Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

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Letters 08-19-13

- August 19th, 2013  

The leakers & freedom

Stephen Tuttle’s writing exemplifies the confusion surrounding Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.

You say that names of Afghan and Chinese nationals have been released? The list please. You write that “they’ve exposed nothing illegal under current law.” If one looks at what Wikileaks published thanks to Mr Manning (http://www.bradleymanning.org/learn-more/ what-did-wikileaks-reveal), then one may be exposed to revelations describing what should be illegal acts.

Here is a partial list: “official policy to ignore torture in Iraq,” including torture of Iraqi civilians by U.S. soldiers. “U.S. officials were told to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan.” “U.S. military officials withheld information about the indiscriminate killing of Reuters journalists and innocent Iraqi civilians.”

If there is just ONE example of illegal activity revealed by Wikileaks and thanks to Mr Manning or Mr Snowden then what, Mr Tuttle?

Bill Williston • TC

Exposing the insanity

I have to disagree with Stephen Tuttle about the comparison between Manning, Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg (who released The Pentagon Papers).

Ellsberg had the support of the New York Times and a country that was sick of the war in Southeast Asia. The people that supported us were doomed at the end of the war. The same thing will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Unlike Ellsberg) Manning and Snowden would have been locked up never to be heard from again. Of course, like Nixon and Kissinger, the real criminals will never be punished. We need more of these people to expose the insanity of our politicians.

Byron Williams • via email

She’s following the rules

Dear Fellow Cyclists/Commuters: I am surprised and dismayed at your anger towards me and I feel you missed the point of my letter in the August 5 issue.

I DO NOT feel that I am in any way above the law. I also knew that I was at fault and admitted my actions. My anger was towards the police officer who gave me a motor vehicle ticket for a bicycle offense. I also felt that the punishment was far greater than the offense deserved.

My girlfriend was pulled over last week for going through a red light with her car and she only received a warning. I simply felt that I was unfairly punished for a minor violation. $75 is a lot of money to me. It's 3 1⁄2 cans of baby formula, a tank of gas, an adult education class, etc. But do not worry fellow cyclists, I am now clearly stopping at all stop signs and traffic lights.

Susan V. Ruoff • TC

Violations everywhere

I have taken a week since reading the letter to the editor about being ticketed for running a red light in downtown Traverse City. I was so filled with different emotions as I read it that I needed to take some time to sort through it all.

First off, thank you, city PD, for ticketing ANYONE who breaks the rules. Daily I see all manner of problems: cars not stopping for people in crosswalks; bikes riding the wrong way on one way streets and riding on the wrong side of streets; running stop signs by everyone; jaywalking when there’s a legal cross walk just steps away; double-parking for that 5-minute trip into the store.... and much more.

I ride a bike for many reasons. I have a commuter bike, a mountain bike (my first love) and a road bike. Every time I use a bike, I wear a helmet. I know it makes my hair look like crap, but I’d much rather have bad hair than a dead brain.

Every time I ride my bike I follow the rules of the road as if I were driving a car. No exceptions. My life depends upon following the rules. As a society we tend to want to bend rules as much as possible. Why? Are we all just too busy to follow the rules? Is that acceptable?

As a business owner, a mom, a wife (almost) and a member of two boards of directors, I am busy too. But I stop at red lights. It’s just as red if you’re on a bike as in a car. But maybe that’s not the problem.

Before you drive a car you have to take classes and have a license. When you buy a bike, it’s unfortunate there isn’t any requirement for education or a helmet. As a cyclist who educated herself before she got on the bike, I’m begging others to do the same.

I carry several copies of the League of Michigan Bicyclist’s book, “What Every Michigan Bicyclist Must Know” in my car. My intent is to share these when I see people not riding in a lawful or safe manner. It’s free to view online (http://www.lmb.org/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2 0&Itemid=41). Many local bike shops have them and if they don’t, ask why not.

Kim Dittmar • TC

By the book

Far too often cyclists violate traffic laws with little regard for drivers. I’m not saying that all cyclists are bad drivers and that I support this form of transportation. I wish I had the ability to ride a bike to work as Susan Ruoff does.

I would like to direct all cyclists to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.657 that states (paraphrasing) “anyone operating a bicycle on a public roadway shall be considered a vehicle and shall be subject to the same driving laws.”

PLEASE cyclists, learn the rules and obey them. We can certainly share the road, but only if we all follow the same rules. Thank you Susan for riding your bike and protecting our environment.

Tom Speers • via email

Reckless riders

I live in TC and the behavior of some cyclists is quite frankly scary. Running red lights, wearing dark clothes without any lights and only minimal reflectors at night, riding three abreast taking up the entire street, riding on the wrong side of the road, weaving from one side of the road to the other, not signaling turns, not stopping at crosswalks when riding on the sidewalk, cutting in front of cars and jumping from riding on the sidewalk to riding on the street are all things I have seen cyclists do in the past two weeks.

I wish they had all gotten tickets, perhaps it would have helped to change their behavior.

I know many responsible cyclists who obey the rules of the road and I thank them for making it safer for all of us on the roads. There are responsible and irresponsible parties on both sides of the wheel.

It does not matter how many wheels you are using, if you are using the streets you need to obey the traffic laws, being a business owner and busy parent is no excuse. We do not have different rules of the road for different classes of people.

Mrs. Ruoff, $75 seems relatively inexpensive for running a red light, hopefully you have learned your lesson. Sorry for the loss of your “pristine” record, but I am grateful that you were not injured while running a red light. That would have bee a horrible thing, both for you and the operator of the other vehicle.

Jeannie Cole • TC

Negligent motorists

The recent bevy of hostile letters directed at cyclists (Letters-8/11) has me convinced that there is more going on here than just frustration over how long a cyclist sits at a red light.

First of all, if the drivers of motorized vehicles that require licensing and insurance convey this much hostility in a letter, I, as a cyclist, certainly don’t want to share any road with you.

Second, is it possible that there are some jealous feelings about the possible benefit of cycles vs. cars, that have nothing to do with the rules of the road?

After all, cyclists don’t have to insure their vehicles, or pay for gas or parking. The maintenance costs for a bicycle are also far less than for a motor vehicle. In that regard, it must seem like a pretty sweet deal.

But let’s stop to consider that for every benefit of commuting on a bicycle, there is a trade-off. If you’ve ever been caught cycling in a sudden storm, you can understand this.

Consider that a fair number of cyclists commute because car ownership is not financially viable. If the costs of car maintenance, insurance, and gas leave you feeling embittered, consider what it would be like to not be able to afford that.

How is it fair to demand that cyclists pay insurance on a 0% carbon producing, selfpowered vehicle that has little to no impact on roads, air quality, and other vehicles, structures, and drivers, should there be a collision?

Most cyclists do follow the rules of the road because it’s in our best interest. Mainly, we’re not interested in getting run over by an angry or inattentive motorist.

I want to share what I often see whenever I head out on my bike: people behind the wheel, devoting far more attention to their cell phone, coffee, food, or whatever other task they feel inclined to do while driving. The key recommendation is PAY ATTENTION. Not to a phone, or food. THE ROAD. YOUR SPEED.

I sometimes wish that I didn’t even have to interact with people driving motor vehicles when I’m out on my bike, because of the apparent negligence of about 20% of them. Sadly, that’s not how it works.

Fortunately, most drivers do accept that cyclists are a part of their reality, and do not act with animosity.

In conclusion, if you see a cyclist in your path, or one that will soon be in it, consider that they’re just trying to get where they are going, just like you, without incident, and cut them some slack. If they are wearing a helmet, looking at signs and traffic signals, and other indications that they do indeed follow the rules of the road, that’s the least they deserve.

Annaka Dodd • via email

 
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