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Thread: Perspectives

  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Perspectives

    I asked a good friend of mine, a delivery man, if he encountered cyclists on his route. And I asked him what he thought about that. Then I reminded him, "Don't factor in that I'm a cyclist." Here's a guy of my generation (late 40's,) very cool and laid back, very open-minded. Great guy (from California, no less.)

    He honestly said, "I don't have a problem, except when they are blocking my way and there's no way around them. Especially when the light up ahead is green and I know I can make it." He added, "If there's a lane free to pass, I don't care. It's just when I can't get around them."

    This guy is not just a motorist, he works all day in traffic. It's his lifeblood. This was his first response, his honest perspective between friends.

    One guy doesn't make a consensus. But we cyclists often say, "I'm not holding up traffic, I am traffic." Our perspective is that we have a right to use the roads we pay for. But what is the perspective of those who do not ride a bike on the street? Do they really understand us?

    Another close friend who I work with is someone I really click with a lot. We laugh about so much. But there arose one disagreement: when we started talking about bikes on the road.

    I had to explain to him for his first time that when I'm in a bike lane, I sometimes have to ride on the far edge of it because of debris or rough pavement, or even outside it. He said it sometimes p*ssed him off that cyclists had a whole bike lane, but they sometimes chose to ride almost outside it, or outside it. After I explained the reason, he finally understood something he never did before.

    I wonder if the old saying, "walk in another man's moccasins" applies here. These are nice people, good people--but they didn't understand because they don't ride a bike. It took someone who does to explain it.

    I'm not saying the world's against us, just that they don't really understand what/who we are. They don't live in our world, and it's hard for them to see what we take for granted everyday.
    No worries

  2. #2
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    There are practically no cyclists in my area that would ever consider holding up motorists, so drivers really have no opinion on the subject. I'm convinced they just consider me an oddity that they don't want to hit.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    I'm not saying the world's against us, just that they don't really understand what/who we are. They don't live in our world, and it's hard for them to see what we take for granted everyday.
    That is reason number one for educating motorists. I have been making this argument for a long time. Most motorists have no idea that we have rights to the road, nor do they understand what that means. All we want is to share the road, but most motorists have no idea what so ever.

    And the sad thing is it takes so little effort on their part... if they only knew.

    Here is a little dialog between Roody and myself discussing this issue.

    Honking JAM lesson-teacher learns a lesson.

    My wife thinks we need a snappy slogan... along the lines of "Only you can prevent forest fires." or "Don't mess with Texas."

    I tend to agree, but I don't kind of creativity... maybe we should just think something up. BTW "Share the road" just ain't working.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    BTW "Share the road" just ain't working.
    I wouldn't blame the slogan. Blame the difficulty of getting the concept accepted. Again, it's not that they don't accept that we have a right to be there, they think we shouldn't have that right. They don't care what the law says: if the law says we have a right to be there, it's wrong. They think it's too dangerous. It's crazy. It's unreasonable. We're lunatics. And you know what? Most of what cycling advocates do and say, particularly whining for "our own space", only reinforces those beliefs.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    I wouldn't blame the slogan. Blame the difficulty of getting the concept accepted. Again, it's not that they don't accept that we have a right to be there, they think we shouldn't have that right. They don't care what the law says: if the law says we have a right to be there, it's wrong. They think it's too dangerous. It's crazy. It's unreasonable. We're lunatics. And you know what? Most of what cycling advocates do and say, particularly whining for "our own space", only reinforces those beliefs.
    I could almost believe you except for the simple fact that they can't believe "we shouldn't have that right" when most motorists simply don't know that we have rights to the road in the first place.

    I think the Share the Road message loses effectiveness as it is usually displayed with a bicycle... thus lending to the belief that cyclists are supposed to share the road... giving motorists the belief that we cyclists are "supposed to get out of the way."

    Remember motorists don't know we have the right to be there... they think they are doing us a favor by avoiding us.

  6. #6
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I have a friend who also doesn't understand why so many cyclists ride on the bike lane stripe. He tells me he gets close to them to remind them to move over a bit. Another thought he has when I tell him about same roads same rights, is "even though its legal, doesn't mean its right"

    Anyway I agree about the STR signs. Locally they are designed to mean cyclist stay in the gutter (see attachment)

    Same STR signs are used along roads with NOL. What do you think the average motorist thinks when they see me riding centerish and the sign showing the cyclist off to the far side?

    Al
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by noisebeam; 03-27-07 at 09:51 AM.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Al, that lane is classic borderline wide enough to be shared. If you look at the car far ahead, it looks like there isn't enough room for a bike, unless maybe if the car moves all the way left in the lane. Even then, most probably have to straddle. Yes?

  8. #8
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Al, that lane is classic borderline wide enough to be shared. If you look at the car far ahead, it looks like there isn't enough room for a bike, unless maybe if the car moves all the way left in the lane. Even then, most probably have to straddle. Yes?
    I consider it a MedumWOL. I did not mean that this road was a NOL where these same STR signs are also posted.

    I ride this road pictured as a WOL. Centerish, then move right to help let faster vehicles pass, when they do they need to go over, even if slightly the lane dividing line. Some judgement as to vehicle width and volume of adjacent lane is needed to determine if one wants to let faster vehicle try and pass.

    Al

  9. #9
    pj7
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    I have only been riding a bike for the past few years. Before that I was, *gasp*, a motorist. In my whole pre-bicycle days I honestly never knew all the rights that cyclists had, and to be honest, I didn't care. I had a job to go to, a family to support, an education to get. Why should I care about a group of people that don't matter to me?
    I spent a couple of years going to school in Chicago. I remember the crap in the papers and on TV about bikeways and wot-not, though there wasn't ALOT, there was enough to still stick in my mind. I remember reading some of these blurbs or seeing them on TV while waiting on the weather report.
    I knew bikes were allowed on the road. I didn't know the full extent of their rights, but common sense told me that they were allowed to be there, otherwise why on earth were there so many? And if they were not allowed there, then the police were overlooking a major source of income, right?
    I NEVER once thought the law was wrong. I NEVER once thought that they shouldn't be there, though there were times I wished that one or two of them would have gotten the hell out of my way. And I NEVER once, had any notion reinforced that they should not be on the road by talks of extending bike facilities out to Schaumburg or Wheaton or any other suburb of that area.

    I keep reading "they" and "we" here. Such as "they" don't think "we" belong. Well, I belong to the "us" catagory. And so do damned near every one of you. I don't drive a car anymore, I don't have the need to. But one day, I know I'll likely have to go back to commuting by car. I know I am not always going to live here, and work where I do. I know that when that day comes there is a good chance that I will have to give up bicycle commuting and start driving again. I am a cyclist, and I always will be (if I have anything to say about it), but I am also a motorist. I am an "us". And you know what, "us" need to stop pissing and moaning and do something that benefits "us", and not just "we" or "they".
    So, what can "us" do?

    BTW, nice thread LittleBigMan, I actually took the time to think about what you had to say before posting, which means I'm either sober, or becoming responsible. I fear the latter.
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  10. #10
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    We could educate people who don't ride bikes that cycling is something we should encourage to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and reduce medical costs from obesity and diabetes, as well as teach them that it's perfectly legal. All these things benefit the "us" in our community.
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7
    So, what can "us" do?
    Us can learn to share the road, to drive friendly no matter what us are driving, be it two wheels or 4. Us can learn that no one has exclusive rights to the road and that us should watch out for each other.

    ************************************

    I donno, but personally I like using other pronouns, it makes reading better... but I suppose that is just somethng between "us."

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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    We could educate people who don't ride bikes that cycling is something we should encourage to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and reduce medical costs from obesity and diabetes, as well as teach them that it's perfectly legal. All these things benefit the "us" in our community.
    X2.
    No worries

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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    could some org. like LAB get some kind of grant to make a ton of PSAs to run on Radio and TV, educating the public about cyclist's rights and how to deal with them on the roads? I wonder.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  14. #14
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    It's just never occurred to the deliveryman in the OP that cars hold him up far more than bikes. He thinks of cars as "normal" traffic and bikes as something extra. Therefore he's blind to the impact of cars. It's much like how people think bike riding is dangerous and never think about how many people are killed or maimed every day in cars.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    It's just never occurred to the deliveryman in the OP that cars hold him up far more than bikes. He thinks of cars as "normal" traffic and bikes as something extra. Therefore he's blind to the impact of cars. It's much like how people think bike riding is dangerous and never think about how many people are killed or maimed every day in cars.
    +1
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    +1
    (Oops! for a minute I thought you were plus-one-ing yourself! )
    No worries

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    pj7
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Us can learn to share the road, to drive friendly no matter what us are driving, be it two wheels or 4. Us can learn that no one has exclusive rights to the road and that us should watch out for each other.

    ************************************

    I donno, but personally I like using other pronouns, it makes reading better... but I suppose that is just somethng between "us."
    us like to move it move it
    I am a sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate.

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
    (Oops! for a minute I thought you were plus-one-ing yourself! )
    Thanks!

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
    There are practically no cyclists in my area that would ever consider holding up motorists, so drivers really have no opinion on the subject. I'm convinced they just consider me an oddity that they don't want to hit.
    In my area, many or most of the state roads that interconnect cities like Cary and Raleigh are two lanes with 10-11' lanes and no usable paved shoulder. Most motorists here have opinions about cyclists on the roads; many call the radio stations and write the newspapers demanding that cyclists get off the road, especially during commute times.

    When they perceive their gas taxes being spent on striped bike lanes, and then see cyclists not staying right of the stripe, that really gets them seething, even if there's still room to pass. For them, it's the principle of the thing.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    In my area, many or most of the state roads that interconnect cities like Cary and Raleigh are two lanes with 10-11' lanes and no usable paved shoulder. Most motorists here have opinions about cyclists on the roads; many call the radio stations and write the newspapers demanding that cyclists get off the road, especially during commute times.

    When they perceive their gas taxes being spent on striped bike lanes, and then see cyclists not staying right of the stripe, that really gets them seething, even if there's still room to pass. For them, it's the principle of the thing.
    That is too bad. I feel sorry for you, really. You seem to be working within constraints that don't apply as much here in the Pacific NW with regard to bike lanes and bicycle accomodation.

    As for the rural roads interconnecting towns, we have the same thing here. I presume you have the same problem around Cary that we do here, in that those roads are taking on a lot more traffic then they were designed for. When those roads are up for repaving, one of the arguments you can use in favor of a shoulder is that roads with shoulders tend to hold up to higher traffic volumes better, as the road surface is better supported and less likely to form potholes and road edge crumble. When I was at the Portland Bike Summit, one of the people who I had a brief, private word with (and who was a government worker) told me that on rural highways, there are something like 10 good reasons for a shoulder, and the benefit of a shoulder to cyclists is reason number 9 or 10.
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