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Brilliant Reader Comment: The Double Standard on Bike/Car Behavior

10:58 AM PST on December 12, 2011

Streetsblog commenters are, in general, really, really smart. I learn a lot by reading the comments you all post, and sometimes an especially insightful comment deserves a little extra attention.

Here’s a gem from the Streetsblog Network’s story last week responding to a Salon article titled “Are Urban Bicyclists Just Elite Snobs?” This started a big discussion about whether cyclists are, in fact, essentially jerks.

Commenter Karen Lynn Allen sort of nailed the whole debate with this:

Yesterday I saw a bicyclist do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and it nearly inconvenienced me. This means all bikers better watch out because the responsible, productive, law-abiding members of this community aren’t going to tolerate this kind of of anti-social behavior from you riffraff much longer.

Yesterday I saw a car driver do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and kill someone!  A tragedy, but it was an accident, no one’s fault really, just one of those bad parts of living in the modern age that we all have to put up with. After all, anyone can make a mistake. It would be a shame to even suspend the driver’s license over it because they really might need it to get to work. It certainly is no reflection on me or how most people drive.

Applause!

Come to think of it, nearly 33,000 people were killed by cars last year, and still, no one seems to be talking about the epidemic of unsafe driver behavior. How many people were killed last year by bicyclists?

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