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Vehicular Cycling (VC) No other subject has polarized the A&S members like VC has. Here's a place to share, debate, and educate.

View Poll Results: Motorists: friends or foes? (p.s., are you a VC?)
Friends (And yes, I AM a Vehicular Cyclist) 14 51.85%
Friends (And no I am NOT a Vehicular Cyclist) 4 14.81%
Foes (And, yes, I AM a Vehicular Cyclist) 6 22.22%
Foes (And, no, I am NOT a Vehicular Cyclist) 3 11.11%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-23-07, 05:29 PM   #1
Helmet Head
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Motorists: friends or foes?

In general, when you're cycling in traffic, do you view and treat motorists like they're friends with whom you are in a cooperative situation, or like foes with whom you're at battle or in war?

NOTE: there is no right answer, obviously, this is a matter of opinion.

Full disclosure: In the poll, I'm also asking if you see yourself as a vehicular cyclist to see if there appears to be any correlation in how folks view/treat motorists in this respect and being or not being a Vehicular Cyclist.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:36 PM   #2
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Friends until they start a 'fight'
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Old 04-23-07, 05:50 PM   #3
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i think its more accurate to differentiate between drivers as ' attentives', 'distracteds' and 'aggressives'

some are friends, some are foes. all drivers are not the same, all cars are not driven by the same types of people.

I've been yelled at by people with bikes on the roof of their automobile.
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Old 04-23-07, 05:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
i think its more accurate to differentiate between drivers as ' attentives', 'distracteds' and 'aggressives'

some are friends, some are foes. all drivers are not the same, all cars are not driven by the same types of people.

I've been yelled at by people with bikes on the roof of their automobile.
See, every now and then I'm really glad I don't put you on ignore, Bek. This is a really good point.

But, to be fair to me, I did say "in general" in the OP.

What is your default assumption about a given motorist before you have evidence indicating what he is: that he is a cooperative friend (including possibly an inattentive friend), or an uncooperative foe (including possibly an inattentive foe)?
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Old 04-23-07, 05:59 PM   #5
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What about obstacles to be avoided? Not freind or foe... just like walking through a field of cows - they don't hate you, they just have no use for you - it is my responsibility to work around them and guide them to where they need to be for me to get around safely.

And no, I am not a VC rider - I consider my self more of analagous to a cowboy, but with cars instead of cows. Sure they can kill or maim you, but typically they are pretty stupid and just need a firm hand to tell them what to.
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Old 04-23-07, 06:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by natelutkjohn
What about obstacles to be avoided? Not freind or foe... just like walking through a field of cows - they don't hate you, they just have no use for you - it is my responsibility to work around them and guide them to where they need to be for me to get around safely.

And no, I am not a VC rider - I consider my self more of analagous to a cowboy, but with cars instead of cows. Sure they can kill or maim you, but typically they are pretty stupid and just need a firm hand to tell them what to.
Motorists are like cows... just be clear on what they're supposed to do and they do it.

I like it!

You go, cowboy!
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Old 04-23-07, 06:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Motorists are like cows... just be clear on what they're supposed to do and they do it.

I like it!

You go, cowboy!
haha, we agree on something
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Old 04-23-07, 07:03 PM   #8
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Motorists are both friends and foes, and I ride vehicularly when it suits and non-vehicularly likewise. But since this is a "with us or against us" style poll I chose not to vote... there's just no room in your poll for it.
My neighbor is a motorist and so is his wife, thus motorists are my friends.
A few people that hold grudges against me are motorists, thus motorists are my foes.
I sometimes ride vehicularly.
I sometimes don't.
...decisions decisions!
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Old 04-23-07, 09:27 PM   #9
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Even those who yell or honk at me are generally looking to cooperate with me, which to them would be getting out of their way. I had a woman this morning point out to me that I was definitely only going 15 in a 25mph zone and that she was just trying to get to work. Her idea of cooperation was not slowing her down which apparently blinded her to the fact that I destination positioned myself at the intersection so that she could turn right on red from the wide lane, and thus not slow her down any more than I had to. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that one day she'll realize just how cooperative I was being

Most understand that I'm just a guy riding a bike and doing the same thing they are, using a public facility to move from place to place. If they want to go faster, they realize that they either have to reposition themselves so that I'm not in their way or I have to move out of their way. Cooperation goes a long way towards making that happen sooner.
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Old 04-23-07, 11:11 PM   #10
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I am neither a VC or a non VC rider.

I have never met a motorist that was actively a foe (ie deliberatly tried and hurt me), but I don't consider them to be particularly friendly either as they can put me in danger.

So, no voting for me in this poll.
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Old 04-24-07, 01:11 PM   #11
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An odd question. It tells me something about your personality.

Motorists are just people. No more, no less.
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Old 04-24-07, 01:18 PM   #12
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Missing answer: Neither friend nor foe
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Old 04-24-07, 01:23 PM   #13
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distracted friends who could inadvertently kill me.
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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
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Old 04-24-07, 01:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
An odd question. It tells me something about your personality.

Motorists are just people. No more, no less.
Sorry to stretch your brain. "Friend or foe" is not meant literally as in "friend you would have over for dinner" or "foe you would shoot if you had a chance". It's a figure of speech.

The question is obviously getting at whether you view cycling in traffic to be more of a cooperative or a competitive environment. Clearly it has elements of both, but, in general, which better describes your attitude? That motorists are mostly "friends" in a cooperative environment, or mostly "foes" in a competitive environment (like the guys on the other team in a sport)?

is that really an odd question?
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Old 04-24-07, 01:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Sorry to stretch your brain. "Friend or foe" is not meant literally as in "friend you would have over for dinner" or "foe you would shoot if you had a chance". It's a figure of speech.

The question is obviously getting at whether you view cycling in traffic to be more of a cooperative or a competitive environment. Clearly it has elements of both, but, in general, which better describes your attitude? That motorists are mostly "friends" in a cooperative environment, or mostly "foes" in a competitive environment (like the guys on the other team in a sport)?

is that really an odd question?


I think you answered your own question. My outlook is that motorists are people. No more, no less.
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Old 04-24-07, 01:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff


I think you answered your own question. My outlook is that motorists are people. No more, no less.
What a punter.

Do you deny that there are substantial numbers of cyclists who view motorists as the "enemy"?

If not, do you share their perspective or not?
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Old 04-24-07, 02:13 PM   #17
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I think some motorists think traffic is a competitive sport. And some don't. Either kind could potentially kill me OR have me over for dinner.
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Old 04-24-07, 02:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
What a punter.

Do you deny that there are substantial numbers of cyclists who view motorists as the "enemy"?

If not, do you share their perspective or not?
Evidently not.

If you walk down a street with a bunch of other people on it, are they friends of foes? Someone turns a shoulder to let you through... friendly, I guess. A gaggle of teenage girls, walking slowly and taking up the entire sidewalk... foes perhaps. How do you categorize a group of people with exactly one thing all in common? You can do that only if you subscribe to the view that the one commonality changes and unifies people's behaviors. Do you subscribe to this view?

I don't. People are people. People are self absorbed until it is absolutely necessary to behave differently. Cooperative or not; friendly or not; depends on an individual's mood and the situation. What a cyclist views as a motorist being uncooperative, the motorist also views as a cyclist being uncooperative. What does it even mean to be "cooperative" or "uncooperative" in the traffic environment? If a motorist yells and honks and threatens, but still passes safely, is that being cooperative? If the motorist is friendly and waves, but passes unsafely, or does the wrong thing, is that being uncooperative? What about the motorist who doesn't do anything; doesn't deviate his path to either make way or intimidate; doesn't even give a second glance, but who doesn't also do anything dangerous. Is this cooperative? Uncooperative?

People are people. A person on a bike or a person in a car still has the same personality they had before they got on the bike or entered the car. The self absorbness of people has a chilling effect on cyclists, which is a completely natural response to the cyclist's vunerabilities, but is, at the same time, completely without merit. It is not the self absorbness that cyclists should fear. After all, the road system that the US sports is a triumph of self absorbness over environmental awareness. Look at all the rules we have so that people don't have to do much thinking out on the road. As long as everyone respects the rules, this system works.

But now throw in a wrinkle. Cyclists are, in general, small and without a defined outline, making them hard to see, and slow. On a road designed for one type of vehicle of a certain size with a defined outline, and traveling at basically a single speed which is much faster than most bicyclists can travel, a bicyclist is out of place. This situation puts cyclists and motorists in conflict and competition. In this situation, vehicular cycling is merely a technique of using lane positioning as a weapon to win this competition, to make a motorist respond to the nimble and bold cyclist, to give the cyclist confidence that the competition can be won, to normalize the roadway relations so that the motorists, again, can behave in a way which doesn't involve thinking. But it is a forceful and competitive position, and the cyclist is out of place, so emotions flair.

If you want an answer to the above question with some political overtones, motorists are mostly cooperative when the road is designed for both bicyclists and cars, and motorists are mostly uncooperative when the road is designed soley for cars. I think motorists feel the same way about cyclists too. Designing a road system for both motorists and cyclists is difficult, and there will always be some points of conflict, but rulemaking, education, and good roadway design can make up for the shortcomings of such a duel useage system. But the alternative, designing the road system for only automobiles and neglecting space for cyclists will always put motorists and cyclists in competition and conflict.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:08 PM   #19
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Why are y'all making such a deal about this? I view other drivers as potential 'friends' who will cooperate, until they demonstrate otherwise. Same with other strangers in different settings, for example forming a line.

Al
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Old 04-24-07, 03:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
this situation, vehicular cycling is merely a technique of using lane positioning as a weapon to win this competition, to make a motorist respond to the nimble and bold cyclist, to give the cyclist confidence that the competition can be won, to normalize the roadway relations so that the motorists, again, can behave in a way which doesn't involve thinking. But it is a forceful and competitive position, and the cyclist is out of place, so emotions flair.
Huh? Uh, no.
Lane position is all about communication. Communication is needed for cooperation.

There is no competetion, no winning, no forcing.

Al
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Old 04-24-07, 03:15 PM   #21
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^^^
Then why all the honks?
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Old 04-24-07, 03:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
i think its more accurate to differentiate between drivers as ' attentives', 'distracteds' and 'aggressives'

some are friends, some are foes. all drivers are not the same, all cars are not driven by the same types of people.

I've been yelled at by people with bikes on the roof of their automobile.
Gotta agree with Bek on this one. All motorists are different... until I find something to distinguish a particular motorist, I am neutral about them. This is especially true about tinted windows or indifferent motorists I cannot even see... then they are not even motorists, just "cars;" The "anoniminity" of the vehicle wins out.

A nod or a smile can make a friend, an aggressive movement or lingering horn can make a foe.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:22 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Huh? Uh, no.
Lane position is all about communication. Communication is needed for cooperation.

There is no competetion, no winning, no forcing.

Al
LOL come drive in southern California if you really feel there is no competetion, no winning, and especially no forcing...

Guns have been drawn to determine "winners... " You figure it out.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:22 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by rando
distracted friends who could inadvertently kill me.


How true bud.

-G
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Old 04-24-07, 03:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
^^^
Then why all the honks?
You mean the 2-3 videos I've posted? Those were motorists who chose to be uncooperative.

I've gotten unfriendly honks with yells from drivers traveling the opposite direction (although 99% of opposite direction honks are of the friendly type)

Al
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