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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Big Idea [momentummag.com]


The Big Idea
Switch Studio
By Mia Birk
He raises his hand, politely at first. He’s impossible to ignore, the only person in the crowded room wearing a cowboy hat. He then stands and begins a tirade.
“You keep talking about adding all these bikeways and stuff, inconveniencing motorists, taking away parking, and you never talk about cyclists doing whatever the hell they want, all the time, disobeying the law, and the police don’t do a damn thing about it. And they just go all over the place, running the lights and you can’t see them at night because they don’t have any lights. Where is the enforcement?”
Sigh. I’ve heard this question/ lecture a thousand times, not only at public meetings but in casual conversation. For drivers, the image of cyclists as scofflaws is etched in their brains.
Mr. Cowboy Hat is part of a vast company of those who chant, “The law is the law. You want the rights, you get the responsibility,” as they exceed the speed limit, roll a stop sign, talk or text on their cell phone, fail to stop for a pedestrian, forget to use turn signals, change lanes abruptly, tailgate or otherwise behave in a manner ranging from inattentive to aggressive. Yes, they are hypocrites. Does that excuse us? Nope.

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