Since accepting his new role as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg has frequently spoken out on the need to act swiftly and decisively on environmental issues.
In an apparent effort to exemplify his position, Buttigieg recently rode a bicycle to work — but subsequent reports indicate the entire display was little more than a photo opportunity.
“Great way to get around”
CNN’s DJ Judd captured footage of the ride, including when Buttigieg mounted the bike that had just been unloaded for him from his armored SUV.
He then rode off, donning a helmet and face mask, as a total of two SUVs followed behind him.
Buttigieg, who had been riding to the Biden administration’s first Cabinet meeting, responded to the footage with a tweet calling it a “great way to get around.”
Of course, details from the video have sparked widespread criticism on social media, with many users pointing out that he appears to have been escorted most of the way to his destination before switching to a bike for the last leg of the commute to make it appear as though he was working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
One Twitter user dubbed it a “dog and pony show,” asserting that Buttigieg used “an armored Suburban to bring a bike within a short distance of the destination” before unloading it to “ride in with a security detail in tow, pretending to save energy.”
“Roads aren’t just for vehicles”
Since taking over as secretary of the Department of Transportation, Buttigieg has been captured on camera on several occasions riding his bike around the nation’s capital, earning praise from various climate activists in the process.
Critics, on the other hand, were quick to point out that riding a bike does not do much good if two SUVs are following the rider around.
Buttigieg has frequently advocated for a comprehensive plan to address environmental concerns, claiming that traditional “transportation is the leading contributor to climate change, contributing to a pattern of extreme weather events, which takes a severe toll on our infrastructure,” according to BizPacReview.
In pursuit of his agenda, the former mayor has voiced support for Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal, which includes roughly $174 billion in spending related to electric vehicles. Also included in the proposal is about $20 billion to fund bicycle and pedestrian safety measures.
As Buttigieg argued: “Roads aren’t just for vehicles — they are for people.”