USA Today Article Jokes That Motorists Have “Let” Cyclists’ Rights Go Too Far

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USA Today’s DriveOn mini site posted an article on October 23 titled “Two-wheel troublemaking: Have motorists let bicyclist ‘rights’ go too far?” then opens with this sentence: Have Bicyclist “rights” gone too far?

Honestly, in this journalist’s opinion, the headline doesn’t match up with the story.  Motorists haven’t let cyclists get away with anything…in fact two posts on our site earlier today suggest exactly the opposite.  And, the last time I checked, our rights and responsibilities were basically the same as those in motorized vehicles.  I agree that critical mass and three-person wide pacelines do little to encourage goodwill, as the article suggests, but there are things that are patently wrong with it:

…as (cyclists) numbers have increased, (they) have become emboldened to take over the road. That is, instead of riding to the right or on the shoulder, some are now riding in the center of the lane. Two incidents underscore how they are putting themselves in danger. One incident involved a cyclist hit and killed by accident. The other case is a motorist who is alleged to have tried to make bicyclists crash into his car on purpose…

Contrary to the example of a Maryland cyclist who was struck and killed on her way to work while riding in the middle of the lane because the 20-year-old driver told police she “never saw the biker,” I would argue that when speeds permit, you are almost certainly more visible to drivers and force them to slow down and take notice when you’re directly in front of them.  Not on country roads, no, but in an urban environment where between traffic lights you can keep up with or even beat traffic, absolutely!

Fortunately, they interviewed Jeff Peel with League of American Bicyclists and he basically said they were full of it.  It’s still a motorist centered piece, far from being a neutral conversation starter, but at least it portrayed our side of the story, and it has a small listing of cycling laws by state.  Check it out.

Photo from their story of a 1997 bike rally by Critical Mass in San Francisco, by Sam Morris/AP

Comments

@Slonie - 10/26/09 - 10:33pm

It’s USA Today, what do you expect? (Then again, a lot of people read it, so their crap has influence among hotel guests all over the nation!)

Jace - 10/26/09 - 11:18pm

Guess that guys never been to the Yield2Life website… his precious 30 seconds are apparently worth more than your life and mine…

Richard I - 10/27/09 - 8:48am

If car drivers are losing then who’s winning?
It certainly isn’t the cyclist..

Larry - 10/27/09 - 10:13am

To be honest, did you expect an auto writer for one of the worst news papers in the country to write anything less? Of course Chris Woodyard is going to lean in favor of autos over bicycles as Trek isn’t taking out full page ads to hock their wares unlike Nissan, Chevy, etc….
Kind of a moot point arguing about this on a dedicated cycling website as we’re just preaching to our own.

Definitely good to see though.

Interesting that this comes up just as the LA Road Rage trial is going on to take a look into the minds of those who use their cars to try and harm someone on a bike. Looks like Velonews.com is covering that story pretty well.

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