Artist Stephan Pastis goes after cyclists for smug attitude, pectoral muscles

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis on January 13, 2013

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis on January 13, 2013

I wrote this message to the artist Stephan Pastis in response to the above comic, published on January 13, 2013. I know my response is smug and self-assured – but is that because I ride a bike or because I am a raging egomaniac? Maybe it is both. Anyway, read on:

I have a mother (don’t we all) who is fond of clipping anything vaguely relevant to her sons’ lives out of the newspaper and leaving them for us on a book case shelf by the front door of her house.

I am Mr. Bike in my family, so I got your cyclist pyramid of humanity comic. I will not lie: I laughed, it was funny.

It was also troubling and sort of dishonest. Anyone paying attention to our roads will notice that the body count and the property damage belong to one class of road users: car drivers. There is a hit-and-run epidemic in LA – fueled by dangerously designed streets and an indifferent justice system. People have been maimed and killed by law breaking motorists – drunk, indifferent, on their cell phones, not signaling turns, imprudent, impatient, and just flat out dangerous car drivers.

You live in California. In this state, car drivers are NOT equal to bike riders and pedestrians. The latter two have a right to the road. Car drivers have a privilege for which they must submit to a pretty low bar of testing and mental competence – but a privilege nonetheless.

In Idaho, the state made it legal for cyclists to treat stop signs as “Yield” signs and to treat red lights as stop signs. The result? No more or less traffic deaths, injuries, nor collisions. The only thing that changed was the ticketing rate of bike riders and the (now irrelevant) comments about law breaking cyclists.

I think a more reasonable (though way less funny) cartoon would have the pyramid set up like this: people / people who think they can do whatever the f$% they want in a car and can blame it on the victim once the air bags deploy.

From Mr. Bike (in my family) to Mr. Artist (in your family, I presume),

-Josef

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