Global Business Press Impresario Keith Crain Pens Epic Anti-Bike Screed

Wait til Keith Crain sees Slow Roll. Photo: Russ/Flickr
Wait til Keith Crain sees Slow Roll. Photo: Russ/Flickr

There’s a certain style of anti-bike opinion piece that gets recycled incessantly in American newspapers.

Kieth Crain of Crain's Detroit Business News. Photo: Crain's
Keith Crain, global business news publisher, car commuter, victim of the bike lobby, scowler. Photo: Crain’s

Someone, usually a man who’s been on the masthead for decades, sees a bike lane on the drive to work, becomes irrationally upset, and pens a screed that revels in its own ignorance.

Keith Crain, chair of the business press powerhouse Crain Communications, has given us a rousing entry in the genre with this op-ed in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Let’s walk through some of the highlights.

1. Some public agency put these bike lanes in without personally informing Keith Crain.

Keith Crain saw some bike lanes and wants you to know that he is so mad!

I am not sure whose idea it was, but all of a sudden, we are spending a heck of a lot of money to convert Detroit into a bicycle paradise.

Where there once were three lanes for motorized travel, now they have cut back to two by adding some poles and turned the third lane into a bicycle lane.

The city seems to be planning on a whole lot more bicycles than any of us have seen before, and they are converting our city streets into bicycle lanes all over the city.

He concludes, morosely:

We were the Motor City for a long time. Now it looks like we will have to change our name.

2. Keith Crain hasn’t bothered to gather any basic information about the bike lanes.

Can “motor scooters” use the lanes? Keith Crain does not know! Researching what local traffic law says about bike lanes before printing a piece for thousands of readers would be too much trouble, however.

And although I have not seen any motorcycles using these new lanes, I assume motorcycles are not allowed. I have no idea about motor scooters or motorized bicycles or even the newest electric variety of bicycles, which I am told have become the rage in certain parts of the country.

Crain also isn’t sure how many people are biking. Not many, he suspects, and his unconfirmed guesswork is good enough to print in the newspaper that bears his name:

I must admit, I am mystified as to why our city is spending all this money to make these changes. My guess is that we are talking about a 20,000-to-1 ratio of cars to bicycles, and that is only when the weather is perfect in the summer. I have no idea what the plans are when it is raining or worse, snowing; maybe they will turn into snowmobile lanes to promote tourism.

Next time, Keith Crain might want to look up the bike commute rates that are easily retrievable from the Census. About 1 percent of Detroiters commute primarily by bike [PDF]. That may not sound like much, but the share of bike commuters is rising. Just a few years ago Detroit’s bike commute mode share wasn’t large enough to register. The bike network is making bicycling safer and more appealing, and if cycling growth continues at its current pace, in a few years tens of thousands of Detroiters will be biking every day.

3. Keith Crain believes in the awesome political power of cyclists.

What anti-bike op-ed would be complete without a reference to an all-powerful “bike lobby”?

Certainly there must be better uses for our tax dollars than setting up something that costs plenty and serves few people. They must have a powerful lobby.

When will little guys like car commuter Keith Crain, long-time publisher of a global media company, finally get streets that reflect their modal preferences!

4. Keith Crain’s headshot does not approve. 

Just look at that mug. We’re guessing Keith Crain is a guy who frowns on many things.

Thank you, Crain’s, for this hilarious op-ed. The world is coming apart right now, and we really needed a laugh.

  • From the look on his face, I suspect he has a lot of hemorrhoids and can’t sit on a bicycle seat. Its just jealousy.

  • MTW

    That Op-Ed couldn’t have taken more than 20 minutes to write. It’s almost fascinatingly lazy. There’s no context for how much “a heck of a lot of money” is. I’m not talking an advanced/nuanced analysis of how much it would cost to maintain a bike lane versus a lane used primarily for automobile traffic. He literally doesn’t even mention how much the project costs. But it’s “a heck of a lot”, he assumes. Good grief.

  • johnaustingreenfield
  • disqus_1pvtRUVrlr

    You call that an “epic screed”? I was actually disappointed at how relatively tame it was. I was expecting some real red meat, visceral raging from Crain. Instead it was just a whiny old fat dude.

  • Jeremy
  • Daniel

    time for another Prager U video bravely taking on Big Cycling

    I yearn for the days of bluehairs and homemakers comparing bike lanes to forcibly dragging off their daughters and giving them full-body tattoos (Coronado, CA–they *won*, too) or the guy who’s always at LA city/county council meetings opposing the Purple Line because he’s fixated on the 1997 movie “Volcano”: put some OOMPH into your NIMBYism, people!

  • James

    not hemorrhoids, cronic anal fissure. He looks like he hasn’t taken a pain free shit in twenty years.

  • Anonymous Bike Zealot

    I’m truly embarrassed to be a cyclist when I read crap like this. Crain’s Op Ed demands an intelligent response, not a taunt that reads like something written by a 3rd grader. We’re never going to grow cycling in this country until we learn how to reach out to powerful car people and show them that this is better. Truly infantile tripe, Angie. Find another job. You’re not helping.

  • An epic screed against a cloud would be more interesting.

  • deadindenver

    “Get off my lawn! said Keith Crain

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