[*BCM*] two-wheels

russell a willis iii rawillis3 at juno.com
Mon Jul 19 15:45:33 EDT 2004

Dave (if I may call you Dave), or Mr. Gradijan,

I am not a resident of anything remotely resembling the Boston area, but
the attitude you project in your recent piece for the Allston-Brighton
TAB is unfortunately prevalent throughout the known universe, including
St. Louis, Missouri, where it is my misfortune to reside, and to use a
bicycle for transportation.

There are a couple of points in your piece that absolutely require

First, it is generally not legal for anyone over the age of, say, twelve,
to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, except in a strictly residential area. 
Actually, it is more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk than on the
street, because at intersections (and at driveways and alleyways), you
need to interact with automobiles, and because you are not already on the
street they do not see you.

Second, it is generally okay for cyclists to ride abreast unless to do so
has the actual effect of obstructing automobile traffic.  This would not
apply, for example, where there is a second lane going the same
direction.  On a related point, because the outer lane is often not
really wide enough to be safely shared by a bicycle and an automobile, it
is sometimes the better part of valor (discretion, for those of you are
not paying attention) for two (or more) cyclists to ride abreast, or
something resembling abreast, in order to enforce on trailing motorists
the understanding that they should use the farther left lane.

Third, if your argument that it is "unsafe" to bike on certain roads
depends entirely on the premise that some motorists will be exceeding
posted limits, or driving too fast for conditions ("winding roads"), then
your argument is trash.

Fourth (or perhaps first, since you seem to believe that all bicycling is
somehow recreational, and not transportational), bicycling is a
completely sensible form of transportation for most purposes, certainly
for distances under, say, ten miles in each direction.  What sense does
it make for a motorist to carry around a ton and a half of empty cargo
space for local errands?

Or perhaps (as a transportational cyclist who has completely lost his
sense of humor over these issues), I am completely missing your point,
which is (or might be) that motorists should be more attentive in sharing
the road with all users.

R. Willis
St. Louis, Missouri
rawillis3 at juno.com

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