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Don't Rush Me


Bicyclists and frogs, get out the way, 2



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July 07, 2010 - Before we get to the column, if you click onto this website, http://www.moviemole.com/jillsshow-1/interviews/don/index.html

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The more things change, so the saying goes, the more they stay the same.

And, these days, gol-durned-it, things are changing all around us. There are tea parties, coffee parties, spandex parties and parties where women go to buy . . . well, they go because . . . I mean, these times are different than in years past.

We're full of change. We have our first unofficially official African American President. For the first time in a long time, folks are actually considering buying, shopping and doing stuff locally. Now, that could only be the result of double-digit inflation and people not having money to go far from home. But, the results are the same, for the first time in a long time, we are staying local.

So, why socially we are in a time of upheaval, it was comforting (to me) to see at least one thing hasn't changed: every time I write about bicyclists, folks respond. Last week I wrote about bicyclists and frogs, and for good reason I wrote it the week before a holiday. I knew I'd get a response, and my holiday-shortened work week easier.

Yes, I am still lazy, but gratefully lazy. Here is what readers thought about the Spandex Revolution, frogs getting squished and Darwin's Theory of Weeding Out the Weak. If you didn't read last week, go check it out.

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Don, I tried to appreciate your attempt of humor towards justification of "squishing" frogs, and loosely comparing that to "squishing" cyclists (albeit human) riding on the shared roadways of our community.

As a cyclist, and quite possibly one of your doctors, your neighbor, or the parent who drives your kid to baseball practice, I beg you to realize that these are human lives you are disregarding.

The question I always ask is: truly how intrusive or how delayed are you due to the shared rights of cyclists on the road? At most, maybe 15 seconds out of 86,400 seconds in a day? Doesn't seem like much, does it? Would you feel vindicated to plow through them to save 15 seconds, or simply to prove your point?

Since you have your own dictionary, maybe I can draw you back into the Webster's Dictionary definition of: civility: noun, plural -ties. 1. courtesy; politeness. 2. a polite action or expression: an exchange of civilities. 3. Archaic . civilization; culture; good breeding. Or better yet, don't act like an entitled idiot, share the road, and show respect. From now on, I'll keep looking back as I ride my bike, watching out for the "frog squishier." -- Brian

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I just read you column. Truth is I seldom get through most of them as they wander a bit much for me. This one though, I read just to see where you were going with it.

The thing about bikers. Most feel like they do have RIGHTS , and while they do, there are also many laws they break on a regular basis. They seldom signal, never stop for signs, don't yield and the big one, they obstruct traffic! And when was the last time you saw one of them carry a wallet in their spandex? Drivers license anyone? All are ticketable. And the obstructing traffic is an easy one to write.

OK, so you think I don't ride. I do. I ride a mountain bike in the woods on trails. A LOT! Sometimes I will HAVE TO ride on the road for some reason. I don't like to because I spent 20 years fixing wrecked cars and can tell you first hand ( or is it second) how most people who are driving roll. Picture this: Some person is driving down the road multi-tasking. They are eating a taco from Taco Bell, smoking a cigarette (or a joint) drinking a soft drink (is a beer soft?), and talking on their phone (because we all know texting is just wrong). That is when they realize they almost missed their turn. Where do you think the bike is in this picture?

I have had many heated conversations with bikers about how this will hurt them and why do they not use the millions of dollars of BIKE PATHS we have built for them.. The one answer I get the most is that they go too fast to be allowed on the path. Is this true? I know they seldom go even close to the speed limit on the roads they ride. And their favs, seem to be the ones with a 50 mph limit and no shoulder. Can you say Oakwood and Grange Hall?

So there it is, my rant. Take it for what it is. Do I care if some biker gets themself run down? Only if I am the one who does it. Why do I care? Because I will always feel bad about it and the damage done to me by some stupid biker may not be broken bones (only emotional) but will still harm me for the rest of my life. -- Print that. Greg

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To be stupid is one of the great American un-enumerated rights. This law of creation kills a goodly number every year. Rest in peace, with your right to bike in traffic. -- Rob

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As a veteran of cycling on roads here in Michigan ,as well as many other parts of the world, for the past 30 years I share your impatience and sometimes frustration with the self-righteous attitude of some cyclists on our narrow, shoulder-less roads. I even point out to other riders the fact that they are setting a bad example while endangering themselves and others.

I also have to point out to rude drivers that I have a right to the roads, that I travel for work as well as pleasure/fitness, and that I am doing my part, however small, to change attitudes about transportation.

I urge you to ride a mile (or a dozen) in their spandex though. See how it feels to get buzzed at your left elbow by a SUV doing 65 while trying to dodge ubiquitous pot holes.

Accept and embrace because bikes are here to stay and will probably be here long after the cars have burned up all the oil. -- Nick

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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