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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-08-09, 11:21 AM   #1
vegipowrd
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Editorial on bike civility, discuss

This is a call to arms for cyclists. Actually, a call to civility. It is written to be NY specific, but I think it's universal to anyone on a two wheeled, human-powered vehicle anywhere in the US and possibly Europe. I want see what the SS/FG folk have to say since I think we are both the solution and problem.
Read This
Discuss.
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Old 03-08-09, 12:11 PM   #2
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his points he makes on page 3 seem pretty legit. I run red lights a lot, but typically not at major intersections like he suggests and unless i can clearly see both ways, i won't fly through one.
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Old 03-08-09, 12:25 PM   #3
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I guess I feel like what he is really getting at is the same sort of tension that skateboarding faced years ago. What had been only an extreme sport was then moved to safe, city sponsored skate parks. Kids all wore helmets and ESPN reported the Xgames. What was the last time Glen Freedman took pictures of kids skating. Some folks thought it was great, others missed the danger. The article hits the point that we can't have it both ways, that we either need to take our rightful place as a mode of transportation or simply stay a subculture.
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Old 03-08-09, 12:30 PM   #4
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I see people tearing it up on skateboards and bmx bikes all the time -- and not at sanctioned skate parks in a city with a handful of excellent parks.
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Old 03-08-09, 01:50 PM   #5
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I guess I feel like what he is really getting at is the same sort of tension that skateboarding faced years ago. What had been only an extreme sport was then moved to safe, city sponsored skate parks. Kids all wore helmets and ESPN reported the Xgames. What was the last time Glen Freedman took pictures of kids skating. Some folks thought it was great, others missed the danger. The article hits the point that we can't have it both ways, that we either need to take our rightful place as a mode of transportation or simply stay a subculture.
Ha. Before the current fixed gear trend, bicycles were long seen as a legitimate mode of transportation. They're still seen as one now. Skateboarding has always been a niche market, even to this day, which has never been true about bicycling. I know about 3 people who never learned how to ride a bike, can't say the same about skateboarding.

As far as Glen Friedman is concerned, that's just an artist moving forward with his work and not becomig stagnant. He moved away from shooting skateboarders long before ESPN hit the scene. Look at most of his recent shots he's made available for public consumption. Most of it has nothing to do with the inherent "danger" of the subject matter.
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Old 03-08-09, 02:03 PM   #6
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The complexity that comes with dense urban environments makes consensus quite impossible. Perhaps the handful of regular cyclists in Fayetteville, Arkansas can come together and decide to ride nice, but good luck with a city of eight million people.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:24 PM   #7
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I don't signal, ever. It's dangerous as hell.

Other than that, it seems pretty new york centric so I can't really comment.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:30 PM   #8
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I understand where he is coming from... You have to have a balance though.
Expecting returns on your civility in NYC traffic is a suckers bet if I ever heard one.
But "Dont be a jerkface" is a good attitude on and off the bike.

I have to admit, when I have the green light and am in a bad mood, it is pretty satisfying to scatter some jaywalkers!!!

Anger rolls like this: TAXI > BIKE > PEDESTRIAN.

Get rid of cabs and the bicyclists will be nicer to pedestrians.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:49 PM   #9
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I have to admit, when I have the green light and am in a bad mood, it is pretty satisfying to scatter some jaywalkers!!!
that's my perspective on the roadways. Don't interfere with people who have the right of way, and expect the same in return. I'll pretty much ignore any road signal I can as long as I can do it without anyone else having to alter their course one bit. In that case I feel more or less justified (to myself of course, I don't have to justify it to anyone else) in doing whatever so long as I don't inconvenience or endanger the people who rightly should be going through at that moment.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:55 PM   #10
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^ My philosophy as well. I break the laws in a respectful manner.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:07 PM   #11
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Even in their unlawfullness, the Canadians are still sort of polite.
Thats awesome.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:18 PM   #12
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Problems seem to arise when people break the rules but don't keep in mind that they're breaking the rules.

I run red lights, etc. all day long but I sure as hell don't expect anybody, in a car or otherwise, to be looking out for me, especially when breaking the rules.

I will say, though, that other bikers are the biggest hazard I see on the road. Some meander in and out of their lane and don't realize there's people behind them trying to figure out how to pass until someone yells or honks. Some sidewalk riders roll right out into the crosswalk because they don't hear any cars. Sidewalk riders are the worst. Even walking around them is a pain because a lot of them around here don't even try to favor pedestrians... it's the same "I'm bigger, get the **** outta the way" attitude a lot of cars seem to have.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:45 PM   #13
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I think the article missed a major type of bike rider. The take out delivery guy, more often than not in NYC these are the types of riders I see that blow through lights, ride on the sidewalks and ride the wrong way down the street. Even if the rest of us stop doing these things, a very large majority of bikers in the city won't stop. How can we fix that?
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Old 03-08-09, 08:52 PM   #14
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nothing spells 'persuasive journalism' like comma splices.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:57 PM   #15
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I think the article missed a major type of bike rider. The take out delivery guy, more often than not in NYC these are the types of riders I see that blow through lights, ride on the sidewalks and ride the wrong way down the street. Even if the rest of us stop doing these things, a very large majority of bikers in the city won't stop. How can we fix that?
Thats an amazingly important point. Those guys will salmon up the one way in full gallop with those HUGE f'ing baskets and beat to hell rusty ass heavy bikes. (Brakeless freewheel) I am as afraid of those guys as I am of taxi's. Tired, overworked, underpaid, angry, and driving around.
Not a good combination.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:08 PM   #16
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you can't make everyone listen to you, you can only persuade the persuadable.

i agree with him for anyone who has the luxury of being responsible- which is near everyone that has a bike of their own that they don't make a living with- and i don't think he wrote this article for the overworked, underpaid, angry bike-as-profession types.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:10 PM   #17
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Thing problem is streets and their lights, signs and laws are not designed for bicycles, they are designed for cars; just as sidewalks are designed for pedestrians. That leaves cyclists no proper area to cycle. Even bike lanes are not the answer, they become parking spots, and extended sidewalks, and turning lanes. They mostly provide a false hope for the uneducated cyclist.

Personally I would like to see pedestrians follow the law more often.
I think they pose a bigger danger thinking that roads become the sidewalk once rush hour hits. Not mentioning they jay walk 24/7.

Also take out food delivery guys are not cyclists, they work because they have no other choice. Where as most bike messengers do it because they love it, and are avid cyclists.
I would say bike messengers are some of the best cyclists around, even if they throw to waste every law, they know what they are doing and by the time they blow past you they are already planning 5 blocks ahead.

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Old 03-08-09, 09:14 PM   #18
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i think messengers should be forced to wear hi vis jumpsuits and Devo hats so there's no mistaking who's out for a ride and being a jerk and who's being a jerk because it's a paycheck he's trying to make.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:28 PM   #19
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i think messengers should be forced to wear hi vis jumpsuits and Devo hats so there's no mistaking who's out for a ride and being a jerk and who's being a jerk because it's a paycheck he's trying to make.
As opposed to the guy in the H3 who blows through a stop sign because he's trying to get to work on time?

Paycheque or no paycheque, on foot, on a bike, in a car, or in an 18-wheeler, if you can't pull whatever it is you're planning on pulling without forcing somebody else to stop or slow down, you're at being a jerk, and that's not cool.

I'm with my fellow Torontonians on this one. If you can do it without interfering with the flow of traffic - pedestrian, cyclist, or otherwise - more power to you. If not, F U.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:29 PM   #20
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i totally agree; but stopping a messenger from breaking laws on the clock is about as easy as stopping an H3 with one of your prominently displayed fingers.
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Old 03-08-09, 09:32 PM   #21
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Paycheque or no paycheque, on foot, on a bike, in a car, or in an 18-wheeler, if you can't pull whatever it is you're planning on pulling without forcing somebody else to stop or slow down, you're at being a jerk, and that's not cool.
Just do the "I'm an ass" sign.
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Old 03-09-09, 01:59 PM   #22
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i think messengers should be forced to wear hi vis jumpsuits and Devo hats so there's no mistaking who's out for a ride and being a jerk and who's being a jerk because it's a paycheck he's trying to make.
In a way I agree with this. After all, many trucking companies modify the 18 wheelers so they can't accelerate over the speed limit. This seems like a similar sort of thing.
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