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-   -   Article - Cyclists face uphill battle against "the moral authority of drivers" (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/875900-article-cyclists-face-uphill-battle-against-moral-authority-drivers.html)

Bekologist 03-04-13 03:44 AM

Article - Cyclists face uphill battle against "the moral authority of drivers"
 
Here's what cyclists are up against, folks.

False entitlements and the moral authority of drivers.

Excellent online response to a recent Washington Examiner piece that takes on cyclists.

The blogger refers to other recent references to the entitlement of motorists. Cyclists seemingly violate the 'moral order' of societies' current roadway meme.


Quote:

Originally Posted by BBC news, "why cyclists enrage motorists"
Driving is a very moral activity – there are rules of the road, both legal and informal, and there are good and bad drivers. The whole intricate dance of the rush-hour junction only works because people know the rules and by-and-large follow them: keeping in lane; indicating properly; first her turn, now mine, now yours. Then along come cyclists, innocently following what they see are the rules of the road, but doing things that drivers aren't allowed to: overtaking queues of cars, moving at well below the speed limit or undertaking on the inside.

links:

urban places and spaces-the moral authority of motorists

and the Examiner article panning alternative transit planning in Washington DC and DC metro area.

waging-war-against-drivers/article/2522783

contango 03-04-13 04:07 AM

... which looks like it comes back to the eternal problem of people wanting all the benefits of someone else's choice paired with all the benefits of their choice, with the downsides of neither.

If you cycle you get to pass stationary traffic, you get to pass on both sides, you get to move to the front at red lights, but you also have to earn each mph of your speed with muscular effort and you're totally exposed to the elements.

If you drive you get to increase your speed with minimal effort, you are cocooned from the elements, you can adjust the heater or the air conditioning just how you want it, but you get stuck in stationary traffic, you can't pass on both sides, and you don't get to move to the front at red lights.

It seems to me that the drivers who get angry want the benefits of cycling without the costs. They see someone else taking the benefits, but they don't stop to think about the costs (usually the things that stop them riding a bike themselves) that the cyclist has to deal with.

pilate7004 03-04-13 05:53 AM

Contango, I agree completely.

There is also the simple and obvious fact that cyclists do these things because they can,and it is (generally) reasonable for them to do so.

Laws evolve, largely around accepted, reasonable behaviour. People develop a sense of what is reasonable over time, by their many daily interactions. Courts and legislators follow the people (in these kind of uncontroversial matters, in any case) and make the written laws follow the accepted ones. Cyclists generally consider it fair play to pass on both sides, and I expect that there is a bell-curve of various behaviours and attitudes towards other actions, such as hitting the sidewalk occasionally, the Idaho stop, or my personal favorite, passing through a controlled T intersection when you are at the "top of the T" and are not crossing traffic. This last one, I feel, should be a right of way for cyclists, and the only reason that it generally isn't is because it kinda complicates things and might upset motorists. They likely have not invented a traffic light signal for it (near where I live anyway).

I see this debate as a conjunction between the moral authority of cyclists and a misplaced sense of entitlement amongst drivers.

Nice article.

rydabent 03-04-13 08:58 AM

Some how I cant really think car drivers are more moral than cyclist.

bhtooefr 03-04-13 09:42 AM

Most of the opposition to cyclist traffic that I see is simply due to lack of speed - as in, they consider a cyclist as impeding them (and one of the cases that I personally know, I've been told that it's largely because of a Republican infested area (so, no support for infrastructure investment whatsoever) with too much on-street parking, so there's no room to safely pass for miles during high-traffic times (the only way to get past a cyclist would be to buzz both the cyclist AND oncoming traffic at the same time), meaning one cyclist asserting his or her right to the lane can hold up hundreds of cars) - and occasionally (in cities with a lot of cyclists) violation of traffic laws (and because of that, I know people that feel that cyclists "deserve it" when they get hit by a car).

The solution to the lack of speed problem is probably infrastructure investment (pointing out that they don't have an inherent right to go the speed limit doesn't help one bit, they say they don't care, if it weren't for the cyclist traffic, they could go faster, and spend less time going to their destination) - get the on-street parking off the street, pay for parking lots/garages/whatever, and use the reclaimed space to make the roads in question 4 lane (so motorists get plenty of room to pass a cyclist). Alternately, build a higher speed bypass road to alleviate traffic, and make it so the motorist never has to see the cyclist unless they're patronizing one of the businesses on the original road.

As far as the traffic law problem, not sure how to handle that. Best bet may be to enforce the traffic laws actively and very publicly (to the point of shaming individual cyclists by name in the news) against cyclists, so that motorists feel something is being done about scofflaw cyclists. Mind you, the same should be done against motorists that are violating traffic laws...

nelson249 03-04-13 10:29 AM

Hence my drive to rule campaign. I've been lectured at by motorists about how bad cyclists are at following the rules as they do seem all concerned about the speck in their brother's eye while doing nothing about the lumber yard in their own. So now I while driving I follow speed limits, come to complete stops at 4 way stops etc: it really pisses people off.

Notso_fastLane 03-04-13 10:30 AM

That's more or less a recycling of the story in this thread.

atbman 03-04-13 02:35 PM

Really, bhtooefr, "... meaning one cyclist asserting his or her right to the lane can hold up hundreds of cars"?

Where and when?

bhtooefr 03-04-13 03:02 PM

I'm told that that's the case in Lancaster, OH, during times of high car traffic.

Apparently, they've got the problem that their infrastructure is designed for nowhere near the traffic volumes it's expected to hold, and the system collapses if there's a slow moving vehicle for any reason. (The person who I know who works there who was ranting about cyclists said that it wasn't just cyclists, but any delay - in Lancaster, it'd almost be more likely to be a tractor than a cyclist.)

At least, in that case, when I pointed out that the problem isn't cyclists or other slow traffic at all, but entirely an infrastructure problem, he agreed, but pointed out that the massively Fox News watching populace would never vote for anything that cost any money, and there's not even enough money to pay to maintain the existing roads (as in, the state had to come in to fix some horribly impassable roads because the city couldn't pay for it).

The REAL solution is to leave that hellhole and move somewhere else, but that's not a solution for everyone.

Chris516 03-04-13 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by contango (Post 15341488)
... which looks like it comes back to the eternal problem of people wanting all the benefits of someone else's choice paired with all the benefits of their choice, with the downsides of neither.

If you cycle you get to pass stationary traffic, you get to pass on both sides, you get to move to the front at red lights, but you also have to earn each mph of your speed with muscular effort and you're totally exposed to the elements.

If you drive you get to increase your speed with minimal effort, you are cocooned from the elements, you can adjust the heater or the air conditioning just how you want it, but you get stuck in stationary traffic, you can't pass on both sides, and you don't get to move to the front at red lights.

It seems to me that the drivers who get angry want the benefits of cycling without the costs. They see someone else taking the benefits, but they don't stop to think about the costs (usually the things that stop them riding a bike themselves) that the cyclist has to deal with.

+10 verbatim

Chris516 03-04-13 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rydabent (Post 15342098)
Some how I cant really think car drivers are more moral than cyclist.

They aren't more moral, when it comes to the road. They just think they are.


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