spot, proper subsequent to the assist girder. In reality, that is a type of visitors lights it’s virtually all the time most secure to run if you happen to’re on a bicycle, since while you’re operating a lightweight not less than you may be a hundred percent positive no drivers are going to cease.
Sure, whether or not it’s strains on the road, or visitors lights, or the rest, it’s necessary to recollect they’re principally simply strategies and wishful pondering, and that the one factor that basically stops a automobile is a wall–or perhaps a Dunkin’ Donuts:
Sadly, in terms of constructing partitions, it’s actually onerous to get everybody to agree the place they need to go. Positive, most of us agree we should always have them round the place we eat, sleep, and go to the lavatory, however past that everybody’s obtained a unique opinion. The result’s that we don’t have as many partitions as we should always, which is why as quickly as you step exterior your private home it’s a complete shitshow on the market. Plus, even the partitions round your private home don’t aways work, as a result of generally drivers discover alternate technique of ingress:
God by no means closes a door with out opening a window.
Anyway, for the reason that enterprise of arguing over the place automobiles ought to and shouldn’t be bodily permitted is such a fraught one, advocates have just lately turned to language to form of reframe society’s perceptions from inside. That is what’s behind the entire “Crash Not Accident” factor:
I occur to assume it is a superb marketing campaign. If you consider it, it’s loopy that all of us merely name automobile crashes “accidents” earlier than we even know what occurs–and that features the police and the media. We don’t do this with shootings or airplane crashes. (I imply we’d name one thing an “unintended taking pictures,” however solely after we all know all the small print, or the shooter is a sitting vp.) So why ought to automobile crashes be any totally different?
Nevertheless, I discover the nascent motion (so nascent that it solely consists of 1 individual so far as I can inform) to put off the phrase “micromobility” significantly much less compelling:
The concept right here is that “micro” suggests scooters and all that different stuff are weirdly small, however Chevy Tahoes or no matter are regular measurement:
Subsequently we should always cease calling the little stuff “micro,” and begin calling the large stuff large, solely pejoratively so:
Alas, this foolish for various causes. For one factor, auto makers already describe their merchandise in precisely this fashion. This one’s known as a “Huge Horn:”
This factor’s known as an Armada, which is a fuckload of ships:
And this factor’s known as a Raptor, which is an precise dinosaur:
Not solely do automakers already embrace the entire outsized idea, however individuals completely find it irresistible. “I can match my children and their associates in my Armada the place they are going to be secure!” “This Huge Horn will make individuals assume I’ve a ‘Huge Horn!’” And so forth. Welcome to advertising and marketing, Streetsblog!
Conversely, aside from microphallus (a situation suffered by 4 out of 10 Huge Horn house owners), “micro” doesn’t have a foul connotation in any respect; in reality, individuals love micro stuff! Micro means moveable, handy, environment friendly and futuristic:
It’s all of the stuff that inner combustion autos aren’t, and there’s no motive to draw back from it. Ought to we additionally name microphones “telephones?” Ought to we simply name microscopes “scopes,” for the reason that “micro” makes it look like you may’t do actual science on them, and reframe this stuff as “large silly overcompensating space-hogging scopes?”
Going all Starbucks with sizing isn’t going to alter something. An electrical scooter is an electrical scooter whether or not you name it micro, grande, or venti. Anyway, isn’t making the smaller stuff regular simply principally “shrinkflation?”
Sure, I notice the thought with specializing in the largeness of autos as an alternative of the smallness is partly to stigmatize large automobiles the identical method Morgan Spurlock did the “Supersize” menu at McDonalds, however individuals who love large automobiles unapologetically love them, and individuals who journey round on this stuff love them too:
I do agree that the time period “micromobility” is unhealthy, although–not as a result of it implies large autos are regular or something like that, however as a result of it’s designed to make it look like it’s a social motion quite than individuals merely doing what occurs to be handy for them in a method that may at occasions be actually annoying. I don’t begrudge Uni-Tron up there his electrical unicycle, however I additionally don’t assume his selection of gizmo is essentially going to make cities higher or make streets safer or finish automobile dependence or no matter else they are saying
micromobility goes to do. If something the individuals who journey this stuff are dangerously battery-dependent and are tethered to a lithium-ion existence by their USB umbilicals.
A clever individual as soon as dubbed riders of recumbents and the like “Contraption Captains.” Possibly it’s time to repurpose that time period for the present era of battery bros.