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Another PG bicycle letter – 21JUN13

This topic contains 162 replies, has 42 voices, and was last updated by  Marko82 6 mos, 3 weeks.

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Ahlir

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Jul 20 2013 at 5:32pm #

Another Driver In need of Clarifying Knowledge (DICK, for short).


paulheckbert

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Jul 20 2013 at 10:33pm #

My response to that PG letter:

Bronder states that “the roads were not designed for cyclists”. He’s ignorant. Many of Pittsburgh’s roads were designed during its growth spurt around 1900, before cars existed. They were designed for horses, horse-drawn carriages, and yes, for bicycles. Much of the early paving of roads was done to support cyclists. Google “Good Roads Movement” to learn the history. Cars came later. In many cases it would be more correct to say “Pittsburgh roads were not designed for cars”. Maybe you’ve noticed how narrow our roads are?


HiddenVariable

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Jul 20 2013 at 11:48pm #

boy, i say! this is yet another in a series of letters to the editor where the letter itself was anti-bicycling, but the comments were almost universally pro-bicycling. i would actually consider this to be rather refreshing, if i weren’t so annoyed that the post-gazette publishes this crap in the first place.


edmonds59

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Jul 21 2013 at 7:03am #

I love all the comments. The writer and the 2 other anti bike commenters got their shit hammered down pretty thoroughly. Nice work hammerers!


cdavey

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Jul 21 2013 at 7:29am #

@HiddenVariable and edmonds59 — I suspect the reason they do it because it stirs up controversy with differing viewpoints. Letters to the editor is one of the most popular and commonly-read features in a newspaper. That translates into sales of the paper so people can read them (or so the thinking goes).

But aren’t they maybe actually doing us a favor? By printing these letters and the overwhelming positive pro-cycling responses, aren’t they actually promoting our viewpoint to the general public that bikes belong on the road just as much as cars and we aren’t going away? Whether or not this is their actual intention.


edmonds59

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Jul 21 2013 at 7:44am #

Oh I agree! I have no problem seeing these in the paper, then seeing a flotilla of rational responses. It’s an opportunity.


ajbooth

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Jul 21 2013 at 11:31am #

Sent to the P-G under the ridiculous assumption that they might actually print a counter argument:

I am writing regarding the letter 4-foot impossibility in the July 20 Post-Gazette. I would like to thank Mr Bronder for “doing the math” to support the law. You are correct Mr. Bronder, you cannot legally pass a cyclist within the same lane of travel. It is, in fact, impossible. So, what to do? It is actually quite simple, according to the law. Slow down and wait for your opportunity to safely pass the cyclist. If you are on a two lane road, change lanes. If you are on a one lane road, wait until there is no oncoming traffic, and pass the cyclist at a safe speed, allowing four feet of clearance. The same law that requires you to provide the four foot clearance also allows you to cross a double yellow line if needed to pass safely. As for the “registration fee” argument, it is getting old. Cyclists pay taxes to the same local, state, and federal bodies to which a motorist pays taxes. Registration fees do not pay for roads. Even if they did, most cyclists also own cars, and pay the same fee. Rather than paying “nothing” we pay the same things that motorists pay, albeit less gas tax than someone who doesn’t cycle. However, cyclists also cause significantly less wear and tear on roadways. If you want to “abolish this law” then contact your legislators and ask them to do so. But I respectfully suggest having a better argument than the one posed in your letter.


jonawebb

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Jul 21 2013 at 12:04pm #

Btw, they print a lot of letters. Ajbooth’s letter has a good chance of being printed. When they get a bunch of letters on the same topic they print a selection. So don’t just respond in the comments, send a rational response of 250 words or less to the editor, on the website.


Erica

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Jul 21 2013 at 3:29pm #

I just submitted this letter:

I am constantly seeing people in vehicles who are neglecting to stop at stop signs, who run red lights, who fail to yield to the pedestrian right of way, drive above the speed limit, or don’t use turn signals when turning, passing, and changing lanes. It’s infuriating to me, because these actions can, and often do, result in the taking of human lives.

My main gripe with rolling stop signs and running red lights is that I always hear motorists saying that cyclists don’t stop for these, while they themselves aren’t doing it either. Motorists also seem to forget that the speed limit is called such, because is it a maximum. Meaning, “Drive even one mile per hour above this, and you are breaking the law, and should be ticketed.” Pittsburgh has so many narrow streets, and driving more than 10 mph on some of them is downright reckless. On top of excessive speeding, Too many drivers are distracted. When I wait for the bus, my hobby is to count how many people who are driving are also texting, talking on their phones, putting on makeup, eating, or otherwise not looking at the road.

Road rage is another enormous danger to the people in our city. I sometimes see people driving the speed limit, or perhaps even a few miles per hour below, and there will almost always be an angry, impatient driver behind them revving their engine, tailgating, hoking, or throwing their hands up in frustration. I don not feel safe while people who are this angry that they’re 45 seconds behind on their commute are on the road. Traffic cops in this town need to be more vigilant in their ticketing. If a bunch of people get ticketed for driving 5mph over the speed limit, maybe people will get the hint that their behavior isn’t safe, and can kill someone? One can only hope.

Motorized vehicles are heavy machinery – I think of them as a faster, less useful forklift. They should operated with extreme caution and diligence, especially since they can kill a person with very little force. On that note, I also think it should be more difficult to obtain and keep a driver’s license. You should be re-tested every time you renew, because new traffic laws seem to be passed all the time. I wish there was also a 3 strikes type deal for road rage – if you’re involved in 3 road rage incidents, you have to either pass an anger management course, or never drive again.

Friends say my ideas are harsh, but would you rather be inconvenienced every few years, or have the guilt of killing or maiming a person hanging over your head because you had to get to work 2 minutes earlier?


Erica Peters
Business Owner, Bloomfield


salty

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Jul 21 2013 at 4:56pm #

Excellent letter, Erica! Hope it gets published, I’m almost looking forward to beating down the comment trolls.


ajbooth

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Jul 22 2013 at 5:04pm #

I think they are going to print mine; I have received two calls from the P-G Editorial staff confirming that I wrote the letter, and that it was intended for publication.

Feeling feisty, I may even dive into the comments if they run it…


RustyRed

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Jul 23 2013 at 5:33am #

ajbooth wrote:I think they are going to print mine; I have received two calls from the P-G Editorial staff confirming that I wrote the letter, and that it was intended for publication.

Feeling feisty, I may even dive into the comments if they run it…

Congrats, it made it!

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/cyclists-pay-taxes-too-696512/


edmonds59

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Jul 23 2013 at 5:50am #

Woohoo!!


Kordite

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Jul 23 2013 at 7:00am #

“I respectfully suggest having a better argument.”

Nice.


ajbooth

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Jul 23 2013 at 8:14am #

So the fifth grader in me (yes, he’s still in there) finds it funny that the first person to comment is named Strahs…or “shart” backwards.

Methinks I may have sharted…

Good to see that most of the comments are positive.


mlinwood25

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Jul 23 2013 at 11:33am #

Unlike many (or all) of us, I am fairly certain “John Strahs” isn’t that guys real name, or its a “John Strahs” that doesn’t live in the Pittsburgh area. I did some research n’at. Nothing popped up. Overall, that was one good letter. I’ve wrote a few, but mine have not been published yet. Writing informative, non-flaming letters like further distinguishes us from the angry-driver sect. I love it.


edmonds59

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Jul 23 2013 at 12:23pm #

mlinwood, I think unfortunately he’s “real”. Has a facebook page, and likes, among other things, Ted Nugent. I really have no idea how to react to that. LOL, SMH, or TUINMAL (throwing up in my mouth a little).


Erica

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Jul 23 2013 at 2:15pm #

I was asked to trim my letter down by about 160 words. Looking for every opportunity to use hyphenated words right now.

As of now, I still need to trim 51 more words:

Our city is unsafe with the unlawful driving practices of Pittsburgh motorists. The speed limit, turn signals, and yielding to pedestrians are not suggestions.

My main gripe with rolling stop signs and running red lights is that I always hear motorists saying that cyclists don’t stop for these, while they themselves aren’t doing it either. Motorists also seem to forget that the speed limit is called such, because is it a maximum. Meaning, “Driving one mile per hour above this? You’re breaking the law, and should be ticketed.” Pittsburgh has so many narrow streets, and driving more than 10 mph on some of them is downright reckless. On top of excessive speeding, Too many drivers are distracted. When I wait for the bus, my hobby is to count how many people who are driving are also texting or talking on their phones.

Road rage is another enormous danger to the people in our city. I sometimes see people driving the speed limit, and there will almost always be an angry, impatient driver behind them  revving their engine, tailgating, hoking, or throwing their hands up in frustration. I do not feel safe while people who are this angry that they’re 45 seconds behind are on the road. Police need to be more vigilant in their ticketing. If a bunch of people get ticketed for driving 5mph over the speed limit, people might get the hint that their behavior isn’t safe, and can kill someone? Hopefully

Automobiles are heavy machinery – they’re faster, less useful forklifts. They must operated with extreme caution, especially since they can kill a person with minimal force. It should be more difficult to obtain and keep your license. You should be re-tested every time you renew, because new traffic laws seem to be passed all the time. There should be a 3-strikes deal for road rage. Involved in 3 road rage incidents? Either pass an anger management course, or never drive again.
 
Driving is not a right. It is a privilege that you earn and can be revoked any time.


jonawebb

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Jul 23 2013 at 2:50pm #

Erica, here’s my stab at editing it down to 250 words:
Pittsburgh is unsafe due to motorists ignoring speed limits and turn signals, and not yielding to pedestrians. Motorists often say cyclists don’t stop for stop signs—but they don’t either.
Motorists seem to forget that the speed limit is a maximum: driving one mph above it is against the law. Driving more than 10 mph on Pittsburgh’s many narrow streets is reckless.
Police need to be more vigilant in their ticketing. If the speed limits were strictly enforced, people might get the hint that their behavior can kill someone.
And too many drivers are distracted. Waiting for the bus, my hobby is to count how many drivers are texting or talking on their phones.
Road rage is another enormous danger. I have seen people driving the speed limit, almost always followed by an angry, impatient driver revving their engine, tailgating, honking, or throwing their hands up in frustration. I do not feel safe when there are drivers who are this angry that they’re delayed by 45 seconds.
Automobiles are heavy machinery – they’re faster, less useful forklifts. They must be operated with extreme caution since they can easily kill.
It should be more difficult to obtain and keep your license. Drivers should be retested at every renewal, because new traffic laws are passed all the time. There should be a 3-strikes deal for road rage, with a required anger management course for offenders.
Driving is not a right. It is a privilege that you earn that can be revoked any time.


RustyRed

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Jul 23 2013 at 5:01pm #

Funny things in the comments: someone from Upper Saint Clair calling someone from Mt Lebanon ‘hoity toity’.

Scary things from the comments: the fact that someone who says ‘I hope our paths never cross’ to Andy lives so close to Andy.


salty

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Jul 23 2013 at 5:08pm #

That guy comments on pretty much every bike article. He’s nothing but a pathetic jackass and it’s best to ignore his idiotic trolling.


RustyRed

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Jul 23 2013 at 6:13pm #

salty wrote:That guy comments on pretty much every bike article. He’s nothing but a pathetic jackass and it’s best to ignore his idiotic trolling.

Indeed, I had an overwhelming urge to make light of his fascination with spandex panties, but I restrained myself.


ajbooth

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Jul 23 2013 at 9:16pm #

RustyRed wrote:Indeed, I had an overwhelming urge to make light of his fascination with spandex panties, but I restrained myself.

You and I both…the phrase “twisted f&@#ing fantasies” came to mind before I thought better of it.

He strikes me as a keyboard bully–similar to a motorist who screams at you from the car, but then turns meek and mild when you roll up next to them at a light.


paulheckbert

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Jul 23 2013 at 10:36pm #

My comment on Andy Booth’s letter to the editor:

The more people that ride a bike or walk instead of driving a car, the better!

Compared to driving a car, riding a bike is cheaper, healthier, quieter, less polluting, less smelly, and takes up less space. It doesn’t contribute to global warming, and it keeps you in better touch with your neighborhood than cocooning in a car. The more people that bike to the store, to work, to school, or to their friend’s house, the lower our rate of diabetes, the lower our health care costs, the lower our stress, and the higher our longevity and happiness will be! I’m looking forward to the continued rise in the popularity of bicycling in Pittsburgh.


RustyRed

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Jul 24 2013 at 8:43am #

It’s raining bike letters! Another one today!

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/misinformed-debate-696610/


Erica

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Jul 24 2013 at 10:30am #

shaved mine down to 300 words (turned a lot of “do not”s into “don’t”s), and re-submitted. because they responded at all, I get the feeling mine will be published


RustyRed

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Jul 25 2013 at 12:25pm #

Bike letters: they’re a daily occurrence.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/roads-are-for-all-696718/


ajbooth

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Jul 25 2013 at 12:50pm #

Nice to see the “ho-hum” reaction to the trolls today…I picture them both checking the site 20 times a day to see if they’ve gotten anyone to bite.


Erica

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Jul 25 2013 at 2:46pm #

If this is the same Mike Kelly I’ve met, he’s a pretty good dude – the big idea used to rent one of his spaces.


Erica

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Jul 25 2013 at 6:04pm #

also, I got a call to let me know that my letter will run this saturday


ajbooth

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Jul 25 2013 at 9:27pm #

Erica wrote:also, I got a call to let me know that my letter will run this saturday

That is great news! I’m glad that they are running as many as they are. I suspect that by Saturday there will be an anti-cycling letter or two, so yours will be a really good counter balance.


RustyRed

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Jul 25 2013 at 10:12pm #

ajbooth wrote:

Erica wrote:also, I got a call to let me know that my letter will run this saturday

That is great news! I’m glad that they are running as many as they are. I suspect that by Saturday there will be an anti-cycling letter or two, so yours will be a really good counter balance.

They called me Wednesday and said mine would run ‘in the coming days’. :D


bicycle heaven

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Jul 25 2013 at 10:46pm #

LizziMac wrote:

At bike night at the Science Center last night, we came across this gem, which is arguably what the woman in the letter was afraid of. Perhaps the cyclist-in-question’s bicycle sported one of these handy holsters, replete with firearm!

LizziMac wrote:

At bike night at the Science Center last night, we came across this gem, which is arguably what the woman in the letter was afraid of. Perhaps the cyclist-in-question’s bicycle sported one of these handy holsters, replete with firearm!

,,,,That bicycle is from Bicycle Heaven bike shop museum in Pittsburgh,,,Big John W bike,,,GLAD YOU LIKED IT


quizbot

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Jul 25 2013 at 11:05pm #

It would be great if we could get the media more involved – PG seems to be doing a pretty decent job lately posting perspectives from the cyclist side of things – but what about encouraging local tv/print news to get a reporter out there on a bike wearing front & back pointed cams for a week? Would be a good way to educate drivers & cyclists both on common errors, legal misinterpretations, and better behaviors.


RustyRed

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Jul 26 2013 at 5:28am #

RustyRed wrote:

They called me Wednesday and said mine would run ‘in the coming days’. :D

And, here it is:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/fellow-travelers-696972/


Marko82

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Jul 26 2013 at 7:27am #

quizbot wrote:what about encouraging local tv/print news to get a reporter out there on a bike

The PG columnist Brian O’Neil usually writes about topical stuff & has written about riding bikes with his daughters in the past. I think an opinion piece done by someone like him would be a good fit.


ajbooth

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Jul 26 2013 at 8:02am #

RustyRed wrote:And, here it is:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/fell

Excellent letter! Thanks for adding another log to the fire.

A warning, I’m feeling a little feisty today, and I’ve wallowed into the muck of the comments section…


RustyRed

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Jul 26 2013 at 8:16am #

ajbooth wrote:

RustyRed wrote:And, here it is:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/fell

Excellent letter! Thanks for adding another log to the fire.

A warning, I’m feeling a little feisty today, and I’ve wallowed into the muck of the comments section…

Good point, why are the trolls dragging my husband into this discussion?

The first thing he said to me this morning was, “Congratulations, ignore what the crackpots are writing.”


Marko82

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Jul 27 2013 at 8:52am #

Erica’s letter is up! With mostly good comments too… I guess the crazys sleep in late on Saturday.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/unsafe-city-driving-697065/


RustyRed

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Jul 27 2013 at 12:40pm #

Marko82 wrote: I guess the crazys sleep in late on Saturday.

Makes me wonder if it’s outpatient MH day or a morning anger management class.

Congrats Erica!

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