This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 at 4:10 pm and is filed under Bicycle advocacy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Cycling used to be socialism on two wheels. But the waters have been muddied of late by Boris Johnson, David Cameron and even George Bush, who won’t travel anywhere without his mountain bike. Thank the Lord, then, for Rush Limbaugh.
America’s most listened to right-wing shock-jock has mocked those who choose to cycle to work. In a radio show last week he poked fun at the ‘pork’ added to the $700bn bailout package pushed through Congress. This pork - political sweeteners to be paid for by US taxpayers - included the tagging on of the Bicycle Commuter Act, a piece of legislation that has been pedalling nowhere for seven years.
The Act will reward employees who cycle to work. It will get cars off the road, making more room for those motorists who choose to stay in their tin cans, but Limbaugh laughed at the notion of Americans doing anything else but drive to work:
“It’s a tax break for employers who reimburse their employees for buying a bicycle to ride to work and for bicycle improvements and repair and bicycle storage while at work.
“It’s worth $300 per employee to the business who reimburses them. Well, thank God. Now that this is in here, we are ensured that commerce will continue.
“Had this tax break not been included in this emergency crisis-right-now bailout bill, work would have stopped across the country by Monday, but not now because the bicycle commuters are going to come to the rescue.”
He said the Act was probably tacked to the bailout bill by a “wacko environmentalist lobbyist.”
And then came the riposte to send a chill down the spine of every God-fearing, gas-guzzling American patriot: “The real purpose is to get people out of their cars down the road.”
To his 13.5m listeners - who like to chew the pork fat while driving to work in their NEVs (negative equity vehicles) - this is bike Bolshevism. Reds under the bed have been replaced by greens. Many Americans are secretly looking forward to a Mad Max future: the souped-cars look cool, but if the future looks likely to be pedal-powered instead expect a lot more wailing and gnashing of teeth from Limbaugh and his ilk. Good.