We are …. different

Letters to the Editor from the Tomahawk Leader.
Tomahawk Leader
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2001 1:01 am

We are …. different

Postby Tomahawk Leader » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:02 am

A Letter to the Editor in the Sept. 7, 2010, Tomahawk Leader

Dear Editorial Staff, The Tomahawk Leader:
I was shocked and surprised that Mr. Lawrence Tobin, Editor, Author and Publisher should vent his spleen on the Madison Bike Rider as a class.

We have a hard time. We can not ride on the freeway like trucks can. Of course cars are not to run on sidewalks as pedestrians do, and bikes can. We are as Mr. Tobin states different. We are not cars. We are not trucks, and we are not pedestrians.

It does seem difficult as a bike rider to stop needlessly at a stop sign when it is clear that there is no traffic. With your truck that would be much more dangerous.
As to riding with traffic in the street the bicyclest is trusting that the drunk driver, the huffer, or the person who is overmedicated won’t run them over. If the biker rides against traffic he has a lot more control in this matter.

With regards,
Richard R. Graebel

User avatar
Kerry Tobin
Posts: 700
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2001 1:01 am
Tie to Tomahawk: I grew up there & family
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: We are …. different

Postby Kerry Tobin » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:44 pm


Actually, your mentality is a large reason why there are so many bicycle accidents in Madison. I live there too and there is actually someone waiting for an ambulance just outside my apartment complex as I write this. The reason, they were on a sidewalk, going against traffic, on a road with a bike lane. Madison is also the only place I've ever heard of that had an accident where a bike failed to stop for a stop sign at an intersection between a bike path and road, was hit by a car, and there were suggestions to put up a stop sign for the cars!

Please visit http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/veh ... /rules.htm and find out what the rules and LAWS related to riding a bicycle are in the state of Wisconsin. First and foremost, you are legally required to stop at a stop sign, along with obeying all other traffic laws. You also have to give the right-of-way to pedestrians. I've seen people crossing the street get hit by bikers that failed to stop on campus and close calls are routine. I've also nearly hit, and nearly been hit by bikes that didn't stop at intersections while in a car.

Second, it's actually more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk if your past the learning stage and is illegal unless the community has passed an ordinance permitting it. Why? The sidewalks are built for pedestrians. If they step out of a business, bus, car, etc. they shouldn't have to look for a fast moving object on a sidewalk. The reason for the accident by my apartment is you can't see far enough down the sidewalk until you pull into it. A bike moving at 10-20+ MPH doesn't have time to stop and can't be seen before pulling into the sidewalk.

Finally, riding with traffic is for your own safety. A car making a right onto a street isn't looking for a fast moving bicycle coming from the opposite direction. It also increases your risk of a head on accident because a car coming at you has less time to see you and take evasive action because you are going toward them rather than away. It also increase the force of the accident. For example, if the car is going 25 MPH and you are going 10 MPH the gap is being closed at 35 MPH. On the other hand, if you are riding where you are supposed to, the gap (and accident) occur at 15 MPH.

Ambulance just got here... Please follow the laws for your sake and mine!

Kerry Tobin
Madison Resident & Biker

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