Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Way for Road Clogs

None of us likes a road hog. But an even bigger nuisance in the near future could come from road clogs. I'm talking about those environmentally correct but not-ready-for-prime time vehicles -- those glorified golf carts -- that the better-living-through-smaller-cars crowd wants us all to drive.

The scourge of the road clog will become even greater than the danger of road hogs in the years ahead, as special lanes are established, and new rules of the road are written, that will force those of us who still use evil old gasoline, and choose to drive a bigger-than-government-approved vehicle, and are willing and able to go the speed limit, to accommodate the slower, under-performing, less reliable death traps that many alternative cars are.

We're seeing the first glimmer of this brave new world in Colorado, where a law is just kicking in that will force normal motorists to share already-overcrowded roads with glorified golf carts.

"One of 151 laws going into effect Wednesday, the 90th day after the end of the legislative session, it will allow smaller and slower electric car brands on more state roads. It aims to reduce gasoline consumption and pollution.

The law allows electric cars on state highways with speed limits of 35 mph or less and to cross state highways with higher speed limits. Currently, the vehicles are banned from all state highways and from crossing them because they're too slow."

It's a seemingly trivial change of law today; something we can shake our heads at and chuckle. But from such tiny acorns mighty oak trees can grow.

We'll find it less humorous when this attempt to integrate the roadways fails and segregation of the roadways occurs, as conventionally-powered, full-performance vehicles are forced to accommodate (and possibly even give preference to?) politically correct alternatives. We see this already, of course, in the creation of HOV lanes to reward car pooling -- and in the new push to allow solo drivers of certain social engineer-approved hybrid vehicles to also use those special lanes. But that's just a precursor.

Try to imagine how unmanageable, and potentially dangerous, the roadways will become when we're forced to accommodate significant numbers of undersized and under-performing vehicles. The road will be an even bigger mess than they are now.

Also becoming law today, not coincidently, is one bill that requires motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing -- rules that will create conflict rather than curb it -- and another bill that allows motor scooters on more public rights of way. Any one else see a pattern emerging?

The legislator who gave the green light to golf carts hails from Snowmass, Colorado, not surprisingly, an elite enclave near Aspen that's about as far removed from the real world as it is physically removed from the congested Front Range cities of Denver, Colorado, Fort Collins and Pueblo (where this law also applies). The legislator noted that "citizens in Snowmass Village use the vehicles to run errands and take children to school. She hopes more households will buy the cars, which start at $9,000, instead of a traditional second car," according to one news story.

It's a pretty little picture, like all the pretty pictures painted by social engineers. But there are realities and practicalities to consider. People in Snowmass Village might be able to afford a $9,000 electric cart, for running kids to school or stopping by Whole Foods for a celery and sprout smoothie. But how and whether this law will work in the rest of Colorado -- in the real world -- remains to be seen.

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