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Old 07-13-05, 02:40 PM   #1
genec
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Pittsburgh Columnist Proves Any Idiot Can Write

From http://www.bikemag.com/news/cutting_080902/

Has this been covered here? What an attitude Dimitri Vassilaros has... sheesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vernon Felton
On July 23, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (predicting the future here or what -- genec) columnist Dimitri Vassilaros was inspired by the Tour de France to write an opinion piece on why cyclists shouldn't be allowed to ride on the road. Really. I'm not making this up. Apparently, Dimitri's a little foggy on a few facts (like cyclists pay taxes for road upkeep too), but rather than debate the issue (which is about as constructive as arguing that the world is round to a flat-earther), I thought I'd print the article in its entirety just to remind the cycling community that we all have a long ways to go when it comes to improving conditions for cyclists in this country. Here goes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitri Vassilaros
I don't want to share the road with a bicycle. However, you and I must because if we did not, it could lead to tragedy. Drivers have to follow the law, but that does not mean we have to like it.

The Tour de France seems to have spawned the Tour de South Hills -- if you'll pardon my French.

Are your secondary arteries clogged by clumps of Lance Armstrong-esque bicyclists sporting aerodynamic helmets, colorful skintight synthetics and baseball-size calf muscles?

Drivers anywhere near East McMurray Road are plagued by these swarms most weekends. Do you have the same problem where you live?

If you see them up ahead, you are forced to drive slower than the slowest one of the pack while you ponder if you can pull out without grazing one and not plowing into an oncoming car around the next bend.

Bicyclists are an accident waiting to happen.

Your municipality should be doing whatever it can to get them off the road. It can start by taking down those yellow street signs with black silhouettes of bike rider and car that encourage road sharing.

Common sense tells you roads are designed for most motorized vehicles: golf carts, riding mowers and farm equipment being some of the exceptions. Yet flimsy, two-wheeled vehicles powered by huffing and puffing are allowed -- even welcomed, according to those yellow signs. The governments' values are upside down.

Since bicycles are allowed on our streets, why not in-line skating and skateboarding?

Cars, trucks and motorcycles pay for our roads. State and federal taxes siphon about one-third of the cost of a gallon of gas, according to the stickers on some gas pumps. Take the time to read one the next time you defy the EPA by topping off your tank.

A motorist must pay for all the stickers on his car every year -- two on the windshield and one on the license plate -- even if no repairs are warranted. He also pays for a driver's license and auto insurance in case of an accident. He pays dearly if he gets a speeding ticket, and he even pays a tax for the privilege of throwing away his old tires.

And do not forget the government makes every motorist pay the hidden costs of all safety features mandated for our vehicles. We are forced to wear seat belts, and motorcycle riders are forced to wear helmets. Do you think many bicycle riders have been stopped and ticketed for safety violations?

If the government is so concerned about highway safety -- seat belt this, air bag that and crash test after crash test -- why does it allow bicycles anywhere near traffic? Can you name another vehicle on our streets that has no safety features? Does the government care about safety or not?

When those spoke-thin road hogs start paying their fair share of road costs -- like motorized vehicles do -- then maybe we could consider allowing them on a few isolated roads like in our city, county and state parks, where the only drivers they could threaten would be the teenagers whose parents are teaching them to drive.

The politically correct crowd loves bicycles. They don't use fossil fuels. They don't pollute. And the more people can be convinced to ride them instead of cars, the more people will want to move back into the city so their ride Downtown and back would be doable. I have even seen bike racks on PAT buses.

Bicycling is a practical way to commute, if you live in Beijing. Cars are a luxury there, but they are a necessity here. Safety should be a necessity, too.
You can e-mail Mr. Vassilaros your comments on his column at davassilaros@tribweb.com.
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Old 07-13-05, 02:49 PM   #2
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Given that the date is July 23rd, I assume that this is from the previous year. No sense in getting excited over his ancient nonsense.
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Old 07-13-05, 02:50 PM   #3
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The sad part for me is that article like this only encourage and justify rude, agressive and often dangerous behavior toward cyclists on the road, not just group rides, but solo commuters as well.

It has become very clear to me from talking to a wide range of non-cycling folks that "legal right to the road" really means "unfortunately legal, but unacceptable" i.e. no law is going to stop you from riding on the road, but others users of the road can try.

Al

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Old 07-13-05, 03:01 PM   #4
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<sarcasim>
Do I get a tax refund, he says I (as a biker) dont pay for the roads but the goverment taxes my income and uses it for the roads, where to I apply for my refund since according to him I don't pay for my use of the roads?
</sarcasim>
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Old 07-13-05, 03:11 PM   #5
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We've encountered this dip**** here before. This is nothing new
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Old 07-13-05, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Miskatonic
Given that the date is July 23rd, I assume that this is from the previous year. No sense in getting excited over his ancient nonsense.
Except that the internet column I got it from was dated July 13, 2005.

The July 23 2004 column is here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib.../s_204753.html

and has nothing to do with cycling.

Honestly I did a search of the PittsburghLIVE.com web site and could not find the offending article anywhere... so now I have to wonder about the source too. Sorry to rile everyone.
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Old 07-13-05, 06:00 PM   #7
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This piece was written by a cyclist as a troll article. Several years ago. Maybe someone is redoing it.

Or maybe the piece was legit and a cycist wrote a troll letter in response. Can't remember which.

Give me a chance I'll find out. Seems like this has been gone through before.
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Old 07-13-05, 06:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarry
This piece was written by a cyclist as a troll article. Several years ago. Maybe someone is redoing it.

Or maybe the piece was legit and a cycist wrote a troll letter in response. Can't remember which.

Give me a chance I'll find out. Seems like this has been gone through before.
Thanks... at any rate, sorry I posted it as the real thing... I thought it was legit.
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Old 07-13-05, 07:25 PM   #9
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I've been watching Pittsburgh from afar for a while. It seems to have a lot of ingredients in place for a spectacular urban revitalization. Unfortunately this will never happen because Pittsburgh is saturated with oldthink. That column is a prime example.
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Old 07-13-05, 07:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarry
This piece was written by a cyclist as a troll article. Several years ago. Maybe someone is redoing it.

Or maybe the piece was legit and a cycist wrote a troll letter in response. Can't remember which.

Give me a chance I'll find out. Seems like this has been gone through before.

http://www.2walls.com/SOCIAL/bicycles_and_cars.asp
Bicycles and cars don't mix
From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Dimitri Vassilaros
July 23, 2002

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_82631.html

This paper is nothing but conservative bs. They had been dumping free copies for years. It took 5 calls to the circulation department to get them to stop litering my proud blue state neighborhood of the free copies that no one asked for or wanted. Poor old Dimitri was probably only trying to get some attention for his boss and pick up a few paid subscribers.

-----
Scaife, the third-largest shareholder in NewsMax Media Inc., has been called the "Funding Father of the Right" by a Washington Post article on May 2, 1999: "The Washington Post found that "Scaife and his family's charitable entities have given at least $340 million to conservative causes and institutions -- about $620 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation ... by concentrating his giving on a specific ideological objective for nearly 40 years, and making most of his grants with no strings attached, Scaife's philanthropy has had a disproportionate impact on the rise of the right, perhaps the biggest story in American politics in the last quarter of the 20th century."
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Old 07-13-05, 09:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
A motorist must pay for all the stickers on his car every year -- two on the windshield and one on the license plate -- even if no repairs are warranted. He also pays for a driver's license and auto insurance in case of an accident. He pays dearly if he gets a speeding ticket, and he even pays a tax for the privilege of throwing away his old tires.

And do not forget the government makes every motorist pay the hidden costs of all safety features mandated for our vehicles. We are forced to wear seat belts, and motorcycle riders are forced to wear helmets.

Sounds like it's time for that poor soul to buy a bicycle and start saving some money
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Old 07-14-05, 06:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Miskatonic
Given that the date is July 23rd, I assume that this is from the previous year. No sense in getting excited over his ancient nonsense.

Actually, the article is dated today - the 14th of July, '05

I sent the author a nice lil' email:



Dimi...

You look like you're putting on a few pounds, maybe you should do some cycling to burn of some of that pudge.

Yours Truly,
A Touring Cyclist enjoying life more than you!
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Old 07-14-05, 06:21 AM   #13
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Ehhhh... let's keep politics out of this, shall we?
There's plenty to b*tch about regarding BOTH SIDES of the aisle....

Unfortunately, Wingnuts and Moonbats prevail in what we now refer to as discourse.


Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
http://www.2walls.com/SOCIAL/bicycles_and_cars.asp
Bicycles and cars don't mix
From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Dimitri Vassilaros
July 23, 2002

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_82631.html

This paper is nothing but conservative bs. They had been dumping free copies for years. It took 5 calls to the circulation department to get them to stop litering my proud blue state neighborhood of the free copies that no one asked for or wanted. Poor old Dimitri was probably only trying to get some attention for his boss and pick up a few paid subscribers.

-----
Scaife, the third-largest shareholder in NewsMax Media Inc., has been called the "Funding Father of the Right" by a Washington Post article on May 2, 1999: "The Washington Post found that "Scaife and his family's charitable entities have given at least $340 million to conservative causes and institutions -- about $620 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation ... by concentrating his giving on a specific ideological objective for nearly 40 years, and making most of his grants with no strings attached, Scaife's philanthropy has had a disproportionate impact on the rise of the right, perhaps the biggest story in American politics in the last quarter of the 20th century."
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Old 07-14-05, 08:03 AM   #14
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I was rather surprised to see that coming from Dimitri. He considers himself a Libertarian (with a big L). Wouldn't that lend itself to not wanting to regulate where bikes are ridden?
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Old 07-14-05, 08:57 AM   #15
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OK apparently the article was originally written in 2002... and was reposted on the bikemag.com site where I found it...

Bottom line... old news. Leave it alone...
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Old 07-18-05, 02:32 PM   #16
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Yes it is old news, but it should not be left alone. this guy wrote the first article, got such a flood of replies, that he found it necessary a year later to write another just to piss people off again. he had the gall to title it "uh oh another bike article" or something to that nature. if he can't leave it alone than neither should we. regardless of how many lies he has printed (or is it ignorance of where taxes come from and how they are spent), these articles only hurt. Cycling has exploded here, and driver mentality is slowly changing, so we need the media to show that cycling positively impacts cities, and these guys don't write this dribble. The articles are archived on the bike pittsburgh website, www.bike-pgh.org, "in the news"
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Old 07-18-05, 03:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erok
Yes it is old news, but it should not be left alone. this guy wrote the first article, got such a flood of replies, that he found it necessary a year later to write another just to piss people off again. he had the gall to title it "uh oh another bike article" or something to that nature. if he can't leave it alone than neither should we. regardless of how many lies he has printed (or is it ignorance of where taxes come from and how they are spent), these articles only hurt. Cycling has exploded here, and driver mentality is slowly changing, so we need the media to show that cycling positively impacts cities, and these guys don't write this dribble. The articles are archived on the bike pittsburgh website, www.bike-pgh.org, "in the news"
Whoa shades of 1984... the bike pitt page points to a Feb 2004 article that is not there and searching back to Feb 2004 and the writer, shows nothing in Feb 2004, it just skips from Jan to March.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib...os/?record=200
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Old 07-19-05, 07:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erok
he found it necessary a year later to write another just to piss people off again. he had the gall to title it "uh oh another bike article" or something to that nature.
=v= Yeah, there was an unusual story in that (1) motorist verbally assaults bicyclist and tells him to get off the road, (2) bicyclist flips the bird, (3) motorist commits vehicular assault by chasing down bicyclist with truck, and (4) bicyclist pulls a gun. Item #4 made this an unusual story and put it on national newswires; items #1 and #3 went unexamined (which, alas, isn't unusual).

But yeah, Vassilaros used this unusual event to simply reprint and rehash his anti-bicyclist rant, and he titled it "Uh-oh, another bike column" because he's a smarmy idiot.
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