23 July 2008

What's with all the h8ers?

There's been a rash of biker vs. motorist crap in Portland recently (I'm trying to find links to stories, but the Oregonian's web site absolutely blows; seriously, one of the worst news sites out there), and I for one would like to know what the hell is going on. People, what the HELL is going on here?

Can't we all just get along?

I mean really, this is childish.

There are assholes behind the wheel and assholes on saddles (I'm talking figurative, people) - it's a fact of life. But to paint either "side" with a single brush is craziness. I like to ride my bike as much as possible, but I also have to drive a car. So where does that put me? Where does that put most people?

Frankly, I blame The Oregonian. Aside from a shitty web site, they sensationalize stories worse than local TV news. This creates an atmosphere of mis-trust, and even worse, hatred (which, in turn, feeds the sensationalism...).

They actually ran a story (I wish I could find it, but as I already wrote, their web site is horrible) about a guy who wrote in his blog about nearly hitting a cyclist. Apparently, the cyclist blew a stop sign and did not have a light on his bike. The guy was all pissed off because he felt that the cycling community needs to do more in regard to pushing safety, and that they/we should support laws that require lights.

The comments that followed were a series of harsh back-and-forth between bikers and motorists (or, at least, people that put themselves in either camp). But I think everyone was missing the point. Why did the Oregonian run the story in the first place? Is is news? No. Did an editor point out to the reporter or the blogger that there are ALREADY laws in place that require lights?!

Clearly, the biker (if there really was one) was in the wrong and breaking the law. That's going to happen.

It would be like me writing in this blog something about drivers are patently unsafe and it's time the motoring community backed speed limits - and The Oregonian running it.

Can't we all just get along (and ignore The Oregonian and all sensationalist media that is just trying to sell papers)?

3 comments:

Ian said...

There seems to be battles everywhere. I know when I was in Berlin, there was a definitive bike lane and both drivers and bikers had to respect the other. If a bike hit a car or was hit by a car for doing something illegal, they were at fault and vice versa. I think with more people turning to bikes because of high fuel costs, we will see in turn more laws passed which I hope will help the effort in the long run, but ultimately will give drivers something more to gripe about in the short-term.

bengtson.ryan said...

Hey Ben... I hadn't had a good Ben McLeod rant in a while. Good to hear one. I like the blog.
On the topic, there seems to be something within humans that likes that ability to categorize and determine one's "camp." While I know this battle between vehicles and bicycles has been going on for a while, we like to polarize ourselves don't we? Just look at our political system... I like your balanced approach to the issue. Ride/drive safe!

ziplens said...

Ben,

Here are some articles from the Boston area that you may be interested in... There are h8ters everywhere.

http://people.boston.com/forums/lifestyle/green/general/?p=discussiondetails&activityid=2227562

http://bostonist.com/2007/06/08/bostons_bicyclecar_showdown_heats_up.php

http://thebostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/02379848.htm

Good luck in Portland!!
Lee