To the person ticked off at bicyclists who “own the road”, they do. Look it up. And yes, it ticks me off that moron motorists don’t know the rules of the road they bought tags for (like turn signals and the three-foot rule).
One of the reasons I love being a writer and learning how to hone my skill is because it allows me to effectively compose, arrange and present my thoughts (such as the above, accepted by the Orlando Sentinel in their Ticked Off column for March 21stof this year). It was a rebuttal to some motorist who thought bikes should know the rules of the road and (one assumes) suicide into ditches when he, the Prince of Pontiacs, roars into view (rather than delay him). Of course he mentioned tags, as if tags grant full access to roads and cyclists and pedestrians are, one assumes, trespassers in his realm of asphalt.
So let’s break down my fun here – in the order of appearance:
Who “own the road” – Quotes are a wonderful way of pointing directly at words, cutting away the chafe of their masking dialog and exposing the nut of the argument. Here, he is pissed that bicyclists dare to think they have equal rights on the highway. By quoting his words, I magnify his silliness.
They do – Write tight. Always. Here, I’m countering his argument with a bold assertation. Bicycles do own the road, just like cars.
Look it up – With a flippant air, I tell him to go back and research, implying that he doesn’t have all the facts. And he didn’t. He’s arguing vehicular divine right in a roadway democracy.
And yes, it ticks me off– Okay, my turn now. Launch into the offensive.
Moron motorists– That was a low blow. I shouldn’t have called him a moron (instead, I should have just implied it all over the place). I think his air of righteous indignation got to me and the insult slipped out.
Don’t know the rules of the road they bought tags for – We hook this around and use his sense of sole ownership back into the spotlight. Really? Only people who buy tags may use the roads? That he has resentment for commuters not sporting some indication of taxation for… what? The damage my bike does to “his” roads, as opposed to his two ton FUV?
Like turn signals and the three-foot rule– Yes, what’s more dangerous, an unregistered bike zooming about or cars killing 30,000 people a year? I can’t tell you how many times cars have made unannounced course changes and cut far too close to me. To this point, I point out that while he’s mad because we simply exist, I’ve giving specific, concrete examples of the actions by the people of his tribe.
Writing tight is a very important skill in any endeavor of letters. Love notes, business proposals, suicide notes, anything you might possibly write to convey information to someone. Over-explanation kills your message and drives off the attention of your reader. Compose, arrange and present. Always.