Yesterday I wrote about the overreaching South Carolina Representative Wendy Nanney's idiotic bill which would require bicyclists and moped owners to get licensed and insured (with the exception of those expendables who are under 15), and her quick about-face after protestations by the cycling association.
It occurs to me that I may have sounded snarky (moi?!) in reference to bicyclists. That was not at all my intent. In fact, I believe that we need to make all our streets safe for cyclists. Good for people, good for the environment. I have driven too many times, half-awake, in the early morning, swerving to avoid a bicyclist at the last minute, not because they were not riding safely, but because of narrow roads where cars and bicyclers were forced to share too little space.
But the fact is, it is easier for those like Nanney to make laws fattening the pockets of industry, forcing new rules, paperwork and cost on her constituents, creating greater government bureaucracy, and with absolutely no contribution to insuring the safety and well-being of the public. Easier than making sure that every new and repaved road has safe walking and bicycling lanes.
This is the way it is also for her fight against pregnant women. Far easier, and apparently more satisfying, to make laws to force a woman to be pregnant than to ensure a better life for women. The rate of teen pregnancies could be lowered by better education -- not just sex education, but an education that brings hope to teens for a good future. Family planning, including contraception, would go a long way to provide families with financial and emotional security, so that wanted children will grow healthy. Guaranteed health care and nutrition may eliminate the need for some of those twenty week abortions, and certainly reduce the rate of infant mortality -- a statistic of which Nanney should be embarrassed.
But, as the saying goes, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And our representatives here in South Carolina, mostly see their job as making laws to make us do stuff that won't make our lives any better. Getting a license to ride a bike on streets that aren't safe won't make cyclists any safer. Making children and women get pregnant and stay that way rather than providing good education and health care is also the cheap way out. And I mean cheap in the sense of quality as well as cost.
So my apologies to any cyclist that may have been offended yesterday. It may not appear so at first glance, but you have a lot in common with those girls and women who have come under fire from our fierce and fanatical legislators. And I will fight for your right to better roads if you will fight for a woman's right to reproductive health care.