Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

T.J. Goodwin

Shauna (Farnell), thank you so much for writing the article about Pam Zaske’s attack by David Matthews. Some of the words that I’ve used to express my thoughts in private are not printable in your newspaper, nor are they appropriate for this. I’m sure that you get my drift.I despise the behavior and the people who behave like Matthews did. From the description of his slowing down and driving right alongside Pam, it is clear as can be to me that his intent was nothing other than to intimidate and harass her – indeed, outrageous, inexcusable and totally unnecessary behavior! And by the way, what a “wonderful” example he set for his two sons in the car. Through his despicable behavior, he taught his sons something that no children should be taught. Parents teach and lead by example. Doesn’t Matthews realize that? I don’t give a … if he had just made the decision to take his father off life support. That’s a sorry excuse for taking out your frustration, anger and pain on an innocent bicyclist, and potentially causing her very serious injury or even death.Personally, if I’d been asked by Judge Allen for input about jail time, I’m afraid that I would have asked the judge to throw the book at him, giving him the most severe penalty possible. Somehow, the word has GOT TO GET OUT to ALL MOTORISTS in Colorado and elsewhere that law enforcement and judges will not tolerate hostility of any kind toward bicyclists. And the more severe the penalty and punishment for perpetrators of violence towards bicyclists, the better. If stiff fines and jail time are the only things that will curb this bad behavior, then I say to motorists: Clean up your act or pay the consequences. As Judge Allen said to Matthews, bicyclists have no chance of winning in an encounter with a motorist using their vehicle to intimidate and/or harm a bicyclist. Duh, it’s not rocket science to realize that you’ve got a couple thousand pounds of metal versus 20 or so pounds. Duh, who’s going to get hurt? And from now on, it should be, DUH, who is going to go to jail and pay a hefty fine?Where in heaven’s name did so many Colorado motorists get the idea that they are entitled to harass, intimidate, run off the road, and even shoot bicyclists? The amount of arrogance and ignorance on the part of motorists has reached an absolutely, undeniably UNACCEPTABLE level. I don’t care how many stop signs or traffic lights that bicyclists go through without stopping. That is simply not an excuse to go beserk, and attack a bicyclist with one’s vehicle. Yes, it is a hazard for bicyclists to run stop signs and lights. Yes, some motorists are scared to death when a few bicyclists do some crazy things. That is still not an excuse for the motorist to go after the bicyclist. When your child scares you to death or your boss is grossly inconsiderate/unfair, do you go after them with a piece of furniture? Usually not!I have my own horror stories about bike trips that I’ve been on. I even had a “lady” who recently told me, “You’re not a car” when I asked her if she’d mind sharing the road with bicyclists. She had passed me on a stretch of a residential street that had double yellow stripes (yes, a NO PASSING ZONE). She was in a big fat hurry to get to either a stop sign or a traffic light. Now, isn’t that mature and responsible driving at its best!Somehow, I think that it’s going to take bicyclists to educate motorists, as opposed to the other way around, before the violence stops. I’ve not owned a car for over three years, so I ride an awful lot. I observe most bicyclists to be safe, cautious and considerate when riding anywhere, whether it be in the city or in the mountains. But again, regardless of any situation, it is never fair, sensible or moral for a motorist to use their vehicle to harass and/or intimidate a bicyclist. Never, never, never! If you want to pick a fight or feel powerful, then get out of your vehicle and cool off, because you certainly don’t belong behind the wheel of a vehicle – for your own safety and that of others.T.J. Goodwin

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