Feb 3, 2011

Economically Rationale Decision Making as it Concerns Bike Advocacy

I have been hopelessly bogged down this evening trying to articulate precisely what I do not like about bike advocacy groups.

It's wasted too much time and I am not really getting anywhere, so I am just going to lay out my thesis statements and conclusion and spare you the logic, which even I am having trouble organizing. Read into this what you will and flame away in the comments section if you are so motivated.

No one can disagree that time and energy are a scarce resource, economically speaking. Rationale behavior would therefore dictate that economic decisions be made when it comes to spending this scarce resource. Advocacy consumes that resource, therefore it is rationale to evaluate the cost and benefit of spending time on advocacy.

Resolved: I will not expend my time and energy on bike advocacy activities when I am serving as a pawn in someone else's quest for personal political advancement, Regardless of how I feel about the specific project, the only true motivation for bike advocacy should be love of cycling and desire to make that better for all. Personal benefit taints the whole thing and I will not help, regardless of the project, if I smell the faintest whiff of that. Actions and projects aimed at resume building, publicity, or recognition are nothing more than an abuse of the grass roots advocates, themselves. Furthermore, this behavior is evil because it creates the illusion that progress is happening, when in fact, it is not. This stifles true activism and can prolong an unacceptable status quo for all of us for the benefit of one or two people.

Resolved: I will not expend time and energy on a committee that is not action oriented and able to execute with speed and precision. Time is of the essence and life is too short to spend time in committee. I will favor direct action and communication/education over meetings and evaluation.

The end result of working through this all is that I am going to focus whatever energy I have on issues that I believe would benefit the majority of Twin City cyclists (as opposed to the leadership) and are truly achievable. I pledge allegiance to none but will cooperate with all as long as the motivation is pure.

That may mean I will be going it alone, shaking my fist at the sky, shouting into the wind and jousting at windmills, but I will also be sleeping better, too. That's worth a lot.


  1. Did you see this on a particular committee?

    I think my problem is that people seem to blindly accept anything bike infrastructure related where I would rather focus on the big picture and skip some small projects if we can accomplish something more worthwhile.

  2. Send me an email address and I'll reply.