Opinion Your Views — 15 August 2013
Bicyclists are as much a hazard as motorists and pedestrians

To the editor:

I have read many letters and articles recently about how there need to be concessions made to bike riders in Old Town, most of them citing how great bicycles are and how much better they are for children, the environment and universe.

That may be, but it is my observation that the majority of bike riders in this town are a mobile hazard to cars and pedestrians. They run stop signs, red lights, go the wrong way on streets, pop up on sidewalks and then head back onto the street. They have zero consideration for anyone on the road but themselves.

Bikes have struck me a total of three times, including an incident where the rider went one way and the bicycle went the other. He picked up his bike and pedaled away.
My sister commented — after a bicyclist veered into her path while cursing — that she didn’t think that Old Town was a very friendly place at all.

There was a claim by a pro-bike writer that motorists break the laws as often as those on bikes. My observation on one Saturday morning is that out of 17 bikes, none stopped at the stop sign at a nearby corner. But every single car stopped.

This isn’t to say that there are not plenty of cars, cabs and even city buses that run red lights — there are plenty. I am waiting for the day when a car runs a red light and a bike decides to do the same from the opposite direction. Then all we need is the vacant-minded pedestrian crossing King Street against the light. I wonder who will win that race?

Everyone in this town needs to start paying attention to the laws that were designed to keep us from running over one another. This goes for the absent-minded pedestrian, the distracted driver (I’m looking right at you, cab drivers) and the arrogant bicyclist.

- Michael Ford
Alexandria

(Photo/File Photo)

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(4) Readers Comments

  1. How many times is the Times going to post the same “bicyclists are all scofflaws” letter to the editor? Its getting old.

    • I agree Eric. Can’t people in Old Town find a new trivial non-issue to bitch about? This one seems to have run its course.

  2. There is a disturbing trend that I see in the public debate where drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists are treated as somehow equally at fault for the fatalities on our roadways. This letter is an example.

    Today I read a very nice summation of this problem. “Kids walk. Blind people walk. People with poor judgment walk. That’s not going to change, and we shouldn’t pretend it can or will.”
    http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/08/20/the-problem-with-treating-pedestrians-like-drivers/

    In a car-centric society, it is easy to get drawn into the twisted logic that says that 100 or so motor vehicle fatalities per day are “just accidents.” In fact, European countries have per-capita fatality rates that are 1/3-1/4 of the USA rate. If we had similar results here in the USA, 25,000 lives per year could be saved.

  3. Bicycles are a hazard to cars? I should’ve stopped reading there.

    It’s not surprising that Mr. Ford would feel this way in America, where cars have taken over and destroyed nearly all public space, and most people have surrendered their ability to physically move their own body from one place to another. I suggest you move out to Bailey’s Crossroads and enjoy the paradise that is Leesburg Pike, where no mean cyclists will run you down and you’ll be surrounded by nothing but wonderful motorists all the time? And there are countless similar “neighborhoods” just in this region alone.

    That aside, as a car-hating cycle commuter, I can’t deny that most cyclists don’t follow traffic rules. But I’m much more concerned about motorists, who in their rush to get from point A to point B are often oblivious to the fact that they are behind the wheel of a deadly weapon. Not to mention cars suck.

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