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|Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015|
|Because Neighborhoods Count|
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. . . I cannot defend cyclists who make pedestrians, or their dogs, feel unsafe . . .
Cyclists are people, too
I can well understand Laurence T. May, Jr.'s dismay at rude and dangerous cyclists (Chronicle, 24 April). As a four-season cyclist myself, often with children in tow, I cannot defend cyclists who make pedestrians, or their dogs, feel unsafe on the sidewalk, or anywhere else for that matter. However, to argue that the bicycle "community" is on a lower level than city dogs and does not contribute financially to the city, as Mr. May argues, is both inaccurate and does nothing to further the public safety dialogue.
From a financial standpoint, cyclists such as myself spend thousands of dollars every year on goods and services throughout the city. From a smart growth perspective, the city's massive traffic and parking problems are alleviated when people cycle instead of drive. Environmentally, cyclists help minimize the air pollution everyone suffers from far too often in our city.
Perhaps most bothersome about Mr. Lay's letter, though, is his apparent lack of understanding of the lethal dangers cyclists face every day on Cambridge's streets, with or without the poorly maintained and poorly policed bike lanes. I invite Mr. Lay, and anyone else who would wish to better understand a cyclist's perspective, to join me sometime, preferably at night, in a ride about Cambridge. Immobile, straddling a bicycle in the middle of Rindge Ave, waiting to turn left while cars pass inches away on both sides can't help but make one question the wisdom of robotically following traffic laws made for motor vehicles.
To really understand the dangers of cycling, though, it is best to put another's life at risk, as well as one's own. Perhaps Mr. Lay would like to borrow my bike trailer, the one my kids were riding in when a motorist erroneously thought she could pass my wife without hitting anything. Mr. Lay's dog might take great joy in getting bumped by a moving 2,000 pound steel object, but neither my wife nor my children thought it was fun. I apologize to Mr. Lay and his dog for the rude and dangerous behavior the cyclist in question demonstrated towards them. I hope that we can all see beyond such cyclists to work on making our streets safer for everyone.