Dear Tell All: Like previous letter writers, I am bothered by the crass disregard for traffic rules practiced with impunity by so many Madison bicyclists ("Madison Bicylists Are Vermin," 3/13/2014).
They can do just about anything they want on a road without fear of retribution since they carry no license tag -- the only type of "vehicles" (that is what the state laws call them) to travel without identification on our thoroughfares, except for our worthy farm vehicles. Even off-road conveyances such as boats, canoes, jet skis and snowmobiles must have some sort of identification on them. How come not bicyclists?
Bicyclists use our roads and trails without, with some exceptions, paying one nickel toward their support. Not only do they not contribute to the usage, but I know of two bridges built exclusively for bicyclists, one in the Madison area and one near Grafton -- multimillion-dollar jobs at taxpayers' expense.
The bicyclists have a vast constituency from which our state could pick up a bunch of taxes. I have heard that there are about a million bicycles in the Badger State. A $20-per-year tag fee would not only provide much-needed revenue to pay for their passions, but would make bicyclists accountable by having to put a tag on each vehicle that they ride.
Dear Tell All: While I wouldn't characterize Madison bicyclists as "vermin," they do have an unwarranted sense of entitlement.
Most bicyclists I see wear dark clothing while cycling at night, ride on the wrong side of the road or the sidewalk, ignore traffic laws or regard pedestrians as cones in a slalom course.
When my wife and I have confronted people on these behaviors, the cyclists have responded with righteous indignation or open hostility. How dare we expect them to obey the law! I think it's a testament to the competence of Madison drivers that there aren't more car-bike accidents. If the city were to enforce the extant bike laws the same way it enforced the laws for motorists, its coffers would overflow.
Vermin? No. Ignorant and arrogant? Definitely.
Near East Sider
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