Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Red v Blue

I got a big kick out of reading the comments to this article, which discusses the drunk driver who veered into the shoulder on Highway 30, slammed into a cyclist during the STP, and then fled the scene. The convicted felon was apprehended eight miles from the accident, and the cyclist is in fair condition. I've heard Wendy complain about the fact that I not only read right-wing blogs, but I interact with them. She thinks it's weird. It probably is. I don't know why I have a desire to read poorly educated people who think George W. Bush is an awesome president, but I do. I want to hear their reasons. And I want to find a common ground. Anyway, for whatever reason, this article about the drunk driver crashing into a cyclist triggered a number of locals in that area to blast the STP and cyclists. Here are some of my favorite responses:

The man should not have ran after the incident but.....Living on the route these riders take, I can attest to the fact that a majority of the particpants are disrespectful and arrogant. They block the lanes of travel that drivers of motorized vehicles pay taxes on for the privledge of driving on them. As far as I am concerned these riders should be required to license their bikes and purchase tags for them on a yearly basis. After all, they are traveling from one major city to another in a different state on public roads. Think of the revenue aspect and get it done.

Making cyclists pay a tax to license their bikes is a common request from commenters. Because, you know, only car drivers pay taxes, and cyclists don't drive cars and therefore don't pay taxes, so they're deadbeats riding on roads that other people have paid for. And making them pay taxes will put a stop to their disrespect and arrogance. Especially if they have to register their bicycle in every county. Get it done. Here's another one:

Though it's terrible this guy was a coward and left the scene, I cannot stand this event. The last two years it has fallen on Warped tour and it has made the short ride to the amphitheater nearly 2 hours longer than it is supposed to be. The bicyclists don't give a crap about the people in vehicles. I've seen them ride 10 wide all the way out to the center of the highway and when you creep around them they yell at you. It's stupid. For some reason law flies out the window with events like this. Complete lack of respect for the rules of the road.

First, I like the rhetorical approach. To make your case stronger, exaggerate. It took 2 hours to get to the amphitheater? Are you sure it didn't take you only an hour and forty-five minutes to make your trek? I also appreciate the lack of any sense of irony. The article is about a hit-and-run drunk driver, yet they're complaining that cyclists don't follow the rules of the road. (It's true that a lot of cyclists do break laws and aren't as courteous as they should be, but I don't want to get into that. I'm enjoying myself, so let's keep going.)

What about all the people who planned to attend days in the park and had to be delayed for 60 minutes or more just to cross the bridge. How about the people who have to work and must spend 5 times the amount of time on the road. These people do not care if they disrupt your life, remember they disrupt your life because they do not care about you.........

Aw, you caught me. The first few dozens of comments are similiar in nature, except for the occasional person who doesn't like this event either, but doesn't want everyone to get carried away. And they reminded the bitter folk that the cyclist was riding legally in the shoulder of the road when a drunk driver broke a number of laws by smashing into him and fleeing the scene. But some would have none of that:

Possibly the guy left because a crowd of riders bent on vigilanty justice was very intiminating. Sorry people but there is usually two sides to every story.

I appreciate this person's open mind, but his math are off. There is usually four or five sides to every story. At this point, cyclists became aware of the nasty complaints, so they rushed in with brilliant comments of their own.

Typical Cowlitz county posters; look at how fat people are in this county, maybe if some of you got out of your big SUV's and pickup trucks that you drive around empty and got on a bike your health and attitudes would be better. Read your driver's ed rules of the road, bicyclists are entitled to use public roads just like you. Furthermore they are taxpayers: they own cars, houses, have incomes, etc. I'm not making excuses for those that litter or are rude however.

Nice. If you don't ride a bike, you drive an SUV and you're fat. Way to come to the rescue. Unfortunately, this person forgot to mention that cyclists are saving the environment from the destruction caused by the evil country folk.

Hey you bunch of ignorant boneheads who do you think does the most damage to, and causes the most wear and tear to the roads you love so much-- Your giant gas guzzling trucks and suv's OR a bicycle? Maybe taxes should be assessed by the size and weight of the automobile-- as well as the driver.

It was around this point that the quality of the arguments began to deteriorate:

This is an open letter to all of you car drivers that buzzed us bike riders during the STP. To all of the motorists that yelled at, harrassed, threw things at, and came dangerously close to those of us participating in this event. You think you're tough hiding in your big two ton metal box? You better hope that I don't catch up to you at the next stop sign or signal. You think I'm kidding? Just try me!!!

I wasn't sure if I'd see someone bravely step out and anonymously respond to the anonymous threat, but what do you know?

I welcome you trying something at the next stop light..its why I take care of threats....

In case you didn't know, CCW is gun-nut speak for Carrying a Concealed Weapon. It's getting out of hand. Someone needs to step in and set everyone straight. Maybe, just maybe, there's a Voice of Reason:

I've seen cars AND cyclists in the wrong. It's a small minority of each side giving them each a bad name. But, this is not a driver vs cyclist issue. It's a basic lack of tolerance and understanding for others. This lack of tolerance is growing in our country and this is a prime example. Everyone is too worried about their own rights being violated and you don't care about anyone else. This is why our country is so screwed up. Everyone, on both sides, should develop some tolerance and patience for others. If you aren't willing to do that, then YOU are what's wrong with this country. Don't condemn others, this accomplishes nothing. Take some action for the good of our community and country! It's up to each one of us!

And once we get that squared away, we can take actions for the good of the world, and everything will be wondrous. As the great Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?"