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Re: [CF] so, they want to know what I think...

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  • John O. Andersen
    Riin, This is great; helping readers to see things from a perspective they wouldn t have entertained before. Excellent. John Andersen Unconventional Ideas at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2003

      This is great; helping readers to see things from a perspective they wouldn't have entertained before.


      John Andersen
      Unconventional Ideas at http://www.unconventionalideas.com
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: RIIN GILL
      To: bicyclingadvocacy@yahoogroups.com ; CarFree
      Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 7:09 PM
      Subject: [CF] so, they want to know what I think...

      On Sunday the Ann Arbor News had a full page editorial with the title
      "Tell us what you think." It started, "the opinions we express on this
      page are based on an underlying set of principles and values, which we
      share with you today. These are the building blocks for our editorials.
      We hope they will give you a better understanding of how we form our
      points of view on individual issues. Our main goal is to stimulate
      thinking and discussion in the community." It went on to list their
      opinions on several issues, including transportation.

      Well, I couldn't let an opportunity like that pass by, could I? I just
      sent this letter:

      You say "efforts to improve and extend public transportation systems are
      encouraged, but our policies should not come at the expense of individuals
      who need and rely upon individual transportation." I agree that
      individual transportation is often more convenient than public
      transportation; one has more freedom. Public transportation does not
      always go where one needs to go or when one needs to go there. But I
      sincerely hope you are not using "individual transportation" to mean only
      individual motorized transportation! I prefer my bicycle for the reasons
      I mentioned, along with many others. I know I am not polluting our
      environment. I am not damaging anyone's lungs. I am not contributing to
      our dependence on fossil fuel.

      Cyclists have the legal right to ride on the road and have all the rights
      of a vehicle operator in all 50 states. Yet, because of daily obstacles
      and discrimination, it seems that cyclists are "less equal" than
      motorists. We encounter lack of bicycle parking at many shopping centers,
      traffic lights that don't detect bicycles, harassment by motorists, and
      police who don't always take the safety of bicyclists seriously.

      I suspect that what you are really asking is whether I agree that motor
      vehicles should continue to be allowed to clog our streets with no
      restrictions. No, I do not. Motor vehicle crashes kill 40,000 Americans
      annually. The number killed through pollution is even higher. One could
      debate whether cars really have a right to be on the road at all.
      Certainly we couldn't do away with them overnight; our society is too
      dependent on them. But I think it's time to start planning for the
      future, which is why I agree with the first part of your position:
      "efforts to improve and extend public transportation systems are
      encouraged." Period. Improve and extend public transportation enough so
      people won't want to take a car.

      Cars will probably always have a place in our society. Certainly they
      ease mobility for the handicapped, and I think that's a legitimate use.
      They are useful for moving large or bulky items. But unless one moves
      large or bulky items as part of one's business, this is usually a rare
      occurrence, and renting a car or truck on rare occasions should be

      In the future Ann Arbor of my dreams, public transportation would run 24
      hours a day. It would go everywhere people need to go. There would be
      very few cars on the road. "Individual transportation" would be assumed
      to mean bicycles. Discrimination against bicyclists would be a distant

      Riin Gill

      Riin Gill
      Interlibrary Loan 734-615-6168
      Taubman Medical Library fax 734-763-1473
      University of Michigan
      If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.

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