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Anti-bicycle rant by Dowd Muska. Is Big-Bicycle a growing threat to America?

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Anti-bicycle rant by Dowd Muska. Is Big-Bicycle a growing threat to America?

Old 06-09-10, 06:00 PM
  #1  
sean000
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Anti-bicycle rant by Dowd Muska. Is Big-Bicycle a growing threat to America?

Read his June 3 rant against bicycles. Quite the charming guy. One of my friends posted this on facebook.
http://dowdmuska.com/

All the usual stuff is there: Bicycles are for children, bicyclists obstruct traffic and disobey traffic laws, bicyclists endanger pedestrians, car drivers are forced to subsidize bike paths, etc. The creative part is how he attempts to paint "Big Bicycle" as a threat to America. Hilarious stuff, but kind of sad too.

I live in a very bike-friendly city (Bellingham, WA), but even here I know some people who have a very bad opinion of bicyclists. The negativity comes mostly from people I know who have been buzzed by fast moving bicycles on one of our city's many multi-use paths without any warning. I try to explain to them that many of these people are not what I could call "cyclists" but just jerks on bicycles. And of course some avid cyclists are jerks too. So are some drivers. That's just human nature for you. People will be inconsiderate and even break the law putting you at risk if you are in their way. Still, I know plenty of people who have had bad interactions with inconsiderate bicyclists, and so I'm sure this Muska idiot has his fans and that many of them agree. His essay reads like a rallying cry that will only encourage hostility towards cyclists.
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Old 06-09-10, 06:12 PM
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"Obnoxious crusade"? Hm, I see far more motorists breaking the law than cyclists, and as far as I know, no one has been hit and killed by a bike. What was his goal in writing this? Seems a bit "childish" for him to attack cyclists without a purpose.
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Old 06-09-10, 06:28 PM
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something similar in Portland recently:

http://bikeportland.org/2010/06/07/e...cycle-zealots/
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Old 06-09-10, 06:44 PM
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I admit that some people on bikes (should they really be called cyclists?) act like morons, but they seem to be minorities. Most of us are sane law abiding citizens. I rather liked some of the comments on the blog, especially those pointing out that motorists do the same things bad cyclists do, but with much more deadly consequences. I think from now on if I see a cyclist doing something dangerous or unruly, I will attempt to point it out to them, and explain how it affects other cyclists.
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Old 06-09-10, 07:19 PM
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I'm afraid pointing out bad behavior to other people doesn't tend to affect their behavior much, and this is true of motorists and cyclists. But the idea that motorists treat us badly because of bad cyclists is laughable. The worst of motorist behavior hasn't changed in the 30-odd years I've been riding, and when I started there were not nearly as many people out on bikes as there are now.
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Old 06-09-10, 07:35 PM
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Another jerk ranting on the internet. What else is new?

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Old 06-09-10, 08:53 PM
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What's that old saying? Something about first they ignore us, then they ridicule us, then we win. Two down, one to go.
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Old 06-10-10, 03:34 AM
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Geez, this guy really is an idiot.

I like how it says on his CV he works for the "pro-liberty movement" yet he writes trash like this.
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Old 06-10-10, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by serra View Post
"Obnoxious crusade"? Hm, I see far more motorists breaking the law than cyclists, and as far as I know, no one has been hit and killed by a bike. What was his goal in writing this? Seems a bit "childish" for him to attack cyclists without a purpose.
Cyclists have killed pedestrians before in Toronto, more than once too - still not as common as cars killing cyclists or other pedestrians, but still happens. One article from last year
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Old 06-10-10, 05:15 AM
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I don't understand this anti-cycling mentality. It's become an us-vs-them scenario and I'm not sure why. I just like to ride my bike. I like to get from point a to point b without the use of a motor vehicle. I like to blast down a road at 45 kph. Why shouldn't I be able to do those things efficiently and safely?
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Old 06-10-10, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I don't understand this anti-cycling mentality. It's become an us-vs-them scenario and I'm not sure why. I just like to ride my bike. I like to get from point a to point b without the use of a motor vehicle. I like to blast down a road at 45 kph. Why shouldn't I be able to do those things efficiently and safely?
Your quote by ACD I think is what most of us want... "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking. -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle"

But then we have to contend with jerks in cars that think they own the road, and that we don't belong... kinda crushes that soaring spirit.
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Old 06-10-10, 08:06 AM
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Most of his argument is based on the reader feeling that bikes are toys and riding them is silly. If you don't believe that you'll think his essay is weird at best. I loathe this kind of argument.
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Old 06-10-10, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by randya View Post
something similar in Portland recently:

http://bikeportland.org/2010/06/07/e...cycle-zealots/
Huh, I was talking to a guy on NPR comments who had that attitude (bikes are a religion). I was pretty lost about where he was coming from. He was quite certain that people ride bikes to save the environment. I tried to assure him that people who do that quit and buy a Prius more often than not.
I don't think I know anybody that rides for the environment. If they mention it it comes after "stay in shape," "save money," and "I like it."

He was pretty impossible to deal with. He asserted, roughly, that riding was moralistic, and therefore evil. I tried to explain to him that he was moralizing while accusing people of moralizing, but that was lost on him.
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Old 06-10-10, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
Huh, I was talking to a guy on NPR comments who had that attitude (bikes are a religion). I was pretty lost about where he was coming from. He was quite certain that people ride bikes to save the environment. I tried to assure him that people who do that quit and buy a Prius more often than not.
I don't think I know anybody that rides for the environment. If they mention it it comes after "stay in shape," "save money," and "I like it."

He was pretty impossible to deal with. He asserted, roughly, that riding was moralistic, and therefore evil. I tried to explain to him that he was moralizing while accusing people of moralizing, but that was lost on him.
we're living in the century of irony
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Old 06-10-10, 09:34 AM
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A 2008 rant:
http://www.dowdmuska.com/2008columns/col040308.htm
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Old 06-10-10, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm afraid pointing out bad behavior to other people doesn't tend to affect their behavior much, and this is true of motorists and cyclists. But the idea that motorists treat us badly because of bad cyclists is laughable. The worst of motorist behavior hasn't changed in the 30-odd years I've been riding, and when I started there were not nearly as many people out on bikes as there are now.
If anything I think I'm treated with respect by more motorists than I was, say, 25 years ago. At least I don't think I've had anyone throw their drink at me from a moving car since the 80s

My town of Bellingham, Washington is quite bike friendly. I previously lived in the District of Columbia, Missouri, Colorado and Arkansas (where I grew up). So I'm used to cars passing too close or even swerving to make me veer off the road. I'm used to people honking and yelling stuff like "Get off the road!" Such things rarely happen here and now. People were pretty nice in Colorado too. I chuckle whenever I hear young cyclists in Bellingham complaining about motorists. I tell them they have no idea how good they have it. Pedaling the redneck back roads of Arkansas in the 80s while wearing spandex was much more of an adventure
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Old 06-10-10, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by serra View Post
"Obnoxious crusade"? Hm, I see far more motorists breaking the law than cyclists, and as far as I know, no one has been hit and killed by a bike. What was his goal in writing this? Seems a bit "childish" for him to attack cyclists without a purpose.
Then you are not paying attention. Fairly rare but far from unheard of.
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Old 06-10-10, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
It's become an us-vs-them scenario and I'm not sure why.
Seems some cyclists are just as much a part of this as non-cyclists. I've found one doesn't have to participate in this and it makes for much more enjoyable driving and living.
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Old 06-10-10, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Then you are not paying attention. Fairly rare but far from unheard of.
I don't think I haven't heard of it from a lack of paying attention, but possibly from a lack of googling "killed by cyclist". The worst I have heard was a hip fracture when some moron was on the sidewalk and plowed into an elderly woman.
I think I'll stand by the point I was trying to make. Cars are thousands of times more dangerous than bicycles when they break the law. Two incidents of cyclists killing people is less than the number of people killed in half an hour by cars.

Last edited by serra; 06-10-10 at 10:47 AM. Reason: I actually did manage to find an instance from 2008
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Old 06-10-10, 10:57 AM
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I don't take this guy seriously. Whom is he going to influence?

But if I did, the best way to deal with conservative/libertarian critics of cycling is with conservative/libertarian arguments in favor of cycling. In case you hadn't noticed, there are plenty of conservatives and libertarians who love cycling. Why is that? Simply, cycling has broad appeal. Consequently, it's easy to find conservative and/or libertarian arguments to support it.

Some examples:

Protecting the travel rights of bicyclists protects civil liberties.
Preserving the right to travel by bicycle protects freedom of movement for a wider population than who motor.
Preserving the right to travel by bicycle increases the supply of labor who can reach their jobs, which is good for business.
Preserving the right to travel by bicycle increases the population of people who can reach commercial goods and services, which is good for the economy.
Protecting practical bicycle transportation improves the ability of low-income people to become employed and leave government assistance.
Protecting safe bicycle transportation can be done by enforcing the laws we already have.
Enforcing existing traffic laws well enough to reasonably protect bicyclists has the additional effect of improving safety for all road users.
And so forth.

The line of argument focuses on the cyclist exerting their own personal effort to travel (the pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps idea), be it to improve their standard of living, participate in the economy, improve their health, or protect the environment. The public costs of supporting this are less than the public costs of supporting other travel modes. It just makes good conservative sense to protect it.

Last edited by sggoodri; 06-10-10 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sean000 View Post
I try to explain to them that many of these people are not what I could call "cyclists" but just jerks on bicycles.
How is that supposed to work? Princeton's web dictionary defines "cyclist" as "a person who rides a bicycle." Your "jerks on bicycles" are cyclists by definition. You might not approve of how they ride, but you can't define them off their bikes.

Originally Posted by serra View Post
... and as far as I know, no one has been hit and killed by a bike ...
Now you know otherwise: http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_ki.../91473374.html

An 83-year-old Renton woman out for a walk on the Cedar River Trail late Sunday afternoon died Monday morning of head injuries she suffered when hit by a bike rider, according to the Renton Police Department.
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Old 06-10-10, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by serra View Post
I don't think I haven't heard of it from a lack of paying attention, but possibly from a lack of googling "killed by cyclist". The worst I have heard was a hip fracture when some moron was on the sidewalk and plowed into an elderly woman.
I think I'll stand by the point I was trying to make. Cars are thousands of times more dangerous than bicycles when they break the law. Two incidents of cyclists killing people is less than the number of people killed in half an hour by cars.
There's a big luck factor. People get killed in pathetic bar brawls because they stumble and hit their head on something. Even a runner could do the damage (although it's less likely, because they're going slower and have more control).

Incidentally, this provides excellent reason to avoid a fist fight. You could be the unlucky one that kills the other guy or the unlucky one killed. Even if both of you have no idea how to fight.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
I don't understand this anti-cycling mentality. It's become an us-vs-them scenario and I'm not sure why. I just like to ride my bike. I like to get from point a to point b without the use of a motor vehicle. I like to blast down a road at 45 kph. Why shouldn't I be able to do those things efficiently and safely?
It has nothing to do with you. Now days, the us-vs-them mindset is what many commentators are trying to push. If you are in fear, you are attentive and pliant.

Since Ray La Hood proposed that bicycling should be considered transportation on an equal basis with automobiles we've become a "them" of the month.

Bicyclists, who don't have to pay all those terrible gas prices are now part of a big government plot to further intrude into their lives, and maybe (horrors!) get the motorist to stop driving. And any soldier in Iraq will tell you that if you stop you're dead. It makes no sense, I noted that the only cyclist he actually talked with worked at the CATO Institute.

I'd follow the money on this one.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 06-10-10, 12:42 PM
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Is Big-Bicycle a growing threat to America?

Yes. Yes, it is.

/thread
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Old 06-10-10, 01:00 PM
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This guy Muska is a 100% certified ass-clown.
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