Never call a cyclist a “terrorist,” because they will come after you.
That’s what happened to Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy on Thursday when more than 40 people biked from DuPont Circle to the Washington Post headquarters to protest his Tuesday column in which he lambasted bicyclists in the city.
“They fight to have bike lanes routed throughout the city, some in front of churches where elderly parishioners used to park their cars,” Milloy wrote. “They slow-pedal those three-wheel rickshaws through downtown during rush hour, laughing at motorists who want them to get out of the way.”
In the last paragraph, he said, “There’ll be kids and bikes and Muppets, as if Kermit is supposed to make us forget about the biker terrorists out to rule the road.”
The column, to no surprise, received hundreds of online comments.
Despite the presence of the protesters and representatives of several media outlets, Milloy did not make an appearance Thursday.
The bicyclists did not demand that there be fewer cars on the roads. They did not call Milloy obscene names. They just asked for respect.
“I’m here because I’m a person not a terrorist,” said Steve Lerch, who is recovering from an April 4, crash in which he says a pick-up truck pushed him off the road. Lerch suffered a broken arm and fractured pelvis in the accident.
“There are as many jerk cyclists as there are jerk pedestrians as there are jerk drivers,” he added.
Several protesters held signs that read “I’m a heart nurse, not a terrorist,” and “Hello, I’m a cyclist. ” Many recounted their own horror experiences of riding D.C. streets.
“I had people tell me to get out of the f—— road,” said Lisa Eaker. “I’ve had people come right up next to me in the car. It goes on constantly.”
Lerch said if he had a chance to talk to Milloy, he would say one thing.
“Come bike with me.”