Cyclists are agressive, arrogant freeloaders

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 8th, 2005 at 9:05 am

Check out this letter in the recent Portland Tribune:

Bicycles are nuisance, and their riders rude

The bicycle’s contribution to clean air is at best infinitesimal and is probably negative because bicycles, bicycle lanes, etc., slow traffic and increase congestion. However, the bicycle lobby continues to receive the support of city, county and state politicians, a tribute to the power of small, vociferous, self-serving, special interest groups. By the demeanor and actions of the majority, bicycle riders could best be described as aggressive, arrogant, freeloading outlaws.

Don Robison
Southwest Portland

Wow, I think Don just needs a hug. Poor guy. I especially like his thought about how we increase congestion. That's brilliant. Makes me wonder about an idea I've heard from several different folks:

What if all the bike commuters decided to drive to work one day?

Hmmm...that'd be an extra 10,000 cars on the streets and bridges. Now that would be interesting.

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  • Jeff S. November 8, 2005 at 9:19 am

    Yeah, i always suspected that those massive traffic jams on I-84, I-5, Hwy. 217 & Hwy. 26 were caused by cyclists...

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  • Curt Dewees November 8, 2005 at 9:20 am

    OK, I admit. I can be aggressive and arrogant when I'm riding my bike amidst clueless, inattentive, and reckless car drivers. However, I am NOT a free-loader! I pay state, Federal, and Multnomah County income taxes, as a cyclist, I pay for more than my fair share of road construction and repair. We need to keep pounding this into the heads of certain uneducated and misinformed car drivers: bicyclists are NOT freeloaders! In general, it's the car drivers who are being subsided by the tax-paying cyclists, not the other way around.

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  • Dan November 8, 2005 at 9:31 am

    My Wife & I read this same editorial this weekend and had this same conversation: "What if we all decided to drive"? How would all the daily drivers feel when the roads are (even more) clogged, parking spaces gone, etc.

    What if each one of these cyclist-drivers would had a prominent sign on their car that read "Another cyclist working against traffic congestion" (or something like that). As much as many of us commuters would hate to do it, this sort of show "bike force" could really send a message and possibly give us a great argument (that is really underused) other than the "bikes are environmental" and "I'm getting healthier by riding" message that we hear everyday. An overweight person in a Suburban does not want to hear this arguement. If anything it probably backfires.

    I have noticed that on Federal holidays, the traffic in Portland seems to be lighter than usual and more parking spaces are available so I think this could work with proper planning, promotions, etc.

    Granted, it would be a bit of a PR issue if it didn't work (but we could keep track of all the gas we used and come up with a combined number).

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  • Anonymous November 8, 2005 at 10:10 am

    Mr. Robison was yelled at by a cyclist for something (not paying attention while on his cell phone in his SUV?) and I guess it hurt his feelings.

    Myself and several people I know (at least) will remain to be aggressive and arrogant (and a couple of us armed) as long as we have to play a cat and mouse game every day with drivers who show little to no concern about our safety or our lives. If he really thinks bicycle infrastructure creates less safety, worse traffic flow, and costs more than what we pay in taxes with our cars that are sitting in driveways/garages, Don Robison is simply a fool.

    By the way, if you want to talk to Don about his faulty logic, there is only one posting for Don Robison on whitepages.com in Portland. Perhaps someone should set him straight.

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  • Joel November 8, 2005 at 10:38 am

    Yeah, yeah. Your mother is a hampster and your father smells of elderberries.

    I'm not pissed at this guy for being an ignorant blowhard. My frustration is directed at the Tribune for wasting the ink and editorial space to give credibility to this guy's opinion. Really, was there nothing more insightful and eloquent to print that day?

    "By the majority", SUV drivers are latte-sipping, gas-guzzling, road-hogging Republican religious zealots who support the war. Oh wait...that's not you? My mistake.

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  • Drew November 8, 2005 at 11:33 am

    Poor Don clearly gets frustrated as cyclists pass him by in traffic with smiles on their fit faces. Maybe Don needs to learn how to ride a bike and get with it. He could start on a 3 wheeler.

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  • Meghan November 8, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    I was interested to see that this guy is from SW Portland...it strikes me that perhaps his attitudes would be less negative if there were more roads safe for bicyclists and more bike lanes in SW Portland.

    More bike connectivity and safety in SW Portland would likely mean fewer conflicts between cyclists & drivers, and (hopefully) fewer angry people like Don.

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  • Cate November 8, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you, Meghan. I agree.

    I think it's a great that the Tribune publicized Don's letter. I love it that he thinks "the bicycle lobby continues to receive the support of city, county and state politicians, a tribute to the power of small, vociferous, self-serving, special interest groups." That is so great! Bravo to the "bicycle lobby", whoever they are. Bravo to the politians who are giving bicyclists support! Bravo to every bicyclist who has helped get us to this point!

    Thank you, Don, for pointing out how well bicyclists have won the support of politicians. That's quite an accomplishment and bicyclists should be proud.

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  • nate November 8, 2005 at 1:48 pm

    Dude needs to move to Los Angeles and choke on his own smog. Why are we even giving him the time of day?

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  • organic brian November 8, 2005 at 2:17 pm

    "Freeloaders"... when I looked into how much of the road infrastructure cost is supported by fuel taxes, I noticed that most studies found that gas would cost another TWO to SEVEN dollars per gallon if fuel tax were the only source of funding. The amount depended on whether things like sidewalks and the cost of military support for oil infrastructure was considered. Mind you, this was before the Iraq and even Afghanistan invasions. This should be pointed out to anyone who still feels that cyclists are not paying their way. It is totally on the contrary: any tax-paying, car-free cyclist is subsidizing freeways, highways, on-ramps, and other infrastructure used by motorists.

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  • Don R November 9, 2005 at 10:12 am

    I will get you bikers and your little dogs too!

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  • patrick November 10, 2005 at 8:24 pm

    Don needs to take his Zyprexa.

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  • Michael Ronkin November 11, 2005 at 8:32 am

    Here's another perspective:

    Most bicycling occurs on "shared roadways,” the streets as they are, with no special accommodation or extra space, therefore no extra cost to society. As traffic volumes and speeds increase, it becomes necessary to dedicate space for bicyclists (bike lanes), so they can ride at their own pace, without being impeded by or impeding traffic. Therefore it’s the presence of automobiles that creates the demand for dedicated road space, not bicyclists.

    The type of “bicycle facility” that takes up the most space, shared use paths, are rarely funded with transportation funds, they are essentially linear parks for the enjoyment of all, and we all chip in our share through a variety of fees and taxes.

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