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  1. #1
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Another misinformed editorial

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...nberger23.html



    Stupid human traffic tricks

    Sept. 22, 2005 12:00 AM

    This past Wednesday around 8 o'clock, a shrill screech broke the morning silence. It's the kind of sound a car makes when drivers are day dreaming one moment and regain consciousness the next, whereupon they slam on their brakes to avoid certain catastrophe. This time it was too little too late.

    The all-too-familiar squeal was followed by the sound of a crumpled bicycle slamming to the ground. Then came the quiet thud of the bicyclist as he smashed onto the pavement (after a brief moment of impromptu flight courtesy of the driver's front bumper). You could tell it hurt when he hit.

    Still, the fellow on the ground was lucky. His helmet-free head missed the asphalt. He sat up, stood up and wobbled to the curb where he sat back down. His bike was bent and so was he. advertisement




    The driver did what she could to help, which was next to nothing. After consoling the injured man (an Arizona State University student), she handed him a slip of paper, presumably containing her name and telephone number, and drove away.

    After she left, the Fire Department and Southwest Ambulance arrived. Proximity had a lot to do with the quick response of each. The accident had occurred two blocks south of Tempe's downtown fire station and three blocks north of St. Luke's emergency room. If you're going to get run over by a car, this is the place to do it.

    Who was at fault? In this particular case, although no ticket was issued (since there was no one around to issue one) it appeared to be the driver. Stop signs at 10th Street and Ash Avenue favored the guy on the bicycle. That said, my sympathies also extend to the driver, who, like so many other drivers, is forced to navigate the maze of bicyclists who routinely converge on ASU.

    They break every traffic law imaginable. Some run stop signs and traffic lights. Others ride on the wrong side of the street. The rest jay-bike, regardless of risk.

    The closer you get to the ASU campus the more out of control the situation becomes. Irresponsible drivers are traveling at speeds too high for the crowded conditions on the ground. Last week, another bicyclist got creamed at College Avenue and Broadway Road, a place where they're routinely flattened like pancakes.

    Frankly, given the magnitude of the mess, it's surprising so few bike riders are killed or permanently paralyzed, regardless of who's at fault.

    Meanwhile, problem pedestrians also persist. It's amazing how many people not only stand on the edge of the curb, but stand in the actual street, be it in the gutter or a bike lane, waiting for a light to change green so they can cross.

    How often have you, as a driver, made a legal right-hand turn and come within inches of clipping one of these road hazards?

    The prospect of running one over, while unfortunate for them, isn't my primary concern. It's the inconvenience it will cause me.

    Let's say you accidentally slam into one of them. Obviously, you've got to stop and render aid. That will take time. Then once they show up with sirens blaring, you're going to have to explain to all manner of officialdom why some hapless fool is wedged under your right front tire. There will be forms to complete and accusations to refute. Again, more time wasted (and you did nothing wrong).

    Worse, if someone ends up dead, you'll need to hire an attorney, because innocence is an expensive proposition to prove. After all, it was the driver's fault, don't ya know?

    As someone who drives in and around Tiny Town's downtown several times each day, allow me to assert that the arterial and neighborhood streets surrounding ASU are comparatively dangerous and becoming more so.

    For the benefit of the overly sensitive professionals who design such things, that fact has nothing to do with how the bulk of these streets were either engineered or built. To paraphrase late-night comedian David Letterman, the best design can't compensate for stupid human traffic tricks.

    Nope. The real root of the problem is too many thoughtless people (drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians) in too big a hurry in too small a space. It's a recipe for continued injury and death. Who will be next?



    Dan Durrenberger is a 32-year resident of the East Valley who lives in Tempe and works in Mesa. He can be reached at

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Obviously two things need to happen... the students et. al. need to learn that they should stop for stopsigns and ride on the proper side of the road. That is 1/2 the problem.

    The other 1/2 is that drivers need to learn that they need to slow down and look twice... especially if "irresponsible drivers are traveling at speeds too high..." and if you are making "a legal right-hand turn and come within inches of clipping" someone...

    Perhaps those drivers need to recognize that they ARE responsible for the 3000 pound metal boxes they pilot.

  3. #3
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Worse, if someone ends up dead, you'll need to hire an attorney, because innocence is an expensive proposition to prove. After all, it was the driver's fault, don't ya know?
    If he kills someone, he's concerned that he'll have to pay for an attorney? This is a joke, isn't it?
    Bring the pain.

  4. #4
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Sure there are quite a few students in the area who don't follow road laws, dont cycled predictably. I have issue with them when I cycle thru the area.

    But one of the things (of several) that got me was the example where the driver presumably had a stop sign, hit a cyclist and the best they could do was leave a note a drive away. No one around to issue a ticket? Huh, shouldn't the driver wait for the police? What a crappy example.

    Al

  5. #5
    Senior Member pharnabazos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...nberger23.html


    The prospect of running one over, while unfortunate for them, isn't my primary concern. It's the inconvenience it will cause me.
    'Nuff said.

  6. #6
    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...nberger23.html

    Let's say you accidentally slam into one of them. Obviously, you've got to stop and render aid. That will take time. Then once they show up with sirens blaring, you're going to have to explain to all manner of officialdom why some hapless fool is wedged under your right front tire. There will be forms to complete and accusations to refute. Again, more time wasted (and you did nothing wrong).
    If you hit someone your first thought should be that it might inconvenience you. You obviously have to render aid. Yeah, that's a big waste of time. It would be much simpler if you could drive right over the cyclist. Gosh, he's not much more than a speedbump now anyway. Put him out of his misery. You should be on your merry way, but noooo... you've got to stop and render aid. And really what can you do for a fellow human being but stop and call 911? And all that the time wasted while the 'hapless fool' is nursing his pathetic broken collarbone and thoughtlessly bleeding all over the road. Your taxes go to clean that up. And cyclists don't pay taxes. Everyone knows that.

    And you have to stop and talk to the police and explain yourself. I mean please... a busy guy-on-the-go like yourself... you should be free to toddle of to your next destination unfettered and unburdened by the fact that you just hit someone with your car.

    Idiot. A complete waste of breath and space... doing nothing more than contributing to the heat death of the universe.

  7. #7
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    Often corners are radiused to allow cars to turn easier (& faster). This makes it harder for pedestrians to get across the street in the small gaps in the traffic. Abolish the traffic signs, lane markings and curbs to force everyone look out for everbody else without assuming that they have the right of way.

  8. #8
    Gravel for Breakfast
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    When I was reading this, it was in the voice of Joe Friday from Dragnet.

    This is the city. Los Angeles, California. Every day, millions of people go to work. Some go by car, some by minivan, some by SUV. A few scofflaws go by bicycle. And when they do, I go to work. I carry a badge.

    It was Wednesday, September 21. It was cool in Los Angeles. We were working the day watch out of traffic division. Around 8 o'clock, a shrill screech broke the morning silence…
    Sin after sin I have endured, but the wounds I bear are the wounds of love.

  9. #9
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    What a tool. The writer doesn't know how good they have it over there. I invite the writer to follow one of us who commutes to Midtown NYC. Seriously, what was the point of the article aside from contradicting oneself in writing it, as well as look like a fool?
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    I do not want to be associated with the kind of riders that come through my neck of the woods on weekends, dressed in superhero costumes
    Do they wear capes?
    ---

    http://www.cycopaths.net/

  10. #10
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    his email addy is at the bottom of the article. I have flamed him already (without being rude). Care to join me?

  11. #11
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Umm... not to defend him, but is he really that far off the mark? The dude is being honest, you gotta give him at least that much.

    But beyond that, the implication that in most bike/car collisions the cyclist did something wrong is quite accurate. And, frankly, when one of these Darwin Award contestants flies off the sidewalk in front of a right turner from his right while the driver is looking left (after already checking for peds, not speeding cyclists, on the sidewalk to the right), of course it's an inconvenience when the collision happens.

    In the particular collision he writes about, he notes that the motorist was probably at fault, but he doesn't know to consider whether the cyclist was properly positioned to be visible - judging by how most cyclists ride, especially around campuses, he probably wasn't riding where motorists tend to be looking.

    Whether we like it or not, most drivers see it as their primary responsibility to not hit another vehicle, or not to hit a pedestrian who is legally crossing or traveling in the street. In particular, at best, it is a secondary responsibility for them to look for cyclists obeying neither the vehicular nor the ped rules of the road. And when a cyclist crosses an intersection riding "off to the side" he is not obeying the rules of the road.

  12. #12
    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    I don't think the issue is that there was an accident. I think the issue is this knob is too 'busy' to be bothered with the accident if one should occur. He might miss his tee time should he stop, offer assistance, and (gasp) be asked by the police to explain the accident.

    You should have the right to run over everyone and everything in your way... right?

  13. #13
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    The problem is that traffic demands in that area are not being met by city planners. It's sad enough that leaders can't wake up and stop worhipping the internal combustion engine at the expense of all else - now you have a place where there's actually *demand* for bike lanes, and they still don't wake up.

    The author of that article is a tool. He, like far too many others, totally misses the big picture.

    Dragnet...

  14. #14
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    In the particular collision he writes about, he notes that the motorist was probably at fault, but he doesn't know to consider whether the cyclist was properly positioned to be visible - judging by how most cyclists ride, especially around campuses, he probably wasn't riding where motorists tend to be looking.

    Whether we like it or not, most drivers see it as their primary responsibility to not hit another vehicle, or not to hit a pedestrian who is legally crossing or traveling in the street. In particular, at best, it is a secondary responsibility for them to look for cyclists obeying neither the vehicular nor the ped rules of the road. And when a cyclist crosses an intersection riding "off to the side" he is not obeying the rules of the road.
    Where in that article was there any mention of the cyclist being in any particular part of the lane? Hi, Jack!

  15. #15
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Umm... not to defend him, but is he really that far off the mark? The dude is being honest, you gotta give him at least that much.

    But beyond that, the implication that in most bike/car collisions the cyclist did something wrong is quite accurate. And, frankly, when one of these Darwin Award contestants flies off the sidewalk in front of a right turner from his right while the driver is looking left (after already checking for peds, not speeding cyclists, on the sidewalk to the right), of course it's an inconvenience when the collision happens.

    In the particular collision he writes about, he notes that the motorist was probably at fault, but he doesn't know to consider whether the cyclist was properly positioned to be visible - judging by how most cyclists ride, especially around campuses, he probably wasn't riding where motorists tend to be looking.

    Whether we like it or not, most drivers see it as their primary responsibility to not hit another vehicle, or not to hit a pedestrian who is legally crossing or traveling in the street. In particular, at best, it is a secondary responsibility for them to look for cyclists obeying neither the vehicular nor the ped rules of the road. And when a cyclist crosses an intersection riding "off to the side" he is not obeying the rules of the road.
    Look, I ride VC and think it's the safest way to ride, BUT......

    The guy in the article is all over the map. IF you drive in an area of known pedestrian/slow moving vehicles AND you fail to adjust your speed and driving habits accordingly, you are KNOWINGLY oparating your vehicle in and unsafe manor.

    This guy thinks he owns the road and can run over anybody any time he likes.

  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Umm... not to defend him, but is he really that far off the mark? The dude is being honest, you gotta give him at least that much.
    Look, its clear a lot of cyclist and especially cyclist in the university area do not follow the rules.
    But what I really don't like is the tone of the article and the purpose/message of it.
    If the writer (a regular editorialist for the newspaper) really cared to make the roads safer they could have instead noted the issues (rule breaking, not predicable riding, motorists not paying attention, not following rules) and list what cyclist should do.
    Instead it is a blanket slam on cyclist, with the tone and message that it is OK to hit them (well unless you dont like a nusiance).
    There was no effort made to distiguish legal cyclists either. There is already so much dislike for cyclist and misperception of the laws (for instance if it is OK for cyclist to ride on the road)
    A better article would have noted that many roads are high speed high density traffic resulting in students riding on the sidewalk thinking its safer and then explained this created the dangerous situation at intersections, etc. If all the students at ASU actually cycled on the roads there it I am fairy sure all cyclists would fare better.
    Al

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...nberger23.html

    Meanwhile, problem pedestrians also persist. It's amazing how many people not only stand on the edge of the curb, but stand in the actual street, be it in the gutter or a bike lane, waiting for a light to change green so they can cross.

    How often have you, as a driver, made a legal right-hand turn and come within inches of clipping one of these road hazards?
    let me get this straight....people standing on the "edge of the curb....or a bike lane" waiting for the light the change are at fault if they get hit? hmm...interesting. So now a "legal righthand turn" involves driving in the bike lane an on the edge of teh curb? What if, god forbid, a bicycle is in the bike lane (riding along legally, is it suddenly the bicycles fault if the driver decides to turn right without checking for bicycle traffic?...shouldnt be, any more than if a car in the right lane decides to make a left turn and cuts across traffic to do so. The writer seems to automatically assume that the driver has a right to the bike lane and the edge of the curb when making a right turn? What next? [sarcasm]the guy wasnt pressed up against the building, so I ran him ove as I was just utilizing my right to drive on 1/3 of the sidewalk if needed"[/sarcasm] This guy is an a$$, killing someone sucks because you have to get an attorney to prove your innocence? Give me a break. I do however agree with his assessment that the problem is too many people in too big of a hurry...

  18. #18
    Calamari to go cc_rider's Avatar
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    The obvious answer is to ban all cars from the roads in question. No cars, no problem.

  19. #19
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cc_rider
    The obvious answer is to ban all cars from the roads in question. No cars, no problem.
    I agree absolutely. The only problem with it is that you'll never get enough support to pass something like that. If only people could be convinced it was for their own good.
    Bring the pain.

  20. #20
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphodbeeblebro
    So now a "legal righthand turn" involves driving in the bike lane an on the edge of teh curb?
    In fact, at least in CA, right turning motorists are required to drive their vehicles in the bike lane in such a situation.


    What if, god forbid, a bicycle is in the bike lane...
    Well, if he's stopped, waiting to go straight, he's stopped in the wrong place. He should be off to the left with the rest of the through traffic waiting to go straight.

    If he's moving, to make the right turn, he should be moving about the same speed as a motor vehicle making a 90 degree right turn.


    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    There was no effort made to distiguish legal cyclists either. There is already so much dislike for cyclist and misperception of the laws
    Of course. Look at how much confusion there is among cyclists who have every incentive to understand this stuff. Of course non-cyclists are going to understand even less. The whole message of cyclo-segregationism is so convoluted and contradictory, nobody can make any sense of it. "Cyclists should have their own space". "Same roads, same rights, same rules". WTF?

    How do you have YOUR OWN SPACE AND have the "same roads, same rights, same rules"? It's nuts.

    So this guys is confused. I'm surprised he's not more confused. I can't blame him.

    This editorial is the product of years of cyclo-segregationist bike advocacy yammering for "our own space", bike lanes, etc. etc. Congratulations.

    Careful what you wish for...

  21. #21
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    Quote Originally Posted by cc_rider
    The obvious answer is to ban all cars from the roads in question. No cars, no problem.
    I agree absolutely.
    Here you have two cyclists in a row promoting cyclo-segregationism, and they aren't even shy about it.

    With this kind of wrong-heading thinking about the alleged inherent incompatibility of cycling and motoring so prevalent among cyclists, why would this kind of editorial from a non-cyclist even raise an eyebrow?

  22. #22
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    That's a really lame editorial. Not even worth arguing about.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  23. #23
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    If they really do have a problem with a bunch of lawbreaking cyclists, then the city just likely isn't serious about enforcing it's laws in reguards to bikes. Now the town I live in is very bike friendly, has a campus that is closed to car traffic, and students are actively encouraged to use bikes. But, the city and campus police have dedicated officers that also actively enforce the law when it comes to cycling. I've seen people running stop sign after stop sign through the downtown area then act totally and completely shocked when a bike officer pulls them over and cites them. Many can't believe that the cop is serious and begin laughing (for a very short period of time).

    The thing is, with this type of enforcement, you just don't see people doing all of the stupid stuff. A new student moves to town, gets cited after doing something stupid and then ends up forking over some much needed cash to the city or university for his stupidity, and he pays better attention from then on.

  24. #24
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    The dude is a tool.

    A sampling of any college area would show that the pedestrians typically have the right-of-way. To somehow imply that they should stay the hell out of his way is immature and shows he's not willing to be responsible for his actions.

    On the campus I attend, the pedestrians are guaranteed the right-of-way by an active police force on a private campus that will slam you for even trying to assert your right to drive there. Bikes and peds prevail - if your driving, your stupid - as the layout of the campus doesn't lend itself to the car well (its an 1860s campus that's just been expanded on, creating non-connecting roads that run through the central region).
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  25. #25
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Look, I ride VC and think it's the safest way to ride, BUT......

    The guy in the article is all over the map. IF you drive in an area of known pedestrian/slow moving vehicles AND you fail to adjust your speed and driving habits accordingly, you are KNOWINGLY oparating your vehicle in and unsafe manor.

    This guy thinks he owns the road and can run over anybody any time he likes.
    I think you're exaggerating what he said, which he already exaggerated to emphasize his point.

    Underlying the editorial is the implicit assumption... that cyclists and motoring are fundamentally incompatible. While the problem is compounded by irresponsible cyclists and motorists making blatant errors, it exists in the absence of blatant error: cyclists should simply not be mixed with 4,000 lbs vehicles! While anyone who chooses to ride his bicycle in traffic is not necessarily doing anything illegal, he is not only taking unreasonable risk with his life and limb, but he's also interfering with the legitimate use of the roadway for motorists, for whom obviously the roads are primarily intended. If you keep this assumption in mind, and reread the editorial, I think you will find that it follows, with a pinch of insensitivity to spice it up, quite logically, from this assumption.

    Yet this assumption (read it again - I worded it carefully) is often the exact same one underlying the constant clammer for bike lanes and other segregated cycling facilities by cycling "advocates", including many bike forum members.

    Can we blame someone who applies simple logic to the same assumptions promoted by bicycling advocates?

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