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Rep. Steve LaTourette Backpedals on Dismissive Cycling Remarks

Screen_shot_2010_04_16_at_9.24.42_AM.pngBig thanks to Streetsblog Network member Iowa Bike Blog for alerting us to a post on the website of Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH). You may remember that LaTourette caused a bit of a stir in the bicycling community last month with some remarks
he made while questioning DOT officials last month about funding for
bicycle infrastructure. According to reports, he said, among other
things, ""What job is going to be created by having a bike lane?" and
suggested in a jocular fashion that perhaps US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood
was on drugs for thinking bike facilities should get substantial
funding.

Well, apparently Rep. LaTourette got an earful from bike advocates
who took issue with his comments. Here’s part of what he posted on his website:

As you may know, an online publication in March published a story
about a congressional hearing that dealt with funding for the
Department of Transportation (DOT). Having attended the hearing and
asked several questions, I was more than a little shocked by what was
written since it didn’t even come close to recapping the hearing. These
hearings are always covered by the Washington press, yet this story
seemed to be the only one to suggest I had some angry diatribe and odd
vendetta against bike lanes.

While there was some levity in my questioning of a DOT
Undersecretary at the hearing, at no point did I ridicule bicyclists,
bike paths or bikes lanes. I was merely trying to clarify comments made
by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in his blog about bike paths
being “equal” to others modes of transportation, especially pertaining
to funding and if the formula for doling out funding was changing.…

I regret the online story caused so much anxiety and that it made
some of you question me. Nothing has changed my ardent support of bike
trails, bike lanes and the right of cyclists to share the road.  This
has been a lesson on the power of the Internet, and it sure has given
me a new respect for the fierce advocacy from the cycling community. I
hope this will clear up any misunderstandings, and please know I will
continue to be a strong advocate on your behalf. Should you have any
questions, please feel free to contact me. 

Good work on the part of all those who called or e-mailed LaTourette
to let him know what they thought about his dismissive attitude toward
bike infrastructure. Now he knows someone is watching.

More from around the network: Reimagine an Urban Paradise has the sweet story of a man who botched a repair job on his car and ended up becoming a bike commuter as a result. Hub and Spokes posts on the prospects for streetcars in Minneapolis. And Utility Cycling has a good roundup of the best ways to carry stuff on your bike.

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