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.

Photo: blkmarket/Flickr 

  • Not the original A.T.

    Just for clarification, I believe once you get into the Pepsi Center grounds, no vehicles are allowed, including bikes. Ped only zone.

    Of course, that doesn’t really answer the questions about if and how bicycles can be a threat.

  • N.T.O.A.T.

    Loving the post moniker.

    If I was secret service, I would look at the similarity between a pipe, and a frame tube, and that would be my concern.

  • Brian

    I think it has to do more with the potential of a bike being used as a bomb,
    see the following:

  • Not the original A.T.

    Note to Alex: That was my original thought.

    It sounds like a bad movie.
    “Bicycle Ninja and the flying spokes of death”

  • Bekka

    Can’t pretty much anything potentially be used for a bomb though? (i.e. car bombs, suicide bombs, etc.) It makes more sense if the area is closed down except to pedestrians. And I would imagine that there would be a security check point for people as well. I think security nightmares like this are probably flat out unfriendly for everybody.

  • E. Anne

    You’re quite the glass-half-empty sort of person. I live (and ride) in Denver and I’ve never seen so many bikes around town as I did at the DNC — and I’m not even counting the 1000 Freewheelin ones. We have “sharrow” lanes on many of our downtown streets and new ones have been added every time I ride there. Yes, we could use more bike racks. But Bike Denver provided temporary racks all over the place for the DNC, and my understanding was there was to be parking for 3000 bikes at a park two blocks from Invesco Field. Do you get paid to whine, or what? I call this progress.


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