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  1. #1
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    Can Saying, "People on Bikes" instead of "cyclist" make cycling safer?

    Drop the Cyclist moniker?
    Even biking publications are pulling away from the term. "We try to avoid the word 'cyclist' consciously as much as possible," says Mia Kohout, CEO and editor-in-chief of Momentum Magazine. "The word evokes a lot of negative connotations. There's a huge group of people—60 percent of the people in cities—who are interested and concerned about riding a bike, but the word seems too hardcore to them."

    What do you think?
    Last edited by FenderTL5; 11-19-13 at 03:36 PM.
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  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    Drop the Cyclist moniker?
    Even biking publications are pulling away from the term. "We try to avoid the word 'cyclist' consciously as much as possible," says Mia Kohout, CEO and editor-in-chief of Momentum Magazine. "The word evokes a lot of negative connotations. There's a huge group of people—60 percent of the people in cities—who are interested and concerned about riding a bike, but the word seems too hardcore to them."

    What do you think?
    I think people want to shortcut everything and it comes out "biker" anyway.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    You mean like the people on bikes who chased down a guy in NYC, pulled him out of his SUV, and beat him to a pulp? Maybe people on bicycles.

  4. #4
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    There's too much emphasis on specific language these days. Everyone has a sensitivity or axe to grind, and wants to change the language accordingly.

    I prefer bicyclist to separate bicyclists form motorcyclists, but don't think worrying about language changes anything. People translate words into entities, and form impressions or judgements accordingly. It isn't the word, but what it represents that counts.

    In any case, why clutter language by using three words when one will do?
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    You don't realize that the whole discussion was phony? This was a trial "Portlandia" script planted into bikeportland.org a few months ago. Heck, with Momentum being suckered, it's truly gone international!

  6. #6
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    Things are far too soft and easy for people to be concerned over a word.


  7. #7
    vol
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    There's a genuinely very friendly guy where I work, whom I used to run into in the subway. Then one day when he saw me he said he missed meeting me in the subway. I told him I now commute by bike. "I hate those bike riders!" replied him.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    There's a genuinely very friendly guy where I work, whom I used to run into in the subway. Then one day when he saw me he said he missed meeting me in the subway. I told him I now commute by bike. "I hate those bike riders!" replied him.
    Don't say you're a bike rider--say you're a "transportation patriot" and that you are keeping US $ out of Islamofascist hands.

  9. #9
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    Many words have been used to label people as "other" in our recent history. Unfortunately, the censors won't let me list most of them, but consider how the gay community has taken ownership of words that were previously used to attack them. Just last year President Obama took ownership of the term "Obamacare", to successful political effect.

    In my opinion, we should follow these examples and own the word cyclist with pride. It will still be used as a pejorative at times, but running from it gives it power over us.

    That said, I prefer to confine its use to a description of someone who is actually riding a bike (or trike, or whatever). When we're sitting on our hind-quarters writing these posts, we're not cyclists. When we get on our bikes, we're cyclists again.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    No

  11. #11
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsqueak View Post
    Things are far too soft and easy for people to be concerned over a word.

    I agree.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
    Drop the Cyclist moniker?
    Even biking publications are pulling away from the term. "We try to avoid the word 'cyclist' consciously as much as possible," says Mia Kohout, CEO and editor-in-chief of Momentum Magazine. "The word evokes a lot of negative connotations. There's a huge group of people—60 percent of the people in cities—who are interested and concerned about riding a bike, but the word seems too hardcore to them."

    What do you think?
    The choice is purely political. If you want to write for and to the "60 percent of the people in cities -- who are interested and concerned about riding a bike" but who only rarely do it, then you would be correct to use "people on bikes" or similar circumlocutions. That's the market Momentum intends to reach, as indicated by the above quotation. But for people who are better informed and more active, then cyclist is much more accurate.

  13. #13
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    The whole "people who bike" meme is another example of how cycling advocacy (sorry...advocacy for people who bike) in the USA is increasingly a hermeneutic cult.
    This is why motorists hate us, and why I've given up riding on the road...You should be ashamed yourself, and you should be reviled by cyclists everywhere.

  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    The whole "people who bike" meme is another example of how cycling advocacy (sorry...advocacy for people who bike) in the USA is increasingly a hermeneutic cult.

  15. #15
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    If you are driving a vehicle you are a driver.

    Drivers in cars, in trucks, on motorcycles, on bikes, on bicycles, on mopeds, etc., all drivers all equal.

    If you want to call different drivers different names, go ahead, conflict requires it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    The whole "people who bike" meme is another example of how cycling advocacy (sorry...advocacy for people who bike) in the USA is increasingly a hermeneutic cult.
    For ILTB and others confused, 'hermeneutics' has several meanings, appropriately, since it broadly means the interpretation of meaning from written texts (as in Biblical hermeneutics) or spoken language. Obviously things do not always mean what they appear to on the surface, nor do writers (including many regulars here) realize what they are communicating beyond their intended meaning.

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  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    For ILTB and others confused, 'hermeneutics' has several meanings, appropriately, since it broadly means the interpretation of meaning from written texts (as in Biblical hermeneutics) or spoken language. Obviously things do not always mean what they appear to on the surface, nor do writers (including many regulars here) realize what they are communicating beyond their intended meaning.

    herman_munster_001.jpg
    OK, now what is a "hermeneutic cult"?

  18. #18
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I think people want to shortcut everything and it comes out "biker" anyway.
    People On Bikes could just get shortened to Plobs. I kind of like it.

    "I wish this plob would get off the road! I'm late for work!"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    OK, now what is a "hermeneutic cult"?
    A small group on firums like this one who devote their time to trying to discern the meaning of some of the posts.

    Though he probably misused the word, suspect that I may agree with the intended sentiment. These days, it seems nobody uses single words when they can substitute long phrases. If we replace bicyclist, or cyclist, or bicycle (yes, it's not a person) people on bikes, then after an accident will we need to say we were hit by a person driving a car, or operator of a motor vehicle.

    It seems that American English these days is getting tortured by folks who write and speak as if trying to impress their college professor. Plain English is dying a slow painful death crushed by bureaucratese (or is it bureaucratish).

    For my part, I don't believe that changing the language will change the reality, so lets leave things the way they are so our target audience understands us.
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  20. #20
    pro in someone's theory prooftheory's Avatar
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    They didn't mean "hermetic cult", i.e, rosicrucianism etc.?

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    A small group on firums like this one who devote their time to trying to discern the meaning of some of the posts.
    Do you mean to say that some posts have no discernible meaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    It seems that American English these days is getting tortured by folks who write and speak as if trying to impress their college professor. Plain English is dying a slow painful death crushed by bureaucratese (or is it bureaucratish).
    Do you mean like, "The whole 'people who bike' meme is another example of how cycling advocacy (sorry...advocacy for people who bike) in the USA is increasingly a hermeneutic cult"?
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 11-27-13 at 10:15 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Ya mean like, "The whole 'people who bike' meme is another example of how cycling advocacy (sorry...advocacy for people who bike) in the USA is increasingly a hermeneutic cult"?
    Yes, that too.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  23. #23
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, that too.
    OK, thanks, now I understand.

  24. #24
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Plain English is dying a slow painful death crushed by bureaucratese (or is it bureaucratish).
    I believe what you meant to say was people of bureaucracy.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    I believe what you meant to say was people of bureaucracy.
    No I was referring to the language itself, not the people who wrote or speak it. It's a bit of a problem with the English language that the same words are often used to describe folks from a given country and the language they speak.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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