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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Bike fight remains a myth-tery

Nobody has appointed me to be a special envoy assigned to broker a lasting peace between Spokane’s cycling community and everybody else.

Frankly, I’m not qualified.

But I do ride a bike and have cyclist friends. I also hear from a lot of people who have issues with cyclists.

I live in both worlds, you might say. And I can tell you, factions on both sides have some crazy ideas.

So let me address a few myths that stand in the way of greater understanding.

1. Cyclists don’t pay road-related taxes: This is an odd assertion. A huge majority of adult bike riders also own and drive cars. Maybe some of them who bike to work spend slightly less on gasoline than non-cyclists. But only a bike-hater, a Saudi prince or an oil executive would begrudge that.

2. The Car Culture is on the way out in Spokane: That’s nuts. That is so far removed from reality that all one can ask is, “What have you been smoking, Mr. Green?”

Certainly there are those who would like to believe this. But please. It’s not even true in Portland.

Spokane is still a place where people drive big rigs to the natural foods store.

3. Helmets are the be-all/end-all of bicycle safety: It should be obvious that this is not true. Helmets do nothing to prevent accidents.

But not wearing one because you don’t want to show fear or feel bullied into accepting a defensive posture on the streets strikes me as poor reasoning. Maybe not all heads merit the same level of protection.

4. Cyclists are annoyingly smug about their fitness: Maybe some are. But I know of no other group as acutely aware of its own physical limitations.

Riding a bike is fun. But hills and long rides can be hard. And virtually every cyclist I know wishes he or she were in way better shape.

5. Cyclists and motorists will never get along in Spokane: Don’t believe that. The majority already do.

Today’s Slice question: Do you have a creative way of recycling your daily newspaper?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. People far away sometimes confuse Spokane and Tacoma.

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