Letters to the Editor – 2014 edition

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Benzo
Participant
#

So, what bells actually fit on 31.8 handlebars, and what bike shops actually stock them?

No, really, I can never seem to find a bell that fits modern road bars actually in stock at any bike shops.


jonawebb
Participant
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Ahlir
Participant
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“on your left” is just annoying (especially if you’re on a bike and the voice behind you sound stressed or out of breath). Why is this person speeding on what’s typically some recreational path/trail? There’s any number of streets out there for you, like Beaver or River, (and Baum, 5th and Penn if you’re tough enough) And bridges, on the deck. There will always be enough room to pass silently (take the lane, etc). Should cars honk when they pass you by? That would be annoying, wouldn’t it? Get some cojones already.

But at least get a bell. It’s more civilized. Also slow down already. What’s the hurry if you’re on a people trail and it’s not 6am?

A personal note: I always feel uncomfortable riding the SS Trail between the 16th-Smitfld: there’s so many peds, and often with children; anything over maybe ~6mph just feels wrong. The parallel streets are actually more pleasant if you’re riding through.


Mikhail
Member
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I had completely opposite experience with bell… I was riding on my folding bike and got to the point where three ladies completely took Jail Trail. No ear buds but extensively talking to each other. Bell did not help until last possible moment. And exactly at this moment all three of them just jumped high. And their faces were, well, like lady pointed in the article — split second “panic attack” ones… I apologized and continued. 3 seconds later they started to laugh almost uncontrollably showing amount of stress. :(


neilmd
Member
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I sort of hate the bells. I get used to them in Europe because they are quite common but the sound is isotopic. ding comes from anywhere. On your left or occasionally on your right is quite specific. I only say that if circumstances prevent a wide pass, basically always if there is a dog, etc. I usually say “bicycle on your left” and of course it is my responsibility to make sure I am at a paCE where if everything goes wrong I can brake and stop as necessary.


Benzo
Participant
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I usually do a “hello… On your left” or “pardon me, on your left” at least it gives them some time to react by giving them a greeting or courtesy before the on your left part, seems to get better acknowledgement. Of course I’ll say this about 3 times loudly to a jogger wearing headphones and then just slowly follow them a few bike lengths back until it’s clear to pass…

It really scares the shit out of them sometimes when they look back and realize someone has been following them for a bit. I’m not really sure of a better solution, I’m not trying to pass them in unsafely, and I’m not trying to be seen as that crazy jerk that’s yelling loud enough to break through full volume earbuds.


Ahlir
Participant
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I forgot…
always say “thank you” when you pass, preferably with eye contact if you can manage it. That’s for peds; bikers can just deal with it.

Habitual bikers shouldn’t be on the crowded trails. They should be on the streets, which are more fun anyway.
Why are you biking? It’s for you, not for others. Right?


edmonds59
Participant
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When people go out in public they need to behave like they are not the only living thing on the planet, and be aware of what’s going on around them. Walking, biking, driving, boating, Segwaying… Or else stay the fk home. I have 0 patience for idiots who wander through life oblivious of their surroundings.


edmonds59
Participant
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RustyRed
Member
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Ha! my favorite was the escalator.
You get trained to move when you hear a bike bell.

I was working indoors in a room with other people, I was standing at a copier, copying stuff. One of the other employees text notification on her phone was a bike bell. She got a text and I stepped to the right.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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@benzo, Kindred keeps one or two stem-mount bells in stock, I believe; the one I got I think had to be ordered, but their turnaround is usually pretty quick.


Benzo
Participant
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I think it’s weird that such a basic item like a bell that will fit a modern bike, which should be as common as inter-tubes and rear blinkies, is something I have to ask about how to find.

However, if I had a 20 year old bike with narrow bars, I could find a bell that fits at damn near any shop.


mjacobPGH
Member
#

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2014/12/17/Better-bicyclists/stories/201412170073

Bikers don’t pay taxes, have insurance, or take safety courses. From a suburbanite driving in Schenley Park.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

Interesting letter there, MJacob.

Author/driver closes with “I hope I never kill a cyclist.”

Me too.

I sort of thought that went without saying.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I think I actually know John Matusz. I used to work with a man by that name at Westinghouse.

Anyway, two cents added.


mjacobPGH
Member
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I don’t mind people posting some of their objections to biking such as adherence to laws and bike lights. However, it would be nice if the PG stopped publishing drivel that they are well aware is patently false like the taxes commentary. Also, I know many users here are suburbanites, so I don’t mean to offend. However, when someone says how I, as a biker and driver and someone employed in Pittsburgh, don’t pay taxes for a local city road when they don’t live in the city, I take issue. The comments section has your usual anti-bike trolls.


Marko82
Participant
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He saw a bike in a park – how frightful!

And I think the PG prints this drivel because they probably get so few letters-to-the-editor submitted by normal people. Just like the online comments, there are probably a few dozen active people who send in letters constantly, and there are lobbying groups etc. sending them form letters, but not too many one-offs from regular readers. Sure they probably get hundreds of letters when a hot topic is in the news (conflict kitchen), but in between they probably get very few “new” letters or topics to print.


mjacobPGH
Member
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Oh, absolutely. When they know something will generate clickbait-ish web traffic they run with it. Bikes vs cars is always good for some web traffic. For a while, they had numerous letters debating the merits of cloth diapers.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Not an editorial page LTTE, but page A-2 of today’s paper has a brief story about a helpful cyclist in the Random Acts of Kindness column:

Bicyclist Got Down, Dirty to Help Avoid Street Flood

It was pouring rain on Dec. 16 as I was in my car, waiting to make a left turn at the intersection of Beechwood Blvd and Fifth Avenue.

A young man dismounted his bike and lifted many small armfuls of soaking leaves that were clogging the sewer drain to my left. His effort freed the sewer entry for draining and avoided “ponding” across Fifth Avenue.

This gentleman must have been thoroughly soaked and muddy. I send him a thank you on behalf of the many people who were en route to jobs and schools, and the city public works department would thank him as well.

Anne Bowes
Point Breeze


jonawebb
Participant
#

Bike lane irony, plus bicyclists never stop for stop signs or red lights: http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/7470841-74/stop-bicycle-avenue#axzz3NrU5yPQz


J Z
Participant
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Ahlir
Participant
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re @J Z ‘s post: That’s weird. Where are all the hater comments?


edmonds59
Participant
#

To me, spin class will always mean sitting in American literature after a night of drinking.


mjacobPGH
Member
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‘Bike-lash,’ budgets and battles: Mayor Bill Peduto’s first year of ‘culture change’

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/01/18/Mayor-Bill-Pedutos-first-year-of-culture-change-included-bikelash-budgets-and-battles/stories/201501150135

I imagine most of the commentary will somehow focus on bikes.


Ahlir
Participant
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most of the commentary will somehow focus on bikes

The article barely does but, yes, the comments are practically all about the bikes. I was actually surprised. But fortunately the biker community was up to the challenge. I would say that the majority of comments were bike-friendly, while the others did not reflect kindly on the temperament or mental acuity of the authors.


edmonds59
Participant
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Some “opinion” piece, apparently from Chambersburg, PA. Wow, just wow. Click-bait, for sure, but I could not – not respond to this idiocy.
http://www.publicopiniononline.com/opinion/ci_27355524/letter-age-urban-bicycle-has-passed


J Z
Participant
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jonawebb
Participant
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jonawebb
Participant
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With the coming of spring the long drought in letters to the editor about bicycles ends: http://triblive.com/mobile/7998851-96/roads-pay-bicyclists
New idea: charge a licensing fee to pay for bike lanes.
Also I guess we need a new thread.


offtn
Participant
#

Jon,

Your response to the Trib letter, “There are no auto-specific taxes that reach city coffers.”, is not accurate.

One such tax is the liquid fuels that PennDOT distributes to municipalities.

This gives a short overview of the program. The 2015 report shows $6,929,830 going to the City of Pittsburgh.


offtn
Participant
#

I obviously don’t know how to correctly add a link……….

The link was meant to be a separate sentence….”This gives a short overview of the program. The 2015 report shows $6,929,830 distributed to the City of Pittsburgh.”


jonawebb
Participant
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@offtn, thanks, I didn’t know about that.
PS Researching this, it would be more accurate to say less than a third (about $6M out of $20M) of the Pittsburgh Public Works Operating Budget comes from the liquid fuels tax. The rest is paid from sales, income, and property taxes, which we bikers pay.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
#

my comment on
that TR letter:

We need less tax money going to expensive porkbarrel projects that enrich construction companies and more going to inexpensive projects that make the city more pleasant. For example, millions of dollars were spent excavating a hillside to make the ramp from Route 28 to Route 8 near Etna slightly gentler. Waste of money! Half a billion dollars were spent on the North Shore Connector so that Pittsburgh’s meager subway could be extended a mile. Walk the bridge! It’s prettier than a dark tunnel! Meanwhile, work is happening now to add a protected bike lane on the 6th Street Bridge. Excellent! Let’s do more of this!

Bike lanes and trails cost on the order of $100 thousand per mile, while freeways cost on the order of $10 million per lane-mile – that’s 100 times more expensive. The few million dollars that have gone into Pittsburgh’s bicycle trail network in recent decades are a tiny fraction of the cost of the North Shore Connector. But the bike & pedestrian expenditures have done far more for the revival of the city’s reputation and the improved quality of life here than the porkbarrel projects. James Graff has it exactly backwards. Bike lanes are one of the wisest uses of tax dollars around. I wish that all of my tax dollars were spent this wisely.

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