Email this Guy and Tell him He’s an Ass

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The guy that wrote this piece is the executive editor of the Salina Kansas paper. Wow is all I can say. How inappropriate of a time to try to send out his caution. And the title of the piece is so wrong. Like it makes a difference the reason the woman was out on her bike when she was killed by a hit and run driver. She was killed that involved a crime.

Better than emailing Ben and telling him he’s a complete ass, it would probably do better to email his boss, Olaf Frandsen, the editor and publisher of the Salina Journal. Here’s a link to Olaf’s email. It will only take a second to tell him that this is completely inappropriate and that his executive editor, Ben, is an idiot.

assholeeditor copy

34 thoughts on “Email this Guy and Tell him He’s an Ass

  1. Geo

    Just sent Olaf a message telling his fiduciary responsibility to his readers to provide non biased news is total crap…

    Just confirms to me that drivers view cyclist as pests- sort of depressing

    Makes me want to only ride trails and stay off the road.

    Hope you are doing well Steve!

     
  2. Skippy

    IS the Journo COMPLETELY STUPID ?

    IS HE SAYING THAT FARMERS CAN KILL DURING ” HARVESTING SEASON “?

    When in control of a vehicle , there are no ” Off Season , Excuses or Other Reasons for driving in a way that aNOTHER HUMAN BEING is at RISK !

    This media outlet need to get a grip on what it reports , let alone giving this type of ADVICE !

    Next we hear wil be a warning NOT TO GET OUT OF BED , in case you risk LIVING !

     
  3. Bryan

    Perhaps a rebuttal opinion can be published, telling the farmers to lay off the harvest? No matter what they are harvesting, it’s not worth the jailtime they will do when they mow down a law abiding cyclist on the road and kill them. No crop is worhth that.

     
  4. Megan L Morgan

    Yes, we all are tax payers and equally share public roads. I was in a coffee house in South Routt County and had the ‘pleasure’ of overhearing a ‘lovely’ conversation on this topic. The ranchers had extremely horrible things to say on this topic, claiming anyone riding a bike on ‘their’ roads would be mowed down. These ranchers knew me, they knew my husband was a cyclist, they knew we had 2 daughters ages 4 and 6, and still were VERY outspoken as if trying to get a rise out of me. I smiled at them as I walked out of the coffee shop and didn’t say a word. Honestly, it felt like they were telling ‘fishing tales’ and trying to see who would say something more horrible than the next to show off in front of each other. I didn’t want to play their game…but,

    Just letting you know, these conversations and feelings about cyclists really exist. Would that rancher really mow down my husband? I do not know, but scary to hear people talk in this manner as if they have no regard.

     
  5. Jp shores

    Thanks for posting! I almost sent you a link last night. I was so pissed after reading it i could hardly sleep last night.

     
  6. jpete

    I think the comments section is pretty full of pro-cyclist response. If the guy’s boss is directed there, I am sure he will get a sense of the strong negative reaction this ignorant article has evoked.

     
  7. Megan L Morgan

    Oh, BTW, I spent an entire FAll, WINTER, and SPRING intentionally out running ‘their’ road at least 3 days a week. I smiled and waved at that every time. They waved and smiled back, they slowed down, to go around me. I was a constant presence for 9 months. They recognized my car after a while, stopped to ask how I was doing. Not sure if I had any effect on them, but when they drove around me, they never seemed to exude any of the behaviors they talked about in the coffee shop. ‘Tough’ guys.

     
  8. jay chesterman

    i emailed Olaf, and this was the response i recieved.
    Jay:

    As well we did. I present the OTHER article, printed above the one you reference — a much more prominent location on the page — that everyone is conveniently ignoring.

    Imagine living with this
    Wednesday, June 05, 2013 3:05 AM

    The death on Friday of bicyclist Gail Kline, 49, of Delphos, should reinforce in all of us who drive and ride bicycles on streets and roads the fine line between a healthy exercise and serious injury or even death.

    Just after 8 a.m. Friday, Kline was riding west on West Crawford and nearing Burma Road when she was struck by a vehicle. The driver didn’t stick around, but with the public’s help the Saline County Sheriff’s Office soon arrested Lewis Crider, 62, of Salina.
    Kline was found in a ditch by Salinan Jerry Hurde. What Hurde saw “… turned my stomach a bit,” Hurde told reporter Chris Hunter. Kline was found under her bike, bloody and unresponsive.
    “Her eyes were in a fixed position. Her eyes were wrong and her lips were a deep purple. I didn’t think she was with us anymore.”
    As Hurde noted, West Crawford is not a particularly safe road, because many drivers drive over to the right, and there is no shoulder, leaving little margin for error. That would be true for most county roads, but some roads are safer than others by virtue of the amount of traffic they carry.
    Most drivers have never ridden a bicycle on county roads and thus have no idea what it’s like to have someone come within inches of ending their life as they drive by. They merely get irritated that they have to pull over (or not) a little into the passing lane to get around a bicyclist.
    But Kline’s death should remind all of us that bicyclists are more than an irritant that causes you to lose a second here or there; they are fellow human beings. When you fly by within a foot or two of them, you’re coming close to causing serious injury or death.
    We don’t know who was at fault here, but even when the bicyclist is in the right after a collision such as this, it doesn’t matter.
    What we ask is that the next time motorists get in a hurry and irritated at a bicyclist, imagine being in Hurde’s position, down in a ditch holding a bloody and dying person. Imagine that you were the one who hit the cyclist and how that would affect your life.
    Now try to imagine living with that.
    — Ben Wearing
    Executive Editor

    M. Olaf Frandsen
    Editor and Publisher
    Salina Journal

     
  9. Steve Tilford Post author

    Thorns-I agree somewhat, but the reality is that one good editorial, and the first one isn’t that good, doesn’t “make up” for an completely inappropriate one. Implying that you need to stay off the roads during havest time and making a link to a women’s death is completely out of line. And the titling of it-why would it matter why anyone would be out riding? Olympics or not. Just bad journalism.

    Now Olaf is defending the piece by introducing a previous one. That is bullshit. They need a reality check.

     
  10. Thorns Craven

    Steve, as cyclists we all expect (and demand) respect. I’m not suggesting that the editorial written by his editor can be balanced by his own more thoughtful commentary. It’s obvious that the piece you posted is offensive in many ways and it was very poor judgment to put it in the newspaper and give it that headline. But reading all the articles about this accident and the publisher’s comments which I think most of us would welcome, it seems to me that we promote our own cause more effectively when we take a look at the whole picture and when we resist the temptation to give the world the finger.

     
  11. Steve Tilford Post author

    Thorns-The problem is that this isn’t the appropriate time for a rural newspaper to be addressing this issue. When people are presented multiple sides of a subject, they tend to migrate towards their already set opinion and discard any other information.

    Even in the first editorial, there is a statement about not knowing who is “at fault” here. Who could, or would, write that? No matter how the collision occurred, there was a seriously injured human left in a ditch to die. We know who was at fault.

    These guys are completely off base and need to hear it.

     
  12. FireRescueFin

    If the farmers can not harvast safely they should not be allowed to harvest at all.

     
  13. Rob Wilshusen

    Steve,

    Growing up in a farming community I can well understand the increase in traffic during wheat harvest. We have to understand the context to which the editor put forth in his own words. Living in that community where there is an influx of harvest crews coming into town and their earnings based on how quickly they can cut the wheat to deliver to the elevators or storage areas, makes for careless and heavy traffic. Also crews are moving from field to field with wide headers and huge combines. Many of these use rural highways and paved roads. I believe the editors intentions are noble and a bit prudent. I would also imagine in a small community that there is an emotional sense to happened with the lady being hit. In that context I believe the editor was making a plea to stay off the roads and prevent another fatality. I have been a cyclist for 26 years now and rode many rural county roads. I also been hit by a pickup truck and knocked off my bike. I am one of the lucky ones. Going through a court case there is two sides to the story. We would do ourselves as cyclist more good to not jump to complaining and bitching, this just escalates the hostility that motorists have against us cyclist.

     
  14. Wuzfastnowimnot

    Just sent the below note to Mr. Flandersen

    I am appalled at the complete lack of professionalism your Executive editor, Ben Wearing, has demonstrated in his piece titled “You’re not training for the Olympics”.

    Mr. Wearing completely disregards the life and rights of an individual whose life was taken while pursuing a healthy, sporting outlet. Ms. Kline was riding on roads which she had every right as a citizen of Kansas to use. Using her death to appeal to cyclists to avoid using roads which they have a right to use as much as any other citizen is just plain callous and ignorant.

    Perhaps an appeal should have been made for ALL users of the roads to be more vigilant, rather than single out a particular group of tax paying citizens.

    I would only hope that your subscribers use their wallets and avoid patronizing your advertisers. Maybe then your editorial staff would think twice about what they write.

     
  15. Brad

    “but even when the bicyclist is in the right after a collision such as this, it doesn’t matter.

    I agree with the message of the article, and this quote from Ben above. I do not agree with the way it was delivered originally. As a cyclist we will lose every collision. You can be operating your bike lawfully and considerately, but in a vehicle/bicycle collision it just doesn’t matter. A couple weeks of exercised caution isn’t infringing on our hobby, I see it as a way to ensure we’ll get to participate next year. Go ride gravel roads, off road trails, bike paths, or at the least seek out routes that avoid heavy grain hauler traffic for a couple weeks. I often thought a good jersey idea would be to put a picture of my two sons on a blaze orange background with the words; a little room so they’re not fatherless. IF you could only make it legible while traffic sped by.

     
  16. Robo

    The only thing I find offensive about this is the headline. Otherwise, I think it is a reasonable “appeal” to cyclists. Yes, everyone should be required to share the roads ALL THE TIME. But the reality is that harvest time does create extremely dangerous conditions for cyclists or just about anyone/anything else. This article is not justifying hit-and-runs on cyclists in the name of harvest, it’s merely pointing out the dramatically increased risks. In our everyday rides, we typically avoid high traffic or dangerous roads. This article is just stating that the county road you’re accustomed to riding is about to become exponentially more dangerous for a couple weeks.

    Again, I wish the culture of Western Kansas was more bike friendly at all times. And I don’t believe harvest time should bestow special privileges to farmers. But like it or not this ain’t Portland. Farming is the base of the economy and a way of life in that part of the state. It’s the culture, and harvest is a BIG DEAL. Every part of the community makes accommodations during that time. This article suggests that cyclists do the same.

    We cyclists scream about our rights, but we also have to use common sense. Just because you have a right to do something, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    But that headline… damn that was rude and snarky, and totally takes away from the sensical nature of the underlying message.

     
  17. Steve Tilford Post author

    Robo-The headline is very offensive. It is probably the reason the editorial irked me so. The article itself could have been written much more compassionately, at a more appropriate time and in a more informative manner. It was just bad journalism from the editor of a paper.

     
  18. scott

    The offending editorial is absolutely indefensible, and the “positive” editorial is only slightly better, as it fails to recognize the fundamental right to use public roads. Everyone, cyclist or not, has a responsibility to register their disapproval.

     
  19. SterlingSL

    I used to ride behind my Dad’s hay hauler for the 5 mile trip back and forth from the field to the barn on whatever POS bike I was riding at the time. Even then I could have mowed his ass down and I didn’t. Just think what I could have done on a proper road bicycle.

     
  20. roger

    Where to begin. Too many thoughts to express calmly. Editorials like this exacerbate the problem by giving credence to the rural community (and the non-cycling community) that cyclists are the problem, not traffic.

    “Stay in town to ride”. Yeah that’s safe. Thousands of cars vs. an occasional vehicle on county roads.
    “Find some enclosed area”. What is that? Anyone ever seen some enclosed cycling area around here?
    “Jogging” or “rest”. Just plain ignorance.

    The offensive ignorance can only be made right by educating the editors, harvesters, and motorists. Cyclists are not the problem and it is not the cyclist’s fault she’s dead! Publish an apology and educate the public and harvesters about sharing the road with cyclists. Until then, I certainly won’t patronize Journal advertisers when I’m in town a couple times a year. I would hope that the cycling community, races and events like the Kandango, and local bike shops take a stand against this dangerous meme as well.

     
  21. wheelman61

    I agree with Steve that the piece is out of line. Maybe a better way for the paper to put it would be to caution all users of the roads to be extra cautious and vigilant during a busy time, rather than dismissively telling riders to stay off the roads that of course are theirs to use as well. I recall another commenter on this blog once stating that the three things that determine how safe your ride will be are: where are you riding? when are you riding? who are you riding with? Good words to live by, no one needs another tragedy to prove the point

     
  22. jpete

    I have cycled on these very roads for the past 25+ years and have found that I have not felt in any more danger when harvest is going on. I have had to pass slow-moving combines in the past which I assume is a challenge motorists do as well, with the added complication of having to slow from a faster speed and requiring more room to pass. I think the problem with the article is really its position to demote cycling to a hobby and not equal in rights to cars on the roads. I think the other horrible thing done here is to try to use the death of a cyclist in an un-related hit-and-run to drum up support for the unrelated idea that cyclists aren’t safe during harvest. This should be an article on increased awareness and tolerance.

     
  23. Tim M

    Ben Wearing’s lack of compassion for Gail Kline in the first editorial is inhuman. A more judicious request would be to ask the all road users to abide the law and give vulnerable users respect. I too was directed by Olaf to the second editorial. Don’t hit a cyclist, it’ll make you feel bad? That’s the counterpoint? While that is unfortunately the single greatest motivating factor for most people, the counterpoint is the law: What this says in plain English is, the cyclist may take the lane when necessary and a motorist must, by law, give the cyclist a three foot margin. This goes for all vulnerable road users, persons riding an animal, farm tractors, electric-assisted bicycles, scooters and roller-skates, electric personal assistive mobility devices, mopeds, motorcycles and police officers.
    If Gail Kline had been given the respect and consideration the law allows, she would be alive today. That’s it plain and simple. I doesn’t matter where you live or what you do for a living.
    Tim

     
  24. Dan Payne

    Right on Steve! The plea for bicyclists to stay off the roads during harvest is idiotic on its own, but to use the death of Gail Kline to reinforce his point is completely inconsiderate and idiotic. You can even tell by the tone of his previous article on Gails death that he is no fan of nor has any compasion for bicyclists. I ride around the Wichita area countryside year round and have never had any issues with riding during harvest. Even BAK, the States largest organized ride, sometimes takes place while harvest is going on in some areas of the State. There never seems to be much problem with 800 cyclists co-habitating with traffic during harvest, so why should it be such an issue in the Salina area. It’s only an issue because the dipwad that wrote the editorial has probably lost 2 or 3 seconds of his life by having to wait to go around a cyclist at some point during his pathetic existence in this world.

     
  25. chris

    The editor should also make his readers aware of the very ugly truth, that most farmers nowadays contract out grain haulers, or else employ anyone who can marginally steer a truck without any real training. Most grain haulers where I live will not use the brakes if they can avoid it, and haul for as many hours as possible, with minimal or zero sleep.

     
  26. bryce lawrence

    What might make sense here is an approach similar to public meetings for planning projects, where the public is given a forum or notice – well ahead of a proposed change or action – to understand what changes are taking place in the community, where they are occurring, and to suggest changes if applicable. In this case, harvest times on private land may be less open to proposed changes, but since public roadways are used it makes sense to issue at least a public notice to ensure that the DK200 route is not going through a busy harvest artery, for example. An article last month in the Salina paper with a clear map of public notice showing the areas to be harvested, the dates of harvest, and the roads affected, might have gone a long way to reduce non-harvest traffic on impacted roads. This is the proactive approach and it’s respectful to both farmers and the public. It might even help streamline the harvest process by organizing mass combine movements.

     
  27. H Luce

    The driver, Lewis Grider, was driving an SUV, a minivan, and was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter – and other charges may be pending as well, which suggests that drugs or alcohol may have played a part. In any case, this had *nothing* to do with the harvest or with farm machinery or semi-trailers or grain trucks or anything like that. The editorial gave that impression, but at the time it was written, the facts were known. See http://www.salina.com/news/Bike-wreck-arrest

     
  28. Beth K.

    What I sent (subject: “What the Article SHOULD’VE Said”

    A Tragic Reminder

    Readers,

    The recent violent and tragic death of Gail Kline must serve as a reminder that we must value all life and always respect and cherish each other. Gail was struck down by a driver who fled the scene, supposedly leaving her to die.

    Kansas is home to seemingly endless miles of highways, roadways, and far-flung dirt and gravel roads. As human beings, we share these roads as equals, no matter what our form of transportation: be it by foot, by bicycle, by car, van, truck, tractor, or combine. It is our duty as responsible pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers to ALWAYS be alert and aware of our surroundings. In the next few weeks, wheat harvest will be in full swing, and many roads will be bustling with activity: many drivers will be in the area, some from other parts of the nation who will be unfamiliar with area traffic patterns.

    Our plea: BE VIGILANT. Runners, walkers, cyclists: make sure you are as visible as possible–make good use of reflective clothing and safety gear. Be aware of your surroundings, and never take for granted that drivers will be looking out for you. Drivers: ALWAYS be alert and aware, but be sure to communicate the importance of this with others. Remember to give pedestrians and cyclists a wide berth when passing, and understand that sometimes, you have to slow down for other traffic (be it four-wheeled, two-wheeled, or bipedal). When the safety of others is concerned, you aren’t in as big of a hurry as you think you are.

    Together, we can share the road as equals and keep EVERYONE safe.

     
  29. Ian Bowles

    It was not that bad an article. For a couple of weeks be extra careful or ride on some different roads. I don’t like to be told where I can and can’t ride either, but it is just a couple of weeks, work around it. Ian

     
  30. Rod Lake

    I’ve known Ben for a long time and we used to ride that same road.. He also promoted a ride/race in conjunction with the River Festival for several years. He is not an ass. In fact he is a loving father, husband and someone who cares deeply for the community. That said, I too found the headline and the tone of both editorials offensive. It’s like the old school rape comment, “well maybe she shouldn’t have worn such a sexy dress.” And since the hit-and-run low life was driving a mini van I’m not sure how harvest became a central theme. My point is I agree with Steve on this issue but I hope we don’t make it personal. I know Ben well enough to say he cares deeply for cyclists and their loved ones.

     
  31. Barbara Nichols

    Steve,
    Here is the full editorial that also included the short, harvest time editorial (which has run in the Journal for many years). Ben Wearing, an avid biker, race organizer (of a race in which I believe you have participated) and runner is promoting safety among bikers and drivers. The key phrase that struck me was “But Kline’s death should remind all of us that bicyclists are more than an irritant that causes you to lose a second here or there; they are fellow human beings.” A phrase that I think you should consider before you begin name calling.

    Imagine living with this
    Wednesday, June 05, 2013 3:05 AM

    The death on Friday of bicyclist Gail Kline, 49, of Delphos, should reinforce in all of us who drive and ride bicycles on streets and roads the fine line between a healthy exercise and serious injury or even death.

    Just after 8 a.m. Friday, Kline was riding west on West Crawford and nearing Burma Road when she was struck by a vehicle. The driver didn’t stick around, but with the public’s help the Saline County Sheriff’s Office soon arrested Lewis Crider, 62, of Salina.

    Kline was found in a ditch by Salinan Jerry Hurde. What Hurde saw “… turned my stomach a bit,” Hurde told reporter Chris Hunter. Kline was found under her bike, bloody and unresponsive.

    “Her eyes were in a fixed position. Her eyes were wrong and her lips were a deep purple. I didn’t think she was with us anymore.”

    As Hurde noted, West Crawford is not a particularly safe road, because many drivers drive over to the right, and there is no shoulder, leaving little margin for error. That would be true for most county roads, but some roads are safer than others by virtue of the amount of traffic they carry.

    Most drivers have never ridden a bicycle on county roads and thus have no idea what it’s like to have someone come within inches of ending their life as they drive by. They merely get irritated that they have to pull over (or not) a little into the passing lane to get around a bicyclist.

    But Kline’s death should remind all of us that bicyclists are more than an irritant that causes you to lose a second here or there; they are fellow human beings. When you fly by within a foot or two of them, you’re coming close to causing serious injury or death.

    We don’t know who was at fault here, but even when the bicyclist is in the right after a collision such as this, it doesn’t matter.

    What we ask is that the next time motorists get in a hurry and irritated at a bicyclist, imagine being in Hurde’s position, down in a ditch holding a bloody and dying person. Imagine that you were the one who hit the cyclist and how that would affect your life.

    Now try to imagine living with that.

    — Ben Wearing

     

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