Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee had a nasty exchange with a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk, and now he’s disgusted that bicyclists want to feel safe while riding. “If bicyclists want respect and safety, they should act like they deserve it,” his headline stated in yesterday’s Bee.
I’m very sorry Mr. Walters’ colleague, Hilary Abramson, had such a horrible experience after being hit by a bicycle on a sidewalk, but that hardly means that nobody on a bike deserves respect or safety.
Walters concludes from these two incidents that the three-foot passing law that went into effect yesterday ”should be matched by one that absolutely prohibits bicycles on sidewalks statewide with stiff fines for violation, and another that makes hit-and-run bicycling just as much a crime as hit-and-run driving.”
Walters and his colleague apparently didn’t listen when it was pointed out to them that maybe people ride on the sidewalk because they don’t feel safe in the street, a problem the three-foot law is intended to help address.
Maybe he’s just steamed because the bicyclist he lectured about riding on the sidewalk wasn’t patient enough to spend time discussing the issue with him.
Maybe he should have glanced up at the signs around him; he may have seen that many of the sidewalks “around the Capitol,” where he confronted the cyclist, are designated bike routes.
I’m tired of hearing that people on bikes are jerks that don’t deserve respect. I’ve been yelled at, honked at, lectured, and almost run over by people driving cars, more than one of them doing illegal and dangerous things like talking on cell phones. I can’t pretend I am always patient myself when interacting with drivers while I’m on my bike.
But I’ll try to be patient with Walters: