Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Op-ed: What took Lance so long to speak out about violence against bicyclist?

I've never blogged about Lance Armstrong before. I usually leave that to my friend Jen over at Benepe's Bike Blog. I like him, sure and he's done wonders for cycling in the US but I've always been bothered by his lack of activity in bicycle advocacy.

However, as many of you already know, Lance's latest big foray into the news wasn't about his performance at the Criterium International but rather with his Twitter induced spat with ESPN Sports Radio shock jock, Tony Kornheiser. If you don't already know, you can read all about Lances justifiably angry Twitterings here, and then read about how the two made all buddy, buddy here. Without fail Jen made sure to cover the story too.

"So Lance! What took you so long to speak up?!?!"

This is far from the first time someone has made comments about perpetrating violence against bicyclists for doing nothing else but riding a bike on the road. The League of American Bicyclists even has a special page where they keep track of violent anti-bicyclist media rants since 2008. Appropriately enough it's called "Trash Talk" (they also us it to keep anti-bicycling politicians and columnists honest too). There you can read about Joe Soucheray, a St Paul Pioneer Press columnist who said "GET OFF THE STREET, YOU MORONS!" or about Detroit radio talk show hosts Deminski and Doyle (yeah the same ones that used to be on NJ101.5) who said, "How many of them (their listeners) have seen a bicyclist and would just LOVE to lob something at their heads? ... OH GOD, you just want to go Grand Theft Auto on them. … Just move over." There's even a link there about that infamous Facebook page that came up earlier this year.

Anyway, my point is that this BS has been going on for some time in the media and Lance has been painfully silent about this issue of unprovoked violence against bicyclists for far too long. I’m quite sure Lance has been a victim of these shenanigans while riding. Imagine where his career would have been if he had been shunted off the road by some careless if not purposely malicious driver?

If he loves cycling as much as I believe he does, I’d suggest he become more vocal in making American roads safer for all users. Just imagine if he took to overcoming anti-bicyclist road rage like he has done in his fight to cure cancer.

Hey Lance! I've even got a name for his new cause. You could call it...



Frank Plunkett said...

What does this mean?

Andy B from Jersey said...

Sorry Frank.

I accidentally hit "publish" right after writing the title and two or three words. I was hoping no one would see it.