My Washington Post colleague Courtland Milloy is catching unholy hell for his column about bad biker behavior in the city. Courtland, my friend,I feel your pain It was exactly twelve years ago when I offered this commentary during my then-weekly WTOP radio broadcast:
While the president and Tom Ridge are putting together a homeland security plan, I hope that they will do something about the threat to life and limb that lurks in Rock Creek Park and on trails and paths around the Washington area. I am referring to those infernal bikers who persist in converting public space into their personal Tour de France race every Saturday and Sunday. They are as dangerous as anthrax. And just as sneaky. They come up on you without warning. And they show no regard for their targets. Joggers, bird-lovers, moms with toddlers, seniors with pet dogs, it doesn’t matter. We are all fair game for those terrorists on wheels. And the park police are nowhere to be found. So help Tom Ridge. Help President Bush. Somebody please help us. This is Colbert I. King from The Washington Post, for WTOP Radio.
Bikers went ballistic to the point that the station felt it necessary to give equal time to a biker response. The written commentaries published online showed the bikers to be as rabid and self-righteous in July 2002 as they are now. And they can’t take a joke, either.
I lived in Europe for three years and watched bikers and cars co-exist quite well. In the D.C. area, we are suffering from “who got here first” syndrome. We are having the same dispute with deer, fox, and things that scurry about in the night. No side-driver or biker has cornered the market on courtesy and good sense. Pedestrians aren’t exactly good traffic models, either. None of us will be going away. My namesake Rodney said it best, “Can we all get along?” We’d better or we all will end up in the hospital, jail or something worse: on the front page.