Breaking the Vicious Cycle

"The article extensively talked about the frustrations of bicycle commuting. . . . But the reality is, it isn't frustrating to ride. It's liberating."

A real Joy Ride

The recent article ["Breaking the Vicious Cycle," July 26] said in bold letters, "[T]here's a lot that has to be done before bike commuting is truly viable for regular folks." I think I'm regular folks. I'm a middle-aged woman who lives in Bellevue, and I have two kids and a station wagon, even. I have a suit-and-panty-hose-type job in downtown Seattle. I started riding to work because I hit a certain age where it was far too easy to put on weight.

Although my original motivation was to avoid dumpiness and diets, the sustaining motivation was joy.

So many people hate their commute. Every once in a while I have to drive the car across the bridge, and I understand where road rage comes from. It isn't fun being stuck in traffic in your car. But it's lots of fun to ride a bike. The article extensively talked about the frustrations of bicycle commuting, for cyclists and motorists alike. But the reality is, it isn't frustrating to ride. It's liberating.

Claire Petersky


REspect Road Rules

This is an article that has been needed for some time ["Breaking the Vicious Cycle," July 26]. Unfortunately, in my personal observations as a pedestrian, David Neiwert's implication that the bikers who flout the law and ride dangerously are a small minority consisting primarily of downtown bike messengers doesn't hold up. I see a fairly large number of normal-looking commuter-type riders who ignore traffic lights, go the wrong way on one-way streets, and ride dangerously on the sidewalks. Hardly a day goes by that I don't see some sort of illegal riding as I walk to and from work, occasionally right in front of police units, which usually don't do anything about it. Is it any wonder drivers get irritated? The legitimate bicycle associations in the area need to take a more active role in rider education. Unfortunately, probably many riders don't belong to any such organization.

An additional point is there is no requirement that the new, or for that matter older, rider demonstrate any ability to ride or knowledge of the traffic regulations, as is the case with auto operators. Also, bike riders are not required to maintain liability insurance even though their activities can precipitate accidents that endanger not only their safety but also the safety of vehicles around them. In the end, the bicycle community needs to do more to conform and comply with existing regulations if riders want to be given respect and additional considerations on the roads.

Dan Warner


Improve the Streets

Thanks for David Neiwert's important article on bicycle commuting ["Breaking the Vicious Cycle," July 26]. Here are some additional issues:

There is not a lot of heavy car and bus traffic on Dexter. Either the center turn lane should be eliminated or the on-street parking should be eliminated during rush hours to allow for wider bicycle lanes. Seattle has to start setting priorities.

Seattle allows new buildings to have inadequate parking. The city wants to encourage workers to take the bus. This policy has failed. As a result, there is a great demand for on-street parking and great resistance to eliminating on-street parking to allow for bicycle lanes.

The Seattle environmental movement hates roads and automobiles. Every proposal for expanding and improving roads is opposed. Automobile commuters stew in 520 traffic but dutifully send their checks to environmental organizations working to keep the bridge rebuild as small as possible. Bicycle organizations also oppose every proposal aimed at improving roads. The latest example of this is the proposal to not replace the viaduct. Not only would this be bad for Seattle car drivers, it would be a disaster for bicyclists who use Alaskan Way for commuting and recreation.

You cannot improve bicycle commuting unless you improve, expand, and widen Seattle's street system. As long as Seattle's public and its elected leadership oppose improvement of the street system, conditions for bicycling commuters will remain poor.

Allan Blackman


the Sidewalk Solution

I thought Seattle was a pretty good city for bicycling until I went to central Europe ["Breaking the Vicious Cycle," July 26]. In Vienna, Budapest, and Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia), I saw bicycles everywhere. Dedicated bike lanes were in cities and the countryside. Most bike lanes were on sidewalks rather than on the street, many with two lanes, one in each direction. Traffic lights even had do-not-ride signals showing a rider with one foot on the ground.

Seattle is not serious about bicycles until we see bike lanes separated from car traffic in locations enabling people to bike to work. We should cut a lane of car traffic to make room for bicycles up on the curb.

Roger Scott


The final straw

I have put up with Knute Berger's comments for many years, but last week was the final straw [Mossback, "Daring to Be Not Great," July 26] and made me grateful he is leaving the Weekly. Berger spoke of the Olympic Sculpture Park as better devoted to a gas station or a refinery. I suppose this was a bit of gallows humor. I am a born Seattleite and I can use more that makes this city beautiful. Not all of us want to climb to the top of Mount Rainier to look down on an insignificant burg on the Duwamish. I encourage Berger to find a depressed rust-belt city to make the object of his affections.

Peter DeMan


Now, a return review?

Welcome to Seattle. After Jonathan Kauffman's review of Licorous ["Feel Like Flirting?" July 26], I think he will fit in with most reviewers in Seattle, past and present. Unfortunately, that leaves much to be desired.

"Licorous is a delight, but don't go looking for anything too serious."

"Take [Johnathan] Sundstrom at his word: Treat Licorous like a bar. . . . "

Go back and review it as a bar, a serious bar. Licorous offers quality, handcrafted cocktails, both new and classic. That is rare in this city of "and bars" (gin and tonic, vodka and Red Bull). Perhaps it deserves more than a brief mention of two cocktails and less on the food and decor?

Murray Stenson

Bartender, Zig Zag Cafe


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