Dallas’ bike share era has come to an end. Long live the scooter. Memories of the so-called “bike mess,” all anyone could talk about for months, are already receding into the past. Maybe now we can talk about Dallas’ car mess.
An Instagram account, @DallasParkingMess, begun in the heady days of bike share as a sort of riposte to all the complaints about dockless rental bikes, is a good place to start. A photo series documenting the decadence and depravity of a culture that values machine over man, Dallas Parking Mess has spent the better part of a year stacking up evidence of vehicular-minded hostility across the city. That includes photos of disappearing sidewalks, screenshots of news articles about the latest fatal car crash, and images of abandoned parking lots that resemble an “apocalyptic wasteland,” or a “possible landing spot for UFO.”
I like this recent shot, which would fit right in with our own series on Dallas’ antipathy toward pedestrians.
With share bikes evidently in the rearview mirror, let’s not lose sight of some of the old problems that their tribble-like spread forced us to confront in a new way. Because as boneheaded as the share bike companies often were about rolling out their products in what was an unregulated market, more bikes on the streets are, generally speaking, a good thing. For every bike torched on the Katy Trail, there was at least one person whose share bike use rekindled a long-dormant love of bike-riding. Maybe that person was inspired, and maybe he got himself his first bike in 12 years, and maybe he now rides it to work on weekdays and on the Trinity levee and White Rock trails on nights and weekends. (He was, and he did, and he does, and he is now writing about himself in the third person like a real jackass.)
For all the bike mess, there were conversations about this city’s need for more bike lanes, for an earn-a-bike program that would put bikes in the hands of people who need them the most. Let’s not stop talking about those things. Let’s talk about the real mess.