Whenever I am stuck in traffic, I always assume a wreck is the cause. As I pass by any pile-up, I empathize with the potential victims and try to keep a calm head out of respect. But recently, I realized the nearly stand still traffic was being caused by a bicycle and my blood boiled.
I will honestly say that I do not believe in sharing the road. The weight of a car can be 4,000 pounds and a car can reach speeds well over 100 mph. In contrast, the average bicycle weighs about 30 pounds and an average rider can only go about 20 mph.
But somehow we have decided that the way to coexist is to travel the same roads together in harmony. However, the burden of traveling safely together ultimately depends on the driver slowing down, swerving over, etc., in an effort not to mortally wound this soul who is inching up a hill on Roswell Road during rush hour.
Melissa Carter’s op-ed on February 15th, “Cars aren’t the problem with ‘Share the Road,’” generated quite a stir throughout the state. Fans of the piece applauded her targeting of people on bikes, while those who ride bicycles (or support those who do) expressed outrage at many of her opinions.
I’d like to set the record straight and discuss the facts about bicycling in Georgia.
First off, Ms. Carter says she does not “believe in sharing the road.” With all due respect, it’s not a matter of belief. As in every state, bicycles are recognized as vehicles in Georgia. Sharing the road is a legal responsibility as well as a basic act of courtesy.
At the heart of Melissa Carter’s commentary, “Cars aren’t the problem with ‘Share the Road’” is a tired, culture war approach that pits drivers against cyclists as if we were different species. The outpouring of comments on her piece shows most of us – whether driving or biking – are beyond all that.
In the past, drivers in Atlanta viewed sharing the road much like Melissa does – I’m driving a faster, heavier vehicle, so get out of my way.
What Melissa and other old-school drivers fail to consider is that when I’m riding my bike somewhere, I’m not trying to get in drivers’ way, any more than small cars are trying to delay tractor trailers on the highway. I’m just trying to get where I’m going – mostly work or my kids’ school – safely and in a reasonable amount of time. When I was a newbie and tried courteously share the lane with cas, drivers routinely “buzzed” me, coming within inches at high speeds – a recipe we all recognize as poisonous. I learned to take the lane to protect my own skin.
Hey, girl, It’s Rachel Maddow and she’s coming to Atlanta. Civic-minded lesbians (and other women and, yes, men) everywhere who love discussing infrastructure are reaching for their laptops, forming lines (not really, but maybe) outside A Cappella Books and the Symphony Hall Box Office in hopes of getting tickets to meeting the smartest woman on the planet.
Um. Sorry. Back to what’s happening.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. to see Rachel Maddow when she visits our fair city next month as part of the nationwide tour for the paperback edition of her book, “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.”
Video blogger Anna Maria Hoffman wants to know “when it became hateful to support marriage.”
Hoffman, a contributor to conservative website Counter Cultured, tries her best Sarah Palin impersonation while breaking down the current climate around marriage in a recent video posted to YouTube. Hoffman is not a fan of the gays.
She begins the video by calling marriage equality “cool” and opposing same-sex marriage rights “uncool.” Well, at least she’s got that part right.