Letters to the Editors
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California needs to clarify laws for cyclist and driver safety

Certain issues with the article were questionable (Student killed in bike accident, Jan. 24):

Statistically most FIXED GEARS are equipped with brakes, the minority of cyclists do not equip their bikes with a front brake. TRACK BIKES (originally designed for racing on a velodrome) are not equipped for brakes because braking on an enclosed race course can be hazardous for racers.

The laws regarding braking devices on bicycles are muddled right now, and courts are currently defining exactly what merits “braking device.” Certain cities, like Portland, Ore. now have precedents that require lever-operated brakes which are being appealed. California has no such precedents yet, and it is important that the public understand exactly what is happening so they can make informed decisions.

The DMV law regarding fixed gears is listed at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21201.htm.

I, personally, support a law requiring hand-operated brakes on bicycles in city limits to reduce danger to cyclists, auto insurance liability, and especially pedestrians. It is, however, very important that the information be supplied to the public objectively, to avoid vilification of ALL cyclists and an adversarial relationship between people who ride bicycles and people who drive cars.

Thank you,
Spencer Morris

Focus the Nation neglects impact of vegetarianism

The Focus the Nation Climate Change event (President Corrigan speaks at climate change teach-in, Jan. 31) ignored discussion of the most personal commitment any urban dweller can make towards slowing the demise of our ecosystem—going vegetarian and, even better, vegan. Changing light bulbs, riding bikes, driving a Prius, converting cars to biofuel, having smaller families is great. But it’s not enough.

Every bite of meat (cow, pig, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.) contributes to eco-destruction and climate change. It’s a shame that SFSU does not have a vegan food vendor. It’s a shame that Ph.D’s and eco-students are not willing to address the issue of meat production, transportation, and consumption as a major contributor to deforestation, desertification, water pollution, soil erosion, oil use, decimation of the oceans, unspeakable cruelty to sentient beings and...global warming.

The information is out here, everywhere. Start with www.goveg.com, veganaction.org, veganoutreach.org, bayareaveg.org, peta.org or google “meat + environment.”

The New York Times ran an article on Jan. 27 called “Rethinking the Meat Guzzler.” If the New York Times is telling America to seriously reduce and/or stop eating animals, SFSU should heed its recommendation. Because humans are addicted to the taste of flesh, the meat-ecocide issue has been ignored in the progressive environmental community for years-decades.

The more we DENY that meat is killing the planet, the sicker the planet gets. Nonviolence and eco-sustainability begin with the fork. If one truly wants to be a non-violent planet-saver, go veg. It’s the least you can do.

Amy Lynn Caplan
Pacifica
Special Education Credential Student 2008 Geography and Environmental Studies
Graduate 1984

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