Dear Abby says "GET OFF THE ROAD"

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Sunday, August 17, 2008
By Yokota Fritz


From today's column...
DEAR ABBY: I want to thank all the wonderful people who make biking to work possible. I am a mid-40s professional and never thought I could do this, but I am. My goal was to bike at least once a week to work -- 15 miles each way -- and I have been doing it since May and loving it!

Thank you to the drivers who respect bikers, the municipalities who planned for safe cycling, and the companies that provide showers and lockers. It has been so much fun.

I never thought I could do this because of work schedules, kids' activities and weather, but with a little thought it works. It's good, fun exercise. Help the environment, save energy and get fit, America! -- GEORGE IN MIAMI VALLEY, OHIO


DEAR GEORGE: I'm pleased that you are enjoying your healthy new lifestyle, and I'm all for physical fitness. However, I hesitate to encourage large numbers of people to embrace your challenge until both cyclists and motorists are better educated about the rules of the road.

Communities need to act now to provide safe bicycle lanes and paths for people trying to conserve gasoline. Awareness needs to be raised among drivers about the rights of bikers. The television and print media could be a significant help in this effort, and I hope they'll take the opportunity to inform their audiences.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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Comments:
Abby's logic is flawed. Her advice goes in the wrong direction. Why should bikers "wait" until something is done? Does democracy ever work like that? My experience with community governments characterizes them as primarily reactive institutions funding the needs and wants of people. What better way for car drivers to be aware of bike rights than for them to bike once a week. What better way to earn community funding for bike programs than to get more people out in numbers on bikes. Crowd the roads I say until elected officials figure out (while stuck in their cars behind a critical mass bike rally ideally)..."wow there are alot of voters on bikes, maybe we should do some more bike related programs". Millions are spent in road development and repair supporting car culture. Why can't more bikes demand the same?

P.s. I tried the dearabby.com link and it failed to work...thus I'm ranting in the comments ;).

Cheers,
Logan.
 
Thanks for the comment Logan. I agree 100%

I stuck an extra "B" in the DearAbby URL! -- fixed now.
 
A guy pulled up alongside me while I waited to make a left turn. He was in the thru lane, while I was in a dedicated left turn lane. He said, "Y'all shouldn't ride here 'till they build some bike lanes!"

"Fat chance!" I replied. "That'll never happen, so I'll just ride anyway."

He was not pleased.
 
I sent a letter to let her know how wrong she is. I wonder if she will follow up on this topic..
 
...while i also totally agree w/ what you've said, logan, the one really salient point that "abby" goes on to make, & which is something i've been passionate about for a long time, because i think it could make a huge difference, is the use of television & print media in raising awareness regarding our rights & just our presence as cyclists on the roads...

...if at the end of tv news broadcasts, the "talking heads" regularly made a little statement to the effect of"lets be careful out there folks & help create a safe environment for all those bike riders who are also commuting to work"...the message just might be better carried to where it's needed...
 
She is definitely caught in Catch-22 logic. Stay off the road until they build bicycle lanes, but they'll never build bicycle lanes, because there aren't any bikers on the roads.

I recently read the book Traffic, it's a great book that explores the culture of traffic, why it is the way it is, what is says about us, and what we can do to change it. It mostly focuses on automobiles, but bicycles are a recurring theme throughout the book. His conclusion when it comes to bicycles is that cycling is dangerous, because drivers are not looking for cyclists. They're not looking for cyclists, because there's not that many out there. So, the primary way for cycling to become safer is to get more cyclists on the road.
 
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