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I had to check the front page to make sure whether I was reading the Washington Post when I read the editorial. I was stunned!

I did not see the other letter but this seems to be more of the usual hyperbole which is not concerned with facts.

Why don't they write in when cars try to run them over? Accepted fact of life? "Could have happened to me" syndrome?

Oh well.

"Oh, mister! Do ya think my bike is damaged?" Seriously, that's the only thing the biker said. Frankly, I doubt it -- who speaks like that? Who would ask someone they knocked down if they thought their bike was damaged? Frankly, the fact that this seems me doubt whether any of the other encounters "documented" in the first article occurred.

As a bike commuter, I hate to admit it, but I too really dislike cyclist who bike on the sidewalk. Not only are many inconsiderate of pedestrians, most important to me, if more biked on the street, there would be a greater demand for bike lanes and safer all around for bikers.

Obviously, the post article is ridiculous, but I appreciate part of the sentiment.

In general I'm with you, but all depends. Fast biking on a crowded sidewalk is very bad form. But there are times when the sidewalk is appropriate.

Frankly I don't see bad sidewalk biking too often, but then I don't bike downtown during the day much. I think Eric is right, the bike that almost kills you is like seeing an egret downtown. The car that almost hits you is like seeing a pigeon - and thus not noteworthy.

"I hope no one does it" -- um... Alexandria has banned sidewalk cycling.

I should've clarified it as "I hope no one does it in DC."

As an aspiring triathlete, I both run and cycle on the Mount Vernon Trail, and I occasionally will cycle on the same sidewalks on which I run to get to a safe route. As a part time cyclist, I would hate to see increased restrictions on how I ride ā€“ but as a part time runner, I find myself sympathizing with the pedestrians in this post.

Most of the riders who pass me either lack courtesy, are ignorant of, or simply disregard etiquette and the law ā€“ very few of them give an audible warning prior to passing. A cyclist does not know when a runner or pedestrian will change course to avoid an obstacle, turn around, or for any other reason.

Safety, courtesy, and the law demand that cyclists yield to and communicate with pedestrians on mixed-use trails and sidewalks. But the majority of us, in my experience, fail to do so, and Iā€™m afraid that will result in greater restrictions on how we operate.

A cyclist does not know when a runner or pedestrian will change course to avoid an obstacle, turn around, or for any other reason.

This is very true, but I hate to point out that if you are running (or walking) on a multiuse path, and you suddenly veer off into the left lane (without checking for overtaking traffic) you are to blame for any collision.

The first rule of using these trails is "Keep Right".

But my point was that it's in our best interests as cyclists to excercise courtesy as we share the road with pedestrians. After all - they have the same right to the trail that we do.

While I agree that

The first rule of using these trails is "Keep Right,"

according to the National Park Service, the second and third rules are:

"Bicyclists must give an audible warning before passing"

and

"Speed limit is 15 mph."

Even if it were the primary issue here, I'm pretty sure an at-fault determination would involve more than just the first rule. The bigger picture is whether we can continue to operate without incurring more government restrictions or more aggressive enforcement.

What is the problem with licensing cyclists?

I think the better question is what is the benefit? We don't generally license behavior unless we first determine a need so I'd put the onus on those who want to license to make their case first.

But, we usually license for one of three reasons:

1. To generate a user fee - such as a fishing license

2. To create barriers to entry in a market - such as interior decorating licenses in some states or a license to make NFL gear or a liquor license

3. To ensure that people entrusted with a certain power have demonstrated the ability to use that power responsibly. This includes driver's licenses, a medical license, pharmacy license etc...

I assume one would give a cycling license under #3. But I just don't think cyclists have that much power or need to demonstrate the same level of responsibility. Drawing the line between driver and cyclist makes more sense to me than between cyclist and pedestrian. We let 5 year olds ride bikes, so how much power/responsibility do we really imbue in it. [True we let kid hunt too, but a hunting license is mostly a user fee]. Additionally most cyclists have a driver's license - does that not qualify them to ride a bike?

That being said, I could support a cycling license if:

1. In kindergarten kids get instruction on cycling and take a test that gets them a user's permit. This entitles them to ride anywhere with an adult and in reasonable places alone.

2. Kids continue to get instruction every year after that and around 10 they can take another set of tests to get a cycling license.

3. You must have a cycling license to get an automobile learner's permit or driver's license. If you're waving in from out of state, you have to get a cycling license within 6 months or lose your driver's license.

4. You don't need a driver's license to bike.

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