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Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 05/ 4/2010

AAA says "share the road"

By Washington Post editors
LOCAL BLOG NETWORK

AAA Mid-Atlantic must not have gotten the memo: bicycles aren't a scourge to oppose at all costs.

May is National Bike Month, and the national organization put out a press release urging drivers to respect bicyclists. "AAA appreciates the continued efforts of stakeholders and transportation officials towards making roads safer for motorists and cyclists alike."
That's welcome, because many residents don't feel similarly.

Michael Dresser, the Baltimore Sun traffic columnist, had to dress(er) down some readers who wrote to complain about "Lance Armstrong wannabes" and "packs of city dwellers" using "their" roads.

"Cry me a river," Dresser wrote. "[Bicyclists] do not impede traffic; they are an integral part of traffic. It has been thus since the dawn of the auto age." He also refutes the argument that cyclist don't pay taxes and (ironically, the letter writer who brought that up said cyclists should "have no more special privileges than pedestrians." Does this driver also think that every pedestrian should jump out of a crosswalk if he's approaching?

Despite AAA's pro-share-the-road stance and even the attempts by some of its local clubs to woo cyclists, AAA Mid-Atlantic remains one of the nastiest and most anti-everyone-not-driving groups.

Reacting to news that DDOT is building the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes, AAA immediately got some knee-jerk, incendiary quotes into the hands of most local reporters, which they dutifully reprinted into relatively or fully unquestioning articles. Have these guys ever said anything nice about cyclists?

[Continue reading David Alpert's post from Greater Greater Washington here].

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Washington Post editors  | May 4, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, traffic, transportation  
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Comments

If I ever see "Lon Anderson" or "AAA Mid Atlantic" I can predict I will not agree. They protect law breakers and make nonsense at all. Just old rhetoric for the single driver in his modern tank pushing everything else of the road.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 4, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Lon Anderson and AAA are a lobbyists for more roads, more pollution, and more gas guzzling. Among other lobbying activities, AAA issued a press release critical of the Clean Air Act, stating that it would "threaten the personal mobility of millions of Americans and jeopardize needed funds for new highway construction and safety improvements." AAA spokespeople have criticized open-space measures and opposed U.S. EPA restrictions on smog, soot, and tailpipe emissions. The club spent years battling stricter vehicle-emissions standards in Maryland, whose air, because of emissions and pollution from states upwind, is among the nation's worst.

Lon isn't even his real name. How about that?

Posted by: HoosierFavoriteCommenter | May 5, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Bicyclists are welcome on the road, however, the vast majority of bicyclists who use surface streets (as oppoased to bike paths) are scofflaws that endanger themselves and others. I live in Old Town Alexandria and those riders taking the Mount Vernon Trail in to the city often use Royal St. instead of the bike path. That, in and of itself is no problem. Like I said, they are just as entiteled to use the road as a car. The problem is two fold: First, about 99% of bicyclists NEVER stop at a stop some. About half of those don't even slow down and expect cars to ALWAYS yield to them. Second, about 10% purposefully ride slowly down the middle of the road instead of riding on the side so cars can pass. This creates traffic jams and unsafe maneuvering by cars. The bottom line is this, most bicyclists I observe demand equal use of the road. . .until it comes to stop signs, traffic lights and yield. Then, somehow they're special. I ride myself and appreciate those who take cars off the rode but there is a certain sense of entitlement exhibited by some riders that gives the rest a bad reputation.

Posted by: Dliodoir | May 5, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I think Cycling should be taught in Public Schools. Public Schools have sports teams, football, basketball etc., but if cycling was taught, the students would learn the rules of the road.
Perhaps the price of land is at a premium, but some schools have a track for running, and some don't. Some tracks are half a mile, some are only a quarter mile. Often these oval tracks circle the football field. There was a great movie called "Breaking Away", where the protagonist wins his first bicycle race on the half mile track behind his High School. I think there should be more half mile tracks for running and bicycling, where people could train until they are capable of bicycling at thirty miles per hour.

Posted by: AviationMetalSmith | May 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Everyone:

I’m the Social Media Manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic. I’d like to respond to the press we’ve been receiving painting us as anti-bike or anti-cyclist as a result of a press release we sent out on the new bike lanes in Washington, DC. Though I don’t personally bike to work, I value the rights of others to bike for leisure or as a commuting option. Concerned that AAA Mid-Atlantic was not acting in the best interest of its Members, I emailed Ron Kosh, our VP of Public and Government Affairs, alerting him to the issue and asking "Was AAA Mid-Atlantic really anti-bike"? I wanted to share Ron’s response with all of you.

“AAA Mid-Atlantic does not oppose bike lanes in the nation’s capital. We are fully supportive of the fact that the District of Columbia has 44.7 miles of bike lanes and 56 miles of bike trails.

AAA also supports additional bike lanes including lanes on major city thoroughfares where practical. However, a meaningful and thoughtful planning process should follow when doing so. That process should include: 1) a published mobility analysis and full traffic impact study, 2) an environmental impact study, and 3) completion of a public comment period.

AAA Mid-Atlantic believes that “Share the Road” situations can safely and effectively be created between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians as is already evident on many streets in the city.

DDOT must, however, have the best interests in mind of all citizens: including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians when implementing any change that has such significant impact on mobility in the city.”

From my perspective, what AAA Mid-Atlantic did wrong was write a press release that caused our position to be misunderstood. Additionally, we allowed a few days to pass before we responded to clarify that we are definitely not anti-cyclist. In fact, we are sponsors of Ride Your Bike to Work Day and offer community programs on Bike Safety.

I hope this will allay any concerns some of you have had on this issue. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please comment back or email me at ksnedaker@aaamidatlantic.com. Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to tell us how you feel on this issue. It’s incredibly important to us receive this kind of feedback and we truly appreciate it!

Posted by: kimsnedaker | May 7, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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