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Bill the Bike Bully

August 27th, 2009 by admin · 39 Comments

Bill Lamb is always asking for feedback on his on-air editorials. So here’s some.

The other day Lamb was advocating that police start ticketing bicyclists, all because he happens to see some going the wrong way on one-way streets or blowing through stop signs or darting into traffic off sidewalks.

Now, this thinking goes against the general idea of making Louisville a bike-friendly city, but Lamb must have had a near-miss or something that kind of ticked him off about bikers. He claims only to want to do something about the bad bikers, that all of us law-abiding riders would have nothing to worry about. (Just kidding, I’m a dart-into-traffic champ).

Still, Lamb’s anti-biking rant doesn’t sit well with us. But what it really did was give viewers a reason to pop off with some vitriolic anti-bike hatred that shows they’re misinformed, unaware of the law and generally intolerant.

With this kind of mentality, it’s no wonder more people haven’t been killed by cars. The station aired six responses, all exhibiting a deep-seated hatred for bikes in traffic.

Here’s my favorite — “Roads were not designed for bicyclists, they should stay off.”

Then there’s — “Bikes should stay on the sidewalk where they belong (and where it’s illegal to ride)”

Another called wants to require special bike insurance for riders, and one was advocating a required license plate.

Lamb’s little rant elicited the kind of reaction that shows that city leaders — with all their talk about education about bike safety for motorists — have their work cut out for them with the big new safety campaign.

By the way, the Mayor’s Hike & Bike event, which is growing every year, is set for Labor Day morning. This time, we’re off from downtown to Iroquois Park.

Tags: Bikes · Fox 41 · Metro Government

39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chuck // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    I think that he’s gone off his rocker on this one. The bicyclist has every right to ride a bike on surface streets as long as they do so within the law. I do think that bicyclists need to use caution and not be darting out of places that are blind hills or blind areas for a driver. However, the idea that someone can’t ride a bike is nonsense or having some insane amount of regulation. I do believe that they need to start ticketing a lot of the bad passenger car drivers in Louisville.

    Just this week we had two people killed because an errant driver was driving 100 mph in a 45 zone on Fern Valley Road. The article was posted on Wave3 and Whas11. Interestingly, he was on a test driving and driving 101 mph as was recorded by the crash data recorder in the Dodge Challenger. Now he faces manslaughter charges.

    Obviously, he was 55 mph over the speed limit. Is Bill Lamb sure that errant drivers are not the problem here. Repeatedly, we have city officers driving cars at 20 mph over the speed limits on the interstates without lights or any sort of warning. These cars are a danger to residents.

    Bicyclists riding to work or elsewhere aren’t and either Louisville needs to buck up and make bike lanes or deal with people riding their bikes to work and or play.

  • 2 Chad // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Tired of reading and hearing about bicyclists.

  • 3 Chuck // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Then do everyone a favor and make sure not to read the articles. You do have a mouse and a switch for the computer to turn it off.

    Some of these local drivers are the problem. They seem to believe that they own the road and it matters not who gets killed or injured. I’ve had several near misses because of these idiots lately. I haven’t had one bicyclist causing the issues. Not to say there aren’t a few that are problems but a 15-25 mph bicyclist is less of an issue for me than the multitudes of careless drivers on the roads in Louisville and surrounding areas. As I told my mother in law, they need to have a drivers test every two years and a actual driving skills test.

  • 4 davidrc // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    You may not like it, but the truth is most roads in our area are not designed for cars and bikes to safely share. No amount of signs or bike lanes will change that.
    Here is an example to illustrate this. I was driving on the Clark Bridge in the outside lane which is a bike lane. A truck was in front of me and I couldn’t see around it. We were both under the speed limit. Suddenly, the truck jumps to the inside lane and looming in front of me was a bike. If I hadn’t been able to jump to the inside lane myself, things could have gone very wrong.

  • 5 barbarosa // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I have no problem with people commuting to work on a bike. They are so few they cause limited danger. I DO have a problem with people using narrow roads, designed for automobiles, for sport and recreation. Games are played on fields or in arenas. Take your sport and your Spiderman clothes to a safe area. No one plays Frisbee or tennis in the street. I’m sure there are plenty of stock cars out there that would love to “share the road”, but thankfully, they have to run on a track. I don’t want to participate in your sport, but every time I hit US 42, there you are forcing me into becoming an unwilling participant and causing more dangerous situations on an already dangerous road. And, if we speak out against you we’re accused of hate and told that we’d actually LIKE to run over you. That’s just not true of me or most of my friends and family who cringe every time we see you playing in the street.

  • 6 Corey // Aug 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I didn’t see the editorial, but it sounds like Bill is only asking police to crack down on those bikers who are already breaking the law and promoting a dangerous environment for not only themselves, but other bikers and vehicular traffic. I don’t see how you can distort that into being “intolerant” or unsupportive of a bike friendly city. It seems to me that if the police don’t enforce the laws on the books they are promoting a crime friendly and dangerous city.

    You are, however, on the money when you indicate many people are still unaware of the rights a bicyclist has on the road…

    Just trying to keep you balanced. Keep up the good work!

  • 7 Gina // Aug 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Maybe Cordish could build some new bike lanes!
    In all seriousness, as a bike commuter, car driver and just general enjoyer of the outdoors, the opinions aired on this POV piece to be not only completely ignorant but also exhibiting a ridiculous sense of entitlement. These opinions suppose a sort of ownership of the road in a hierarchical system of “mine is bigger”. A two-wheeled cyclist has the same right to the road as an automobile and should be treated as such. Is it really so hard to slow down and pay attention to the road and surroundings?

  • 8 Plsreplcurdivots // Aug 27, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I will agree with Lamb, that eventually (if bike traffic picks up) there will have to be, or should be some enforcement of the law. I’ve had a few times where I’ve almost killed someone with my car who is riding against traffic on the sidewalk. If I were to hit and kill them, expect to find the body and the bike ditched in the Ohio… Perhaps my car too. But I digress… Other than my few run-ins, bikes are good for the city and if it gets more cars off the road than I’m for it! Plus, Lamb is a douche. Faux News “Fair and Balanced.”

  • 9 Watcher of the Skies // Aug 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Pretty much every time Lamb airs one of his vanity editorials, he comes off as a shamefully misinformed, pompous blowhard who desperately needs a reality check, and his “Me hate bikes” temper tantrum was no exception. Why can’t Bill overcompensate for his shortcomings in a non-televised fashion?

  • 10 Jeff // Aug 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I fully agree with Bill Lamb that our streets and roads were not built for cyclists. Merely striping lanes on existing pavement forces widely disparate forms of traffic together, thereby creating significant risk and potential for mishap.

  • 11 syvyn11 // Aug 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Try walking on Bardstown Rd. Cyclists will bolt down the sidewalk dodging pedestrians right and left, then they weave in and out of the traffic.

    Lamb is right, go only after the rulebreakers to make it safer for all.

  • 12 David Harpe // Aug 27, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I don’t think any new laws are needed, but you could do a lot of good just by doing a few months of targeted enforcement in key areas – just like they do with cars in residential areas. I ride bikes, and I’d hate for things to get more complicated for bike riders.

    The entrances around Cherokee Park – particularly the one at Eastern Parkway – are really bad for cyclists blowing through stop signs.

    Put a couple of bicycle police at those intersections for a few weeks and you could do a lot of good. Hand out warnings and then citations.

    We don’t need more rules, we need some mutual cooperation. Unfortunately we don’t have strong enough leadership to bridge that gap.

  • 13 Crutnacker // Aug 28, 2009 at 7:06 am

    As a fat bastard who considers walking to my car good exercise, I agree to some extent with Bill Lamb. I used to commute via River Road and would have my patience tested on nice days by cyclists who thought rush hour was the best time to drive down River Road. I understand everyone has the right to the road, but when a guy on a bike has traffic stacked behind him a couple of dozen cars deep, you wind up creating a dangerous situation.

    THe problem in Kentucky is that our roads are poorly designed for auto traffic, much less cyclists sharing the road with bikes. Our rural roads seldom have any shoulder, many intersections are poorly designed, there are too few traffic lights, and blind spots are numerous.

  • 14 todd // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Doesn’t the DMV already state that bicyclists are subject to the same laws of traffic as cars? The more bikes on the road the better IMO, but follow the law or get a ticket. Sharing the road goes both ways.

  • 15 john // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I saw the editorial when it originally aired and it didn’t offend me. As one who enjoys riding bikes, I agree that those who exhibit the behaviors he mentioned — riding on sidewalks, ignoring traffic signals and signs, darting in and out of traffic, or riding the wrong way in traffic — are dangerous and make the rest of us look bad.

  • 16 Lepus // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:32 am

    So I guess wearing shorts and a t-shirt would just bring too much drag as you attempt to break the “land-speed” record of Seneca Park?

    And of course, your Spandex must match your fellow riders. That goes without saying.

  • 17 Roger // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

    There’s plenty of blame to go around. Dumb-ass cyclists that seem to think being “in the right” will protect them from being killed by the equally dumb-assed SUV driver fishing for their cell phone, and smoking a cigarette while driving.

  • 18 Bill Lamb // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Before people comment on the editorial, I would encourage them to actually see it first. Many are simply commenting on other people’s comments on the POV and that distorts everything. The ones above who did see it before commenting seem to understand what I was trying to convey.

    While I agree that some of the comments we aired from viewers responding to the editorial were off base (i.e. “Roads weren’t made for bicycles,” or “Bikes should stay on the sidewalk”), they were also reflective of the problems bike riders face from intolerant drivers.

    I don’t hate bikes and actually ride occasionally myself. And , no Rick, nobody on a bike has recently ticked me off. I simply believe drivers should respect the rights of bike riders, and bikers should respect the rules of the road for everyone’s safety.

    By the way, tt was unfortunate that we didn’t get more response from those who actually ride, but we did not receive any useable responses from pro-bikers or we would have been happy to include them. I was surprised that the viewer response to this editorial was less than normal.

  • 19 arward01 // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I don’t bike much because I’m a total clutz, but I was surprised at Lamb’s rant about the bikes and even astonished at the comments they aired from the community. When I lived in NYC, while Giuliani was Mayor, he had the same sort of mentality as Lamb. I just never could wrap my head around this negative thought process towards bicyclist being these rabid law breakers that need to be punished.

  • 20 todd // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:00 am

    He didn’t say that bicyclists as a whole were rabid lawbreakers. He said they should face the same consequences as other motorists do when laws are broken. Can anyone construct a reasonable argument against that?

  • 21 LoraMc // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I totally agree with Todd. Cyclists should follow the same road rules as drivers. While recently in a neighborhood off Eastern Pkwy I came up to a four way stop. A cyclist on my left came from nowhere as he totally blew thru the stop. I was already in a slow roll to go straight because I didnt see any other cars. The cyclist proceeded to stop in front of my car and point at the stop sign. So. He chastised ME for not stopping?? Traffic signs and lights apply to EVERYONE.

  • 22 Big Brain // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Bottom line, follow the rules already established.

  • 23 Carter Burger // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I’m with David and Bill on this one. I have had several close calls at the Eastern Parkway entrance to Cherokee Park along with Bardstown road and downtown with cyclist blowing stop signs and red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, and just creating a hazard for everyone.

    If the cyclists insist on sharing the roads with the motorists, then they need to be following the same rules as those driving do. I would think that a cyclist would be extra careful in following the rules since if they blow a stop sign and I hit them, they die.

    I think that may be part of the resentment motorists feel toward cyclists since it’s obvious they are not held to the same standard that we are.

  • 24 Michael // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I’ve had more problems with motorcycles than bicycles.

  • 25 rickredding // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Bill, let me apologize for using you to make a point that’s important to me. Which is mainly that there seems to be a mentality in town, evidenced by the viewer response to your editorial, that pits a significant part of our community’s mindset against bikers. I’m pulling for this education campaign by the city to work, and for everybody in cars and bikes to have a little patience and respect for each otehr.

  • 26 JohnnyB // Aug 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I saw the editorial as aired, and I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I thought he was spot on (for change). I’ve always wondered why bikers shouldn’t be held responsible for accidents they cause, whether by insurance or ticketing. (Parks & bike paths excluded, of course.) I have seen so many cyclists blow through stop signs, etc.–things that drivers would get in big trouble for. Most of the callers were a bit off the mark (but then they usually are–they’re crazy, that’s why they’re calling in!), but some made very valid points–I liked the one who said that if they can afford the fancy bikes, silly outfits and expensive shoes, they should be able to afford license plates.

  • 27 CadenceFilm // Aug 28, 2009 at 11:58 am

    barbarosa : yeah, biking can be a sport. check out dirt bike racing, the tour de france, etc. however, using your bike to commute to work or to kroger for milk? not so much a sport.

    davidrc : you’re positive it’s the roads that aren’t designed for bikes and cars to interact safely, or is it some drivers or some bikers that aren’t designed to interact with each other well? because i guarantee you the clark bridge is an easy place to live in peaceful coexistence with a bicyclist. if you’re in the outside lane behind a truck, and that truck moves so suddenly that a bike is LOOMING in front of you, then my suggestion would be to stop tailgating other vehicles.

    roads may have been BUILT with cars in mind, but LAWS allow equal rights for both modes of traffic. fifteen cars behind a bicyclist on river road does not a “dangerous situation” make. an inconvenience, yes. “dangerous situation”, no.

  • 28 Anthony // Aug 28, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Ignorant cyclists who break traffic laws are nowhere near as dangerous to others as ignorant drivers at the controls of thousands of pounds of steel. I’d rather the police focus on cars, trucks and SUV’s.

    Hey Bill, spend a little more time railing against driving while texting, cell phoning, putting on makeup, eating, reading, and any other activity that turns your vehicle into a massive deadly weapon. Or, how about this: My kids elementary school prinicipal had to send a note out to parents reminding them NOT to text in their moving vehicles while in the school carpool procession. Rail against that!

  • 29 Pretty Boy // Aug 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Seriously, does Bill look like a cyclist? He couldn’t cycle ten miles without falling off the cycle. And if he had to contend with the road rage from drivers, he would change his tune. Bill, your editorials are so self-serving and pompous, kind of like you. Please, don’t give cycling a bad name by taking up the sport. Just stay behind your desk where you are safe from the drivers. Idiot. You and Rick Pitino need to start scheudling your press conferences together and tell everyone else how to live their lives.

  • 30 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Aug 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Deal: Let’s ticket *both* drivers and cyclists for every potentially hazardous error. Or neither.

    That said, I would simply council more patience amongst drivers (no, you don’t have to arrive at your destination 15 seconds faster) and more awareness of traffic laws amongst both cyclists and drivers.

  • 31 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Aug 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Another (regular) thought: Why should we care what a television station manager thinks anyway? Lamb gets a bully pulpit, even though this level of understanding tends to be average or worse on most subjects.

  • 32 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Aug 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    correction: this -> his

  • 33 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Aug 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    correction: council -> counsel (whoops!)

  • 34 ValleyGirl // Aug 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Just enforce the law, against EVERYONE. A bicyclist isn’t going to “hurt” me in my car, unless, in trying to avoid hitting one that darts out in front of me, I end up in a head-on with ANOTHER car.

    I see a lot of cyclists on my street, which is one of the few in town that is good for cyclists, and most are following the law. It’s the guys that grab the kid’s bike to run down to get some beer, and come back balancing a 12 pack on the handlebars that are really a problem!

  • 35 Dan B. // Aug 28, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    The Highlands must be the area where the bad cyclists are. I was on Norris walking on the sidewalk when a cyclist came barrelling out of nowhere and cussing me for walking on the sidewalk and in the way of him and his bike! This guy should have been ticketed, bike impounded, and given a trike to ride!

  • 36 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Aug 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Dan B., your story reminds of me people in my subdivision who walk in the streets instead of on the ample sidewalks we have, on both sides of the street! And sometimes the people walking in the street are slow to acknowledge that a car is coming and that, umm, they need to get out of the freaking way. What’s with that?

  • 37 Damien // Aug 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Not as concerned with Bill’s piece so much as Jackie Green’s piece in last week’s LEO. Just based on demographics, Jackie’s piece is going to reach more cyclists, and with his general attitude of bikes-always-right and misquoting of law will (mis)arm many cyclists into making horrible decisions in the future. Sure, drivers are jerks, but so are many riders. Jackie’s essay is dangerous, and I fear will have blood on it before long. It’s interesting that the most vocal in the cycle contingent places not one iota of responsibility on riders, which automatically makes for a bad debate or conversation. Yes, many drivers are also deluded and angry, but there is acceptance that their 1-2 ton machine and their attention level bears a good deal of responsibility.
    Both sides really need to take a step back to gain perspective, but debates framed like a seventeen year old’s myspace blog won’t help anyone…

  • 38 JTT // Aug 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I just jumped over and read Green’s piece, I can’t call it at story. His reading of the law is absolutely flat out wrong – no way around it – Damien is right on. Comments such as his will get someone killed.

  • 39 JTT // Aug 30, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Just this week, I was driving west on Main Street, in the lane closest to the arena wall. Very tight right there. I was startled to have a cyclist right up along the right side of my car, so close that he laid a hand on my car to steady himself, and then continue along the three cars in front of me so he could make a right turn on 3rd Street. That’s ILLEGAL folks. That’s is the sort of behavior that angers drivers.

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