Letters to the Editor - It’s illegal September 30 2004

I wonder how old Dewey Hamrick’s kids will be when they realize their father is a complete idiot (Going Postal, “Not my fault,” Sept. 23)? I’ll bet he doesn’t even know riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is illegal. A bicycle is a legal mode of transportation that has the same road-use rights and privileges as a car, a bus or an SUV.

-- Andrea Stanfield, Atlanta

br>?We won’t go away
As much as I’m sure Creative Loafing is hesitant to facilitate a war of words between its readers, Mr. Hamrick’s letter raised some issues that I could not allow to go unaddressed (Going Postal, “Not my fault,” Sept. 23).

It seems as though Mr. Hamrick is unaware that in cities in the U.S., it is actually illegal for cyclists to bike on sidewalks, and aside from designated bike paths, bikers are required by law to be in the roadway. Fortunately for Mr. Hamrick, law enforcement tends to look the other way when it comes to little kids, but as someone who has tried to bend the rules once or twice and been reprimanded by a police officer for biking on the sidewalk, I can attest to this personally.

I am not a health nut or an environmental activist. I am simply an Atlanta resident who cannot afford the protection of a $20,000 shell of steel that Mr. Hamrick believes is the only alternative to sticking “my hand in a blender and turn[ing] it on.” Car-based culture, with no room for alternatives, is for strip malls and suburban streets. Atlanta is a city of economic and cultural diversity, where daily its residents work hard to live their lives in the ways they know how, and until Atlanta improves its public transportation system, you will find me biking on the streets of Atlanta, spandex-less with safety-lights ablaze, just trying to get my groceries home.

-- Sarah Feuquay, Atlanta

br>?Spandex not required
Regardless of the legal opinions of the offspring of Dewey Hamrick, Georgia law says bikes do belong on the road (Going Postal, “Not my fault,” Sept. 23).

A cyclist is allowed to decide where to be, based on road conditions and safety considerations.

And contrary to the fantasies of passive but muy macho SUV pilots, spandex isn’t required.

-- Larry English, Chamblee

br>?Big city traffic
Xavier Cortez’s letter concerning bicycles and traffic was sort of the last straw for me on this issue (Going Postal, “Share the road,” Sept. 23). Having been an off-and-on cyclist for the last 30-plus years, I am well aware of the dangers that inconsiderate drivers can pose, but this is a sword that cuts both ways, a concept that many cyclists don’t seem to grasp. The “bikes have the same rights as cars” laws notwithstanding, there simply are places that bikes do not belong — namely, busy, congested, main thoroughfares. The notion that a vehicle capable of averaging 12 to 15 mph should be allowed to insert itself into heavy Atlanta traffic legally traveling at 45 mph is a fantasy that the biking community needs to rethink, both from the standpoint of safety, and out of consideration for the majority of other travelers that they are delaying. Imagine what the reaction would be if that bike were an automobile traveling at 15 mph in rush hour traffic, and my point is obvious. I have also observed that many cyclists are selective about the traffic laws they choose to obey, regarding themselves quite different from automobiles when it comes to stopping at traffic signals and signs.

The point of my letter is not to disparage those who are resourceful enough to actually use a bike for meaningful transportation, but to point out the realities of big city traffic that should govern when and where they ride. Until Atlanta has developed a system of safe bike lanes separate from auto traffic, common sense should prevail.

-- James Wiley, Decatur

br>?Psychological ooze
I must thank you for the thoughtful and insightful review you wrote about my show at Callanwolde (Arts, “A doll’s house,” Sept. 23). It’s very interesting to me, and helpful, to have such an informed commentary on my work. Having never been reviewed before, I wondered if my intention would come through. It feels strange to release work and leave it open to scrutiny, but I am grateful for the time and care you took in looking at it. You seem to have understood it on many levels, and I’m afraid I will have to ask your permission to quote this line: “a place where the racing, manic pace of the outside world begins to slow and feet become sticky in the psychological ooze of family.” That is so wonderful — it delighted me that you saw the psychological ooze.

-- Pat Magers, Atlanta

?You’re still out there!
Great piece on zany Zell Miller (News & Views, “Zell’s final zag,” Sept. 9). I moved away from the South about eight years ago, and all I ever hear these days is that the venomous, know-nothing, right-wing Christian element has gained such a lock on power down there that it’s tantamount to treason to declare oneself even a wimpy Democrat in old Dixie. I knew that couldn’t be entirely true; after all, I still know a number of true progressives in places like Tallahassee. But “bat-shit crazy” Zell’s keynote address at the recent GOP creepfest only underscored my impression that the old South was an utterly lost cause where values like sanity and justice are concerned.

So, it was like a lifesaving gasp of fresh air to read your take on Zell’s career and his cringe-inducing whoring for Bush and Rove. Great to be reminded that there are still intellectuals and progressive journalism in places like Georgia.

-- Richard Howard, Seattle, Wash.

br>?What do you know?
I am certain that you are justified in your critique of What the #$*! Do We Know!? (Flicks, “What the #$*!” Sept. 9). As a movie for the masses, it is just OK. However, what you might not know is that the movie expresses a point of view, metaphysics or New Thought (that is not New Age), that is held by thousands of Atlantans, millions of Americans, and tens of millions of bright, intelligent people worldwide. By calling it New Age, you associate us with crystals and seances, which is the way the Christian right refers to us so as to minimize us. I would hope Creative Loafing would treat us more fairly. New Thought is a respectable philosophy, at least as “logical” as any established religion.

This film, for us, was a coming out. It was the first time anyone has managed to place us in the mainstream. We typically think of ourselves as off the radar, except when we hit the best-seller list (seems lots of us read), as in Neal Donald Walsh, Deepak Chopra or Marianne Williamson. This is certainly the first time it has been brought to the big screen.

I think this bit of history is missing from your review probably since you were not really aware of the New Thought movement, or its philosophy. Our spirituality is as important to us as anyone else’s religion is to them, and we would at least like to be reviewed by someone who is willing to understand it before belittling it.

-- Dr. Robert Soloway, Decatur

?Valuable service?
I must commend Creative Loafing for the valuable service they provide to the community. Consider — without CL we would not have:

- Gainful employment for talentless cartoonists and marginal writers, thus keeping them off the welfare roles.

- An outlet for said writers to satisfy their sophomoric compulsion to write profane, scatological and copulatory four-letter Anglo-Saxonisms. Without this outlet, they would no doubt be defacing restroom walls all over Atlanta. Why, Hollis Gillespie’s prodigious output alone would cover ladies’ room walls throughout the South. (And, given her admitted kinkiness, maybe men’s room walls as well.)

- Advertising space for perverts, prostitutes, pimps, panders and piercers of penises, pudenda and other private parts.

- A letters column giving space to spacey socialists whose output is too outre for even the AJC. (Also to be commended is that column’s occasional printing of the learned lectures of literalists, such as your obedient servant. Not to be confused with alliterationists, who, of course, should be damned to eternal hellfire.)

Department of Corrections
In the Sept. 23 issue, the Weekly Scalawag on WSB-TV contained an error. The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is not affiliated with Barron Segar’s lawsuit.

For more info about our corrections policy, or to let us know about a substantive error that you’ve spotted, please e-mail corrections@creativeloafing.com.?-- Walter H. Inge, Atlanta