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Old 03-28-08, 11:13 AM   #1
harleyfrog
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Guerilla Advocacy

I have an idea that I want to run past the BF folks. Where I live (Mississippi Gulf Coast), I see quite a few bicycle riders (I won't call them cyclists, because that implies, to my mind at least, a higher level of involvement other than riding a bicycle), many of whom are a) minorities, b) riding in unsafe fashion, and c) generally giving the cyclists around here a bad PR (it's always the few bad apples that spoil it for everyone). I was thinking of doing a little guerilla advocacy/activism. By that I mean when I'm out riding and I see someone doing something unsafe (say riding against the flow of traffic) to stop them, talk with them in a friendly tone and give them a copy of this, as well as a copy of the MS Code that applies to bicycles, to help educate them. Also, if I see someone on the side of the road who needs help (like a broken chain), offer to help (if I can). In general, just reach out to those bicycle riders who may be the type to join a bicycling club but are obviously the ones who can most benefit from knowing the rules of the road.

Any one try this before? If so, how successful/unsuccessful was it? Am I overstepping my bounds or being proactive? Thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 03-28-08, 11:40 AM   #2
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I have an idea that I want to run past the BF folks. Where I live (Mississippi Gulf Coast), I see quite a few bicycle riders (I won't call them cyclists, because that implies, to my mind at least, a higher level of involvement other than riding a bicycle), many of whom are a) minorities, b) riding in unsafe fashion, and c) generally giving the cyclists around here a bad PR (it's always the few bad apples that spoil it for everyone). I was thinking of doing a little guerilla advocacy/activism. By that I mean when I'm out riding and I see someone doing something unsafe (say riding against the flow of traffic) to stop them, talk with them in a friendly tone and give them a copy of this, as well as a copy of the MS Code that applies to bicycles, to help educate them. Also, if I see someone on the side of the road who needs help (like a broken chain), offer to help (if I can). In general, just reach out to those bicycle riders who may be the type to join a bicycling club but are obviously the ones who can most benefit from knowing the rules of the road.

Any one try this before? If so, how successful/unsuccessful was it? Am I overstepping my bounds or being proactive? Thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism welcomed.

Thanks

It all depends on your approach. I carry some flyers created by a local advocate and pretty much do the same thing when I can... I also put the flyers in public places such as libraries, bike shops and public bulletin boards locally.

No one has ever told me to get lost... and they seem to appreciate the info. I have talked to fast cyclists who jump lights and to slow "day workers" who were riding the wrong way... so across the board. I even talked to a Segway rider who was going the wrong way in a BL... and explained the problems with that. Being on a bike helps the cause... folks will listen. What they do later I don't know. 1:1 activism.
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Old 03-28-08, 04:12 PM   #3
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I see quite a few bicycle riders (I won't call them cyclists, because that implies, to my mind at least, a higher level of involvement other than riding a bicycle), many of whom are a) minorities, b) riding in unsafe fashion, and c) generally giving the cyclists around here a bad PR (it's always the few bad apples that spoil it for everyone). I was thinking of doing a little guerilla advocacy/activism. By that I mean when I'm out riding and I see someone doing something unsafe (say riding against the flow of traffic) to stop them, talk with them in a friendly tone...

How do you intend to "stop" these "bad apples", whom you do not consider your equal as a cyclist, in a "friendly" way?

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Old 03-28-08, 04:55 PM   #4
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i agree - we need to get black people off of bikes as soon as possible - they're giving us cyclists a bad name.

--sincerely,
just another racist white person on a bike
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Old 03-28-08, 05:50 PM   #5
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damn minorities, next thing you know they'll be wanting equal rights, the vote and to be able to mingle with redneck crackers!
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Old 03-28-08, 05:51 PM   #6
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How do you intend to "stop" these "bad apples" whom you do not consider your equal as a cyclist in a "friendly" way?
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Old 03-28-08, 05:53 PM   #7
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What does being "a) minorities" have to do with it? And why is it the first of your three criteria? Do bad bike riders who are white count?
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Old 03-28-08, 06:27 PM   #8
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What does being "a) minorities" have to do with it? And why is it the first of your three criteria? Do bad bike riders who are white count?
I dont think I am very sensitive to stuff, in fact my exwife said somethng about insensitive. but i did notice that.
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Old 03-28-08, 09:35 PM   #9
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I have an idea that I want to run past the BF folks. Where I live (Mississippi Gulf Coast), I see quite a few bicycle riders (I won't call them cyclists, because that implies, to my mind at least, a higher level of involvement other than riding a bicycle), many of whom are a) minorities, b) riding in unsafe fashion, and c) generally giving the cyclists around here a bad PR (it's always the few bad apples that spoil it for everyone). I was thinking of doing a little guerilla advocacy/activism. By that I mean when I'm out riding and I see someone doing something unsafe (say riding against the flow of traffic) to stop them, talk with them in a friendly tone and give them a copy of this, as well as a copy of the MS Code that applies to bicycles, to help educate them. Also, if I see someone on the side of the road who needs help (like a broken chain), offer to help (if I can). In general, just reach out to those bicycle riders who may be the type to join a bicycling club but are obviously the ones who can most benefit from knowing the rules of the road.

Any one try this before? If so, how successful/unsuccessful was it? Am I overstepping my bounds or being proactive? Thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism welcomed.

Thanks
...or you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble by getting beyond the biggotry and finally accepting that "different" does not equate with "inferior"
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Old 03-28-08, 09:41 PM   #10
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While you're at it, why don't you flag down people you see driving in an unsafe manner and fill them on how they ought to drive. I'm sure that will be equally effective.
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Old 03-31-08, 07:14 AM   #11
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Don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying (or implying) that it's all minorities, or that I have a problem with them: I don't. I am merely stating a fact that MOST of the ones I see doing this are minorities, but there are whites that are just a guilty around here. My reluctance to use the term "cyclist" is because, in my mind, a cyclist is a more elitist term (at least that is the connotation in my mind). (BTW, I worked for 12 years at an historically black college, so any accusation of my being prejudice against minorities will end up with a argument, at best, so don't even go there.) The fact is, this is southern Mississippi (I'm originally from Michigan), which means conservative attitudes and racial divide are still prevalent. I, for one, am trying to bridge the latter and I hold none of the former.

And I would not target just one race, but anyone who is riding in an unsafe manner. Trust me, the last thing I want to have happen is for someone to get hit head on by a car simply because s/he was riding on the wrong side of the road under the mistaken notion that by seeing cars coming they're safer. I certainly don't want to run headlong into some wrong way rider, on bike or in a car (nearly had a few of the latter already this past month).

What I want to try to do is educate and inform, reaching out to others. Something that, when it comes to racial equality around theses parts, I do not see enough of. But my goal is ultimately larger still; if I, as one individual, can help another bicycle rider be safer, or simply help fix their bike and get them on their way, I may just make an ally in an effort to get bicycling recognized as a vital alternative to cars among the sheeple that inhabit this area. Think of it as a critical mass of one (to steal a tagline from the U.S. Army). If I help one person, perhaps that person will help someone else, and so on and so on, regardless of that person age, race, gender, religion, politics, or any of the myriad of ways we try to separate ourselves from one another. You can call me a liberal, a libertarian, a communist, a hippie, a hopeless dreamer, an anarchist, or whatever; I don't care. Labels mean little or nothing to me. I am a person; I see other bicyclists as people; I see the driver who past me this morning with only inches to spare off of my rear bumper as a person. We are all in this together, and none of us are getting out of this world alive anyways, so way spend our limited time here fighting, labeling and distancing ourselves from our neighbors?

And by the by, I came here asking a simple question, and yet I only got one useful response. How is that? Why is that? I was hoping for better; I guess I was wrong.
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Old 04-02-08, 12:07 PM   #12
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Damn, I thought this post was going to be about smashing cagers in the face when they honk when I take the lane...

Sheesh.
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Old 04-02-08, 12:12 PM   #13
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"a cyclist is a more elitist term". That sort of sets the tone don't you think?
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Old 04-02-08, 12:15 PM   #14
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And by the by, I came here asking a simple question, and yet I only got one useful response. How is that? Why is that? I was hoping for better; I guess I was wrong.
BTW, I asked you a simple question. How do you intend to stop other cyclists on the street so that you can tell them the error of their ways?
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Old 04-02-08, 12:34 PM   #15
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BTW, I asked you a simple question. How do you intend to stop other cyclists on the street so that you can tell them the error of their ways?
Well the way it happens with me, is that I may be able to out ride the other cyclist and just engage them in conversation... and at the next stoplight/stopsign... I offer a pamphlet with information on it.

If they won't talk to you... then likely you are not going to get them to take anything from you either.

It has to all be done in a very friendly manner.

****************************************************

Side note... I know ILTB that we have discussed the pros and cons of cycle training... sometimes just a word or two can make all the difference in the world without coming off as being authoritarian. And no, one does not have to engage in a whole VC diatribe to get a message across...
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Old 04-02-08, 12:49 PM   #16
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I-Like-To-Bike: The ones that are pulling a Corrigan should be easy enough. The ones that are riding on sidewalks, not so much. And the red light jumpers, well, not much I can do there except pray they don't get turn into a hood ornament. Mind you, the people I'm talking about are not training for a triathlon or to be the next Lance Armstrong (although I've seen plenty of those and they all seem to follow the rules of the road); they're typically riding either old cruisers (beater bikes) or X-Mart bikes and all typically at a fairly leisurely pace.

All I would do is to ask them if I could have a moment of their time; if they say "No", then I just says "Thank you" and go on my merry way. If they do stop to talk, I want to engage them in some friendly conversation first, get to know them a little better, offer to help them if they ever need it and, oh, by the by, did you know that . . . (if you catch my meaning).

It seems, from what I the posts that I read on these boards, is that a many drivers have an anmosity towards all cyclists based on the bad behavior of just a handful. (In the motorcycling world, we call them the one percenters.) I figure that if I can do something that may make things better, then I should at least try. Even if I fail, it is better than sitting back and doing nothing. (Okay, you can call me Sisyphus, if you want; I've been called worse. )
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Old 04-02-08, 12:53 PM   #17
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genec: I'm not even talking about preaching VC (and won't touch that topic with a 20' crank arm ). However, just letting the Corrigans and Ninjas know that they're needlessly putting themselves in harm's way may be enough, as you said.
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Old 04-02-08, 12:58 PM   #18
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genec: I'm not even talking about preaching VC (and won't touch that topic with a 20' crank arm ). However, just letting the Corrigans and Ninjas know that they're needlessly putting themselves in harm's way may be enough, as you said.
No problem... I understand... some folks however think that "training" is some sort of VC domain. It ain't. Sometimes just a few words are enough to "turn on the light." Of course offering a good example helps.

Certainly there is motivation for talking to the "Corrigans" as frankly you don't want to be in a squeeze play with someone going the wrong way on a busy road.

Hey on the flip side... I have stopped cyclists while I was walking and asked about their good quality lights... so the "learning" goes both ways.
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Old 04-06-08, 12:20 PM   #19
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Well if they are illegal aliens, they don't care about the law anyway. Also, they might pose a danger to you through violence, or disease. Lawful people who don't know any better may be responsive though.
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Old 04-06-08, 12:54 PM   #20
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Man, it's a dangerous world out there. Unruly minority bikers, lawless illegal aliens who might cough on you, all sorts of scary people.
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Old 04-06-08, 12:57 PM   #21
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Old 04-06-08, 01:39 PM   #22
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...or you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble by getting beyond the biggotry and finally accepting that "different" does not equate with "inferior"
Oh get off your high horse, he's not saying they are inferior because they are minorities, he is saying they are inferior riders because of the way they ride. And he is right.
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Old 04-06-08, 02:36 PM   #23
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Holy crap I'm two hours late for work because I've been chatting up bikers non-stop en-route. Seriously I would never get anywhere if I took this up.
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Old 04-07-08, 05:26 AM   #24
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Was nice knowing you.

Really though I don't see how anyone would take that sort of approach well, and it may just be a waste of your time.
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Old 04-07-08, 06:11 AM   #25
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I am merely stating a fact that MOST of the ones I see doing this are minorities,...
Wouldn't that make them a majority?

For what it's worth, I admire your enthusiasm. How about you try it out for a few weeks, and let us know how it pans out.
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