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  1. #26
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    Here is the response:


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    Uhhhh hummm. Sometimes no words speak louder than a million words. Words are useless. Action counts more than talk can ever be. In this case ignoring speaks pretty damn loud. It's a letter in a news papers, who cares.

    You have an insecure gentelmen or lady that you meet that tells you can't ride your bike here. Response? Do circles around her. If she calls the cops let her, it's her right. Just like you riding your bike there.

    Forget about letter.

    Don't give the haters fuel to burn. They not worth it. Let them die quetly and peacefully or hatefully, just like any other hater deserves.

  2. #27
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I intend to draft a response to this letter, could you recommend some counterpoints to include in this letter? And what do you think of the phrase, "socially outdated system of transportation?"

    -bobby,
    Fairbanks, Alaska[/QUOTE]

    "donít ask me to change my driving practices to accommodate their lack of path-repair funding."

    No, sorry, I have to ask you to change your driving practices. You have no right to put other people at risk. If you see a cyclist, you can slow down to 25~30 MPH, and pass well to the left when there are no cars coming the other way. Do you have a problem with your reflexes, or blurred vision? Am I asking you to change your driving practices or your drinking parctices?

    Bike paths are only engineered for 18 MPH, which is the main reason cyclists don't always use them , even if they are available.

    I saw a show on The Discovery Channel about building the Alaska Highway. You're lucky you even have roads in Alaska. Building a bike path could take as much effort and expenses as building a road.
    But wouldn't it be better if we simply widen the road by , let's say, ten feet? Then you can continue driving as you do now, and the bicyclists can move ten feet over to the right when you come by.
    I don't believe in bike lanes. They give motorists the false impression that bikes aren't allowed on the roads. A wider overall road could be built at the same expense as building a barrier divided bike lane, and everyone could share the benefit of having a wider road. A wider road could give a driver more room to swerve to avoid a moose, for example. Wider roads give a better line-of-sight, so drivers can see what's ahead without vision obstructed by trees and foliage.

    --------------

    I'm thinking about this phrase; "socially outdated system of transportation". He doesn't say "technically outdated mode of transportation" , he says "socially". What I'm reading into this is the writer doesn't think cyclists are of the same social class, or are second class citizens. I think he's being a snob, first of all, and second he's just foolish, because most cyclists have a car or van for rainy days. Really , this guy is being snooty, I wonder where he came from originally, or where his family came from . I don't think it's Alaska. He sounds like he's from New York or New Jersey.
    So this guy is hiding out in Alaska.
    Hey, the President of the United States rides a bicycle. Many independent businessmen ride bicycles, the average working Joe Schmoe can't fit bicycing into his daily or weekly schedule. Retirees ride bikes, both for fitness and to save the gas in the tank of the car that's parked on his estate. Military personnel ride bikes, especially those in elite recon units.

    Anyway, this guy has written to the paper, and he states that he drives 60 MPH and he doesn't blink. I think it's more likely he'll hit a moose than a bike. A man on a bike will at least try to get out of the way.

  3. #28
    Senior Member bikedaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    I have a letter to the editor pinned to the board above my desk: title: "Soccer, sport of terrorists" it is just sad that there are idiots everywhere that have enough time on their hands to write such trash.

    The soccer letter is about how soccer is ruining American football and equates anyone who plays real fotbol with the taliban. Guess I am on some watch list because I played soccer. The writer of the Alaska letter is almost as stupid.
    The American football coach at my high school often told me I was a communist for playing soccer. He was not joking. Back to topic:

    I vote for ignoring letters such as these and going for a ride.

  4. #29
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    In 10 years of adult cycling, I have never, EVER, slowed down a vehicle from 55 down to 5.
    Nice strawman, trollyboy.
    I think the point was that cyclists can and do impede the flow of traffic. You've never gotten stuck behind a family outing - dad with junior on the trail-a-bike, mom on her bike, and another kid on a 16" or 20" bringing up the rear, taking up a good chunk of the roadway?

  5. #30
    Hoosier runner Valpo Hawkeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    I think the point was that cyclists can and do impede the flow of traffic. You've never gotten stuck behind a family outing - dad with junior on the trail-a-bike, mom on her bike, and another kid on a 16" or 20" bringing up the rear, taking up a good chunk of the roadway?
    Yeah, and whose life is so important that they can't spend an extra 45 seconds in their climate-controlled, power-steering, power-brakes vehicle to allow a fellow citizen the same right to the road they have. When I'm running early Sunday mornings, when no one else is around, the same old man who is possibly on his way to his morning worship or coffee or whatever, always honks at me and waves me to the sidewalk. Well, no one else is on the road, he has both lanes to do with what he pleases. Still, he honks. Why don't I run on the sidewalk. They're uneven, they're on-again, off-again, etc. I have the right to walk/run against traffic. This cycling thing is the same way. I'm sorry that I've asked for an extra 20 seconds of you life in your luxury SUV with a "W" sticker on the back. I must be less of a person for riding my bike instead of consuming large amounts of gas. MORONS!

  6. #31
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    My 2 cents worth on this:

    I also noticed these two items in his letter,

    -"socially outdated system of transportation", and this,

    -"My taxes aren't paying for that".

    Now that is amazing. I wish I had some say as to how my tax dollars are allocated, aside from that "Presidential election fund" checkbox on the 1040 form.

    The bit about the "socially outdated system of transportation" is something. I wonder how much brainstorming he did, coming up with that. Some would say that with the price of gasoline, and the world wide oil situation, the automobile is socially outdated.

    I've long heard that Alaska has very few women. Maybe that's why this guy is so angry. Just a theory of course.

    Write your counter-letters to the editor, but as others here have mentioned, I suspect it won't change the way this guy, and people like him, think.
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye View Post
    Yeah, and whose life is so important that they can't spend an extra 45 seconds in their climate-controlled, power-steering, power-brakes vehicle to allow a fellow citizen the same right to the road they have. When I'm running early Sunday mornings, when no one else is around, the same old man who is possibly on his way to his morning worship or coffee or whatever, always honks at me and waves me to the sidewalk. Well, no one else is on the road, he has both lanes to do with what he pleases. Still, he honks. Why don't I run on the sidewalk. They're uneven, they're on-again, off-again, etc. I have the right to walk/run against traffic. This cycling thing is the same way. I'm sorry that I've asked for an extra 20 seconds of you life in your luxury SUV with a "W" sticker on the back. I must be less of a person for riding my bike instead of consuming large amounts of gas. MORONS!
    Don't know why you're quoting me here.

  8. #33
    Mister Goody Two Shoes KnhoJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    I think the point was that cyclists can and do impede the flow of traffic. You've never gotten stuck behind a family outing - dad with junior on the trail-a-bike, mom on her bike, and another kid on a 16" or 20" bringing up the rear, taking up a good chunk of the roadway?
    Just yesterday! I slowed down, rang my bell, they rang their bells, we parted ways. Nobody worried about getting killed by me.

    Recreational riding aside, what about people who rely on walking or bicycling to get around? I know about a dozen people with revoked licenses, and three of them don't drive. Two have the good fortune of living on a useful bus route, and one has a very understanding wife who gives him a ride everywhere. The rest drive because they're worried about exactly what you describe. More worried about that than killing someone doing whatever it was that resulted in the suspended license in the first place or going to jail. They get picked up, tossed in jail, fined, community service, and probation, and even then suspended licenses are still ineffectual because of attitudes like this and a complete lack of other transportation options.

    I don't drive due to a physical problem. The buses are not usually in my favor. So I ride a bike on highly variable suburban roads. I take the lane over narrow bridges with 50 mph traffic, I turn left on five lane roads, I block right turn lanes when it's absolutely necessary for me to do so; I get in the way all the time. Apart from bored teenagers, about one driver every five hundred miles lets this much attitude show. The rest are patient, understanding, and quite a few will put themselves in the way to make my trip easier.

    So what's the choice here? #1: Cyclists and pedestrians should always stay out of the way of traffic; out of the road, out of driveways, out of intersections. (driveways and intersections are where I meet most of the opinions like this) #2: The most fortunate and able road users make a ten second sacrifice (seriously, count off ten seconds while you're driving, it's an eternity compared to nearly any impediment produced by a cyclist) so that those who are not physically able to drive can go to work, buy groceries, and maybe even have a social life. Also giving people who have been deemed too irresponsible to drive some alternative to driving, making the roadways safer for everyone, and [selling point for drivers] getting those cars off the road to alleviate congestion.

  9. #34
    Hoosier runner Valpo Hawkeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Don't know why you're quoting me here.
    In your post you mentioned anecdotal evidence about the dad with fam and how they were holding up traffic. Big deal! So someone had to take a few seconds out of their day to go around. I'd much rather be slowed down a little while driving due to more people being out on bikes. Our society is in too much of a hurry!

  10. #35
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    I think a post on another forum sums it up well. I do pray for such often.

    Posted 29 July 2007 03:53 PM
    This is terrible, the day these drivers respect bike riders is the day a family member of their own dies in the hands of a driver while on a bike.

  11. #36
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye View Post
    In your post you mentioned anecdotal evidence about the dad with fam and how they were holding up traffic. Big deal! So someone had to take a few seconds out of their day to go around. I'd much rather be slowed down a little while driving due to more people being out on bikes. Our society is in too much of a hurry!
    I never mentioned driving. Our tandem is hardly the easiest handling bike at slower speeds, and I hate it when cyclists don't show some courtesy (not to mention common sense) towards others on the road.

  12. #37
    Hoosier runner Valpo Hawkeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    I never mentioned driving. Our tandem is hardly the easiest handling bike at slower speeds, and I hate it when cyclists don't show some courtesy (not to mention common sense) towards others on the road.
    My bad... I guess what my dad told me about 'assuming' is true after all.

  13. #38
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnigManiac View Post
    I would respond with something to the effect of:

    'Before one can state facts, one must know facts. Highways and roads are NOT for motorized vehicles. Highways and roads are public spaces and, therefore, natural to pedestrians, cyclists and any other member of the public whom does not require special permission to access public spaces. By virtue of requiring a license, a motor vehicle is a GUEST upon a public space and must, by law, acknowledge and respect all other legally recognized users of public spaces. Look it up, brainiac. The laws are clear and before you ever passed your test, you should have known them.

    Taxpayers, indeed, fund roads, but contrary to your beliefs, gas, vehicle and other car-related taxes do NOT pay for roads. Property taxes pay for roads. They are a municipal responsibility. All cyclists are either home-owners or tenants and, therefore, they all pay property taxes, directly or indirectly. As a result, they pay for the roads you have been granted the PRIVELEGE of operating your vehicle on, but that they possess the natural right to use.

    Cyclists and motorists do exist as equals elsewhere in the civilized world and only the ignorant, misguided or self-aggrandizing think otherwise. In some respects the two modes of travel are unequal: bicycles, generally, are unable to travel as fast as a motor vehicle, but that does not make them unequal; it means they are physically incapable, for the most part, of exceeding the maximum speed-limits and, therefore are more law-abiding and safer and in some contexts, that would make them superior. Motor vehicles are generally less maneuverable and accessible to various roads, paths or trails, but that does not mean they are unequal to a bicycle; it means accomodations are needed to allow them to operate safely. Bicycles are generally incapable of hauling multiple people and/or cargo, but that does not mean they are inequal; it means accesories must be employed to accomplish the same tasks. Slower, perhaps, but with greater benefit, fewer downsides and less impact upon communities and infrastructure. Motor vehicles are responsible for more deaths and serious injury, greater environmental destruction and physical damage to infrastructure than bicycles are, but that does not make cars, trucks and motorcycles unequal to bicycles; oh wait, yes it does. Since there are fewer negative impacts with bicycles than motor vehicles, bicycles are clearly superior to motor vehicles.

    You may not want your tax dollars going toward road repair, but combined with weather conditions, it is motor vehicles that cause the damage to roads, not bicycles. In a perfect world, only motorists would pay for road repairs, because only they cause them. Motorists also dodge obstructions, incidentally, but should you, specifically, encounter an object blocking your path or a deep pothole, I would expect you, alone, to plow through it and suffer the consequences, because it is your contention that cars are invulnerable to hazards on the road. I propose that if you swerve or veer once, you renounce your insipid argument and must vow to never utter another foolish word about this subject.

    So, let's be realistic, as you propose, The U.S. bicycle industry was a $5.8 billion industry in 2006, including the retail value of bicycles, related parts, and accessories through all channels of distribution, according to research funded by the National Sporting Goods Association. 18.2 million Bicycles were sold in the US. Hardly, a socially outdated mode of transportation considering that 13.9 million motor vehicles were sold during the same period and production continues to drop. With the imminent exhaustion of oil reserves worldwide, motor vehicles as we know them today, will soon be socially outdated, economically outdated and environmentally outdated. So, while you are a relic and think you can choose where your money will be spent, if I, a cyclist, had the same fanciful right, I could then deny the municipalities my money that go toward the roads that I graciously allow you to operate your vehicle on. Maybe I could even choose to withdraw my permission for you to operate your vehicle on my public space. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do. Your privelege is hereby revoked. Just park it, pal.'

    Or something like that. LOL
    Well said

  14. #39
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye View Post
    My bad... I guess what my dad told me about 'assuming' is true after all.
    It's all good. I give cyclists (even rude or stupid ones) plenty of room when I'm in a car or on my motorcycle. But it really annoys me when other cyclists are rude to each other.

  15. #40
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    a response to that letter would be a waste of (e)paper.

  16. #41
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    What a piece of work that is. I sincerely hope one, no, three "unfortunate" people of that writer's family decide to "endanger" themselves by deciding to ride one of those "vehicles" that we unfortunates ride - - and have a wonderful day in the neighborhood meandering around ... and then come to instant reality check when some jerk reminds them where they should be riding - on the @#$! sidewalk - and perhaps make that verbal assault more real by veering into them abit as I have had done to me way tooooo many times.


    What an absolute ignorant person. Wonder when the last time they picked up a drivers manual?

    Please be sure to include which section - paragraph b and all from your state's laws in your letter where it includes bicycles on the road. I am the Publicity Director for my club and have a informational booth/table at several festivals/expositions and pro race in my area and I hand out bicycle safety info, etc to people as well as inform people - who are asking because they are new to bicycling and are confused to the reactions they've received by drivers. I have hand outs that I give them with NYC laws.

    Yes, we are a legal vehicle on the road.

    (Oh did I add that I'm quite the advocate for the club too? )

  17. #42
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notzofast View Post
    Here is the response:


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    Uhhhh hummm. Sometimes no words speak louder than a million words. Words are useless. Action counts more than talk can ever be. In this case ignoring speaks pretty damn loud. It's a letter in a news papers, who cares.

    You have an insecure gentelmen or lady that you meet that tells you can't ride your bike here. Response? Do circles around her. If she calls the cops let her, it's her right. Just like you riding your bike there.

    Forget about letter.

    Don't give the haters fuel to burn. They not worth it. Let them die quetly and peacefully or hatefully, just like any other hater deserves.

    But it's not dieing off, it's not going away - in fact this sentiment is building. So how would you suggest we inform the public to our actual rights on the road. There's more of us out there now - I see growing amount of commuters in my area - as well as other types of bicyclists (race, tri, tour, etc) out there as well - and they are running into more problems with drivers - new bicyclists especially are confused and are having a very hard time dealing with it.

    I had many people asking me about this problem two weeks ago when I had my booth (I'm the Publicity Director for my club) at a festival - they bought a bicycle with intentions of becoming more fit and enjoying life and when they finally got ready fitness wise and felt good about it, they got out on the road and were called all sorts of things, were nearly run over, blah blah blah - and here we are telling people the FUN, yes FUN aspects of getting out on the road.

    And yes these people come back to me - "hey, remember me? Well I joined in a couple rides from you club and enjoyed them and thought I would get out and travel here and ... a bad driver happened. Yes, I replied, this does happen, it's bad I know - but that's why we ride defensively etc etc. But I've had too many new riders come back with the - I can't believe it/that was too much attitude - I'll stick to my local sidewalks and perhaps the canal (which essentually means they are only going to ride around the block). And that's too bad. Really too bad.

    If anything this writer should be answered with several replies. Local bicycle club and LBS should send in a general group letter as well. If not that, where do you start?



    Advocacy groups give out information, hold rodeos, lots of things ... but how do you change the attitude?

  18. #43
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    A wider overall road could be built at the same expense as building a barrier divided bike lane, and everyone could share the benefit of having a wider road. A wider road could give a driver more room to swerve to avoid a moose, for example. Wider roads give a better line-of-sight, so drivers can see what's ahead without vision obstructed by trees and foliage.
    A wider open road would just invite more drivers to slip past 0.1mph slower drivers on the right side of the road.
    I've seen it many times and I have a huge smile on my face when a cop actually tickets someone who has been caught riding the shoulder to pass traffic.
    So a wider open road won't help in my opinion. The whole driver education system has to change in the US. The population as a whole has to rethink their values.
    Why is it possible that in Europe, which has a way higher density of people than in the US btw, people can ride their bikes without fear of being run-over by some dumb, uneducated operator of a 4000lb weapon?

    I think the drivers education in the US is lagging behind horribly just like so many other things.

  19. #44
    Senior Member littlewaywelt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    I have a letter to the editor pinned to the board above my desk: title: "Soccer, sport of terrorists" it is just sad that there are idiots everywhere that have enough time on their hands to write such trash.

    The soccer letter is about how soccer is ruining American football and equates anyone who plays real fotbol with the taliban. Guess I am on some watch list because I played soccer. The writer of the Alaska letter is almost as stupid.
    LINK PLEASE!!!!
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  20. #45
    Senior Member radiofree's Avatar
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    "socially outdated method of transportation" ?

    the bicycle is still by far the most popular method of transportation in the world. Not America, the world. If anything a bicycle is a socially responsible method of transportation.

  21. #46
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by radiofree View Post
    "socially outdated method of transportation" ?

    the bicycle is still by far the most popular method of transportation in the world. Not America, the world. If anything a bicycle is a socially responsible method of transportation.
    The word "socially" , which the letter-writer used instead of "technically", has me thinking. For one thing, Alaska has more men than women, so maybe the letter writer has "blue balls". (I'm trying not to laugh). Alaska is freezing cold, so there might be a double-entendre here.

    Maybe when you were in High School, a girl would've turned down your invitation to go on a bicycle ride together. It's an attitude that goes back to the 1930's, when, because of the Great Depression, people had to choose between a car OR a bicycle. They could not afford both. Cars were $400.00 new, and bicycles were over $100.00, more than a quarter of the car's price. People who had to bike-to-work, did so out of necessity, not by choice. The Great Depression is over, but many people are still stuck in a rut, on a muddy dirt road, in their Model-A Ford. (figuratively speaking.)

    I've heard that every time a new car is sold, six thousand dollars from the sale goes to more television airtime. That's why you see so many car ads on TV.

    I wish more bicycle shops could afford the advertising. Put the most expensive bicycle in a quarter page photo ad in the local newspaper, with it's $3,995.00 price in bold print. People will see it, and develop more respect for bicycles. The Almighty Dollar, "in God we Trust".

  22. #47
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
    A wider open road would just invite more drivers to slip past 0.1mph slower drivers on the right side of the road.
    I've seen it many times and I have a huge smile on my face when a cop actually tickets someone who has been caught riding the shoulder to pass traffic.
    So a wider open road won't help in my opinion. The whole driver education system has to change in the US. The population as a whole has to rethink their values.
    Why is it possible that in Europe, which has a way higher density of people than in the US btw, people can ride their bikes without fear of being run-over by some dumb, uneducated operator of a 4000lb weapon?

    I think the drivers education in the US is lagging behind horribly just like so many other things.
    Cycling education includes the rules of the road. High Schools give first priority to D- and F students who can only get to college on a football scholarship. Since they're Football majors, they don't need to know the rules of the road. (cycling and football are two different sports).

    I'm still for wide outside lanes (WOL). Yes, Police need to give tickets to motorists who use the shoulder to pass other cars. It gives me a laugh to when I see it. I like to look at the driver's face , open mouthed "I can't believe it" expression.

  23. #48
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    I'm all for wide lanes, too.

    A lot of us are toeing the line (literally and figuratively, as it turns out) between our rights and public safety.

    Holding up traffic is really not the best answer. We know that people are going to get frustrated. Drivers who want to be considerate and give cyclists a wide berth are stuck checking their mirrors and avoiding the biker at the same time while trying to move over; drivers who don't care about space are going to scare & piss off bikers by passing too closely.

    I've said it elsewhere about driving in general, and I'll say it relates to cycling, too -- speed differential is one of the most important factors in traffic safety. Smoothly-flowing traffic simply goes along without much fuss. Add someone who's going a lot faster -- or slower -- and it gets to be a hassle.

    If I find that I can't keep up with traffic, or don't have a lot of space to myself, I suck it up and go somewhere else. Too bad, so sad, sucks to be me.

  24. #49
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    My recommendations for your letter to the editor:

    1) Inform the public that unlike the motorist, the cyclist does not pollute the air that you breathe

    2) Unlike the motorist, the cyclist does not significantly contribute to global warming

    3) Unlike the motorist, the cyclist does not use up unrenewable resources

    4) Motorists kill thousands of people each year, cyclists do not

    5) Bicycles do not present the disposal problems that cars do

    and last, but certainly not least,

    6) The motorist is MORALLY INFERIOR.

  25. #50
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    I suspect that the legal position is broadly the same as in the UK, namely, that cyclists have a superior legal right to be on the road for the following reasons:

    1. Drivers are not allowed to drive unless they have a licence which is valid for the vehicle type they are driving: cyclists have no such restriction

    2. Vehicles must have been taxed/licenced for the year in question before the driver can take it on the road: bikes require no such tax

    3. Drivers must (I assume) have 3rd party/public liability insurance to reimburse other road users for any injuries/damage caused by the driver, before he is allowed to drive on the highway: cyclists have no such requirement.

    In other words, a cyclist can ride on the public highway without fulfilling any of the legal conditions listed above, ergo, the cyclist's right to be on the road is superior to that of the motorist.

    Roads are designed for traffic; bikes are defined as traffic (except in specified circumstances); the original Alaskan letter writer is, therefore speaking from the wrong orifice. Suggest to him that if he wishes to see daylight in this matter, he shoves his head another 3' further up his posterior

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