Tragedy sparks a new debate

Letters to the Boston editor, June 15, 2007

I just read the story about Kelly’s death and my heart goes out to everyone who cared for her. I am constantly amazed at how unaware and/or aggressive other drivers are when they pass through the Cambridge Street intersection. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised to hear that someone was finally hurt as a result.

I am glad that Mike Miliard has made it a point to cover this story, which has given us increased incentive to be alert and aware whenever we are on the road, and has provided Kelly’s friends with an opportunity to share her personality and their memories of her.

Jillian Hoyt

Dear Robert A. Sides of Brookline,

There are a lot of things I want to say in regard to your letter to the editor, but I’ll restrict it to one.

The death of anyone in a situation like this is tragic — another young life that’s never coming back. It’s an issue that deserves respect and tact. You displayed neither.

You demanded to know whether or not the accident was Kelly’s “fault.” You then launched into a rant against the actions of a stereotypical, irresponsible cyclist. You attributed — by proxy, if not word — these actions to a deceased girl that you never knew. You then finished your letter by insinuating that it’s okay to intentionally assault (or “door”) cyclists who don’t follow the rules. I believe you said it could become a “fine art.”

Your words were condemning of someone you never knew, about an accident you don’t know the specifics of. Your letter was hurtful, immature, and completely inappropriate. This was neither the time nor place for your argument. As a cyclist, I’m angry. As someone who knew Kelly, I’m disgusted. As a person of plain decency, I’m just embarrassed for you.

Rob Cannata

As a helmet-wearing, law-abiding cyclist, I can understand some of the points raised in Robert Sides’s letter. I cannot, however, understand the means by which he chose to air his frustrations with the cycling community. To air his frustrations in response to a piece written in memoriam shows a complete lack of tact and empathy on the part of the writer. The author’s use of Kelly Wallace’s death to launch into his tirade against cyclists was simply in poor taste.

There are indeed two sides to every story, but in his “us vs. them” attitude, he fails to realize that many of us are on both sides. As a pedestrian, I’ve been hit by people riding aimlessly on the sidewalk. I’ve also, as a cyclist, been threatened by motorists who don’t feel the need to “share” the road with me.

Sides passes sweeping judgments on all cyclists and advocates for the “fine art of dooring,” but I wonder why he couldn’t take a more productive route with his frustrations. If he takes such issue with cyclists and their behavior, then why not work proactively to educate the city’s residents and cyclists on proper bike safety and etiquette? (Jaffney Roode and Zack Smith, mentioned in Miliard’s piece, are doing just that.)

It’s not just us cyclists who need to learn to use what’s “inside our helmets” — all of us who use the road need to come to a better understanding of how to share it.

Allison Thresher

Fake what your Mama gave you
Regarding “The Mormonator” (News and Features, May 25), most residents of Massachusetts are aware that the phenomenon known as Mitt Romney is a fictional character — an odd creature who is to American politics what Britney Spears is to contemporary, creative music. Less is best with this fellow.

Jeffery Mcnary

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