Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A State University Education

A funny thing happened in the college town of Vermillion this week. An Assistant Editor of the Student Newspaper published an invitation for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. That an a few other tidbits. Here:
I don't think I'm the only one who wants to run over the fellow on the bike riding in front of my car down Clark Street.
[That bike] can't go as fast as my Monte Carlo and if you give me a look for following too closely I might have to prove it.
I've never actually love tapped your 10-speed. But, believe me, I've thought about it. I dream about it every time I get stuck behind you when I'm late for class.
Next time I see one of those guys go through a stop sign, I'm going to follow them and run them over.
Pretty neat huh?

The article is here. The author's e-mail address is published with the article too.

If you send her an e-mail be sure to mention that you agree cyclists should properly stop at red lights and stop signs.


Anonymous said...

This attitude really frustrates me. We had a similar editorial from a pedestrian who can't seem to remember his bike lock, in the Iowa State Daily:

He threatened to put sticks in our spokes. Nice.

They are just old grumps in training, but I hate that this attitude seems to extend through the majority of road users. I guess we'll have the last laugh when we're all paying $5 a gallon this summer?

Anonymous said...

I wrote the column and, for the sake of my defense, I write humor columns. If you read me weekly you would understand that it's a joke. I'm not an opinion writer, I'm a humor columnist. I'd never hit you. I am not angry and I spend tons of time on bike paths, walking paths, and streets. No hard feelings.

Matt said...

I wrote her this:

Hello Kerry

I read your article inviting cyclists, like myself, to ride on sidewalks rather than in the streets where we get in the way of motorists, also like myself. I must say, you seem very bitter that something as innocuous as a cyclist would cause to well forth such violent emotions. I like the bit about wanting to run down cyclists who run Stop signs. Cyclists should stop at Stop signs, but so should cars. Have you ever watched cars roll through? They do it all the time. Here in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis tried out cameras to catch people running red lights. In 30 days at 12 intersections they got 4,400 violators. I like to think about this when motorists get all high and mighty about bicycles and Stop signs. Tell me, when you see a car run a Stop sign, does this cause you to want to chase them down and hit them as well? Or do just fantasize about preying on the defenceless and unarmored?

As a journalist, you may wish to check some actual facts. I'd suggest you do some research on which taxes pay for the roads and sidewalks. Depending on where you live, you may discover that property taxes, not gasoline taxes, pay for the majority of local roads. You may wish to investigate the legal status of bicycles on roads. Depending on where you live, you may find that bicycles are legally entitled to operate on non-Interstate roads and highways. You may also discover that they are actually prohibited from operating on sidewalks. You may wish to look up the legally prescribed turn signals; you may discover that the left arm is used to signal both left and right turns as required by law.

As you grow in journalism, you will find that conveying factual information in a clear manner is generally preferable to broadcasting your ignorance. While you're sleeping through your classes, your professors may have told you this. Perhaps you'll get it next time around. There is more to journalism that coffee, a keyboard and an attitude. If you plan to make a career of it, you'll do well to learn this and work on your craft.

I hope your hostility settles down and you live a long and happy life.

Matthew Cole
Saint Paul, Minnesota