"Stopless Sundays" Coming to Portland
Posted February 1, 2013 by Johnny Tenspeed
Fixed-gear bicycles, "fixies" to those in the know, a special kind of bike without the "freewheel", the mechanism that allows the rear wheel to keep spinning when the rider stops pedaling, thus "fixing" the rotation of the wheel to the turning of the pedals and the movement of the chain, with a single gear and usually with no brakes, were once ridden only by lycra clad track racers and never left the "velodrome," a sort of "bicycle arena" made up of an oval track and seating for hundreds of spectators, but in recent years they have become the social accessory of choice among young urban dwellers, or "hipsters," those twentysomethings with no discernible source of income, tight jeans and scarves, who often site a desire to be "more connected" with their machines and to avoid being "the only guy who doesn't have one" as their motivation for choosing such a poorly suited vehicle for transportation in the city.
With its unusually high population of hipsters, Portland has been forced to find a way to deal with hundreds of fixies skidding through the intersections of the city center. The traditional methods of ticketing and fining red light runners have been shot down by the city's powerful cycling lobby, which sees any interference with cyclists, even those designed to preserve their safety and the safety of others, as a violation of their rights as equal road users passed down by the petroleum-fueled dictatorship. Unable, quite literally, to stop the cyclists, the city has decided to stop no one.
On Sunday, February 17 and every Sunday thereafter, coming to a stop at red lights, stop signs and railroad crossings will be optional for all drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and any other road users.
"We felt this was the only option left to us," said a city spokesperson. "If drivers are upset because the bikers won't stop and the bikers aren't willing to stop, it seems that the only fair thing to do is allow drivers proceed through intersections without stopping as well. Naturally, we encourage everyone to use their best judgment and stay safe, but we've washed our hands of this whole thing."