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Article calling for cyclists and drivers to get along

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Article calling for cyclists and drivers to get along

Old 07-31-10, 10:24 AM
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Article calling for cyclists and drivers to get along

A near 50+'er wrote a very interesting piece in our local paper, seeking to improve relations between cyclists and drivers. He relates many personal experiences from biking in Madison for many years.

https://host.madison.com/ct/news/loca...9b66554e3.html
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Old 07-31-10, 11:06 AM
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Overall, it is a pretty decent article, although I wish he had left out his opinions about the political left and right, Democrats and Republicans, etc., because this simply reinforces counterproductive stereotypes. We need to de-politicize many discussions, including bicycling in traffic.

American motorists need to learn how to make a right turn -- slow down, merge into the shoulder/bike lane/curbside zone on final approach, yielding to bicyclists and pedestrians already occupying that space. Instead of right-hooking a bicyclist or pulling ahead and then waiting for the cyclist to pass through your right hooking path, tuck in behind the bicyclist.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:09 AM
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This guy hit the nail on the head with his observation about the local bike path.

and the bike path gives cars the right-of-way at every intersection. For someone who wants to make time and get a good workout, the Capitol City path sucks.
Bike Paths in a lot of places aren't designed by cyclists. They can be a total waste of tax money. They are designed to let the politicians feel all good about being "green" and making a claim that their city is "bike-friendly".

My nearby city added, to much hoopla and publicity, less than a mile of bike path down a very wide, low traffic residential street by painting a lane where none was needed. It was not needed to make cycling down that street any safer or more inviting.

I too was nearly run over while riding a bike path. It was my fault for not seeing a miniature sized STOP sign placed to the left of the path easily 10 feet from the left shoulder of the path. Painting STOP on the asphalt would have been more visible to me.

He also discusses the driver's feeling of having the right to the road because they are licensed. I've been thinking about this. It seems to me that the ability to use the road in a motor vehicle is a privilege conferred by holding that license. The cyclist has the right to use the road within statutory restrictions.

Great article. Thanks for sharing that, Tom.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
This guy hit the nail on the head with his observation about the local bike path.



Bike Paths in a lot of places aren't designed by cyclists. They can be a total waste of tax money. They are designed to let the politicians feel all good about being "green" and making a claim that their city is "bike-friendly". ...
I concur. Casual cyclists and motorists both want to get bikes "out of the way" of cars. In so doing, they greatly increase the dangers at intersections, where most collisions already occur. We end up with European-style facilities and American-style aggressive, hostile, inattentive motorists -- not a good combination.

The only real solution I can see is to slow down traffic, traffic-calm intersections, paint the outer lanes with sharrows, and integrate bicyclists into traffic. On high-speed roads with infrequent intersections, go ahead and separate us into bike lanes or shoulders on the long stretches, but slow everything down and re-integrate us on the approach to each intersection.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:53 AM
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Cycling advocate and author John Forester (Effective Cycling)argued for many years that cyclists needed to operate on the road as vehicles (as was originally intended) and not be segregated onto bike lanes (which are all too often poorly designed and inadequately maintained). I see education of both motorists and cyclists as crucial to solving many of the conflicts we seem to face. Emphasis of cyclists rights/responsibilities should be included in drivers education classes and cycling awareness billboards/PSAs similar to the motorcycle awareness campaigns would benefit cyclists a lot more than lines painted on pavement.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:01 PM
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Most of the time the problems with cagers is that they arn't paying attention to how they are driving because they have a cell phone in one ear while driving one handed because the other hand is either stuffing something into their face, digging through a purse or brief case, or turning around to talk to or smack one of their kids. Yes I saw this happen and the lady driving almost ran onto the curb when she jerked the wheel around.

Cyclist also need to worry more about being SAFE and RESPONSIBLE than they do about being RIGHT. Just because you have the right of way somewhere doesn't mean you have to shove it down the cage drivers throat. You KNOW alot of them arn't paying attention to anything or anyone but themselves.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Overall, it is a pretty decent article, although I wish he had left out his opinions about the political left and right, Democrats and Republicans, etc., because this simply reinforces counterproductive stereotypes. We need to de-politicize many discussions, including bicycling in traffic.
Mega-dittos.

Oops, probably not the correct thing to say around here.

I thought the article sucked. It was self-righteous and played the victim card one too many times.

Allow me to say this: when cycling is encouraged because it is fun and healthy (unless you get run over), people are drawn to it. Because it IS fun and healthy.

When cycling is promoted to:
-save the Earth.
-reduce your carbon footprint.
-get one more damn car off the road.
-up BP and all the other petrofascists.
-because it's a hip lifestyle.
-because, gosh, it's just the right thing to do and it makes you a better person,

then many, perhaps most people instinctively recoil from that crap.

Sorry, there are way too many self-righteous dry drunks out there riding their bikes, having made it their religion and their cause. That is a very common perception and one that I think holds some water.

Now, I appreciate it when no one tries to kill me. I tell all my non-cycling patients, when I see that they live out in the country where I like to ride, that if they see some fat old guy in a red jersey struggling up a hill, be sure to give him three feet of clearance because that fat old guy is most likely me.

That advances the cause of cycling (oops, there I go) more than any number of quasi-political op-ed diatribes.

Last edited by The Weak Link; 07-31-10 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jbman100 View Post
Most of the time the problems with cagers is that they arn't paying attention to how they are driving because they have a cell phone in one ear while driving one handed because the other hand is either stuffing something into their face, digging through a purse or brief case, or turning around to talk to or smack one of their kids. Yes I saw this happen and the lady driving almost ran onto the curb when she jerked the wheel around.

Cyclist also need to worry more about being SAFE and RESPONSIBLE than they do about being RIGHT. Just because you have the right of way somewhere doesn't mean you have to shove it down the cage drivers throat. You KNOW alot of them arn't paying attention to anything or anyone but themselves.
This might be the first time I read the term "cagers" in the 50+ forum.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:52 PM
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"Maybe things would get better if more motorists got on a bike"...
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Old 07-31-10, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
"Maybe things would get better if more motorists got on a bike"...
A lot of 'em would certainly benefit from the exercise. Supposedly 60 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight and I think a large percentage of them must live here in the deep south where foods are typically deep-fried (hey its fish - ain't that still healthy?) and sitting in a deer stand or bass boat is considered "exercise".

BTW - I was among the 60 percent until I got my fat ass back on a bike in April 2009 and rode off 55 pounds.
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Old 07-31-10, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Overall, it is a pretty decent article, although I wish he had left out his opinions about the political left and right, Democrats and Republicans, etc., because this simply reinforces counterproductive stereotypes. We need to de-politicize many discussions, including bicycling in traffic.
Agree. ^

Thanks for posting, T Bomb.
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Old 07-31-10, 03:48 PM
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I thought Madison was sort of cyclist Nirvana so I was sort of taken back by all the hostility he experienced. And what is this with only 3.2% of commuter trips by bicycle. This is a Bicycling Gold City with a major University and they can't do better than that? I mean really. And what does it mean to be a bicycle friendly city if you get harassed all the time?
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Old 07-31-10, 04:12 PM
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I'm beginning to think that unfortunately a number of motorists just don't give a hoot about what cyclists think. But it's just not the motorists/cyclists issue. It's more about "you're completely wrong if you have a different perspective than I do"-and it comes out even stronger if the opposite perspective impacts the other person--like slows them down a little on the road. I hate to be negative, but while the article was very factual made a number of good points it was way too long to keep the targeted audience's attention. While we can easily relate to the article, I fear a lot of motorists just can't or will not allow themselves to relate. Dang, am I ever the negative ninny today!! Must be the afteraffects of the pickup that intentionally buzzed me today!!! Going by appearances of the driver and the pickup I doubt he could even read a newspaper article!!!!
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Old 07-31-10, 04:43 PM
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Did 36 miles on bike paths today and only crossed 3 streets and rode on a road for 1 and 1/2 mile - a road with only 4 cars. Said "Hi!" to a number of very friendly pedestrians, and raised my cap (well, helmet) to lots of bicyclers. All dogs were very well controlled, and even a large group of peds on some sort of volunteer activity moved over immediately upon hearing my bell.

Life is good.
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Old 07-31-10, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
Allow me to say this: when cycling is encouraged because it is fun and healthy (unless you get run over), people are drawn to it. Because it IS fun and healthy.

When cycling is promoted to:
-save the Earth.
-reduce your carbon footprint.
-get one more damn car off the road.
-up BP and all the other petrofascists.
-because it's a hip lifestyle.
-because, gosh, it's just the right thing to do and it makes you a better person,

then many, perhaps most people instinctively recoil from that crap.
I can relate to this. A lot of people assume if you're a cyclist then you automatically fit a certain mindset and political agenda, which just isn't the case.

Oh, and I haven't read the article yet.
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Old 07-31-10, 06:46 PM
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I was amazed at the length of the article. They gave their reporter a lot of space to tell his story. Is this a hot button issue locally, Tom? I, too, was puzzled about the hostility demonstrated by the public in an area known for progressive attitudes about bicycling.
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Old 07-31-10, 07:28 PM
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In my area I routinely ride on the roads because there usually isn't any place else to ride. For the most part motorcycles, cars, trucks and bicycles get along. Most of the time riding or driving in mixed company is a safe, pleasurable experience. BUT, and that is a Big BUT, there are a significant number of both motor vehicle drivers and cyclists who not only don't have a clue, really don't care.

I was riding down a MUP two days ago when a 4-Wheeler and a motorcycle came over the hill at me head-on. They gave way but it was obvious that they could have cared less about the motorized vehicle prohibition. Yesterday and again today due to a detour I had to ride on a busy street and make a left turn from that one on to another. I gave proper signals and moved into the left turn lane, stopped waiting on traffic to clear, then cars went around me as they made their left turn. The behaved as if I wasn't even there. Today, I saw two cyclists riding the wrong way on a One-Way street, crossing against the light and bouncing between the city street and sidewalk(here you may not operate a bicycle on a sidewalk unless it is a designated bike path). Just some examples.

So, I think it is more a case of ignorance compounded by the current "me first" societal attitude and seasoned by the acid of built up anger released at a weaker object.
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Old 07-31-10, 07:56 PM
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Unfortunately there are jerks on both sides of this argument
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Old 07-31-10, 08:41 PM
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People are still not getting it, as illustrated by this article. They have this notion of "bike friendly," which of course means bike paths and lanes intended to get cycles away from real roads - so cars can get on with business. It is essentially adversarial.

To date, few consider that "bike friendly" means being accepting of, and designing for, cyclists on the same roads as cars. This is what we should be working towards.

Last edited by dahut; 07-31-10 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 07-31-10, 09:04 PM
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The problem is much larger than motorist-cyclist hostility. In the U.S. there is such polarization that people feel free to be hostile towards anyone who does not share their interests or opinions. People need to be courteous to other people all of the time. If they were, then friction between individuals and between groups would all but disappear. People just need to be decent to one another. Many people feel uncomfortable in their own skins and lead lives of frustration and disappointment, so they vent on others who are different. Personally, I don't care what people think of cycling or anything else I do, but I do care that they are not courteous and respectful to others. People need to get more in touch with themselves and simply leave other people alone.
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Old 07-31-10, 09:49 PM
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jackb hit the nail on the head.
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Old 08-01-10, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
jackb hit the nail on the head.
+1. But I did read the entire article and liked it very much. Our local newspaper would never publish anything that long unless it was about Cornhusker football!
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Old 08-01-10, 02:00 PM
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In my view, if you swim with the sharks you better expect to get bit sooner or later. I'm lucky enough to have 20 miles of first rate bike path 6 blocks from my house. Plenty of pretty good hills. I never get sick of it, long for something more interesting. If I want to go to point A, and point A is only accessible by city streets, I drive my car. On a bike I set my mind to the fiction that every driver wants to kill me. Kind of keeps you on your toes. 'Educating' drivers is a lot like 'educating' the Taliban.
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Old 08-01-10, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jackb View Post
The problem is much larger than motorist-cyclist hostility. In the U.S. there is such polarization that people feel free to be hostile towards anyone who does not share their interests or opinions. People need to be courteous to other people all of the time. If they were, then friction between individuals and between groups would all but disappear. People just need to be decent to one another. Many people feel uncomfortable in their own skins and lead lives of frustration and disappointment, so they vent on others who are different. Personally, I don't care what people think of cycling or anything else I do, but I do care that they are not courteous and respectful to others. People need to get more in touch with themselves and simply leave other people alone.
You mean as in "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or something along those lines? Funny, but considering the close calls I've had over the years involving vehicles emblazoned with chrome fish symbols, I'd be rather hard pressed to believe some of the right-wing fundie claims that "America is a Christian nation" (if actions speak louder than words).

However, they were only close calls and I'm still riding after all these years . . .
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Old 08-01-10, 02:32 PM
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Here is another article that was printed in our local paper. Note that Mr. Wilson is both a public official and a cyclist.
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