Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Responses to My Open Letter In The News-Press

A response to my earlier letter to the Dave Weaver was published in the Glendale News-Press a few days ago:

I would like to respond to the anti-Councilman Dave Weaver letter by Scott Lowe (“A cyclist's open letter to Councilman Weaver,” May 3).

I don’t ride a bike in Glendale, but I would like to see the Glendale Police Department enforce the vehicle code on all the adult bicyclists who ignore stop signs and cut off motor vehicles. I suppose these cyclists believe they are saving the planet by riding a bike and feel that they are above the law.

Maybe if these people are ticketed enough, they will finally grow up and act like responsible adults.

Phillip Pilgram

That inspired a response from me, which I submitted but has not yet been published in the News-Press:

I would like to correct Phillip Pilgram's mischaracterization of my earlier open letter to Councilman Dave Weaver. Pilgram called my letter "anti-Councilman Dave Weaver," but my disagreement is not with Mr. Weaver personally, merely with his arguments against providing infrastructure to protect the safety of citizens who get around by bike. I strongly agree with Mr. Pilgram that bicyclists who break the law or ride unsafely should be ticketed. Enforcement of traffic laws and well designed streets are absolutely necessary for the safety of cyclists and motorists alike.

Scott Lowe
Glendale

Glendale resident Scott Peer also wrote this powerful response to Pilgram, which the News-Press did publish:

I was taken aback by Phillip Pilgram's letter (“Police should cite errant bicyclists,” May 12) which concludes by stating that bicyclists who break vehicle codes should “finally grow up and act like responsible adults.”

Like Pilgram, I don't like seeing bicyclists who break traffic regulations. However, unlike Pilgram, I have been cycling to work and on errands in and around Glendale for decades, totaling about a thousand miles a year. Bicycling reduces pollution, benefits health and also reduces traffic and road surface wear and tear.

But those are not the issues that motivate me to write.

The big issue is who is doing what to whom. When a car ran the stop sign at the intersection of Chevy Chase Drive and California Avenue and struck me, I was thrown in the air and spent more than a year in doctor's offices and physical therapy getting healthy again. Years later, I still need to do special exercises to keep my foot from hurting.

My wife's brother was not so lucky when he was struck by a car running a stop sign in New York. He died. When a co-worker of mine was struck from behind by a car, he died. When my brother's friend was hit by a truck from behind, he died.

If Pilgram were to ride a bicycle, he would understand how many drivers recklessly endanger bicyclists by driving too close to them, running stop signs and not watching where they are going.

All of us in the bicycle community know victims of vehicular manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon (a car). No matter who is at fault, it is always the cyclist who is injured or killed.

The priority of law enforcement should not be trying to make cyclists behave more responsibly; it should be enforcing laws that reduce the violence against cyclists.

Scott Peer
Glendale

My intent in writing my original response was to start this type of dialogue, so if you have anything to add, here is how you submit letters to the News-Press:

By e-mail:

By mail: 221 N. Brand Blvd. 2nd floor, Glendale, 91203.

Letters should be no longer than 275 words and include writer's full name, city of residence and phone number.

The Glendale News-Press reserves the right to edit content. Letters become the property of the News-Press.

Contact City Editor , or (818) 637-3220 for inquiries.

I also recommend writing them regarding any community issues you feel strongly about. If your letters are reasonably cogent, they'll likely be published. And if they aren't, they'll likely be published. Judging from some of the letters that do get published, they must be hurting for well-written letters.


Previously:


A condensed version of my open letter to Dave Weaver published in the Glendale News-Press:
A Cyclist's Open Letter to Councilman Weaver

Video of Councilman Weaver's comments and the expanded (original) version of my response to him.

My account of the City Council meeting where the Safe and Healthy Streets plan was approved, including video of my speech to the council



2 comments:

Erik said...

To Phillip Pilgram, there I fix it:
I don’t ride a bike in Glendale, but I would like to see the Glendale Police Department enforce the vehicle code on all the adult motor vehicle drivers who ignore stop signs and cut off cyclists. I suppose these motor vehicle drivers believe they are above the law.

Maybe if these people are ticketed enough, they will finally grow up and act like responsible adults.

Scott said...

Or you can just delete everything and replace it with "Get off my lawn! Damn kids"