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New Jersey Star Ledger Editorial Hates Cyclists

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Thanks a lot New Jersey Star Ledger.  Your editorial comments about how the “3 Feet 2 Pass” legislation being unnecessary and unenforceable promotes the type of uncaring attitudes that put our lives at risk everytime we ride (legally, by the way) on the road.

Sure, it makes for self-aggrandizingly witty writing to say things like:

“Why not two feet for skinny people? Or four feet, or even five, for those with big hips? Will motorists who provide only a 2-foot, 11-inch buffer get slapped with a summons?”

Guffaw…Guffaw. In the end, comments like that serve to diminish the efforts of those working to save lives by creating the type of structure needed to ensure fair, shared use of our roadways.  And when you say things like:

“Motorists already have enough to worry about while driving in this overly congested state — the kid at the street corner who is about to dart across to get his football, the stray dog wandering on the shoulder, the tailgating truck, potholes, red-light cameras and a GPS that keeps screaming, ‘Turn left!'”

…you sound like every other idiot that doesn’t want to slow down and take responsibility for their own actions.  Face it, all of those things (barring the self-imposed GPS harrassment) are responsibilities that come with getting a license.  Just because you can walk into a DMV and get a license without even knowing how to read English on the road signs doesn’t absolve you from having to follow the rules.  Not hitting a cyclist is just like not hitting a car.  Pay attention to your surroundings and pass safely.  Are you really in that big of an effen hurry?  If so, I suggest you have bigger problems than whether a cyclist is on the road.  Think of the bright side…we’re a lot easier to pass than a “Sunday driver” crawling along at 5mph under the limit.

What perhaps you don’t realize is that you contradicted yourself about this law being a waste by stating that what we really need is better driver education.   The comments I left on your post explain why, which are copied below…just hit “more” to see why you’re wrong

My comments on their site:

Enforceable or not, the “3 Feet 2 Pass” legislation is taking hold in many states and in my opinion is a good thing. This is why:

The author says “we would be better served by a public campaign to educate drivers” and this law works as exactly that.

By creating this law and publicizing it, it creates an easy to understand visual image that drivers can immediately put into practice. Using a firm measurement like “3 feet” gives strength to the “marketing” message.

A vague campaign like “give cyclists safe room to pass” is easy to ignore, easy to forget and ultimately a waste of time and money to promote. Regardless of how you feel about cyclists on the road, they are our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. Give us room, and stop acting like a terrorist and playing games with our lives. It’s not “cute” or “funny” and you’re not going to “teach us a lesson” by driving too close.

Compare it to shooting a gun aimed just one foot to our side. Would you do that just because you didn’t like us on the road? Pointing your car one foot to our side has the same effect. Any little error could KILL us.

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5 years ago

I live and ride in NJ. Many folk here are ignorant of cycling and the roadway, which is not a surprise but is quite sad.

My hope is that as more people ride, their misperceptions will meet reality and adjust accordingly. We have plenty of lovely backroads and great rides here, but there are also many people who don’t seem to realize they have to share them. The irony is the same person who stereotypes cyclists as jerks has no problem breaking five traffic laws behind the wheel of a car weighing thousands of pounds and powered by a series of controlled explosions.

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