Bob Levey is creating a war zone downtown, pitting driver and pedestrian against courier.
I worked for a month and a half as a courier last summer, and I was attacked twice by cars. One sideswiped me, leaving me with scrapes and bruises. Another honked at me and accelerated toward me, and the driver made an obscene gesture. I swerved, and the car missed me by inches. Both attacks were unprovoked. In branding us "vicious, uncaring scofflaws" and "criminals," Mr. Levey is encouraging more of this. When drivers and pedestrians perceive us as Mr. Levey would have them, our lives are in danger.
There are hundreds of decent couriers downtown whom Mr. Levey has no right to attack based on the actions of a few. This is not to say that there is no problem downtown. There is. Strong pressure either to move quickly or to risk one's job can cause a courier to lose concentration and become careless. But we need a solution that is fair to everyone and shows a little thought.
Two things need to be done. First, couriers need to make sure they don't bike unsafely around pedestrians. One way to keep couriers more attentive is to have the courier companies limit the number of deliveries assigned to each courier in a given time period.
Second, people need to stop carrying around an entrenched hatred toward downtown couriers. This prejudice is unjustified and dangerous. People must realize that the vast majority of couriers really do have strong feelings about safety on the job.
LEN WAYNE Chevy Chase