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Hypocrites Behind the Wheel 

I had Thanksgiving dinner with a group of close friends. Two of the evening's conversations, when balanced against each other, made me sit up and think, "I need to call out my friends on this." Let me explain.

The first conversation took place early in the evening. All those around the table are athletic and older than 45. Nearly everyone at the table was railing against the driving habits of Bend drivers. "They make cycling (bike riding) on Central Oregon streets dangerous. The drivers are playing with their radios or cell phones, drinking a cup of coffee, or something or other, but just not watching the road." That was the tone of the conversation. Bad drivers. Drivers breaking the law and endangering us cyclists.

Later that evening, the conversation came back to driving. This time it was my friends at the table discussing their driving habits. One person at the table was "bragging" about how he usually gets by with driving 80 mph or so down Highway 97 with his radar detector on. But recently he had gotten a ticket and had to go to driving school for a Saturday. A couple of others in the group also owned up to being "speed demons" on the highways.

Friends, I am calling you out. You cannot have it both ways - expect others to obey the driving laws of this state when it benefits you (riding your bike), but then break similar driving laws when you feel like it (speeding). This just doesn't wash. If you want other drivers to be responsible and courteous, I suggest you start with yourselves - obey the speed limit. When you pass a driver on the snowy roads up to Mt. Bachelor doing 60 mph, you are scaring the hell out of some of the drivers you pass. They don't deserve that and you don't deserve to be nearly run off the road when on your bike.

Why don't we all try to be better drivers, but to my friends at the Thanksgiving dinner table, I suggest that you start with yourselves. Be a leader, not a hypocrite.

(To my friends, don't take this with animosity, but somebody really had to call you out. :) And ... I would want you to do the same with me.)

- Kevin English, Bend

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