City Traffic Commission: Cyclists are insane idiots

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Friday, August 17, 2007
By Yokota Fritz


Update: See Ms Ballingall's comment below for her apology and explanation.

The town of Saratoga, California is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose, CA. It's a popular area for Silicon Valley road cyclists to ride to and through. While the city of Saratoga considers cyclist safety an important issue, Saratoga Transportation Safety Commission chair Brigitte Ballingall has a different view of cycling. "I think it's an idiotic sport to do on the road - it's just insane," she was quoted as saying in this news about cycling safety in Saratoga.

Cyclists are asked to "be nice" in their emailed comments to her as they explain that cycling is a relatively safe activity that can be enjoyed by almost anybody. For more information about the Saratoga Transportation Safety Commission, see the city website.

Hat tip to Paul on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition mailing list for this news.

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Comments:
As Chairperson for the Saratoga Traffic Safety Commission I want to apolgize for allowing any words I have uttered to be so misunderstood and misquoted. This quote is so outrageous as to not even be believable, but I guess we all tend to believe what we read. My quote should have read "that" road which refered to a discussion about one road in Saratoga in particular whose conditions are dangerous for all vehicles in many places. This road has a long history of accidents, community concern and media attention. At this same meeting we later discussed bike lane safety for which the other quotes in the article refer to. I have worked for many years WITH cycling through the commission to add biking lanes, sign appropriately, Safe Routes to School and promoting biking and walking as an althernative to driving. I have always worked diligently to have families bike to school and have been involved in most of the design work in our cities attempt to renovate schools and inmprove traffic in around them to promote safety. I, of course, do not think this awesome sport is insane nor idiotic, and where else would anyone bike if not on the streets? Parking lots! The misquote came from a differnt discussion in the same meeting where we addressed one address on one street. I do reserve the right to have an opinion about one very dangerous road in my city,knowing full well that it is within the rights of all bikers to ride where they want when they want. Thank you,
Brigitte Ballingall
 
Thank your Mr Ballinger for leaving your comment here. I appreciate that. I hope my followup is reasonably accurate!
 
Dear Fritz,

Your follow-up was greatly appreciated and an accurate summary of my post. I wrote a letter and sent it in response to a few emails I recieved yesterday. I will format it as a "Letter to the Editor" that will not "retract" a statement I never made but explain the statement I did make and what it refered to. The quote is not only inaccurate and out of context; it is absurd. I am concerned about the negative publicity this will have for a city that has been committed to cycling promotion and safety. But, I am most concerned of about cylist safety and how this distorted statement might potentially negatively influence that.
Brigitte Ballingall
 
Safe Routes to School and promoting biking and walking as an althernative to driving. I have always worked diligently to have families bike to school and have been involved in most of the design work in our cities attempt to renovate schools and inmprove traffic in around them to promote safety. I, of course, do not think this awesome sport is laptop batteries insane nor idiotic, and where else would anyone bike if not on the streets? Parking lots! The misquote came from a differnt discussion in the same meeting where we addressed one address on one street.
 
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