2008-09-11 / Letters to the Editor

Council should stop encouraging cyclists

I am writing in the hope of articulating some of the reasons for the tensions that exist between motorists, of which I am one, and cyclists, referred to in the Jamestown Press.

"Share the Road" says a sign aimed at motorists. Sharing implies reciprocity. Under Rhode Island law, a cyclist has all the rights and privileges of a motorist, as long as he or she is not "impeding" traffic. Most of Jamestown's roads are designed for motorists without consideration for cyclists or their safety. Many cyclists, on main roads, "impede" motorists more or less, particularly on the northern and southern ends of the island.

In order to use a highway, motorists must pay substantial fuel taxes, for the building and maintenance of roads, a fee for the registration of their vehicles and share the joys of dealing with the DMV to obtain a license proving competence. Cyclists, on the hand, of any age, are able to use these same roads at no cost with no licensing requirements.

To add flavor, there is a sense of superiority that men and women share as they ride their bikes, improve their physiques and count their carbon credits, all the while knowing that under the law, they operate under the same rules as a semi.

With these thoughts in mind, I urge the Town Council to stop encouraging cyclists to come to Jamestown, in the name of safety and the restoration of some tranquility that residents have lost.

Richard H. Hutchinson


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