Anti-cycling letter in St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An anti-bicycling letter appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week. Some excerpts:
Post-Dispatch Letter 7/20/03:
Get bikes off the road

Your story about pedestrian safety brought to the foreground a question I've had for years: Why are bicyclists allowed to share the streets with cars?

I shudder every time I see a cyclist on a flimsy bike with no protection but a helmet trying to assert his equality on the streets with mammoth SUVs, trucks and cars.

. . .

Today, cyclists belong on safe, specially designated bike paths.

M.B. Barutio
Creve Coeur

Bob Foster, Chair of the Missouri Bicycle Federation, responded with this letter that was published Tuesday in the Post-Dispatch:
Sharing the road

In response to the July 19 letter, "Get bikes off the road":

While grateful for M.B. Barutio's professed concern for the safety of cyclists, I think this letter is another example of the "ban everything" mentality run amok.

Logic would suggest that the greatest hazard to cyclists is posed by motorists, and if Barutio were truly concerned about cyclists' safety, why not propose banning "mammoth SUVs, trucks and cars"?

I propose instead stepping back and using common sense. No matter how many bike paths are built, they will never lead to every conceivable destination I may have. There are perfectly safe ways to get around by bike, using the roads we all pay for already.

For thousands of people in the St. Louis area, cycling is great exercise, creates no pollution and is a valuable alternative for people who cannot, or who choose not to, drive cars everywhere.

I shudder to think of living in a world in which we are forced to let our leg muscles atrophy by nannies who seek to "protect" us. What we need is a little common sense and for drivers of all vehicles - motorized and nonmotorized - to pay attention to what they are doing, exercise courtesy, and understand that everybody has someplace to go.

Bob Foster
St. Louis Regional
Bicycle Federation
Webster Groves

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