I rarely listen to Bob Durgin on WHP580. It seems that when he gets into a complex issue that he doesn’t quite grasp, his solution is to just start yelling and calling people names. I then find myself in the car, yelling at him, and calling him names.
But the man is probably singularly responsible for stirring up the people that led to the repeal of the midnight pay grab by the state legislature a few years back, and I respect him for that. Plus I have to acknowledge that he has a very loyal following.
Last night, his show focused on the proposed law announced at the rally concerning bicycle right of way. I have to say that he allowed callers with differing views and had a very civil discussion. While he is not a bike advocate, I found myself enjoying the program and actually agreeing with some of his comments. Here is a link to the program. You can also download the podcast.
One of the big issues that he was stuck on was a provision that outlaws “threatening actions” from drivers towards the cyclist. I don’t have the draft in front of me, but he took it to mean either yelling at or flipping the bird. I took it to mean threatening with the vehicle. If his version is correct, then I agree with him. As rude as giving the finger might be, it is free speech. If I’m correct, and the meaning refers to sqeezing a biker off the road or tapping the brakes in front, then maybe a second degree misdemeanor is lenient.
The other big thing he took issue with was the 4 foot right of way for cars overtaking bikes. Several callers tried to explain that there may not be a berm or for that matter, anyplace for a bike to go, and the idea of a car waiting to pass a bike was out of the question. He didn’t buy that – if a bike is holding up traffic, the rider should stop and let the car pass.
He did favor bike lanes or paths, but I don’t think he processed what the cost of that might be. I think if he did, his tune would change. I also sensed that he was talking about recreational trails as opposed to transportation.
So what it comes down to is that he and many of his listeners are stuck on the bikes are toys mentality; and not acknowledging that bikes are transportation. It reinforces my view that bicycle advocacy needs to emphasize that, and several of the comments make it clear that bikers need to exercise some courtesy of their own as well as common sense if any headway is to be made. I also suspect that if gas gets back up to $4.00/gallon; some of the tune might change.
If you have the time, give it a listen. I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but hope to get it in later.
On an aside, this is the first half decent day in a while, and I saw bike commuters everywhere this morning. Because of the weather and my committment to work on the church Youth Center addition, my riding has been pretty stymied for the time being. Bummer.