As a Portola Valley resident (Cherokee Way) and avid cyclist, I’d like to respond to Nancy Baglietto’s letter in the Dec 6 Country Almanac.
First, I’m sorry to hear to that Mrs Baglietto was injured by the thrown water bottle. The responsible party was irresponsible.
From Mrs Baglietto’s own description it is clear that her injury was an accident—-no different in essence than any other accident on our roads, many of them far more severe. Mrs Baglietto seems to think that because it was caused by a cyclist it is particularly galling--as if injuries caused by a cyclist were any different than those due to a motorist. Her painful experience pales in comparison to the all-too-frequent *deaths* of cyclists on local roads by motorists wielding deadly weapons (vehicles).
One should ask whether a single individual’s actions are sufficient justification for slandering a broad group of people. Mrs Baglietto chose to use the plural in describing cyclists as “marauders”, who are “hostile”, “inconsiderate” and “negligent”. Characterizing an entire group that way goes beyond speech suitable for public discourse, to a self-indulgent form of hate speech which should be offensive to any fair-minded person. Unlike our neighboring city, Portola Valley has largely been spared such blatant bigotry.
Mrs. Baglietto, you owe me (and the cycling community) an apology. I am not responsible for your injuries, and I am courteous, cautious and considerate of pedestrians, equestrians, motorists and fellow cyclists. My water bottle is for drinking, and I almost never ride in a group.
I have had a number of negative experiences with vehicles while cycling. I've been hit, I've been cut off where a closer call would have been fatal, and many other simply annoying things. Neighbors do it to me. Physicians do it to me. Soccer moms in Suburbans on cell phones do it to me. I refer to *specific* incidents. But I don't castigate physicians, neighbors, soccer moms or Suburban drivers as a group--individuals are responsible for their actions, not a group.