The growing number of bike-sharing system consultants and vendors must be jumping for joy right now as comments by a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado have thrust them into the national media spotlight.
In his campaign for governor of Colorado, Tea Party favorite Dan Maes has raised questions about Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s bike-related policies. Here’s the full scoop from The Denver Post (emphasis mine):
“Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are “converting Denver into a United Nations community.“
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor’s efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes “that’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
“This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms,” Maes said.”
Maes reportedly feels that Denver’s recently launched B-cycle bike sharing system is part of a conspiracy that puts the environment above citizens’ rights. Maes made his comments after learning that Denver was a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a group that shares best practices among cities.
Here’s more from Maes as reported in the Post:
“At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty,” Maes said.
A poll that’s running with the Post’s story shows that over 17% of the nearly 4,000 respondents take his opinions on this matter “very seriously.”
It will be interesting to see if Maes gets any support from other Tea Party candidates and/or if this idea gets picked up by other leaders who don’t agree with public spending on bike-related projects. We’ll keep you posted on how Maes does in the primary.