Cyclists entitled to their place on area's roadwaysKevin...

Letters to the Editor

July 21, 1999

Cyclists entitled to their place on area's roadways

Kevin Cowherd's column "Biker dude, move it over" (July 15) rants about a bicyclist who had the gall to actually ride on York Road. I want to show my support for that bicyclist and every bicyclist who attempts to navigate this area's roadways.

Mr. Cowherd acknowledges the cyclist's legal right of way, but dismisses this because bikes are smaller than the cars with which they share the road. Might makes right -- that's a super philosophy; unfortunately it seems to be prevalent among area drivers.

I've bicycled hundreds of miles in this city and have yet to find a road where I can ride without being honked at, screamed at or run off the road.

I have given up bicycling in this city because of drivers such as Mr. Cowherd who think that the right of way of the automobile is sacred above all others.

They think that bicyclists should ride in the gutter, through glass, roadkill, and sewer grates that run parallel to the curb.

The attitude of motorists in this area is sickening. It does not have to be that way, and it isn't in other cities.

Cassandra Moe, Baltimore

People ride bikes for many good reasons, but I don't know anyone who does it for the sheer fun of risking his or her life or to challenge a driver's delusion that roads are only for cars. That assumption is actually an annoying and sometimes deadly fact of life for cyclists.

It is irresponsible for a newspaper columnist to joke about the threat of injury and death faced by cyclists -- even if he did have to change lanes.

In Maryland, cyclists are entitled to an entire lane on any road where the speed limit is 45 mph or lower. The cyclist on York Road does not have to justify his chosen route any more than Mr. Cowherd has to justify his.

Unfortunately, as Mr. Cowherd notes, "it comes down to the laws of physics" and cars always win. Many people think this is natural, but roads existed for many years before cars took them over.

I think people get so upset at cyclists because deep down they know that cars and the lifestyles they breed corrupt our air, our communities and our spirits.

When a cyclist shares a lane with you, return the favor by not honking, cursing, swerving or revving your engine at him or her. When you get out of a car, check for cyclists so they don't have to swerve into traffic to avoid running into your door.

Glenn Simpson, Baltimore

Cycling promotes health and a cleaner environment

I am not the "biker dude" Kevin Cowherd mentioned, but I do cycle, make a 12-mile commute by bicycle when I can and run some errands on the bike. I find that motorists today, on any road, are more impatient than they have ever been and have poor tolerance for cyclists.

While no biker would choose a busy thoroughfare such as York Road for a leisurely spin, sometimes it is necessary to use busy roads. It would be better if motorists and cyclists could be more understanding and courteous.

At a time when we ought to be tolerant of people who occupy the road without using an air-conditioned, gas-guzzling SUV that contributes to global warming, I think Mr. Cowherd's article was in poor taste.

Perhaps Mr. Cowherd could write something that could address the real problem, instead of just criticizing the cyclist. Perhaps an article about how our county and urban planners should take into consideration that bicycling promotes good health and doesn't pollute.

Michael D. Treger, Lutherville

Women's soccer triumph: a crucial moment of grace

The names are inscribed in our hearts already: Mia, Brandi, Briana, Joy, Julie, Shannon, Michelle. Their faces -- at times fierce, always feminine, and, ultimately victorious -- are splashed across the newsstands.

We won't soon forget Briana Scurry's and Brandi Chastain's moments of triumph, or the incredible rush of adrenaline we all felt as a perfect game ended perfectly.

When the U.S. women's soccer team won the World Cup July 10, we witnessed a moment of extraordinary grace. These women built a team in the finest sense -- combining their talents, ambition, energy and sheer love of the sport to produce a championship for all of us to celebrate.

They did it with guts, humility, humor, and intelligence and changed forever what it means to say "you play like a girl."

In our turn-of-the millennium America, the World Cup win means more than any of the players could ever have imagined. Their victory is an emblem of the strength, leadership, commitment and values of women.

As president of a women's college, I am especially aware of the priceless gift the women's soccer team gave us: America's daughters, granddaughters, wives, sisters and mothers have been reminded of their capacity to do something extraordinary.

And, the world is, indeed, watching.

Mary Pat Seurkamp, Baltimore

The writer is president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Title IX creates quotas instead of gender equity

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