Walk Bike Glendale would like to respond to Peter Rusch’s July 30 op-ed “Is Cycling the New Rude?” No one will argue that, like many drivers, some bicyclists flaunt the law and impose a bad image for the rest of us who are law-abiding. However, while Rusch highlights cyclists who run stop signs as the dominant two-wheeled road user, we’d like to emphasize there is a growing force of cyclists that not only abides by road laws, but works together to improve road use for everyone. Walk Bike Glendale members spend their free time educating bicyclists on the rules of the road, conduct light and helmet giveaways to help bicyclists be more visible and safe, and work with the city to design safer streets.
While perhaps unintended, Rusch’s public airing of his observation reinforces a blanketed hostility toward bicyclists that translates to increased harassment from drivers. We question how productive it is to share this kind of grievance in the News-Press, as it only serves to foment cyclist-driver friction.
Let’s not forget the tragic consequences of careless driving behavior on vulnerable road users. Drivers who run stop signs are far more likely to cause damage and destruction than bicyclists, particularly in our dense downtown neighborhoods.
Our intention with this response is not to pit bicyclists against drivers, but to remind readers that we are all humans, and it is important to practice patience and respect. Some bicyclists test our patience just as some drivers do, but focusing on those who disregard the law as justification to channel anger or frustration at the entire bicycling population is divisive. Beneath the helmet and Lycra is a human being; please be courteous and share the road with civility.
Editor’s Note: The writer is chair of Walk Bike Glendale.