Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why I love cycling here

So, gang, what do you think of the Ragsdale letter? Here's my response:

Be it for work or errands, I'm on my bicycle almost every day of the year, in the road as has been repeatedly shown safer in studies (Moritz 1998, to name one). For the last three years I've been counting how many times I'm harassed by motorists. The startling number: 5 shouts or honks in 3 years. In the last year, it's only happened once (not counting the truck full of high school girls who shouted "you're hot").

Los Alamos is the friendliest town I've ever had the pleasure to cycle in. Motorists are courteous and friendly to me, sometimes even rolling down the window to chat while we're waiting for the light to change.

Mr. Ragsdale's letter, fittingly published on September 11, uses scary imagery and name-calling in an attempt to terrorize current and would-be cyclists into forsaking their bicycles. If more than a handful of county residents were the sorts of hotheads with whom Mr. Ragsdale sympathizes, maybe he would have a point. But if his letter does anything, it will evoke a sense of solidarity: the calm and polite county residents I've met own bikes in addition to cars (some are pedestrians, too!), and neither cyclists nor motorists are fond of swerving, angry drivers.

Perhaps Mr. Ragsdale has just been cooped up in his car for too long and would benefit from some fresh air and exercise. A nice bike ride would be just what the doctor ordered!

3 comments:

Khal Spencer said...

My response to Mr. Ragsdale, sent to the Monitor.

Dear Editor and Publisher Ralph Damiani

You chose to publish a letter (appended below) by Mr. Tom Ragsdale that is inflammatory, hostile, offensive, and threatening ("mobile hood ornaments"). It is laced with name-calling and is therefore poor journalism. Surely the Monitor is not encouraging hostility towards law-abiding cyclists? I think an apology from the Monitor to the Los Alamos County cycling community is in order. The last thing we need in Los Alamos right now, given the challenges we may face in the next year from potential loss of jobs from our principle employer, is more misdirected anger, especially anger which can be turned into road rage.

As far as NM 4? Shoulderless roads are a hazard to everyone, whether it be a driver who has to pull off the road with a disabled vehicle, a pedestrian walking from a disabled vehicle, or a cyclist trying to get where he or she is going. This road need to be fixed, but until then, we must operate on it safely. Road rage, as it happens, contradicts safety. I am a little miffed that you allow your paper to be used for such inflammatory nonsense.

As far as ignoring the vehicle and traffic code? The Monitor's Police Beat is routinely dominated by moving violations committed by motorists. There is nothing constructive in having the pots call the kettles black.

Khalil J. Spencer
Former Transportation Board member (3/2003 to 3/2007) and Chair (3/2006-3/2007)

Greg said...

Great response... I hope to see it in the Monitor soon.

I believe the county has secured an easement on land direct adjacent to NM4 on either side of the road in order to widen the road.

I hope they get started soon.

Khal said...

Its in today's Monitor, Greg.