Anti-biking PG letter to the editor
“I am writing about the bicyclists who are always crying about their right to be on the roads.” Yada-yada-yada…
Have at it!
Looks like the writer is getting an earful. I might press “Like” a few times, but things are well under control.
The better question, why does the PG still print this drivel? Target practice for us? if so, thank you.
Wow! I’m happy to say that this appears to be being well responded to by others! Other than liking comments I feel no need to jump into the fray.
Also if the PG wants to publish these things only to present them as targets for the fusillade of factual and reasoned responses that is occurring, I say have at it.
Wow. Looks like the reasons that counter this ridiculous letter to the editor are getting through. It’s good for the PG to keep publishing these pieces — it’s a useful reminder (even if it is just for click-bait).
Responded with a letter to the editor, let’s see if they run it…
Somebody said something like:
First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.
Look at how many comments support the ignorant writer. Look how many debunk everything they complain about.
Not Gandhi, BTW. It was a union leader. But things are, indeed, changing.
The quote is widely attributed to Gandhi but it is apparently debatable as to whether he actually said it. If he did, it’s possible he was paraphrasing someone else,
Trade unionist Nicholas Klein gave in a 1914 address to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Baltimore:
“First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”
Corrected post to be more vague on quote authorship. Your clarification will suffice to direct readers to identify other potential sources. :)
Here is a late afternoon pop quiz:
Which of the following would our letter writer most likely say if given a strong dose of truth serum and asked about her letter:
1. “I can’t afford to drive as much as I want and someone else should subsidize it for me.”
2. “I hate people who don’t live like I do and want the government to tax and regulate them until they stop.”
3. “I can never get ahead in life because all of my disposable income gets dumped into owning my car.”
4. All of the above.
From the 13/14 state budget:
“Move vehicle registration renewals to a biennial cycle rather than the current annual cycle and move driver license renewals to a six-year cycle rather than the current four-year cycle.”
So the lady is asking for more pointless bureaucracy and wants to go in the opposite direction of the governor
Budget also makes a good point that a) since cars are more efficient, people are paying less on the fuel tax b) with inflation, fuel tax revenue is down because it’s static while inflation is not c) fuel prices are regional so it’s stupid to put a cap on taxes when states around us don’t
Drewbacca wrote:Bikes need to have a yearly emissions test…
noooooooo!!!! i’d totally fail!
i’d eat triple bean burritos before my emissions test, cuz thats how i roll
I was pleased about the general trend of the comments.
I do wonder about the decision to publish a letter that, essentially, advocates restricting the freedom of a group of people.
(biking-walking is a right, driving is a priviledge, etc)
Would they publish a letter saying, let’s register all the ______ people?
Would they publish a letter saying, I’m tired of all these ______ _______ and their demands. (pick any group)
Would they publish a letter saying, Those ____ people need to learn their place and be happy with what they’ve got
It would be interesting to ask (and hear), what wouldn’t the PG publish?
And was that standard followed in this case, if you were to temporarily assume that cyclists are human beings and Americans with civil rights?
Vannevar, I was wondering something similar–would the PG print a letter advocating Black people should go back to back of the bus? Or that since women on average make less money, and therefore one assumes pay less taxes, they should receive less of X public service?
This appeared in the PG comments:
Timmy Klatte · Parts Department Sales-Delivery at Classic Chevrolet
And if you self-proclaimed cyclist geniuses think you’re not using petroleum, then take off the turtle shell-looking dweebazoid helmet you have on. And your fancy biker clothes which make everyone see your junk. And the tires. And the paint. And the seat. And your shoes. And the water bottle. And all the lubricants. Morons!
Tired of feeling small in the latest bike fashion? C’mon down to Classic Chevrolet and we’ll help you compensate in a new car, truck, or suv! Classic Chevrolet, where men get big! Tell’m Timmy sent ya!
while i feel that it was rather shameful (or at least shameless) of the post gazette to publish this letter to the editor in the first place, it strangely turned out brightening my day. i actually got bored reading all the comments complaining how silly the letter was, explaining how cyclists pay their way and more, and really almost, how few people seemed to be complaining about scofflaw cyclists. there was nothing to do but enjoy the show. my whole day seemed changed for the better after reading about half the comments, and i can promise this is the only time i’ve ever even considered uttering those words.
buffalo buffalo wrote:Vannevar, I was wondering something similar–would the PG print a letter advocating Black people should go back to back of the bus? Or that since women on average make less money, and therefore one assumes pay less taxes, they should receive less of X public service?
B-B, I was wondering the same thing but didn’t want to fill in the blanks and hurt people’s feelings – but that’s it exactly, Would they publish a letter calling for pink triangles during pride week? (I do have an orange triangle on my bike..) But your Rosa Parks and UnEqualPay examples are eloquent and effective, my compliments.
OTOH, the PGs bad decision did provide what seems a watershed moment: the first antiBike letter that seems to have gotten a lot of positive pushback from the audience.
Of course, I realize I’m falling for the rhetorical-framework trap of finding meaning and satisfaction in the Comments, which is just want the click-counters hope for.
@Vannevar and @buffalo buffalo: can we please not try to compare hatred towards cyclists to racism? Surely you can see the absurdity in that comparison, and hopefully you realize how much you are marginalizing the oppression felt by actual minority groups when you make such silly statements.
As cyclists are something around 1% of the population, doesn’t that actually define us as a minority? Isn’t having a driver tell you to your face that they don’t particularly care whether you are run over and killed marginalizing and oppressive?
Just because one segment of the population is discriminated against more than another doesn’t remove the right of the lesser marginalized group to make the claim. Remember when gays marching for their rights compared themselves to the civil rights marches of the 60s and black evangelicals said “how dare you claim being discriminated against like we were”? I see the same thing from LGBT activists when atheists claim discrimination and compare their movement to the gay rights movement. They don’t want to admit that atheists are anything like they are and so try to deny that atheists rights are civil rights in the same way that gay rights are.
So, no, Jay. If I am a marginalized, demonized and oppressed minority group, I get to compare the hatred slung at me to the hatred slung against other marginalized, demonized and oppressed minority groups. And you don’t get to marginalize me even further by saying I don’t measure up.
I recognize the difference between race and chosen mode of transportation — particularly, a cyclist stops being a cyclist when they get off their bicycle. But cyclists are being injured or killed every day because of the indifference or hostility of others. That is a pretty strong similarity between cyclists and other oppressed groups. So I think cyclists can and should learn a lot from the way those groups stood up for themselves and gained rights. One of those ways is to recognize that they are, in fact, being denied them.
@kordite: the comparison just doesn’t measure up. You choose whether or not to ride a bike. You can’t choose what race, gender, orientation, etc… you are. (You can also choose what religion you practice, but I’m not going to engage that discussion here.)
Cyclists deserve respect on the road, yes. But the level of “oppression” felt by cyclists pales in comparison to racial profiling, hiring discrimination, wage discrimination, and all the other forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and so on that exist in society. I understand your argument about how telling a group that “your plight doesn’t measure up” makes them feel marginalized, but in this case, the injustice actually doesn’t measure up: getting doored by a careless driver does not make your case anywhere near as bad as Trayvon Martin’s.
Edit: @jonawebb said it better than me.
There are plenty of good reasons to support cycling. But comparing anti-cycling opinions to racism (or any of the other isms) is a great way to paint us all as whining extremists.
I bike to work most days, but I also drive. I like doing both, and I have good reasons to do both. The PG letter-writer made herself look like an ignorant idiot all by herself. We don’t have to follow her lead and do the same.
I think yinz are getting off topic a bit and reading into things… the statement wasn’t “we should play the race card.” What was pointed out is that it’s surprising that the post gazette would publish the reader opinion in the first place. I don’t think that drawing parallels to other forms of hate-speech are out of place here and it certainly isn’t whining to point the parallels out.
No, despite being a similar mentality behind it… it’s not the same thing and the paper did nothing wrong by publishing it. Still, it is an interesting comparison to make and discuss. It also shows a certain willingness on the part of the P-G to troll its readers by posting this garbage (as others have said, for the sake of clicks).
i think the question was “where on the continuum of irrational speech against a group perceived as “other” would the PG draw the line and not publish?” not “are we as oppressed as X group?”
MichaelCycle wrote:There are plenty of good reasons to support cycling. But comparing anti-cycling opinions to racism (or any of the other isms) is a great way to paint us all as whining extremists.
The letter to the editor paints the author as a whining extremist pretty well…
@cb, I don’t really have a problem with the PG publishing an irrational argument about how some people are messing it up for all of us, so long as that group of people isn’t actually being injured and killed, and denied effective police protection. Then, the press has a responsibility to try not to make things worse.
Jay, I’m not trying to compare “getting doored by a careless driver” to Travon Martin. That’s completely absurd and not even remotely what I said. I’m talking about people who intentionally denigrate, marginalize, demonize and physically assault cyclists and comparing them to people who intentionally denigrate, marginalize, demonize and physically assault other minority groups.
Perhaps mentioning what happened to Colin Albright when he had his throat slashed would be in order. This isn’t about choosing to ride a bike specifically, it’s about being free to travel without being run over or having one’s throat cut because I choose (or was forced into it by not being able to afford a car) to ride a bike. Freedom to travel is a civil rights issue. Freedom from assault and attempted murder is a civil rights issue.
Just because cycling is not as big an issue as race (an issue that affects a large part of the population) or gender (also a large part of the population) or gender identity or sexual orientation (a smaller but still significant part of the population) does not make it a non issue. Just because our part of the population is in the single digits or percentage points does not mean our issues are not rights issue.
I’ll bet Colin Albright’s issue was really important to him, even if it doesn’t “measure up” to your standards.
And that’s what it’s like to be a minority.
Ugh… please… nothing reeks of irony more than a (presumably) straight middle class white dude calling himself a minority.
I like to sail. Sailing is a minority. I’m annoyed I can’t sail in the Monongahela without the fear of getting hit by barges. Commercial skippers always put down recreational sailors. And that’s what it’s like to be a minority.
Colin Albright’s attack has nothing to do with discrimination against cyclists. It has to do with him being targeted by an insane person from an insane family. “Road rage” isn’t limited to the targeting of cyclists.
The article in question doesn’t even purpose we deny rights to cyclists. It only states we should pay more taxes for exercising of those rights.
I’d like to share my thought on “cyclist as minority” and “cyclist as minority VS other worthy minorities”.
I think cyclists are marginalized,
treated as a fringe element,
treated as monolithic (“you all ____”)
treated as less than full American citizens
killed by indifferent violence
considered as whiners when we mention our rights
considered as entitled when we demand our safety
and, in the ultimate irony, when we ask for a lane it’s affirmative action for cyclists, getting something at somebody else’s expense (automobilists)
So. Hell yes I’m an endangered minority. I don’t need to further identify my standing by describing the (greater) suffering of others. It’s sufficient that I’m denied my rights as an American.
Now- regarding other niche disenfranchised groups: I try to co-mingle my cycling with my supporting other groups of human beings whenever I can. It’s to our benefit. It’s my agenda.
Hello, did you come to the Menorah Ride?
Hello, do you support Major Taylor CC?
Hello, are you coming to the Pride Ride on Friday?
Because if you don’t support them, why should they support you.
say it loud: I bike and I’m proud
also, don’t call me Surely, and don’t call me ironic for demanding my rights as a white guy. I’ll be at the Pride Ride on Friday, with a rainbow slow-moving vehicle triangle if I can work it.
As far as I know, the majority of people that have been injured and killed in accidents with motor vehicles have been the result of negligence, poor driving and decision making.
This is no different from when pedestrians and people in other modes of transportation get killed. The general public is indifferent and willing to accept these losses. For the most part, we’re no different. In this sense, I don’t see us a a minority. Pedestrians and other drivers are at risk from the same people we are.
As far as the pride parade goes, there are people in the GLBTQwhatever the hell spectrum that take issue with this event because it’s largely a corporate driven token show of support that’s not actually backed by any meaningful action.
My own organization is participating and their extent of “diversity and inclusion” is sending out a monthly email and participating in this parade. Well they’ve done a little more specifically with GLBTQ, but in general, not much.
Check out the comment from Mike Cherepko at the end of the PG’s story Driver changing lanes injures Pitt police officer in Oakland crash.
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