Bike Unfriendly Place of the Week: The Democratic National Convention
This is a Threat to Barack Obama's Security?
Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series on bikes and the national conventions. To read about the bike sharing program put together by Bikes Belong, click here.
You can just see the planning meeting for what organizers are calling the Greenest National Political Convention ever. "Special perks for hybrids? Check. Biofuel powered buses? Check. Solar powered green area? Check. Bike racks? Nope. Sorry, the Secret Service says they're too dangerous."
The Colorado Independent reports that bicycles will not be allowed on the Pepsi Center grounds, nor Invesco Field when Senator Obama gives his acceptance speech, during the convention because the Secret Service dubs them a security concern. There will be bike parking allowed across the street at the transit center, but even though car drivers, transit users, and pedestrians are all looked at as perfectly safe human beings, once they get on a bike they magically become risks to national security.
This must really irk the Denver chapter of Bikes Belong, who arranged for 1,000 bicycles to be available during the convention week for free to anyone with I.D. and a credit card.
One can't help but wonder if the crackdown on Critical Mass at the 2004 Republican National Convention had anything to do with the Secret Service's view that bicycles represent a security threat. Before the last RNC, officials tried and failed to get Critical Mass banned during the convention. When the ride took place and attracted 5,000 riders, 250 of them ended up in jail.
Of course, the vast majority of bike riders don't take part in Critical Mass rides...just as, apparently, most planners at the Democratic National Convention don't see bikes as a crucial part of a Green transportation plan. Regardless of your views of rolling political demonstrations, the delegates, media and attendees at the convention who ride their bikes deserve equal access to the facilities.