Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Letter to the Editor

This letter (in italics here) appeared in today' s Chicago Tribune. The letter writer is from Highland Park.
Do you ever find yourself driving and out of nowhere a bicyclist cuts you off? Bicyclists are a huge nuisance.
Swap bicycling for driving and cars for bicyclists and the statement is just as true. Oh, and if you ever just "find yourself driving", I suggest you give up your keys before you start to drink or take your medication.

Why do they perpetually insist on riding on the streets?
Because that's where they belong. I am assuming that the writer means adult bike riders.

Do they have a death wish?
I'll assume that's a rhetorical question.

Have they ever wondered why sidewalks were created? Clearly, to bicyclists, they serve no purpose.
Sidewalks belong to pedestrians. In some suburbs, anyone over the age of 12 can be ticketed for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. In Highland Park, not every road has a sidewalk and not every sidewalk is permitted to bicycles. You might want to read this.

It's for their own safety that they should stay on the sidewalks. I know I have almost hit a bicyclist before, as have many.
Seems the issue here is your poor driving skills. May I suggest you read these tips for motorists. I won't even press the obvious point of how dangerous distracted drivers are to other drivers, bike riders and pedestrians.

The frightening thought is that just a few seconds more and the biker could have been hit.
Why suddenly the passive voice? Guilty conscience?

Why don't the rules of the road apply to bicyclists?
They do. You might want to read those rules of the road again. Or once even.

Just because they aren't in an automobile doesn't give them the right to ignore a stop sign. These bicyclists are asking to get hit by disregarding the rules of the road.
Ah. Here's the heart of the matter. You don't like seeing bicycles ride through stop signs. I have news for you. That is, indeed, illegal (point for you). But please, no one is asking to get hit. And not all bike riders do this. And of course, you come to a complete stop at all stop signs, right?

And the funny thing is, we as the drivers are accused if bicyclists were to get hit because they are considered pedestrians.
Ummmm...no. When a bicycle is on the road, they are vehicles. See that link to rules of the road above. And if a bicyclist gets hit, your main concern is that you might get accused?

To me, this is a joke. Bicyclists should just ride on the sidewalks.
I'm not sure that even a sidewalk would be safe when you are behind the wheel. You need to deal with your road rage, improve your driving skills and, above all, share the road. You should also know that the Illinois vehicle code was recently amended to require motorists who are overtaking bicycles to leave at least three feet of room until safely past the rider.

OK now, group hug.


  1. Warm, warm fuzzies. Remember that countless cyclist-sympathizers are reading that and recognizing that he's a trollmudgeon. Even the cyclist-dislikers are thinking "he gives us a bad name!"
    My response to that logic is to say that drivers shouldn't be out for their own safety because somebody might kill them. If their kiddo were told "you shouldn't walk down the halls in school... the bullies are there and you should just know better!" ... 0oops, this guy's kids are going to be the bullies...

  2. Siouxgeonz, I'm not sure I get your point. Safe driving includes being aware of bicyclists in the road. Logic was only one of the flaws in the letter writer's argument.