Editor:

I am sick and tired of reading pie in the sky, utopian opinions and comments, like those of Charles Andrews (“Sticking up for cyclists,” Curious City, Jan.13) and Adam Rakunas (“Making it better for bikes,” Letter to the Editor, Jan. 7) and their ilk. They incessantly try to justify the breaking of the law by bicyclists. They say, “I understand why it’s done,” and “the reason we are forced onto the sidewalk is because of 100 years of ‘car culture.’”

A sign found in Berkeley, Calif. tells cyclists what to do. (Photo courtesy http://bicycledriving.org)

A sign found in Berkeley, Calif. tells cyclists what to do. (Photo courtesy http://bicycledriving.org)

I’ve got news for you people, you don’t have the authority or the right to pick and choose which laws you obey, whether it is understandable or not! If you don’t like a law, get it changed. You also should not, while on family bike rides, be teaching your young children that it is all right to run stop signs and red lights, as I have seen on a regular basis. You are teaching them unjustifiable civil disobedience and are sending the wrong message to an entire new generation. It is only a matter of time before these children, if not killed first, will be choosing which other laws are all right to break. I have also seen numerous incidents of parents on bikes committing these violations with children less than 3 years old in shoulder-strap baby carriers, in handlebar and rack-mounted seats, as well as in kiddy bicycle trailers. These people should be charged with child endangerment! I hope you parents are proud of yourselves!

The one and only reason you, Mr. Rakunas, feel unsafe riding on the street and are made to breathe so much dirty air is that you keep voting pro-development government officials back into office because they keep promising more bike lanes, which amounts to catering to the few to the detriment of the many. You don’t seem to have the brains to realize that the cars hurtling down your residential streets, and all those extra cars emitting all of that extra pollution, wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t allowed our city to be overdeveloped. If you sidewalk riders hit, injure or kill a pedestrian, you made a conscious choice to ride there and should be charged with assault with a deadly weapon and/or manslaughter! All of you should be required to have licenses and insurance to pay for the damage to life and property you may cause. Just because riding is environmental, doesn’t mean you have a license to break the law.

You that believe everyone can ride a bike, just because you have temporarily been able to make it work for you, are nuts. Look at the number of handicapped placards in cars and the ever growing number of seniors, look at the uncertainty of the job and housing markets. No one knows how far away their job or home may be in the future. If you are permanently injured or are taken ill, or your life changes in a dramatic fashion, you will be driving a car too, and be glad to have it. Odds are the life you have now is not practical or sustainable and you are in for a very rude awakening when your perfect little life has unforeseen changes forced upon it. The facts are that the overwhelming majority of people cannot do what they need to do, on a daily basis, on a bicycle and no matter how hard you wish for it, cars are not going away for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Andrews says he has almost completed his goal of walking every street in Santa Monica, and has never once seen a bike being ridden on the sidewalk. Well he must be wearing a blindfold because I literally cannot leave my house without seeing multiple occurrences.

 

Norton Willis

Santa Monica