Biking is privilege, not right

It never ceases to amaze me that people are so willing to justify breaking a law [News, "Critical mass," September 11] simply because they want to make a point. Of even more concern is the fact that a local governmental official not only participates in the unlawful pursuit, but also admits and supports it publicly.

There seems to be an opinion that riding bikes, driving cars, walking, running, etc. on public thoroughfares is a right (maybe somewhere documented in the Constitution, with enough twists of words). On the contrary, these are privileges, regulated by the States, because they are inherently risky activities.

Alex Davis and Gene Osborn may think that ignoring the law creates a "community gathering" or "lightens the spirits," but when the first person gets injured as a result of their disregard, they will likely be the first to disavow any responsibility for causing the incident.

As a runner, I too utilize the roads for training and recreation; however, I make every effort to share appropriately (left hand side approaching traffic and as far to the left as possible). I also recognize that there are situations that require adjustments for both personal safety and assistance to vehicular traffic (don't run on the inside of blind curves or approach blind hill crests on the left, both conditions where oncoming traffic cannot see you).

The reference to "Commuter Clot" occurring in San Francisco should be footnoted with the information that California state law has for over 20 years included a provision allowing multiple vehicles in the same lane. This results in motorcycles riding down the lane markings on freeways, contributing to the volume of motorcycle fatalities in the state. (Just remember this is the state that has over 150 people running for Governor, most qualified only by their ability to sign their name. Probably not the most sterling reference for either probity or common sense.)

The reference to China should also note that in sheer volume, the bicycles outnumber the cars on the road there by probably 100 to 1. This is not because they are ecologically inclined: Beijing and Shanghai are two of the most polluted cities in the world. The population cannot afford cars, so bicycles are their only answer.

The fact that there are other road users (pedestrians, drivers, bikers) who fail to follow the law does not justify making up your own set of rules. That is anarchy, and it never has resulted and never will result in a positive outcome.

Rollin Stanton