Today’s outrageous car-centric idea comes buried in a Washington State Ferries report and recommendations for improving ferry service: Bikes should have to wait for cars before embarking and disembarking. The reason? They supposedly “impede” the unloading of cars and are unsafe.
Where to start demolishing this recommendation…
First, what is the desired speed of vehicles entering and exiting the ferry? I am going to assume the speed limit isn’t 50. Is 12 miles per hour even an impediment? Does Washington State Ferries really want cars speeding off the ferries and through the queue areas? I doubt it. If anything, they should be thanking the bicyclists for providing a safe pace for the cars behind them.
Second, why would Washington State Ferries do anything to create another impediment for people choosing a zero-miles-per-gallon means of getting around? Doesn’t the state have ambitious carbon reduction goals? Yes they do, Cascade Bicycle Club points out. Want to really reduce the time it takes to unload a ferry? Trade a bunch of those cars for bikes! Cars are the ones that cause traffic and back-up.
Third, the report cites bicycle “safety” as a reason for making them go last. Safety from whom, you ask?
This creates a safety issue, which is more important than the delay, with the anxious drivers that have waited to unload now following the bikes down the road.
Hmm, sounds like the problem isn’t the bikes, but the cars. In first grade, when some bully kid started punching a smaller kid, did the teacher make the smaller kid go to the back of the line? No. She told the bully to stop and made him do math problems or clap erasers after school. So it sounds to me like this report has just admitted Washington State Ferries has a traffic enforcement problem. They better get a handle on that.
And to top it all off, the report does not give a single piece of data or research of any kind to suggest that changing the loading order on the ferries would decrease loading time significantly or increase safety in any way. In fact, if load/unload times do decrease, it’s very likely that that’s because the cars are driving too fast, thus decreasing safety.
Clearly, this recommendation yet again stems from a mindset that people who ride bikes somehow don’t count. Fortunately, it is just one of many recommendations in the report, and it can (and should) be disregarded.
Want to voice your opinion? Cascade recommends emailing Ray Deardorf, WSF Planning Director and Jill Satran in the Governor’s office.