Jennifer Oberpriller, marketing director of Quality Bike Parts in the USA, has sent out an email to journalists asking for people to tell a certain local newspaper columnist to get on his bike. Joe Soucheray’s odious views on cyclists being more of a road danger than motorists are having a big affect in Philadelphia.
"A lot of people read this guy’s column and he is setting a dangerous precedent in how peds and cyclists should be treated by automobile drivers," wrote Oberpriller.
Far be it for bikebiz.co.uk to condone stuffing up this guy’s email account but should you feel he’s being a tad irresponsible, here’s his address: jsoucheray@pioneerpress
Forget the cars, keep eyes peeled for the 2-wheeled
They weren’t exactly protesters. They were cheerful enough and seemingly
obedient of the applicable regulations, but nevertheless they were wearing
those straw gardening hats that suggest a note of oppressed peasantry and
they were, afterall, carrying signs. I think we were supposed to get the idea
they represented some sort of plight. They were pedestrians. Their signs said
“We are pedestrians,”or “See pedestrians.” I can’t even claim that they
clogged up the intersection. They shuffled across the street on the green
light. This was atrush hour Monday, at Fairview and Randolph.
I guess other members of the pedestrian community were at other intersections
carrying the same glaringly obvious signs. Carrying a sign while crossing the
street that says “I am a pedestrian” is a little bit like Doug Mientkiewicz
holding up a sign in the field that says“I am a first baseman.”
Every once in a while a pedestrian gets mowed down in traffic. It is
unfortunate. It happens about as often as somebody pulls out a concealed
weaponin a restaurant and shoots their grandmother, but the two
extraordinarily rare events are not necessarily unrelated. We have among us a
growing body of souls who intend to eliminate risk in all matters. While it
is admirable to lead a careful life and to exercise caution when it is called
for, it is unrealistic to expect a risk-free life. There are too many of us
and there are too many dangers.
A telephone wire could loosen in the wind and wrap itself around your leg,
tripping you. The wood handle on even a gas-free push mower could snap and
impale you. Chunks of ice can fall off buildings. Killer bees might work
their way north. I mean, if you want to eliminate risk you’ve got your work
cut out for you.
The pedestrian protest movement is relatively new, considering that in 100
years or so of driving we have always waited for a clear street to cross on
foot. I would imagine it is the easiest protest club in the world to join. If
you are not in your car you are a pedestrian, meaning that all of us are
pedestrians, just as the pedestrians at Fairview and Randolph Monday were all
motorists. They just happened at that moment to have their SUVs parked at
Now, it is the law that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. Of
course they do. And all reasonable souls not only know this, but all
reasonable souls are going to yield. It has always been thus. What is
changing is the underlying notion that pedestrians are somehow more virtuous
than motorists which has led to pedestrians entering crosswalks with the
unreasonable expectation that motorists can stop in time.
You go ahead and tell your loved ones whatever you want. I have always told
mine to look both ways before crossing the street, that they cannot win
against a car or truck and it is much easier to wait and maneuver on foot
than it is to slam on the brakes from 30 mph because some woman in a straw
hat thinks her rights are more powerful than a Ford Explorer.
What we all better do is get along. And if the pedestrian protesters really
want to worry about safety they should worry about cyclists. Pedestrians feel
a kinship to cyclists because they both at that moment are shunning fossil
fuels, but the bicyclist will knock you down sooner than any car.
Cyclists do not obey traffic signs. Their disobedience is directly
proportional to the cost of their outfit.Young mothers pushing their babies
across intersections in front of a respectfully stopped automobile had best
remember that alongside of the stopped car a cyclist is approaching at warp
speed with no intention of stopping because he is training for the Tour de