Saturday, April 15, 2006

My Letter to the Editor of the Volante

The USD Student Newspaper recently released an article from a student saying the bicycles should stay on the sidewalk. Needless to say, she picked the wrong group to go after. Here is the article (Reasons why we have sidewalks) followed by my reponse below.

Dear Volante Editor and Ms. Hacecky:

As the President of the local bicycle club in Vermillion, I have a few comments on my own behalf, not those of the club, to Ms. Hacecky’s article “Reasons why we have sidewalks.” However, don’t be surprised if you have enough “filler” for your newspaper for quite some time as cyclists are a very passionate group that believes strongly in a simple credo: “Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules.”

I will say one positive thing about Ms. Hacecky’s article: Bicycles should NOT blow through stop signs. That being said, we have all done it, cars and bicycles. Every chance I get to pay attention to cars at stop signs, with nobody coming, rarely will a car come to complete stop. This is the point where we no longer see eye to eye however. Your comment about following the biker through the stop sign and running them over is absolutely juvenile. YOU can write whatever you want in the paper, however YOU also have a responsibility to your potential readers. Had you made a disclaimer that this article was for “entertainment only” I wouldn’t even be writing this, but you seemed fairly serious in your comments.

Maybe you should have taken Drivers Education. Then you would know what proper hand signals are all about. Here is a quick recap for you: Left turn--left arm straight out pointing left. Right turn--left arm pointed straight up or right arm straight out pointing right. Stop or slowing--left arm pointed straight down.

Now that you have had your opinions about bicycles on the road, let’s talk about how cars treat bicycles. There have been at least two bike/car accidents in Vermillion recently that disprove your “bicycles are safer on the sidewalk” theory. IF (big IF intentional) cars were to stop before the white line at a stop sign (yes, this is part of Drivers Ed) both accidents would not have occurred as bikes coming off the sidewalk ran into the car.

How about your precious cell phone that you HAVE to have glued to your ear while driving? Just a couple of months ago at the intersection of Dakota and Cherry I was heading north at a decent clip of speed. A clueless and quite oblivious young lady turned East on Cherry right in front of me and I had no choice but to lay my bike on its side or else she would have hit me. Then she realized to her “surprise” what almost happened and when I raised my arms in a “why” motion her mood turned sour and she chose to point a “happy finger” at me. My bad, obviously this was my fault.

Drivers who speed to the corner ahead of me and turn right as I’m trying to go straight annoy me more than any other. If I have to slow down because you HAD to pass me and turn, then you are wrong, plain and simple.

Do I wear my helmet? Absolutely! With people like you making threats of running me over I would encourage all other cyclists to do the same. That helmet just might save my life and keep you from a charge of vehicular homicide.

I’ll leave you with a quote that you should print out and paste everywhere as it might help you make better future decisions in journalism. Abraham Lincoln was once quoted as saying "It is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt". By the way, we really are the “funnest” bunch of people you will ever meet.

Kevin Brady
Vermillion, SD

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