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A reply to my e-mail from Mr. Vassilaros...(13 posts)

A reply to my e-mail from Mr. Vassilaros...MVN
Jul 25, 2002 9:50 AM
This is what I received from Mr. Vassilaros about my letter (it follows):
Thank you for reading my swill.

As you probably can imagine, I have been inundated with e-mail the last few days so I'm sorry it has taken so long to get back to you.

Typically I answer each electronic missive sent to me. However there are so many lately, the only way to acknowledge each is by this standard response.

Please know that between trying to write my four columns and other news stories this week, I have taken the time to read your e-mail and all the others.

You probably will not be surprised to learn most readers who have taken the time to write disagree with my position.

J

Alas, that is one of the occupational hazards of being a snotty burned-out columnist.

You may want to compose a thoughtful letter about how you feel and send it as a letter to the editor at the Trib. To get directions how to send it, please go to:

www.triblive.com

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with me.

My best,

DV
Columnist
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark [mailto:macn@bayou.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 7:41 PM
To: dvassilaros@tribweb.com
Subject: Bicyclists

Mr. Vassilaros,
Bicycles are not an accident waiting to happen. That description is
reserved for soccer moms, businessmen/executives, ____________ (insert your
favorite title/description here) who drive SUV's or cars/trucks too fast
while talking on the phone, yelling at kids, putting on makeup, wolfing down
a Big Mac and fries, etc. and generally don't pay attention to what they are
doing. All of the bicyclists I know ride very defensively and are
extremely safety conscious. Do some history research and find out the truth
before you start saying things like "Common sense will tell you that roads
are designed for most motorized vehicles". That may be true for the last
several decades but you might be surprised to know that our wonderful
roadway system was actually started with bicycles in mind, not motorized
vehicles. I have a truck and I do pay road costs. I pay taxes, I also
pay for the stickers on my vehicles. I also know cyclists who have been
ticketed for speeding. I know some who have been ticketed for running a
stop sign while on a late commute (as in late at night with no cars around).
These are the exception, not the rule. Speaking of safety violations, it is
left up to the individual states as to the requirement of a helmet. I wear
one at all times when riding and I ride defensively.
In response to a statement in your article I would ask you sir, how does a
cyclist "threaten" a driver? Do you mean to imply that these drivers are
threatened because now they have to actually start paying attention to the
road and everything that goes on around them, just like cyclists do every
time they go out on a road? Who would lose in a fight between a 2000 pound
vehicle and a rider and his bicycle? Usually it's the bicycle because the
driver of the vehicle ALWAYS "never saw the biker". What's wrong with this
picture? If you don't like sharing the road with cyclists, then you should
begin by lobbying local government and the appropriate agencies to build
more bike paths for those of us who commute, ride for fitness, pleasure or
any other reason. Your attitude and suggestions smack of fascism and
bigotry. You want to do away with a group of people who "inconvenience" you
so you and others can continue to drive at speeds over the limit oblivious
to the world around you. Have you ever heard anything about Norway? You
know, the country where getting a DUI automatically means you lose your
license for life. Yes life, not just 6 months or a year. In Norway,
driving is considered a privilege, not an entitlement like it is here.
Wonder why there are so many accidents in t
got cut off...here's the restMVN
Jul 25, 2002 9:52 AM
Wonder why there are so many accidents in the U.S.? The United States is
way too lax in allowing anyone to pass a test and get a license. In Norway,
a person must study for months to take their driving test. Driver's
licenses are treated like gold there. You are absolutely correct in your
statement that driver's have to follow the law even if they don't like it.
But the fact remains that you DO have to follow the law.
To paraphrase you, what about your arteries? Are they clogged with too
many Big Macs and fast food garbage? Mine aren't. I would agree that the
government's values are upside down. They should build more bike paths,
start a strong program to encourage people to get off their couches, and
start reducing the number of cars on the road. That in itself could begin
to take care of the nation's health and pollution problem at the same time.
It's a shame that you and people like you have so little respect or
tolerance for a wonderful invention that soothes the soul, reinvigorates the
spirit, and strengthens the body. Maybe if you rode a bicycle your attitude
might change. My final word on your concern about safety is this; as I
stated earlier cyclists as a rule have to watch out for cars because drivers
generally have tunnel vision or use the excuse "I never saw him/her". They
see only what's in front of them and 9 times out of 10 are impatient to get
somewhere. This usually means that if there is a cyclist anywhere near a
vehicle with an impatient (and possibly angry) driver, the cyclist will lose
everytime. I think your statements about cyclists "threatening" drivers is
twisted to serve your own ends and reeks of that "entitlement" attitude that
is so pervasive in our country. Drivers think they own the roads. We all
own them. You and people like you are the reason we cyclists must ride so
defensively.

Sincerely,
Mark Nash
Cyclist, musician, teacher, graduate student, husband, uncle, and soon to
be LPC.
what's an LPC? nmPdxMark
Jul 25, 2002 10:15 AM
Licensed Professional Counselor nmMVN
Jul 25, 2002 10:16 AM
congrats nmPdxMark
Jul 25, 2002 11:29 AM
Got mine today, also. What a loser. nmMXL02
Jul 25, 2002 10:29 AM
re: A reply to my e-mail from Mr. Vassilaros...Mel Erickson
Jul 25, 2002 11:08 AM
Mr. Vassilaros, his editors and the publisher are smiling all the way to the bank. They can now say to their advertisers that their papers' reach extends to all areas of the US and overseas. Their market is huge and they can now command premium advertising rates.

This guy is just a troll. We should treat him like we should treat all trolls (even on this board), ignore them. ANY attention is exactly what they want and why they do what they do.
that was my first instinct when I read his article: troll...nmmr_spin
Jul 25, 2002 12:08 PM
Received exactly same response. Automated? (nm)Chen2
Jul 25, 2002 11:36 AM
Yup. I got the same one a couple of hours ago. nmeschelon
Jul 25, 2002 11:59 AM
got the same.rufus
Jul 25, 2002 1:09 PM
Received the same emailfiltersweep
Jul 25, 2002 2:53 PM
Thank you for reading my swill.

As you probably can imagine, I have been inundated with e-mail the last few
days so I’m sorry it has taken so long to get back to you.

Typically I answer each electronic missive sent to me. However there are so
many lately, the only way to acknowledge each is by this standard response.

Please know that between trying to write my four columns and other news stories
this week, I have taken the time to read your e-mail and all the others.

You probably will not be surprised to learn most readers who have taken the
time to write disagree with my position.



Alas, that is one of the occupational hazards of being a snotty burned-out
columnist.

You may want to compose a thoughtful letter about how you feel and send it as a
letter to the editor at the Trib. To get directions how to send it, please go
to:

www.triblive.com

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings with
me.

My best,

DV
Columnist
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

-----Original Message-----
From: "Eric Peterson"@taranis.mc.mpls.visi.com [mailto:"Eric
Peterson"@taranis.mc.mpls.visi.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 9:06 PM
To: dvassilaros@tribweb.com
Cc: fcraig@tribweb.com
Subject: Bicycles and cars don't mix

Dimitri:

I doubt you'll take the time to actually read this. Your poorly constructed
July 23 "rant" against "cyclists" has a junior high essay flair to it, but
likely matches your readership. It lacks any insight into the real issues
regarding cycling.

First of all, know your cycling laws. I am equally offended by cyclists who
impede the flow of traffic while breaking laws and common ettiquette (such
as riding two or more side by side, running stop signs or stop lights,
etc.). Cyclists DO have a right to use the road, and a road bike is too
fast to be safe on "multi-use trails." A road bike can easily travel 20-30
mph if propelled by a robust individual, and the sightlines of trails are
just not adequate for such speeds (especially when these trails are shared
with pedestrians, children on bikes, folks walking dogs- leashed or not).

Cycling is an excellent way of staying fit... but I suppose you are in favor
of a very sedantary life style?

I happen to drive a very expensive car, spend a fortune on vehicle taxes,
and possibly spend more in income taxes than you earn in a year. Those
bikes you see out and about are not cheap- most likely cost more than $2000
(which is low to average for a road bike). These people you are ranting
about are not nihilistic "critical mass" anarchist bike nazis, but ordinary
people who are passionate about cycling.

Your logic about road taxation is also incomplete in that if I were to own a
second vehicle, and only drove it 200 miles a year, should I not pay LESS
tax than my primary vehicle? Should people pay significantly MORE road
taxes based on the number of miles driven, or weight of vehicle? What if I
live in a neighboring state, and drive most of my miles in your state?
Where are you drawing the line. The one immutable fact is that bikes do
very little to damage the roads.

"If the government is so concerned about highway safety â€" seat belt this,
air bag that and crash test after crash test â€" why does it allow bicycles
anywhere near traffic? Can you name another vehicle on our streets that has
no safety features? Does the government care about safety or not?"

Last I checked there was no helmet law for motorcyclists in my state. Also-
I know MANY people killed in cars. I don't personally know a single
individual who has died in a bicycle accident.

"The politically correct crowd loves bicycles. They don't use fossil fuels
They don't pollute. And the more people can be convinced to ride them
instead of cars, the more people will want
PT2filtersweep
Jul 25, 2002 2:54 PM
The politically correct crowd loves bicycles. They don't use fossil fuels
They don't pollute. And the more people can be convinced to ride them
instead of cars, the more people will want to move back into the city so
their ride Downtown and back would be doable. I have even seen bike racks on
PAT buses.

Bicycling is a practical way to commute, if you live in Beijing. Cars are a
luxury there, but they are a necessity here. Safety should be a necessity,
too."

There is nothing "politically correct" about me. I personally DO live
downtown in a major city- and I drive a CAR to work. You want to talk about
safety? When was the last time you saw a PSA regarding bicycling? There is
a complete lack of bicycling education in schools or driver's ed. We regard
driving a car as a god-given right- no matter how many DWIs, accidents, or
complete incompetence demonstrated behind the wheel. Ever been to Europe?
In some countries it costs more than $2000US for a driver's license- and
people treat driving a bit more like it is a skill and a privilege.

On a positive note, thank you for not inciting violence towards cyclists, as
others have done. You might want to update your photo... you look much too
cheerful to be writing such dismal columns.

Why not use your powers of the press for "good" rather than "evil?" Why not
write an educational piece for both motorists and cyclists- explaining that
both should respect the laws and each other? Why not educate yourself in
the process? Remember that we had both roads and bicycles long before we
had motorized vehicles. Would it have been as politically correct to write
a piece on your slow-moving buggies in rural PA? Or as an out-of-state
reader have I missed that?