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Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Biking is risky on Seattle roads

Cyclists in Seattle are self-selected

In response to Michael Hosterman’s letter [“Bikers provide a source of justifiable revenue,” Online, Nov. 12], I would like to offer a counterpoint.

As a cyclist, I hear the same complaint from motorists over and over. The bicyclists they see take extreme risks disregarding their own safety. Many of these motorists don’t understand the reality of braving traffic with little protection save a pair of blinking lights.

Even the most cautious rider takes on significant risk when he or she hits the road. Everyone is comfortable getting behind the wheel of a car, but many people don’t feel safe biking in Seattle. In the Netherlands, where there is bicycle-friendly infrastructure, one is likely to see diversity among bikers. In Seattle, the bicycling population is mostly self-selecting: risk takers will be risk takers.

I don’t consider myself to be a risk taker, but I do bike to work. A recent AAA study estimates the yearly cost of owning and driving a car to be $8,776. By bike commuting, I am saving myself money to pay down my student loans while also saving the environment by reducing emissions. Despite these benefits, many are still unwilling to risk biking every day.

As there are so few cyclists, I doubt the effort it would take to implement and enforce licensing would justify any licensing fee. As it is, cops can and do ticket reckless cyclists.  Punitively enstating bicycle licenses will only result in fewer opportunities for those who need low-cost transit most.

I would like everyone to have access to low-cost transportation, but unless the roads are equally acessible to cyclists, people will remain in their vehicles.

— Johanna Robertson, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Transportation | Topics: biking, transportation

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