To President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama,
Sir, I have been unemployed since 04/2002 after brain damage I suffered as a result of an assault with a motor vehicle left me unable to communicate verbally well enough to do my job as a computer help desk technician. As you can see my abilities to communicate when not speaking were largely unhampered, but the damage done to my verbal skills has been progressive and many times I have been laughed at when applying for employment in technical fields or even as a parking lot attendant. Also as a result of the motor vehicle wreck I have nerve and muscle damage that prevents me from prolonged standing. This also limits my job opportunities, but not a much as the damage to my verbal communication skills.
If you read my blogs, both this one and my earlier blog on MySpace you can see I am a progressive on the transportation front. Despite the large number of cyclists killed by motor vehicles every year I am not one of those car-haters you find on many sites dedicated to bicycle safety. I’m not a helmet Nazi, but I do believe in wearing a helmet every time you ride simply because they are the only PPE we have. I also do not believe that government has any business telling cyclists what PPE to use unless they are willing to provide benefits to wearers of that PPE. In short unless and until we have some kind of medical coverage for cyclists hit by motor vehicles, government has no business in my business as a cyclist.
I have been studying infrastructure intensely for about a year and a half now, and as a user and daily cyclist since 2000, and I can say that the infrastructure we have now, with a few exceptions, is adequate. What we need is an education program on how to use it. Too many drivers seem to think that they, individually and as a class, own the entire roads system, that car taxes paid for all of it and if you aren’t driving a car you have no business using any of the roads system. This is obviously a fallacy as aside from Interstate highways and some state highways most streets and roads are paid for out of the general fund which all contribute to, even those who are too poor to pay the federal income tax. After all everybody buys things, and aside from food and medicine most sales are taxed, and everybody has to live somewhere and unless you are camping under a bridge or something like that everyone pays property tax either directly or as a part of their rent. So everybody pays for the roads which people in cars think are theirs alone.
What I propose is an education program that number one makes people understand that cars do not pay for the roads or even upkeep on the roads, and number two that gives the information people need on how to share the roads with other modes of transportation, like bicycles, pedestrians, and low speed electric vehicles. What’s in it for me, beside having a better class of road user to share the roads with? I want to be part of that team that comes up with the education program. I want to be part of the team that tells people that bicycles and pedestrians have as equal a right to the roads as motor vehicles. I want to help come up with print ads and TV spots, radio and Internet campaigns, and sneaky posters that get in under the radar until they take over your mind… I want to help make roads safe for everybody, not just people in steel cages.
Have your people get in touch with me, either through this blog or through my MySpace page. I work cheap, I’m enthusiastic, and I have been out of work for almost the entire Bush administration.