The real king of the road
To the editor,
Jesse Anderson’s opinion piece last week entitled “Bicycles are not cars” was a somewhat obfuscated attempt to justify cars rights on roadways while trying to referee a Facebook group and placate/educate local cyclists. To wit, he stated; “... my car is more important,” “I’m more of a motorist than I am a cyclist,” “... if you’re a bicycle zealot who doesn’t own a car.”
Be that as it may, what bothered me enough to write in was that he stated; “If you’re a cyclist, and you want to enjoy the privilege of sharing the road ... .” This statement reads to me that when in a car, people have a “right” that people not in cars don’t. That having a drivers license isn’t a privilege, but rather a right. That being on a road in a car IS the priority, and issues such as responsibility, humanity, courtesy and safety all come after.
And then there’s something called history (from which we often do not learn)– when in the early 1900s, pedestrians and nonmotorized conveyances were what roads were for. And only after auto/pedestrian deaths started to rise and cities like Cincinnati tried to limit motorized conveyance, did the auto industry groups introduce the “Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance” and jaywalking laws, which quickly tuned roads into motorized right-of-ways. (Read Peter Norton’s Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street).
Jesse’s article seemed to me to justify motorists having the right of way. To not be “stuck behind a bicycle,” or a “cyclist not taking up a lane of traffic,” etc. And that in closing he gave cyclists the status of being “definitely humans.” To which all I can say is, Cody’s right, “steel bumpers make quick work of aluminum wheels.”
I suggest roads are best-suited for human use, regardless of the type of conveyance. Humans are impatient, make mistakes, are quick to judge and are fragile. I avoid cars whenever I can, on and off the road, as I do people like Cody. But I know for fact that the Codys are out there, and if I’m on my bike, I’m the one who stands to lose the most if a collision happens, whoever is at fault. Anyone not in a car but on the road is subject to the dominant paradigm, but everyone on the road is responsible. Life (& death) is the ultimate king of the road.
– Tim Thomas, Durango