I read with interest letter, “Bicyclists: Require license, and insurance.” On behalf of the bikers who were patronizing the ARCO station, let me just say the driveway does not belong to only those in vehicles. It belongs to all patrons who visit the ARCO. The fact that someone is in a vehicle does not make their business any more important than the cyclists who were also there. Where does it stop indeed!
I ride my bike every morning and night and so far have had several near misses and been knocked down twice by inattentive drivers. I can understand children riding on the sidewalk, but as I understand it the curb lane is the bike lane — where it exists. Unfortunately, there is no bike/curb lane in many places where there should be, which is an issue with city transportation and not individual cyclists. Fourth Avenue West and 112th Street Southwest both have bike lanes that are regularly used. Unless someone stands on the corner for a 12-hour day to observe, they wouldn’t be able to form an opinion about that.
A few thoughts. No. 1: When someone obtains their driver’s license, they should be given a book detailing the bike laws to educate them on sharing the road — a requirement not a choice.
No. 2: Drivers should have to renew their understanding of these laws in regard to bicyclists and patrons every time they renew their driver’s license — if not every year.
No. 3: The state should come up with stiffer laws for drivers who cause injury to cyclists. For anyone who feels they have a right to permanently damage another human being simply because their commute is extended by a few minutes is appalling. I have to pay for the privilege of driving on the road, as I do of course own a vehicle. My tax dollars go for the maintenance of the roads I use and I see no reason why drivers would feel bicyclists do not contribute. In fact, I pay extra for specialized plates. To make it fair, how about chargin g drivers/bicyclists based on the weight of their chosen vehicle, since it is the weight that damages the road and not the method of commute. My bike weighs 22 pounds. How much does your car weight? I use my vehicle frequently on weekends and during the week and I pay for that privilege the same as someone who commutes by car to work.
Most of the drivers and pedestrians I have come across are arrogant and couldn’t care less if they almost run you over or block your way by walking dead center in the path. Where I come from, since the laws for bicycling on the sidewalk were inappropriate to the times, I went to city council and had them changed. You can now ride up to 10 mph legally on the sidewalk in Marysville. This is a huge improvement to “using the curb” when it doesn’t exist. The speed limit being 10 mph thankfully doesn’t force pedestrians to go that fast while traveling on the sidewalk, any more than the 35-plus mph speed limit on the roads forces bicyclists to reach that speed in order to be there. The police do not have to become pedestrian cops, if they see an infraction they can correct it, they don’t have to patrol just for pedestrians who refuse to stay to the right and let others pass.
In the last two months I have saved 36 gallons of gas, 720 pounds of CO2 into our atmosphere and taken 70 trips for a total of 733 not driven alone. Let’s not forget the cardiovascular benefits and reduction in health-care costs I save society.
When people start thinking of the whole population and not just one segment — start practicing tolerance instead of superiority — things might get a little better in this town. Remember that next time you see a cyclist making their way up a hill and it takes you an extra second to get home to your TV while cruising in your comfortable car.
Wendie Collins lives in Marysville.