Letters to the Editor - Share the road September 23 2004

Thank you for writing on the dangers of riding a bicycle in Atlanta and the surrounding area (News & Views, "Atlanta, the city too busy to brake," Sept. 16). Your article hopefully brought some awareness to those who speed or drive aggressively past cyclists, myself included. I've cycled in the Atlanta area for about 15 years now and have seen firsthand my share of close calls. I'm fortunate not to have been in an accident involving a motorist, especially since I just commuted 2,208 miles on the back roads of Atlanta to and from work throughout the summer. Outfitted with six lights, all blinking except for one, I've been narrowly missed by countless vehicles, and not at a slow rate of speed, either. I honestly don't believe that had I had one more light on my bike, things would have changed much. Atlantans just do not like bicyclists, or anything else in their way while they zip to and from work, or anywhere else for that matter.

I was a close friend of Tony Serrano, the cyclist killed in Gwinnett a few weeks ago, and while he'll be missed, his legacy to promote the sport of cycling will live on. His devotion to the sport has inspired me to pursue a goal of mine since I was a kid growing up here in Atlanta. On Sept. 26, I will begin a 2,900-mile bicycle journey to raise funds for the children of fallen soldiers (www.forfallenheroes.org). Part of my training for this journey was commuting to and from work every day, 48 miles round trip. Serrano was a big motivator in the pursuit of my journey. Along with my commute, I was a Cash for Commuters participant in which I got paid for my cycling commute! How cool is that? Now if only everyone else here in Atlanta could look at cycling in that viewpoint, we'd have a much happier, healthier and loving city to become active in.

Thanks again, Michael, for choosing to write on a subject that is taking lives across the country. It's senseless how motorists approach a cyclist with the intent of passing already on their minds. Many need to learn to approach, follow, evaluate for a few seconds (for passing safety) and finally, execute a pass. Because this doesn't happen, cyclists become the statistic that is forced off the road or struck because some no-brainer decided to try and pass with speed only to get caught while directly adjacent to the cyclist. It's obvious, in most cases, this is where the cyclist loses, and it's a shame for the cyclist, the cycling community and the surviving family of someone who chose not to experience life on an armchair.

-- Xavier Cortez, Marietta

br>?Not my fault
So let me get this straight.

If I put my hand in a blender and turn it on, the cause and effect of my injury is that the blender was at fault?

There is cause and effect here ... the problem is that bicycles are for suburban streets and your back yard ... not the roadway (News & Views, "Atlanta, the city too busy to brake," Sept. 16).

If you get your sorry, spandex-covered ass run over by an SUV, the problem is you were riding a damned bicycle in the road. My kids even know better than that.

-- Dewey Hamrick, Atlanta

br>?We should be ashamed
Steve Fennessy's article "From the rolls to the polls" was both inspiring and alarming (Sept. 9). I am honored to live in a state with people like Lee May who work tirelessly to register people to vote; I am embarrassed that our state as a whole ranks third to last in voter turnout. For all the people who say that their vote does not count, here's a number: 537. That is the number by which the Supreme Court ruled that Georgia W. Bush won the state of Florida in the 2000 election.

We have come so far from the beginning of this country, when only white, land-owning males were allowed to cast a ballot. Blacks, women, the poor — all fought long and hard with much sacrifice to earn the right to vote in hopes of creating a more representative government. This year, it is more critical than ever to make your voice heard. Polls show our country is evenly divided, but only the people who are registered and vote are represented. There are thousands of disenfranchised people who believe their vote does not count. It does. Your vote is your voice — go out and make it heard on Election Day. Nothing will change in this country unless the people rise up and make it so.

-- Kate Smolski, advisory board member,

Project Democracy

br>?Why does he do it?
Although Zell Miller berated the Democrats during his keynote address at the recent GOP Convention, I don't believe that the party has swung that far to the left during the 12 years since he performed the same duty at the Democratic Convention (News & Views, "Zell's final zag," Sept. 9). In fact, many would say that the party has moved toward the center since then. Just ask Ralph Nader. Thus, I don't understand the reason for Miller's sudden disdain for his party.

I'm just as puzzled as to why Zell continues to identify himself as a member of a party that he finds so disgusting. I don't think the Democrats will ever become as conservative as the Republicans are, which seems to be what he favors. Therefore, Miller and anyone else who supports the positions that are the furthest on the right should join the GOP.

By the way, Zell, if the Democratic Party is so far out of step with the majority of Americans, why has its ticket won the popular vote in the past three presidential elections and has an excellent chance of doing so again this year?

-- D.W. Durr, Lithonia