The P. I. proclaims the immanent demise of bike messengers in today’s issue. It’s true I’m sure that the number of messengers are down, but I doubt Messengers are the urban buffalo of the late part of the first decade of this millennium. The reports of messenger death are greatly exaggerated from what I can tell – check the following: Transportation Alternatives from 1996 (The industry is too squeezed to pay messengers in NYC); The Economist from a decade later; the Sydney Morning Herald and BCBusiness from just last year. Meanwhile, if you like your media closer to home, check out Pilder’s blog, of one of the messengers in the PI article.
Messengers gone? Could be, doesn’t seem like it’ll be right away to me. I’d be very sad to see the days of paid-to-ride fall by the side of the road, but that doesn’t seem like what’s happening either. I imagine we’ll actually see more pedal-powered traffic on the roads as oil prices top $100/gal. Maybe not so much for moving documents though – here’s a local pizza joint who delivers by bike (on Cetma racks no less).
It’d be a big blow to lose this very physical culture from our city, and digital documentation does seem like it’s making a dent. Messengering is the quit-my-job fantasy for more than a few of the very folks enabling these digital docs (myself included). But my money’s on this buffalo surviving. And as Byron wrote earlier, The Hip and the Dead.
p.s. As always, the PI Soundoff darkly funny in it’s over the top anti-cycling response.
Photo Credit to Mike Kane/P-I