And now, a word from our Wally
(1)Bicyclists need tags, licenses, and insurance.
(2) All bicyclists are scofflaws. They run red lights and stop signs all the time!
(3) Public roads are for the use of all, and it's clear that bicyclists have an equal right to that public space. But they shouldn't ride on busy roads when there are other, less traveled roads and parks nearby.
(4) Bicyclists don't pay taxes.
(5) They impede traffic.
(6) They should ride on the sidewalks.
(7) They should stay on the trails.
(8) Motor vehicles must slow down to avoid cyclists, risking a rear-end collision.
(9) Bicycle travel is dangerous. You may be right, but you'll be dead right.
(10) They just don't have any 'common sense.'
(11) They wear funny clothes that make them look gay.
Yeah, I know, it's eleven. Just like that guy in Spinal Tap said, it's one louder.
Since I wrote that, I've been reading various newspaper comment sections here in Oklahoma and out there in the rest of the world, and so far, no one's scored a perfect eleven. But there's one outstanding contender for the highest score on the Crank Index.
Drum roll, please.
The winner is...the petition to ban cyclists from rural roads in Iowa! I know, I know, you were probably wondering what happened to this unseemly piece of faux populism. Apparently the petition closed sometime in October after gathering only 911 'signatures'. Every post on the site counted as a signature, even if the poster was against it. Anonymous posts also counted as signatures. So even that 911 figure is grossly inflated.
As near as I can figure, the petition scored a nine on the Crank Index, although I'll be completely honest and say that I didn't read each and every post. My stomach wouldn't take it. Especially nauseating were those comments that began, "I'm a cyclist too, but..." Here's a clue - if you don't exercise your right to the road, you don't actually have a right to the road.
The bottom line, however, is that the petition was a miserable failure.
But what of the people who signed it? I wouldn't want to play on their paranoia, but now we have a list of people who've publicly stated they don't like bicyclists. How difficult would it be to match up that list against police reports or newspaper stories involving harassment or assaults against cyclists? Say there's a hit-and-run in Sleepytown. We simply look for any posts from an individual in that town or a nearby one. That's not showing guilt, of course. It's merely a starting point for an investigation, a chance to round up the usual suspects.
Just a thought.