Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

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Issue bike warning, not tickets

Does Iowa City police Officer Dan Roth really think it’s “more dangerous” when someone runs a red light on a bike than in a car? (“Bike citations climbing in IC,” Sept. 29) I don’t know what’s more baffling: that a police officer might believe such an outlandish notion, or that the same officer would be so committed to a crackdown on bicyclists that he would feel unembarrassed to repeat it to a newspaper reporter.

It’s surely reasonable to prevent cyclists from riding on downtown sidewalks, but wouldn’t issuing warnings, along with some basic information, be sufficient for that task? Are numerous traffic tickets at $80 a pop really necessary, or even likely to be more effective? Or are these rather the exploits of some individual cops (“Officers Ed McMartin and Dan Roth have issued the majority of bicycle violations”) with an overdeveloped sense of the letter of the law?

David Wittenberg
UI associate professor of English

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