I recently came across a bicyclist lying still in the middle of Brighton Avenue, his bike on top of him. Several motorists rushed to his aid.

One person called 911, others attended to him, and I directed traffic. I have no idea what caused the crash but pray that he is recovering quickly.

Around the same time, I heard about the horrible crash in Biddeford where a driver crashed into a family on bicycles, killing the father and injuring his wife and son.

In June, the whole cycling community mourned the death of a young man hit by a truck while riding in the Trek Across Maine.

Cyclists have a natural tendency to want an explanation for crashes, to identify something that could have been done to prevent them. That way, if we act safely, we can avoid a similar fate.

The truth is that some bicycle crashes are out of our control — for example, encountering a drunken driver like the one who allegedly hit the Biddeford family.

Yet there are things we can do to protect ourselves.

• First: Wear a helmet. Always. I frequently see families biking together with kids wearing helmets but parents not doing so. The parents are missing the opportunity to be good role models as well as to protect their own lives.

• Second: Get your bike tuned regularly.

• Third: Ride defensively, looking out for inattentive drivers. I frequently wave at drivers like a long-lost friend to get their attention so they don’t turn in front of me or back into me.

• Fourth: Tell your elected officials that you want more bicycle paths, wide shoulders, regular street cleaning and other infrastructure improvements that make for safer cycling.

• Fifth: Join a bicycle advocacy group.

Shoshana Hoose

Portland

Dog’s thoughtless owner spoils Great Diamond trip

As a longtime summer visitor to Long Island, Maine, I have heard stories in the past few years about how uppity some of the folks at the private Great Diamond Island development can be.

After my last trip down the bay, I believe there may be some truth to these stories.

Imagine my surprise one recent Saturday morning, on board a Casco Bay Lines ferry, when a yellow Lab lifted his leg next to my fully packed cart and peed on my camera case. He and his master were waiting to get off at Diamond Cove when the incident occurred.

“Hey, your dog just peed on our cart,” my partner said.

The tall, elderly man (I won’t call him a gentleman) replied, “Guess he ruined your lunch,” a reference to my camera case, which does look like a lunch bag.

The man continued to make his way toward the gangway, smiling the whole time.

“No big deal, huh?” my partner asked.

“No big deal,” the man said, still smiling.

If this is what longtime cottage owners on Great Diamond are having to deal with, I can understand why they feel their little piece of heaven is being pooped upon (or, rather, peed upon).

Paula Gibbs

Long Island cottage owner

Woolwich resident

Once-healthy cities now hurting from over-taxation

Coming soon to a community near you: Detroit. Detroit is broke, and what citizens are left in the city are mostly nonproducers.

Detroit followed the same policies that liberal politicians follow everywhere: They tax producers into oblivion. Now, Detroit has too few producers to pay the taxes necessary to keep the city solvent.

We read article after article in this newspaper that states that government must raise taxes to keep services going and that government at every level can never get by with the same amount of money in consecutive years, much less over a period of decades.

Taxpayers are told, “The increases are minimal, only a $200 increase in your property taxes this year.” But add that up over five years, and it is a thousand dollars.

Where do retirees come up with those kind of increases? The answer is, they don’t. Many move to lower-tax states and communities.

Where do young families come up with those kind of increases? Many don’t. If they can, they move to lower-tax states and communities.

What Detroit and many other governments are doing is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Paul Anderson

Saco

Handling of plover killing has parallels with Benghazi

Your Aug. 2 story “Scarborough investigated for liability in plover killing” caught my attention. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between that incident and the Benghazi embassy attack.

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had been in charge of embassies, maybe there would have been an investigation. But maybe not — there were only humans killed, not piping plovers.

Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall is paraphrased as saying, “A prompt ‘pre-emptive’ response will demonstrate … that the town is taking the incident seriously … .” That philosophy would also have been appropriate for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton immediately after the embassy massacre.

My real opinion: The piping plover investigation is just another phony scandal!

Dale Hudson

South Freeport

Old-school limits on speech would have saved millions

Liam McNeill (“Letters to the editor: Gun debate should focus on limiting reloading speed,” Aug. 12) suggests that, since firearm technology at the time the Second Amendment was written was such that reloading after each shot took three minutes, we should use that as a benchmark, and somehow limit modern rapid-fire guns to that same rate of fire, or ban semiautomatic firearms entirely.

Seems reasonable — after all, the Framers of the Constitution could not have foreseen advances in technology — but we should also then apply similar 18th-century standards to the First Amendment, and require that all documents be hand-written or produced on a Gutenberg-type printing press, and delivered on horseback. 

That would limit the rapid, widespread dissemination of bad ideas, and would have saved millions of lives, even if applied to only one document — “The Communist Manifesto.”

Russell Frank

Gorham