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Old 09-13-02, 03:45 PM   #1
Spire
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Messengers give cyclists a bad name?

I was just walking through downtown montreal today and I saw a number of bike courriers doing things that would give all cyclists a bad name. For example : one went right through a red light cutting off cars on the perpendicular traffic (who had had green for at least 10 seconds). A second was going the wrong way on one of montreals busiest streets; a motorist honked at him, is reply was a the usual hand gesture.

It seems to me that many bike courriers are doing us no service with their antics with regards to traffic rules. I do not obey all of the rules, but I do not cut off other cars when they have the right of way.
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Old 09-13-02, 04:28 PM   #2
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I agree with you. When I lived in Vancouver and Toronto bike messengers were the epitomy of what poor city cycling is. They had great riding skills but no regard for cars or the people around them. This included driving down a very busy downtown street during a winter storm (obviously TO).

If this isn't true than this is the appearance they give off because I only see them as being in the way instead of helping. (BTW before any potential slammers can come at me. I am a full time commuter who doesn't and has never driven)
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Old 09-13-02, 07:23 PM   #3
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Messengers really can be a hazard, and yet they ought to know better. However, some of them are better than others you can tell which ones are actually cyclists have some awareness. BUt some of them are a menace. I enarly got creamed by one on a sidewalk once- he whizzed right in front of me on his way to a building. And a few years ago, a woman was creamed on a bike path on Rene Levesque by a bike messenger. SHe stepped off the curb and was creamed. Apparently the guy didn't even stop but left her there. The poor woman was left disabled and was never able to return to work. O know sometimes people step right into the bike path and it infuriates me but if I crashed into someone I'd at least stop and call an ambulance or something. I know that bike path and there are a lot of messengers on it, because it's right near the CBC building. Whenever I've crossed it on foot I always look both ways about ten times.
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Old 09-15-02, 01:51 AM   #4
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With all the previous discussions about messengers, we still want to deride them. They are working for the almighty dollar, doing a hell of a job for very little pay or benefits, save being outdoors part of the day. They get paid on the amount of packages they deliver. It is this pay scale that is at the bottom of messengers taking short cuts. So it isn't the messengers giving bikers a bad name, it's the users of the messenger service that gives bikers a bad name. If they paid more for the service...

Well, if they would go paperless, using email, and electronic data transfer, the messenger would be out of business.

I'd love to be a messenger.
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Old 09-15-02, 10:14 AM   #5
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Probably because I didn't read the previous discussions. And really nothing will change my mind. Yes it is a chain affect someone buys the service in an aloted time. Said messenger needs to haul ass to earn his money. Said messenger proceeds to break an abundance of laws and simple courtesies to bring the mail to said corp.

I don't care about the chain of affect. The cyclist is responsible for his own crappy biking. The corp is also responsible but to a lesser degree.

However you can also compare this directly to truckers and their time limits. Same deal. The corp is pushing too hard and the truckers get screwed with poor delivery time. They are forced to break laws and courtesies to get where they need to in time. (this only applys to truckers with that type of contract). It is both the drivers fault and the corp.

Either way doesn't matter to me. Driver is wrong.
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Old 09-15-02, 01:44 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Maelstrom
... The cyclist is responsible for his own crappy biking. The corp is also responsible but to a lesser degree. ... Driver is wrong.
No one can "make" you do something illegal or dangerous. A motorist or cyclist whose reckless driving causes injury or death is a perpetrator, not some victim of the system.
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Old 09-15-02, 01:56 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Spire
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. I do not obey all of the rules, but I do not cut off other cars when they have the right of way.
well,if as you said you "don't obey all the rules", who else will obey them, just asking?????
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Old 09-15-02, 02:07 PM   #8
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Originally posted by John E


No one can "make" you do something illegal or dangerous. A motorist or cyclist whose reckless driving causes injury or death is a perpetrator, not some victim of the system.
I completely agree but relating this to truckers. Companies get charged for their drivers mistakes as well. I am not saying to remove responsilbilty but to give it out evenly to both.
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Old 09-15-02, 06:39 PM   #9
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Agreed, messengers are doing an honest day's work, but some of them are pretty reckless. However, many of them seem to be okay. It's not just they who tarnish the image of cyclists, but the reckless kids on bikes, the spaced out hippies rambling the wrong way down the road at night, etc.
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Old 09-15-02, 08:06 PM   #10
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Hahaha haven't seen that group yet. I will have to keep my eye out for random groups of hippes cycling in stoned packs
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Old 09-15-02, 08:52 PM   #11
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Originally posted by orguasch

well,if as you said you "don't obey all the rules", who else will obey them, just asking?????
That is a very fair response. But I do see a difference between not stopping at stop signs and slowing going through intersections on red after all the motorists have gone through and what I see many messangers do which is actually go though intersections and cut off cars on green on the perpedicular road.

I see a difference between breaking small rules that have no impact on anybody but yourself and breaking rules that put your life and others in danger as well as inconvience everybody.
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Old 09-15-02, 09:57 PM   #12
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I am not saying to remove responsilbilty but to give it out evenly to both.
Good call. If the company is made liable, they might just offer some encouragement for their messengers to follow the traffic rules.
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Old 09-23-02, 11:16 PM   #13
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the problem is, ladies and gentlemen, we have opened a can of worms that some of us (i dare not speak for all of us) don't have the knowledge base to have a fair discussion on. based on what most of us know, bike messangers do not obey the laws and are dangerous riders. the seem to not only break the laws of traffic, but also the laws of physics. here's what i know:

these are people who work very hard and are very good at what they do. i've heard stories of these people doing the impossible on two wheels and then riding off as if nothing happened. the work VERY hard and deserve credit for that. please understand, i am not trying to justify their breaking the law, but we must remember that we live in an unperfect society with many double standards. some people can speed, others can't. some people can carry weapons, others can't. it isn't always fair or even.

my feelings are this: bike messangers know their job is dangerous, it's no secret. that means that if i'm in my wife's car driving her somewhere and a messanger zips past me, i'm going to try to keep from hitting her, but i'm going ot assume that she made the assumption that i wasn't going to stop for her and that she felt she had enough room. again, i have no intention of ever hitting anyone, for that matter, but i put the responsablitiy in their hands. they choose to ride dangerously, they are much better at determining speed/distance/time/windows of opportunity calculations, and therefore i leave it up to them.

messangers, i admire your bravery and i'll do my best to stay out of your way. ride smart and be as safe as you can...

E...
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Old 09-24-02, 03:37 AM   #14
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I have friends who are messengers and I don't believe that what a few messengers may do on a bicycle warrants an entire thread dedicated to their riding techniques. As previously mentioned by others in this thread, messengers are simply doing their jobs. They operate on a timeframe and are paid on a quantitative basis. True, some messengers are offensive riders; however, to say that they are giving 'cyclists' a bad name is absurd. It's not like cyclist-motorist dichotomy is remotely similar to black-white. Saying that messengers give cyclists a bad name is like saying that rappers give blacks a bad name. I'd bet that few motorists see cyclists as a singular body and even fewer use the overly aggressive riding tactics of a lone cyclist to stereotype all those who are two-wheeled. Whether by way of car, bike, skateboard, pogostick, or teleportation, we're all people trying to get things accomplished while in motion. Furthermore, every bike messenger I know can handle a fixed-gear track bike with the highest level of skill, under virtually every condition; they can ride with the best. Bottom line: I have respect for messengers as a whole. That's my two Lincolns...:thumbup:

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Old 09-25-02, 07:25 PM   #15
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Originally posted by estone
these are people who work very hard and are very good at what they do. i've heard stories of these people doing the impossible on two wheels and then riding off as if nothing happened. the work VERY hard and deserve credit for that. please understand, i am not trying to justify their breaking the law, but we must remember that we live in an unperfect society with many double standards. some people can speed, others can't. some people can carry weapons, others can't. it isn't always fair or even.

my feelings are this: bike messangers know their job is dangerous, it's no secret. that means that if i'm in my wife's car driving her somewhere and a messanger zips past me, i'm going to try to keep from hitting her, but i'm going ot assume that she made the assumption that i wasn't going to stop for her and that she felt she had enough room. again, i have no intention of ever hitting anyone, for that matter, but i put the responsablitiy in their hands. they choose to ride dangerously, they are much better at determining speed/distance/time/windows of opportunity calculations, and therefore i leave it up to them.

messangers, i admire your bravery and i'll do my best to stay out of your way. ride smart and be as safe as you can...

E...
I wish I were here to respond sooner. No can of worms and really simple response. It is dangerous for them. It isn't them I am worried about. There exactness and carelessness while cycling freaks both peds and other drivers out. This is far more dangerous than them making a simple mistake. If they get hurt it is there fault. If they cut off or distract a driver because of his 'carelessness' which in turn causes an accident, this is where I have a problem with messengers. They have no concern for the result of their actions of the rest of traffic.

This is of course a generalization. Vancouver has some great messengers. But there are too many the suck ass.

And I also think if you aren't aware of the messenger / cyclist bad name connection then there are too many blinders on peoples eyes. PEople who don't cycle and only drive see messengers poorly and that is there first though of a cyclist. Definately not a group of people I want leaving a first impression on behalf of myself or my group.

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Old 09-25-02, 08:07 PM   #16
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Maelstrom,
good point. i live in an area where there are no messangers. i've done quite a bit of research on the topic, i know that doesn't qualify me for much though. i agree that they represent cyclists, but only to an extent. i konw i look very different from a messanger on my BikeE with a kiddy trunk in tow. but at the same time, it is possible for joe schmoe to get the two of us confused...

E...
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Old 09-25-02, 08:15 PM   #17
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The funny thing is I have almost no problems with motorists downtown where the messengers roam but when I ride in the boonies where only DUIs [aka DWIs] ride bikes, motorists are noticeably more hostile.
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Old 11-13-02, 06:29 PM   #18
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for all of you who think that messangers give you a bad name, let me begin by saying that you have no idea what you are talking about. I am a messanger in Baltimore Maryland, and there are alot of factors involving our tactics on the streets. Second, I think you should be thanking us for a few things. Some of us deliver very important documents to government offices that require authentic signatures. Some of these documents are for laws to be passed that help society. I deliver to law offices, and courthouse research facilities, that need these documents to help put criminals in prison, so they won't hurt people like you, or I ever agian. So before you go judging someone for what they do for a living, maybe you should try doing my job for a week, and then you can run your mouths. As for those who give support, I would like to thank you. Our jobs are not easy, and it is a hazardous job at that.
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Old 11-13-02, 06:56 PM   #19
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for all of you who think that messangers give you a bad name, let me begin by saying that you have no idea what you are talking about. I am a messanger in Baltimore Maryland...
I think that you have taken what I said out of context. I never said that bicycle messengers didn't perform a useful and important role in society. But there is no excuse for the number of bicycle messengers that I see going the wrong way on one way streets and running through red lights and cutting cars of on the perpendicular streets. There is no justification for either of those under and circumstances. Also note that I did not say that all bike messengers do do these dangerous tactics, though an appreciable number do and I maintain that it gives cyclists in general a bad name. I saw on wrong-way bicycle courrier who got honked at for going the wrong way and making cars swerve out of the way, he gave the finger. There is no justification for that either, he was completely in the wrong. I am embarrased to be related to him in the name of cycling.
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Old 11-13-02, 07:03 PM   #20
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So before you go judging someone for what they do for a living, maybe you should try doing my job for a week, and then you can run your mouths.
I don't really think people are objectiing to the what but rather the how. I don't argue that messengers serve an important role. To an extent, everyone's job is important. However, messengers also need to follow the protocol of the road. They are not marked as emergency vehicles and thus should not be exempt from the laws that govern traffic flow. By and large, people expect others to be mindful and follow the rules. This in a sense makes laws into protocols. Accidents happen when something unexpected occurs such as someone not following the protocol (speeding, cutting people off, not signalling, running lights, etc). Justifying the breaking of protocols and thus jeopardising the safety of others by saying that what you do is important strikes me as being a little preseumptious and arrogant.
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Old 11-13-02, 07:03 PM   #21
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So before you go judging someone for what they do for a living, maybe you should try doing my job for a week, and then you can run your mouths.
I don't really think people are objecting to the what but rather the how. I don't argue that messengers serve an important role. To an extent, everyone's job is important. However, messengers also need to follow the protocol of the road. They are not marked as emergency vehicles and thus should not be exempt from the laws that govern traffic flow. By and large, people expect others to be mindful and follow the rules. This in a sense makes laws into protocols. Accidents happen when something unexpected occurs such as someone not following the protocol (speeding, cutting people off, not signalling, running lights, etc). Justifying the breaking of protocols and thus jeopardising the safety of others by saying that what you do is important strikes me as being a little presumptious and arrogant.

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Old 11-13-02, 11:38 PM   #22
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It is this pay scale that is at the bottom of messengers taking short cuts. So it isn't the messengers giving bikers a bad name, it's the users of the messenger service that gives bikers a bad name. If they paid more for the service...

Yeah! It's not the messengers' faults that they ride illegally and unsafely! It's the fault of the rest of us for not paying them enough to obey the law and respect the safety of others. Yes, we all ought to reflect on our failing here.

Ugh, liberals...
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Old 11-14-02, 08:00 AM   #23
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Hahaha haven't seen that group yet. I will have to keep my eye out for random groups of hippes cycling in stoned packs
You can always tell the stoned cyclists. They're the ones stopped and staring at the flashing yellow light.
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Old 11-14-02, 08:10 AM   #24
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You can always tell the stoned cyclists. They're the ones stopped and staring at the flashing yellow light.
No they're the ones that wait for the stop signs to turn green.

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Old 11-15-02, 06:50 PM   #25
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I appreciate laws as much as the next person, for both bike and autos. But, I am going to have to disagree with you.

To me, bike laws have a bit more grey associated verses autos. I'd believe the vast majority of messengers try their darndest to ride within posted laws. But, I understand and cut them a bit more flexibility because their trying to make a living and all under timely delivery schedules. I use to live in NY, on Manhattan Island. I saw messengers all the time and most have guts, considering the environment and what it takes to keep their jobs. Their not likely to hit and kill anyone either, like an auto breaking a similiar law.
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