Friday, June 18, 2010

Do Bicyclists Deserve to be Attacked?

Many folks have noticed a rash of recent attacks on bike riders. From the South Side to the East End, these attacks are troubling. Yesterday, Mike Pintek, radio announcer for KDKA, interviewed Bill Nesper of the League of American Bicyclists who recently awarded Pittsburgh a bronze medal bike-friendly status.
Mike said: "There are some bicyclists who are just these arrogant little dorks that think that they can do anything they want because they're on a bicycle and we're being green and environmentally friendly."
Mike Pintek wonders if the recent rash of attack on cyclists is because of their "arrogance." He cites the fact that a robbery didn't occur during any of the attacks implies that the bikers somehow caused the attacks. Last November, someone threw an empty bottle of Captain Morgan rum through the rear windshield of my parked car in the middle of the night. They didn't bother stealing the CDs, radio, or other valuable items in the car. Perhaps my car was being "arrogant" and the vigilantes wanted to teach it a lesson? Or maybe more likely, they were drunk kids who didn't think there would be any ramifications for their actions, and my car was an easy target.

We need to view these attacks with some perspective. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that there is an underlying anti-bike sentiment or that this is new. Back in 2007, the City Paper published an article about a string of attacks on bicyclists back then. Now, we have more extensive reporting and blogging about them. Also, these same gangs of roving juveniles tend to target pedestrians and smash car windows as well.

Let's take this opportunity to nip this recent rash of bicyclist attacks in the bud by showing a strong police and public response that this will not be tolerated. Let's certainly not excuse the attacks because some bicyclists may be "arrogant." To me, this logic is akin to suggesting that women who wear short skirts are asking for rape. Or that men walking down the street deserve to be beat up if they flick their wrists. There is no excuse for this violence. Mike Pintek and others clearly feel threatened by the increase in bicyclists on our streets. They need to learn to live with it, and we need to show them that their behavior is unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

after calling marshall adams, KDKA's program director, to file a complaint about these statements, i was informed that mike pintek will be addressing this issue on his program on monday at noon.

Anonymous said...

I like your post, this was my first time finding your blog. Thanks!

Strangely... I received the same exact comment on my blog by a different person. (show on monday)

Vannevar said...

I started to comment to praise your recognizing and engaging the issue, but then I saw Luomo's comments and was doubly pleased.

Vannevar said...

More at:
KDKA's Mike Pintek is a Dangerous Idiot.
Cheers, Vannevar.