Louisville Bicycle Club
November-December 2007 Newsletter

Packman's Corner

by , VP Communications


You can't tar everyone with the actions of a few. There are vandals who paint swastikas on synagogue walls. There are small cliques that gather to burn crosses in parks or worse on front lawns. Although these are the actions today of a marginal few, the threat is clear and individuals can be dangerous.

It was therefore disturbing within days of the Chips Cronen memorial and dedication of the Clark Bridge to a bicycle-friendlier Louisville, to learn of the defacement of the shared-lane "sharrow" markings just placed there. The dark skid marks created by someone's stopping on the signs and then spinning out signify hate and segregation against us as cyclists, that we do not belong on the roadway with them, that we are second-class. And they also carry a deadly threat mirroring the skid marks where Chips Cronen died only feet away.

While Mr. Cronen's death was unintentional, cyclists are the targets of "road rage" every day, some fatally. There have been incidents reported by club members on that very bridge in the months since the memorial. On September 20, two cyclists were hit from the rear on the bridge by a driver without a license, requiring EMS to respond. Serious incidents have also occurred recently elsewhere throughout the county, including a cyclist who was hit-and-run on River Road.

The rubber marks defacing the sharrows were clearly made by motorcycles. I believe these were weekend warriors and not serious motorcyclists. People who ride motorcycles a lot know that motorcyclists share much of our same vulnerability to larger vehicles and inattentive drivers as well as the need themselves to be particularly careful for their own sakes. A motorcyclist was accidentally killed a few weeks ago on the Clark Bridge when she apparently lost control and rear-ended a truck.

In my cycling travels, I have never had a problem with motorcyclists. They have always had a friendly wave for me and I for them, whether they were on a single vehicle or it was a long line of black-jacketted club riders. I once walked lycra-clad into a biker bar, Panama Red's near Daytona, and told my cycling stories to several patrons over sandwiches. Despite the actions of a few, they are and should be with us in many of our educational and share-the-road endeavors.

There cannot be many with bad attitudes since not all the sharrows have been defaced to date. I choose to highlight these marks and the vandals who did them in order to further marginalize them so that others will see them for the haters they are, more kindred with the swastika painters and cross burners than with the careful and courteous driving and motorcycling public.


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