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More mail makes me merry.

August 24, 2010

"Indianapolis—a pedestrian friendly city? I think not."

It’s becoming a trend.

First, it was Martha’s super-cool, retro Critical Mass postcard. Now, it’s Sara’s carefully-clipped letter to the editor about cyclists in Indianapolis.

People keep mailing me car-free-themed mail, and I love it!

Sara didn’t write the letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star, “Dodging the bicyclists on Downtown sidewalks,” but she cut it out and sent it to me. In it, citizen Marjorie W. Barnes laments the un-pedestrian-friendly behavior of cyclists in her city.

“I work Downtown,” Marjorie writes, “and do not appreciate people on bicycles, scooters, and skates basically mowing me down on the sidewalk, where I should be able to walk safely.”

Marjorie’s right, of course. She should be able to walk safely on the sidewalk. In the same vein, cyclists should be able to ride safely somewhere in this world—and herein lies the rub.

Often, cyclists aren’t welcomed on the street or the sidewalk.

I’m aware that it’s technically illegal in many places for cyclists to ride on sidewalks. However, I’m also acutely aware that it is very dangerous for cyclists to ride on many streets in their communities. There are streets—where Iwas legally permitted to ride my bike—where motorists have sped around me dangerously closely, driven up behind me and laid on their horn, and even lectured me at stoplights about why I shouldn’t be there.

It’s irresponsible and uninformed motorists like these who drive us cyclists to use sidewalks sometimes.

That said, I fully agree with Marjorie that pedestrians shouldn’t have to worry about Jimmy Johns delivery people T-boning them. As my post about my friend’s head injury demonstrates, cyclists and pedestrians can be a dangerous combination.

Because sidewalks are technically pedestrians’ turf, cyclists need to give them right of way and extend extra care and attention to their safety.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

This car-free discussion wouldn’t have been possible without Sara’s car-free mailing. You too can send me car-free mail! If you do, I’ll be sure to mention it in a post.

Just write a comment here requesting my address, and I’ll email it to you.


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