A reader writes:
Agree with you entirely about the perils of biking as transportation in a major city. At least DC is relatively bike friendly, I average about one near miss a week in Dallas, and the vast majority of my commute is on a limited access bike path, so it's probably about one near miss every 10 miles. Like you, I've been doored (and broken a rib), have lost a couple of wheels to people who suddenly turn into me, and have a twelve stitch scar on my head from some jerk that ran a red light (that did convince me of the wisdom of the helmet).
I'll admit to frequently having a bad attitude when I ride, but it's defense, not offense.
As a side note, Lifson's complaint about Critical Mass is just wrong. He claims it just assembles randomly at any possible time. Anyone who's ridden in a major metro area knows that it always assembles on the last Friday of the month at around 6. It's eminently avoidable, just like we bikers avoid all kinds of intersections because they're dangerous. The only reason so many drivers get caught is because they assume they own the road and are totally oblivious toward anyone else on those roads. If you've ridden in a Critical Mass (and if you haven't, you should), you know that it's totally liberating to be, even for an hour, the dominant form of transportation on city streets.
On the other hand: