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Old 06-27-13, 01:13 PM   #1
G1nko
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Do cyclists give cyclists a bad name?

I see variations of this question around the forum, and honestly, I think the problem is more widespread.

I commute most days; when I don't, I take the bus. I think I'm a conscientious rider: I stop at stop signs, I obey right-of-way rules, I use my bell to warn when over overtaking pedestrians in shared-use areas, etc.

I was a pedestrian last weekend on a shared use path in Battery Park. For the most part, pedestrians were using the left side of the path and cyclists were using the right side of the path. It was extremely crowded with both pedestrians and bicycles. Suddenly three guys in full kit come barreling down the so-called pedestrian side of the path way too fast, one of them heading straight for me. I stopped moving because I didn't want to guess where he was going and I didn't want him to guess where I was going and it was all happening very quickly. At the last second he went around me and clipped my elbow as he went by. I heard him call me a "****ing idiot" as he went by. Somebody behind me said, "Wow, he almost hit you." "No almost about it," I replied.

Perhaps I was wrong to stop moving, but it seemed the best course of action at the time. Nonetheless, riding way too fast in crowded, shared-use conditions; hitting somebody; and then cursing them out for a situation you created contributes to giving cyclists a bad name.

We complain about cars ad infinitum and then some of us turn around and treat pedestrians the same way we feel cars treat us. I feel we're our own worst enemies at times, creating adversarial relationships on both ends of the transportation spectrum.
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Old 06-27-13, 01:37 PM   #2
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The whole idea that somehow any one of us is a proxy for the entire class of cyclists is counter productive. It is a mode of thinking that is pushed onto all minority groups by majority groups.

A recent study showed that 2/3 of all drivers don't come to a complete stop at stop signs. Another study showed 80% of motorists break speed limits. My own observation of motorists while cycling gives me the impression that at least 10% of texting or talking on their cell phone.

But I'm willing to bet virtually no drivers worry about "giving drivers a bad reputation."

Cyclists do, because they are in the minority, and they have adopted the inferiority complex suggested to them by the majority.

As a group, we would be a lot better off working to make our conditions safer rather than trying to enforce representational behavior.
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Old 06-27-13, 01:45 PM   #3
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I really don't understand the idea that individual's are representative of the totality of a group's behavior. What, exactly, would you like me to do to prevent some guy that's obviously a complete D-bag from being a complete D-bag? I'd wager that this individual is spectacularly obnoxious whether he's on a bike, walking, or driving.

The only real delineating line I draw among those groups is the relative danger posed by one being a jerk. The order of this danger is very clear - cars are by far the most danger to my health, with a small risk posed to me by cyclists, and a smaller risk posed to me by pedestrians (when I'm cycling and they're oblivious). As such, I have more of a gripe with drivers being jerks than anyone else; that doesn't lead me to conclude that people that drive/bike/walk are more or less of jerks than the other groups. Of course, there's massive overlap as well.
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Old 06-27-13, 01:49 PM   #4
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that rider may have rethought his/her actions later and reconsidered his/her words. after thinking over how I handled certain intersections for example I rethink what I would do in future similar situations.
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Old 06-27-13, 01:52 PM   #5
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One group of road users is creating a 9-11's worth of death every month and maiming over two million Americans each and every year. How could any other group even compete in terms of having a bad name? Get real.
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Old 06-27-13, 02:29 PM   #6
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I'm at a loss about how I would hope to change the behavior of my fellow drivers or my fellow cyclists or my fellow pedestrians. It's Stockholm syndrome to think that cyclists can change how people look at us. What needs to be done is to let more people know that we are legit road users. As this idea has come into wider acceptance, the behavior of most motorists has improved.
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Old 06-27-13, 03:14 PM   #7
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We are our own worst enemies.
I tire of explaining to people that although I ride a bike for transportation, I am not a 'cyclist'.
In my tiny sphere of reality, I daily see stuff that gives car people the fuel they need to broadbrush all of us.
The worst advocacy moment I ever had was going to town meeting on Jupiter Island when they were threatening to close it off to cyclists.
After hearing the hype, only I and few shop owners showed up to watch home videos, police dash cams and hear the homeowners experiences with the gangs of roadies urinating on peoples property, throwing water bottles, not singling up, slapping cars, and carrying on a screaming match with following police cars amongst other things . . . How can you defend cyclists when you've just seen and heard over an hour of this stuff?
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Old 06-27-13, 03:18 PM   #8
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No, drivers give us a bad name.
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Old 06-27-13, 03:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
We are our own worst enemies.
I tire of explaining to people that although I ride a bike for transportation, I am not a 'cyclist'.
In my tiny sphere of reality, I daily see stuff that gives car people the fuel they need to broadbrush all of us.
The worst advocacy moment I ever had was going to town meeting on Jupiter Island when they were threatening to close it off to cyclists.
After hearing the hype, only I and few shop owners showed up to watch home videos, police dash cams and hear the homeowners experiences with the gangs of roadies urinating on peoples property, throwing water bottles, not singling up, slapping cars, and carrying on a screaming match with following police cars amongst other things . . . How can you defend cyclists when you've just seen and heard over an hour of this stuff?
I don't think misbehaving Roadies or ignorant cycling behavior represents what "we cyclists" are all about, but unfortunately there is a contingent of cyclists that do.

Sounds like a movie of "Roadies Gone Wild on Jupiter Island." Maybe you can get a copy and post it on the Commuting List since videotaped goofball behavior is apparently considered on topic there.
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Old 06-27-13, 03:49 PM   #10
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I don't think misbehaving Roadies or ignorant cycling behavior represents what "we cyclists" are all about, but unfortunately there is a contingent of cyclists that do.

Sounds like a movie of "Roadies Gone Wild on Jupiter Island." Maybe you can get a copy and post it on the Commuting List since videotaped goofball behavior is apparently considered on topic there.
I am aware enough to know there are many cyclist who dont fit into my rant --safe, under the radar, not trying to make a statement-- but, that is why the car people dont notice them. But I do think we all suffer in varying degrees because that percentage is more visible by engaging in actions car drivers find undesirable. Of course those same car ppl not holding themselves the same standard of behavior the expect from us

The Jupiter Island hype I learned of on BF back then. I was living in Floridistan so it was about 2008 or so . . . I was sort of shocked nobody showed up after reading about it and posters all over A1A.
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Old 06-27-13, 05:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm at a loss about how I would hope to change the behavior of my fellow drivers or my fellow cyclists or my fellow pedestrians. It's Stockholm syndrome to think that cyclists can change how people look at us. What needs to be done is to let more people know that we are legit road users. As this idea has come into wider acceptance, the behavior of most motorists has improved.

Well said. The more cyclists we have on the roads acting like legitimate road users the sooner we will have that acceptance. I remember thirty years ago when smoking in restaurants was standard behaviour. Now it will get you tossed out on your ear. It may take a while but public opinion and norms can change.
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Old 06-27-13, 05:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
The whole idea that somehow any one of us is a proxy for the entire class of cyclists is counter productive. It is a mode of thinking that is pushed onto all minority groups by majority groups . . . As a group, we would be a lot better off working to make our conditions safer rather than trying to enforce representational behavior.
Near as I can tell we cyclists, and then certainly not all of us, are convinced that others judge us by the actions of a few. Perhaps rather than a repressed minority we are, again not all of us, just a narcissistic minority and the actions of irresponsible cyclists are not really about us at all.
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Old 06-27-13, 06:11 PM   #13
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I totally resent being grouped with 'we cyclists" There are those cyclists I agree with and those I don't. Some from each group I'd like to associate with, some not. Cyclists are not a homogenous group, nor do many advocates speak for me. I have /share no responsibility for any other cyclists behavior, just as as a driver, I share no responsibility for other drivers behaviors.
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Old 06-27-13, 11:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
We are our own worst enemies.
I tire of explaining to people that although I ride a bike for transportation, I am not a 'cyclist'.
In my tiny sphere of reality, I daily see stuff that gives car people the fuel they need to broadbrush all of us.
The worst advocacy moment I ever had was going to town meeting on Jupiter Island when they were threatening to close it off to cyclists.
After hearing the hype, only I and few shop owners showed up to watch home videos, police dash cams and hear the homeowners experiences with the gangs of roadies urinating on peoples property, throwing water bottles, not singling up, slapping cars, and carrying on a screaming match with following police cars amongst other things . . . How can you defend cyclists when you've just seen and heard over an hour of this stuff?
Will they close freeways to motorist if I show an hour of video of motorist behaving badly, driving DUI, urinating and smashing into others killing them?

Or maybe they will claim the right course of action is to ticket the offending motorist.
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Old 06-28-13, 09:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
We are our own worst enemies.
I tire of explaining to people that although I ride a bike for transportation, I am not a 'cyclist'.
In my tiny sphere of reality, I daily see stuff that gives car people the fuel they need to broadbrush all of us.
The worst advocacy moment I ever had was going to town meeting on Jupiter Island when they were threatening to close it off to cyclists.
After hearing the hype, only I and few shop owners showed up to watch home videos, police dash cams and hear the homeowners experiences with the gangs of roadies urinating on peoples property, throwing water bottles, not singling up, slapping cars, and carrying on a screaming match with following police cars amongst other things . . . How can you defend cyclists when you've just seen and heard over an hour of this stuff?
This seems utterly inane to me. I don't need videos to state that cars kill over 30,000 people per year, nearly 100 per day. That easily outweighs every single misdeed done by every cyclist without delving into the various obnoxious and injurious behaviors drivers engage in that don't kill anyone. Yet, somehow, there's no movement afoot to pan driving on Jupiter Island.
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Old 06-28-13, 12:30 PM   #16
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When it comes to respecting the rights of peds, motorists are by far the larger problem. Nevertheless, if I see a cyclist buzz peds I will chase the miscreant down and attempt some education.

Peds >> Cyclists > Public transport > Freight >> SOVs
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Old 07-09-13, 11:03 PM   #17
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Brandonub, rumrunn6, and B. Carfree summed it up the best for the OPs question.
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