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  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    There are dildos among us.

    If you got this far, then we know that dildos is not bad enough to be a forbidden term. (But, Joe, you can change it to "Wankers" if you think appropriate).

    Anyway, dildos, wankers, whatever - you know what I mean; stupid unthinking bicyclists.

    The other day, there was a big discussion at work about how bicyclists are dangerous for everybody because they don't follow traffic laws. They zip in and around traffic. They don't observe traffic lights, they sometimes act as a pedestrian and sometimes like a motorists. They don't ride straight lines.

    Naturally, they were pointing their frustration at ME ! I am not an road offender, but to them, I represent bicyclists at large.

    Honestly, though, as much as we rant about automobile drivers, bicyclists are worse. Many people who ride bikes are not really bicyclists in my opinion. They are just people who experience the freedom and elation of bicycling and they abandon common sense on the road. Last week I actually had two near crashes with kids on bikes - my bike crashing with theirs! I love kids and am glad I was on a bike and not in a car.

    Let's bear this in mind and be good bicycle ambassadors and spread the word about safe bicycling.

    If you have any suggestions for spreading the word and making the amature bicyclist better road semaritans, please post your ideas here.
    Mike

  2. #2
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    One of the scariest times I've had on a ride recently was when I found myself with two cyclists, obviously a couple, riding (helmetless, of course) alternately on the sidewalks and the street, exchanging places at random and without any warning.

    I thought about stopping and waiting several minutes till the danger was far enough ahead, but instead I was eventually able to pass them without colliding.

    I dearly wish there would ever be a police car around when something like this happens--not that it might make any diffrence: I see the KC bike police do the same thing.
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  3. #3
    Senior Member technogirl's Avatar
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    I see that quite a bit, Mike, kids cycling around, going the wrong side of the road, and such. I think it has a lot to do with simply not knowing. I vaguely remember when I was a kid, some guy/gal police officer that would tell the school kids the bicycle safety issue, but they don't do that anymore. Well, at least, not in my town.

    I recently rode with my son for the first time out around town. He's almost 13 years old. I had to show him how to ride his bike properly...you know observe the traffic laws, not riding on the wrong side of the street, check for other motorists out there (who aren't looking), and other bike safety issues. He always wears his helmet, (as far as I know) ...It made me realize that I was really behind in my parenting skills on how to ride a bike!

    Okay, he's now old enough to ride down the block without me, so I guess I should've set some ground rules. He'll be taking more swimming lessons soon, and he'll have to ride his bike to the location. I'm quite nervous about him being out there, riding his bike, but I'll be taking several rides with him, so he understands how to ride his bike properly, and the best way to get to his swimming lessons.

    Btw, his dad's re-learning how to ride as well, after 15 years off from riding bikes! I even sent him links that Pete posted on bike safety, that he's read. Sooooo, hopefully we'll have less unthinking bicyclists out there!

  4. #4
    Senior Member technogirl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JonR
    One of the scariest times I've had on a ride recently was when I found myself with two cyclists, obviously a couple, riding (helmetless, of course) alternately on the sidewalks and the street, exchanging places at random and without any warning.
    Hey, Jon, my friend was looking up mountain biking slang, and I believe he said that cyclists that don't wear bike helmets are given some slang term "Organ Donors"... sad, but true...I'll have to find the link to that web site...
    -------------------------------------
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  5. #5
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    mike,

    I have learned from first-hand experience that even cycling organizations can't "control" the actions of its members. (Neither can the law.) I belong to the Southern Bicycle League (SBL) and participate in group rides almost every Saturday or Sunday. Before the ride begins, everyone gathers around the ride leader for instructions, maps, etc. The leader always says something like, "The SBL requires all riders to follow the rules of the road and obey Georgia law, including riding in single file when in traffic, stopping at stop signs and lights, and signaling a turn."
    Generally more than half don't bother to do any of these things after the first turn or stop sign.

    The big problem is that these rides pass through neighborhoods. Sure there is little traffic, but there are many people out working in their yards, walking the dog, playing with their kids, etc. These people SEE what cyclists are doing and judge every cyclist by the behavior of a few.

    Organizations and laws can't get people to change. They have to decide for themselves that they want to change. They have to admit that they are doing something wrong and understand that it is causing problems for ALL cyclists.

    I had the importance of obeying the law reinforced in an Effective Cycling class. I would recommend that every cyclist take the class.
    Maybe it should be a requirement to take AND pass an EC class when someone buys a bike.

    Sorry I don't have any answers, just observations.

    Ron
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  6. #6
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    Sorry I don't have any answers, just observations.

    Good observations, RonH, and thanks. I would add along your lines that I think it would be good if everybody that buys a car had to first demonstrate the ability to drive properly. Of course then the economy would plunge into an unheard-of depression....

    I went on one group ride with the local bike club. I was so appalled and embarrassed by the behavior of the hot-shot cyclists that I never went on another one. (However, on that ride, the slower riders, like me, that ended up in the rear, did tend to obey all the traffic laws the others scoffed at.)
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike

    The other day, there was a big discussion at work about how bicyclists are dangerous for everybody because they don't follow traffic laws. They zip in and around traffic. They don't observe traffic lights, they sometimes act as a pedestrian and sometimes like a motorists. They don't ride straight lines.

    Naturally, they were pointing their frustration at ME ! I am not an road offender, but to them, I represent bicyclists at large.
    There was a thread here about this ages ago on this forum. I seriously don't think there is anything that sensible law-abiding cyclists can do about them. It's exactly the same as my rants about automobile drivers. Until we get some stronger and more vigorous policing, the problem will remain. Although, if they are on bikes, natural selection could eventually solve the problem for us!

    Originally posted by mike

    Honestly, though, as much as we rant about automobile drivers, bicyclists are worse.
    I don't believe so. If I have a tangle with another cyclist, it is unlikely to kill me, or even break any bones. The same can't be said for incompetent drivers.

    Chris
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  8. #8
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    How about this,

    In the small town where I work, I've encountered a "cyclist" that is proudly mounted on his spankin' new Bike-E recumbent, helmetless and breaking about every law and code of conduct set up for cyclists. He weaves through traffic, rides on sidewalks, blows through red lights, I even saw him turn left though a red light to enter a one way street the wrong way!

    This may not sound that unusual untill I tell you that he works in the towns LBS. The first time I encountered him in the store I was speechless (am I wrong for finding this absolutely repugnant?)

    Moose

    P.S. I have also noticed that he often leaves his Bike-E unlocked when he shops on the square, and have fought the temptation to teach him a lesson.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Man-O-Man, Moose. That is a tough one.

    I would ask that LBS owner/bicycle terrorist to put on a bicycle safety program for a select group of your friends. Maybe once he feels he is a role model, he will change his ways.
    Mike

  10. #10
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Moose
    ... he works in the towns LBS. The first time I encountered him in the store I was speechless (am I wrong for finding this absolutely repugnant?)

    Good grief, I'd be speechless, too. What a terrible example to set! Mike's advice is good--try to make something sweet out of this bitter lemon.
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  11. #11
    It's only a hill. Weasel's Avatar
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    Love the title Mike.

    I would like to explain the strange situation here in Berlin, but this entry would be too long so I'll try to keep it brief.

    Cyclists are Public Enemy No. 1. Unfortunately, as everyone has stated already, this is down to the 'dildos' on rust-buckets. There is a huge problem here. Traffic lights are ignored by virtually all cyclists, whether they blast straight through or crawl through waiting for gaps. Other breaches of the StVO (road traffic law) are too numerous to mention here (some have been mentioned anyway).

    This is all the more unusual as Germany is a fairly regulated country. Law is law, the Germans must have order! Berlins cyclists are an island of disorder amongst all of this. So what is being done to regain order and stop giving motorists ammunition to use against us?

    Well, for one, the police are regularly out and about setting traps for these lunatics. One plain-clothes officer will lie in wait at a set of lights, meanwhile a control point will be set up out of sight further down the road. If said ***** decides to jump red light, the first guy gets on his radio and he gets pulled in by the fuz. A lighter wallet later and only after they have had their bike checked for lights, reflectors, bell etc, they are again on their way. I say 'they' because as many are women as there are men.

    However, this is all well and good, but there are only a few policemen and they cannot be everywhere and at every junction (Berlin, being a capital city suffers from a lot of State Visits, so they tend to eat up large amounts of policemen/women).

    The next step? You'll love this! Number plates on bikes. In the local rag (Berliner Zeitung) last week, it was decided by those amongst the higher etchelons of some ministry or other to look into bringing about this piece of legislation for Berlin at least. A photograph was printed of a policeman fixing a number plate to a bike. I don't know how they would endorse traffic offences. Maybe put points on their driving licences. Then only car drivers would be able to ride bikes. Or Germany, being Germany, would create more red tape bureaucracy and create a cycle licence. Good eh?

    Anyway, back to work. I've rattled on enough. They are still dildos.

  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Weasel

    Cyclists are Public Enemy No. 1. Unfortunately, as everyone has stated already, this is down to the 'dildos' on rust-buckets. There is a huge problem here. Traffic lights are ignored by virtually all cyclists, whether they blast straight through or crawl through waiting for gaps. Other breaches of the StVO (road traffic law) are too numerous to mention here (some have been mentioned anyway).

    This is all the more unusual as Germany is a fairly regulated country. Law is law, the Germans must have order! Berlins cyclists are an island of disorder amongst all of this. So what is being done to regain order and stop giving motorists ammunition to use against us?

    Well, for one, the police are regularly out and about setting traps for these lunatics. One plain-clothes officer will lie in wait at a set of lights, meanwhile a control point will be set up out of sight further down the road. If said ***** decides to jump red light, the first guy gets on his radio and he gets pulled in by the fuz. A lighter wallet later and only after they have had their bike checked for lights, reflectors, bell etc, they are again on their way. I say 'they' because as many are women as there are men.
    Another reason to have zero-tolerance policing on traffic infringements.

    Chris
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  13. #13
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Mike,

    Just as incompetant cyclists (including the ones who believe they are overqualified "elite" cyclists who are above petty traffic laws)
    degrade the overall image of cycling to the public at large, I like to think that cyclists who respect the rules gain almost immediate respect from motorists. I make a point of stopping and signalling and even waving on groups of patient drivers just to show how a competant cyclist (notice, I did not say, "expert cyclist" or "elite cyclist") can flow with traffic as good or better than a car. I dare say that cars often don't get as much respect from each other as I give them. I am rarely squeezed, honked at, or called "a**hole"
    anymore.

    And here's a twist on the respect issue. I really wonder if the fact that car drivers are required to pass a test to get a license,
    while cyclists are not, makes us cyclists appear trifling to motorists. Perhaps if we cyclists were required to complete effective cycling courses to obtain a license (at no cost to the low-income cyclist or children) our level of respect would increase along with our level of competancy. Some say this would decrease cycling, but I believe it is the lack of respect for cycling that makes it unappealing to novices, and required training and licensing would not only boost its appeal, but forever establish the bicycle as a legal road vehicle.

    Certainly it has been shown that trained cyclists reduce their risk of accident and death by several times. This alone is a good reason to try it. Yet strangely enough, it is cyclists themselves who might resist such a "restriction," even though it is likely to add the "legitimacy" needed to gain public respect and perks.

    I have never heard of any segment of society that gained respect or social/economic/political advancement without also being educated. Let's face the reality of it. Not being educated cyclists
    just keeps us as second-class road users.

  14. #14
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    I like to think that cyclists who respect the rules gain almost immediate respect from motorists.
    I disagree. My "I'm a bad boy" rant posted elsewhere on this site is an example of what I am talking about. Around here, following the road rules is just not considered to be socially acceptable.


    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    And here's a twist on the respect issue. I really wonder if the fact that car drivers are required to pass a test to get a license,
    while cyclists are not, makes us cyclists appear trifling to motorists. Perhaps if we cyclists were required to complete effective cycling courses to obtain a license (at no cost to the low-income cyclist or children) our level of respect would increase along with our level of competancy. Some say this would decrease cycling, but I believe it is the lack of respect for cycling that makes it unappealing to novices, and required training and licensing would not only boost its appeal, but forever establish the bicycle as a legal road vehicle.
    I'm not sure it would. I don't know about the US, but here in Australia most of the population has very narrow views about what people "should" aspire to in life. Basically, if it is not your ultimate goal to have a 3 bedroom suburban brick house with 2.3 children and a Holden in the garage, you are considered to be some kind of weirdo.

    I don't think having one's name on a piece of paper is going to change that.

    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    Certainly it has been shown that trained cyclists reduce their risk of accident and death by several times.
    That is true, assuming the training is done properly. However I am not totally convinced that it would be. Somehow I get the feeling that our politicians, seeking votes from the "majority of road users (i.e. car drivers) would basically expect cyclists to give the right of way to all motorists, irrespective of what the law says.

    On a ride the other day I encountered a section of roadwork where the road was reduced to one lane for a section of a 14% hill. The traffic controller basically asked me to ride through while the traffic from the other side was being allowed to go. The practical upshot of this is that many traffic designers actually believe that it is safer for cyclists to be riding against the traffic, which I discovered is clearly not the case.

    Coming back across that section of road I declined their offer and felt a lot safer riding with the traffic. My point? Unless one is speaking from a point of experience in cycling, they probably won't understand the principles of effective cycling.

    Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe a licence is any proof of competence at all. An example: I could get my car licence tomorrow and not drive again for 20 years. However, all the authorities would know is that I have a perfect driving record. This could also happen with cyclists.

    Chris
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  15. #15
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    I was on a "club" ride one time, when we left a restaurant in a small town, to may amazement everyone rode out into the MAIN street in front of the only car in sight! bringing it to a COMPLETE STOP!!! go figure
    Pat5319


  16. #16
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    mike,

    These people SEE what cyclists are doing and judge every cyclist by the behavior of a few.

    Ron
    Then they are fools. I try not to lose any sleep over the opinions of fools.

    Originally posted by RonH

    Organizations and laws can't get people to change. They have to decide for themselves that they want to change. They have to admit that they are doing something wrong and understand that it is causing problems for ALL cyclists.
    Ron
    This is a tough one, but I suggest a good place to start would be to only accept responsibility for our own actions and not accept the erroneous belief that we are responsible for the actions of all cyclists.

    Riding lawfully and respectfully is it's own reward, and it only takes a small amount of reason for motorists to recognise that and treat you lawfully and respectfully in return, irrespective of how badly behaved some other cyclist they have seen might have been, and despite what they sometimes say. I really don't think the problem is as bad as we sometimes seem to think.

    As for getting the bad cyclists to change their habits, it's true what you say in that they can't be forced to change, they have to want to. However this doesn't preclude encouraging the idea, and presenting reasons why they might want to change. The simplest way of doing this is by demonstrating the correct way to ride and being patient, and accepting the fact that they might not pick it up.

    I firmly believe that anyone remotely interested in cycling will want to find better ways of doing it, and will seek out the wisdom of those who know. New knowledge can only be received when a question has been asked. You can't tell someone who doesn't want to know, and it's futile to try.

  17. #17
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Allister
    Then they are fools. I try not to lose any sleep over the opinions of fools.
    This may just be the smartest line I have heard all year.

    Chris
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  18. #18
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    As a lawful vehicular cyclist, I favor reasonable, balanced enforcement of traffic laws. This includes a traffic fine structure which differentiates between easing through a stop sign at 2mph, without violating anyone's right-of-way, and a far more dangerous offense, such as wrong-way cycling at night without lights. Unfortunately, under California law and typical patterns of enforcement, the cyclist rolling through the stop sign is the one who is more likely to be slapped with an automobile-sized $271 moving violation fine (California's "one size fits all violators" figure). My other big complaint is that too many law officers are ignorant of traffic laws as they apply to cyclists. For example, a sheriff's deputy told one of my neighbors that he cannot use the left turn lanes, even though the vehicle code summary book clearly depicts cyclists making vehicular left turns. Also, if I approach an intersection and I am unable to trigger the traffic light to change to green, that light is technically inoperative, and therefore to be treated as a stop sign. However, this interpretation is controversial and not universally accepted.

    The discussion of proposed bicycle enforcement measures in Berlin reminded me of the Europe '92 T-shirt: EuroHeaven has British police, German mechanics, French romantics, Swiss politicians, and Italian chefs. EuroHell has German police, French mechanics, Swiss romantics, Italian politicians, and British chefs.

  19. #19
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    Also, if I approach an intersection and I am unable to trigger the traffic light to change to green, that light is technically inoperative, and therefore to be treated as a stop sign. However, this interpretation is controversial and not universally accepted.
    John,

    At about 3:00 today I came upon a light that wouldn't change, and no car appeared to help me out. I basically had to run the light (it was too early for any traffic yet.) This got me pondering as I rode. If a "dead" traffic light (hit by a power outage) is treated as a four-way stop, I could argue that a non-responsive light was technically "dead" and should be treated as a stop sign. All this went through my head as I pictured myself attempting to persuade the judge.

    I kid you not, this is really spooky, man.

    Anyway, I was convinced!

  20. #20
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    The "inoperative traffic light" defense has been used successfully in California courts, but it is subject to the judge's interpretation and sympathies. If you are going to argue inoperability, you need to back it up with a prompt report to your city traffic engineer, so that your complaint is on record before your day in court. I have also read Internet postings from Aurora CO, noting that legal authorities there are not impressed by our logic, so be careful. (I hate running red lights, anyway. It's dangerous, scary, and bad public relations. I would much rather wait my turn for a light which I know will properly respond to my presence.)

  21. #21
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    (I hate running red lights, anyway. It's dangerous, scary, and bad public relations. I would much rather wait my turn for a light which I know will properly respond to my presence.)
    Well said. I generally only do it at 5am or something when there's absolutely nobody else around!

    Chris
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  22. #22
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    I like to think that cyclists who respect the rules gain almost immediate respect from motorists.
    There are motorists who get peeved at cyclists for following the rules of the road. When the motorist wants you off of the road, they may yell at you to ride on the sidewalk or on the other side of the road (against traffic).

    It's not too often that I get profanities yelled at me by motorists, but these profanities invariably are shouted when I am riding in a manner that is completely legal. And the one time that someone tried to swat me through their open car window, I was riding in a manner that was completely legal.

    I live less than 8 miles from the place where on April 26, 1999, bicyclist Tom McBride was killed by SUV driver Carnell Fitzpatrick in an act of road rage. While I'm not an advocate for riding on the sidewalk, I know that if McBridge had been illegally riding on the sidewalk, Fitzpatrick might have ignored him entirely and McBride might still be alive today.

    While I've never been a victim of road rage myself, I know that there are occassionally drivers where the best thing I can do is to get the **** out of their way. They don't care whether or not I'm following the rules of the road.
    Last edited by ViciousCycle; 08-15-01 at 10:20 PM.

  23. #23
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ViciousCycle
    [BThere are motorists who get peeved at cyclists for following the rules of the road. When the motorist wants you off of the road, they may yell at you to ride on the sidewalk or on the other side of the road (against traffic).

    It's not too often that I get profanities yelled at me by motorists, but these profanities invariably are shouted when I am riding in a manner that is completely legal.
    [/B]
    That's true. As I've said before, I follow the road rules purely for my own safety. I couldn't care less whether others like me or not. In fact, I hope they don't like me. A friend of mine once suggested that 90% of the population has the IQ roughly equivalent to that of a carrot. Therefore: If I'm unpopular, I must be doing something right!

    Disclaimer: I meant no offence to carrots with the above comment.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  24. #24
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    many cyclists are not good at following traffic regulations that is true. I think that some of them also ride on the pavement and consider themselves somewhere between pedestrians and vehicles. That is especially dangerous.

    Having said that, I recently read in the New Mexico official driver manual that by law, cars are supposed to remain a distance of at least 5 feet between themselves and a bike. There is not a single day that a car passes me much closer than that.

    Many cars do not respct cyclist. The other day, I was doing something perfectly normal (like moving away from the turn right only line to let a car pass) and the drivers slow down and tells me "Do you actually think that you are a car or what?". I was so mad I screamed "I have the same rights as a car, you

  25. #25
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Chris L


    A friend of mine once suggested that 90% of the population has the IQ roughly equivalent to that of a carrot. Chris
    Hey look at who they elected (in the US) - well sort of elected - . HE is the first US president to have (this is official) an IQ below average (around 90 as I remember) ! Now that's the most powerful man in the world today...

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