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Why Are Threats Against Bike Riders Considered Acceptable?

Today on the Streetsblog Network [1], Sustainable Savannah [2] asks the question, "When is it socially acceptable to threaten the lives of innocent people?" The answer, apparently, is this: "When they are riding bicycles."

The post comes in response to a comment on the website of the city's major newspaper, the Savannah Morning News [3]. Sustainable Savannah's John Bennett writes:

bikelanewithmoss.jpgPhoto: Sustainable Savannah
[I]t appears at least one person in this "wonderfully hospitable and gracious city" feels comfortable boasting about his or her willingness to murder innocent people. From the Vox Populi section [4] of the Savannah Morning News on Dec. 2:

"Please tell all these wannabe Lance Armstrongs to get on the streets with bike paths. One of these days they are going to pull out in front of someone, mainly me, and, 'adios.'"

Well, at least this person said, "please." It’s interesting that threatening the lives of cyclists, at least anonymously, is socially acceptable. Socially acceptable enough not only for a person to send this to the Savannah Morning News, but also socially acceptable enough to win the approval of the paper’s editors.

As a matter of fact, the comment in question seems to clearly violate the paper's terms of service agreement [5], which requires users to agree not to post content "that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing" -- unless, apparently, the threat is made with a motor vehicle and the target is a person riding a bicycle.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

More good stuff from a very busy day around the network: Riding in Riverside [6] wonders why we can't build truly public infrastructure any longer. Dotage St. Louis [7] muses on the city's culture of destruction. And bikePHL [8] provides a primer on the most common types of car-bicycle crashes -- and how to avoid them.