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  1. #1
    clevernamehere
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    I am writing a response to a letter in our local newspaper today. The person brings up some good points about cyclists needing to behave like vehicles to be treated as vehicles & a few other good points.
    The general tone of the letter though is very negative.

    I want my response to be a positive article discussing how well cyclists & motorists can share the road when they respect each other & behave appropriately... basically I want to balance a very negative article with a more positive one. We are rappidly approaching the time of year when more cyclists (good & bad) will be on the roads.

    I'm sure the letter this guy wrote will spur a bunch of similar rants about "those anoying cyclists", so I want my letter to be a well-written response advocating cycling.

    I would appreciate any feedback/suggestions for counterpoints to address in my response letter.

    ---The Letter to the Editor as it appeared in today's paper-----

    Cyclists must heed rules to be treated as vehicles
    The StarPhoenix
    Monday, March 28, 2005

    A recent advertisement in The SP proclaimed, "Bikes are vehicles, too!" I don't think so.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their lights? Too often we cannot see them at night until we are almost on the riders. To make matters worse, these nincompoops usually dress in dark clothing.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can't hear them until they are at your side, or worse, up your rear.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their licences? If they wish equal treatment, then they must be prepared to pay the dues that all other vehicle owners must pay -- the annual licence fees.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, why don't they follow the rules of the road like other drivers do? We see bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Perhaps they just don't care, or are subconsciously suicidal.

    If bikes are vehicles, then their owners should be subject to fines for not having the required safety items that other vehicles require before being allowed on the road.

    If they are not willing or able to adhere to the rules of the road, then perhaps cyclists should stop thinking of their bikes as vehicles and consider them really as glorified recreational toys.

    I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.


  2. #2
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    I think that I would try a funny approach. You could point out that bikes don't have exhaust pipes, radio antennas, seat belts, or windshield wipers. You sould pint out that cars don't have kickstands, handlebars, or reflectors. You could also say that bikes don't use gas, parking spaces, clog up the roads in traffic jams, and are an excellent form of exercise.

    As for the rules of the road, agree that all vehicles should follow the rules of the road, and it would be helpful if the drivers of cars could set a good example for the rest of us. Maybe they could start a) obeying speed limits, b) stopping completely at stop signs, c) signalling when turning, and c) refraining from driving while intoxicated.

    If you strike the right humourous tone maybe you could accomplish your mission of countering his drivel while being upbeat. Good luck and I hope this helps.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  3. #3
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere
    I am writing a response to a letter in our local newspaper today. The person brings up some good points about cyclists needing to behave like vehicles to be treated as vehicles & a few other good points.
    The general tone of the letter though is very negative.

    I want my response to be a positive article discussing how well cyclists & motorists can share the road when they respect each other & behave appropriately... basically I want to balance a very negative article with a more positive one. We are rappidly approaching the time of year when more cyclists (good & bad) will be on the roads.

    I'm sure the letter this guy wrote will spur a bunch of similar rants about "those anoying cyclists", so I want my letter to be a well-written response advocating cycling.

    I would appreciate any feedback/suggestions for counterpoints to address in my response letter.

    ---The Letter to the Editor as it appeared in today's paper-----

    Cyclists must heed rules to be treated as vehicles
    The StarPhoenix
    Monday, March 28, 2005

    A recent advertisement in The SP proclaimed, "Bikes are vehicles, too!" I don't think so.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their lights.........I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.

    Well, he has ya on the defensive dude, because he asks quite a few very reasonable questions, even if he does ask them in a somewhat taunting manner. I have always made the same comments about lights, turning signals, horns, reflective clothing, licenses, and all that.

    Still, he sets up his straw men and then knocks them down. Not all cyclists weave in and out of traffic, drive at night with no lights with dark clothing, or flaunt other rules of the road.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  4. #4
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    I think that I would try a funny approach. You could point out that bikes don't have exhaust pipes, radio antennas, seat belts, or windshield wipers. You sould pint out that cars don't have kickstands, handlebars, or reflectors. You could also say that bikes don't use gas, parking spaces, clog up the roads in traffic jams, and are an excellent form of exercise.

    As for the rules of the road, agree that all vehicles should follow the rules of the road, and it would be helpful if the drivers of cars could set a good example for the rest of us. Maybe they could start a) obeying speed limits, b) stopping completely at stop signs, c) signalling when turning, and c) refraining from driving while intoxicated.

    If you strike the right humourous tone maybe you could accomplish your mission of countering his drivel while being upbeat. Good luck and I hope this helps.

    I like it!

  5. #5
    clevernamehere
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    I think that I would try a funny approach. You could point out that bikes don't have exhaust pipes, radio antennas, seat belts, or windshield wipers. You sould pint out that cars don't have kickstands, handlebars, or reflectors. You could also say that bikes don't use gas, parking spaces, clog up the roads in traffic jams, and are an excellent form of exercise.

    As for the rules of the road, agree that all vehicles should follow the rules of the road, and it would be helpful if the drivers of cars could set a good example for the rest of us. Maybe they could start a) obeying speed limits, b) stopping completely at stop signs, c) signalling when turning, and c) refraining from driving while intoxicated.

    If you strike the right humourous tone maybe you could accomplish your mission of countering his drivel while being upbeat. Good luck and I hope this helps.
    Good stuff! I'll definately have to use some of this... thanks Mars

  6. #6
    clevernamehere
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff
    Well, he has ya on the defensive dude, because he asks quite a few very reasonable questions, even if he does ask them in a somewhat taunting manner. I have always made the same comments about lights, turning signals, horns, reflective clothing, licenses, and all that.

    Still, he sets up his straw men and then knocks them down. Not all cyclists weave in and out of traffic, drive at night with no lights with dark clothing, or flaunt other rules of the road.

    roughstuff
    It's not so much that I'm on the defensive, just thought the timing would be good to submitt a letter promoting cycling & at the same time I could correct some of the misconceptions.

  7. #7
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    Well, there are some "good" points in this (ahem) article, I wish this person did not bring them up in such a derogatory way.
    I agree with you, for your answer to have an impact, you need to be very courtuous, ampathize with the article writer. I would:

    1. Highlight the points you agree first, such as riding without lights or wearing dark clothing and that cyclists must abide by the same rules of the road. (in fact more stringent so!...), and are subject to fines like any other vehicles. Agree that bicycles should not be considered as glorified toys but vehicles.

    2. Then slowly and diplomaticaly engage in the concerns with license fees as these may discourage people from riding, something which would not be beneficial to anyone. Highlight the importance of cycling to people's well-being and the environment. Highlight that thousands of cycling events throughout the country every year raise millions of dollars contributing to infrastructure, preservation and pepople well being. All voluntarily, the true American way!

    3. Mention that most serious riders abide by the rules of the road, and occasional riders are the worst offenders and you wish also there was better safety awareness among them, and most are also car drivers.

    4. Then introduce the fact that car and truck drivers are not better aware of safety when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists. Most do not know how much space legally needs to be left between the rider and the car while overtaking (3 feet), underestimate the speed of a cyclist while turning left and rarely check their right rear mirror while turning right, not mentioning door opening while parked.

    5. Conclude by saying that you agree that there is a lot of work to be done yet with public awareness of the overall problem of cars/trucks and bicycle sharing safely the public way.

    6. End in a humorous but respectful tone.

    Hope these help, there will be other and better ideas in this thread.
    I wouldn't know how to write this, and if you do it well chances are the paper will publish your letter and there will be follow-ups.

    Good luck, let us know how you get on.

  8. #8
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Don't debate this guy on his terms. He is trying to say that bike should not be vehicles. The truth is that bikes are vehicles because the LAW makes them so. Quote the state code to make it clear that bikes are vehicles even if they are viloating the law - just as cars are vehicles regardless of their legal compliance.

    Then add a pragraph where you state that better education is needed for both cyclists and motorists to understand the legal and safety requirements of bicycles on the road.

    We are already vehicles - period.

  9. #9
    EmperorNorton II norton's Avatar
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    clevernamehere.....Your name speaks well for your sense of humor.....Combine it with the excellent suggestions (& more to come!) so far in this thread......&.......Your Muse will flow!


    Keep smiling as you write!.....


    We're all with you.....

  10. #10
    1.9lb/in pseudobrit's Avatar
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    Where are pedestrian licenses? Where are their horns and lights? Where are their airbags and ABS??

    That's it, I'm done sharing the road with anything that's not a motor vehicle. Time to go run over some kids and folks walking dogs and stuff.

  11. #11
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere

    A recent advertisement in The SP proclaimed, "Bikes are vehicles, too!" I don't think so.

    I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.
    A duty of living in a civilized society is obeying all the laws, even the ones you disagree with. We would all like to set our own terms for using the roads, but if we did, chaos would ensue.

    Is he saying that he intends to run over cyclists he sees who don't have lights, horns or licenses? Is he advocating premeditated vehicular assault?

    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere
    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can't hear them until they are at your side, or worse, up your rear.
    I won't even try to analyze that statement.

    For some reason the guys who pick letters for editorial pages have a soft spot for rants against cyclists. It's pretty common for many newspapers to run letters with fractured logic that wouldn't make the cut on any other topic. Maybe they get a lot of them and feel they have to run the best ones.

  12. #12
    pj7
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    This letter seems more like a childish rant than someone trying to pose questions or make a point... in that sense it seems like alot of the trolling posts I see on the forums here

    Every question he poses can be torn to shreds by anyone here who has ridden on a country road, or even a suburban street at night.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their lights? Too often we cannot see them at night until we are almost on the riders. To make matters worse, these nincompoops usually dress in dark clothing.
    In every state I can think of bikes are required to have lights if being ridden at night, so are any other vehicles. During daylight hours having lights is not "mandatory" AFAIK. So some cyclists are ignorant enough to not have lights at night. Who here hasn't seen a car with only one light barreling down some back country road doing 90mph at 1:30 in the morning? Or who hasn't seen someone take off out of a parking lot and drive several blocks with their lights out.
    So to answer this question, some cyclists, like some vehiclists, are, from time to time, the same type of idiot.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can't hear them until they are at your side, or worse, up your rear.
    Erm, makes no sense to me really. Looking out my office window I have seen 20 cars drive by and have not heard one horn. If he is talking about sounding a horn in traffic, that is a differant story all together. Personally, I hear horns in traffic so much that I ignore them anymore, but who here would ignore someone shouting at the top of their lungs "WATCH IT YOU PRICK, I'M RIGHT BEHIND YOU"?

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their licences? If they wish equal treatment, then they must be prepared to pay the dues that all other vehicle owners must pay -- the annual licence fees.
    This is yet another case of 'if I have to suffer so do you, no matter if you make more sensible choices than me'. A license plate is there for really one purpose, identification. If a police officer attempts to pull over a car, the driver can attempt to flee, but that license plate is his Acheles heel in most cases, though not the sole reason for plates is to catch fleeing offenders. That plate number is attached to more than just a name or car. I don't know of many bikers out there that can outrun a police cruiser, if any. The fee drivers pay go towards public programs, not just road improvements.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, why don't they follow the rules of the road like other drivers do? We see bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Perhaps they just don't care, or are subconsciously suicidal
    And we don't see vehicle drivers do this? Once again I say "some cyclists, like some vehiclists, are, from time to time, the same type of idiot."

    If bikes are vehicles, then their owners should be subject to fines for not having the required safety items that other vehicles require before being allowed on the road.
    They are here in Michigan, and probably all other states. One has to search for the specifics but it most definately is a civil infraction for violating one of these laws.

    If they are not willing or able to adhere to the rules of the road, then perhaps cyclists should stop thinking of their bikes as vehicles and consider them really as glorified recreational toys.
    One should not group ALL cyclists, as one should not group ALL vehiclists. I for one do not like being stereotyped into the same group as a 12 year old out having fun. I would assume that this person would also not like being unfairly grouped as a punk kid in his overpriced toy. Who hasn't seen some teenager in a new shiny graduation present ripping up the residential streets because to him, that 40k sports car is a toy.

    I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.
    Hrm, is this not the definition for wanton endangerment or terroristic threatening?
    If I write into a paper and say that "During hunting season, while I am packing a dangerous weapon, I will only share the earth with people like me ie: white/male", who wants to be that I'd receive a visit from the authorities the next day?


    I hope your letter is informative and makes this guy think about what he wrote, and like others say, use some humor. Nothing shuts people up faster than think that others are laughing at them.

  13. #13
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    Much of this guy's rant is directed against the premise that bicycles are vehicles. Yet, bicycles are not vehicles.

    He says he read an ad in the SP that said, "bikes are vehicles". If it said that, it was wrong.

    You yourself refer to "cyclists needing to behave like vehicles"? Cyclists behaving like vehicles? Do vehicles act? Do vehicles behave? No. It's the drivers who act. It's the drivers who behave. And cyclists should act like drivers of vehicles... in other words... cyclists should obey the vehicular rules of the road.


    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their lights? Too often we cannot see them at night until we are almost on the riders. To make matters worse, these nincompoops usually dress in dark clothing.
    No argument there. At night, cyclists should have lights.


    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can't hear them until they are at your side, or worse, up your rear.
    This is absurd. You can get pretty loud air Zound horns for bikes, but their usefullness is arguable.


    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their licences? If they wish equal treatment, then they must be prepared to pay the dues that all other vehicle owners must pay -- the annual licence fees.
    Bike are not vehicles, that's why they don't need licenses. Never-the-less, when riding on the roadways, cyclists should act and be treated like vehicle drivers.


    If bikes are vehicles, too, why don't they follow the rules of the road like other drivers do? We see bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Perhaps they just don't care, or are subconsciously suicidal.
    Can't argue with this. Cyclists should NOT weave in and out of traffic. Cyclists should follow the rules of the road like other drivers. And I can't blame him for not treating cyclists like drivers of vehicles when they don't act like drivers of vehicles. I do find that when I act like a vehicle driver, I am universally treated like one..


    If bikes are vehicles, then their owners should be subject to fines for not having the required safety items that other vehicles require before being allowed on the road.
    Within reason, I don't have a problem with this.


    If they are not willing or able to adhere to the rules of the road, then perhaps cyclists should stop thinking of their bikes as vehicles and consider them really as glorified recreational toys.
    Again, he's absolutely right. Every cyclist should pay heed to this: If you don't act like a vehicle driver, then your bicycle is essentially a "glorified recreational toy", and you should expect to be treated as an operator of a toy.

  14. #14
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serge *******
    Yet, bicycles are not vehicles.
    I don't want to hijack clevernamehere's thread, but...

    Just because Forrester says bicycles are not vehicles doesn't mean it's so. Many states classify bicycles as vehicles. Several dictionaries (Webster's for one) define bicycles as vehicles.

    http://www.uslegalforms.com/lawdiges...US-BICYCLE.htm

    "Bicycle Law and Legal Definition
    A bicycle is a human-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem design to transport by the act of pedaling one or more persons seated on one or more saddle seats on its frame. "Bicycle" includes, but is not limited to, a human-powered vehicle designed to transport by the act of pedaling which has more than two wheels when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public road or right-of-way, but does not include a tricycle.

    State laws, which vary by state, regulate the operation of bicycles on roadways to reduce the incidence of disability and death resulting from injuries incurred in bicycling accidents. Laws often require that, while riding on a bicycle on public roadways, public bicycle paths, or other public rights-of-way, all operators and passengers who are under a certain age wear approved protective bicycle helmets, and that all bicycle passengers who weigh less a certain weight or height be seated in separate restraining seats."

  15. #15
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycliste
    ... Highlight that thousands of cycling events throughout the country every year raise millions of dollars contributing to infrastructure, preservation and pepople well being. All voluntarily, the true American way!
    Of course, Cycliste considers Canadians "Americans", clevernamehere!

  16. #16
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    Research your provincial laws and shoot him down point by point. Give references. In cases where he makes broad generalizations, i.e.,
    We see bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Perhaps they just don't care, or are subconsciously suicidal.
    point out that motor vehicle drivers do exactly the same thing. Also, make your own generalizations, point out that motor vehicle operators don't research vehicle or traffic laws beyond the bare minmum required to pass the licensing test. Another point to make is there is plenty of room to share the road and that a member of any user group that doesn't know how to do this should stop using the roads in the interest of public safety until they learn to do so in a safe manner. In other words, if he doesn't know how to pass a cyclist safely, he should learn to drive.

    You might also throw in some requirements for bicycles, i.e., lights at night, etc., to educate cyclists in your area that might not know. Again, give references.

    If you were in Florida I could point you to legal references that a bicycle is a vehicle and a bicycle rider is a driver, lights and reflectors are required for operating at night, etc.

    If you try to make your letter funny, it won't be taken seriously.
    Last edited by CommuterRun; 03-29-05 at 02:09 AM.

  17. #17
    SNIKT! Karldar's Avatar
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    If it transports a person/thing, it's a vehicle.

    As far as licensing goes, how many motorists have lapsed tags/driver's licenses?

    Personally, I think communicating your points politely and seriously(with a little humor thrown in for good measure), will get your points across very well. Sounds like s/he is trying to stereotype cyclists in order to garner support from readers with similar experiences. While I do agree with some of his points, the word "tactless" comes to mind regarding his tone.
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    Gosh all jiminy

    Seems like some bike riders want the pleasures of riding without the corresponding RESPONSIBILITIES
    So take the shots at me
    In FTLauderdale I drive and ride my bike,not at the same time of course.......When I drive I try to give every break I can to riders cause I know its 3K pounds VS 25 for a bike and maybe 160 for the rider. No biggie for me and I'm not looking for a thank you from any rider
    Still even the semi pros who ride at the beach take far more than they should; i.e. never stopping for traffic lites when they are in a file and buzzing along the beach, even peds crossing the streets give riders the right of way cause they know if they don't they will be creamed.
    I NEVER see a file stop at a red lite,on the beach, NEVER, EVER!! A GOD given right?? Certainly doesn't gain any respect from motorists nor peds. And off the beach I rarely see riders stop fully at a light. Rights or IRResponsibilities?? You call it
    Last week I saw a young girl get hit by a car, not seriously hurt at all cept for scareing her had the green lite and was hit by a car turning on the same green at the corner. Knocked the kid off her bike, bent the wheel but didn't hurt the rider , but she was badly frightened and I believe she will prob never ride again. I saw it happen, the kid didn't look to see if a car was turning and nor did the driver stop to let the rider thru the intersection. But thats life in FT L, Hell even peds don't get a chance to cross on the walk lites here.
    There is an older gentleman who rides in my"hood", multi K $ bike, great riding gear, NEVER wears a helmet, rarely stops fully at signals, takes his section of the lane fully in the center of the lane.Defensive riding or irresponsible? your call
    I ride in a totally defensive posture when I ride here, sure in blazes don't want to connect with a moving vehicle cause I know I won't win the argument

    If we can't educate bike riders to obey the laws how in blazes can one expect drivers to give a break?
    I rode for several months last year thruout Europe and felt far safer there than I do here. Even in Paris I never felt threatened as I do here, and I saw bike riders STOP for traffic lites there and thruout Europe. The day after the end of the TOUR a bud and I rode up the Champs to Place Etoile and the Arch de Triumphe, just to say we had done it,in Lances's tracks so to speak, prob the most dangerous traffic in all of Europe, but we used hand signals and drivers slowed and showed us consideration

    I realize its virtually impossible to educate both riders and drivers to be aware of the other, every time a rider blasts thru a red lite while traffic is stopped he/she gives impresssion of.........screw you I'm on a bike...........why should I have to stop??
    ON the other hand..........I rode last fall in California from SF to Malibu, my lifelong dream, accomplished, along the PCH, NEVER felt threatened by motorists even that hellacious section around Pacifica ,I think, that is always in danger of rock slides.

    I can understand the defensive/offensive posture a lot of riders take vis a vis traffic, but months recovering from an accident sure don't equate with a right of way gained.
    I see a lot of riders here riding in a belligerent mode, and I guess there is some justification for it, but I also see alot being VERY,VERY careful.
    I don't offer any solutions........I drive carefully when I see riders, and give every consideration I can,and when I ride I always ride as responsibly as I can. I can't imagine any thing worse than being struck while riding, unless its being the driver who hits a rider.
    Not offering any solutions, just observations

    But a 3K pound vehicle Vs. a 25pound bike?, no contest

  19. #19
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serge *******
    Bike are not vehicles, that's why they don't need licenses. Never-the-less, when riding on the roadways, cyclists should act and be treated like vehicle drivers.
    Bikes are vehicles. They are not motor vehicles. As such we are required to obey the transportation laws of the state as they pertain to bicyclists.

    Bicycles do not need to be registered because there is no law requiring it. It's as simple as that. Some cities used to require a bike registration (perhaps some still do) but generally cities have abandoned these programs as not cost effective. If a state wished to require bike registration, it certainly has the power to do so, though none do. That being the case, no bicycle owner is able to register and get plates for his bicycle, even if he wishes to.

    We could theorize all about why states do not require bike registration, but that would be like coming up with reasons why running shoes do not need be registered. The fact is, the law does not require it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere
    If they are not willing or able to adhere to the rules of the road, then perhaps cyclists should stop thinking of their bikes as vehicles . . .
    The writer makes a vague reference to the LAW ("rules of the road") while ignoring what the LAW says, which is that bicyles are human powered VEHICLES.

    I think supcom states it most succinctly:


    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Bikes are vehicles. They are not motor vehicles. As such we are required to obey the transportation laws of the state as they pertain to bicyclists.

    Bicycles do not need to be registered because there is no law requiring it. It's as simple as that.
    One could almost respond, "If they are not willing or able to LEARN the rules of the road, then perhaps motor vehicle operators should stop talking about rules of the road as they pertain to bicycles and other vehicles."

    Oh well, that's my two cents worth.
    Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?

    iTod

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    A lot of good ideas. I'd add something about smashing his windshield or teeth with a u lock or something along those lines.

  22. #22
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere
    I want my response to be a positive article discussing how well cyclists & motorists can share the road when they respect each other & behave appropriately... basically I want to balance a very negative article with a more positive one.
    What on Earth for? For every reasoned response to trolls like this, there's a thousand dickheads following along with more crap about how horrible cyclists are. There's little to no benefit in trying to be nice to people like this. My response is fairly simple: All I ask is that every road user follow the rules or get the **** off the road.

    This pinhead should be one of the first to hand in his keys, as whilst he complains about cyclists not following the rules (which is fair enough) he conveniently fails to make any complaints about motorists doing the same thing, and in fact declares in his closing sentence that he's not even prepared to follow them himself, vis:
    I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.
    Problems are not caused by cyclists disobeying the rules. It's caused by road users not obeying the rules, whatever their vehicle of choice. If this writer wants to make a difference in that, the best place to start would be setting his own house in order.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  23. #23
    kwv
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    A quick reply would be if this driver knew the road rules he would know bicycles are vehicles.

  24. #24
    chicharron
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevernamehere
    I am writing a response to a letter in our local newspaper today. The person brings up some good points about cyclists needing to behave like vehicles to be treated as vehicles & a few other good points.
    The general tone of the letter though is very negative.

    I want my response to be a positive article discussing how well cyclists & motorists can share the road when they respect each other & behave appropriately... basically I want to balance a very negative article with a more positive one. We are rappidly approaching the time of year when more cyclists (good & bad) will be on the roads.

    I'm sure the letter this guy wrote will spur a bunch of similar rants about "those anoying cyclists", so I want my letter to be a well-written response advocating cycling.

    I would appreciate any feedback/suggestions for counterpoints to address in my response letter.

    ---The Letter to the Editor as it appeared in today's paper-----

    Cyclists must heed rules to be treated as vehicles
    The StarPhoenix
    Monday, March 28, 2005

    A recent advertisement in The SP proclaimed, "Bikes are vehicles, too!" I don't think so.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their lights? Too often we cannot see them at night until we are almost on the riders. To make matters worse, these nincompoops usually dress in dark clothing.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can't hear them until they are at your side, or worse, up your rear.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their licences? If they wish equal treatment, then they must be prepared to pay the dues that all other vehicle owners must pay -- the annual licence fees.

    If bikes are vehicles, too, why don't they follow the rules of the road like other drivers do? We see bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Perhaps they just don't care, or are subconsciously suicidal.

    If bikes are vehicles, then their owners should be subject to fines for not having the required safety items that other vehicles require before being allowed on the road.

    If they are not willing or able to adhere to the rules of the road, then perhaps cyclists should stop thinking of their bikes as vehicles and consider them really as glorified recreational toys.

    I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.

    My only response to the letter would be in the form of a question: if you will only share the road with bikes that have the required features ... what will you do it the bikes do not, run 'em off the road?

  25. #25
    clevernamehere
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    Thanks for all the feedback!
    I've got a first draft pulled together. I may have to shorten it up though... it got a bit long.

    Comments? Suggestions?

    In response to Cyclists must heed rules to be treated as vehicles – The StarPhoenix, Monday March 28, 2005:

    The author brings to light the frustration many motorists feel this time of year when bicycles begin to come out in force. As a bicycle commuter I share many of his frustrations with those who operate bicycles in an unsafe or illegal manner. It is unfortunate that he brings up the issues in such a derogatory way. We needn’t dismiss all cyclists as irresponsible individuals simply because some refuse to educate themselves regarding proper use of a bicycle as a vehicle.

    It frightens me somewhat that the author states, “I will share the road only with bikes that have the required features mentioned above.” Is he saying that he intends to run down cyclists he sees who don’t have lights, horns or licenses? Is he advocating premeditated vehicular assault? I suppose this would rid the city of bad cyclists, but I hardly think it’s an appropriate solution. The fact that a vehicle is operated inappropriately does not remove its status as a vehicle nor its operator’s rite to life.

    The author poses the question “If bikes are vehicles, too, where are their horns? You can’t hear them until they are at your side…” Is he suggesting that all bikes be equipped with loud horns and honk continuously as they ride near cars to ensure the drivers are aware of their presence? A much simpler and less noisy solution is for operators of all vehicles (including bicycles) to pay attention to their surroundings.

    City of Saskatoon bylaw 6884 requires the use of lights and reflectors at night. It also outlines what is considered appropriate operation of bicycles within Saskatoon. The bylaw includes provision for fines to cyclists for non-compliance. It is unfortunate that many motorists and cyclists are not aware of this bylaw.

    Many motorists are also ignorant of the rules of the road and safe methods of sharing the road with cyclists. Many are not aware that cyclists must obey the same traffic laws as motorists. Many are not aware that a cyclist has the rite to “take the lane” when it is not wide enough for cars to pass within the lane. Many under-estimate the speed obtainable by cyclists and turn in front of them, cutting them off. Many fail to check their mirror before opening their door when parked.

    Although licensing fees could be a small source of revenue for the city, they could also discourage cycling. We should be encouraging the use of bicycles rather than discouraging it. One more (properly operated) bicycle on the road means one less car creating traffic tie-ups, one more open parking space, one less car contributing to the pollution of our air, and possibly one less person admitted to the cardiac care unit thanks to a healthier lifestyle.

    The best solution to frustrations between cyclists and motorists is better education of all involved. I highly recommend that motorists and cyclists alike read Saskatoon bylaw 6884 regarding operation of bicycles in the city of Saskatoon. Another excellent resource is the “Share the Road” brochure distributed not long ago by SGI on behalf of the City of Saskatoon. Both of these resources are posted on the City of Saskatoon web site.

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