Thursday, July 27, 2006

the 'Ville and the 'Liberal' media

there has been another is a regular series of brouhahas between the Louisville cycling community and the local media. the Courier-Journal has been relatively positive about cycling coverage. the TV stations, and one in particular, have been pretty dismissive, if not nasty. last month WLKY ran a sensationalized story about bicycles on the roads and the frustration they cause drivers. this latest, in fact the 2nd part of the series titled 'War of the Wheels', has an interesting tone, in that the first half of the transcript, including comments from John Boel, who is a reporter and triathlete, are pretty positive. he outlines how drivers pass too closely and don't follow traffic laws concerning giving bicycles rights. the 2nd half, though, goes downhill, at least from the perspective of a cyclist. Let' see:

The investigation also revealed that in two-thirds of the cases, the collisions were the cyclist's fault.

However, the most common error Target 32 found in the reports -- that leads to the most number of crashes -- was what police called "Illegally riding on the sidewalk."

Sweeney cited one of the leading causes of accidents between cyclists and vehicles: rampant disregard of the laws governing bicycling.

Boel said these types of violations were seen all over Louisville throughout the investigation -- cyclists riding five wide and out into the oncoming lanes.

"And we seldom saw anyone use hand signals," said Boel.

Target 32s investigation found that in accidents involving bicycles in Louisville, police said the cyclists were at fault in 66 percent of the incidents. That result is an increase of 6 percent over last year, when Target 32 did a similar study

this is one of those reports that loves to take random numbers and change or distort the context. if so many accidents are caused from cyclists on the sidewalk, then what kind of cyclists are we discussing? somewhere in the blogosphere i saw some clever differentiation used between "lycra cyclists" and "too-poor-to-own-a-car" cyclists, but i can't remember where. nonetheless, "real" cyclists don't use the fucking sidewalk. the Mexican immigrants who can't afford cars use them. the black folks from the west side do the same. the poor whites from the south side doing the same. it would, or maybe could, never happen, but let WLKY-32 and the police differentiate their study to compare the different types of cyclists. that is my first HUGE beef with this bullshit report. the contention is that "real" cyclists- maybe the differentiation is cyclists vs. people using bikes- cause far fewer of these accidents. the 2nd is the obvious tenor and tone problem. in both the July 24th and the July 18th reports, the potential menace presented by cars is introduced early, but the lasting image or sensation presented at the end of each report is the lawlessness of the cyclist, breaking laws, not signaling for fucking Christ sake.

this "War of the Wheels", as explained by 32, was presented somewhat in response to the increased bicycle traffic with gas prices. imagine the 'news' instead presenting a serious of reports on alternatives to driving, on ways to lower gas usage, on the benefits of cyclings, walking, busing. it fucking reeks! it makes me sick! for every 1 cyclist who "blows past every stop sign and every stop light", how many cars do so in the same intersection? for every 1 bicycling accident, how many auto accidents are there?

and what i also find interesting is that, in my travels in the inner-city, that is inside of the first ring road Watterson Expwy, i don't actually feel the menace nearly as much as the reports contend. actually, i don't have that many "menacing" experiences. much of this ire stems from the encroachment of the 'burbs on country roads, traditional bike club roads. there is certainly not enough room for both a Bike, a Volvo, oh and let's say a DumpTruck carrying landfill to/from a new subdivision. in the innercity, i ride much like a car, and i don't have that many probs. maybe i'll be killed this afternoon, but these experiences byinlarge, seem to be impacting those 50-person club rides. DUH! a huge mass of anything in one place will cause issues. a bar near the house has a Thursday-night motorcycle night. it's a huge painintheass for th motorists there. why not do a story there? Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all.

this kind of BS 'news' sucks ass and makes me want to blow buildings up. OF COURSE, of course, i'm not making a legitimate threat. i just think that a more progressive place, say Minneapolis or Portland- one of those 'modern' cities-, might be 'pro-active' about cyclists and cycling. i'm quite sure there are menacing drivers there, and bike/car accidents. but this sensationalized reporting, instead of making the streets SAFER for all users, makes them much more DANGEROUSfor 1 group, and that group is cyclists.

and this is the city i live in. backwoods, backwater, redneck piece of shit Luavull. fucking steaming pile.

3 comments:

Bike Worker said...

I have to wonder whether your local station ran this report on purpose, just as some sensationalistic reporting to drive up their ratings, rather than an honest appraisal of which form of transportation is better for people.

Keep up the great work!

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