Letters to the Editor Drama

Can you tell this is a British cartoon?

Has anybody been paying attention to the Letters to the Editor in the Post Register concerning cyclists.  Click here to see the original letter from Bill Craig of Idaho Falls.

This was the published reply by me:

Dear Mr. Craig,

The Post Register’s 250 word limit does not give me the space to address your sweeping generalizations or your ignorance of Idaho law regarding bicycling on the roads (in short, it allows for two abreast riding and the treating of stop sign as yield signs).  But it does allow me to address the crux of the matter.  When we cyclists are doing our thing, we are merely doing our thing.  We have no desire to irritate people; we have no animosity toward other motorists.  Idahoans have the freedom to enjoy many sports/pastimes such as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, soccer, etc. We are merely fellow Idahoans that enjoy a different sport/pastime than others.  We just want to enjoy what we do without having to worry about getting things thrown at us or people intentionally getting as close to us as possible or idiots in their F-3Gazillions (with power butt wipers) revving their diesels as they pass us in a display of “Lug nut rule” superiority.  What is in the heart is the difference.  One has anger and malice toward the other and one does not.  Which are you Mr. Craig?

Which received this reply from Mr. Craig;

Well, Ken H. from the tone of your letter, you sound like a bicyclist with an attitude.  Are you one of those bikers who run red lights or stop signs, and get mad when you are honked at?  Your Hawaiian peace sign (hand given), only aggrivates the problem.  If you ride a bike like you write, no wonder people throw things at you.  Get a license number, which is more than a car driver can do.

I have no anger or malice toward bikers.  I just advocate the idea of following the rules of the road and showing more understanding of each other’s rights.  So, maybe you have some ignorance of the laws yourself.  Read the book.

To which I replied (yet to be published);

In response to Mr. Craig’s Rules of the Road I submit the following information from the Idaho Dept. of Transportation website;

(1) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.

(2) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic…

I do not feel I had an attitude in my original response and I believe ignorance needs to rectified but I don’t want to start a lot of animosity toward cyclists.  I guess if I’m honest with myself, I know that no amount of “education” will change people’s attitudes.  Jerks will always be jerks.  So should I tell the PR that I don’t want my second reply published?

By the way, I think the articles linked to at the bottom of this post should be read.


4 responses to “Letters to the Editor Drama

  1. Y’know, it’s just my opinion, but I think the best way to combat this problem is to become a happy-go-lucky person every time you ride. I used to get so fired up about drivers who would flip me off as they went by or who would rev their engines after creeping up next to me (had a semi-trailer do this once). But I’m doing my best now to smile and wave at anyone who doesn’t kill me–including the boneheads who don’t know how to drive.

    We have to remember that if we flip off everyone who does the same to us, we’re just escalating the situation. The next time that driver sees a cyclist, he’ll remember that the last cyclist flipped him off, and he’ll be more prone to commit an act of violence.

    I’m not saying cyclists should be passive, necessarily, but I think you have to realize that not escalating anger is probably the only thing we have the ability to control in this situation. But I agree with you: Idaho motorists really should cool off. After all, traffic is much worse in other places than it is here.

    Let the PR publish your latest response. People need to know the laws at hand.

  2. The depressing thing is that the letters to the editor section isn’t exactly well-read by a majority of subscribers anyway. It’s an uphill battle, but I say keep this going for as long as the PR will give it space.

    I’m originally from IF and wasn’t surprised at the tone of the original letter you responded to. It ain’t bike country out there at all. People holler at us here in Seattle, but there is at least a larger bicycle culture and more awareness in general, which counts for a lot.

    I agree with the other comment about the law part. If it’s legal in Idaho to “run” stoplights if there isn’t traffic, people need to know that and not use it as fuel to carry some vendetta.

  3. One more comment about this: You need to go read this blog on Bicycling magazine’s web site:

    I think she makes some rather pertinent points.

  4. The IF Peloton

    Good link, thanks

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