[UPDATE: Sharon McNary apologized to Enci in the comments over at IlluminateLA]
There’s good publicity and there’s bad publicity. For cycling in LA, it used to be that any publicity was good publicity, because we were so desperate for attention. I think however, we’ve reached a point where we would benefit from a little less bad journalism, like the LA Times article that reported that the City Council will be creating a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.
Or Sharon McNary from KPCC reporting on the Bicycle Advisory Committee. I’ve heard Sharon before, and she’s not half bad, but after what she told Enci Box, I’m ready to say “pass.” Enci responded to a KPCC survey about bicycle hit and runs. Sharon’s response:
I’m glad you weren’t hurt any worse. Thanks for the photo. I’m looking at your outfit in terms of safety. No helmet, and wearing a dress that could be a distraction to a passing driver. I’m no fashion critic and I’m assuming it’s not your usual biking gear, but seriously, what’s the responsibility of a cyclist to wear protective clothing? [emphasis added]
Umm WTF? Is this 1980, 1880, or 1776, and are we going back to the future?
Our sister city, New York City, had it’s brush with absurdity when Hasids in Brooklyn insisted on removal of a bike lane because the sexy young cycling sirens of New York were too sexy for their orthodox sensibilities. LA and NYC always try to out do each other, and perhaps we’ve found our champion for this battle. Sharon McNary can make the case that distracted driving is caused by sexy Hungarian bikers, not cell phone use. A simple revocation of visas ought to solve Southern California’s distracted driving difficulties for decades, until we’re able to smuggle enough eastern European talent in to successfully distract drivers again.
This really takes me back, I tell ya, because in the bad old days, when I was super hot with no wrinkles, no body fat, and a handsome tan, I too distracted drivers. I remember one time some friends and I were watching a world cup game at my house. After the game we decided to bike across town to a pool party. Well, it was hot as hell, so me, Ryan, Oscar, and Colin took off our shirts and had a sexy shirtless ride across town to pool paradise east of LACMA.
I’ll tell you what, it was like if James Cameron made a Nascar film on Wilshire Boulevard. Over-privileged Beverly Hills heiresses and underwhelmed West Hollywood fashionistas were crashing their cars into poles, Lamborghini showrooms, Wahoo’s Tacos, and the LACMA sculpture garden. I mean, with four hunky men riding shirtless they just couldn’t keep an eye on the road.
I really regret it. As Sharon implied, it’s the cyclists’ obligation to wear protective clothing. If I had crashed, I could have shorn off a nipple, and the cost of repair would have come out of my UCLA healthcare plan, and the taxpayer’s pocket. Plus, we bore full responsibility for the catastrophe behind us, as the ones irresponsibly flaunting our manly man-ness. I felt so ashamed, I nearly voted for Bush, but then I found out he didn’t want to bomb Canada, and I just can’t support that kind of weak foreign policy.
Anyway, I guess it doesn’t make sense to point out that in the Netherlands & Denmark, cycling fatalities per mile are 6 times lower, and helmet use is lower than 5%. I will say that Copenhagen has a real problem with sexy people on bikes, and if they really want cycling to be safe, they’ll enforce a dress code:
I think, if someone’s baseline reaction to a hit and run is to react to their clothing, that disqualifies them from reporting objectively on any cycling related matter. Sorry Sharon, but I think I’d rather have another reporter.