Wednesday, February 6, 2013
 

Letter in Post about scofflaw motorist

I was almost speechless after reading a recent letter to the Post, Commuting headaches in the District, in which a commuter rails against bike lanes and scofflaw cyclists then whines about getting caught speeding in a 25 mph zone. If it weren't so sad it would be funny. The letter typifies the attitudes of some motorists who are quick to find fault in others but ignore their own:
Thank you, District of Columbia, for all the new bike lanes! My commute down L Street NW is now 15 minutes longer, and many cyclists still refuse to obey traffic laws such as stop signs and red lights.

And thanks to how the District manages the traffic lights, my car each night never goes farther than about 200 feet to the next red light — crawling through the District at a snail’s pace. Each light lasts about a minute, so that adds another 20 minutes to my commute, because I hit about 20 of them.

Also, thank you so much for the $125 ticket I received for doing 36 mph in a 25 mph zone. I’m not kidding — $125 for that. It’s small consolation that the District has since dropped the fine to $100.

With all the millions the District is raking in from red-light and speed cameras, could it please hire an expert who knows how to manage traffic efficiently? And while you are at it, can someone repave the roads?

Laura Gore, Crownsville
The WashCycle posted a good response to the letter, You're Welcome. I sent a brief letter to the Post and an edited version appeared in today's paper. A copy is online under the headline The Bias of Drivers:
The Feb. 2 letter from Laura Gore of Crownsville, “Commuting headaches in the District,” is a perfect example of how many motorists view the world. Ms. Gore is upset that “many cyclists still refuse to obey traffic laws such as stop signs and red lights,” then she complains about being fined for speeding in a 25 mph zone. Does Ms. Gore realize her bias?

Bruce Wright, Reston The writer is chairman of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.
Here's the unedited version that includes a quote from Tom Vanderbilt on "modal bias:"
The letter from Laura Gore of Crownsville, "Commuting headaches in the District," is a perfect example of how many motorists view the world. Tom Vanderbilt of the book Traffic calls this modal bias, "thinking that one’s mode of travel is the 'normal,' even superior, one." Ms. Gore is upset that "many cyclists still refuse to obey traffic laws such as stop signs and red lights." She then has the gall to complain about being fined for speeding in a 25 mph zone. I doubt that Ms. Gore even realizes her bias, otherwise she would be embarrassed by her statement.

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Comments:
Wow, that's some pretty serious editing by the Post.
 

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