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Better Biking — in Europe

It’s scary to hear about the behavior of some motorists when passing a bicycle [“When It Comes to Bike Safety, Vermont Falls Down — Hard,” June 16]. Vermont sends out cycling maps to tourists, advertising its great cycling routes, yet when you actually go on a tour, you encounter dangerous roads where there is not much room for passing and motorists cut you off when turning. Being from Europe and having used a bicycle for main transportation there, I have to say that I’m sad I cannot use my bike to do errands. But I just won’t feel safe without bike lanes — not a small strip painted on the road! I mean a separate bike path off the road! Impossible? I hope not.

Heike Meyer

Fairfax

See Them Live

It’s clear by Dan Bolles’ review of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals new, self-titled release [“Album Review: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals,” June 2] that he hasn’t seen the band live. If he saw the band live, he would know they have totally come into their own. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals tore New York City’s Webster Hall down on June 12. The songs from the new CD are textured and dynamic live. You can see the band members are enjoying the stage together, and they gave the show 100 percent of their energy. Scott [Tournet] and Benny [Yurco] stole the show with their melodic, kinetic fretwork. Catherine [Popper] wove a textured matrix around all the players, locking into Matt [Burr]’s drums or complementing the guitars through the night. I thought Matt’s drums were going to jump up and dance a few times during the show. And then there’s Grace, who has the best female voice in rock since Grace Slick, Janis Joplin and Chrissie Hynde. Plus, she can write a range of songs, soulful and hard driving, as well as edgy yet tender ballads. Anyone who judges this band from a CD is missing all the fun. Every single member is a sight to behold, and a musical force to be reckoned with, not just the beautiful and talented Grace Potter.

Angela Christofides

New York, N.Y.

Helmets, Please!

What’s wrong with this picture [“Parental Guidance,” June 9]? Brain injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes; it is the leading cause of disability among those who survive. Where do kids learn to use helmets? Parents are the role models, yet in this picture the parents are not wearing helmets, and Flynn Freeman’s helmet is not securely fastened. A bicycle helmet is a necessity, not an accessory. Adults must model the behavior they want to see. The Freemans are doing some great stuff, but they are not teaching by example and Seven Days is not doing its readership any favors by printing a photo … showing parents who are not demonstrating safe behavior. Please consider doing an article on bicycle safety.

Barbara Winters

Huntington

Winters is the outreach and education coordinator for the Brain Injury Association of Vermont.

Reckless on the Road

I love riding my bicycle around town and getting to places that I need to go with an eye on the environment, my health and my pocket [“When It Comes to Bike Safety, Vermont Falls Down — Hard,” June 16]. However, when I get out on my bike, I know I am signing myself up for an extra vigilant ride. I am all for some progress being made toward bicycle safety in regard to motorists. However, I’m ruffled about the lack of attention on the act of bicycling safely. I get ticked off when I am in my car, and I see a cyclist in the road with the vehicles and yet behaving not at all like a vehicle — no signal, not stopping with the traffic, weaving and cutting through. I have witnessed and nearly been a part of a few near collisions that were caused by reckless cycling. It annoys me to no end! Please, advocate for some new laws that require cyclists to respect vehicles, as well!

Willow Anderson

Burlington

Give Me Libertarianism

What Ms. Levine forgot to point out [Poli Psy: “Tea and Sisterhood,” May 26] is that the “National Socialist Party” in German translates to “Nazi.” Socialists by definition are progressives who wish to infinitely grow the power and influence of government, enforcing “human rights” at the expense of “individual rights.” Ms. Levine’s obvious dislike of Ms. Palin as a political shiksa perhaps blinds her to the fact that Ms. Palin is a libertarian at heart and has governed as one, not as the socially conservative progressive bogeyman she is portrayed as. Libertarians cannot be Nazis, tyrants or dictators, as they deny that they have the constitutional power in the first place to act as one. History proves it was, in fact, the progressive Democrats Woodrow Wilson and FDR who walked the line of dictatorship, not the libertarian-leaning Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan.

It was also purported in another letter to the editor that the populace has “no control” over private corporations, which is anathema to true libertarian free-market theory. In true capitalism, the buyers have total control over corporations. If they do wrong, people stop buying and they go out of business. Only in the progressive infrastructure of crony capitalism — where entrenched, favored labor unions, campaign contributors and trendy, politically correct do-gooders are adorned in the “too big to fail” safety suit and receive endless bailouts from their political nannies — do the consumers have no control over politically favored corporations. History and facts show the progressives’ biggest fears face them only in the mirror.

Sean Nunnink

South Burlington

Safer Cycling

In regards to bike safety and sharing the road, we are, indeed, a ways off [“When It Comes to Bike Safety, Vermont Falls Down — Hard,” June 16]. I believe the underreported, dirty little secret of this issue is the unsafe bicycling in town. Living on the corner of Pearl and North Winooski, every day I see dangerous and ignorant bicycling. From speeding up and down sidewalks, where someone could be hurrying out of a driveway or business, to blown red lights and stop signs. I have been hit and almost hit several times crossing the street by bicyclists blasting up the wrong way on a one-way. I absolutely prefer riding my bike around Burlington to driving my car. I certainly believe that drivers must have more patience and use more caution. However, in order for this to work, more bicyclists need to start biking the right way, the safe way, and the lawful way so we can truly share the road.

Matt Perry

Burlington

Smoke-Free for All

All smokers — and nonsmokers — should read “Ifs, Ands and Butts,” [June 2]. As one who has campaigned, since 1986, to ban smoking indoors, to stop cigarette marketing to youth, to impose higher cigarette taxes, to hold cigarette companies legally accountable for their egregious actions, and to help smokers quit smoking, I strongly encourage all addicted cigarette smokers to try using e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, or nicotine gums or lozenges as alternatives to cigarettes.

Daily inhalation of cigarette smoke (not the use of nicotine or tobacco) causes 99 percent of all tobacco diseases and deaths.

Decades of scientific research indicates that all smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products are 99 percent less hazardous alternatives to cigarette smoking, and millions of smokers have either quit smoking or sharply reduced their cigarette consumption by switching to smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products.

In contrast to public health advocates whose goal is to reduce tobacco disease and death, the FDA and other opponents of e-cigarettes have grossly misrepresented the health risks of e-cigarettes because their abstinence-only goal is to end all tobacco/nicotine use (except for the use of nicotine sold by drug companies).

Bill Godshall

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Godshall is executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania.

Kid Commentary

As a person who studies the paradigms of relationships, I found Kirk Kardashian’s “Keeping Kids on Track” [June 9] extremely interesting. However, I will take issue with one point made in the article: “What you do with friends … is build a relationship with them through hard work and empathy.” Unfortunately, I don’t find that this is true for the majority of us. The affective model of relationship children receive is the one they get from their parents. Attachment theory holds that parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment; these, in turn, lead to internal working models that will guide the individual’s feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships.

Valerie Hoefle is perhaps speaking of some unnamed ideal, but certainly the high rate of divorce would serve as evidence of our inability as a society to overcome the parenting of people with no experience for the job. Those old enough to remember the television program “The Waltons” will recall a three-generational household, where grandparents, parents and children coexisted in a relational model, still common in other cultures. The focus being on interconnections and interdependencies that create the sense of self.

“How does parenting affect children?” is a question we are not eager to ask ourselves if we place more value on “two wage-earner” households instead of parenting. Problems such as addiction, alcoholism, obesity and suicide are in many ways attributable to a lack of “relationship-based parenting” during a child’s developmental years. Those who cannot avail themselves of Hoefle’s “Parenting on Track” will find some version of it on the television program “Supernanny.”

Theodore A. Hoppe

Montpelier

Correction

Last week’s article, “Ticked Off: Lyme disease can mean severe pain for patients and legal headaches for physicians,” was accompanied by a photo of the wrong type of tick. The photo was that of a dog tick, not a deer tick, which is known to carry Lyme disease. Here’s what a deer tick looks like.

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