Courtland Milloy’s July 9 Metro column, “District biker gang — the pedaling kind — has a lot of nerve,” caught me off guard. I thought I was the one who had to be defensive riding D.C. streets until I reach a bike path or lane. Frequently, car doors open as I pass, buses pass a few inches from my handlebars, and motorists yell or honk at me when I am trying to get around double-parked vehicles or cars parking. I try to obey traffic lights, but sometimes it is nice to get a running start and get away from traffic.
The bike lanes have helped enormously. I do not understand why anyone would think they are bad. I have been bicycling in the District since 1984, and motorists appear more impatient with my presence on a bicycle than they did years ago, probably because of the higher volume of traffic. Everyone would be better off riding a bicycle in the city, but it is not for everyone. However, saying that hitting a bicyclist is worth the $500 fine is not a solution.
Jamie Rothschild, Washington
The July 11 Style article “In D.C.’s bike wars, here come the spokespeople,” peddling civility by and toward bikers downtown, revealed the reason cyclists should be aggressively ticketed by D.C. police when they break the rules: in the one brief capsule of time described in the article, five cyclists sped through a red light. An ambulance, fire engine or police car could have been speeding into the intersection, and the cyclists would have caused a tragedy, among many possibilities. If rude and rule-breaking cyclists start receiving fines for their behavior, maybe they would reconsider their importance over the importance of every other individual on the streets. If that doesn’t work, the bike lanes need to be considered a failed experiment.
Linda O’Brien, Takoma Park