The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Dear motorists, sorry about my cycling habits

As an avid cyclist, I like to feel I’m speaking on behalf of not only myself, but all cyclists as I write this column. I would sincerely like to apologize to the drivers of this great nation for my inconsiderate and wasteful ways as a cyclist/pedestrian. Cyclists and pedestrians alike have been wasting this nations gas tax funds for years, according to U.S Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters. For that I am brought to great remorse, and feel an open apology is the least I can do. In a recent interview on PBS, Ms. Peters pointed out the gross misspending of our nation’s gas tax funds. The misplacement of funds these funds led to a $188 billion infrastructure problem. “Well, there’s about probably some 10 percent to 20 percent of the current spending that is going to projects that really are not transportation, directly transportation-related. Some of that money is being spent on things, as I said earlier, like bike paths or trails,” Peters said. After hearing the awful truth itself, I had to pause and reflect on how I played a vital role in this problem. I had been wasting the governments—nay, the people’s—money on my silly little hobby, cycling. As Peters makes a point of, cycling is not actually transportation. All of the paths I use on my daily luxury rides to school and back are only for my personal enjoyment. While I take a leisurely ride across town to get coffee on my recreational bike path, there are thousands of drivers swerving around potholes and possibly driving over unsafe bridges. All of these years, I thought I was doing the right thing by riding my bicycle. I thought I was lowering carbon emissions and decreasing dependence on foreign oil, while getting some good exercise out of it all. I thought my bicycle was the most efficient form of transportation. It turns out I was playing the fool. My bicycle wasn’t an efficient form of transportation, but a toy. According to Mary Peters, only 60% of gas tax money actually goes to interstate and bridge construction, and bike paths are taking away from that. Further research on my part found that according to the League of American Bicyclists, bicycle and foot commutes make up for ten percent of the trips in this country. Furthermore, they only use up one percent of the gas tax funds, as opposed to Peters’ claim of 20% on non-transportation related projects (including museums and lighthouse repairs). Still, as a cyclist, I feel the shame of the drivers every time I throw my leg over my bike and pedal off to school, or anywhere else for that matter. I feel their shame because it is my irresponsible hobby that is costing our nation’s drivers their security on the road. As I peacefully pedal my way towards school on government provided bike paths, bridges are collapsing, potholes are getting bigger and drivers are put at risk. I just hope the drivers of our nation will accept this apology, and maybe one day, the cyclists of America will get over their selfish hobby.

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