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Another PG bicycle letter – 21JUN13

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

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paulheckbert

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Jul 27 2013 at 10:44pm #

I added a comment to Matthew Jacob’s letter http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/misinformed-debate-696610/, keeping the discussion positive, rather than responding to the “trolls”:

I agree with Matthew Jacob’s letter – more car drivers should dust off their bikes, put some air in the tires, and try Pittsburgh’s bike trails (they’re nice!) and also ride on roads some, to get a better sense of what the roads feel like from the perspective of a cyclist. (If you need tips on where to go, see http://www.friendsoftheriverfront.org/files/heritage_trail.html) After doing so, even if you don’t make cycling it a habit, I wouldn’t be surprised if you drove a little slower near cyclists, gave them more distance when passing, looked back to check for cyclists before opening your car door when parallel-parked. Because of the resurgence of bicycling, getting used to more bicycles on the roads is something we’ll all need to adapt to and participate in.


paulheckbert

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Jul 27 2013 at 11:08pm #

And my comment on Mike Kelly’s “Roads Are For All” letter (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/roads-are-for-all-696718/):

Have you seen how many people bicycle in cities like Amsterdam? See pictures at http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/. Probably we can’t replicate that exactly, since America is far bigger, and Pittsburgh is certainly far hillier, and its weather is more extreme, than Amsterdam’s, but I’m sure there are some good ideas about cities and health and economical commuting to be learned from their example.


RustyRed

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Aug 1 2013 at 8:50am #

This pissed me off so much, I had to comment!

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/bicyclists-need-to-use-common-sense-to-assure-safety-for-all-697648/


edmonds59

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Aug 1 2013 at 9:49am #

Oh Red you suckered me in too.


Drewbacca

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Aug 1 2013 at 10:04am #

I’m almost tempted to undo the blocking software so that I can comment… almost.

Someone should inform Mrs. Baker that common-sense dictates driving for conditions. If she can’t see around a blind curve, than she probably shouldn’t be driving at the speed-LIMIT. There could be a car around the corner, a cyclist, a 500# gorilla, or an extra large banana peel… *sigh*


paulheckbert

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Aug 1 2013 at 10:40am #

My two cents:

Ms. Baker: your letter has convinced me that you drive at an unsafe speed on Wildwood Road, but nothing more. You need to slow down before you hurt someone.


RustyRed

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Aug 1 2013 at 1:09pm #

Drewbacca wrote:I’m almost tempted to undo the blocking software so that I can comment… almost.

Someone should inform Mrs. Baker that common-sense dictates driving for conditions. If she can’t see around a blind curve, than she probably shouldn’t be driving at the speed-LIMIT. There could be a car around the corner, a cyclist, a 500# gorilla, or an extra large banana peel… *sigh*

Everyone’s hammering her about going so fast around a blind curve. This is one of those letters that the PG prints that they know will spark more letters.
I’d write another one, but I’m under the 3 month rule.


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 1 2013 at 1:56pm #

Not. Even. Gonna. Look.


Drewbacca

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Aug 1 2013 at 2:49pm #

RustyRed wrote: This is one of those letters that the PG prints that they know will spark more letters.
I’d write another one, but I’m under the 3 month rule.

hahaha is that a hint? I’ll consider submitting a letter… a neutral one on the topic. My mantra as of late is, “stay safe and be predictable.” Every bad behavior (be it bike or car) I’ve seen this last month has been problematic in that it is unpredictable and difficult to react to.


Benzo

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Aug 1 2013 at 3:51pm #

Right before the hill and turns on wildwood rd. A sign warning you to share the road with a picture of a bike on it.


Ahlir

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Aug 1 2013 at 4:45pm #

re @Benzo: ahh, what did we ever do before the days of the interwebs?

But actually Wildwood continues on the other side of 8 so maybe that’s where the confrontation took place. And that bike sign is on the way to the park.

Apart from that, I assume that the speed limit would be 25mph on that road, either side of 8. Most bikers (me included) would probably be bombing down a “steep downhill” at 25mph or more…


Pierce

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Aug 1 2013 at 4:55pm #

I also like how she insinuates it would be a cyclists’ fault if somebody else was tailgating her and slammed into her if she hit the brakes

I also don’t see the connection between the law and her dilemma

Would the solution to this situation to be to try and squeeze in between opposing traffic and the cyclist?


rsprake

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Aug 1 2013 at 8:24pm #

“This 4-foot law is the most insane legislation Pennsylvania ever enacted. It has created danger, mayhem and animosity.”

Hilarious!


salty

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Aug 1 2013 at 9:00pm #

I wonder if she appreciates the irony of telling cyclists to “take responsibility” right after tossing out every conceivable excuse for not being in control of her own vehicle.

Actually, I don’t wonder, I know the answer.


Lenk42602

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Aug 1 2013 at 10:17pm #

Too bad I don’t do Facebook. I refrain from entering these arenas primarily because there seems to be a repeated, illustrated level of ignorance regarding motorists knowledge of Pa State Cycling laws, how and why cyclists position themselves on road ways, and finally the massive responsibility one assumes every time they pilot a vehicle that can easily kill anything in its path.

I worked with this woman for nearly 17 years in my former career. From personal experience I can tell you that she is caring, thoughtful, highly academically credentialed ( two masters degrees), wise and willing to give back to her community .

She does not understand that the individual whom she nearly creamed placed himself in the middle of the road for the exact reason that she complains about. Had the cyclist been nearer the shoulder on that blind curve, the odds of a collision with him would have increased due to less visibility and reaction time.

Being where he was in the lane, she saw him with enough time to slam on her brakes. Her dissatisfaction after that point is just that, hers…

That cyclist is on the road because Pennsylvania State Law has provided a contextual framework via cycling laws in which cyclists should feel safe to ride where they choose. Certainly safer than the East End….

I will not create a FB account just to convey this to her, but I have a few hundred copies of the Pa Bicycle Drivers Manual. Think I will send her one and remind her that a long time former colleague could have been that cyclist that was in “her” way……

Maybe a more effective method of shifting the Pittsburgh Driver Mind is to hold legislators accountable for enforcement of the laws they have put into place to protect cyclists, rather than passing laws and relying on everyday folk to educate and enforce?

I’m tired of yelling at drivers.


salty

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Aug 1 2013 at 10:25pm #

Sorry, degrees don’t impress me and she gave up any claim to being “caring”, “thoughtful”, or “wise” when she wrote that letter. I know I’m biased, but her message is pretty clear: if you get hit by a car while legally riding on the road, it’s your own fault for being there. Unacceptable.


Lenk42602

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Aug 1 2013 at 10:39pm #

salty wrote:Sorry, degrees don’t impress me and she gave up any claim to being “caring”, “thoughtful”, or “wise” when she wrote that letter. I know I’m biased, but her message is pretty clear: if you get hit by a car while legally riding on the road, it’s your own fault for being there. Unacceptable.

Completely unacceptable. Now how does one effectively shift that thinking? I am tired of yelling at drivers.


Ahlir

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Aug 1 2013 at 11:06pm #

This is all very interesting…

But in reality, there are no blind curves on that part of Wildwood. Or on any part of that road. I invite you to google and identify any blind curves (that are such at the legal speed limit). There are no sharp curves on that road. Certainly not in the vicinity of Rt.8.

But don’t take my word for it, Go to the map. Do the streetview. Tell me where to find the “blind” curve. I want to know. I really do.

Ms. Baker is not telling the truth about her experience. She is, as far I can tell, lying. I do not understand why she is doing this. But prove me wrong, please; I will apologize.

I do not understand why the Post-Gazette printed this letter without checking its veracity.

I also do not understand why Lenk* is asserting that this person is trustworthy. I invite Lenk* to drive (or bike, if he owns a bike) on Wildwood and identify this “blind” curve that we’re all talking about. I don’t think it exists.

Who are these people? What is their problem?


salty

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Aug 1 2013 at 11:33pm #

I don’t really get the jab at lenk there at the end – I think you missed his point… Otherwise agreed.


Benzo

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Aug 2 2013 at 7:55am #

Ahlir wrote:But actually Wildwood continues on the other side of 8 so maybe that’s where the confrontation took place. And that bike sign is on the way to the park.

I think she was describing this side of rt 8, since she claims to have turned from rt 8 and this direction matches her description of a hill descent and some turns. She had to go by this sign since the other way would be uphill for the cyclist (and driver) and there are less turns.


Ahlir

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Aug 2 2013 at 8:23am #

The “jab”, as you put it, got in there because my impression is that Lenk* is a troll. But I’m happy to be corrected and would apologize.

To repeat: there are no “blind” curves on that road. The curves that are there maybe get blind at high speeds. But Baker states that she was not speeding. So what is it?

More generally, why do we get all worked up when the facts aren’t there?


screbner

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Aug 2 2013 at 11:47am #

Dermot Foran was killed on this stretch of Wildwood Road a few years back. He was riding his bike downhill on Wildwood and was hit by an oncoming driver turning left onto Bella Vista. Dermot was a loving, caring father of three small children at the time.

Maybe a ghost bike at the spot would remind everyone to be careful there.


Steven

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Aug 2 2013 at 12:46pm #

Thanks for the info on Dr. Foran. His obit in the P-G doesn’t mention where the collision happened, and I don’t see that it was reported elsewhere. FWIW, the Trib says there was a ghost bike at the collision site at some point.

Ahlir, perhaps she meant something like this place. It’s a curve, and it’s blind since the hillside keeps you from seeing what’s ahead, though of course that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe if you’re going at an appropriate speed.


reddan

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Aug 2 2013 at 1:14pm #

Ahlir, perhaps she meant something like this place. It’s a curve, and it’s blind since the hillside keeps you from seeing what’s ahead, though of course that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe if you’re going at an appropriate speed.

Could well have been a case of retroactive blind curve.
“I didn’t notice him until I was right on top of him, so there must have been something blocking my vision.”


Ahlir

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Aug 2 2013 at 1:57pm #

@Steven: Well, maybe. If you click through down the road you have a school bus coming the other way, for scale. Just guessing, but it looks like you can see at least a couple of hundred feet down the road, even with the curve.

Of course if you’re going around 50mph I can see the problem. Baker never did state what she thought the speed limit was…


Lenk42602

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Aug 2 2013 at 2:14pm #

Ahlir,

I am not a troll.

I commute.

I ride where she was reporting from.

Please apologize.

Thank you


Mikhail

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Aug 2 2013 at 3:41pm #

Steven wrote:

Ahlir, perhaps she meant something like this place. It’s a curve, and it’s blind since the hillside keeps you from seeing what’s ahead, though of course that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe if you’re going at an appropriate speed.

And vegetations. Overgrown vegetations could make normal curve completely blind. As a driver one has to take vegetation into account.


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 2 2013 at 3:50pm #

if it’s the piece of road I think is under discussion, it’s a snaky downhill-uphill posted 35 that you can’t go too much faster on (yes it should be posted 25 but it isn’t), but neither is there much of a shoulder so you have to take the lane going downhill, and force people to cross the yellow uphill. I motorcycled it within the past week. Sight lines are not good.

Yes, you can bike it, but it fails miserably at the Popsicle Test: Would you have your 9-year-old kid bicycle it to go to the store to get a popsicle? You really need to be a seasoned cyclist, unafraid to take the lane, to deal with this piece of road. And you really need to be a tolerant driver to deal with cyclists going either direction — a species that is extremely scant in number in that part of the world.

It’s a classic example of why I think EVERY road should have its speed limit lowered 5 if not 10.


Ahlir

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Aug 3 2013 at 11:00am #

Len, I apologize for insinuating that were were a troll. You have, in fact, been a member of this board for ~5 years, posting innocuous notices for selling bikes and such. I also see that Barb is indeed a good person and someone with who I probably have things in common. Ans so I apologize to her as well; in the context of the P-G’s ongoing war over bicycling, I mistook her letter for a typical attack.

My post was based on examining the map and noting the absence of blind curves, a key assertion in Barb’s letter. I have not traveled that road for some time and so would have been unaware of changes in vegetation, etc. Nevertheless I still feel that the car’s speed was likely understated and that moving too fast was the reason for problem. We all roll faster than we think, especially downhill.


Marko82

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Aug 6 2013 at 8:43am #

New Letter 06AUG13

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/safety-for-cyclists-698265/

…and another http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/take-a-bike-ride-698245/

(is that THE Oscar Swan?)


mlinwood25

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Aug 6 2013 at 8:24pm #

A few thoughts after reading the comments to these letters:

1. I’m done reading these letters in the PG.

2. If I decide to read an article in the PG that involves biking, I am not reading the comments.

3. Based on some of the letters, the tone of the comments and the way drivers are acting out there (especially around Downtown with the traffic jams due to the Liberty Tunnel/West Carson construction and around the Waterfront at any time since the GAP completion), I just purchased a helmet cam online and plan to use it on my daily commute.

I won’t be deterred, but the increase of bikes on the streets since early this summer is causing a lot of frustration with drivers. If I get hit, I don’t want somebody getting away with killing me because of texting, speeding or general recklessness. Horrible thought, but its one I have sometimes when making my commute from Brookline to downtown.


edmonds59

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Aug 7 2013 at 6:06am #

Mlinwood, don’t be disheartened by the comments. It’s basically the same two bitter angry old fucktards John Strahsmeier and Francis Kilinski, who feel it necessary to respond anti-bike to any letter that appears, I’m sure while they’re sitting at home watching Faux noise on their cathode ray tubes. They are probably angry at many things other than cyclists.
I have had so few negative interactions on my commute since I started in earnest three years ago that I don’t feel any need for a camera. It would just be one more piece of gear to fuss with that would get between me and a peaceful, enjoyable ride.


Ahlir

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Aug 7 2013 at 8:04am #

The reality is that more and more people are biking, and their numbers will continue to increase. Strahsmeier and his ilk are basically irrelevant. Pittsburgh will simply adjust to the bikes and life will go on.

For your entertainment, check out the letter re Detroit in today’s paper. Our trolls are there, sniping at bicycles(!) Why, you ask? It’s what they do.


edmonds59

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Aug 7 2013 at 8:22am #

Ahlir thanks for bumping my previous message off the Bike Pgh! front page. Oi. LOL.


andyc

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Aug 7 2013 at 8:25am #

Always take internet trolls with a very large grain of salt. They’re as likely to be a small band of 15 year old boys that troll for fun as the person they purport to be. (Probably not in this case but it’s good to keep in mind.)


jonawebb

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Aug 9 2013 at 1:10pm #

New letter


Drewbacca

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Aug 9 2013 at 1:22pm #

Seeing as I almost got hit by a cyclist myself (while on my bike), I have to say that I mostly agree with that letter… assuming of course that he had a run in with one of those cat6 guys.

I just gave a guy an attitude two days ago when he buzzed me (passed on left) without warning. I was on the last few miles of a 65 mile ride in the sun and my own alertness was in question. I admit that I was swerving a bit and probably needed to take a break. I almost plowed right into him… *sigh* I constantly look over my shoulder, but not constantly enough to catch someone riding 20+ mph on a joint use trail with turns.


Mick

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Aug 9 2013 at 5:35pm #

Good letter.

It’s too bad it’s foeder for the troll, but it says things we need to listent to.


Mikhail

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Aug 9 2013 at 5:59pm #

Mick wrote:Good letter.

It’s too bad it’s foeder for the troll, but it says things we need to listent to.

Yes, letter is good. And we need to listen to what it says. It would be interesting to get some real data nevertheless. According to my experience “on your left” does not work with:
1. joggers/runners — about 99% percent have phones in their ears and they just don’t hear me;
2. Power walkers — same as above;
3. Casual riders — 30% in phones, 50% are with someone else and talking loudly; they do not hear me until I shout just from behind of them; pairs take almost always full width of a trail;
4. bird watchers on bicycles just stop in middle of trail and don’t even get off bikes;
5. Cat6 riders don’t care at all;
6. any walker crowd (4 or more) always tries to take a full width of a trail; and if you shout: “On your left!” there is some one who goes to the left, someone who makes a little bit of room and you don’t have 2 feet to safely pass.


Marko82

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Aug 10 2013 at 10:33am #

New OP-Ed article is up

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/first-person-grab-a-bike-and-go-698833/

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