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Anti-biking PG letter to the editor

This topic contains 87 replies, has 29 voices, and was last updated by  Pierce 10 mos, 1 week.

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byogman

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Jun 12 2013 at 10:39pm #

Ah, sorry, responded to Gary Evans, not Mike Cherepko. I have a sarcasm detector, but I mostly don’t bother to turn it on. It’s more fun to go with the text as is.


jonawebb

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Jun 13 2013 at 7:16am #

@Pierce, you make a really interesting point. I think you’re right that people accept that a certain number of people are going to be killed by motorists, whether pedestrians, cyclists, or other motorists, so in that sense we’re just part of a larger group. But the same is true for any oppressed minority — there are always other people being injured in the same way. And in the larger sense it doesn’t really matter; the important thing is what a group of people working together can do to improve things. So I still think that it’s useful to think of ourselves as a minority who are being denied some of our civil rights, and who can use techniques used by others to get them.


Kordite

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Jun 13 2013 at 8:01am #

“I am writing about the bicyclists who are always crying about their right to be on the roads.”

So, yea, it’s about civil rights.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jun 13 2013 at 8:12am #

@Kordite: the writer’s position may be objectionable and misinformed, but it does not constitute a violation of anyone’s civil or political rights.

He’s just stating his opinion, wrong-headed though it may be, it hardly rises to the level of oppression.


steevo

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Jun 13 2013 at 8:36am #

Cyclists are not a protected class. age, race, religion, sexual orientation
(sometimes).., etc are protected classes. It is legal to discriminate
against cyclists.
To go the other way if I owned a restaurant and hung a sign that said
“no neo nazis”… they are not a protected class either.

Comparing cyclists to minorities is a sad thing and should be avoided.

You do literally choose to ride a bicycle.


jonawebb

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Jun 13 2013 at 8:58am #

I’m not saying the writer’s opinion is oppressive. But injuring and killing cyclists, denying police protection to cyclists… yeah, that’s oppression.


Kordite

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Jun 13 2013 at 1:51pm #

Cyclists aren’t a protected class. . . and neither are neo-nazis.

I’d expect that sort of Godwin from an autodominionist. Personally, I’m used to being compared to Stalin but, hey, comparing me to nazis works to dismiss me and my concerns just as well.

On the other hand, guess what. . . we are a protected class. Pennsylvania’s 4-foot passing law is there specifically to protect us as a class of road users. Last year, DC enacted the Access to Justice for Bicyclists Act. Huston passed a vulnerable road user’s law last month along with a number of other municipalities over the past few years. Los Angeles was the first to pass an anti-harassment law protecting cyclists specifically two years ago and a number of municipalities have followed suit.

The point is, we ARE a protected class. A small, specialized class to be sure, but a protected class nonetheless. We have a legal right to be there, that right defined by civil laws. By definition, a civil right.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jun 13 2013 at 3:47pm #

Ugh.

Courtesy of the Google machine:

“Protected class
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Protected class is a term used in United States anti-discrimination law.[1] The term describes characteristics or factors which cannot be targeted for discrimination and harassment. The following characteristics are considered “Protected Classes” and persons cannot be discriminated against based on these characteristics:
Race – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Color – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Religion – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
National origin – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1964
Age (40 and over) – Federal: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Sex – Federal: Equal Pay Act of 1963 & Civil Rights Act of 1964
Familial status – Federal: Civil Rights Act of 1968 Title VIII (Housing, cannot discriminate for having children, exception for senior housing)
Disability status – Federal: Vocational Rehabilitation and Other Rehabilitation Services of 1973 & Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Veteran status – Federal Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974
Genetic information – Federal: Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act”


Pierce

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Jun 13 2013 at 4:56pm #

Well the next time one of us gets hit, feel free to yell “I’m a minority! I’m a protected class!”

States, the Federal Government, and cities already discriminate based on race, color, religion, and national origin, so feel free to join that club.

“On the other hand, guess what. . . we are a protected class.”

Wow, thanks for listing all those laws. Who would think legislatures would go out of their way to protect a white, affluent, vocal voter base?

I don’t think we’re going to win any hearts or minds by saying we’re a “minority” or we’re a “protected class.”


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 13 2013 at 5:07pm #

There are a lot of moving parts here. Protected by whom, from what, and under what circumstances? Frankly, you are all right, to a point, and all wrong to some extent. We could be here all night.

The whole discussion seems pointless, IMHO. Time to get out in traffic and be traffic.


Mikhail

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Jun 13 2013 at 5:34pm #

Pierce wrote:Wow, thanks for listing all those laws. Who would think legislatures would go out of their way to protect a white, affluent, vocal voter base?

Be careful. White affluent, vocal voter base women are protected class. Or even white affluent, vocal voter base christian (or whatever religion) men are protected class.


Vannevar

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Jun 13 2013 at 5:35pm #

Time to get out in traffic and be traffic.

Well said, kind of gives me a bit of a John Forester frisson.


Kordite

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Jun 14 2013 at 6:48am #

Wow, I thought I was being protected because, as it is said in many of the legislative documents, I am a “vulnerable road user.” Thanks for the straw man. I’d expect this sort of treatment on the Tribune Review forums instead of on Bike Pgh.


JaySherman5000

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Jun 14 2013 at 7:45am #

@Pierce: I’m a proud, carnivorous white male, and in all the threads I’ve seen you post in on this board, I never thought we would ever agree on anything. Today, you changed my mind about that.

+1 to your statements above

I’m going to forgo my usual breakfast of eggs and sausage this morning just for you. (Though I’ll probably balance that by making deer sausage this weekend.)


Drewbacca

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Jun 14 2013 at 7:59am #

@Kordite, the difference is that we are willing to look at both sides of a complex issue here. We are willing to look at the opposing view. We are willing to play devil’s advocate for the sake of argument rather than to troll or to share ignorance… personally, I see that as a good thing.

Ultimately, I’m with Stu on this one… the discussion has turned pointless.

Now to go eat some bacon and hop on my bike!


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jun 14 2013 at 9:58am #

@Kordite: not sure why you are taking this so personally. “Protected class” is a specific legal term, that’s all I was demonstrating with my post.

In the context of “civil rights”, “vulnerable road user” is not a “protected class.” Clearly, vulnerable road user is a defined class within the statute of the “4-foot” law, but that is very different than being a “protected class.”

Words have meaning, and I think conflating these concepts weakens the argument. Of course cyclists have rights. But positioning themselves as an “oppressed minority” with “civil rights” that should be fought for alongside the struggles of blacks and gays is offensive and inappropriate.

Please forgive the rant.


JaySherman5000

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Jun 14 2013 at 12:01pm #

Yesterday, even though there was a protected bike lane, I rode outside of it, just like Rosa Parks.

After my bike lane freedom-ride, I was buzzed by a 71B inbound in a different part of town (where there was no bike lane). I felt just like Harvey Milk, being shot down by Dan White in 1978. My soul remains restless at the thought that my attacker will never know true justice.

Today, I explained to a coworker why cyclists shouldn’t have to stop at stop signs. Despite their rolling eyes, I think the seed of change has been planted. I am Susan B. Anthony, championing my cause to the world.


Vannevar

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Jun 14 2013 at 12:32pm #

Hey there Jay, although you may have found common ground in unexpected vegan places in your earlier post, your RosaParks-HarveyMilk-SusanB snark falls short of the general quality and tone usually seen.


Pierce

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Jun 14 2013 at 1:04pm #

I think our common ground is that we both cannot resist sarcasm


jonawebb

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Jun 14 2013 at 1:05pm #

When a cyclist gets killed by a motorist and the police accept the motorist’s version of events, don’t even check whether the motorist was texting or talking to someone on a cellphone at the time of the accident — and the story implies it was the cyclist’s fault for not wearing a helmet — it does remind me of, well, folks in other groups who were killed for being black or gay or whatever, and the police did nothing. Maybe that’s grandiose or whatever, but you can’t deny that there’s a dead cyclist there without consequence.
And when someone spews hate-filled speech about cyclists, yeah, it does remind me of hate-filled speech about minorities. It has the same tone, doesn’t it? And people get hurt or killed as a result. That’s similar, isn’t it?


JaySherman5000

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Jun 14 2013 at 1:10pm #

Hey HEY hey! Vanny, I save my best material for audiences that matter, just like Rodney Dangerfield always did.

“My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I want a second opinion. He says, okay, you’re ugly, too!”

“I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”

“My wife loves to have sex. Yeah, that’s right, she always calls me right after.”

I hope his funny quips brightened your day as much as they did mine.


Kordite

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Jun 14 2013 at 1:50pm #

“not sure why you are taking this so personally.”

Being compared to neo-nazis kind of puts me off a bit. Having my arguments completely discounted because I happen to be a middle class while male puts me off a bit. Being treated as if I have to be a minority to talk about minorities at all puts me off. Knowing that if I were to bring up that I am, in fact, part of one of those “protected classes” my argument would be invalidated and dismissed because I don’t “measure up” puts me off.

And that I have a right to be on the road and there are those who would deny me that right through malice, ignorance or indifference is something I take a little personally. Especially when they say so to my face after almost having run me over.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jun 14 2013 at 1:54pm #

@jonawebb: Similar? Sort of. But not the same.

Yes, those are all bad things. But they are not all violations of “civil rights.”

Should you campaign for safer streets and motorist education about cyclists’ rights and responsibilities? Of course.

Should you do it “by any means necessary” and under the banner of an “oppressed minority”? No.

You seem stuck trying to find a way to channel your frustration about the state of cycling safety in Pittsburgh, and I get that and I share your frustration. But it is hyperbolic to leap to “civil rights abuse” to try and make your case.

In fact I think it hurts the cause.

Much of our disagreement is semantic, but words (especially legal ones) have meaning – very specific meaning. Words also carry a lot of freight, and terms like “civil rights” and “oppressed minority” mean a great deal to many many people who likely would take offense to a bunch of cyclists who choose to ride (as opposed to people who were born into oppression, for instance) crying foul.


cburch

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Jun 15 2013 at 3:01am #

i CHOOSE to ride a bike. just like i CHOOSE to be covered in tattoos. while i will always stand up for my right to make those choices and demand that people respect them, even if they dont agree with them, i wont EVER try to claim that struggles i face entirely by CHOICE can ever approach the level of the struggles people have to face daily because of how they were born, be it race, gender, sexuality, etc.

one is a result of your actions, the other is the result of your existence.

back to the original question though, assuming “other” is on a spectrum, where DO you think the PG would draw the line and not post an attack on said other simply for click bait?


Drewbacca

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Jun 15 2013 at 8:16am #

I think the point is that while people have a right to not like my choices, the second they decide that my life is somehow less important than another’s due to my choices, it is no longer an issue of choice. I choose to share the road and ride a bike… I don’t choose to be made a pancake because of someone else’s warped reality.

No, I’m not protected by the virtue of being a cyclist, I’m protected by the virtue of being a human being. The second someone decides that my life isn’t important due to the later, I become a protected class.

It doesn’t take away from the protection of gender, or race, or anything else to say that we are protected as a class… legally speaking, because the intent of the law (in this case) is the same across the board, i.e. to protect life.

I think the problem is that there are two different issues at work in this conversation. Motorists (or whatever) have a right to make fun of cyclists all they want (while they don’t have the same right to make fun of someone due to race…). Some of us are talking about the act of making fun of another person while the rest of us are seeing it in terms of an act that could lead to death.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe

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Jun 15 2013 at 8:25am #

“legally speaking, because the intent of the law (in this case) is the same across the board, i.e. to protect life.”

Which law are you referring to here? Civil rights law or the “4-foot law”?

The specific legal term “protected class” is relevant to the former, not the latter. For the sake of this discussion, can we try to separate the two concepts: legal and practical.

Are we (theoretically) “protected” by the 4-foot law? Yes. Does that make us a “protected class” (in the context of the legal usage of that term, ie: civil rights)? No.


Drewbacca

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Jun 15 2013 at 9:17am #

It was a general statement… nothing specific. Just throwing out a guess as to what is causing the disagreement.

My personal point of view draws a line of acceptance between a letter to the editor saying “cyclists annoy me because…” and “I don’t care if a cyclist is hit, they deserve it for the following reasons.”


HiddenVariable

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Jun 15 2013 at 11:12am #

the thing is, “protected class” already has a very specific meaning. anyone who claims to be a “protected class” as a cyclist comes across sounding very foolish to anyone who is familiar with that meaning and its history.

unless you are referring to one of the “classes” already considered “protected”, do not use that term, or expect the conversation to devolve into a purposeless semantic back-and-forth, much as this one has.


HiddenVariable

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Jun 15 2013 at 11:14am #

also: apparently pg is not above publishing (and printing! with a big headline and a nice little black outline) letters excusing sexual misconduct in the military as unavoidable. boys will be boys, after all, and it’s best to keep the ladies out of that.

so there’s your protected class.


HiddenVariable

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Jun 15 2013 at 11:45am #

on the other hand, there are currently two positive cycling-related stories in the “breaking news” section. so there’s that.


Ahlir

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Jun 16 2013 at 9:45am #

Much of this would be moot if we simply doubled or tripled the number of cyclists on the road. Let’s work on that.


StuInMcCandless

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Jun 16 2013 at 10:22am #

Bike hater Samuel Hurst is to be taken seriously (see his comments in responses to this letter). He is the official GOP candidate for District 4 this November, running against Natalia Rudiak. I know him personally, have known him for well over 10 years. He is young and well spoken, but his words speak for themselves.


joanne

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Jun 16 2013 at 11:54am #

Well, then, I have some questions for Mr. Hurst. (runs over to the P-G to post)


salty

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Jun 16 2013 at 12:01pm #

Yes, there are plenty of comments that could use some “likes” over there. Here’s mine:

Mr. Hurst, here’s hoping your ignorance comes back to haunt you on election day. I see you’re another “small government” charlatan who is more than happy to call for unnecessary regulations on anything you don’t personally agree with.


joanne

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Jun 16 2013 at 12:16pm #

Here’s mine. If this is an actual policy position, I think voters should know. If he’s just sounding off and intends to do nothing about it if he actually wins office, likewise voters should know:

Respectfully, are you the Samuel Hurst who is running for Pittsburgh City Council this fall? If so, as a city, state, and federal taxpayer who is concerned about expensive and ineffective government bureaucracy, I am worried about your proposal/stance on this.

I understand that licensing and registration fall under state govt. purview, but local representatives often go on to hold state and federal office. So, I consider my local candidates’ positions on state/federal matters to be relevant.

I don’t know if you’ve done any analysis related to your opinion on bicycle licensing and registration, but if you have, you are likely aware that many municipalities have proposed and ultimately rejected this approach because of the high costs in additional Dept. of Transportation expansion, infrastructure, court overcrowding, etc. Municipalities that already had bicycle licensing and registration have repealed them, for the same reasons. And licensing and registration does not solve the problem of bad and dangerous road behavior, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of people killed by licensed and registered drivers every year. Respectfully, I hope you as a candidate will look into this issue in more depth and reconsider your support of these proposals.


Vannevar

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Jun 16 2013 at 2:58pm #

Stu, I’m glad you added the context, thank you.


salty

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Jun 16 2013 at 3:35pm #

Response to another one of his comments:

Here’s a scenario I thought of recently. Let’s say there is an intersection with no traffic light. If a drunk driver with a suspended license fails to yield to a cyclist when making a left turn, hits the cyclist and drives off leaving him for dead, only stopping to remove the bicycle from the grill of his vehicle, why isn’t the driver held responsible for his actions?

Maybe we should worry about things that are already happening and causing people serious injury or death before putting too much thought into your ridiculous hypotheticals.


joanne

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Jun 16 2013 at 4:37pm #

^Nice!


Vannevar

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Jun 17 2013 at 5:25pm #

Sort of awesome like a train wreck, check these comments:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-local/peduto-ravenstahl-meet-to-talk-challenges-of-pittsburghs-mayorship-692021/

The same fools, different topic but the same theme bubbles up: People who (ride bicycles/live in the suburbs) should have to pay more taxes like I do to be taken seriously

If it weren’t so perverse it would be amusing.


Drewbacca

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Jun 17 2013 at 5:51pm #

The most obvious flaw in that dumb argument is that no one knows what anyone else is paying in taxes… and they are too dumb and/or emotionally driven in their positions to stop and realize that.

It seems a similar mentality is applied towards unions, teachers, etc. the whole idea that “teachers have three months off and that isn’t fair.” What’s unfair about it? The only obvious unfairness is the perception that someone else is getting a better deal than you are, so let’s be angry about it. It seems like such a childish argument to me.

If we want to complain about unfair use of resources, why do home-owners gets free street side parking all over the place when those lanes could be converted to bike lanes? Not that I begrudge anyone who has street parking, per se, but it does become an issue when developers try to pack four units into a single plot along with a garage that is only large enough for a motorcycle or subcompact car at the most… I’m not sure if this is a problem in Pgh yet, but it was a huge problem in Seattle.

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