Monday, October 8, 2007

My Letter to the Dispatch

I wrote a letter to the Columbus Dispatch to respond to their article about linking the local bike trails together. Of course, I got paired with two other letters that were anti-bike, as is the Dispatch's way. But here's my letter. The Dispatch gave it the headline it did... but it's not bad.
Bicycles don't receive enough support here
Sunday, October 7, 2007 3:54 AM
I respond to the Sept. 26 Dispatch article, regarding central Ohio cities' attempts and wishes to link the various bicycle path networks. The first paragraph implied that bicycle paths are for recreation, and this isn't the whole story.

Bicycles are, first and foremost, for transportation. Bicycle use is one major answer to the congestion problems that Columbus is increasingly experiencing. They are the most efficient form of transportation known to man. They use less energy to build than cars; they don't support a traffic system that results in more than 40,000 deaths per year; they promote exercise; they emit no pollution; and they don't require oil, ethanol or any other fuel once they've been built.

But our city is poorly set up to encourage their use: Our bicycle path system is set up strictly for recreation, and the bike lanes are not in places that actually allow for proper bicycle transit. And our legal system coddles dangerous drivers whose actions and distractions make the streets unsafe for cycling.

City traffic code rightly requires that bicycles operate in the street, yet our police don't enforce traffic codes that would ensure safe streets for all users, not only cyclists. The article was factually correct but failed on the very reason that these changes are needed.

JAMIE FELLRATH

Columbus

People, not speed.

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