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  1. #1
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    Respond to Bicycle Intolerance

    *If this is in the wrong forum please move with my apologies*

    In Greensboro, NC we have a little weekly journal called the Rhinoceros Times. It is remarkable mostly in that it provides a conservative view of local and national politics including the city council. It's always nice to read another point of view. Anyway, within this journal is a unique column called 'The Sound of the Beep'. This column prints recorded messages from anyone who wishes to call a local number. Usually it is full of intolerance and idiocy, outmoded ways of thinking and the occaisonal 'shout out'. Quite often it's good for a laugh. This passage was found in this weeks issue.

    Well, it's springtime and once again all motorists and our families are threatened. I'm not talking about foreign terrorists but self-centered Americans. They're easily identified wearing $200 Spandex uniforms and riding $900 bicycles. But you may not see them until it's too late. When you round the curve and see another car in our lane trying to avoid a person on a bike, you'll know what I mean. It happened to me, and it can happen to you. I think we should band together and make these people know they are not welcome on our roads.
    bolded text mine

    I do not post this to inflame, I merely wish to afford others the oppurtunity to respond. The number, if you wish to make the call, is (336) 273-0898. The message limit is one minute per call, two calls per week. Just to reiterate, this point of view is not 'typical' of the South, NC or Yanks so I'm not looking for posts about 'ignorant rednecks'. I happen to like the South, particularly NC.

  2. #2
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    Geez, I wish my bike had been that cheap!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Actually, I'm not sure that view isn't "typical" here in the South. In spite of year-round weather that's usually conducive to cycling, cyclists are a small minority when viewed as users of the road and many motorists just don't say what they think. Your NC motorist did and his view is not unique. After all, it wasn't the other motorists who excercised bad judgement with regard to the timing of his pass, it was the cyclist who he had to avoid. Similarly, it would have been the pedestrian's fault if the car was passing someone on foot. However, if it was a broken down car, a fallen tree or some other "unavoidable" obstruction then blame would have most likely been directed towards the other driver.

    There is an AP story floating around in Georgia -- the author is not named -- in which a bill to institute a bicycle safety awaress and education program similar to ones that have been adopted in Florida and South Carolina is lampooned as a "bizarre" and frivolous piece of legislation.

    The following is a slightly re-edited* version of a letter I sent to the Augusta Chronicle who chose to publish the article which can be read at the following URL: http://augustachronicle.com/stories/...124-4616.shtml

    "Augusta Chronicle Article Underscore's Why Georgia Is Far From Being A Bicycle Friendly State - The un-named reporter who filed the article entitled "Handful of bizarre bills making their way through the Legislature" on April 6th revealed an attitude that exemplifies why one of the bills he chose to lampoon -- SB 283, Georgia's "Share the Road" License Plate Initiative -- is anything but a joke and sorely needed. According to the NTHSA's FAR Data Base, 728 cyclists were killed in the US by motor vehicles in 2001, of which 216 were under the age of 21. Of the 728 cyclists killed in 2001, 20 of the deaths occured in Georgia along with another 146 pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicles. In 2002, these statistics became more than merely numbers when two Atlanta cyclists -- 33 year old doctoral student Maureen Blyler and 33 year old professional cyclist, husband and father David Martin -- were killed by motorists and a third -- sixteen year-old John Floyd, an up and coming amateur road racing cyclist -- was hit in a near-fatal accident from which he's still recovering. Another long-time cyclist in the Athens area -- 49 year old Attorney husband and father, Roger Baruch -- was stuck and killed in August. These are but a few of the lively, hard-working and valued members of our communities who needlessly lost their lives. Which brings us back to the Augusta Chronicle's article that poked fun at less than serious legislation pending before the General Assembly. Indeed, laws that require the sale of sweet tea, regulation of massage parlours, legalization of Bengal cat ownership, prohibition of the sale of children, and protection from discrimination of leather clad motorcyclists certainly sound dubious if not silly. However, SB 283 -- the "Share the Road" bill -- is serious legislation with a serious message. If approved, the bill would help raise awareness of the need for motorists to be attentive to the cyclists with whom they share Georgia's roads while, at the same time, generating funds from the sale of these "Share the Road" specialty license plates to help pay for the delivery of safe cycling education to Georgia's children. Assuming SB 283 could be passed by both the Senate and the House this year, perhaps by the time our children are old enough to take over the editorial page of the Augusta Chronicle Georgia will be a bicycle-friendly state. Then again, it looks like we've got a long way to go towards changing attitudes so maybe we shouldn't get our hopes up too high just yet."

    \
    This is also available on the Web at:
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/GATagInfo.html

    You can learn more about Maureen, David, John & Roger at the following URLs:
    http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages...7/1009669.html
    http://spokepost.com/news/?articleID=60&catViewAll=5
    http://www.mtbreview.com/hotnews/racing/rpr070.shtml
    http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/...20903023.shtml

    *Re-edited version more clearly conveys my thoughts which were somewhat
    impaired by my original angst towards the Augusta Chronicle's editorial staff.
    Never write or fight when overcome with emotion.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 08:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    The statistics speak loud and clear to me...you won't find me anywhere on a road bike ever. I feel for all the Roadies and the dilema, I keep my ears open and lobby and speak up when I can - but dang! The stats make Mountain Biking seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

    I've seen plenty of ignorant road riders here in town riding on NARROW roads where they're creating more danger for vehicular traffic than reasonably makes sense - and to tell you the truth IT PISSES ME OFF that they can ride with such reckless abandon for the safety of others (drivers).

    Logically - you've got to ride on roads that provide rider AND driver the margin of safety that each deserve...and I feel the only way that is properly addressed is with bike lanes.

    Be honest...it's quite possible that this individual that left the message was drving down a road he's familiar with, rounded a curve and had to swerve to avoid a biker or an on-coming car that was avoiding a biker...on a road that was more than likely not reasonably safe for the passage of two lanes of traffic AND a biker...

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bikeCOLORADO
    and I feel the only way that is properly addressed is with bike lanes.
    Don't go there.

    [i]Be honest...it's quite possible that this individual that left the message was drving down a road he's familiar with, rounded a curve and had to swerve to avoid a biker or an on-coming car that was avoiding a biker...on a road that was more than likely not reasonably safe for the passage of two lanes of traffic AND a biker... [/B]
    This is the same, baseless argument used by most motorists. Again, bicycles are allowed by law to use most public roads, excluding limited access freeways (with some exceptions, such as along I-5 past Camp Pendleton, CA) and motorists MUST yield right of way and may only overtake a cyclist when it is safe to do so. Cyclists are NOT obstructions, they are legal road users.

    Bottom Line: If you chose not to ride on the roads that's your perogative. However, don't be so quick to give away other cyclists rights to do so.

  6. #6
    Crank Crushing Redneck SamDaBikinMan's Avatar
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    I think cars should be banned from our roads.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SamDaBikinMan
    I think cars should be banned from our roads.
    While perhaps a bit of an overstatement in this day and age given their "advancement", cyclists did indeed play a major role in pioneering paved roads in the United States:

    http://www.hammondindiana.com/cobblestone.html

  8. #8
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    OK - I see your point...and just like all the motorists, I overlooked the fact that the LAW provides for equal access to bikers. I think I just dumbfoundedly made a very clear case in point. That the motorists (myself included) simply do not take that into consideration...and more than likely are not AWARE that bikers have equal (actually priority) access to the roads!

    My aplogies.

    OK - Now looking at it from a different perspective...even though bikers have the legal right, privelage and right of way on the road...I still would not ride on the road because the 100's of Millions of motorists are just not going to safely share the road unless:

    * A MAJOR campaign is driven to educate current and all new motorists.
    * MAJOR examples are made of drivers that violate the rights of bikers.

  9. #9
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bikeCOLORADO
    The statistics speak loud and clear to me...you won't find me anywhere on a road bike ever.
    http://www.disastercenter.com/cdc/111riske.html

    Better stay out of motor vehicles while you're at it.
    "only on a BIKE"

  10. #10
    Weasel Amongst the Snakes Viper's Avatar
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    Most states have laws on the books that state "It is legal to pass another vehicle only when safe to do so."

    The YAHOO who complained and basically called for a "Jihad" against cyclists wouldn't normally pass an auto while on a blind curve, yet thinks it completely acceptable to do so to a cyclist on the same corner...he should be complaining about the ignorant idiot driving the oncoming auto who was illegally occupying his lane.

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bikeCOLORADO
    OK - ... I think I just dumbfoundedly made a very clear case in point. That the motorists (myself included) simply do not take that into consideration...and more than likely are not AWARE that bikers have equal (actually priority) access to the roads!
    No apology necessary and you are correct with regard to the uphill battle required to remind motorists of their responsibilities. That's why it is incumbent on every cyclist to be a positive voice in regard to cycling advocacy.

    If all cyclists can at least band together with the same basic message, whether it be "Share the Road" or the more recent "Bikes Belong" mantra and do so in a constructive and positive way progress is possible. Sure, many different groups and individual have different views on how these concepts should manifest themselves but the central theme needs to be carried into all discussions regarding transportation planning, motor vehicle law enforcement, driver education and perhaps as important cyclist education.

    I'll stay away from my soapbox for now.
    Last edited by livngood; 04-08-03 at 04:44 PM.

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by thbirks
    http://www.disastercenter.com/cdc/111riske.html

    Better stay out of motor vehicles while you're at it.
    Actually, you may find this to be a more interesting data base.
    http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/

    This is a link to the interactive National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data base.

    If you click on "People" you'll find another list with "Pedacyclists" and if you click on that you'll be able to drill down into some very interesting demographic data regarding cyclist fatalities. You'll also find you can sort it by individual states, etc...

    A word of caution, the data base is only as good as the information recorded by Law Enforcement officials who are present at and who investigate fatal accidents. Accurate reporting on cycling fatalities is sometimes spotty and this is yet another area where cycling-related education is needed by the officers who file these reports.

  13. #13
    Look Ma, NO hands!
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    It looks like you are a lot safer on a bicycle than you are on a motorcycle!

    and more than likely are not AWARE that bikers have equal (actually priority) access to the roads!
    Thank God you don't live here where there are slow moving farm tractors everywhere! If you go passing on blind corners you just may meet a 4440 JD head on in that blind corner! I bet you couldn't guess who wins these every time? On the other hand they do tend to slow people down.

    I think most bicycle riders who are on the road cause little problems for motorst. It's also funny how other people are so quick to take away the rights of people who participate in activities that they have no use for. There are lot's of this country that MT biking is very booring because there are NO mountians! Many people also use bikes for transportation.


    I had a fella stop me on a night ride not long ago to offer to take me and the bike to the next town. He just couldn't beleave someone would be out at 11pm on a bicycle.

  14. #14
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    I have to say I can see Bikecolorado's point- mountain bikers and downhillers can crash and break their bones, but they are probably a lot safer in terms of fatalities. Sometimes I think they have the right idea staying off the roads!

    728 cyclists, that is horrendous.

    Here in quebec, they finally decided to allow right turns on red. Which I think is a dumb idea, but fortunately it is NOT allowed in Montreal.I say fortunately, because with montreal drivers, cyclists and pedestrian deaths would skyrocket, but I think they took this into account.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  15. #15
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by thbirks
    http://www.disastercenter.com/cdc/111riske.html

    Better stay out of motor vehicles while you're at it.
    Gee, these sure look at lot like my stats from my helmet arguments (I wonder if ChipRGW thinks they're bogus too?)
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by wabbit
    728 cyclists, that is horrendous.
    Two little data points to consider:

    1. 127 of the 728 cycling fatalities in 2001 occured in Florida which is without equal in terms of bad drivers.
    2. There were over 4,882 pedestrian's killed by motorists in 2001, you guesed it: 489 in Florida alone.

    On the bright side of things, we just learned tonight that Georgia's State Senate approved our "Share the Road" license plate initiative. It will now go to the House where they'll probably table it (maybe not); however, it's a great first step!!

    More information here:
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/GATagInfo.html

  17. #17
    Got Jesus? bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
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    "Share the Road" approval? A minor miracle from the mighty Senate...congrats!

  18. #18
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I don't mean to offend with this post, but it seems that a few around here might have short memories. I remember a heap of threads about this sort of thing a few months ago. Basically, the tosspot who wrote the article is just trolling, trying to generate strong feelings in his article and get passionate responses. He's probably sitting back right now gloating about the number of letters his article received. The best way to put a stop to this is to:

    1. Ignore it. If he thinks nobody cares he won't do it again. Yes, I know he's "encouraging road rage". Basically, if someone threatens you call the cops. Either way, what this guy has said is already out there. Abusing him won't help our cause (even if it does make us feel better for a while)

    2. Stop buying the journal point blank. If sales go down too much, he'll be out of a job.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  19. #19
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Originally posted by livngood
    Two little data points to consider:

    1. 127 of the 728 cycling fatalities in 2001 occured in Florida which is without equal in terms of bad drivers.
    2. There were over 4,882 pedestrian's killed by motorists in 2001, you guesed it: 489 in Florida alone.

    More information here:
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/GATagInfo.html
    Rub it in why don't ya? This is in a state where the "Share the Road" tag has been in place for a couple of years.

  20. #20
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    What amazes me is how many drivers can see round corners, over humped back hills etc. that's the only way I can explain how they can pass a bike at these points.

    I would always revert to the old drive as fast as you can see. You should never come round a corner and be "surprised" enough to have to do anything drastic.

    same goes for bikers on tracks coming rapidly on walkers.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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  21. #21
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chewa
    What amazes me is how many drivers can see round corners, over humped back hills etc. that's the only way I can explain how they can pass a bike at these points.
    Wade Nelson's "Cyclo-Math" may offer an explanation....

    "Motorists use cyclo-math when choosing how and when to un-safely pass a cyclist. If there's a car back, and a car up, there's a 99.44% chance they will BOTH adjust their trajectories to cross paths at exactly at the point in the road where you are cycling, no matter what speed they were traveling at previously. These are the same people who can't solve the train going 40 mph problems in 7th grade"

    The entire piece is now posted in the General Discussions Area:
    Cyclo-Math (Humorous but perhaps true)

    It's also posted on my Web site:
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/a...cyclomath.html

  22. #22
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Raiyn
    Rub it in why don't ya? This is in a state where the "Share the Road" tag has been in place for a couple of years.
    Change is a long and slow process. What's interesting about the FARs data for cyclist fatalities in Florida and Georgia is their relative stability over time and, at least in 2000, parallel and significant drops (I'd love to know what happend in 2000 - was the weather that bad?):

    YEAR -- FLA -- GA
    1994 -- 120 -- 19
    1995 -- 148 -- 20 -- Up
    1996 -- 108 -- 15 -- Down
    1997 -- 124 -- 19 -- Up
    1998 -- 98 -- 22 -- Split
    1999 -- 123 -- 22 -- FL back Up
    2000 -- 90 -- 15 -- Down
    2001 -- 127 -- 20 -- Up

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by Chris L
    The best way to put a stop to this is to:

    1. Ignore it. If he thinks nobody cares he won't do it again. Yes, I know he's "encouraging road rage". Basically, if someone threatens you call the cops. Either way, what this guy has said is already out there. Abusing him won't help our cause (even if it does make us feel better for a while)

    2. Stop buying the journal point blank. If sales go down too much, he'll be out of a job.
    Chris L,
    While I do agree to some extant that ignoring such posters, particularly on public forums, will result in a decrease of their posts, I do think that the medium he 'posted' in is quite different than that of the internet. The journal is free and thus not dependant upon sales figures, and also, the 'author' is actually just a citizen who called a phone number which is provided for those who wish to express an opinion to the readership. Like a more accessible letter to the Editor.
    The resason I posted here was merely becuase I felt that because of the high readership of said journal it might prove beneficial to provide a rejoinder in the next weeks issue. Hopefully, a reader who was influenced by the ignorant rant in the previous issue may find his views tempered by the responses published in an upcoming issue. I know these topics can be inflammatory but it was not my intent to troll.

  24. #24
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lyam
    Chris L,
    While I do agree to some extant that ignoring such posters, particularly on public forums, will result in a decrease of their posts, I do think that the medium he 'posted' in is quite different than that of the internet. The journal is free and thus not dependant upon sales figures, and also, the 'author' is actually just a citizen who called a phone number which is provided for those who wish to express an opinion to the readership. Like a more accessible letter to the Editor.
    Believe it or not, people can still use that forum to troll. One of the (many) reasons I gave up reading newspapers was exactly that. While the Journal might be free, I bet it pays the bills somehow, probably with advertising, meaning that readers are still just as important (nobody's going to advertise in a publication nobody reads), and I still say that ignoring him is the best way to go. To be honest, I doubt he even believes what he's writing.

    Originally posted by lyam
    The resason I posted here was merely becuase I felt that because of the high readership of said journal it might prove beneficial to provide a rejoinder in the next weeks issue. Hopefully, a reader who was influenced by the ignorant rant in the previous issue may find his views tempered by the responses published in an upcoming issue. I know these topics can be inflammatory but it was not my intent to troll.
    I wasn't accusing you of trolling.
    "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.
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  25. #25
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    In 2001 I was in a (partly my fault) road rage incident. A car was tailgating me through some tight twisting corners by less than a few feet. When he passed I gave him my usual 1 finger salute and he tried to brake test me and locked up his brakes hard enough to induce a skid a smoke from his tyres. I reported him to the police and had an interesting chat with a cop who use to ride on the road. He said that after many close encounters he now only rides MTB off road and that "us" roadies were mad for not doing the same.
    I don't ever feel unsafe riding here, drivers are tolerant and fairly patient for the most part. However I was left thinking about the policeman's thoughts for a few days.

    Driver intolerance changes with the weather, in our Saturday group ride there can be 12-15riders on some narrow up hill roads. Most weekends we get zero abuse, once we had 3 or 4 drivers yell "get off the rooooaaaad.......". I hope for this drivers sake they don't get a flat up the road, 12 guys against 1 driver is never going to end happy.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

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