Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Letter to the Editor

This is a letter to the editor, as published in yesterday's Everett Herald:

They don't have any claim to 'rights'

As a professional transit driver, I am sick and tired of hearing bicycle riders say that car drivers do not respect bicyclists' rights. The answer to that is, why should we? When I was a teenager I was taught that a bicycle rider should respect a car because of the size and the danger that a car can present to a person on a bicycle. Not the other way around.

As a person who drives a car, I have to pay to have that car licensed each and every year. Do bike riders pay each and every year? No! Every six years I have to pay to get relicensed. How about bicycle riders? No they don't! Every time I fill up my car with gasoline I have to pay taxes on every gallon of gas that I buy to help pay for road improvements and repairs. How about bike riders? No! It is required by law that I buy insurance for my car. How about bicycle riders? Once again, no!

As a professional driver I especially have to obey all the traffic laws. Do the bike riders obey the traffic laws? No! They don't even come close to obeying the traffic laws! In fact, I don't even believe they know what traffic laws are about. They don't stop at stop signs, they ride between the cars, they take up the middle of the lane, they ride side by side, they don't know what a red light means, and when they're done playing like a vehicle on the road they go up on the sidewalk to bypass or to ignore even more traffic laws and then pretend they have a right to be a pedestrian and use a crosswalk.

So you tell me, why should I respect the rights of a bicycle rider?

Scott Eiler

So glad that this guy is behind the wheel of a great big bus, telling me that I don't have any rights as a cyclist. I mean, come on! His arguments don't even make sense - most of the people riding bikes also have a car and a license. What does he think the solution is - "get off your bikes people and get into cars"?

As a cyclist, I do respect cars, but I feel that the respect needs to be mutual, not one-sided as Mr. Eiler suggests. Just last week Joshua almost got hit by a car, while he was crossing the street in a sidewalk with a walking signal. Three cars turned right in front of us, and I don't think any of them even looked. I am so grateful that he was okay and that he learned the lesson that just because the light says you are safe to go, doesn't mean that you are. But I am still angry that the cars didn't stop for a pregnant mom and her two small kids.

There are plenty of drivers that aren't following the rules of the road, Mr. Eiler. So it seems like you should put your pointing finger away until you are ready to help come up with solutions instead of expanding the divide between motorists and cyclists.


Honey said...

It's ignorant drivers like this man that make me nervous when Ryan rides to work. What an awful generalization he has tried to make of bicyclists. I'd be interested in hearing how people in Everett respond.. What a nerd!

liz said...

This guy is obviously a creep, but I do agree that bicyclists should be following the rules of the road. Most of the ones I see around here do, but those who don't create danger for themselves and others. Cyclists need to be careful, because even when cars respect them, they're much harder to see than cars, and in most parts of the country, people just aren't used to driving alongside them. My kids are old enough to bike around our neighborhood without me now and I sure hope people see them!

Sarah said...

I hope you sent this rebuttal into the paper!