This week’s Willamette Week features an interesting letter from a cyclist named Frank DiMarco. His letter was written in response the Aug. 3rd column that named “Self-Absorbed Motorists” as the “Rogue of the Week.”
In his letter, “Share the Lane, Share the Blame” DiMarco says that cyclists would be safer if we only rode on certain, low-traffic streets. He then goes on to place blame on “Bicyclists With Agendas” for “forcing the issue of sharing a busy street.”
While I agree that it behooves cyclists to know the safest routes, I respectfully disagree that a cyclist can be “blamed” for being killed simply because of their choice of streets. Bottom line is that we (cyclists and motorists) need to work together to share the roads. Like it or not, people that choose a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation have just as much right to the roads as motor vehicles. The sooner we figure out how to co-exist, the better.
I read the article in the WW and was angered at the hippocrittical view of Mr. Brown and others. I live in Ladds Addition, one of the heaviest bike thoroughfares on the east side. Do you know how many bikers stop at the stop signs leading into the circle? About 1 out of hundred. Do you know how many bikes try and pass my car on the right side while in the circle (even when I am taking a right turn)? Many! I bike but if you want the same rights and consideration as motor vehicles, then obey the same rules (no exceptions). I am willing to bet that almost none of group comes to a complete stop at every stop sign – do they???
DiMarco is probably one of these spandex weekend cyclists, the sort who has never used a bicycle as transportation and would drive 3 blocks with his bicycle mounted on subaru to the corner shop.
Cyclists should stay on less busy streets? They already do that for the most part, leaving motorists to believe the street (built for streetcars, bicycles and pedestrians) is for them only. Sooner or later the “bicycle friendly” street the “safe cyclist” riding in will run cross a busy street (e.g. Ankeny and Stark) and the motorist, traveling in a homogenous environment, devoid of intersections, pedestrians or lights (only one per 10-15 blocks) may not pay any attention to his surroundings, expecting only cars travelling in one direction. Taking cyclists the road does not make the street or the cyclist any safer, it merely increases vehicle speed and reduces the ability of both motorists and cyclists to interact with eachother, the the world knows this, traffic engineers and planners in other more civilised nations know this.
Once bicyclists start pitching in and paying for the roads they use and the extra infrastructure cost of building bike lanes for their exclusive use, they might be able to claim a right to some part of the road. But like every other special interest group, it’s a big shell game, trying to figure out how to get others to pay for their pet hobby, all the time agitating for more “rights” while doing everything they can to avoid taking on any personal or collective responsibility. Remember, highway road construction and maintenance is paid for by gasoline taxes, not latte surcharges.
New flash to Nowhere Man: gas taxes don’t pay even half the cost of roads! Most of the money comes from general fund dollars, which comes out of all our pockets.
Also remember that most cyclists also own cars, register them and put gas in them. We just drive less, that’s all. Given that most road costs come out of our general taxes, given that we drive less than others (burdening the transportation system less), and given that the impact of cycling on the road infrastructure is nearly nil, we’re actually paying MORE of our fair share for roads than the average citizen.
And what are these huge “extra costs” that bike lanes entail? Extra paint? About 95% of bike lane mileage came from restriping on existing pavement, not from laying an additional pavement, and it was generally only done at the time roads were being resurfaced anyway.
I’m getting sick and tired of uninformed haters spewing falsehoods like this. Can’t we all just share the road and get along?
This is another one of these preposterous sorts of opinions that demonstrate the degree of autocentricity of our society. It\’s much in the same vein as motorists who opine about \”how reckless all these people riding bikes without proper lighting are.\”
The minute that the government requires all new bikes to be sold with proper lighting equipment, all city planners to ensure that all high speed or high traffic routes have low speed \”bike friendly\” alternatives close by, and all map makers to reprint all maps with such routes clearly designated, will be the time to resume such preposterous, self-righteous sniping.
The fact is that comparatively few people would be driving motor vehicles in the US at all if they all were required to pass rigorous examinations and submit their vehicles to a barrage of annual safety inspections equivalent to the requirements of any other type of heavy industrial machinery operator. It is only because of the exceedingly lax regulation of automotive machinery compared to all other heavy machinery — even though they are every bit as dangerous — that we suffer the obscenely high mortality rates that we do from these infernal contraptions. And it is doubly obscene in that people who derive little or no benefit from them shoulder a disproportionate burden of risk and other costs due to them.
I really don’t get the animosity over sharing the road! I drive and ride a bike and I have no problem with going a little slower if someone is in front of me, or looking over my shoulder one extra time to make sure someone is not about to pass me on the right. Some people are so wrapped up in themselves to think about everyone else that is out there.
Dan, you’re right, I don’t get the “extra cost” argument because what’s a little paint gonna matter? are bikes destroying the streets like cars and trucks and buses? Does a car really need an ENTIRE lane?