Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Need Better Advocates

I am astonished by the following quote found in a MySanAntonioNews.com story. Not meaning any slight to Gary Scharrer of the Express-News, but given the unreliable nature of the news, I am rather skeptical that this is an accurate quote. Senator Ellis, call your office!

Lifelong bicyclist Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, authored the Senate version of the bill. He owns seven bicycles and rents a bike wherever he travels — including Cuba, South Africa, Egypt, Paris and London.

“People need to know that bicycles are vehicles and have rights on the road,” he said. “Oftentimes, they will hit a cyclist assuming they have a right to just run them over.”

"Oftentimes"? Really? Perhaps the good senator (That was sarcasm! No one is good—except God alone!*) would give an example or two?

As a "lifelong cyclist", how have you managed to live so long?

I am disturbed that a legislator who has been working extensively with "bicycle advocates" can have this perspective. What are they telling him? Who should he believe, the "bicycle advocates" or his own lying eyes?

To those of us who have adopted the practice of riding away from the edge of narrow lanes, we find this attitude silly and grossly mistaken. No driver thinks they have a right to run over anything. Ever.

Motorists commonly avoid debris, potholes, stray animals and other vehicles. All of us, cyclists and motorists alike see it happen thousands of times a day.

As a cyclist, I do not feel that I am in deadly peril from motorists. I think that cycling on the highways and by-ways of Texas is a low risk activity. I even think cycling is less risky than being in an automobile! How can my view of the risks associated with riding a bicycle be so at odds with this "lifelong" enthusiast?

Cycling needs advocates who deal with reality, not superstitious fears.

*Mark 10:18


  1. I don't advocate trying it just to watch, but most motorists will swerve to avoid a plastic bag or tumbleweed being blown by the wind across their lane.

    Many accidents happen when a motorist swerves to avoid a squirrel. Cyclists are likely to do a LOT more damage to a car if hit than the typical squirrel and motorists KNOW this. It's a conditioned thing and gets stronger with added driving experience.

    The only motorists I fear are those that are incapacitated (mostly drugs or alcohol), or that overcome their natural instincts and decide to make a purposeful assault. No riding style, location, or facility will protect me from either of the latter, and I'm not willing to go hide in the woods to avoid them...

  2. Politicians say the darndest things.

    Here's another one being fed a steady diet of koolaid:

    "We all know that bikers are passionate about their wheels; we also know that bicyclists are vulnerable to automobiles and need secure lanes and greater awareness from drivers..."

  3. Keri's a provocateur - provoked me into posting a comment at the "Here's another one" site. I deleted the part of my comment that generally I find the drivers to be pretty decent and not generally the root of the problem. They DO, after all, keep the streets swept free of debris for us.

    Speaking of which, when is "Hug a Motorist Day?"