The New York Times reports on the trend of fashion companies marketing bicycles and bike gear. Bikes are showing up on runways and in high-end shop window displays. Designers are incorporating bikes and bike style into their looks. According to the article, “purists worry that their beloved rides are becoming showy status symbols.” One bicycling journalist was quoted as saying, “If you unleash a herd of teetering, wobbly fashionistas into city streets without any real knowledge of how to ride a bike in traffic, accidents can (and likely will) happen.”
If there are enough of these high-end cyclists wobbling around city streets for the average cyclists to notice, then the retailers truly have been doing their job well. Just like any other new cyclists, these high-fashion riders will take a few laps around the block before they’re totally comfortable. In the meantime, the League’s bike education courses are available to everyone.
But given the trepidation many still feel about riding on city streets, it says a lot about people’s perceptions about bicycling safety that this conversation about flooding the streets with fashionistas is even taking place. The article credits New York City’s installation of 120 miles of bike lanes with making the city’s riders feel more comfortable. As the Times article puts it, “’LVMH [the company that owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi and DKNY]wouldn’t make a $9,000 bike if you couldn’t actually ride down Eighth Avenue in your Zegna suit or Chanel dress and make it to work in one piece,’ Philippe von Borries, a founder of Refinery29, the fashion Web site, wrote by e-mail.”
The more cyclists, the better. Building an inclusive movement means sharing the spotlight, and the road, with all types of riders. If someone wants to turn what we love to do into a status symbol, they should feel free.
~Darren Flusche, League Policy Analyst