Don’t Dish Out What You Cannot Take…

Background Reading

Summary

David Altenburg • 2 hours ago

Thanks for your reporting on this. The knowledge and context you bring into this story, as well as the fact that you’ll be looking into the reality of what actually happened long after CBS has moved onto the next sensationalist story really underscore why the journalism you and Steven do here is so important.

One thing we do know is this: Chicago Trolley drivers have now fatally run over two people in the last seven months. Whether that’s a tragic coincidence or indicative of serious flaws in their driver training and licensing isn’t clear at this point. Whether or not Ms Katz had the explicit goal of distracting the public from that issue by bringing up the sure-to-generate-controversy topic of bike licensing, she certainly has accomplished that.


TakeAways

This applies even to the Urban Cycling Movement.

This applies even to the Urban Cycling Movement.

It is perhaps just coincidence but what we do know for sure is that bicyclists in Central Park NYC have managed to run down and kill two pedestrians in the past year or so. Whether that is a tragic coincidence or indicative of serious flaws in the training and licensing of New York cyclists is unclear at this point.

But when you add up the things that the Urban Cycling Community attempts to use to shame motorists that includes:

  • ghost bikes
  • sending members of the Urban Cycling Community to follow court proceedings
  • running ongoing photo tagging threads of people illegally parked in the bike lane
  • knocking on the windows of off duty cops to complain about darting into the bike lane
  • running articles in StreetsBlog to campaign for high taxes on gasoline
  • running articles in StreetsBlog to try to enlist support for money grabbing stunts like red light and speed cameras
  • calling alderpersons foul names in online forums because they ask that cyclists be licensed and trained
  • failing to visit the sites of the deaths of pedestrians at the hands of cyclists when the Ride of Silence is conducted
  • putting together Just Look decals to shame car passengers

I could go on but the objective is clear in all of these things. It is to frame the debate over bicycling with cyclists as the victim. But in fact that tag is better applied to the same pedestrians that cyclists swear at in online forums for walking to and from their automobiles parked on Dearborn Street. Meanwhile cyclists plow through pedestrians who manage to get to the crosswalk in the nearby intersection in one piece as they amber gamble to avoid stopping at the red lights along the route.

I in fact was heading north along Dearborn and watched as a female cyclist ran each and every single red light along the entire length of this Protected Bicycle Lane. Had she been hit and killed and I had been asked to testify about what I had seen, I would have to tell the truth and not sugarcoat anything.

Bicyclists have gone out of their way to post the photographs of the faces of men (one and African-American) who are removing bikes chained to bike racks in the Loop on the off chance that the guy was possibly stealing them. They have even gone so far as to try and shame a youth (probably because he was Hispanic) who appears to have been doing nothing more than retrieving his bicycle.

This sort of thing goes on constantly on the Chicago Whine and Jeez Club Bicycling Forum. And yet one of its members who writes for StreetsBlog has the temerity to complain that stating the obvious about someone who manages to collide with a bus is somehow ridiculing him.

Well, take a look at what you guys have been doing for the past several years and tell me that none of that could be taken as insulting. I still remember the awful treatment a young woman got on your forum simply because she dared to pose a question in a manner that you thought exposed her as some sort of troll.

You folks need to stop getting your panties in a twist every time something stupid on your part results in danger. At the very least you need to adopt the stance of the Ethicist who was willing to ‘own‘ his deeds and to declare in essence that he was not about to change his ways even if it meant personal injury. It was his choice. So be it!