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Even Eco-Guru David Suzuki is Sick of Cyclists

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Even Eco-Guru David Suzuki is Sick of Cyclists

Old 09-06-14, 09:21 AM
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work4bike
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Even Eco-Guru David Suzuki is Sick of Cyclists

I've always said that cyclists need to realize that we as a community need to clean up our act. I'm always seeing local cyclists, including from the local bike club running an intersection near my house on their weekend rides. Why do they have this sense of entitlement?

It's not just my area, I've noticed this everywhere I lived (stationed in many areas in my 23 years in the navy). And I've read numerous stories about this problem. And I just saw this today David Suzuki joins chorus of activists speaking out against cyclists | National Post

Whenever I mention this I'm accused of being anti-bike or siding with the motorists It's time to see this as a problem in our community.


Excerpt:

“A lot of criticism of the growing number of cyclists in cities is valid: Too many blast through stop signs, don’t give pedestrians the right-of-way, refuse to signal turns, ride against traffic, don’t make themselves visible enough and use sidewalks,” wrote Mr. Suzuki in a Tuesday editorial in The Georgia Straight weekly and posted on his website entitled “Cycling is smart but some cyclists need to get smarter.”

“Many seem to have a sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws,”
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Old 09-06-14, 09:32 AM
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So while berating less than 2% of the population for their "sense of entitlement," does the eco guru have anything to say about the other road users who have a sense of entitlement regarding their speeding? (while using excessive amounts of air polluting fuel, thus compounding their actions)

I agree that some cyclists need to get their act together, but it is darn hard to take such rage against cyclists seriously when one can easily observe massive gross abuses by others who seem to have a huge sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws... and pollute while doing it.
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Old 09-06-14, 09:49 AM
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My city just recently resorted to posting signs at many signaled intersections stating that a minimum of a 500 dollar fine will be imposed for running a red light, and this effort was not due in part by cyclists running red lights. Too many people are more focused on cyclists' actions and not seeing the real danger on our roadways.
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Old 09-06-14, 10:33 AM
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This article is a joke.
...cyclists currying a reputation for bombing through stop signs, pounding on hoods and eschewing helmets...
Yeah, let's focus on the number of motorists who aren't wearing helmets, while we're at it?

The ol' chestnuts about helmetless riders and stop signs/red lights being ran by cyclists are some of the stinkiest turds currently floating in the cycling advocacy toilet bowl. Drivers run reds and stop signs all the time. Let's remember that, when approaching a controlled intersection, a road user is supposed to come to a complete stop at the line for at least 3 seconds before proceeding. I haven't seen anyone do that since i was taking my driving test at age 17. C'mon, let's be real: few ppl stop at/behind the line, unless there are othervehicles lined up ahead of them. 3 seconds at a stop sign? Not if the cross street is clear, not ever. And almost everyone will jockey up past the line for a better vantage point, especially in a car. **EDIT 9.24.14**There is no law, on the books, that specifies the duration of a stop at a stop sign or while pulling a right on red, at least not in NJ USA, and probably not in any other US state. As I type this, this thread is like 8 pages long.... The misconception regarding 3 seconds has already been addressed, multiple time. Thanks!

I'm not going to rehash ancient rebuttals, about cyclists' average rate of speed, ability to stop, improved peripherals, or far reduced worst-case scenario repercussions in the event of an accident. I'll save it, b/c all of this criticism comes down to this:
When motorists stop routinely exceeding the speed limit, running controlled intersections, pulling illegal turns, failing to signal, and killing other road users, from pedestrians to cyclists to rollerbladers and their fellow motorists, then they can complain about how they once saw some 150lb kid astride a 25lb bike ride thru a stop sign at 11 mph. Glass houses. I'll concede that pedantic/evangelical/annoying/holier-than-thou cycling "advocates" who love rules and technicalities and uttering sentences that start off with "well, actually...." have the right to criticize, and I'll continue to heckle them when they choose to exercise that right. But to the motorists who break EVERY law while driving, but who want to whine about helmetless cyclists at intersections, I gotta say GFY....

For the record, I'm an everyday cyclist who also drives a company vehicle at work, and owns a personal vehicle that I use occasionally, and I break the law routinely and without remorse on almost every trip, whether in a motor vehicle or on a bike. Guess what? I've never caused an accident, and I haven't gotten a ticket for a moving violation in well over 10 years, so....

You go right ahead and obsess about the laws on the books if you like. The rest of us will keep doing what we can to be safe on the streets while avoiding tickets and maximizing efficiency. I'll take the real world's rules as a priority over the unenforced ones in the law books, every time.

PS: David Suzuki has added his name to the list of idiots. Total hammer.

Last edited by surreal; 09-24-14 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Anti-troll pedantry-prevention tactics
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Old 09-06-14, 10:41 AM
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Why should all cyclists be lumped into a single "community" It's drivel that fosters a prejudicial attitude towards all individual cyclists. Since I don't know Suzuki at all, I really don't care much about his opinions, and further note that there are many generalizations made about eco-guru's that are used to marginalize them and their opinions. And there is now way in heck I will agree any activist to speak for me, as they are typicall far away the center area that I inhabit.

In other words, Suzuki is entitled to his opinion, what meaning it has is open to debate.
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Old 09-06-14, 01:56 PM
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Interesting line graph to chart more users = less injuries = more lawlessness.
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Old 09-06-14, 02:38 PM
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One time, I sat with my bike observing an intersection with a stop sign. 10 out of 13 motorists rolled through the stop sign. Of those turning left, only one signaled.

Left out of "scofflaw cyclists" articles is comparative MV driver stats...
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Old 09-06-14, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I've always said that cyclists need to realize that we as a community need to clean up our act.

While I dont agree with a lot of the article, I agree with the sentiment. Serious cyclists are by and large, dicks with attitudes. Look at the these forums for confirmation. I have always thought it (un)amusing that the lower elements of motorcycling could unite enough to get huge, landmark laws like no-helmet passed, but bicyclists fight and argue like middle school girls on everything from lights to 3' laws. We have no spokespeople, we have no pull outside of Portland. Its ridiculous. Until "normalcy" comes to cycling, i.e. the most visible people are the ones are invisible(if you are one, you know what I mean) rather than people who's attitudes shine brighter than their cygos and spandex, we will be at war with car culture. We have met the enemy, and he is us.
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Old 09-06-14, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
One time, I sat with my bike observing an intersection with a stop sign. 10 out of 13 motorists rolled through the stop sign. Of those turning left, only one signaled.

Left out of "scofflaw cyclists" articles is comparative MV driver stats...

I totally agree with this. Car people are the worst offenders, but in a country where cars are the religion, we are the ones that must try harder/rise above.
Not fair, shouldnt be that way, but I feel the reality is that by comparing us to cars, we will lose in the court of public opinion
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Old 09-06-14, 03:00 PM
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Normalcy has arrived here in NYC. There are now lots of people on bikes who are not bike nuts like you and I are. Nowadays, when I take a lane in extremely midtown traffic, I don't take it for longer than necessary, but the car driver behind me does not honk or start driving badly as a response.

But with normalcy, following the law is slowly progressing. It's not common, but I occasionally see a bunch of cyclists waiting at the line, waiting for the light to turn green. For the most part, too many cyclists break the laws in bad ways.

I'm not a role model myself, because I break the laws, but I have a code of ethics for myself. At stop lights, I slow down extremely, to the point where I'm ready to completely stop in an instant. I look for vehicles and pedestrians who have the light, and I do not do anything at all that would cause them to change speed or direction to avoid me. Once things are clear, and only then, I will run the light. In other words, I yield to all people I am supposed to yield to, but I won't wait if there is no one to wait for.

I will not ride the wrong way at all. I'm strict with myself about this, because going the wrong way is the worst thing a cyclist can do.

The police have started to enforce laws with cyclists. This is a big change, because NYC is a big outlaw city, with disdain for authority and especially traffic laws. Jaywalking has been rampant since before I was born (in 1961). Since the danger that cyclists present is very, very small, a lot of people that the police are going overboard by issuing citations. In a way, this is true, but we had to get the message out there that laws apply to everyone. I wish police enforced the wrong-way law and let all other violations go for a while. This would make the point, I think. Because there is a chance of getting a ticket, some cyclists stop at red lights. If you are in the western US, you may say, "Duh" but if you do, you don't understand the cultural differences between here and there.
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Old 09-06-14, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
One time, I sat with my bike observing an intersection with a stop sign. 10 out of 13 motorists rolled through the stop sign. Of those turning left, only one signaled.

Left out of "scofflaw cyclists" articles is comparative MV driver stats...
VERY well stated.

Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
Until "normalcy" comes to cycling, i.e. the most visible people are the ones are invisible(if you are one, you know what I mean) rather than people who's attitudes shine brighter than their cygos and spandex, we will be at war with car culture.
I must not be one, b/c I haven't the foggiest as to what you're trying to say.

I will say that, so long as cyclists make up such a small % of the population, and so long as cycling is snobbed-on by a majority of the ppl who b/c they've bought into the notion that their status is tied up with what they drive, and so long as LE is ready to scapegoat cyclists in places where transportation cycling has gained some momentem (eg, NYC), we'll be at war with car culture. The in-fighting among the various sub-sects of cyclists is just one of many challenges we'll face. T a very large extent, I've stopped caring beyond a degree of academic interest. In short, I like to observe the changes, but I don't care much to try to influence anything.
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Old 09-06-14, 03:23 PM
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I exceeded my free views of National Post articles but I did see a user comment claiming that 95% of cyclists break the law, and 95% motorists obey the law. I don't think it was intended to be satirical either.
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Old 09-06-14, 10:51 PM
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Being on the road 10 hours a day, I can honestly say cyclists are a non factor in my daily challenges, and probably one of the best user groups, but........

Those few cyclists who do stand out, really stand out, as being exceptionally stupid and arrogant at the same time, and all the more so because of how vulnerable one is on a bike.
Its one thing to be thoughtful about how we live when we can, and another thing entirely when it becomes an affectation to be paraded and measured. Combine those rogue riding manners with the holier-than-thou attitude of a few cyclists, its a given that there's going to be a clash of egos when they cross paths with a holier-than-thou eco-guru.
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Old 09-07-14, 12:49 AM
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David Suzuki really bugs me. He did good stuff back in the 80's (The Nature of Things) but now he's primarily an obnoxious whiner.
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Old 09-07-14, 05:52 AM
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I really think that changing the rule at stop signs to "bicycles must yield at stop signs" would help. Why, because it would break the conditioning of engaging in illegal activity. Because stop signs are impractical for cyclists to obey. For all the "its the law" crowd wants to crow about it, stop signs waer not developed for cyclists and due to the physical effort evolved, are much harder for cyclists to comply with, and at cycling speeds, are un-necessary to insure safety. Note, I am talking about signage here, not timed lights.

The reality is, much like the hated 55mph laws, the users have voted through demonstrated non-compliance patterns. However, once people form habits of non-compliance it carries over to other areas. One of the best things to do to get people in the habit of being law abiding is to remove the laws that cause people to think of themselves as lawbreakers; particularly when those laws do not produce a benefit. There is no evidence that yield signed intersections have greater accident rates than stop sign controlled intersections.

Changing cyclist must stop to cyclist must yield would bring cyclists back into compliance on the largest point of violation and help cyclists think of themselves as a lawful part of the traffic mix. A person who thinks of themself as lawful is more likely to behave lawfully in other situations.
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Old 09-07-14, 06:35 AM
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Who really cares what some self promoting twit thinks? His opinion is no more important and anyone that posts here.
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Old 09-07-14, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Who really cares what some self promoting twit thinks? His opinion is no more important and anyone that posts here.
It is in that he has a much wider audience and what the general populous believes to be an established credibility. For those reasons he can be much more influential than you or me posting in these forums.
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Old 09-07-14, 08:35 AM
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@Robert C, very well put.
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Old 09-07-14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I really think that changing the rule at stop signs to "bicycles must yield at stop signs" would help. Why, because it would break the conditioning of engaging in illegal activity. Because stop signs are impractical for cyclists to obey. For all the "its the law" crowd wants to crow about it, stop signs waer not developed for cyclists and due to the physical effort evolved, are much harder for cyclists to comply with, and at cycling speeds, are un-necessary to insure safety. Note, I am talking about signage here, not timed lights.

The reality is, much like the hated 55mph laws, the users have voted through demonstrated non-compliance patterns. However, once people form habits of non-compliance it carries over to other areas. One of the best things to do to get people in the habit of being law abiding is to remove the laws that cause people to think of themselves as lawbreakers; particularly when those laws do not produce a benefit. There is no evidence that yield signed intersections have greater accident rates than stop sign controlled intersections.

Changing cyclist must stop to cyclist must yield would bring cyclists back into compliance on the largest point of violation and help cyclists think of themselves as a lawful part of the traffic mix. A person who thinks of themself as lawful is more likely to behave lawfully in other situations.
Exactly! You stole my thunder but since I already wrote my post I will add it here...

Suzuki is a pompous boob at the best of times and I'm not sure how his experience with mating fruit-flies makes him an authority on cycling (or on climate change for that matter).

From what I see most cyclists act reasonably on the road. Very few 'blast through' red lights though most of us roll through stop signs on residential streets. And I don't see too many people riding on sidewalks or salmoning. Most people, including car drivers, act responsibly and it's a good thing as there would otherwise be carnage far beyond what happens now.

IMHO, the issue is that there are not reasonable rules for bicycles that reflect the nature of bicycles. For example, it is absurd to require bicycles to stop at every four-way stop on every block of a residential street. It makes no sense at all and greatly diminishes the ability to cycle efficiently which is why no one does it. Definitely makes a group ride impossible if everyone lines up every block to put their feet down before proceeding. Except for the politics, the problem is easily solved by re-defining stop signs as yield signs for cyclists -- we would clearly be responsible for our own safety (as we are anyway) and for any accidents caused.

The need for change is obvious but I have no idea how to make this happen.
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Old 09-07-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post


Excerpt:
“Many seem to have a sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws,”
He must live in a world without cars. Where I live, many motorists seem to have a sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws.

This is a PEOPLE issue, not a VEHICLE issue. PEOPLE in general do whatever they can get away with. CYCLISTS (a subset of PEOPLE) have more opportunity to ignore laws due to the more sensible shape of their vehicles.

I would love to follow the author of your article around for a day with my video camera while he drives his car. Then, at the end of the day, I could jam my camera UHA.
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Old 09-07-14, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
He must live in a world without cars. Where I live, many motorists seem to have a sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws.

This is a PEOPLE issue, not a VEHICLE issue. PEOPLE in general do whatever they can get away with. CYCLISTS (a subset of PEOPLE) have more opportunity to ignore laws due to the more sensible shape of their vehicles.
Sorry to point out the obvious, but your post demonstrates the hypocrisy of cyclists that non cyclists detest.

You accuse motorists of feeling entitled, then observe that "PEOPLE in general do whatever they can get away with", then pander to the excuses that cyclists use to justify their perceived entitlement to ignore laws. I see the same hypocritical attitudes on motorcycling forums too.
Like you said "this is a PEOPLE issue, not a VEHICLE issue", ones choice of vehicle doesn't grant them the entitlement to break the law.

I don't claim to be a paragon of lawful virtue, but I don't make up elaborate BS to justify my actions. "People" aren't as stupid as we sometimes want or need them to be, most recognize BS when its being slung.
That's the problem with bluffing, sometimes we get called on it, and when we bluff often enough there's the danger we will start to believe we are actually holding......when we really aren't.

Sometimes it's hard to admit we're "PEOPLE" too.
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Old 09-07-14, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
Sorry to point out the obvious, but your post demonstrates the hypocrisy of cyclists that non cyclists detest.

You accuse motorists of feeling entitled, then observe that "PEOPLE in general do whatever they can get away with", then pander to the excuses that cyclists use to justify their perceived entitlement to ignore laws. I see the same hypocritical attitudes on motorcycling forums too.
Like you said "this is a PEOPLE issue, not a VEHICLE issue", ones choice of vehicle doesn't grant them the entitlement to break the law.

I don't claim to be a paragon of lawful virtue, but I don't make up elaborate BS to justify my actions. "People" aren't as stupid as we sometimes want or need them to be, most recognize BS when its being slung.
That's the problem with bluffing, sometimes we get called on it, and when we bluff often enough there's the danger we will start to believe we are actually holding......when we really aren't.

Sometimes it's hard to admit we're "PEOPLE" too.
Certainly, but the sad truth is that cyclist people represent about 2% of the people out there... and hardly worth the finger pointing that some media slob thinks they deserve.
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Old 09-07-14, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I really think that changing the rule at stop signs to "bicycles must yield at stop signs" would help....
FWIW: It already is the law in Idaho, as is cyclists treating red lights like stop signs.
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Old 09-07-14, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Certainly, but the sad truth is that cyclist people represent about 2% of the people out there... and hardly worth the finger pointing that some media slob thinks they deserve.
Sensationalism is the stock, media is the trade.

Hyperbole for entertainment or as an excuse, two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
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Old 09-07-14, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
One time, I sat with my bike observing an intersection with a stop sign. 10 out of 13 motorists rolled through the stop sign. Of those turning left, only one signaled.

Left out of "scofflaw cyclists" articles is comparative MV driver stats...
For some reason, utter lawlessness by motorists (resulting in many thousands dead) is not worth discussing at all. God forbid you should expect someone to stop on red before making a right turn or to stop for a stop sign.

My daughter was required to do a survey of motorists behavior at a stop sign and a traffic light. Motorists uniformly ran the stop sign unless a car was coming. The traffic light was better, except motorists didn't stop for right turns on red. Which is incredibly dangerous.
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