In response to the letter, “Has to be a better way to keep roads safe for bikes,” on Aug. 6, I completely agree with the author’s desire for greater enforcement. However, I suggest that perhaps that enforcement should be targeted equally (if not more) toward the bicyclists themselves.

Every day I see bicyclists who ride against traffic, ignore one-way streets, cut off drivers and flagrantly disregard traffic signals. I frequently see bicyclists making maneuvers that would, if made while driving an automobile, have the police coming after them sirens a-blazing.

While the cry is often made to “share the road,” a certain “have your cake and eat it too” mentality appears to pervade the bicycling world. This cake-eating attitude allows for individuals to demand rights and respect in an automotive traffic situation, yet to flit around as they please, seemingly indifferent to the rules of the road.

I realize that this is a bit of a generalization. I’d like to assume there are bicyclists who correctly and consistently obey traffic laws.

But by the same token, for every driver who carelessly puts a bicyclist at risk, there are many more drivers scratching their heads as yet another bicyclist ignores a red light in front of them and blithely sails past as a driver is attempting to drive through or make a turn on a green light.

I want the roads to be safe as much as the original letter writer. I would be horrified if my negligence while driving ever caused a bicyclist harm.

But bicyclists need to take responsibility for themselves and their actions and realize that fellow bicyclists are often just as much a part of the problem as drivers are. They simply cannot have it both ways.

Vanessa Leigh

Freeport

Recently I was in a bike accident due to a driver who swerved too close to the group I was biking with.

Each of us is an experienced biker. I have participated in sprint-tri events, and last year I completed the Tri for a Cure. Something needs to be done with the lack of respect drivers give to people trying to bike. The accident took place in Scarborough near Pine Point. Everyone knows there is no bike lane there; however, bikers have the same rights as do drivers.

We were not biking side by side, so there is no excuse for the driver who almost hit my biking group. Drivers get very frustrated and impatient with road bikers. If this driver had taken a second and given us more room, the accident would have never taken place.

The result of my accident is fractured C5 and C6 vertebrae, a left arm with limited mobility, time out of work and a lifetime of images of being picked up off the pavement. I am fortunate my spinal cord was not wounded; however, I am in a neck brace. I would like to thank the driver that almost hit us, and hope that he or she arrived to their destination on time, since you never stopped to ask if I needed help.

Also to everyone else out there, share the roads with the bikers. We ride bikes because we enjoy it. I wish Maine would put in bike lanes everywhere, but I don’t foresee that in the immediate future. In the meantime, for both bikers and drivers, be aware of your surroundings. In one split second it can change forever.

Alison M. Champagne

Gorham

I love to see photos of families bicycling together, as shown in your Aug. 8 paper. But I wish all adults would wear bicycle helmets, for their own safety and to serve as good role models for the children of our community.

In bicycle crashes, helmets provide a last line of defense. Studies show that helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent. More than 90 percent of those who die in bicycle crashes were not wearing helmets, according to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Maine law requires children under 16 years old to wear helmets while bicycling. We adults can encourage them to do so by wearing a helmet every time we take a ride.

Nancy Grant

executive director, Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Portland

Borders may go, but let’s find a way to keep the store 

I’ve been a fan of Border’s bookstore for many years. It’s been the place in the Portland area I could go and get a cup of coffee and grab a book. On occasion I’d read an entire book just sitting there — and then buy it anyway, out of guilt. Now these doors are closing for good.

And I, for one, say no! Maybe Borders is going away and there’s nothing we can do to stop that from happening, but perhaps this store doesn’t have to. If all of us loyal customers and employees who love this diverse bookstore are ready to lead the charge, maybe we can make a difference, band together and save this one store. Maybe it won’t be Seattle’s Best in the cafe anymore, but would that matter?

If another bookstore operator can’t be found, maybe we (customers and employees) could buy out the store from liquidators and turn it into something local and profitable, all the while, keeping the space and the selection that we have loved all these years.

Maybe this is a dream. I’m no business person and I haven’t the faintest clue as to how to begin this process if that turns out to be what needs to happen, but I would be right on board, front and center in the fight to keep this store alive and these employees employed.

Who’s with me?

Micah Brown

[email protected]

Mechanic Falls

Buy American: Earn right to feel smarter than average

I don’t understand, the average American will hold a piece of lawn furniture that has just broken, reading the tag, made in China.

Or a pair of shoes he bought three months ago or a toy bought yesterday, all with the same tag.

If under 35 years old, the average American has no idea what a quality product is. The point is he will go out and buy another piece of junk, and wait in line to do it.

Remember when a pair of shoes could last a whole year, or a vacuum cleaner, stove, toaster or living room chair might last 20?

I know that in some cases it’s next to impossible to buy U.S.-made products, but in most cases it’s worth the effort. It feels good being smarter than the average American.

Greg Locke

Portland