I grow weary of your anti-cyclist rants. But more than being weary I am increasingly fearful for those who choose to ride a bike on southern Oregon roadways. I am fearful that your vehemence and anger, often mirrored by non-thinking folks in your audience, will translate to aggressive and violent action against cyclists by motor vehicle drivers. Please don't forget that cyclists are simply people riding bikes and that motorists are simply people driving cars. Both are people and both deserve respect and are accorded the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as given by "God" and affirmed by our constitution.
It is interesting to hear a supposedly conservative, libertarian-leaning person such as yourself decry the use of the bicycle, at least as it applies to the cyclist's use of the public roadways. Can you can think of a more efficient, self-directed mode of transportation? Can you show me another mode of transport that lessens our country's dependence on foreign energy? Can you show me a vehicle that uses less of the road surface or causes less wear and tear to it? In fact, a cyclist could get along perfectly well on a minimally-maintained road. Think about it. That adds up (or subtracts down) to lower construction costs, lower maintenance costs, and lower taxes! Can you show me another vehicle that when used as transportation actually decreases traffic jams and pollution? Sure, you may cite the bike lane on Hwy 99 in Ashland, but I would call that an aberration and not a design that I would have chosen. Can you show me a vehicle that requires less maintenance or that costs less to operate and maintain? Can you show me a vehicle that almost anyone can afford to purchase? Can you show me a vehicle less connected to Mother Government? Can you show me a vehicle that would still allow you to get around in a time of fuel shortage or rationing? The bicycle would seem to be the perfect vehicle for the truly independent-minded individual, the revolutionary, the survivalist, the Miner-Dave, the Rica, the radical. Perhaps you are not one of those, perhaps you are just a Republican.
To suggest that roads are intended for the exclusive use of motorized vehicles is just plain ignorant. People on bikes, whether they ride for recreation or transportation, have as much legal right to the roads of this state as people in automobiles. Ask your friend, Alan Bates. And to say that people who ride bikes don't pay their fair share in regard to road taxes? Poppycock! I know a lot of people who ride bikes, Bill, and almost every one of them has a car or multiple cars. I have two full-sized Chevy trucks with a total mileage count of over 300,000 miles. I've bought a lot of gas. I have paid and continue to pay my damn share!
In closing, I'll get back to the safety issue. You had a caller this morning who expressed his frustration in getting stuck behind a recumbent bicycle as he was driving down a rural road. He was angry Bill. He had to follow that recumbent for at least a mile, he said, before the recumbent finally pulled off the road so he could get by. Wow. Your caller was slowed by another vehicle and the driver of the other vehicle pulled over to let him by. How thoughtless of that other driver. (Sarcasm.) I wonder how many times your caller has been slowed down by another motorized vehicle. In any case, I thank your caller for having enough patience to wait for a safe place to pass.
In the news this morning was the story of an Army Ranger who was at the side of Michelle Obama during the President's State of the Union speech last night. A Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, he is still recovering from injuries he received during his 10 deployments (39 months) to Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the news article is the following statement: "He still has an active life - he travels the country attending various ceremonies and events, and every week he rides his recumbent bike with other veterans."
Bill, all who ride bikes are not the left-leaning, socialist, tree-huggers you make us out to be. We are flesh and blood and bone, and our little helmets would prove a poor defense against 2 tons of steel. Stay patient.
1) Criticism of the insane plan to transfer use of one-fourth of the capacity of highway 99 to exclusive bicycle use doesn't equal "cyclist hate" any more than my criticism of President Obama's failed policies = "Hatred of a black man". I own, and ride bicycles too...and I share the road. No, I'm not part of the bumblebee spandex crowd, and my bike is only worth $250 new, but it works great. :)
2) This is a public policy issue, and if you want to ride bicycles, great. Most will not. Share the road? I'm good with that! However, the plan to reduce capacity on Hwy 99 for conventional uses and transfer to exclusive use for a mode of transportation guaranteed to move fewer people from A to B, and more slowly? Insane public policy. That the green agenda planners want to do this makes it no less insane.
3) The libertarian way of dealing with the public roads would be to privatize it all. Think of how much bicyclists would fork over for the real estate values of 1/4 of Hwy 99. Doubt they would be willing to part with that amount of dough. Instead the two-wheel fans propose to seize roadway paid for through the fuel taxes of motorists, who would be barred from using them.
In my experience, courteous bicyclists are treated well on the current roads, and I always do my best to give them a wide berth. I also see a large swath of rude "morally superior types" claiming "their share" of the road. Fine. But guess which types of bicyclists are remembered by non-bicyclists when the time comes to divvy up a scarce public good. Those types of bicyclists drive the "biker hate". They want to be treated like regular vehicles, until it comes time to be treated like regular vehicle.
In retrospect, it would've been great to have constructed all thoroughfares with multiple use. But we didn't, and it's a bit ridiculous to stuff that genie back in the bottle now. The job of the transportation system is to get folks from point A to point B in relative speed and comfort. That has been done via the private vehicle, or to a lesser extent transit buses. ODOT's mission should have nothing to do with getting folks from point A to point B in the mode favored by the "U.N. Earth Charter" types. The people have voted where they wish to place their transportation dollars. The individual vehicle wins, and has paid the freight for this system.
In my opinion, share the road is the best way to go to keep traffic flowing smoothly. All the physical benefits of cycling which you pointed out are valid. But it is not your, or my place, to make major transportation changes "for our own good".