On the 8th of July, the Washington Post published a vicious Courtland Milloy editorial encouraging motorists to run down cyclists. Cyclists on Twitter responded with the handle #BikeTerrorist, and on the evening of July 9 hundreds of riders took to the streets for the already-planned DC Bike Party.
The Washington Post story appeared online on July 8, and was also printed in the July 9th print edition of the paper, giving it a lot more weigh than a blog post. If the Bike Party had not been already planned, some kind of massive response would have been needed, I heard talk of a Critical Mass to the Washington Post’s offices. Many at the Bike Party discussed the Washington Post’s editorial, and people were furious about effectively getting a death threat from the areas most influential newspaper.
The ride was so massive that when the route went over Memorial Bridge, around the circle, and back, at one point the entire bridge was filled with bikers going both directions. Many times the streets were wall to wall bikes as far as the eye could see.
Elsewhere, other web sites called out Courtland Milloy for blatent falsehoods in her story, such as the claim that most bikers in DC are yuppies whom she called “miliennials.” One website published demographic data that people making between $75,000 a year and $150,000 a year were less likely to ride a bike than anyone else, with a slight rise above that income level and substantially more bike use among the poor. They also reposted that Latino people were more likely to ride bikes than anyone else nationally. Elsewhere someone said someonwe following the Post’s advice to run down cyclists would kill more Latino riders than hipsters. I see a lot more car owners and car traffic in NW and in gentrified areas than I ever do among the rowhouses of NE.
Lastly, every time one of thsoe condo owners gets on a bike, that’s still one less car on the road, and one less chance for a pedestrian to be run down and killed. I hear about someone being hit by a bicycle and killed about once every ten years, pedestrians killed by cars seems to happen every single day, sometimes more than one.
One final point: Lately a lot of bicycle haters have been demanding licensing and registration for bikes. I will refuse to comply with any such law, probably most or at least most non-yuppie bikers will refuse. When DC had bike registration (but not an operators license) less than 5% of bikes were registered. Courtland Milloy remarked that the DC pigs used to routinely pull over riders of color. This was usually based on bike registration, and along with the fact that cops considered using the registration law to round up bikes at Pershing Park caused the DC Council to revoke DC’s bike registration law years ago. Cops abused it, so they lost it!