Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bicycling: Core Values Are Rotten on the Road

The reason for the bloated bike-blogging today is this: Chris Core pissed me off.

Chris Core is a radio personality, responsible for "Core Values" on WTOP. Perhaps he does other stuff, but I don't care to look into his credentials. I'm just going to take him at his words. Last week, Core made a commentary entitled "Growing Phenomenon of Bicycle Road Rage." Here is the transcript, taken from

It's very impractical for a 5,000 lb vehicle that can go 80 mph to equally share the road with a 20 lb bike that does about 15 tops. Yet, bikers now apparently feeling newly empowered seem to feel it's perfectly fine for them to ride right in the middle of traffic doing 15 mph and get hostile when you drive around them.

Furthermore, many of them drive on narrow roads, like Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, right next to the, um, bike path. And although they claim equal road rights and moral superiority over those of us in motorized vehicles, they are horrible scofflaws when it comes to passing, cutting in and out of traffic, and little details like stop signs. Not a sermon, just a thought. Two way courtesy is a core value.

I emailed Mr. Core (referring to myself as "non-scofflaw cyclist"), and I thought I was very even-handed. I agreed that two-way courtesy was key, and that that point was absolutely essential. I then pointed out the law that bikes are entitled to and supposed to use the road. I pointed out that the Rock Creek Park bike path is in terrible shape and is dangerous to ride. I reasoned that, since all bikers LOVE bike paths, for them to choose to use the road must mean that the path is really awful. And finally I admonished him for adding fuel to the fire that I deal with every day--the anger and maliciousness of drivers who don't even know that bikes are allowed to be on the road.

It seems that TheWashCycle's and other blogs' posts about Core's bike-hatred got around, because Core did another segment about how stupid the emails he had gotten were. TheWashCycle is again on top of this one, but here's the transcript for my readers:

OK guys, eleven days ago I did a commentary about how more and more people are using bicycles to commute; and about how difficult it is for bike and car commuters to share the same road and how hostile I think some bikers have become. You can hear it here.

I have since received dozens of really angry emails. That's because somebody transcribed my commentary and put it in the blogosphere. Thus giving thousands of bikers the opportunity to show me their, um, lack of hostility by writing to me.

Mike called me "morally bankrupt."
Russ called me a "dumbass."
Bruce says I'm "mean and anti-social."
Joe said I "ruined his day."

The reaction was so angry that I'm devoting a full segment to the issue on my Channel 50 TV show this coming weekend.

My favorite email came from freewheeler who wrote, "Bike commuters don't tune to WTOP for traffic and weather. Did you say what you did because you're afraid of losing your captive audience?" The answer to that is, well, yes. That's exactly why I wrote the commentary to keep WTOP #1.

Taking one for the team is a Core Value.

So I emailed Core again, saying that his cherrypicking was unfair and made me doubt that he was serious about "two way courtesy". I suggest anyone reading this to email him here and tell him he doesn't deserve a driver's license, if his understanding of the law is that shallow.

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