LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bikes can’t compete with cars

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Being an avid cyclist all of my life, I think Emmett Tyrrell is onto something (“Self-righteous cyclists peddling a car-free world,” Web, Jan. 22). Cyclists as a group have become an arrogant bunch of angry utopians. Their social-engineering plans generally resemble some kind of urban landscape they imagine existed half a century ago or more, but in fact it never existed at all.

I did plenty of time riding a bicycle around Detroit in the 1950s and ‘60s and lived to tell about it. There were no bike lanes, and I cannot imagine any cyclist attending a city council meeting to demand one. If a planner had proposed getting rid of traffic lanes (or parking, for that matter) to provide for special bike routes, they probably would have been put in a straitjacket and hauled off to the nearest asylum for shock therapy. Detroit already worked from a transportation standpoint — cars, buses, trolleys, electric buses, and even bicycles — so why mess it up?

For a multitude of reasons, the cities declined, and the population spread to the suburbs. The suburbs had a vastly different system of streets and main high-speed arteries. The bicycle did not fit in, except on the specially designed multiuse strip parks, usually referred to as “bike trails.” These types of parks made sense and represented a good adaptation to the way most people wanted to live. For the most part, they weren’t used for commuting, but rather for leisure and exercise.

Since I want to keep riding and don’t won’t to ruin your neighborhood with nightmare transportation restrictions, I along with Mr. Tyrrell long for the end to the angry, in-your-face, Obama era.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

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