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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-31-07, 02:57 PM   #1
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Why the term Cager?

Back in my ruff tuff creampuff Harley Sportster riding days I read a magazine called Easy Rider on occasion. In the magazine devoted to the "biker" culture they referred to car drivers/motorists as "cagers". It seemed an apt term at the time as this was in the late 70's early 80's when riding a Harley was still uncool and the Harley bikers were not welcome most places. I felt sorry for cagers. As a Harley rider would call them.

Riding my Motobecane bicycle in the same time zone I felt uncool with the Harley"bikers" standards as well.

So I am just saying that terms like bikers,cagers both refer to motorists. Unlike the term "cyclist" which refers to a human powered mode of transport.

Many people drive cars because they have to. Not because they want to. They are part of a car culture by necessity.

So why do cyclists degradingly label them with the term "cager". It seems elitist and immature to me. Cager and Biker are often one of the same today now that having a Harley means having arrived in a priviledged economic class. So I feel it is time to drop old labels that are no longer relevant.

If I am way off track on this or if you agree what is your reason for doing so?
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Old 08-31-07, 03:24 PM   #2
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"Cager" is a word that's loaded with an element of contempt. It's a fine word to choose if you specifically want to express contempt. In general, though, the careless use of loaded words short circuits clear thinking and civil discussion.
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Old 08-31-07, 03:35 PM   #3
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"Cager" is a word that's loaded with an element of contempt. It's a fine word to choose if you specifically want to express contempt. In general, though, the careless use of loaded words short circuits clear thinking and civil discussion.
Gee Platy, I read it as loaded with an element of pity not contempt. I also first ran across the word in motorcycle magazines. I'm not sure I've used it in any posts but if I have I meant to express pity for the pathetic driver trapped in a metal cage. Isn't that how it was used in the post from fordfasterr about helping a motorist so isolated from his fellow motorists that he only got a hand from someone not in a cage? I thought the motorcyclists were using it to distinguish the freedom of being "in the wind" from being restrained and surrounded by glass and steel.
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Old 08-31-07, 04:13 PM   #4
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Gee Platy, I read it as loaded with an element of pity not contempt...
I can see your point there. Do you think the connotation has changed? When I was a kid a hacker was a term of admiration for a clever programmer. Now a hacker is an unauthorized user with criminal intent. So I've stopped using that word.

Last edited by Platy; 08-31-07 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Correct spelling
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Old 08-31-07, 04:38 PM   #5
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It still is, to those who know what a script kiddie is anyhoo...
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Old 08-31-07, 05:27 PM   #6
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Many people drive cars because they have to. Not because they want to. They are part of a car culture by necessity.
True enough. Our infrastructure is so poorly designed that it is difficult, even impossible, for some people to do without their cars. But I don't think very many of these people would change their ways, even if they lived on a bus line that ran every five minutes--with a private bike path from their front door right to their workplace.

I sure don't see many people who have been "forced" to drive a car out there riding bikes or protesting for transit alternatives. So, I'm not inclined to pity them--or release them from their responsibility to do whatever they can to make better transit choices.

P.S. Is this really a concern of yours, or are you just looking for an argument? If the latter, I'll not participate further in your thread.
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Old 08-31-07, 05:47 PM   #7
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I mostly agree with Roody's sentiment, that some people who use a car use it out of necessity....... but that most people who do use a car out of necessity, as well as the majority of people who don't need a car, would use one if they can afford it, regardless of whether there is a fairly convenient public transit or bicycle alternative.

I consider littledog to be pretty much right on the money, though, that calling people cagers out of pity or out of contempt (and if someone is told she's pitied when she doesn't think she deserves it, it will feel like contempt) does little to further our cause. Making people angry can work sometimes, but in this situation I think it's just a way to make enemies.
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Old 08-31-07, 06:57 PM   #8
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P.S. Is this really a concern of yours, or are you just looking for an argument? If the latter, I'll not participate further in your thread.[/QUOTE]

Yes,it is a real concern. It just doesn't seem right to belittle people who need to own a car and can not really afford even a junker. So they go into debt Yet public transportation-the bus- is not adequate in that it doesn't have enough routes or run often enough on weekends or holidays or night hours. A lot of people work 2nd or 3rd shift jobs when the buses don't run. Also weekends and holidays. Like hotel maids,restaurant and bar employees,janitors,nurses aids and such. The jobs of the new service economy.
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Old 08-31-07, 08:28 PM   #9
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Yes,it is a real concern. It just doesn't seem right to belittle people who need to own a car and can not really afford even a junker. So they go into debt Yet public transportation-the bus- is not adequate in that it doesn't have enough routes or run often enough on weekends or holidays or night hours. A lot of people work 2nd or 3rd shift jobs when the buses don't run. Also weekends and holidays. Like hotel maids,restaurant and bar employees,janitors,nurses aids and such. The jobs of the new service economy.
It is hard for folks who don't have much money. I know a single mother on disability due to a bad back. The only way to get her kids into a good school was to move to subsidized housing in a small town. Her car payment on a used minivan takes almost a third of her income. She "needs" the car because the closest bus is a couple miles away, and the kids have to go places too. I couldn't argue with her logic.

Howeer, like most addictions, a car dependency is often at least part psychological. People think they need a car, therefore they do need a car.
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Old 08-31-07, 09:35 PM   #10
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I consider littledog to be pretty much right on the money, though, that calling people cagers out of pity or out of contempt (and if someone is told she's pitied when she doesn't think she deserves it, it will feel like contempt) does little to further our cause. Making people angry can work sometimes, but in this situation I think it's just a way to make enemies.
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Gee Platy, I read it as loaded with an element of pity not contempt. I also first ran across the word in motorcycle magazines. I'm not sure I've used it in any posts but if I have I meant to express pity for the pathetic driver trapped in a metal cage. Isn't that how it was used in the post from fordfasterr about helping a motorist so isolated from his fellow motorists that he only got a hand from someone not in a cage?


No, fordfasterr is quite clear in his numerous posts; he uses the term "cagers" to express his contempt for those who do not share his views about the evil of motorists. See fordfasterr's use of the term in the thread title and message to help spin/distort an incident to fit his contemptuous attitude - Miami motorist / 12 cyclists crash

Showing contempt for the "enemy" is the intent of such name calling.
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Old 08-31-07, 10:33 PM   #11
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I must be a cager. I drive a mazda B2200, a HINO single axle roll off bin truck for work, a GMC tandem axle (also roll off).

there are good cagers and bad cagers, just like there are good cyclists and, well, hipsters on fixies..
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Old 09-01-07, 09:28 AM   #12
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WRONG!

A motorcyclist can be a 'cyclist as well. And a motorcycle is technically a motorized bicycle, because it has 2 wheels.

If you are going to argue terminology, at least get it right.
You haven't been around many Harley or other large bike riders have you? I took my BMX cruiser to a "bike" blessing this spring. The bikers who knew me from my biking days were friendly,although a little distant. Asking me "Don't you ride a bike anymore?" The other bikers just flat out ignored me when I tried to initiate a conversation. If I would of called them "cyclists" it might of lead to an interesting conversation though. A couple of them did mention they rode a bicycle but gave it up due to having leg/knee problems from motorcycle accidents. One of them tried to sell me his bicycle because of his knee problem and proudly told me how he walks 5 miles every day. I guess he didn't know how to change gears on his bicycle? I don't know. I didn't push him for an answer. The bikers just seemed to have a condescending attitude of bicycles as being toys for their children. As many motorists do.
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Old 09-01-07, 10:38 AM   #13
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I must be a cager. I drive a mazda B2200, a HINO single axle roll off bin truck for work, a GMC tandem axle (also roll off).

there are good cagers and bad cagers, just like there are good cyclists and, well, hipsters on fixies..
Not to mention fixie eliteists
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Old 09-01-07, 11:00 AM   #14
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I hate cagers. I drive a car. Therefore I hate myself.
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Old 09-01-07, 11:44 AM   #15
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5 hail marys
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Old 09-01-07, 04:16 PM   #16
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I think being a cager has more to do with attitude than actually driving a car. A cager is the person who acts aggresively towards legal bicycle behavior. The person riding a bicycle facing traffic is a cager. Most of the unsafe actions the enhanced pedestrian cyclist's display is the behavior of a cager, they simply are not in a car. The car driver who is courteous and defensive minded is not a cager. It is all about the intent.
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Old 09-01-07, 04:24 PM   #17
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I can see your point there. Do you think the connotation has changed? When I was a kid a hacker was a term of admiration for a clever programmer. Now a hacker is an unauthorized user with criminal intent. So I've stopped using that word.
Maybe the connotation has changed. When I began programming a hacker was someone not formally educated in the things he/she was doing so was getting the job done but not the way a professional would do it. With such a new technology this wasn't necessarily bad and the good self taught programmers (hackers) were very much admired. The ones I came across were often part time musicians who worked irregular hours. When I see 'cager' though, I think of the animals in the zoo. Every time I go to the zoo I want to free all the animals. Sometimes I feel that way about motorists stuck in traffic. Don't they see how much more fun I'm having? I can see the scowls on their faces and sometimes hear their angry remarks to each other. That is no way to live.
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Old 09-01-07, 05:27 PM   #18
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Yes,it is a real concern. It just doesn't seem right to belittle people who need to own a car and can not really afford even a junker. So they go into debt Yet public transportation-the bus- is not adequate in that it doesn't have enough routes or run often enough on weekends or holidays or night hours. A lot of people work 2nd or 3rd shift jobs when the buses don't run. Also weekends and holidays. Like hotel maids,restaurant and bar employees,janitors,nurses aids and such. The jobs of the new service economy.
Neither me, my wife or our four Cadillacs feel the slightest bit belittled by being called cagers. We are waving at you through our dark tinted glass windows - with the climate control on of course...
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Old 09-01-07, 05:37 PM   #19
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A "cager" is a basketball player. If folks want to invent pejorative jargon for car drivers, they should at least get their own word.

I would still find the project mildly embarrassing.
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Old 09-01-07, 05:57 PM   #20
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The person riding a bicycle facing traffic is a cager.
I don't see where you get the idea that bicyclists doing dumb things in traffic become "cagers".

It's kind of like the way racists see someone they don't like, and say the person belongs to a race they don't like. They don't have much in common except that you dislike them.
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Old 09-01-07, 06:27 PM   #21
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I don't see where you get the idea that bicyclists doing dumb things in traffic become "cagers".

It's kind of like the way racists see someone they don't like, and say the person belongs to a race they don't like. They don't have much in common except that you dislike them.
Or sorta like a bicycling expert calling all cyclists, "incompetent" if they don't ride in the guru approved manner.
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Old 09-01-07, 11:00 PM   #22
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You went to a bike blessing, of course you're going to find a bunch of cruisers and poseurs. I know a bunch of racers that pedal to keep in shape. That's all beside the point. All I am saying is that a motorcycle has two wheels, and is therefore a motorized bicycle. So you do NOT have the term cyclist all to yourself. It's not restricted based on the lack of motor.
You are correct. I was wrong.

Now I need to put some loud pipes on my BMX cruiser cycle. Or maybe some Mylar/Kevlar cards in the spokes of the rear wheel. Gotta think safety. After all those small bikes are hard to see.
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Old 09-02-07, 01:24 AM   #23
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And a motorcycle is technically a motorized bicycle, because it has 2 wheels.

If you are going to argue terminology, at least get it right.
I'm pretty sure a motorized bicycle or moped require the rider be able to provide some sort of consistent, reasonable propulsion. While a motorcycle or scooter only need to have two wheels and an engine/motor of some sort. There are also speed/size/wheel configurations that fall into different categories, depending on yer DMV, so YMMV, but for the most part I haven't seen a motorcycle defined as a motorized bicycle.

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Definition of a Motorcycle
400. (a) A "motorcycle" is any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and weighing less than 1,500 pounds.
(b) A motor vehicle that has four wheels in contact with the ground, two of which are a functional part of a sidecar, is a motorcycle if the vehicle otherwise comes within the definition of subdivision (a).
(c) A motor vehicle that is electrically powered, has a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour, and weighs less than 2,500 pounds, is a motorcycle if the vehicle otherwise comes within the definition of subdivision (a).
(d) A farm tractor is not a motorcycle. (e) A motor vehicle that has an enclosed seating area for the driver and passenger, and is used by local public agencies for the enforcement of parking control provisions, is not a motorcycle.
(z) The fact that (d) or (e) needed to be clarified is hereby officially noted as frightening.
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Old 09-02-07, 10:07 AM   #24
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I'm going by the purest definition, the word's origins. You can clearly see that bicycle = 2 wheels. Regardless, 'cyclist can just as easily be short for motorcyclist as bicyclist. There is no need for all the hate between the two groups. Sadly most of it is caused by bicyclists' attitudes and improper riding. It's VERY safe to ride in the right half of the lane and let a motorcycle slowly pass in the left half, but there are too many bicyclist with a bee up their butt that try to keep everyone from passing them.
Hmmm... Well,I am not even going to go there. But many motorcycles did have pedals on them as late as 1919.
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Old 09-02-07, 12:07 PM   #25
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It seemed an apt term at the time as this was in the late 70's early 80's when riding a Harley was still uncool and the Harley bikers were not welcome most places.
A Harley rider is in no position to look down on anyone. Here's a dime, get yourself a freak'n muffler already! Yeesh!
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