Only LIEbrawls/DEMONrats sneer at the law as you do. Here, in Alberta, Canada,
cyclists have most of the
rights AND responsibilities of motorists. You bike through a red light, YOU tell
it to the judge.
Ah, I see. No one on the right decides when a law should be enforced
and when it's stupid. So, when everyone else is driving at 65 in a 50
zone, you just cruise along at 50. Probably in the left lane just to
teach everyone else a lesson.
Here in New York City, we use common sense.
On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 22:34:56 GMT, Scott in Florida
What would you call it? Way back, more years ago than I care to think
about, I took Drivers Ed. We were taught that if everyone was going 65
and the speed limit was 50, you go 65 or you're the hazzard. Yes, we
were taught to break the law when it made sense.
I used that line when stopped once for speeding upstate. He said, yes,
that's true, but they were doing 65 and you were doing 70. But he
didn't give me a ticket.
Perhaps it's the result of traffic in New York City being so heavy
that no one can go fast enough to get into any trouble.
"Have you ever noticed that whenever you sneeze on your dashboard
or computer monitor, it smells like pussy?" -- bandy
You know, I agreed with Geoff when he said that helmet laws went a bit
too far, but I can't agree here.
You wouldn't be
In places where cars are parked a majority of the time, the debris
that collects on the side of the road is not going to collect solely
at the edge where the pavement ends. It collects at the edge of the
traveled lane. This will be where the bike is traveling. So while your
point is clever, it is not always realistic. In most city settings,
cars park on a shoulder that serves no purpose other than parking, so
cars never travel it with enough regularity to clear it as you are
implying. On a road bike it is easy to get a flat tire. Since the
tires don't have meaty tread to add thickness, punctures take little
more thna small piece of glass. I have very good situational
awareness, and that is likely why I've never had an incident on a
bike, but part of my situational awareness is monitoring the pavement
ahead for glistening spots where broken glass are. Running over a pile
of broken glass on road bike tires puts you at high risk of puncture.
I'll admit that I've noticed this snootiness also. Especially in those
who work at bike shops. However, suggesting that bicyclists are to
blame if they are hit by a motorist because the bicyclist chose to
drive on the street versus the sidewalk is a little silly. It is
counter to common ettiquette to ride on a sidewalk. Especially at any
rate that will allow you to commute a good distance. It is dangerous
to pedestrians to ride on the sidewalk. If you are assuming that there
is grass versus sidewalk, I'd like to point out how much harder it is
to pedal on grass than pavement. The difference in drag is by orders
I am not a super dedicated cyclist, but in college I woudl bike about
3 miles each way to get to classes on a 35 mph road with 2 lanes in
each direction and a few lights. So I have logged enough miles to talk
about it, but am not a serious cyclist. My attitude as a bicyclist is
that I assume that cars don't see me if there is more than about a
10mph delta. So I guess you could say that I do place blame on a car
that passed me while going about 5 mph faster than I was going, then
suddenly turns into me, or nearly hits me when I am going just
slightly slower. And I don't think that I am placing blame
innapropriately either. I think many cyclists subscribe to a
philosophy similar to mine. I also think that you may be assuming that
they have the attitude that they rule the road just because they are
in a position where they must make their presence known so that you
don't run them over. When I am coming up on extremely tight stretches
of road where I know the shoulder is nonexistant, I will speed up as
fast as I can go and merge into traffic, getting over far enough that
I make it clear that I don't want to be passed. Once I feel it is safe
for cars to pass, I get over and let them pass. For the motorist to
have the attitude that a cyclist using that strategy is snooty and
taking over the road is not considering that the cyclist is doing it
for safety's sake. Just because the cyclist extended the time that you
took to get somewhere by 10 seconds, that doesn't make them evil or
snooty. Now If they are just lollygagging along at a leisurely pace
for a good distance intentionally taking up an entire lane on a busy
road, then yes, they need to reevaluate how they are affecting others.
By use of the term 'underfoot' it appears that you actually have the
opinion that bikes do not have a right to be there, and that cars are
the only vehicles allowed to travel on roads. That is simply not the
case, and driving with an attitude like that can lead to making more
aggressive movements around bikers than you would if you were to
accept that they have the right to be there, even if they are
Oh. And to think that all this time, I thought it was because
you were smart enough to realize that I won the debate...
Oh, bullshit; that's just a *little* self-serving, don't you think?
Where is it written that all bicyclists think in lockstep and have
the same views on things? Surely you'd agree that it's at least
theoretically possible for bicyclists to be inconsiderate of others.
Biking and driving are things that I do. Neither is something that
I define myself in terms of. Thanks to that mental evenhandedness,
I'm not blind to the sins of either side.
"Have you ever noticed that whenever you sneeze on your dashboard
or computer monitor, it smells like pussy?" -- bandy
I'm a complete stranger to you. You don't know squat about when,
where, and for what reasons I bike, or have biked in the past.
And even if you did, and what you allege were true, whether or
not someone bikes to "get anywhere" is a bogus criterion. The
conditions on the streets aren't any different whether someone
is riding to a destination or just riding for pleasure. And
riding for pleasure doesn't necessarily mean riding along some
peaceful country road.
Many of you people regard bicycle commuting, specifically, as
some arbitrary standard of authenticity, and act as though anyone
who doesn't ride a bike to work somehow cannot now what it's really
like "out there." That's silly.
"One cool thing about the movie, a nice shot of the tower in Austin,
an ever present reminder that this is America, the only country
where one man can still make a difference." -- Tim Mefford
Well, that's what Usenet is all about, nest-say poss?
: You wouldn't be riding close to the right edge of the pavement,
: where the asphalt abuts the concrete gutter or the shoulder,
: which is the part that "tends to be less well maintained than
: normal traffic lanes."
Dude...paragraphs are a *good* thing.
I've noticed that ever since cycling became popular among adults back
in the '80s, people who consider themselves "serious" cyclists often
act as though they *invented* cycling -- and that those of us who grew
up riding bicycles, but who are only occasional riders as adults, are
completely unacquainted with the activity, or at least with its finer
While it's true that in places where cars are parked a majority of the
time, the debris that collects on the side of the road is not going to
collect solely at the edge where the pavement ends, it *will* do just
that for the most part. Debris that's farther out in the road, to the
left of parked cars, is unusual, even anomalous.
Therefore it's unrealistic and a bit disingenuous to use the pos-
sibility of debris in that part of the road as a pretext for riding
too far out in the traffic lane at all times. The occasional piece
of debris in that area no more justifies riding too far out in the
road as a matter of course than the presence of storm drains does.
(Yes, I've seen that used as a justification for the practice.)
When I see Harley-Davidson enthusiasts try to justify making ear-
splitting amounts of noise on the basis that "loud pipes save lives,"
I tell them that if they can't feel safe without making antisocial
nuisances of themselves, then they shouldn't ride motorcycles. By
the same token, if a bicyclist can't feel safe without riding so far
out in the street that he obstructs traffic, then *he* shouldn't ride.
Or shouldn't ride in places where he feels endangered, at least. I
think the reason why this so often falls on deaf ears is the rise of
the so-called "me generation."
Monitoring the road surface ahead is great -- but it doesn't require
so much attention that one can't simultaneously watch for occupied
cars as well.
: You exhibit a tendency that I've noticed is common among bicyclists.
: Well, two of them, actually, the first being unnecessary snottiness
: ("I guess you don't bike much."). The other is an inclination to
: place all blame and responsibility for your safety onto the shoulders
: of motorists and onto physical road conditions -- the obvious intent
: being that you won't have to change your habits by, say, developing
: better situational awareness and by riding off to the side of the
: road where you'd be both safer and out from underfoot.
Er, I never said anything about riding on the sidewalk, or suggested
that a cyclist was automatically to blame if he were hit by a motor-
ist while riding on the street. Or assumed anything about grass, for
that matter. By "riding off to the side of the road," I meant riding
as far to the right as possible, but still riding on the paved road
So far, so good. I have no problem with any of that.
I don't *assume* that. I know it to be true.
I also know it to be true that when cyclists ride in groups, they'll
often get uppity and go out of their way to take up about half of the
traffic lane (or the rightmost traffic lane, if it's a multilane road),
rather than riding in single file as courtesy and common sense dictate.
What you *should* do in situations like that is to move as far to
the right as possible, and leave the question of passing you up to
motorist's discretion. You're assuming that if a driver chooses to
pass you, he won't naturally move as far to the left as necessary
(even over the center line) to pass you at a safe distance.
And perhaps an occasional driver *will* pass you more closely than
you'd really prefer. But as with debris on the road to the left of
parked cars, that's an anomaly that in no way justifies your riding
full-time as though it were a given. After all, the odds are over-
whelming that any given driver isn't, in fact, a psycho who's out to
murder cyclists. Or putting it in terms of self-interest, even some-
one who's careless enough to risk damage to his car.
It's this thing that cyclists call "taking the lane" that pisses
people off. Like the practice of swerving out into traffic to use
the left-turn lanes at controlled intersections, one never saw that
before cycling became popular among adults -- and yet people managed
to ride their bikes safely. It's the impression of many drivers --
and, I believe, an accurate one -- that a lot of cyclists do this
whenever they can just to assert their rights, and not because there's
any legitimate need at the time.
Again: if a cyclist can't feel safe in a given locale without
obstructing traffic, then he shouldn't be riding there. I mean,
there it is. Options abound: walk, drive, take the bus, or avoid
the place entirely. Pick one. But stay out of your fellow
It's hardly a given that this typically only happens for just a
few seconds at a time. Or that most motorists would really mind
all that much if it did, assuming that they didn't have to slow
And the speed differential between cars and bikes is an excellent
reason why cyclists "taking the road" is inconsiderate. No one
likes his pace disrupted. Whether the disruption has any significant
effect on his arrival time at his destination is immaterial; it's a
matter of maintaining a comfortable pace. Cyclists understand this
just as well as motorists do, which is why they hardly ever stop at
stop signs. Gotcha!
Yes, and I've seen them do that. Many times. (Lollygagging along
at a leisurely for a good distance intentionally taking up an entire
lane, I mean, not reevaluate how they were affecting others.)
You're reading more into my my choice of words than is justified.
The fact that one sort of vehicle can get in the way of another
sort of vehicle doesn't, _ipso facto_, imply that the slower one
has no right to be on the road. What it implies is that the
operators of the slower type of vehicle should take care to stay
out of the way of the faster vehicles, as a matter both of safety
and consiferation for others.
That's the intent behind the fact that "pedestrians, bicycles, and
motor-driven cycles" are prohibited from freeways, and the fact that
jets, propeller-driven aircraft, and helicopters have different
pattern altitudes at airfields. Strangely, I've never heard of
helicopter pilots with weak self-esteem trying to assert their
rights by "taking the pattern" at jet altitude...
"I don't like cyclists. They all look like organic food
addicts who would advocate federal control of bedtime."
-- P.J. O'Rourke
On Thu, 01 Nov 2007 21:35:20 -0000, email@example.com (Geoff Miller)
You raised some interesting points in these posts so let's tackle
them. First, I think someone who rode bikes as a kid and maybe in the
park as an adult has very little idea of what it's like using them for
Now, as much as I love my Honda Accord, which is why I'm in one of
these three newsgroups to begin with, I do take biking as a serious
means of transportation. In my case, 30 miles a day for three or four
days a week. Many weeks my car sits in the driveway except for the
weekend. As for the time spent commuting by bike, I either take a bus
to the train to the train, which takes me around 1:20, or I bike in,
which takes around 1:20. Not much difference there. Or, I can drive to
the park'n'ride, which saves 25 minutes or so but costs $3.
I can read on the train, assuming I get a seat. I can listen to talk
radio on the bike or a lecture on computer stuff (another issue I'm
sure - I'd love to have heard the arguments against installing radios
in cars when they first started doing that). I'd rather be listening
to something while biking along (no noise-cancelling earbuds though)
than having my thoughts swirling around.
I disagree that we can't have separate laws for bikes and cars. We
already do, for instance, I can't bike on a freeway and I can't drive
in a bike lane. Let's take that further. If we seriously want to use
bikes for transportation, and many countries do and given how fat we
are, we should, then we can take a few steps. Dedicate a whole road
for bikes only, for instance. Portland does that, bikes and buses. Not
just a small lane squeezed between parked cars and moving cars. Time
the lights on that road for me, say 10-12 mph. Oh, and get rid of
those articulated buses. Doubledeckers ok, but those football size
things really blow.
On some roads where it isn't practical, we'll dedicate one or two
lanes for just bikes and buses. Maybe we'll even put up a nice
overhang so we don't get rained on. I bike in the rain, but it really
isn't my favorite thing. I prefer dry pavement; for one thing, glass
sticks to wet tires. If folks aren't willing to part with a lane or a
road, then don't bitch if we need to take a car lane for safety reaons
I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of licensing and insurance if
it's offset by some gains. Riding for transportation is not the same
as a kid biking down the block. I think that my homeowner's insurance
actually covers biking accidents. I'll have to check that; it's a good
point. If I ever do hit someone I would like to know that I'm covered.
Fair enough? Free country, I want to bike to work, many other folks
also. Now let's figure out a way to make it as easy for everyone. That
means that some car folks might have to give something up. You should
have heard the squealing at the local community board meeting when DOT
suggested actually giving up a car lane for a bike lane on one street.
You'd have thought that Osama was coming.
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