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Old 01-11-03, 02:44 AM   #1
Chris L
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My friend the motorist?

A quick revision of the threads in the "Advocacy and Safety" forum provides another reminder of the way that cyclists and motorists set themselves up in opposition to one another in some sort of contest to decide who "owns" the road.

In the car corner we have the argument that cars are bigger and faster and (supposedly) pay their way, while cyclists are weak, pathetic bludgers who break the law. In the bike corner we have the argument that cars are oversized, dirty, smelly, dangerous, oversubsidised and that drivers are totally inconsiderate of anyone else.

Of course, this argument often gets taken outside of the forums on the occasions that we choose to venture into the outside world. There are a number of threads here that tell of situations in which cyclists have abused/been abused by drivers for no good reason. Both sides cling to their beliefs (quite irrationally at times), with no consideration of any opposing viewpoint.

I'm going to step into some radical (possibly naive and idealistic) ground and ask why it necessarily has to be so? When you think about it, both are on the road for the same reason (i.e. travelling from point A to point B), and for all the arguments about who roads were built for, isn't this the main function of a road? Why shouldn't they get along?

All it really requires is for people to give up the idea of "owning" the road, and is that such a big sacrifice? Some will say that it involves giving up some of our freedom, but I really don't see it. In fact, I would argue that letting these ideals go would actually give us more freedom.

How so? Well, I'll provide an example from my own experience. About five years ago I was in a habit of abusing just about every driver who annoyed me. Those that I didn't abuse generally got the finger salute. The thing was, I'd then spend the rest of that ride thinking of all the things I wanted to do to them or should have said to them. With all that aggression in my mind I wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride anymore. And for what? It's not like it was going to change what happened

Now, I very rarely bother with the abuse/finger salute (if ever). When these situations occur, they're generally forgotten completely within ten minutes, and as a consequence I'm free to enjoy the rest of the ride. Now, I don't know how this works from the perspective of drivers, but surely one must question the wisdom of carrying aggression around for a day because a cyclist "held them up" for 3 seconds.

So why shouldn't we all get along?
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Old 01-11-03, 07:50 AM   #2
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Why can't we just get along? A lot of people have asked that question throughout the ages. Haven't heard a really good answer.
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Old 01-11-03, 09:54 AM   #3
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Personally, I have rarely had issues with drivers while on my bicycle, or on my motorcycle or in my car for that fact. Stop at lights and stop signs, signal as needed, be aware of your surroundings ... just ride and obey the rules and there should be very few issues. If you have an issue with someone, don't let it wreck your day ... just keep on.
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Old 01-11-03, 05:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stor Mand
I have rarely had issues with drivers while on my bicycle, or on my motorcycle or in my car for that fact. ... don't let it wreck your day ... just keep on.
My experience and feelings are very similar to yours.
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Old 01-13-03, 10:02 PM   #5
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Chris, you are truly a genius who came up with this brainstorm immediately after your blood-soaked, oxygenated brain received
help from an excellent ride. How can I add to it?

I shall try.

I perceive that your main premise (motorist vs. cyclist is counterproductive, i.e., we should get along) is the purest form of truth. (Bear with me, I've had a couple. )

At the same time, the notion that nobody owns the road clearly favors the cyclist, since the cyclist has the short end of the stick right now.

So far, I'd say you're more than just a genius.

I think I love you.

:angel:

(Don't worry, A. Troll. I'm a good boy.)
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Old 01-13-03, 11:13 PM   #6
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I think the us & them mentality comes from cyclist's more than drivers mainly due to the fact that we are constantly being buzzed by vehicles, that if too close can end your life.

This is my main gripe with drivers: MOVE THE F__K OVER AND GIVE ME SOME SPACE!

When people slow to pass and actually cross the white line to give me more room, those are happy moments, safe for every one concerned.
When people pass me at the exact same time as an on coming semi, that is when I get snotty. The drivers has put his life in danger, his passenger, mine and possibly the truck drivers, all because he doesn't know how to drive safely.
Then there are the drivers that are about start an overtaking manoeuvre while coming toward you and decide, WTF, it is only a cyclist he will move over. This has happened to me 3 times in 6 months and I have had no choice but to hit the dirt.

Gee Chris, is your Passion fruit in season, because you are certainly in a good mood regarding drivers today.

CHEERS.

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Old 01-13-03, 11:20 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Dutchy
When people pass me at the exact same time as an on coming semi, that is when I get snotty. The drivers has put his life in danger, his passenger, mine and possibly the truck drivers, all because he doesn't know how to drive safely.
Then there are the drivers that are about start an overtaking manoeuvre while coming toward you and decide, WTF, it is only a cyclist he will move over. This has happened to me 3 times in 6 months and I have had no choice but to hit the dirt.
Gee, and they all seemed so polite when I was in Adelaide a few months ago.

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Originally posted by Dutchy
Gee Chris, is your Passion fruit in season, because you are certainly in a good mood regarding drivers today.
I actually posted that a couple of days ago, but in response to your query:

Yes!

Seriously though, there are people in all facets of life who piss us off, nobody's arguing with that. There are plenty of drivers that annoy me, too. I just don't see the point in holding grudges or taking out the frustrations from one on the next one.
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Old 01-13-03, 11:25 PM   #8
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Adelaide drivers are quite polite, just like the people, they do not like confrontation. 99.9% of the drivers will give room but it only takes one to ruin your life.

CHEERS.

Mark
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Old 01-14-03, 12:01 PM   #9
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Actually so far this year I have been amazed at some of the drivers politeness and I commute down a long stretch of a heavy traffic road, trucks, buses, etc.
But here is my opinion, and I am sure to get bashed on this. Motorized vehicles, in a way, own the road. People who drive motorized vehicles pay for road construction and repairs with license tags, etc. Without those taxes the roads wouldnt be fit to ride on.
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Old 01-14-03, 12:47 PM   #10
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I've had sort of the opposite problem, if you can call it that. People have been too nice, waving me through intersections when it's not my turn. Personally, I prefer it when drivers treat me like another driver but I appreciate the thought. Especially when it's as damp and foggy as it is here in January, it's nice to know that they see you at all.

So, I'm trying to remind myself to smile and wave, to be a good cycling ambassador. (That'll probably last until somebody buzzes my ear with a side mirror. )
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Old 01-14-03, 03:01 PM   #11
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How very enlightened of you, Chris !! I make an ATTEMPT to think like that daily in everything I do. When you let go of what you THINK you have control over (or let go of aggression/anger over things that are over with) you're so much more free to get on with your day and be happy. Like the old cliche says, you're only hurting yourself. No matter what you do, other people will have the choice as to wether to be a good driver/cyclist or not. The only thing you can do is diplomatically try to make known the rules of the road and watch out for yourself. Oh yeah, and have a good time When someone does something that I see as wrong, mean, whatever, I think how they must be very unhappy/miserable to feel the need to behave that way. It makes me feel compassion for them (usually through gritted teeth) and lightens the negative load
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Old 01-14-03, 04:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by TLN
...Motorized vehicles, in a way, own the road. People who drive motorized vehicles pay for road construction and repairs with license tags, etc. Without those taxes the roads wouldnt be fit to ride on.
This is not true. Roads and streets did exist a long time before a motorized vehicle appeared. Millenniums before.

For instance, there was the quality paved road between Rome and Constantinople at least 12 centuries ago.

Nowadays, there are some very good experiences when some cities reclaim the whole districts as car free. Quality of the pavement becomes usually better in such districts, upscale businesses follow, facades of the buildings do not suffer from the constant vibration, smog and dust.

As for the enmity. The one who started an aggression lost immediately. He/she lost the moral upper ground, which is very important.

I does not mean that we can not think, exchange ideas, and try to convince.

But since our goal is to have a solid and growing cycling community, I agree that we shall not antogonize with drivers counterproductively.

I guess, that even on such occasions as critical mass or anything similar, people are just to demonstrate their ideas and avoid hurting anybody.

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Old 01-14-03, 09:09 PM   #13
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Originally posted by TLN

But here is my opinion, and I am sure to get bashed on this. Motorized vehicles, in a way, own the road. People who drive motorized vehicles pay for road construction and repairs with license tags, etc. Without those taxes the roads wouldnt be fit to ride on.
Sorry, that's untrue. The so-called licence fees only pay a very small portion of the overall cost of the construction of the road network we now have. That's before fuel subisidies etc are even considered. The overwhelming majority of the funding comes out of the general revenue that we all contribute to by the taxes we pay on our income.

The fact is roads are a public place, designed for people to use for transportation by whatever means they see fit. Nobody can rightly claim ownership to them.
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Old 01-14-03, 10:16 PM   #14
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"The fact is roads are a public place, designed for people to use for transportation by whatever means they see fit. Nobody can rightly claim ownership to them."

Sorry, thats untrue... well in the US anyways. There are a lot of streets, highways, etc that you cannot use anyway you see fit. You cannot bike, walk or use unless you have a motorized vehicle that goes above a certain speed limit.

And I never said that they rightly claim ownership. Im just saying that since they do not tax bicycles like they do motorized vehicles, where I live anyway, that motorized vehicles have more of an ownership to streets, highways, whatever.
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Old 01-15-03, 03:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by TLN
And I never said that they rightly claim ownership. Im just saying that since they do not tax bicycles like they do motorized vehicles, where I live anyway, that motorized vehicles have more of an ownership to streets, highways, whatever.
I think you would find that any additional taxes that motorists pay would be just about wiped out by the fuel subsidies and various tax credits they receive. And the fact is, they don't even go close to paying the total cost of constructing and maintaining our road network. A lot of motoring groups like to use this to try and argue that bicycles should not be allowed on the roads, but the argument is inherently flawed. All factors considered they really don't pay anymore than anyone else does.

Not to mention the fact that those vehicles, by virtue of their sheer size, are always going to put more pressure on the physical road structures that a smaller vehicle, then of course you have the fact that they require more space and so on. Basically it costs the government (for government read taxpayers) a lot more money to have a car on the road than it does a bicycle. One could quite easily argue that motorists really should pay more.

In any case, the reason I started this thread was to highlight the pointlessness of such arguments. The real reason roads are built in the first place (regardless of who claims to 'own' them) is so that people can use them for transport. When you get right down to it, we're on the road for the same reason, why not just accept that we're both there, we both paid to be there and we're both entitled to be there.
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Old 01-15-03, 05:39 AM   #16
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originally posted by TLN
And I never said that they rightly claim ownership. Im just saying that since they do not tax bicycles like they do motorized vehicles, where I live anyway, that motorized vehicles have more of an ownership to streets, highways, whatever.
well, Chris has pretty much already answered, but just to re-confirm:

THIS IS A MYTH: that driver's "pay" for the roads and facilities

by considering only the DIRECT costs: in the US, license and registration fees and gas taxes do not begin to cover the publicly-financed costs of driving. in some states registration fees are as low as $25/year and gas taxes are more than offset by the gas subsidies.

road construction, repairs, traffic control, police, ambulance service... almost all of these are funded by GENERAL tax sources.

furthermore, a bicylce requires less space and causes less damage per mile than a car.

and then if you consider the indirect costs such as air pollution, noise pollution, accidents and injury, etc. the social costs of automobile operation are MUCH MUCH higher than what a motorist pays in registration, licensing and gas taxes.

in the end the bicycle user is PAYING MORE for his share of the road than the AUTO driver... and finally consider that most US cyclists also own cars, so they're also paying the registration fees for the car too!

so the relationship can be correctly stated as: auto driver's are getting MUCH of their share of costs paid for by other taxpayers from general tax sources and bicycles are also getting much of their shared paid by general tax sources, although the proportional cost of the bicycle user is much smaller as a bicycle requires less space, causes less damage, creates fewer dangers and generates less pollution.

Note: toll roads and bridges are probably the only exception where motorists actually "pay their way". this is because either there is a shortage of public funds or they are privately owned, usually for profit.
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Old 01-15-03, 10:58 AM   #17
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THIS IS A MYTH: that driver's "pay" for the roads and facilities

in the end the bicycle user is PAYING MORE for his share of the road than the AUTO driver
Impeccable logic of the whole post.

We are making social science discoveries after all.
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Old 01-15-03, 11:16 AM   #18
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"THIS IS A MYTH: that driver's "pay" for the roads and facilities"
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Old 01-22-03, 02:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
A quick revision of the threads in the "Advocacy and Safety" forum provides another reminder of the way that cyclists and motorists set themselves up in opposition to one another in some sort of contest to decide who "owns" the road.

...

So why shouldn't we all get along?

hmmm... sounds vaguely familar...

http://members.optushome.com.au/clan...e_motorist.htm

Nice to see someone's visiting my site.

[edit : just moved to a new server - updated link]

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Old 01-22-03, 03:38 AM   #20
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It was one of my sources, yes. But hey, I agree with it wholeheartedly.
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