Dear Abby: Now that California law prohibits drivers from using cellphones and texting while driving, an additional issue needs to be addressed and acted upon. Bicyclists are supposed to abide by the vehicle codes, too, but they rarely do -- and that includes not wearing protective gear.
I'm now seeing people on bikes texting, talking while riding and routinely ignoring stop signs. Disappointingly, I have never seen a single rider pulled over or ticketed for doing this. How many lives must be destroyed or lost before the police start enforcing penalties for the danger these people cause to others? – Caring Reader, Sacramento, Calif.
Dear Caring Reader: You're asking something I have been asking myself for some time. I understand that teenagers may think they're immortal as they whiz along the streets, but the adults I see weaving in and out and ignoring stop signs are old enough to know better.
Many cities promote bicycling as a way to mitigate traffic congestion and encourage a healthier, more active lifestyle. Police may ignore the infractions because they have more serious crimes to attend to. Or perhaps they have been instructed to do so. (If members of law enforcement would like to address this, I'd love to hear from you.)
While I'm on the subject of cyclists, I should mention my own concern about riders who wear dark clothing and ride after dark. Not all neighborhoods are well lit, and I have seen near misses because of it.
Although dark colors are fashionable, wouldn't it make sense for people who ride at night to wear jackets with reversible linings in a lighter color? (I have seen a few with fluorescent trim, but there haven't been many.) And if drivers are pulled over for broken or missing headlights or taillights, shouldn't the same be true for bicyclists?
Dear Abby: My son serves on a ship in the Navy in an area known for terrorism. People who know this tell me how safe his ship is, how strong the U.S. military is, etc.
PLEASE, people, when I (or anyone else who has a family member in the military) ask for prayers or express concern, do NOT offer these platitudes. Understand that our fears are real, and so are our tears.
Offer a hug, a hand-squeeze, say you will pray for us – but understand that until our loved ones are back on U.S. soil, our fears and tension won't lessen. Unless you have been in our shoes, you can't know how we feel when we watch the news because we have no true idea of what is going on. Our military family members can't tell us, and often we have no (or limited) contact with them. I cry alone often.
I am proud of my son for his service and even encouraged it, but this is a rough time for me and others who are in this situation. – Military Mother
Dear Military Mother: Thank you for writing. Many people are uncomfortable when they encounter an emotional situation and don't know what to say. Their impulse is to "make it better," not realizing that sometimes a gesture is more eloquent than words can be.
I agree with you that when a loved one is in harm's way, it is an emotional roller-coaster ride for all concerned – the parents, the siblings, the spouses and the children of our servicemen and -women.
To My Jewish Readers: Tonight at sundown, Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement begins. For observant Jewish people, this is a time to fast, to reflect, to pray and formally repent for any sins that might have been committed during the previous Hebrew year. To all of you, may your fast be an easy one.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.