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June 14, 2016

'Heroic Driver Man' responds to column about his anti-bicyclist screed

Here's what pro-car activist, prolific letter writer Tom McCarey had to say after being called out for rhetorical nonsense

Opinion Transportation
Banks memorial Roosevelt Blvd Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

This photo from August 2013 shows a memorial in the median of Roosevelt Boulevard to Samara Banks and her three sons. Banks and her children were struck and killed as they crossed the roadway on July 16, 2013, by a driver who was drag racing.

It took six days, but Tom "Heroic Driver Man" McCarey responded to my column last week about his anti-bicylist screed which ran on

Considering I'd invited him to chime in, it's only fair that I run his rambling email in its entirety.

Before that, it's worth noting that I emailed back to clarify that a) PhillyVoice isn't a newspaper, b) my foundational knowledge of hit-and-run frequency comes, as was clearly stated in the piece, from personally tracking them since 2010 and that c) if he doesn't realize it's cowardly to flee the scene of an accident involving death or injury, there's nothing I can do but pity him. 

Related: Heroic driver belittles hit-and-run victims in anti-bicyclist screed

So, with no further ado, here's HDM's latest screed chock full of hit-and-run victim blaming, apparent lack of understanding of the nature of published commentaries and rehearsed pro-car rhetoric.

Dear Mr. Hickey:

Thanks for my 15 minutes of fame, and the opportunity to sell newspapers for you. For background, you should read [this link].

HDM? Labeling/attacking me with a cute acronym really hurts. What is your point?

From the top: was the skateboarder at fault?; was the 47 year old man at fault (70% of pedestrian deaths are the fault of the pedestrian)?; you use a typical “no-blame” tactic for anyone other than the driver of a car. And how is that belittling these people?

Was the Philadelphian with the brain damage at fault in that accident? And how do you know the driver was cowardly; that’s your opinion stated to influence the reader’s perception of the situation.

The facts are that drivers operate their vehicle in a reasonable and prudent manner, i.e., safely, 97% of the time according to NHTSA statistics. The roads have never been safer: ask PennDOT.

Show me one accident that was prevented by a red light camera, a speed camera, or a RADAR gun. Your predicting of crimes-stopped because of same is ludicrous. The continued violation rates with ticket cameras (typically at about 50% of the initial rates), the continued and sometimes increased crash rates at camera intersections, and the reliable ticketing rates at officer operated RADAR sites show that the promised goals of significant safety improvements are simply not realized.

Ask any BCGP [Bicycling Coalition of Greater Philadelphia] member if automobiles are “sustainable.” They will answer NO as any good watermelon would. We can’t have people going where they want when they want and how they want. That freedom must be ended (except for the elites, of course)! That’s their agenda.

To make the streets safer I encourage bikers to learn how to safely pilot a vehicle in vehicular traffic. And where is your evidence that hit-and-runs are on the rise, except for anecdotal/sensational news stories? “People drive dangerously in Philadelphia because they can get away with it.” Patently false. People want to get from A to B. They don’t try to break every law they can or look for poor bicyclists to terrorize when they go out.

What will RADAR do? Create thousands of speed traps to unfairly tax drivers on illegally underposted roads. What will giving more money to accident investigation do? Magically produce evidence that you are right, that drivers target bikers? Nonsense.

Proper highway engineering will save lives, not making driving intolerable. The “if it saves even one life” blather is on a par with “it’s for the children.” Drivel to play on the heartstrings, not a cogent argument for anything.

I’m not the one exploiting Jamal’s death, BCGP and you are. We don’t know if Jamal was at fault or not, do we? So we can’t automatically blame the driver, can we?

Your opinion is a complete progressive misrepresentation, like BCGPs tactics.

Your essay is not a discussion but a rejection of what you think I said and a categorization that supports your unfounded conclusions. Like Abbie Hoffman said: Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one. Thank you.


Tom McCarey

Member, National Motorists Association