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Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!(23 posts)

Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!Tig
Jun 7, 2002 11:31 AM

I know this was posted earlier, but wanted to let everyone know that you can send a reader's opinion that could possibly (if it is clean and doesn't p;ss him off) be posted on their website. Too bad none of it will make it to print, which is what really counts.

Here is what I sent:
Mrs. Crooks article obviously was not written for the sake of humor, but to launch a movement against an activity she doesn't understand or even like. Her aggressive intentions have NOT been mistaken! She states that all cyclists should stay on the paths no matter what their speed or how "serious" they are. Do we really want riders traveling at 20-25 MPH on the same trails that our family, children, and neighbors are running and cruising at 10 MPH on? Fast riders know that multi-use trails are already dangerous to ride on, and are too wise to put themselves and others in harm's way.

Mrs. Crooks obviously doesn't know the Texas vehicle Codes 551.101 thru 551.105, which detail the operation of bicycles on our roadways. Yes, some riders do not obey the rules and therefore make the whole group look bad. These fools are usually admonished by the wiser riders in the group. They are putting their own lives and safety at jeopardy.

Most people don't know that the first paved roads in the US were build exclusively for bicycles. Currently, an extreme majority of riders also own cars, and therefore pay road taxes through registration and fuel purchases. When on a bicycle, these people do not pollute or wear down the road surface.

Mrs. Crooks, if you are temporarily unconvinced by a few cyclists riding on YOUR ROAD, please excuse them. They are your neighbors who are trying to keep healthy by doing something they love. DO NOT try to "door" them, shoot water or paint guns at them or otherwise attempt to "smoke them out". You will not only face assault charges, but also risk the health and lives of these people. Yes, they are PEOPLE who have families and loved ones.

A note to the editor: Mrs. Crooks' attempt to "blow off steam" is also an attempt to rally motorists against bicycles on the roadway. Those people who have reacted negatively towards this irresponsible article have indeed read the entire article. Your statements make it appear that YOU DIDN'T! Your clarification statement was almost insulting to your reader's intelligence. If you continue to support and defend this type of self-serving article, you will find that many of the local sports and fitness businesses will not spend any advertising money in your publication in the future. Please continue to publish your otherwise fine publication in your own way, but be aware of the fallout resulting from irresponsible journalism.
Great letter, Tig (nm)PaulCL
Jun 7, 2002 11:42 AM
re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!capnjim01
Jun 7, 2002 12:22 PM
very good indeed. now if we could find a list of the people who advertise with them and e-mail them our intent not to do business with them, especialy if they are national chains who like to run full page ads like for up coming fathers day sales, this would give his local paper futher national attention
re: GREAT IDEAcyclejim
Jun 7, 2002 12:31 PM
Maybe we can start doing a little research on this. I will definitely help in emailing any advertiser in their publication.
Send article/letters to local and national news media...spyderman
Jun 7, 2002 1:23 PM
I sent mine to the NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and a few local. I also sent it to their NY version of 'The Villager" too.
re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!cyclejim
Jun 7, 2002 12:30 PM
The clarification from the editor posted on their website makes me so mad I can't even begin to tell you!!! This is absolutely ridiculous. It justs add fuel to the fire. I can see this creating even more rude and dangerous motorists on the road and putting more cyclists at risk.

I gotta tell you, this just makes it all the more easy for me to justify not taking ANY bit of aggressive behaviour on the part on some idiot in a car. I'm going to get militant about it.
re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!JamieB
Jun 7, 2002 12:41 PM
I agree!!! I usually just ignore motorists who are rude to me, but sometimes I just want to holler back expletives myself. Not very lady-like, huh??? It's just so frustrating at times. I wish I could keep up with most of the motorists who make rude comments and get a few things off my chest.
re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!cyclejim
Jun 7, 2002 12:48 PM
Yep. I'm not taking any more of it, just because I don't want to. I'm not naive enough to think we can change the way bad motorists think or drive, but at the very least I know I'll feel better when I put them in their place. heh

re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!Thoth2
Jun 7, 2002 12:54 PM
I hate people like her, and the editor that wrote that crass response.
Anyway, here's what I sent:

Your response and "clarification" is as incomplete as it is insulting. I, for one, read the entire article and I find the opinions expressed therein uninformed and otherwise shameful. Furthermore, your attempt to cover Ms. Crooks' misguided and dangerous remarks as humor, is simply inadequate. I'm sure that you'd not print a "joke" about a cyclist's violent plan to run into pedestrians using a multi-use path just because of the author's feeling that they shouldn't be there. Would you print an article "joking" about "dooring" another motorist who runs a stop sign? Even if you would, you must see that the consequences of "dooring" to cyclists would be much greater than to a car. This joke, if it is such, is simply not funny and deserves the resounding indignation is has received.
As for the article itself, Ms. Crooks apparently believes that cyclists should make the same choices as she does when she exercises- we should all putter along on a multi-use trail. I fail to see how Ms. Crooks' choice has any bearing whatsoever on mine, or how her choice somehow justifies her or her husband's dangerous attitudes, your couching them as "jokes" notwithstanding. Let's take a moment to examine some of the content, as it were, that could justify her opinion, shall we? She posits that using a "bike trail" is safer for all concerned. The multi-use trails where I live allow horses, and I've seen more than a few of these very large animals rear up when confronted with a bicycle regardless of how fast it is ridden. Safer indeed! I do not think any user of the trail comes out ahead in that situation, whether on a bike or on foot or on horse. OK, well, maybe we should all be forced to ride on the trails because we're breaking the law? Riding on the road is legal, and if all follow the rules of the road, motorists included, it is safe. Her article suggests a woeful ignorance of this fact : we are not "defiant non-path users," as she asserts, rather, most of us are lawful road riders. Defiant of what, exactly, if not the law? Defiant of the way Ms. Crooks thinks the way things should be, I suppose. In many areas, bikes are not allowed on trails or sidewalks, so the only alternative, even for those who do not wish to use it, is the road. That leaves one remaining justification, Ms. Crooks' irrational aggravation at being inconvenienced by a couple of cyclists using the road along with her. The fact that some cyclists fail to obey traffic laws does not in any way differentiate them from scofflaw motorists. Would she advocate violence against them, even jokingly? I am fairly certain that intentionally opening the door of a moving vehicle or shooting a paintball gun from the window is a violation of Texas motor vehicle codes - ironic that her joke involves the breaking of the law in order to "retaliate" against those who are in compliance with it. Now, Ms. Crooks (apt name, in my opinion) says that she does not advocate violence towards cyclists, but I think it is apparent from the content of the article that there is more just a mere jest behind her prose.
I, for one, am all for the tradition of informed opinion in newspapers, and, to some extent, the public venting of one's spleen. However, there is no place for the uninformed and potentially dangerous rantings of Ms. Crooks anywhere, no matter how good her jokes may make her feel. I pause, finally, to note how you have accused your responding readers of not reading her article in its entirety, and yet you print her dross without regard to whether Ms. Crooks has any substantial justification for her opinion other than the fact that it is hers. Just because something is labeled "opinion" does not justify abdication of your editorial office.

re: Nice reply! nmcyclejim
Jun 7, 2002 12:58 PM
Well written. Nice job! -nmTig
Jun 7, 2002 1:48 PM
I am no lawyer butPhatMatt
Jun 7, 2002 1:22 PM
If some one were to take actions against an unsuspecting cyclist (God forbid) could the paper be held liable for any damages that the cyclist uncured?

I doubt itColnagoFE
Jun 7, 2002 2:01 PM
I'm no lawyer nor do i play one on tv, but this was obviously a opinion or "humor" piece and i'm sure there is a disclaimer somewhere in the paper that says these are the opinions of the author only and not of the paper. if the paper officially stated this was their policy it would be another story.
Jun 10, 2002 5:50 AM
The encouragement must be much more direct than that. First Amendment protection encompasses what she wrote. Even putting abortion doctors on "hit lists" is protected.

re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!HAL9010
Jun 7, 2002 1:53 PM
Bike advocacy gang! That is what we all need to do.

Obviously just about all of us have had run-ins with cars. AS such we owe it to ourselves and all other (road) bike riders to get involved in some sort of advocacy. As a starter may I suggest; The League of American Bicyclists on the web at

Get involved locally and/or nationally make your voice heard above the herd. On the local level there are bicycle coalitions and such. Write to your local newspapers, radio and television stations as well as all your Local, State and Federal representatives. If we all have the time to post (and read) to this online forum we must also have the time to write to the any or all of the above.

I too am quite tired of the escalating conflict from car drivers. Do something about it. Many advocacy groups are free or low cost to join. Just volunteering your time in the evening to write and contact people you know will do as much if not more than just sending money to some group. Not that that wouldn't also help...

I would like to see bicycle rights, responsibility and safety public service spots on TV (local) and radio. I'll bet many of us could find film or communication students and or professionals more than happy to help produce such a spot.

If you pay local taxes of any sort you pay for the roads you ride on. Your gas taxes (in CA at least) go to the freeways (mostly).

Get involved people.
re: Editor of The Villager posts clarification AND the article!!PhatMatt
Jun 7, 2002 2:25 PM
I know I am a farily poor writer, but that article really pissed me off. I had to add my .02. Here is the article I posted.

I actually find offense in this article. As I consider my self to be a fairly serious cyclist and also a fellow operator of a gasoline guzzling 4x4 it bothers me that one could find any humor in this article at all. Even before I started to enjoy the sport of cycling I always gave a cyclist the right of way that the deserved.

For an educated society to say lets act violently toward someone on an alternate means of transportation because they are slower than us and causing me to be 30 seconds late is, well just ludicrous. Not to mention what kind of injuries could be sustained. Some of my other hobbies are paintball and I would not dream of ever shooting or for that matter even pointing my paint marker at anyone not in proper safety gear. The injuries could range any where from the cycles falling and scraping them selves up, too loss of life not only for the cyclist but also for a motorist.

I recognize there are cyclists out there that do not obey the laws that they should. I know for a fact that in some of the groups I have ridden that those riders will usually be asked first to start and than asked no to ride with the group.

Furthermore by swerving toward a cyclist would thin not constitutes breaking a law of reckless endangerment or assault.

In closing I feel that this article is in poor taste, has no humor in it what so ever, and should of never been run.

Thank you for taking the time to read my humble opinion
Jun 7, 2002 3:17 PM
Having said that, I would like to make it clear that I do not condone panicking.
San Diego cyclist got her 'lesson'. And how!rideslikeagirl
Jun 7, 2002 3:22 PM
I passed this along to our dear editor:

The San Diego Union - Tribune; San Diego, Calif.; Jun 14, 2001; J.
Harry Jones;

Matthew Hines, 19, swerved into the bicycle lane along Torrey Pines
Road in which Maureen Shiftan was pedaling north. A passenger in the
car, Joseph Ajdukovich, then opened the car door and slammed it into
Shiftan, who was knocked off her bicycle.

Shiftan was seriously injured in the attack, suffering a broken pelvis
and head injuries. Shiftan is a reporter who writes under the name
Maureen Clancy for The San Diego Union-Tribune food section.

William Scarf testified at an earlier court hearing that he kept his
eye on the car as he passed Shiftan. In his rear-view mirror, Scarf
said, he saw the silver car swerve into the bike lane and sideswipe the
bicyclist at about 40 mph.

The driver and his passenger both received 8 years in prison for
assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause bodily injury.
wait, ONLY 8 years??!!weiwentg
Jun 7, 2002 5:34 PM
I'm not being sarcastic; it should have been longer. is this par for the course?
my responseDuane Gran
Jun 7, 2002 5:11 PM
Here is what I wrote:

I would like to express my disagreement with Wendy Crooks' article about cyclists. I read the entire article, and although I suspect she has humorous intentions it is hard to read as a serious cyclist.

Understand that serious cyclists spend hundreds of hours per year training and commuting on the roads. By and large we are respected as fellow road users, but every now and then we are harrassed. Unless you are a cylists I don't know how to share the feeling of aggrivated assault from a two ton vehicle. It is frightening and it reveals a sick side of humanity when people assume an alter ego behind the wheel.

That is why I'm upset about this article. In a sense it affirms that driver annoyance at cyclists (who are legal users of the road) is okay. Furthermore the article makes light of ways to harrass cyclists which could be life threatening.

I'm sure Crooks' meant well by the article, but as a person who faces intollerant and impatient motorists it really upset me.
My response...Ron B
Jun 7, 2002 7:34 PM
I feel it necessary to respond to the article written by Wendy Crooks' in the family ties column.

In the article Wendy says that these measures should be used against cyclists that ride their bikes on road ways instead of multi-use paved trails.

-Water pistols to paint guns
-Open the door as you pass them on the road stunt. You know, just to scare them.
-He thought about taking a small car on the pathways to prove a point.

As a cyclist who uses my local road system to both ride my bike and walk with my wife I find these suggestions appalling. I personally have been hit twice by objects that were thrown from a vehicle as they passed me at a high rate of speed. I have also been hit by an automobile that thankfully did not result in injury to my self nor damage to my bike or the driver's automobile. My wife has also been run off of the road by an automobile that was "You know, just trying to scare her".

I feel that it was extremely negligent of you to allow this article to be printed in your news paper and on the web site so that many other's that feel so inconvenienced by cyclists on the road can have a rally cry to follow. I find it even more insulting that you would try to back up Wendy by saying that it was a "Tongue and Cheek" article that wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

This article was quite obviously used to vent for her frustrations for what ever reason and was not meant to be "Tongue and Cheek"

The next time Wendy decides to write a "Tongue and Cheek" article such as this, maybe she should think about the implications it may have on others as well as her self and her family. I hope and pray that she keeps her children off of the streets while on their bikes, due to the fact that she may have incited others to perform these very tactics against her self and her family as they may do so again against my family.


Ron Babcock
My response (imperfect quote):Leisure
Jun 9, 2002 2:29 AM
Mrs. Crook's discriminatory and violent mindset are much easier to see when you reread the article, replacing "cycles" and "cyclists" with "niggers".
Wow- very good. nmrideslikeagirl
Jun 10, 2002 11:52 AM