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Disturbing stuff from someone who has the manifest ability to write thoughtfully. He joins Scott Simon in the category of smart people who reflexively say dumb things about bicyclists. In case there's anyone left who hasn't seen this: https://medium.com/@CarlAlviani/why-bikes-make-smart-people-say-dumb-things-9316abbd5735

Smedley gives CM too much credit. Most of the time he's an idiot. Nonetheless, the WaPo published it. Why? Because the influence and sales of papers these days depend on controversy. Did you see John Kelly's column the same day? Also about bikes, but very different one. CM thinks he can get away with racism. Oh, he can.

It's a disgusting article. BTW, I predicted on GGW that the bike escalator idea would get picked up by some eejit and used against cyclists. I guess it doesn't mean much when the same "author" talks about asking for bike lanes past churches as being some sort of reverse Crusade.

yes, controversy sells.

$500. That is maybe the saddest part. If this is correct (I assume yes), it shows how dominant the auto-mindset is and how pathetic it is, while cars are killing cyclists with minimal consequence, to call bikes the bullies.

Credit denied.

KW, I think I may have had some of his work confused with that of Colbert King. Ask me about some of my other embarrassing race-based confusions.

Courtland Milloy, of Fort Washington, Maryland.

The Washington Post also prints columns by George Will and Charles Krauthammer. These guys have been pretty much demonstrably wrong about everything (Iraq war, greenhouse effect, student rape, you name it.) The Post's editorial policy of fiscal austerity during a recession was completely misguided, though perhaps more out of ignorance and incuriousity than a desire to ratbleep the economy.

You could dismiss it as click trolling for the ignorant old crank readership if the opinions the Post supports weren't so destructive to our country.

And they wonder why their business model is dying off.

It really does a disservice to the community though. I have posted such, not that an anonymous comment on the Internet amounts to much when there are so many others on there actually defending him. Still, I'm really feeling like a "bully" today so I had to go push them all around a bit just to make myself feel big.

Boycott Amazon.

I wonder if he's ever looked at the packed bike racks inside the Post's garage. How many of his co-workers has he blithely called terrorists, and said it's not necessarily a bad thing to hit them with a car?

As one of his coworkers (not a bike commuter though), I guarantee you that if he crosses my path, he will get an earful. It's not likely though, since he barely ever comes into the office.

This piece really shakes my confidence as a daily commuter who regularly snakes past the string of cars stuck in traffic. Now I feel that if a driver runs me off the road for "revenge" they can claim I was a lawbreaker and probably get the benefit.

Why did the Post editors decide to publish this "war on bikes" proclamation?

I wouldn't expect to see something this bad on the worst yahoo message board. Despite this, the city's flagship newspaper ran this article. That's the part that's most frustrating.

Courtland Milloy specializes in uses coded (but very thinly veiled so his audience gets it) hate screed.

The real wonderment is why the Post continues to besmirch their once great paper with it?

Maybe things are so bad there the only thing left is to generate interest (ala WTOP) by a good dose of yellow journalism.

It's click bait, but someone posted that it's actually on the first page of the Metro section as well. Take two steps back, do not collect $200.

He sees everything in Black and White, literally. It's all part of some super "plan" to destroy Black America, or at least Black DC. That's really what he believes. And that's all he cares about.

It's tragic, it's pathetic, but somehow the WaPo keeps the guy on staff.

You ought to submit this post as a letter to the editor.

Wash, don't feed the troll! CM is the grumpy old dude who complains about everything and listens to too much AM radio.

I wrote him a letter - as follows.

= = = = = = = = = =

I’m utter flabbergasted at your column.

Seriously, you seem to suggest it’s OK to strike a bicycle with a car if the driver feels bikers are being egregious?

APPALLING!!!!

SHAME ON YOU, INCITING VIOLENCE!!!!

I would think as a black man you would be very careful about taking a few examples out of context and broadly applying them to a group in a derogatory way. Most bikers don’t behave the way you claim – ever.

I invite you to commute to work with me and see things from a bicyclist point of view. I’ve been biking to work off-and-on since the Carter Administration – almost 35 years now. It can be done. Drive to my place, and try it for three days – I will even loan you a bike. I’ll be happy to escort you to your work place even though it’s out of my way just to open up your eyes.

What you will quickly learn is just how unbalanced, unfair, and frankly untrue your writing was. That angry drivers such as yourself are in reality life-threatening to cyclists.

[Name and address]

I'm sending this letter to the post.

In response to Courtland Milloy July 9th column.

I feel sorry for the Post Editors

Daily they see the decline in subscription and advertising rates driving their business into the ground. And how do they respond with increasingly desperate attempt to stop the erosion of readership. By unleashing their pet dog Courtland Milloy a tired sounding old man who want's DC to return to the good old days of the 70s. Was that when the Post was making money?


Normally I don't give his rant's to much credence. But today's mishmash of anti bike bile was just to over the top. As someone who was seriously injured when a driver rear ended me on my bike. I can't believe the Post will publish article justifying and advocating attacking people.

I would hope the editors would know when to say when.

It may be legal for a cyclist to keep passing the same cars at every stoplight (I don't think it is where I live in Canada, since cyclists are supposed to observe the same rules as motorists and motorists sure as heck can't do that!) but it's still a dick move. The part of this equation that I don't think a lot of cyclists realize (my fiancee is a cyclist who only started learning how to drive last month, and he admitted he didn't realize this before) is that when you're a motorist with any amount of sense (aka one who doesn't WANT to hit people) it's very nerve-wracking for motorists to pass cyclists. I am terrified of hurting a cyclist when I pass them, or hitting the car in the next lane as I pass, but if I don't pass, all the cars behind me are stuck, or they do an even bigger dick move and pass me AND the cyclist. So to be a courteous driver to EVERYONE around me I have to pass the cyclist. To have to pass the same one over and over again is extremely frustrating. My fiancee now always stays behind the cars that have passed him so they don't have to pass him again and again. Is that really an unreasonable course of action for all cyclists to take? Seems like it should be common courtesy.

So if a MD commuter runs me off the road now, can I include the Washington Post in the lawsuit for suggesting it?

cyclists are supposed to observe the same rules as motorists and motorists sure as heck can't do that!

In Canada you can't pass stopped cars? Or pass cyclists?

To have to pass the same one over and over again is extremely frustrating.

Then don't pass them. How is passing the cyclist courteous to the cars around you if you're only going to wind up behind them again? That means you and the cyclist are travelling at the same average speed. So why not stop going very fast and very slow and just go at the cyclist speed?

@Mon

The relationship's a reciprocal one. Why should a driver want to keep passing a cyclist who keeps passing him? They're obviously averaging the same speed.

The Post has put up a couple of response articles to the Milloy one, btw.

@Mon: cars can accelerate from a dead stop (as in a line of cars stopped at a stoplight) much faster than a cyclist can. So if I don't go up to the light, but stop six cars back, all the cars behind me have to wait for me to get up to speed to get through the intersection. More cars will make it through the intersection before the light turns red if cyclists filter up to the light on the right. You may have to go more slowly on the other side of the intersection until you have room to pass the cyclist (or be wise and don't pass them, as washcycle suggests), but that is less irritating than getting caught by the red light at an intersection a second time.

As long as we're wandering, I have given the "filtering" question some consideration as part of my late life conversion to (relatively) lawful cycling. I don't do it anymore, mainly because it gives me a more convincing claim to the lane, should I decide to take it, and also because of the risk of getting cut off by right-turning vehicles. Those sprints from a stop to maintain position in traffic are also good for my aging heart, I hope.

OK, go ahead and tell me that my claim to the lane is lawful and need not be convincing.

Sorry for the ambiguous "it" in the second line of the above post, but I think my meaning is clear.

Filtering is situational for me. If the traffic in general is moving slowly, I'll definitely do it. If it's about to open up to speeds I cannot match, I usually do as Smedley says and establish my claim to the lane.

The terrible thing is that CM's arguments echo the arguments that racist whites used against minorities for decades. Including
- widespread law breaking
- unjustified "entitlement"
- damaging the social fabric
- because of the above, violence against them is reasonable

Crikey should change his screen name to "Crikey and Brendan"

Milloy isn't writing about bikes. He's writing about race and age. He hates young white people. If young white people like something, he hates it. He thinks Ben's Chili Bowl is the last good thing that happened in DC, and he wants Marion Barry back as mayor. That's the whole story.

Nah, the whole story is that Milloy lives in carlocked Ft. Washington MD, and now that DC is looking after its own residents by building bike lanes and crosswalks and stuff he can't speed in and out of town as easily.

This 'terrorist' is a 24yr veteran of the US military. Milloy's column pissed me off enough that I actually registered on WAPO to comment,and sent an e-mail to the paper asking for an apology. This BS needs to stop.

BTW,WABA has posted a good rebuttal: http://www.waba.org/blog/2014/07/setting-the-record-straight-re-milloys-bullies/

...and another columnist has posted a response:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/its-time-to-tone-down-the-tirades-against-bicyclists/2014/07/09/950a98b4-077b-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html?tid=pm_local_pop

Regarding filtering to the front of the line; generally I don't cut to the front of the line unless there is a bike box or I think there is a real safety issue at hand.

What I really object to when waiting in line behind a car is having to breathe in the exhaust fumes. Sorry drivers, I may slow you down for a few seconds but you are poisoning my lungs.

And yes, I stay *way* back when stuck behind a bus at intersections. The driver can't see me and they spew out lots of fumes. Please don't honk at me to move up!

Filtering and sidewalk-riding can sometimes be annoying. I agree with you there, Courtland.

Know what's a great way to avoid both? Bike lanes.

You like bike lanes, right, Courtland?

Funny that CM complains that there are no bike lanes in Ward 8. If they were added, CM would complain that the city was riding roughshod over the vocal opposition of Ward 8 residents.

Funny that CM complains that there are no bike lanes in Ward 8. If they were added, CM would complain that the city was riding roughshod over the vocal opposition of Ward 8 residents.

I found that the most bizarre part of a very bizarre column.

It's like complaining at a restaurant that the food is inedible -- and the portions are small.

I.....I can't even do this shit anymore. I'm carrying....something....from.now on. I have been swerved at by motorists before. Maybe I should be the very bike riding terrorist he imagines. Damn, I'd like to be, if riding didn't make do fucking happy.

Cyclists are a group of people that is currently legal to discriminate against.

In reality driver and peds follow the rules just as poorly as cyclists but people turn a blind eye to the rules they break and try to enforce them on others.

It is quite sad that a Country that cries Freedom is so quick to constantly and continually discriminate and try to take away people's freedoms.

I just think it's funny that Courtland knows what DC wants as he lives in his little river view home steps from the Potomac River in Ft. Washington.

Cyclists are a group of people that is currently legal to discriminate against.

That may be over stating it a little bit. It's legal to hate us, just as it's legal to hate Florida State fans, but I'm not sure there is a lot of legal discrimination going on.

Wash, don't feed the troll! CM is the grumpy old dude who complains about everything and listens to too much AM radio.

Pretty much. He's just another rapidly aging "get off my lawn" curmudgeon. I hope some day to see him driving while I'm riding so I can slap his mirror and give him something else to write about.

My argument for it being "legal" is that the majority of the time no charges are brought against drivers when they are at fault, police side with the driver's statements and that driver feel it's ok to demand rules are enforced to the letter of the law for cyclists while 99% of the drivers break rules every day.

As for the article in question, if cyclists were an ethnic or religious group it could be construed as illegal because comments in the article are suggesting violence against a group of people.

Wash,there are currently apt and office buildings(not just in DC) that do not allow bikes brought in,even though some have parking garages for cars. And in addition to the poor legal protection Joe mentioned,you can say anything you want about cyclists with impunity. Go on a local blog or comments section and say something about blacks/women/gays/jews and your comments will be modded and you may be banned. Say something about cyclists,to include violence,and you get 'me to' and upvoted.

Crap,forgot to add:

Wash,remember the GGW article where the police supervisor told the cyclist who was hit it had to have been his fault? Could you imagine someone saying the same thing to a black person? Chief Lanier would be gone,and there would be demonstrations,if not riots.

Being a cyclist is a choice. Your ethnicity, gender, and (for most people) religion are the way you're born. Big difference.

My argument for it being "legal" is that the majority of the time no charges are brought against drivers when they are at fault, police side with the driver's statements and that driver feel it's ok to demand rules are enforced to the letter of the law for cyclists while 99% of the drivers break rules every day.

That all happens, but it's not legal. It's not legal for the police to be biased.

remember the GGW article where the police supervisor told the cyclist who was hit it had to have been his fault? Could you imagine someone saying the same thing to a black person?

That's not legal either.

the article are suggesting violence against a group of people.

I'm torn on this one. He doesn't really suggest violence, he just says that he would understand someone who felt compelled to do it. But it's not far off from that DJ who got fired for saying "No wonder people drag them behind trucks." He didn't really suggest violence either.

So I'll concede that we don't treat cyclists with the same protection that we do other classes in these types of matters.

We don't get as angry about hate speech directed at cyclists as we do at racial minorities, nor do we view it as offensive to be biased against cyclists as we do against racial minorities. I think that's a fair statement.

Note that Mr. Milloy only allows comments on his Facebook page from Friends. Thus, the completely one-sided nature of the comments, and complete acceptance of all the speeding, texting and drunk driving by drivers, who managed to kill at least 6 people in the greater D.C. area over the past week.

I am plenty angry at the irrational prejudice in favor of motor vehicles, but I think the racial parallel is weak and reflects a. a desire to get back at Milloy for his own racialist viewpoint, which has wounded the liberal "amour propre" of some white residents, and b. the global tendency to see every conflict in identity terms, these days.

I cycle to work and the gym, not because I was born with cleat feet, but as a choice, just as, if I tell a lie or kick a dog it's not because I am a Democrat. Let's not contribute to the trivialization of these distinctions.

Note: A possible exception is "The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien, where a man really does become a bicycle due to the "operation of the mollycule theory". Required reading for lovers of the absurd.

probably best to refer to him as "an angry guy in a car" rather than as a "driver", because it doesn't seem like he can actually drive all that well.

"I cycle to work and the gym, not because I was born with cleat feet, but as a choice, just as, if I tell a lie or kick a dog it's not because I am a Democrat. Let's not contribute to the trivialization of these distinctions."

The fact that one chooses something does not necessarily make it less important than a born identity. This country was first settled (in the north, at least) by pilgrims seeking to be free to worship - a course of life they CHOSE. Freedom to worship, speak, and assemble, all choices, are in the first amendment to the Constitution.

Would it be okay to justify discrimination against the practitioners of islam, judaism, hinduism, or any sect of christianity because its a choice, unlike race?

I would also note biking is something many poor people in our region rely on for transportation, and that many people rely on for their physical health.

Discrimination is action that denies social participation or human rights to a person or group of people. Discrimination goes well beyond ethic, religious and sexual orientations.

Are cyclists a group of people? Or does society have the right to tell us can't ride bicycles for transportation and recreation?

In regards to the article: Expecting laws to be enforce on one group of people and not another, and suggesting violence against one group of people(because they don't follow the rules) while the other group does the same thing, is discrimination.

The other sickening thing is that it is acceptable to state that a cyclist deserved to die because bicycles should not be on the road. Yes it is an opinion but it is legally incorrect, exclusionary and bias. How is that not discrimination? (Note: This is an all to common comment on news articles)

ACITS, I take your point, but your use of the term "necessarily" is well advised. To belabor the obvious, some choices, e.g., speech and religion, are protected within limits, and others, e.g., what we choose to ingest, are not. I think it's a very heavy lift to create a right from a transportation option.

Moreover, one can, unfortunately, conceive of a world in which riding a bicycle on city streets was regarded as dangerous and antisocial by a majority. In reality, I'm not entirely not sure where it lies on the spectrum from Christianity to heroin, but, to my layman's view, as soon as enough people object, things that look like rights disappear.

Cheers and thanks for this interesting exchange.

But I think we can say how it is on the scale from heroin to religion. Its widely practiced at least occasionally by a very large number of people, it PROMOTES better health - I daresay its more popular both in terms of number of practioners, and in views by non-practioners than any religion but Christianity. And a non-trivial number of people like far more than they like christianity.

Ergo, I think using the term "discrimination" is not trivializing that word. Note not all forms of discrimination are equally important.

I should clarify that one of the reasons I use the word discrimination is from working with Montgomery County Parks on trails. A few years ago staff stated that to deal with the problems on the capital crescent trail they needed to segregate the trail. Details were not given and I gave them a hard time for even using the word. In the past they also used the word when talking about natural surface trail user groups.

To add to that I lived in Southern Africa during apartheid so I am well aware what the word segregation means and how it relates to discrimination.

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