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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mr. Fly's Avatar
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    Rant: I think I understand radicalization now

    I have been fairly fortunate in terms of near-misses with other road-going vehicles, and for the most part, my vigilance has served me well to avoid accidents. Sure, I have been punched in the face by a truck driver for not "riding on the sidewalk" (police was called, and case resolved to my satisfaction), and I had to brake hard many times to avoid cars turning in front of me. However, for the most part, once I speak cordially to the drivers about how to look out for cyclists (when I can), I get on with life. I never really felt the disdain or even hatred of some cyclists for "cagers", and to paraphrase Rodney King, wanted to "all just get along". Today, I think I finally understand where the so-call "radicals" are hailing from.

    It started innocently enough, with my ride to the local farmers' market and a stop-over at the local coffee shop. Riding home, a nice late-model Porsche convertible with two gentlemen pulled up alongside me on my left. I noticed they were looking towards the right, probably looking for their destination and instinctively, I had my fingers on my brake levers. Indeed, they proceeded to turn right in front of me. Obviously, I had braked at the first sight of their turn, and I wasn't in any danger of hitting them. However, I had wanted to speak to the driver to express that cyclists can travel at a faster rate than most would think. I also wanted to express that an error on the car driver's part does not typically injure the driver, but may bear severe consequences for the cyclist. The driver was apologetic of his misjudgment, and seemed willing to consider my viewpoint. However, throughout my conversation with the driver, his passenger and a truck driver (who was parked by the side of the road) were yelling rudely at me, stating that I should get lost because the driver said he was sorry.

    Now, I wasn't rude or confrontational. My intent was only to offer an alternate viewpoint that many do not seem to realize - if an accident occur, regardless of who is at fault, the cyclist has a lot more to lose than the driver. Therefore, please be considerate and look out for us. I did not understand why the passenger and the truck driver were yelling at me. Did they really think a simple "sorry" can release them from all responsibility? What if I wasn't a seasoned cyclist, and did not brake hard or fast enough to avoid hitting the car? Would a sorry suffice then? Did they think that being covered by insurance and therefore being able to offer monetary compensation can cover for pain, suffering, or even death? Is a few seconds of their time worth so much that they should risk my well-being? How would they feel if I drove a M1 Abrams (or even an old Sherman) tan, paid little attention to them, turned right in front of them, and offered a sorry now and then? What if I had insurance to cover for their "troubles"?

    I think this situation was significantly different from the usual hecklers from passing cars, the buzzers who get really close, and the honkers who think the bicycle's place is on the sidewalk. Those people generally revert back to reasonable normal people once they leave the safety of their steel shells. What I was up with are people who behave like asses even without their protective, anonymousing shells.

    The more I thought about it, the more I think I understand radicalization. Of course, even before this, I know there are people out there who cannot be educated, do not give a damn, and couldn't be less considerate of others. However, it finally hit me that my personal well-being (as well as those of my loved ones) hinges upon their behavior, and there is nothing I can really do to affect that. I believe that anyone at the receiving end of any interactions with these folks will agree that the world will be better without these sort of behaviors. Yet, seemingly, no one is willing to do anything about it. No one is willing to identify, isolate, educate and punish the doers of these types of behaviors. Everyone is afraid of offending everyone else, and thus no one will benefit except these inconsiderates. As a result, the inconsiderates become even more inconsiderate because there is no adverse consequence. It's a feeling of helplessness, franticness and anger.

    Of course, I am not going to turn into a radical, nor will I suddenly support their (to me) radical agendas. However, I believe I understand them more now, and can empathize with their cause.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    practice reading drivers the riot act, radical. it really doesn't do any good, but makes you feel more empowered. I like a few loud shouts of "learn the rules of the road" which I think imparts a question in even the most hardened anti-bicycling driver out there.....they might wonder exactly WHAT those rules of the road are.

    as counterpoint, I've had drivers retort idiotically 'it's never been proven in a court of law' bikes have the right to the road, which is totally nonsensical. oh well.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  4. #4
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Porsche mirrors are expensive, take one off.
    Not too much to say here

  5. #5
    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    tHAT video is a riot. Thanks for a good laugh fem in pa.
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  6. #6
    It's an old photo Boss Moniker's Avatar
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    That video is great... no question. Anyone else catch the Arrested Development reference with the guy towing the chair?

    By the way... very informative rant. Hardly a rant, actually.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    Just because I'm not angry anymore doesn't mean I don't think bossmoniker and every other hipster **** I see riding around on aerowheels isn't a piece of **** thats only use is to be an easy target for ridicule.

  7. #7
    Wildman in the Sky voileauciel's Avatar
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    Radicalisation can be and often is necessary, depending on the circumstance. The most radical thing a cyclist can do is to continue riding, however, and report every incident that occurs with a motorist. This has two effects: to put pressure on police and motorists to actually start giving a hoot, and to punish, eventually, those committing the acts.

    "True radicals" will retort against acts committed against them with the same immaturity that the offender has dished up, whilst "progressive radicals" will behave much like the OP, offering sound, legally correct advice and doing so in a polite and considerate manner. To lurch cannonballs back and forth accomplishes nothing, and if someone is unwilling or incapable of understanding the rights of the cyclist, then justice will eventually prevail on them, so I applaud you for taking a mature approach to this.

    In my area, there are considerably more incompetent drivers than educated ones, and it shows. All I can do is to keep reporting incidents and eventually, the police will have to do something...the same applies anywhere.
    "Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple."

  8. #8
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Thanx. Another great add to my favorites list of cycling sites.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  9. #9
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulchie View Post
    tHAT video is a riot. Thanks for a good laugh fem in pa.
    His name is Lem.


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  10. #10
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    That video was definite laugh, I'd love to pull up in that truck at our local lumber yard for some home improvement supplys.

  11. #11
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    Mr. Fly, I'm trying to understand what you were trying to get out of the interaction with the driver. A fruit basket?

    Furthermore, the argument that a cyclist is more exposed than a motorist is weak, unpersuasive, plays the victim, and begs the obvious rejoinder, Then why the hell aren't you driving a car?

  12. #12
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    I consider myself a radical (in lots of ways, not just regarding bikes). I'm not angry or cynical or violent (most of the time). I just ride my bike, and I love it. I tell other people I love riding my bike. I always ride with a big, fat, ridiculous smile on my face. That is the best advocacy there is. And honestly, I think it's pretty radical. The militant connotation of "radical" is all mixed up. That's not radical, it's just grumpy. Imagine doing something you believe can change the world, plus it makes you happy! That's radical. I always think of that line "A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having." Truth, that.

    You don't have to be angry to be radical. You just have to put your whole heart into what you do.

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    practice reading drivers the riot act, radical. it really doesn't do any good, but makes you feel more empowered. I like a few loud shouts of "learn the rules of the road" which I think imparts a question in even the most hardened anti-bicycling driver out there.....they might wonder exactly WHAT those rules of the road are.

    as counterpoint, I've had drivers retort idiotically 'it's never been proven in a court of law' bikes have the right to the road, which is totally nonsensical. oh well
    .
    I'm pretty much with you on this one. Nobody is going to give you your rights on a silver platter, you have to assert them. I never agreed that you should act all sweet and girlish so as not to "give cycling a bad name." If a "motorist" gives me hell, I'll give it back to him. I try not to get too carried away, but, umm, sometimes....

    I would not attack somebody physically, other than as a defensive measure. And I try to rant about their conduct and behavior, but leave their presumed personal characteristics out of it.
    Last edited by Roody; 09-10-07 at 12:02 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    well, the word 'radical' really means 'addressing an issue at it's root or source'. so, if in this society you use human-powered transport as your primary means of getting around and eschew 'car culture' and if you believe that by doing this you are making a positive contribution towards stopping things like climate change, particulate and ground-level ozone pollution, urban sprawl and the epidemic of obesity then you're probably already a 'radical'.

    people with a moderate or even no political agenda engage in all sorts of violent outbursts all the time. knocking off a review mirror or kryptoniting a windshield doesn't mean you're a 'radical'. heck, most 'road rage' instances are driver-on-driver!

    so, yeah, buying groceries on your bike? my neighbour drives his truck four blocks to the 7-11. you, sir, were probably a radical all along!

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fly View Post

    Of course, I am not going to turn into a radical, nor will I suddenly support their (to me) radical agendas. However, I believe I understand them more now, and can empathize with their cause.
    It is amazing how a near miss or even being hit, changes one's perspective.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordfasterr View Post
    His name is Lem.


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    whoops! Sorry Lem.
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  17. #17
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frymaster View Post
    people with a moderate or even no political agenda engage in all sorts of violent outbursts all the time. knocking off a review mirror or kryptoniting a windshield doesn't mean you're a 'radical'. heck, most 'road rage' instances are driver-on-driver!
    Over the years I have encountered so few rude and obnoxious drivers that I hardly am going to let such a 'privileged' minority push me into the radical-cyclist-as-antifossil fuel-luddite crowd. Some cyclists just cannot accept that a bicycle is a secondary user on our roadways, and uniquely vulnerable to even the most trivial accident because we lack so many of the safety features installed in vehicles. I accept the advantages and disadvantages of cycling, the benefits and the risks, with equal degree.

    roughstuff
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  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Fly View Post
    I did not understand why the passenger and the truck driver were yelling at me. Did they really think a simple "sorry" can release them from all responsibility? What if I wasn't a seasoned cyclist, and did not brake hard or fast enough to avoid hitting the car? Would a sorry suffice then?
    Look, to be honest with you the fact that you got an apology is a good thing, particularly if it wasn't sarcastic. What did you want, tears? I know that if I were to keep on pressing an issue after my wife apologized about something, I can tell you how that would end - with me on the couch, most likely, and quite deserving of it.

    I know where you're coming from in general - certain drivers make me insane, but they're a minority of the total traffic. I will admit Porsche drivers are some of the worst, because they have to go fast at all times to justify the cost of their mid-life-crisis-mobile. But you can't shoot everyone who cuts you off.

    So far I've found that riding pretty assertively and making eye contact works most of the time.

  19. #19
    Bent_Rider
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    What are these "radical agendas" you speak of?

    3-foot passing law?
    Complete Streets laws?
    Banning cell phone use by drivers?
    Basing speed limits on the safety of all road users, not just the 85%.

  20. #20
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    What do you all think of this idea? I have been wondering what would make car drivers more wary and respectful of bicyclists. I think one of the factors accounting for this is the sense of being somewhat anonymous. How would drivers treat us if they knew there was a possibility that they were being filmed? Well, check out this product.

    http://www.spycatcheronline.co.uk/su...der-p-591.html

    I think it may be an idea to have decals and perhaps a T-shirt that state boldly something like "Please treat this bicylist with respect, your actions may be filmed for customer satisfaction review." Perhaps if more cyclists regularly recorded their rides on video and posted them to public websites and utilized them to report problems to law enforcement things would slowly improve.

    Well, it is just an idea. What do you all think?

  21. #21
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarry View Post
    What are these "radical agendas" you speak of?

    3-foot passing law?
    Complete Streets laws?
    Banning cell phone use by drivers?
    Basing speed limits on the safety of all road users, not just the 85%.


    " Porsche mirrors are expensive, take one off."

    "True radicals" will retort against acts committed against them with the same immaturity that the offender
    as dished up... "

    "people with a moderate or even no political agenda engage in all sorts of violent outbursts all the time. knocking off a review mirror or kryptoniting a windshield"

    For starters. And then there is the whole agenda promoted by the Critical Mazholes.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  22. #22
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarry View Post
    What are these "radical agendas" you speak of?

    3-foot passing law?
    Complete Streets laws?
    Banning cell phone use by drivers?
    Basing speed limits on the safety of all road users, not just the 85%.
    Gets my vote!

  23. #23
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielmramos View Post
    What do you all think of this idea? I have been wondering what would make car drivers more wary and respectful of bicyclists. I think one of the factors accounting for this is the sense of being somewhat anonymous. How would drivers treat us if they knew there was a possibility that they were being filmed? Well, check out this product.

    http://www.spycatcheronline.co.uk/su...der-p-591.html

    I think it may be an idea to have decals and perhaps a T-shirt that state boldly something like "Please treat this bicylist with respect, your actions may be filmed for customer satisfaction review." Perhaps if more cyclists regularly recorded their rides on video and posted them to public websites and utilized them to report problems to law enforcement things would slowly improve.

    Well, it is just an idea. What do you all think?
    I love the idea of more cameras at intersections and critical regions where crime runs rampant, which is just about every city these days. Now if we can just brush aside the nuisance lawsuits from civil rights 'advocates,' we can get those videos of autos assaulting cyclists that I hear so much about, and take action to stop it.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  24. #24
    Super Moderator making's Avatar
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    The near misses when they arent paying attention is one thing, and a very bad and dangerous one at that. The intentional stuff is what honks me off. Try to sneak up behind me and honk the horn, then speed around me and stomp on the brakes. OOOO that makes me more than a radical. Other than that I jsut have a good time. The really stupid and mean things I have seen has always been with incredibly fat people or really little people. I dont know if this is always the case, but I have never had a problem with a normal sized person.

  25. #25
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
    Over the years I have encountered so few rude and obnoxious drivers that I hardly am going to let such a 'privileged' minority push me into the radical-cyclist-as-antifossil fuel-luddite crowd. Some cyclists just cannot accept that a bicycle is a secondary user on our roadways, and uniquely vulnerable to even the most trivial accident because we lack so many of the safety features installed in vehicles. I accept the advantages and disadvantages of cycling, the benefits and the risks, with equal degree.
    i too come from the 'alberta prairies' (well, technically 'aspen parkland / montain transitional ecosystem'... but that lacks a certain ring) and agree that the number of toxic/agro drivers here is surprisingly minimal, especially considering the reputation this province has for 'hicks and yeehaws' or whatever. heck, even just this morning i did a little dodge around an opening door and the driver got out of her car and chased me, on foot, to the stop light to apologize. and earlier this summer as i was climbing a particularly steep grade some dude in a pickup truck pulled up alongside me and asked if i wanted a tow to the top.

    now, having said that i want to address a couple of your points:

    1. pro-cycling and anti-car doesn't necessarily mean 'luddite'. okay, sure, there are some dudes on tallbikes with a zerzan or hakim bey book in their back pocket but that's far from the, uh, mainstream of radicalism (can you believe i just said that?). personally i think the key is the use of appropriate technology in the schumacher sense (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_is_Beautiful). there are lots of applications for fossil fuels. i like my house warm in the winter and would never advocate farmers give up their tractors for tandem-pulled plows. but, by the same token it's absolutely ridiculous for one person to be driving a hummer 20km to work. my philosophy is: if i can do it without fossil fuels i do, if i can't i try to be as economical as possible. sadly, in this society, that's a pretty radical viewpoint!

    2. yes, bikes are secondary users on our roadways and all of our infrastructure is really geared to keep it that way. it's kind of a vicious cycle: cycling is hard in my city and, in some ways, also very scary. that barrier to adoption stops a lot of people from using bikes and, thus, guarantees the continued secondary nature of cycling. heck, we have these 'cycling lanes' that are demarked by a stencil of a bike on the pavement all over this town, but these so-called 'lanes' don't provide any clearly set-aside space and almost always run down the side a row of parking meters.

    3. i think the primary objective of cycling advocates has to be to encourage people to get out of their hummers and onto a bike for that commute. kryptoniting a windshield probably isn't going to do that. what *is* going to do that is a much harder question to answer. the traditional approach of just making driving more expensive with toll roads or higher meter prices has proven time and again that it just doesn't work. people love their cars and are willing to pay exorbitant sums of money to run them. i think the key is to present cycling as safe, effective, fun and all-inclusive. the all-inclusive part is where the bike community really falls down -- there's a culture on the street that loves to deride cyclists if they don't have killer gear or are old or overweight or slow or whatever. the radical cycling community is really going to have to choose between the eliteism of the 'outsider' image or the sense of populism that has the potential to affect meaningful change.

    other than that, i love the part about accepting the advantages and disadvantages. excellent sense of pragmatism!

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