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200 word limit? The guy should get a blog so he can ramble on and on!

I'm tired of reading these negative letters. It's a bunch of people who'd be afraid to confront a housecat if they met one on the road, saying threatening things just to get a rise.

Here's my take. Cyclists may cork the road on some roads, but we more than make up for it elsewhere by not taking up any precious "car space" at traffic lights and roads with shoulders or wide curb lanes. And don't blame cyclists for the "corking" -- it's cities and counties who fail to widen the roads. I avoid most of those roads anyway.

Anyway, look on the bright side: The snow seems to have covered up all the broken glass on the trails.

BTW about that very first letter... I've noticed while biking, when I'm going slow enough to notice such things, that half the drivers impatiently honking their horns at other drivers are somewhat old and apparently crotchety. It made me calm down a bit. But the last few times someone yelled or honked at me as they passed me, they discovered to their dismay that a cyclist can catch them pretty quick at the next signal.

It's completely disheartening. I would wager the same people who write the "get of the trail" letters are the same ones who write the "get of the road" letters two weeks later.

We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't. The fundamental problem is that Washington is full of self-important jackasses who complain about ANYTHING that gets in their way. Whether it's blocking the bike lane to Blackberry the office or pushing two SUV strollers side-by-side down a trail, these folks resent all reminders they are not on Earth by themselves.

They'd rather kill you than wait to turn right at the Key Bridge.

We all know it's a battle out there. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

But, yeah, Jack, it's pretty satisfying to "break their anonymity" by catching them at a light.

Sigh.

Wow. "Of the trail," not "Off the trail?"

I need to drink coffee before reading stuff like this, and having my buttons pushed.

"Same people, same ones," is sponsored by the Department of Redundancy Department, BTW.

"Washington has made considerable effort to ensure that miles of bike paths are available and well maintained." To put that comment in perspective, DC has about 30 miles of multi-use paths, and about 2000 miles of roads.

I think there really is a generational aspect to this. The laws regarding bicycles on the road have changed a lot in the past 70 years or so. In the years after WWII, a lot of states restricted bicycles, and only in the past 30-40 years has the pendulum swung the other way. So many older drivers learned to drive at a time when cyclists in fact did not have the right to use the road. So there is room for education.

Recent three-way conversation:

[scene 1: 6-lane arterial]

Giant SUV: "HONK!"

[scene 2: SUV's destination, 2 minutes later]

Cyclist: "What's your problem?"

Lady dwarfed by her giant SUV, both physically and mentally: "Someone's gonna rear end me because of you."

Cyclist: "Are you kidding? Your vehicle is visible from outer space."
---
Alternate responses are welcome.

I happen to have met the writer of the last letter you reference and I can assure you he is by no means "brilliant and devastatingly good-looking"--though he compensates with a good personality, ha.

There's an Arlington Co. constable who every once in a while parks on the trail/sidewalk section of the Custis Trail between the opposing lanes of Key Blvd on the Arlington side of Key Bridge. I'm guessing (hoping?) he's sniping red-light runners coming out of Georgetown or off the parkway, though how he plans to safely overtake them from that unorthodox "parking" spot without mowing down cyclists/pedestrians is beyond me:

http://wrenchinthegears.blogspot.com/2006/10/which-thing-doesnt-belong_115984048611656363.html

Ridethewombie,

Brilliant post! You manage to rant about people who "complain about ANYTHING that gets in their way" and people who block bike lanes by "pushing two SUV strollers side-by-side" in the same paragraph. So I guess that means you are complaining about yourself.

Incredible.

Sorry, meant to write "paths" not "bike lanes."

Shared use paths are two way. If you block the whole thing you're blocking both directions and taking it out of service. I don't know too many (living) cyclists who take up the oncoming lane of the road.

guez,

You miss the point. As an editor, you do make a good observation. That choice of words is, literally, contradictory. It would be better to phrase it a different way. Good on ya.

It's a matter of intent, though. The blocker of the bike lane thinks, "F you, cyclist, I'm just waiting here for a minute/unloading these sodas and beers/sitting here my Reston Limousine shuttle/delivering these UPS/Fedex/Airborne packages. Bike lane? F you." And that's not hypothetical. I've asked. They're completely self-centered in their decision to break the rules.

In a similar vein, the dog-walking, iPod wearing, SUV stroller-pushing trail hog thinks, "F you, cyclist. I have the right of way. I don't have any responsibilities. The burden of my safety and your safety is on you. We should ban bikes." Again, completely self-centered thinking.

I'm trying to say there's no way to make these people happy. They want bikes off the roads, and they want them off the paths. It's because they refuse to share things. I meant, "get in their way," figuratively, not literally.

I'm tired of people on MUT's using their rights to abrogate their responsibilities. I'm sick of trucks, taxis, and cars having no respect for bike lanes. I'm tired of getting honked at by, and having close calls with, cars turning right when I am going straight. If that makes me a selfish jackass, then I'm a selfish jackass.

I am sick to death of people yelling at me "get off the road." I have just as much right, if not more so to be on the road as they do!

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