Comment of the Day

Reader: Us v. them arguments between cyclists and drivers not productive

Comments continue to collect on Sam Levin's post about Denver's new enforcement of drunk cycling policies already in place at the state level.

Check out one of the most wide-ranging and thorough discussions of the issue, from a reader who'd like to dial down the divisiveness.

SometimesBikeCommuter writes:

If I am riding my bike after drinking and cause an accident or am clearly out of control swerving in traffic, sure it's fair to stop and breathalize me and maybe give me a DUI. That is fair.

However, I am concerned that this law may lead to targeting of bicycle related events (cruisers, tour de fat, urban assault, jazz in the park...) where people often have a few drinks (New Belgium sponsors a ton of them) but don't necessarily ride irresponsibly. We'll have to wait and see how it's enforced.

For example, as an average weight woman if I have 3 glasses of wine over 2 hours at jazz in the park, this technically would put me over the legal limit. While I choose not to drink and drive my car AT ALL, I certainly would not be too impaired at that point to responsibly ride a bicycle. To have to operate under the assumption that I could possibly face jail time for doing so is completely absurd.

Additionally, I want to say that calling for licensing, taxation and registration for bikers is completely ridiculous.

1. Children ride their bikes to school. Should they be forced to wait until they are 16 to ride? Cycling is a healthy and safe way for kids to get around. With the obesity and lack of exercise related illnesses facing our population, why would you discourage it?

2. Many low income families rely on bicycles for part if not all of their transportation. It is, after all, the least expensive way to travel. Imposing a new tax on those people would provide an unfair burden on that population.

3. Bicycles, due to their weights and average speeds cause relatively no wear and tear on roads when compared to cars and trucks.

4. Encouraging cycling reduces traffic congestion in general because IT GETS CARS OFF THE ROAD. People who choose to drive everywhere they have to go should be thankful that those of us who bike some or all of the time have chosen that as our mode of transportation.

5.It reduces air pollution created by travelling.

6. It is healthy and fun! With increasing concern about the public costs of healthcare, why would you not want your fellow commuters to get more exercise?

There are irresponsible bikers out there, just like there are irresponsible drivers, irresponsible pedestrians, and irresponsible drinkers. But don't generalize all cyclists as scofflaws who should be punished and stay off the road. That is foolish and shortsighted and unproductive. This "us vs. them" attitude between cyclists and car drivers doesn't lead to productive dialogue.

Please just realize that we are all different people who need to get places! We all have different priorities and reasons for making the transportation choices that we make and we should all be allowed to have a voice.

For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts