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Letter: Bikes have right to access, but also equal responsibility

Letters to the Editor

1:14 PM EDT, August 21, 2012

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In his letter to the Towson Times last week, Tom Rose took umbrage in this space over some concerns I voiced the week before about having bike lanes installed on heavily traveled roadways in Towson ("Bike beltway will be safe if cyclists and motorists respect rules of road.")

Unfortunately he was also critical of some views that I neither expressed nor hold. Mr. Rose is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts.

I wrote in the first sentence of my letter that I believe cyclist have as much right to use the roadways as motorists, but Mr. Rose implied that I said the opposite.

I did not mention the last time that Marylanders paid a hefty state tax on each gallon of gasoline they bought it for their cars — and that tax is earmarked to build and repair roads in Maryland.

Meanwhile, air is free for the tires of bicycle owners who have their own pumps.

I did not want to be accused of throwing gas on the fire, but sometimes that is the only way to fight it.

The governor tried to raise the state tax on gasoline even more in the regular session of the General Assembly earlier this year by imposing the state sales tax on all gasoline purchased at the pump (estimated at an average cost of $2.50 per fill up), but it failed to gain any traction. He'll be back.

Mr. Rose also said that I suggested that motorists "always" follow the rules of the road when all I said was that they are "supposed" to do so — while lamenting that many of then do not.

He wrote and awful lot about what I "seem" to mean and much less about what I actually wrote. Perhaps he should put his tarot cards away and work with me and other skeptics to try to solve this potential bike lane problem, before it is too late.

They tried bicycle lanes in Mexico City for the first time this year and as of a few weeks ago they recorded five deaths to cyclists who were hit by cars while the cyclists were using the bike lanes.

Bicycle theft is rapidly on the rise there, as well as in other South American cities directly related to the new bike lanes because of the proliferation of bikes being purchased to ride in them.

Fortunately our policemen in Baltimore County could easily add investigating a flood of new bicycle thefts to their daily assignments — instead of wasting their time with lesser crimes like robberies, burglaries, assaults and auto accidents, etc.

Mexico City also charges cyclist who use the bike lanes an annual $30 fee. I wonder how that would go over in Maryland, especially in Baltimore County.

The bike lane planners in Mexico City and Buenos Aires are more and more employing concrete barriers to separate the bike lanes from the car lanes.

I wonder why. It couldn't be a safety issue could it?

Joseph Johnson

Towson