Letters to the Editor – 2014 edition

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jonawebb
Participant
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Bike Pittsburgh could sell specialty license plates with a 4 foot rule (or other) message. I’ve been trying to get them to do it for a while now, but no luck. Maybe we can talk about it tonight at Big Jim’s.
http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/lets-get-bikepgh-specialty-license-plates/#post-295911


mjacobPGH
Member
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Stickers too! My other car is a bike, watch for bikes, pump tires not gas, etc etc I would definitely buy some.


andyc
Member
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Did BikePGH stop distributing stickers? I have some from last year. My cargo bucket is plastered in them.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Marko82
Participant
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From Sunday’s Trib

“Suburban Pittsburgh leaders push for bicycle lanes”
http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6926686-74/bike-ross-bicycle#axzz3G4V3ECec


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I added a comment to the article:

Babcock Blvd from Millvale to Northway Mall has several different personalities. Some is wonderful to bike. Some is just plain scary. The scariest part is the 0.6 mile from the corner of Three Degree up to Northway. Posted 35, ambient 45 mph, no shoulder, no sidewalk, in some places no space even to stand still on foot. But there is an easy way to make it walkable and bikeable: Make the road one car lane each direction. Easy physically, harder than heck politically. I say, go for it.


Mick
Participant
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I suburbs will go the way the city has: Put some bike lanes in where it will least offend motorists as a starter.

Then, in a few years, they will put something that bicyclists can actually use. Maybe. If we are lucky. And there isn’t a big bike lash.

Many (uh … all maybe?) of those threatening in public forums to dis-elect our glorious mayor because he put in a coupla bike lanes are voters from the suburbs.

“Outside? That’s where insects come from isn’t it?”
– S. Wrbican


Marko82
Participant
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“For their own safety, fine those who cycle in darkness without lights or reflectors”
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/10/15/For-their-own-safety-fine-those-who-cycle-in-darkness-without-lights-or-reflectors/stories/201410150078

And the comments are rather tame – maybe we are making progress with the anti-crowd?


jonawebb
Participant
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BTW, the letter mentions an epidemic of car-vs-bike accidents. That may be, but on a brighter note we’ve had 0, count ’em, 0 cyclist deaths in the Pittsburgh area this year. Probably just a statistical blip, but good news nonetheless.


chrishent
Member
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Do bike tires with reflective sidewalls count as side reflectors?

http://www.conti-online.com/www/bicycle_de_en/themes/city/topcontactII_en.html

I’ve been thinking about buying these for my city bike once I need to replace the ones I currently have. These Contis look promising


rgrasmus
Member
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@chrishent – I may recommend Fiks Reflective instead (http://www.ridewithfiks.com/) It’s a Pittsburgh-based startup.


RustyRed
Member
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Here’s a letter that I actually learned something from.

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2014/11/when_clueless_bicyclists_and_h.html

I don’t need to be frightening 1100 pound creatures. Good things to know.


jonawebb
Participant
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My sister, who is an equestrian and not a cyclist, sent me this link: http://www.friendsofarizonatrails.org/incidents
Mountain bikers sometimes frighten horses, causing accidents, even deaths.


edmonds59
Participant
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This really leads me to wonder, how low is the lowest common denominator, really? What person on a bike, approaching a horse, would NOT think “hey, this large animal might be skittish, perhaps I should approach it with a bit of caution”. Nothing against you Red, but the link again proves to me that people are effing stupid, and it is just not possible to lay all the stupid on drivers.


RustyRed
Member
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I’ve never come up behind a horse (yet) on my bike on a trail, and when I do, I’ll be cautious, because I know they’re skittish animals. Actually, what I learned: *swishy tail* means they’re especially skittish.

Also, who the hell rides past a person down on the trail and doesn’t lend assistance?! Holy crap!


Vannevar
Participant
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I’ve encountered equestrians on the GAP around Rockwood, on the Montour Trail, and on the Little Ohio Trail. I’ve never seen an equestrian riding with ear buds in.

I always stop way back and talk to the rider, and wait for a nod before passing the horse. If I can’t get their attention by talking, I’ll make a soft-shout “hello”, and only use a bell as a last device. I’ve never had to use the bell.

Generally if they’re riding on a bike trail, the horse-rider ^should be^ anticipating cyclists.


Benzo
Participant
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Everyone needs education on how to ride safely. Where would these people learn about how to safely approach equestrians on a bike?

I wasn’t really aware that horses spooked so easily, since there were amish families driving horse and buggys in the farmlands around my hometown on roads with 55mph traffic. If I didn’t read articles about mountain biker / equestrian conflicts while perusing various bike blogs, I would have had no stinking clue. When I started mountain biking, I did some research, because that’s what I do when I start a new activity. However, a lot of people don’t go out of their way to learn more because they don’t even know that there are things they need to know.

I think this is the same reason people hop on bikes and ride the wrong way down forbes ave in oakland, they just don’t know.

Rail trails tend to be one of the best places for new riders, people re-discovering riding, and people uncomfortable riding in traffic. Are there materials available at trailheads to inform them of how to behave on trails shared with equestrians?


Mick
Participant
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I looked at the ATA site, which seems to have teh most complete information on the GAP.

All they say about horses is

In addition, sections of the trail system are open to equestrians. Horses are permitted only on the grassy areas between Boston & Connellsville; Rockwood & Garrett; Frostburg & State Line.

Perhaps when I went along the trail, there were signs describing how to deal with horses. What I recall, though, is just signs saying where the horses were not permitted. And that’s it.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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You cannot expect a horse and rider to be fully in control of things, any more than you can expect a bike rider to be fully competent in operating on the street. Just because they’re there does not imply they know what they’re doing.

This is all good stuff to know. I grew up with horses nearby but the conflict was motorcycles rather than bicycles. If you think a cyclist or bike bell might spook a horse, imagine what a 250cc two-stroke dirt bike might do.

Throw in an unleashed St. Bernard who barked at and chased after every horse that went by, and you rapidly find out who your friends aren’t.


Vannevar
Participant
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Benzo’s question is spot on; if the trail puts newish cyclists next to horses, which is no longer a common occurance, a little bit of advice would go a long way.


edmonds59
Participant
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There will continue to arise occasions when reasoning things out on-the-fly without an instruction sheet will be necessary.


Benzo
Participant
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“Benzo’s question is spot on; if the trail puts newish cyclists next to horses, which is no longer a common occurance, a little bit of advice would go a long way.”

The same question I brought up is applicable to drivers knowing how to operate around cyclists. This is why we need mandatory drivers license retesting occasionally, at least with a written test that they have to take to renew their license that focuses on newer laws and has some refresher questions on older laws to ensure people are aware of the regulations they are required to follow.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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^THAT. A thousand times, that.


Benzo
Participant
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Hell, as a bonus, since something like 80% or more of cyclists drive, this would be beneficial in informing them how to operate legally and safely as well.


jonawebb
Participant
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edmonds59
Participant
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Haha! All evidence indicates that Francis Kilinsky is a bored, elderly asshole with absolutely nothing better to do.


Mick
Participant
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Hey, Mr. Edmonds59! (If that’s your real name),

As a bored elderly asshole with absolutely nothing better to do, I find your statement to be unfairly insulting. I demand a apology.

There are thousands of my ilk and we resent being associated with the likes of Kilinsky.


edmonds59
Participant
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Lol, I’m certain you have many better things to do, you are a contributing member of society! And being the icon of the Mick International Fan Club must be somewhat time consuming.


mjacobPGH
Member
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We should apparently close all parks and playgrounds since they aren’t used at night or during the winter as much, either. Perhaps we could turn them all into parking lots?


Marko82
Participant
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It appears that one of the P.O.S. football players who nearly beat a man to death (California, PA) had previously almost killed a cyclist in a DUI hit-and-run incident earlier in the year. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/11/05/Cal-U-football-player-awaits-sentencing/stories/201411040204

What a proud football program they are running down there.


edmonds59
Participant
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Uggh. Despicable.


jonawebb
Participant
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We should apparently close all parks and playgrounds since they aren’t used at night

Three words: midnight demolition derby!


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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There are quite a few streets in the city where not a single car will travel down it for 15 minutes at a time. Some of those with a name of “Way”, maybe upwards of an hour or two between travelers. So we should close them, too?


chrishent
Member
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Today at 6 pm, on a quick roundtrip from downtown to the Strip that covered the entire length of the Penn cycle track, saw 10 cyclists and 2 skateboarders on the lanes, plus a few other cyclists on Smallman.

I guess we all see what we want to see. Kinda like how I always see bike-hating drivers as 50-somethings who are wheelchair-bound because of extreme obesity.


Ahlir
Participant
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Riding in the city is starting to feel a bit like driving: traffic jams; slow riders in front of you; precedence issues at intersections… What is the world coming to? Maybe I should just check out that whole Hikikomori thing.

But anyway, re @chrishent’s comment:
1) we have lots of 50+ riders. Some day you too will be one.
2) I periodically see motorized wheelchairs in lanes (or just on the street). Seems ok to me. Those things are damn fast. Hope I never need one, though.
3) There’s lots of riders who consider themselves overweight. Heck, I keep meaning to lose some pounds. There’s even obese riders, though maybe not morbidly so. (Aren’t there tri- or quad- cycles out there that would let larger people just get around?)


chrishent
Member
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@ahlir, I was merely referring to cyclist-hating drivers, or rather my own distorted view of them. Of course I realize that there are plenty of 50+ old riders out there, and I don’t have a problem with that. The more the merrier!


byogman
Member
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The real value of the Penn Avenue lane will be more obvious to the yinzers when the usage rate rises as it connects to the point, hopefully further into the strip, and there’s a bikeshare.

In the meantime we’ll hear a lot of grousing about this and the other couple cycle tracks and that grousing will intensify over winter.

I plan to keep getting my lunch groceries in the strip because the produce is cheaper. But to the extent I can be part of the crew showing this being used, now and into the winter, that makes me happy.


RustyRed
Member
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In today’s PG Random Acts letters:

A fallen bicyclist found a lot of help

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I had a bike accident dodging a bus that pulled in front of me, and I hit the ground at the intersection of Centre Avenue and North Craig Street in Oakland.

Thankfully, I was not too badly injured, but I was very shaken up by the fall.

I am incredibly thankful for the help of the people who were around at the time — about a dozen people came over to make sure that I was all right.

I especially appreciate the compassion of two men who stayed with me for about 15 minutes to talk and care for my scrapes. Their care for me really helped me deal with the shock of such a traumatic accident. I was reminded once again of the goodness of humanity, and I am proud to be a Pittsburgher.

MICHAEL URICH
Ross

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/portfolio/2014/11/06/Random-Acts-of-Kindness-Good-folks-abroad-solved-dental-issue/stories/201411060063


jonawebb
Participant
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RustyRed
Member
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“On your left” frightens people, even the ones with rational neocortices.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/11/25/Pittsburgh-cyclists-buy-a-bell/stories/201411250193

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