Speed Reads

Say what?

Washington Post columnist suggests it's OK to hit cyclists

The all-powerful bike lobby has a new critic in Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, who writes this week that D.C. cyclists are "biker terrorists out to rule the road."

After lumping cyclists into a single deplorable category he likens to an "L.A. bike gang," Milloy writes that those who deign to ride on sidewalks are "lucky that someone hasn't put a broomstick through the spokes of their wheels." As for those who ride in the road, they're infuriatingly slow and entitled, Milloy writes, adding that they also, apparently, have a penchant for attacking cars.

If you demand that he show common courtesy and obey the rules of the road, a biker just might spit on your car. Kick the door. Hit the side mirrors. Bang on the hood. And dare you to do anything about it.

It's a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it's worth paying the fine. [Washington Post]

Leaving aside that Milloy complains about cyclists on the sidewalk but whines they should get out of the road, too, his suggestion that it's defensible to run down bikers is insane. Yes, some cyclists can be jerks, and it would be great if everyone followed the rules. But a biker spitting on a car is at most disrespectful; a car plowing through a peloton is criminal and deadly. Suggesting the two are comparable does nothing but inflame the mutual distrust between some cyclists and drivers, which in turn only leads to more of the hostility Milloy laments.