Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another Wacky Editorialist And My Compulsory Upbraiding

Craig Groshart means well. I hope. No, I'm not sure that he does. You would have to read this to find out.

I'm not one to fly off the handle when people present these sorts of unresearched, bigoted editorials, but I do like to write rebuttals. Here is mine:

Mr. Groshart,

Thanks for your article in the in the Bellevue Reporter the other day. It's true that cooler tempers should prevail. I would like to point you to Washington State Law as it pertains to cyclists. Therein, you will find that if a lane isn't wide enough for a car to pass a cyclist in the same lane, the cyclist has every right to take the entire lane for safety sake.

To wit:

Question: What position in the lane should a bicyclist use?


1) Bicyclists traveling at the speed of traffic may use the middle of the lane.

2) A bicyclist traveling at a speed less than the normal flow of traffic should ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe except when a) preparing to turn b) when passing another bicycle or vehicle or c) on a one-way street, where it is legal to ride on the left (RCW 46.61.770).

3) Bicyclists should ride in the middle of the right through lane when that lane is too narrow to permit side-by-side sharing with motor vehicles, and when hazards (such as drain grates or a rough edge) prevent riding on the shoulder or along the edge of the lane.

4) Bicyclists may ride on the road shoulder, but this is required only on limited-access highways, such as freeways.

Question: May bicyclists ride side-by-side?

Answer: Yes. State law allows bicyclists to ride two abreast (RCW 46.61.770).

I fear that what you are advocating will only serve to embolden drivers to verbally scold or even physically pressure cyclists to do something not in their best interests or even more dangerous. Drivers already have the added bully club of 3-7000lbs of car to use as a coercive tool and your misreading of state traffic law does a great disservice to all vehicles and all road users.

As for the recent critical mass incident, the driver ran over numerous cyclists before anyone touched the assailant's vehicle. The fact that the driver is not facing charges for vehicular assault is a byproduct of published pieces such as yours disseminated widely that make cyclists secondary road users and subject to prejudicial actions.


Brad Hawkins

Keep it polite, keep it direct, don't refer to Nazis, KKK, or George W Bush, and you'll do just fine in your own letters to the editor. Peace

1 comment:

Robere said...

Were you published?