Letters to the Editor – 2014 edition

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edmonds59
Participant
#

Nice graphic, simple for the simpletons, to show the assbags who spout that bike riders don’t pay for roads. I doubt that images can be inserted into newspaper comments, haven’t tried, and the anti’s surely would never follow a link or be swayed by data, but it is satisfying. Research by the Pew Charitable Trust;
So gas tax pays largely for Federal highways, which bikes can’t use anyway, and some state roads. So hey, they’re free to stick to highways.


neilmd
Member
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“Nice graphic, simple for the simpletons, to show the assbags who spout that bike riders don’t pay for roads.”

I agree with the sentiment but I would like to suggest that if we are after civility on the roads (or in general in society) that we could do with less negative attribution to people in general even when we are angry at actions. People don’t generally view themselves as bad, and they are generally extremely unreceptive to communication when they are being labeled as such. There is even a name for this — it was in an NYT article about incivility on airplanes the other day. Let’s see… ahh yes “fundamental attribution error”

Anyway, I would prefer to see fewer (as in zero) such terms. We don’t need to refer to individuals as “idiots, jerks, a-holes, d-bags, etc, etc” We can and should refer to actions as objectionable.


offtn
Participant
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“So gas tax pays largely for Federal highways, which bikes can’t use anyway, and some state roads.”

This statement isn’t correct, both in the source of funding and the usage of roads.

Much federal and state funding is used for state and local road projects. Some local (county, borough, township) funding is used for state and federal road projects.

Bicyclists may use all categories of roads (US, PA, SR, local) except where prohibited (portions of PA 28 as an example). Bicyclists may not use most interstates except where allowed (I-79 bridge over the Ohio River as probably the only local example).

The graph would be more informative if, in addition to the percentages for each level of funding, it also included the dollar amount spent by each level of government.


edmonds59
Participant
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Ok neilmd, you go that way.


jonawebb
Participant
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Think about Mr. Joe Wos, who’s changed his mind on the bike lanes. Which do you think convinced him — the folks calling him an asshole or the folks encouraging him to give biking a try?


helen s
Participant
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I do agree with neilmd.

But when I had a driver roar past me going at least 35 with a foot clearance this morning near the coop, I did yell that he drove like an idiot when I nearly caught him a the stop sign and saw his widow was open. I was glad I did not say he was an idiot.


neilmd
Member
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Oh I yell, especially when they almost hit me. Even there however I suspect that there is more actual communication (chance of remediation) on the occasions that I manage to calmly point out that they almost made me a hood ornament.

One thing I have taken to doing is to very calmly say “nice job with that [stop sign / red light] when I catch back up with cars that have rolled through them, as the fact that a huge fraction of drivers don’t stop seems to be totally lost on the fine citizens who rant about cyclists going through stop signs. About half of the drivers look puzzled, about half give me the finger. I would wager any amount of money that the average / median / pick your statistic minimum speed of cars at stop signs in Pittsburgh is significantly higher than the corresponding value for bicycles. I digress…


Ahlir
Participant
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Think about Mr. Joe Wos, who’s changed his mind on the bike lanes. Which do you think convinced him

Well, I dunno. Maybe it was that mob of pitchfork-wielding Lycra louts massing in front of his little museum… (That would be those folding Velo-Orange pitchforks; come with Velcro straps for your rack.)

(note: the above is “humor”)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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If I yell anything at a driver who gives me a hard time, it’s his/her license plate. It’s helpful in preserving it my short-term memory until I pull over, pull out the cell phone, and send a tweet with the details.


Steven
Participant
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JaySherman5000
Member
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“Because I couldn’t secure my bike, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble and Burgatory missed out on close to a hundred dollars worth of business.”

This person just sounds like an idiot. There’s a bike rack 20 feet from the front door of Burgatory, and there are several sign posts in the area to lock to. There is also a pair of bike racks by Macy’s directly in front of Gran Agave.

That letter is just trolling bullshit written by a clueless moron.

(I’m having a terrific morning, btw).


jonawebb
Participant
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Well, the one single bike rack next to Burgatory isn’t actually that close to Macy’s. I didn’t know about the ones near Gran Agave. But the main point of the letter is right. Waterfront needs more bike racks. The theater is an obvious place to bike to, and there’s no bike racks at all there, just the one at Burgatory (which, by the way, isn’t secure — it’s attached to a couple of loose bricks).
Over a year ago Sarah Petyk advised them where to put in racks. I think they started to do that, then ran out of their budget very quickly, and haven’t done a single thing since.


Steven
Participant
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Macy’s has entrances on three sides. It’s possible the letter’s author didn’t think to circle the building looking for racks, but just looked at one or two entrances and gave up.

As to the one at Burgatory, if it was loose before, maybe it was gone when the letter-writer came through? Or just rejected for being insecure? Or he was looking for a row of racks like at the Southside Works, and didn’t notice a lone rack?

Old thread on racks at the Waterfront. See the photos on page 2, like this one:


JaySherman5000
Member
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@jaws: I agree that the Waterfront needs more bike racks, and that this is the real purpose of this morning’s letter. It just really aggravates me to see such a stupid, sensational title and poor, inaccurate description of the current state of things.

It’s just like the jagoff that made a thread on here that had a title accusing PNC Park of supporting unsafe cycling (presumably because the person making the thread wasn’t allowed to bring their helmet into the game due to a simple miscommunication between management and personnel staffing the gates). This tactic only serves to weaken the case of the person using it by making statements that are easily disproven. In this case, when the author says there were no places to secure their bike, the argument is easily defeated by pointing out that bike racks exist EXACTLY AT THE ENTRANCE(S) OF THE PLACE(S) YOU INTENDED TO PATRONIZE. And hence, the point that “we need more bike racks” is also lost since clearly they exist but you were too blind to recognize them. This is what pisses me off about this letter, and it’s probably why the P-G published it: let’s show our readers how stupid and entitled cyclists are by publishing a letter from an idiot that can’t recognize the very infrastructure he feels entitled to when it’s directly in front of his face!

I remember the thread about the lack of racks at the AMC Loews theater. That led to several of us requesting more racks there via the “contact us” portal on their website. Maybe we need to do another round of that.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Seriously, the place could use a crapton of bike racks. Dedicate a whole parking space to corral parking about every 150 feet around the whole facility, not just a throw-the-cyclists-a-fish-to-shut-them-up staple rack in a couple of places.

Seriously seriously, budget, my a$$. The place is apparently awash in money. Spend a couple dozen thousand and do the job properly.

Good for this writer, coming in from out of town and stating what to him is the obvious.


jonawebb
Participant
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I agree wholeheartedly. I have requested racks from the theater and Giant Eagle, to no avail. Is there anything else we can do?
I think the letter reflects the cyclist’s experience faithfully. If you were new to the area, as he was, you’d easily miss those few racks. I don’t think the PG published it to make us look bad; I doubt they know how many racks there are there.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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(FWIW, the letter writer has responded to a couple of the comments, including to point out that he did not write the inflammatory, misspelt headline.)


Vannevar
Participant
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Stu wrote: If I yell anything at a driver who gives me a hard time, it’s his/her license plate. It’s helpful in preserving it my short-term memory until I pull over, pull out the cell phone, and send a tweet with the details.

This is my exact technique — I say the license plate out loud, in full voice, perhaps not shouting but loud enough for any companion cyclists to hear. I say it twice and it sticks in my memory, and I do this on every buzz-by to develop the habit so that when an “event” happens I’ll be in the habit of doing it. And if there is an event, the first thing is to write it down or text it out. And then all of a sudden, it’s not just me and them.


Mick
Participant
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Red posted links from a guy from Brentwood and a guy from Scott township who each claimed that the city was (more or less) being ruined by bikes.

I think we folks in the city are lucky to have suburbanites to tell us how to live! Don’t you?


marv
Participant
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One thing I notice on the letters and comments on both the P-G and Trib is that even if you have a lot of vocal anti-bikers, the pro-bike comments generally get the most likes. That’s great. I’m sure that makes a difference when the powers that be in government see that pro-bike people generally outnumber anti-bike people even if the latter yells louder and stamps their feet more.

The silliest IMO of all the anti-bike stuff is the call for registration, insurance, and fees. First because it’s proven to not work. Second, Second, because it isn’t enforced ever. Third, because it costs more to run than any revenue received. There’s a reason why lots of municipalities around the country have eliminated their registration requirements. Why would we want to go the other way? Then there’s practical reasons, such as out of city cyclists, tourists, etc. and how you deal with them.

One argument that’s useful against folks who want registration, which let’s face it, they only want because they think it will discourage cycling, is to use a small government argument. Why in heaven’s name would they want more regulation, more government intrusion, and more taxes and fees? That usually stops them pretty cold.

Most of these folks are old farts who talk less taxes, smaller government, etc. etc., so using that against them can be pretty effective.


jonawebb
Participant
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Ben’s comment to John Strahs on his bike finding ability is hilarious.


Mikhail
Member
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Went to check bike racks after work — http://app.endomondo.com/workouts/416364357/4740379
These are racks I have found https://imgur.com/a/sCwm7

UTC Time: 00:30:29.00
N 40 23′ 25.797″ W 79 55′ 3.189″ — accross Burgatory at Bar Louie — you can see one bike still locked to a poll since bike rack was occupied before.

Just two racks… And a little bit more on other side.

PS All images have GPS tag in EXIF data. Rack at Macy got twice since I did not use flash first time.
So there is no bike rack at Burgatory and just two racks in vicinity.

UTC Time: 00:42:47.00
N 40 24′ 31.998″ W 79 54′ 54.858″


Mikhail
Member
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Our own complains that theater does not have enough tacks:
http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/tell-me-where-to-put-bike-racks-in-the-waterfront/page/2/#post-296138
http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/tell-me-where-to-put-bike-racks-in-the-waterfront/page/2/#post-296146

SVTC and Sarah in personal with River Front did excellent job to install racks. It just not enough on weekends.

Could we scout the whole WF and create a layer on google maps with location of all racks and appropriate polls? Would it be useful?


jonawebb
Participant
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Here’s a new idea: license and insure bicycles. Also, they break the law all the time and if motorists did the same thing they’d be charged with reckless driving. Plus, a threat against Mayor Peduto, from Penn Hills. Trifecta!
http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/6846372-74/streets-bicycles-bicyclists#axzz3EnwqwFb9


Drewbacca
Participant
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“The silliest IMO of all the anti-bike stuff is the call for registration, insurance, and fees. ”

That’s an emotionally driven argument… reminds me of fighting with my siblings as a child. The undefined idea of “fairness.”

I’m not opposed to the idea of insurance seeing as it isn’t difficult to pull up examples of a cyclist hitting a pedestrian and seriously hurting or killing them. That scenario isn’t entirely unlike an uninsured motorist in my opinion. Of course, different discussion. Just pointing out that this one is not as easy to just write off.

The registration, idea of plates, other fees… that’s just a bs argument and goes back to what is perceived as fair. I think a good reproach to such a statement would be the Socratic method. Why would such a fee be useful? To what end? Perhaps you just want cyclist to pay for the sake of paying? I don’t know, that would be my approach. It all goes back to the misconception that cyclists are getting something for free, when in fact cyclists are doing everyone a favor by using less of the shared resources.

Outsiders/suburbanites think that riding a bicycle is some self-righteous act as opposed to an economical decision. Perhaps they never stopped to think about how much it actually costs to own a car, or two, or three. Never mind the cost of parking which increases exponentially in the city.


Drewbacca
Participant
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Also, in my opinion, the real problem isn’t a lack of bikeracks at the Waterfront but a not so great layout all together. Until this latest non-controversy courtesy of the Post-G, I didn’t even know the Waterfront had a Macy’s. That is actually kind of impressive, since I’ve been over there at least a dozen times in the last two months and have made several visits to Lowes, Target, and GiantE. It’s a goofy layout as is designed and apparently there is more to it than I ever realized.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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yeah, Macy’s, along with Starbucks, the movie theatre, most of the restaurants, and all the little high-end clothing stores you’d typically find in a higher-end enclosed mall are all over on the other side of the bridge, in West Homestead.

I’m a little surprised you’d never noticed, but I suppose if you’d only ever come down to the big-box side of things, especially if you came from over at the Rankin Bridge end, it’s certainly conceivable.


jonawebb
Participant
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I think the insurance issue is equally bogus. People are confusing insurance with liability, and collision insurance with comprehensive. When you have an accident, in a car or on a bicycle, you are liable for any damages you cause. It is just that you are far more likely to injure yourself or damage your own bicycle than to hurt anyone else or damage another vehicle if you are riding a bicycle. So the state doesn’t require you to carry collision insurance, the way it does for motorized vehicle owners. Any damage you cause — say a broken window in a car — will probably be something you could pay off, over time, if you have a job.
But, in any case, as I explained in my comment, personal injury liability protection in homeowners and renter’s insurance covers you anyway.


Marko82
Participant
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Likewise, the carcentric view of requiring bicycle license plates is so that the drivers can call the police and have rouge cyclist ticked (since they have their license plate number!). Good luck with that… Even with helmet-cam video of offending motorists we (as a community) have trouble getting the police to enforce the driving laws for dangerous/aggressive drivers. Plates are a red herring.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I would be more than willing to get insurance, license and plates if the state/local governments were required to spend transportation dollars as a percentage of ride mode. Since Pittsburgh has a bicycle ride share of about 2%, they would have to spend 2% of their transportation budget on bicycle infrastructure. Do you think the haters want to go there?


Mick
Participant
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@ marko82 I would be more than willing to get insurance, license and plates if the state/local governments were required to spend transportation dollars as a percentage of ride mode. Since Pittsburgh has a bicycle ride share of about 2%, they would have to spend 2% of their transportation budget on bicycle infrastructure.

I love it!


Drewbacca
Participant
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“But, in any case, as I explained in my comment, personal injury liability protection in homeowners and renter’s insurance covers you anyway.”

Agreed. No guarantee that a person on a bike has said insurance though…

@buffalo, the only time I don’t cross the Rankin Bridge is b/c I am either driving 837 TO the Rankin Bridge or I’m on the bike path.


chrishent
Member
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Regarding license plates, I say we should stay ahead of the critics and start using them now. For this, I suggest we follow the lead of Garmin-Sharp pro rider Lachlan Morton:


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Or we could do what about 1 in 5 cars do: Block all the metadata on the plate, such as the state it’s from, and then plop a trailer hitch ball in front of it so you can’t see it anyway.


marv
Participant
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Licensing and/or registration may be the dumbest of them all.

Proven over decades to be ineffective, unenforced, and cost negative.

Oh yeah, that’s the law we want implemented.


RustyRed
Member
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Who wants a pair of these to block their plate?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’ve got it! A front-only license plate!


Drewbacca
Participant
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If I’m going to voluntarily put a plate on my rack, it’s going to be an image of a car and a bicycle and read “4ft is the law.”


Mick
Participant
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If I’m going to voluntarily put a plate on my rack, it’s going to be an image of a car and a bicycle and read “4ft is the law.”

Ladies and germophobes, we have a winner!


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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my comment on the TR letter “License, insure bicycles” (http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/6846372-74/streets-bicycles-bicyclists#axzz3EnwqwFb9)

Perhaps we can learn from cities that have tried bicycle licensing. Toronto passed laws in 1935 requiring licensing of all bicycles. But in 1957, the city ended bicycle licensing, concluding that “licensing of bicycles be discontinued because it often results in an unconscious contravention of the law at a very tender age; they also emphasize the resulting poor public relations between police officers and children”.

Toronto has reconsidered licensing several times since then. “The major reasons why licensing has been rejected are:
• The difficulty in keeping a database complete and current;
• The difficulty in licensing children, given that they ride bikes too;
• Licensing in and of itself does not change the behaviour of cyclists who are disobeying traffic laws.”

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0be4970aa08c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD


mjacobPGH
Member
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Always good to have more fodder against the registration argument. I think that the bike license plate with the 4 ft rule is great. I have a sticker on my rear fender that says “4Ft Please. It’s the Law” with a picture of a car giving a bike space in yellow. However, I don’t always use my fender AND if you can read that sticker you are way too close. Also, a sticker like “Watch for Bikes” for my car would be great. I see the ones for motorcycles all the time but an Amazon search doesn’t bring up many similar products. In fact, there are just as many anti-cycling bumper stickers as pro-cycling ones.

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