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!