Letters from the Issue of February 7, 2008

"Cycling feels more like cautious creeping to avoid being killed by speeding cars and clueless pedestrians."

Move Over, Motorists!

Chicken, egg, and spoke: Thanks for Isaiah Thompson's article about cycling in Miami, "Share the F***ing Road" (January 31).

Eric Tullberg is rapidly becoming one of my heroes. Thompson hit the nail on the head with the cyclist who said that, a short while ago, he was the motorist blowing his horn and yelling at bikers to get out of the road. That really illustrates how the paradigm shift our area needs will only occur one person at a time.

The chicken and egg problem facing our community is that cycling will become safer only when more people ride bicycles.

Tom Blazejack

Miami

Get a clue, Miami!: I recently moved to Miami from New York, and I lived in Boston prior to that, so I was ecstatic about relocating to a city where I could bike to work year-round. I even chose my apartment based on its bikeable proximity to my new office. I was shocked to find zero bike lanes, hostile motorists, and disdain from locals about my interest in biking to work — all issues raised by Isaiah Thompson in "Share the F***ing Road."

However, I agree with Mike Lydon, and I'm determined to continue my commute in a way that provides exercise and is an environmentally friendly mode of transport. I support Gabrielle Redfern and will cast my vote for her because of her activist efforts.

Motorists have a right to their opinions, but building bike lanes solves everyone's problems. It is significantly more hazardous for drivers and cyclists alike when bikes are on the sidewalk. As almost every other major world city has demonstrated, bike lanes reduce accidents and air pollution, and provide a greater sense of community.

I will continue to ride to work to support the movement.

Emily White

Via web commentary

Sticking to the sidewalk: Excellent reporting on the sad state of Miami biking. I ride almost daily in South Beach, but it feels more like cautious creeping to avoid being killed by speeding cars and clueless pedestrians.

I have lived here for a year and a half. So far I have suffered a dislocated elbow from falling off my bike on the Venetian Causeway, one of the more bike-friendly strips. I could have easily become a statistic that day. I also had an $800 Trek mountain bike stolen from the basement garage of my condo, where it was locked. There was a rash of bicycle thefts there at one point, with more than eight people losing their bikes. I then wised up and purchased a used $50 junker. It's ironic that, as unsafe as biking is in Miami, there is evidently a big demand for bikes, judging from the high degree of theft.

Although I think bike lanes are nice, I don't feel safe in them. Just because someone painted a white line in the road doesn't mean drivers on cell phones will notice you there. I ride along the Venetian Causeway and sometimes in downtown Miami, where it is always an obstacle course with all the construction. I have biked to Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove, as well as along Old Cutler Road. It's really not safe anywhere.

I mainly stick to puttering along the skate sidewalk near Ocean Drive and weaving between the pedestrians on Lincoln Road. At least I don't fear being struck by a car there.

Brad Smith

Via web commentary

A (good) kick in the pants: "Share the F***ing Road" is a great, great article! After being run over last summer by an SUV driver who didn't want to "share" the road (which cyclists have an equal right to use!), I've been reluctant to ride as often. The support and encouragement of fellow cyclists and the Emerge Miami group was the kick in the pants I needed to get on the bike again.

I agree that more bike lanes are needed, but perhaps we also need some public education. We need a campaign that creates awareness about sharing public roadways.

I really appreciate this article — particularly your attention to the scores of people who cycle not by choice, but by necessity. The city belongs to them, and to us as well.

Tricia Vanderkooy

Via web commentary


Mystery Money

How do they do it?: In Carlos Suarez De Jesus's article "Mexican Marvels" (January 31), Noe Reyes is said to send his family in Puebla, Mexico, $500 a week. Damn, I have a college degree and make only $35,000 a year. I take home $515 a week after taxes. How can an illegal, uneducated Mexican make that much money? Something is not right there.

Tom Bellmont

Via web commentary


Poverty Wages

Mo' money, mo' money: You must pay your writers in food stamps. Ben Westhoff appears to be a weapon of misinformation in "Caviar Dreams" (January 24). A more credible magazine, Fortune, estimates the net worth of Jay-Z, Sean Combs, and Russell Simmons to be well over $100 million. To write an article discovering that rappers are not really worth a billion dollars is like finding out a Porsche is not a Bentley. Who cares? Obviously, you do — but readers don't. Maybe instead of writing unintelligible articles about rappers' incomes, you should have been a rapper. These artists earn more money than you will ever make in your lifetime. Find something else to write about, like Justin Timberlake, or something you have a chance of really knowing something about.

John Dudley

Miami Beach

 
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