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Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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(Mayor Ralph Becker rides his bike East along 200 South between Main and State Street Wednesday, September 17, 2008. Mayor Ralph Becker conducted a press conference announcing the green stripe painted on the road along 200 South to designate the bike lines that will share space with cars on the road. Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune)
Twitter shows what it’d be like if we treated cars like bikes

A funny thing happened late last week: people on Twitter started talking about cars the way we normally talk about bikes.

Specifically, a bunch of people started using the hashtag #replacecbikewithcar. The idea is that you take a phrase people usually use while talking about bikes — for example, "bikes are great, but I don’t think the city is a safe place to ride them" — and replace the word "bike" with "car."

The exercise proved entertaining and sometimes absurd for those who participated. But it also did something else: it exposed some of the absurdity in the way we talk about cycling, driving and transportation policies in general.

Here’s a tiny sampling:

The underlying assumption behind these tweets is that bicycling is a legitimate form of transportation but very often is treated like a marginal activity. Or, put another way, these tweets are plumbing the tension between the past, when streets tended to be shared by people using various modes of transportation, and the present, when cars often automatically get precedence without a second thought.

Each of these tweets is a subtle (or sometimes blatant) critique of that view. So, the idea these tweets were getting at is that streets would be better places if cities treated cyclists a little better and treated cars more like we currently treat bikes.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



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