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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Law should do better job protecting bicyclists from cars

Law should do better job protecting bicyclists from cars

*Law should do better job protecting bicyclists from cars *Too many rich, spoiled Americans forsake

Law should do better job protecting bicyclists from cars

Re June 27 article, “Driver will not be charged in death of Johnstown musician”: Being a cyclist for the last 40 years, I am always saddened to hear of the death of another cyclist while being passed by a vehicle out on the open road. These type of accidents never have to happen.

I suppose most motorist who have not ridden a road bike do not understand the potential peril of driving very close to a cyclist. There are several.

When a vehicle passes too close, the cyclist is pushed away from the passing vehicle, which may cause the cyclist to compensate by turning toward the vehicle. In the next instant the cyclist is pushed inward by air curling around the front fender; turning inward at the same time, the cyclist may strike the vehicle or lose control. This is worse for larger vehicles at faster passing speeds.

The second peril is to cause the cyclist to lose focus of the constant vigilance required to avoid stones, debris, cracks and holes in the shoulder of the road to remain in control.

Finally, being overtaken by a high-speed vehicle can frighten or surprise a cyclist, to cause a sudden adverse reaction and loss of control. The vehicle should pass with enough clearance to allow the cyclist not to be struck if he falls from his bike.

From my experience, I am uncomfortable if a vehicle passes within six feet, or about half a lane’s width. That means for the motorist, straddling the center line when passing.

Government at every level in states, cities and towns are encouraging the use of bicycles for exercise and transportation, but do not provide any meaningful protection for cyclists with motor vehicles.

Why can’t the state enact a six-foot clearance law at a minimum for motor vehicles passing bicycles and pedestrians? Police and emergency responders now have this “clearance” protection.

William Bechtel

Burnt Hills

Too many rich, spoiled Americans forsake God

I consider Daniel Weaver’s June 30 opinion piece, “The god of the shopping plaza: Capital Region turning away from religion to pursue material wealth,” to be one of the most perceptive I’ve ever read.

He puts his finger precisely on what is wrong not only with the Capital Region, but America as a whole.

Weaver cites a Barna Group poll that shows America rejecting God and religion, especially Christianity. The poll says the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area is “the most post-Christian and irreligious metro area in the country.”

Weaver uses the demolition of St. Patrick’s Church in Watervliet to build a shopping mall as a metaphor for the turning of people away from God to material consumption.

When the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11, a lot of horrified people rushed to church, and signs such as “God bless America” popped up. Once America counterattacked the jihadists and the nation calmed down, the crowds dwindled. Thanks for letting us ventilate, God, but now we’ll take care of ourselves, we said. Now we’ll go back to pursuing the pleasures that prosperity brings — no matter who gets hurt — knowing that our all-powerful and beneficent government will protect us.

God has blessed our country greatly, but we’ve become spoiled and ungrateful, coveting gifts that will end at the grave, but forgetting the giver. “God is love” (1 John 4:8), he asks only to be loved in return.

Eric Retzlaff

Rotterdam

Jay St. part of downtown Sch’dy renaissance

Re June 28 letter, “Liven up Schenectady with summer events”: In case you haven’t noticed, Jay Street in Downtown Schenectady is enjoying a growth spurt. In addition to the much-heralded opening of Johnny’s Restaurant at the corner of State and Jay, I am pleased to see three small businesses join us in the past six months, the most recent being Hermie’s Music Store, which relocated from State Street.

Upstate Corals and Crossroads Gifts & Wellness add to the wealth of interesting and unique shops that continue to evolve on the busy pedestrian walkway.

The next time you are headed for a show at Proctors or a bite to eat at one of the downtown dining venues, please take the time to walk and shop Jay Street. I’m certain you will be pleasantly surprised.

Patricia Greenwood

Schenectady

The writer is proprietor of Patricia’s Room.

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