View Full Version : Portland Tribune 7/20 Article: "More Butts on Bikes"

07-20-2007, 12:39 PM
Here is what I wrote to the author, at jenniferanderson@portlandtribute.com
It's not the best thing I ever wrote, but so be it:

Thanks for continuing to highlight cycling in the area. But (again?) you and/or The Tribune give a disproportionate amount of space to someone like Craig Flynn. Jennifer, I have never written anyone in the media using such language, but he sounds like an idiot. He has no skills in biking, he clearly doesn't use it for anything real, and the article says nothing about
all the costs of driving - pollution, asthma, global warming, land waste, congestion, etc. etc etc. -- and these costs are often NOT paid by drivers, instead by all of us with lungs and wallets have to pay! Meanwhile you quote Flynn ad nauseum with all of his don't-spend-anything-more on bikes stuff.

I commute by bike, or take TriMet, from downtown to jobs that are 10-15 miles away. I also train for racing and ride in the country and have to deal with people driving 70 on narrow Washington County roads. The bike blvd. up Lincoln and Harrison near Mt. Tabor is a lifesaver - Hawthorne stinks to ride on (both literally and figuratively). I then have to negotiate all kind of confusing roads to avoid E. Burnside, which has a bike lane paralleling the TriMet tracks but is narrow and dangerous when trafficked. I broke my hip where the TriMet tracks cross E. Burnside around E. 99th partly because I didnt' understand the alternate side roads then, and had $23000 in medical bills without insurance which could have driven me to poverty.

I'm not sure why I'm rambling on like this, except to bring out a very different kind of experience from that of Flynn, who is clueless. And whatever happened to the idea that, if you build more lanes and highways for cars, they just fill up again, increasing sprawl?

Don't be like the Oregonian with their affection for the Heritage Foundation and Cascade Institute and include the right-wing anti-progressive stance as an obligatory element, especially if you give so much room for it while ignoring much of the larger picture. Does Flynn, for example, consider, all the added people who would bike if they felt safer, e.g. downtown? And how much that would save society in terms of less demand for more roads, less pollution, less illness due to pollution and lack of fitness, less toxic runoff, etc etc etc? Perhaps a balanced study of costs and benefits would show that $20million to implement much of the bike master plan in Portland is a drop in the bucket.

The planet is very sick. If you have to include the 'alternate' point of view, at least please don't fill up so many paragraphswith it.

Thanks for bearing with me, and thanks again for the coverage,
Marc Rose

07-20-2007, 11:44 PM
I read this article this morning and second your comments. Not only was Flynn given an amazing amount of space in the article, but his comments didn't even amount to a cogent argument.. or even a non-cogent argument, they were simply anti-bike comments. Surely one-sentence would have conveyed his sentiments..

07-21-2007, 03:33 PM
Jennifer Anderson's article gave adequate space for Craig Flynn to make a fool of himself by revealing how little he knows about bicycle transportation. More space would have been wasted, less space not as effective. It was a good article for bike proponents, not so much so for the anti-bike crowd. Oh, well!

07-21-2007, 07:37 PM
Here is a link to the original article:

I think the last quote is fitting:

Joshua Bass, a Portland State University instructor who commutes daily by bike, thinks everyone on the road will benefit more by slowing down a bit. To pit cars against bikes is a false dichotomy, he says. Its a problem between good travelers and bad travelers. Its disrespectful of people of all types.

07-22-2007, 07:28 AM
Thanks for the link- the comments were good reading too.