Letters for April 24, 2014

Readers chime in on cycling in Sacramento

Email your letters to sactoletters@newsreview.com.

It’s the bicyclists’ fault

Re “Biketopia?” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Feature Story, April 17):

The lack of bike safety you talk about is mostly the bike riders' faults. Ninety-nine percent of the people who ride bikes in Sac don't obey the traffic laws. They don't stop at stop signs or red lights. They usually wear dark clothing with no lights, or very dim lights and ride along as if they are the only ones on the road. Then they wonder why they got hit by a car.

Tom McDowell


Sacramento is a bike utopia

Re “Biketopia?” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Feature Story, April 17):

Sacramento is an excellent biking city! Quit whining! The [IkonCycles] bike-shop guy and the bike-delivery guy quoted in this article are either shameless, disinformation specialists or complete wussies that need to get out of the biz and back in their cars (or both). Can’t get to the train station on your bike? Take a cab, fatty. Sacto is flat, there are copious amounts of bike lanes, the weather is great, and the drivers are almost too courteous. (Don’t believe me? Cycle in the South or East or Phoenix. Ouch!) This place is biking nirvana compared to San Francisco, Portland [Oregon] and Brooklyn or Manhattan, for a variety of reasons (e.g., weather, terrain, attitude, etc.). My biggest problem with autos is that my car battery goes dead, ’cause I never drive mine.

If we have to spend public money on cycling improvements, let’s finish the southern extension of the American River [Bike] Trail.

Doug Morgan


Crazy bike routes?

Re “Biketopia?” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Feature Story, April 17):

As a former downtown Sacramento bicycle commuter, I was amazed and bemused at the routes your “prominent cycling advocates” took to get around town. The article opens with the harrowing tale of two veteran cyclists heading north on 12th Street, which requires one to ride on a narrow sidewalk through a tunnel that goes under the train tracks. That sidewalk is notorious for regular use and loitering by the homeless and transient population. Why, one must ask, are they doing that? Unless they are visiting Loaves & Fishes or the porn superstore, they must be trying to access the American River [Bike] Trail. But every cyclist familiar with the city knows the only sane way to do that is to go north on 17th or 18th Street until the end, where you can catch a very friendly bike path that goes under the same tracks.

Similarly, I can’t fathom the route executive director Jim Brown takes to get from the Capitol to the train station, cutting across L Street against a red light, turning right on Fifth and cycling through the Downtown Plaza tunnel, while competing against the motorized traffic that races through there. You might as well wear dog tags with your burial instructions.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many difficult and challenging routes for Sacramento cyclists. Ever try accessing the American River [Bike] Trail from the Carol Miller Justice Center using Howe Avenue? You need a police escort. But let’s not portray it as worse than it is by taking crazy cycling routes when better options are readily available.

Paul Berger

Nevada City

Bicyclists are the problem

Re “Biketopia?” by Alastair Bland (SN&R Feature Story, April 17):

The second paragraph says everything that’s wrong with organized biking in Sactodemento. Sacto bicyclists don’t operate in a safe manner. I’m approaching 200,000 miles on my ’72 Schwinn Varsity, and I find Sacto a delight for the ride. But! I carry a map. I am a master of the stop-sign downshift and stop. I have an upshift just as swift. I get off and walk around pedestrians and in construction zones, and often at traffic-signal lights. I use vehicle hand signals most assertively. My light and reflectors all work. I wore a hard hat a decade before there were Eurotrash styles of head protection. I commuted from Midtown to work in Rocklin for several years. Get a grip, old geezers and stupid punk bikers. It doesn’t hurt to get off and walk for safety (unless you’re wearing Eurotrash bike shoes).

Paul Henderson