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Re: “Letters 8/11-8/18

guess who's in my way during rush hour (or any hour)? Other Drivers. They floor it when they should yield. They run stop signs, they run red lights well over the speed limit (gotta take advantage of that Yellow), and - worst of all - they can kill you if you find yourself in the wrong part of the street when they do these things. And it won't matter if you're in your car, on foot, on your bike, or on friggin' horseback. Get T-boned by some schmuck running the red at 45mph and your chances aren't good.

There are a lot of deadly drivers on the road, and most of them would rather stare at their Phones than steer around that mini-van in the center lane just ahead . . .

It amazes me that so many people actually think there is some kind of rampant killing spree committed by rogue bike riders with such frequency. Do you know how many people are killed getting hit by bicyclists in a year? Eight (maybe ten in a bad year). Lightning strikes kill almost 30. You read that right. You're three times as likely to die trying to absorb 1.21 Gigawatts to go Back To The Future than you are to be killed by a bike rider, no matter how careless they are.

Crappy Divers kill over 30,000 per year. Consistently. That's roughly the population of Juneau, Alaska being wiped out annually.

Nationwide, bikes represent just under 1% of trips taken each year. If bicyclists were the dangerous boogeymen you seem to believe (as dangerous as crappy drivers) they would be killing 300 people per year. However, as it turns out, the real totals mean bikes can really only be 2.7% as deadly as cars.

I honestly don't care if how many bicyclists are running stop signs and annoying the crap out of me, Sage. It means they're not pulling that crap in their cars, and I feel really good about that.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gearhead4077 on 08/21/2015 at 6:54 PM

Re: “Bike Town USA

Bike lanes are needed in many paces, but a bigger issue is sprawl. In older parts of Bend, destinations are close to each other making these areas more walkable, more bikeable. Go to an area that was developed in the last 30 or 40 years, and the picture changes. The east side - apart from private homes - is mostly parking lots. The north end of Bend is much the same.

This layout creates distance very quickly. Overbuilt parking lots are wasting a lot of space, though, and they never seem to fill to capacity. Real estate being as valuable as it is, perhaps it's time for the powers that be to re-think certain ordinances.

Posted by Gearhead4077 on 03/13/2015 at 6:58 PM

Re: “Letters 3/3-3/10

@ Chuck Thomas: You are held hostage by a bike lane? Really? You can't leave your home if a bike lane exists? How is someone so inept allowed behind the wheel? If a bike lane is such a danger, in what cocoon of protective kitten flatulence are you taking part in all of your "avid recreational" cycling?

But wait! Bike lanes are a conspiracy! Yeah, the local government is trying to make you ride bikes. You solved the puzzle. Now that the truth is out, old man Withers is on the wire to every news organization in the civilized world. Our right to drive is safe for another day. Thank you.


The street that passes by your home (like the sidewalk) is not "yours". Anybody who needs to use a public street is allowed do so in a civilized society. Nowhere is it written that large, expensive (dangerous) machinery has to be purchased in order to travel on public roads, nor should it be.

This may surprise you, Chuck, but lots of people simply cannot drive - the very elderly, anyone on a limited income (Poor people in Bend?! Yes, they're around), kids under 16, anyone with a DUI problem. Many others who DO drive should not - anyone with a smart phone addiction, people who have killed with their car in the past, the very elderly, kids over 16, and so on. If only there were ways for the inconveniently car-free to go from one place to another without having to rely on uncle Chuck and his "car held hostage" to cart them around . . .

Was Riverside safer for anybody when there was no bike lane? (I'm psychic enough to know that Chucky just said "yes".) Safer for who? I grew up here and I've been riding (and driving) all over Bend AND on Riverside Drive for over 20 years, and I'm not alone - there were very few days that bikes could not be found riding past Drake Park, trying to split the difference with passing drivers. Now, I have a lane that tells me where I can ride my bike and drivers are able to pass me easily. And when I DRIVE THE CAR THAT I OWN, I'm able to pass bikers at will thanks to this bike lane that is "holding you hostage". If only it were so easy to pass on all public roads.

If having to be around bikes and the people who ride them are really a problem for you, there are places where "those bikers" are very rare. Maybe you mistook Bend for that kind of place when you moved here. If that's the case, you were very much mistaken. Events like the Pole Pedal Paddle and the Cascade Cycling Classic have gone on in Bend for nearly 40 years now - That's not a coincidence.

Bike lanes aren't new here. There will be more. Bicycles aren't going away any more than cars are.

Get over it or get out.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Gearhead4077 on 03/13/2015 at 6:28 PM

Re: “Cops Want More Money

While I would appreciate the proposed efforts to keep us alive, wouldn't it also make sense to keep proven deadly drivers from ever driving again?

I'm pretty sure that once someone has proven that they'll kill with a gun, they can never again legally own a gun. So why, then, is a driver who is found to be at fault in a traffic death allowed to continue to own and operate the murder weapon?

I'm all for stricter enforcement, speed traps, anything that will slow down the jac#@$$ who just has get to the next red light 2 seconds faster. Just do us all a favor and make it count!

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gearhead4077 on 09/26/2013 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Don't Be A Dunderhead

A friendly acquaintance of mine was recently mugged, and shot in the process. Nobody thought to ask why he wasn't wearing body armor, even though it might've helped. No, the Police foolishly went looking for the man with the gun instead, and my friend was carted off to the hospital without so much as a verbal lashing from the medics.

Placing all the responsibility on the most vulnerable people is truly foolish. I hope nobody asks why Phil wasn't wearing his helmet when he gets leveled in a crosswalk downtown.

This editorial is really irresponsible. Not only does Phil fail to note causes of bike crashes, but he gives absolutely no context to his student's incident. Without providing context, it's impossible to effectively assign responsibility. Maybe she crashed on her own, maybe she was forced into a parked car by a freight truck, who knows. MAYBE KNOWING THE CAUSE OF THE INCIDENT HELPS PREVENT FUTURE PROBLEMS.

"Wear a helmet." A brief and righteous statement that requires no thought whatsoever and really does nothing for anyone's safety outside of being a last defense from a cracked skull.

Any way you want to look at it, helmets don't prevent crashes. Nor do they prevent concussions. You don't have to be an M.D. to know that a hard shell on the outside of your skull can't keep your brain from impacting the inside of your skull (this is the cause of a concussion, in basic terms). To prevent a concussion, you have to prevent the impact.

Riding a bike is not always a sport. We forget that in this community but, ya know, not everybody who gets on a bike rides the Cascade Cycling Classic. Just as there is Running, there is walking. Well, there's Cycling, and there's riding a bike. Some people are just using their bike to get to where they need to be. They ride slower than Max King can run, and nobody ever bothers him about leaving his "running helmet" at home. Full disclosure: I, myself, don't always wear a helmet when I ride my bike. Worse yet, I NEVER wear a helmet when stepping in and out of the tub for my monthly shower!

If you tend to fall off your bike a lot, slow down before you hurt yourself in a permanent way that your helmet can't prevent. You know, like a ruptured spleen, or a severed spinal chord, or any of the other billion injuries that occur BELOW the head.

Yes, there's always that chance that you could get hit by a car, and that really sucks, but your helmet won't keep it from happening. Bad things can happen and you do what you can to avoid the events that allow bad things to happen to you (p-r-e-v-e-n-t-i-o-n). What you DON'T do is assume that you're going to be maimed today, put on safety gear, and use no caution whatsoever assuming you've done all you can to be "safe".

There is such a thing as "safe riding", and a helmet is the last thing on the list. Saying "Here, this hat will keep you from dying" is, at best, a distortion. At worst, it's an all-out lie. I've said it, too. If I'd been less lazy, I'd have taken the time to talk to some of those riders about how to ride safely instead of telling them to wear a hat. Instead, I handed over a piece of foam and many of those riders immediately went out and blew every red light on the wrong side of the street after dark with no lights. Helmets don't change actions. Not that they don't help if you actually hit your head on something, but that's the last line of defense.

Sadly, the only thing Phil mentions that can actually help keep bike riders from getting hurt at all is about lights, which are a legal requirement for everybody. We downplay that critical bit of equipment, just make sure you wear your magic hat.

I hope this isn't your highest-paid writer.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Gearhead4077 on 07/20/2013 at 11:25 AM

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