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Motorist caused me to become a cycling activist!!

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Motorist caused me to become a cycling activist!!

Old 12-07-01, 10:04 PM
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A F Baker
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Mini-Mom caused me to become a cycling activist!!

I was riding home from work today, and I was really excited. Today was the sunniest day we've had in Central Kentucky for a few weeks, and I had about 40 minutes of daylight left to get in a few miles. I knew the route that I chose was going to be busy. The route I chose was the bypass around my town which is a quite nice 4 lane--3 mile stretch with a slight uphill grade. As usual, the extremely wide shoulders of the road are filled with road debris. I am a smart cyclist, and I know the cycling road laws in Kentucky. I am seen as a vehicle, and I have the right to take an entire lane if the narrowness of the road causes me to have to use the entire lane. Today I was taking up just one little corner of a lane which is quite wide for Kentucky standards. Besides, if a car really was too nervous to ride beside me they should get into the other line of traffic going in the same direction.

I was moving along just fine when a woman in a minivan pulled up behind me and honked! I glanced over my shoulder and kept riding in the same line. She honked again, but this time she was waving her arm to tell me to get out of HER way, and that is when I let loose my fury. Not that she heard a single word I said, but I let her know that I too pay taxes, the road is big enough for the two of us, and there are two lanes for her to choose while I'm only taking up one foot of space! I was waving my arms to show her my anger, but I didn't say or make one objectionable comment. I think I made my point, because by the time she drove off she looked quite embarrassed.

Never before did I consider myself a bicycle activist. I just like to ride my bike. However, I'm really considering writing a letter to editor of the newspaper to express some of my views about how cyclists deserve 12 inches of road space! I think the Critical Mass movement is stupid, and a waste of time, but I would like to get involved in something a little less harming to the image of cyclists. If anyone has an idea let me know.

I think I'm starting to understand what activism is all about now, and what it is that causes one to become active for a cause. Heck, just push a person from the South around for a while and see what mighty deeds they can do!

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Old 12-07-01, 10:14 PM
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I also understand what Lance meant in his book IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE, when he said that he used/uses anger to fuel his cycling momentum. Wow did I make some speed up that hill after the incident with the Mini-Mom. For the rest of the ride I was just daring another motorist to say a word to me about anything! No telling what I would have done. It is amazing how the honking of a horn causes you to think that from your saddle you can chew up and spit out a minivan.

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Old 12-07-01, 10:18 PM
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I know how you feel, in the downtown, which happens to be just a street that is 10 blocks long in West Allis, there's only room for two lanes of traffic. I feel as if i have every right to take up one lane, seeing the speed limit is only 15 and there's a stop light at every block, which you seem to run into every other one.

yet still everyone thinks bikers have no rights

one time me and a group of friends (like 8 people) where riding down this street, and this mid aged guy starts messing with us by comming really close to our bikes and honking his horn, while yelling out the window to tell us to move, and there was traffic infront of us , so he'd only gain a car length anyway. We spent the time flicking him off and calling him names, and he couldn't do anything about it, as long as we didn't damage anything

Don't respect any moterist seeing they don't respect you.

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Old 12-08-01, 01:52 AM
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AS I have said elsewhere, my group of cyclists have had motorists throw soda bottles, ice cream cones and of course, been verbally tounted by these idiots. I think they are really jealous. fat slobs mostly- in their gas guzzlers. Or else have IQ's equal to their shoe size.
I very much think we have to be aware. These idiots influence legislators and try to restrict our rights as cyclists. Click on the League of American Cyclists from time to time to see what various actions are being conducted in whichever state legislature to take away our rights to commute by bike.
Sometime you might have to fight to protect your rights to 'alternative transportation' as the US DOT calls it.
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Old 12-08-01, 02:21 AM
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AF Baker, the time has come to become a card-carrying member of your local cycling advocacy group. There is definitely strength in numbers. As far as the honking tailgater goes, I've dealt with this particular primate before, the best thing to do is to just ignore them. My theory is, if they have all day to just sit there, it's their problem, not mine.
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Old 12-08-01, 07:50 AM
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AF Baker, if you do join an advocacy group, be sure to research them ahead of time. Not all advocacy groups are created equal. There are some good groups that work towards improved laws, road conditions, integrating bicyling into a community's transportation scheme, etc. On the other hand, there are some groups that focus on recreational trails and thus don't do anything for a cyclist's right to be a user of the road.
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Old 12-08-01, 08:29 AM
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To play the devils advocate here and posisble catch some flack.....

I am an avid rider but have had local riders make real stupid moves in front of my car only to gesture and scream at me for not heading to their illogical whims.

It is our responsibility to make decisions on the road in a fashion that is predictable to even the brain dead, which may require an extra effort on our part.

Just remember, a car out weighs a bike by quite a bit. A fight between the two has a known outcome.

Ride logically.
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Old 12-08-01, 09:33 AM
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Gregg/ you are right. We need be critical of fellow cyclists, when necessary. Our San Diego Bicycling Coalition- our major advocacy group function includes cycle safety education for cyclists and reminds us to ride safe. Think most of us get defensive, as we should- because I would hope ther serious cyclists on a board like this are responsible. I only screw up on the bike, in equal proportions to what I do in the car.!
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Old 12-08-01, 01:42 PM
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Dumb cyclists annoy me because they make it hard for the rest of us good, law abiding citizens! Like the morons who cycle against the traffic, or on the sidewalk, or at night against the traffic, etc. Most of them aren't cyclists like we are, but they're no less dangerous. And then there are the cyclists who ought to know better- like three guys I saw in USPS jerseys with snazzy bikes going the wrong way down a steep hill at a blind turn- maybe they didn't know the area but still!

Sometimes when we see those dork cyclists with no helmet, cycling at night, against the traffic, we refer to them as "organ donors".
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Old 12-08-01, 03:11 PM
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I would suspect that the ratio of stupid bicyclists is about the same as for motorists. How to educate them is the enigma.

In Maine the advocacy group is the "Maine Bicycle Coalition" which has worked very hard to get laws written into the Motor Vehicle Code which all drivers must know in order to get a license. They also have instructors and classes all over the state to teach riders the laws and safe operation of their bicycle.

I would hope other states have similar organizations and it is our responsibility to support them in any way possible. Either with money or time. They would appreciate both, but would accept either.

Through education it may be possible to gain a little tolerance and forgiveness for those who share the roads with us.

And when all else fails, there is always the bird.
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Old 12-08-01, 05:10 PM
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being a law aviding cyclest only pisses people off

jay
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Old 12-08-01, 05:15 PM
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California is blessed witih several cycling advocacy groups, including a statewide coalition and the San Diego group to which Cyclezealot and I belong. We preach and practice "lawful vehicular cycling," which includes defensively, politely assertive positioning of our bikes on the road.

I was pleased to read in today's paper that a cyclist was awarded $400K because a police office placed him in a choke-hold, while he was still on the bike. (The patrol car had nearly sideswiped him, in violation of California law, and he had yelled something at the officer, to the effect that he was "too close." The officer blocked his path with the car, got out, and grabbed him.) The award is excessive, but it makes a very good point. (The cyclist had originally offered to settle for $6K, but the county pushed the case to trial.)
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Old 12-08-01, 07:59 PM
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We know that 40,000 Americans die from car accidents every year. How many more die from heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and other diseases related to physical inactivity/stress ("D-R-I-V-I-N-G")?

Every bonafide cycling advocate is involved in saving lives.

:thumbup:

(And cycling is fun, too!)
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Old 12-08-01, 08:51 PM
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Originally posted by ViciousCycle
AF Baker, if you do join an advocacy group, be sure to research them ahead of time. Not all advocacy groups are created equal. There are some good groups that work towards improved laws, road conditions, integrating bicyling into a community's transportation scheme, etc. On the other hand, there are some groups that focus on recreational trails and thus don't do anything for a cyclist's right to be a user of the road.
That is exactly right. VC has picked up on the point that I omitted.


wabbit
Dumb cyclists annoy me because they make it hard for the rest of us good, law abiding citizens! Like the morons who cycle against the traffic, or on the sidewalk, or at night against the traffic, etc.
There really isn't a lot that can be done about people like this (anyone who has ever tried to talk to them would know that). They're probably just candidates for natural selection, so they're probably doing us all a favour by removing themselves from the gene pool.

In saying that, if I had $1 for every time I've been abused for something like stopping at a red light (or something else within the law), I wouldn't have been at work yesterday.
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Old 12-08-01, 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by cashius_rider
being a law aviding cyclest only pisses people off

jay

And not being a law abiding cyclist is stupid, dangerous, and often pisses people off even more.


Are you familiar with Critical Mass, Jay? I think you'd fit right in.
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Old 12-09-01, 07:33 AM
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Well since I'm not the kind of cyclist who drives on the wrong side of the road, and based on the fact that I never ride without my helmet, I guess I wouldn't be considered one of those "stupid bicyclists," but I see them everyday just like all cyclists who frequent this forum.

How many of you would swear off the good roads because that is where the SAVs (that means Suburban Assault Vehicles for you newbies) are driving? I love the country roads, but I can't give up the best roads when I'm in the city.
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Old 12-09-01, 08:09 AM
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I recently had a discussion with a "redneck" (for lack of a better discription) about bikes using car lanes. He lives in a town across the lake, the road going out there is very popular for the local cyclists. There are even road signs alerting that. To cross, there are 2 long, divided, 2 lane bridges with no shoulders .

He stated, the cyclists have no right to the entire lane because most bikes are not legal, they don't have any reflectors.

He said when he is driving back from the beer store (drinking) , doing 70 (in a 45) It is unsafe for bikes.

I guess it is unsafe!

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Old 12-09-01, 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by scubagirl
He stated, the cyclists have no right to the entire lane because most bikes are not legal, they don't have any reflectors.
You could, of course, quote bits of the law to him, but I personally avoid talking to people like that wherever possible.

Originally posted by scubagirl

He said when he is driving back from the beer store (drinking) , doing 70 (in a 45) It is unsafe for bikes.
Sounds like it might one day become unsafe for him too. We can only hope.
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Old 12-09-01, 09:09 PM
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My apologies to those who already saw this in a now-defunct forum. My favourite redneck joke is:

Somewhere in Redneck Territory, a state trooper pulls a redneck motorist over for various traffic and equipment infractions.

Trooper: "Got any I.D.?"

Redneck: "'bout what?"
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Old 12-10-01, 12:43 AM
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Ahh rednecks...

You can't get rid of them easily
They stain our world like blood on the sand
Clean 'em out but they reappear
They're like maggots in a garbage can!
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Old 12-12-01, 05:57 PM
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It has been five days since the confrontation with the Mini-Mom, and I've decided that the way I reacted to the honking was inappropriate. I've been looking on the WWW for sites about cycling advocacy, and on one of my longtime favorite sites I tought for sure I'd be able to find some help. Ken Kifer (kenkifer.com) has a really good website. I found in the site an article about gaining respect from motorists:
https://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/lifestyle/respect.htm

I had never really thought about the same people seeing me on my bike day after day. According to Ken Kifer at least a few of those people wish they had the courage to do what I'm doing. I live in a somewhat small city, and a majority of the people know me. Even if they don't know me personally, they may come to know me as "the cyclist" if they see me every day.

After I went off on the honker of the horn, I felt angry. Angry/agressive cyclists have more accidents. Even though I wasn't riding agressively before the incident, by letting myself get so angry I made myself prone to having an accident. I took my attention off the road in front of me for too long. Anything could have happened in front of my path during the time I was venting my anger toward the motorist, and I wouldn't have seen it. What I should have done was just look back at the driver and then try to get out of her way as best I could. I still don't think my best option was to get off the road completely, but getting out of her way without confrontation would have been better.

I wonder if Mini-Moms have a forum where they can sort through their emotions.
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Old 12-12-01, 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by A F Baker
I had never really thought about the same people seeing me on my bike day after day. According to Ken Kifer at least a few of those people wish they had the courage to do what I'm doing. I live in a somewhat small city, and a majority of the people know me. Even if they don't know me personally, they may come to know me as "the cyclist" if they see me every day.

After I went off on the honker of the horn, I felt angry.
Keen insight about seeing the cyclist day after day.

Re: "angry..."

My view: keep rising above anger.

(But that motorist with the loud horn and 50 mph. cannonball better stay in his/her place. )
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Old 12-12-01, 11:59 PM
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Originally posted by A F Baker
What I should have done was just look back at the driver and then try to get out of her way as best I could. I still don't think my best option was to get off the road completely, but getting out of her way without confrontation would have been better.
I'm not so sure. I generally ride as far to the left (the right for those in the US) as is safe. If people are bothered by that, I'm not going to put myself in danger just to make someone else happy. The cold-hard fact is that motorists will resent you for merely being a cyclist and they are best ignored in my view.

Originally posted by A F Baker

I wonder if Mini-Moms have a forum where they can sort through their emotions.
I doubt it. To have emotions, one has to have a mind, and I've no indication that the person you had this confrontation with was born with one of those.
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Old 12-13-01, 08:16 AM
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Originally posted by A F Baker
I wonder if Mini-Moms have a forum where they can sort through their emotions.
They do. It's the poor unsuspecting husband who hasen't even taken his coat off as he walks in the door after a hard days work. Mabey I have issues.

Good observations AFB.
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Old 12-13-01, 08:27 AM
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A question for non-US cyclists. The way Chris writes sometimes, I think cyclists are unappreciated in Australia. Ironic with Australia having as many top notch pros as they have. I know in New Zealand cycling is worshiped. I would assume the same in Australia.
I have cycle-toured in three countries in Europe. Over being cursed/harassed in the automotive minded US, in Europe, quite the opposite. As climbing really steep hills, kids have extended their hands outside the windows and clapped, whistled, thumbs up everywhere. Cyclists are revealed in France as some kind of athletic god. People talk to you automatically with all smiles. That is my experience in cycling in Europe.
So Canadian, Australian, Dutch cyclists- is it as rough cycling there as in the US.? ps- I think generally US motorists do not understand cycling. But this is not a blanket condemnation of US attitudes towards US motorists. They are taking up cycling in increasing numbers and there is support. Just- compared to other countries- we is a long way to go to accept cyclists as commuting equals. Ironically, here in California, we have done more to promote cycling lanes, than many foreign countries.
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