Bill Arnold: Defends the civil rights of bicyclists

Tuesday, April 08, 2014
To the editor:

A few days ago, in a driving wind, I was riding my bike, head down, in the crosswalk by Bird’s Store in Florence when I sensed a vehicle to my right. I slowed as the driver stopped his truck in the crosswalk, barring my way.

Waving a condescending finger, he declared, “You’re a motor vehicle” and drove off. I think his point was that as long as I was breaking the rules, riding my bike in a crosswalk, he didn’t have to stop for me.

I wasn’t a taxpayer, a person, I was a bicyclist law-breaker and he was justified in stopping me. He is in the majority, driving tons of steel with very little work. I’m in the minority, having to pedal and watch for obstacles. Every time or almost every time I go for a long bike ride, some driver threatens me by driving way too close or scares me by blaring their horn. At issue is a civil right. As long as I can be intimidated with impunity for claiming the right to bicycle on the public highways, then I don’t have that right.

Bill Arnold