Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cop vs. cyclist in Cambridge

When a cop and cyclist tussle, I'm siding with the cop.
Seems there was a bit of a bicycle brouhaha in Central Square, Cambridge, last Friday night, between policeman Raymond Pina and cyclist Yonatan Kurland, who was participating in an irresponsible event called Critical Mass -- a form of not-so-civil cyclist disobedience. The two became involved in an altercation near a CVS on Massachusetts Avenue. Kurland wound up on the ground. Let's just say their accounts differ. From

Pina stated in his report that Kurland was traveling swiftly, weaving through other cyclists on the street, and would have clipped him if he hadn’t grabbed the handle bars on Kurland’s bike. The officer said the momentum dragged him.

Kurland’s account differs drastically from Pina’s. Kurland said he was traveling slowly in the bicycle lane, about 30 feet from the intersection, when Pina approached, grabbed the front of his bike, and pushed him to the ground, leaving Kurland with minor road rash.

I feel bad that Kurland was hurt. Yet I also feel that bicyclists are bringing bad karma upon themselves through events like Critical Mass -- an event designed to show how oh-so-superior they are to motorists.

Created in San Francisco, Critical Mass has spread to other metropolitan areas like greater Boston and foists disobedient cyclists upon streets already clogged with cars. The event seems designed for cyclists to waggle their fingers at the rules of the road with which everyone else has to comply.

"The pace of the ride was leisurely, about 5 miles per hour, and unencumbered because they didn’t wait for red lights," Globe writer Brian Ballou recounts. Later, Ballou notes that "Ride participants acknowledge that they use a tactic known as 'corking' to seal intersections from traffic, allowing cyclists to pass." One wonders whether he would be so cavalier about this if it were SUVs or Scott Brown-style pickup trucks doing the same thing.
A "me-first" attitude is ugly whether it's displayed by a cyclist or motorist. But lately the cyclists are cornering the market. If they hold up traffic, it makes it harder for ambulances, fire trucks or police vehicles to get through. If they are so concerned about environmental standards, they should care more about all that exhaust being released by motorists waiting for them to pass. And if they're participating in a form of social protest demanding more rights for cyclists in Cambridge ... a city that closes off Memorial Drive to motorists and has plenty of bike paths ... well, that just proves the adage, "Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile."
I hope Kurland is OK ... but I also hope cyclists stop the selfishness and start using the bike paths more often.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What does driving a gas guzzling truck (and touting this fact like a badge of honor during elections) exemplify but a "me first" attitude? What is it about truck aggression that is more permissible?