Thursday, January 7, 2010

Orlando Sentinel Columnist Fires Back At Bicycle-Haters With A Great Column

Remember the Orlando Sentinel story I posted a few days ago about the drivers complaining about bicyclists on the roads of central Florida.

(It's funny -- the biggest complaint drivers have about bicyclists is that we don't allow them to get to their destination as fast as they usually get there. The biggest complaint bicyclists have about car drivers is that motorists kill us).

Well, Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas blasted back and put drivers back in their place. Enjoy the read.


Donald said...

Fascinating. Well written and I like the analogies he gives, but I can't agree to give up hope and be as hateful as the motorists. We'll just have to outlive them, I suppose.

GhostRider said...

Weak, at best. The whole "pack mentality" doesn't sit well with me, and couching cyclists' defense in the terms of hardcore training rides and racing doesn't really do anything to help preach "Share the Roads" for ALL road users. The "get out of our way! No, YOU get out of OUR way!!!" rhetoric presented by this article just sucks.

Not all of us who ride bicycles on the road are doing it for recreation -- after all, it is a valid and smart transportation mode. Bikes can be more than toys, everyone.

Nick said...

I agree with Jack. I never feel comfortable riding side by side and taking up a whole lane, even if there are multiple lanes. But I also want the motorist to give me the space I deserve when passing me if I am willing to leave the lane open.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you Ghostrider. Advocating breaking the law, justifying breaking the law and group mentality, as this article does, is nothing but a negative smear towards responsible cyclists.

When I emailed the writer, he simply called me a wimp. Hope to see him in the next tri to compare wimpiness.

Its a shame that Alan Snel coniders this a "good read"

Anonymous said...

I spent many years as a sports journalist and I frequently covered cycling races of anywhere from 10-1,200 racers. To cover the races (since I also had to take photos), I would hop in my car and drive to key places on the course to watch the race develop. There was a point made in the related story (linked to the column) that a large group of cyclists strung out in single file can be more dangerous to pass than when they are riding in a pack (or peloton). I agree. I found it much easier to get past a pack of about 10-30 riders when they were bunched together than when they were strung out on the road.

In my state, if you have a large group of cyclists holding a race, we have to get a permit and put signage at key points along the route to let people know a bike race is in progress (we also have sag vehicles ride just behind the pack with flashers going to alert drivers). The permit usually is only a paperwork issue, and they're pretty easy to get.

Anyway, I am a bike commuter, not a racer, and when commuting I ride single file unless I'm passing a slower rider (or I'm being passed by a faster rider). I ride my bike because I have diabetes and need to lose weight, and because I now live in a small town that is bicycle friendly (lots of cyclists, even in the Alaska winter). If you go to places like Denmark or the Netherlands, you frequently see more bikes than cars on the roads.

Unknown said...

Agreed - humorous but unproductive.