Update: April 2 — If you stumble across this blog article at some time in the future, please be aware that it was an April Fools Day prank story. The overall premise is completely ficticious, although parts of it are fact. Such as, ESPN columnist Tony Kornheiser did suggest driving into bicyclists on Penn Ave.; President Obama did approve offshore drilling; and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood's policy change to place bicycles on an equal footing with motor vehicles was met with the reaction that bicyclists are stealing money from transportation projects and it could lead to dire economic consequences.
Congress voted today to enforce a mandatory recall of 200 million bicycles, effective April 1st.
The action, which covers all bicycles sold within the U.S. for the past 10 years, is being taken in cooperation with the automobile industry, the petroleum industry, and the National Manufacturers Association.
The surprise vote on Capitol Hill came as the 182 members of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus were out for a spin on the new bicycle lane down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue. They got the news during the dedication of the bike lane, christened the Tony Kornheiser Obstacle Course.
Lobbyists say the recall is a last-ditch effort to save the auto industry and help prop up lagging profits of the oil industry.
Automakers say that bicycles are taking up valuable space on the nation's streets and roads that could be used for cars. They hope to sell automobiles to all the bicycle owners who have to give up their rides.
“We've been having a hard time selling cars when there are better alternatives,” said a Detroit insider.
A job-stimulus amendment to the recall bill requires that the metal from the bicycles be recycled into garish fins and other useless gee-gaws that can be attached to cars to make them bigger, heavier and less fuel efficient.
Meanwhile, oil industry executives were quoted as saying that bicycling had cut into profits by reducing the demand for gasoline.
Also, they're facing a crisis now that President Obama has approved off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast off Virginia. The execs in oil patch say they're afraid the exploration and drilling will increase supply at a time when people are using less gasoline for driving.
“We gotta put all those bike commuters back behind the wheel of cars,” said one industry expert.
Bike lanes and paths
The timing of the recall comes in direct response to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's promise to consider bicycle transportation as an equal to motor vehicle transportation.
“Treating bicycles and other nonmotorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe.”
In reaction to that new transportation policy, US Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, charged that bicycle projects have “stolen” $300 million from other programs, such as expressways, which cost $10 million to $45 million per mile to build.
LaTourette is pushing for the Justice Department to launch an unprecedented class action suit against bicycle advocates for aiding and abetting that theft of $300 million.