Bad cyclists

Discussion in 'Your Bloody Soap Box' started by Brunswick_kate, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    About an hour ago, I stepped out of the doors of my local credit union onto the sidewalk and was buzzed by 5 adult cyclists charging down the sidewalk. Two without helmets, one with a helmet on and two with the helmet dangling from the handlebars (that one I just don't get).

    They proceeded at breakneck speed to frighten an old lady who was on her walker -- I know this is just getting worse and jumped the "no walk" at the crosswalk.

    I know there are a lot of people who appear to take the attitude that cyclists can do no wrong and that it's always the motorist who's at fault but quite frankly, I find it hard to sympathize when we've got jackasses on bikes in our own community. If this lot of louts had got smacked by a car when they went flying across the sidewalk, I'd be hard pressed to sympathize.

    There's no excuse for travelling on the sidewalk on this street. There are a couple of places in the city where cyclists do travel a small portion of a sidewalk to get onto the roadway from a cycling path (like 10-20m) but this street is two-lane, one way, traffic light controlled and very bike friendly.

    I don't know why these jackasses make me so angry but they really do infuriate me. I just want to yell "Get off the sidewalk" at the top of my lungs.

    This summer I got into a rather heated debate with a woman who was upset because the local police had ticketed a friend of hers (or maybe it was a friend of a friend) for sidewalk riding. It was the usual diatribe of "you think the police would have more important things to do" etc. It was like talking to a wall trying to explain to her that sidewalk riding was wrong because it endangered pedestrians, it was unsafe for a cyclist to start with (I could have clipped the clowns with the credit union main door if I'd been 5 seconds later coming out of the lobby).

    I guess I just find that these anti-social clowns are an embarrassment to cyclists everywhere. I know I felt like a bit of an idiot standing there with my helmet tucked under my arm and I wanted to tell someone "I'm not one of them -- I actually know how to ride a bike".

    I don't know what the proper response should be. Should we, as cyclists, "police" our own community by chastizing these morons in public or do we just hope that they go away?
     
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  2. GeorgayPorgay

    GeorgayPorgay New Member

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    I can see your point, they sound like knobjocks who don't know how to ride a bike. i live in Kent in England where the roads are realy f*cking dangerous and each time i go out i think im about to get run over. they had no excuse and next time stick a stick in their wheel and who will be laughing then kate......! Don't let them get to you, and you said one had his helmet on his bars, it goes on his head! did no one tel him that one, for gods sake lets hope he wasnt a roadie because then we wld be mighty mighty pised with their big wheels and 'nice boy' lycra...!
     
  3. Babbar

    Babbar New Member

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    Kate, Kate, Kate!

    There you go making sense again! This trait is going to get you in trouble sooner or later! ;)

    I agree with you 100%. Those jerks should be banned from cycling for a year. Especially the morons without helmets!
     
  4. patch70

    patch70 New Member

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    I believe it is up to us responsible cyclists to "police" that kind of thing. I usually tell them off both for what they are doing and for giving cyclists a bad name. Obviously most of the time I don't achieve much but occasionally you see one of these fools start to pull his head in afterwards.
     
  5. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I'm of mixed mind on the whole helmet issue. First, let me say that I always wear my helmet. I haven't come up with a good reason for not wearing it. It's light, keeps the sun off my head, is well ventilated, and it's not something I really give a lot of thought about. I'm still reading the arguments on both sides of the issue, trying to weed a few facts out of the morass of propaganda and bad statistical analysis. In any event, I'm not likely to give up my helmet ever but I'm curious about both sides of the debate.

    However, if an *adult* choses to make a conscious decision to not wear a helmet, well, that's their business. I disagree with it but they're responsible for their own grey matter. What I don't understand is these clowns with the helmet dangling off the handlebars. Now what in hell is that all about? Do they think they're going to fall slowly enough to put it on? They must have different experiences with gravity than I have.

    I nearly had a "helmet related" accident about 3 weeks ago. I was out biking with my 7 year old daughter when we were passed by one of these helmet danglers. Just after they passed, I heard my little one, who is just coming to appreciate the wonders of sarcasm, said "Well, the bike should survive." I nearly drove into a park bench, I was laughing so hard.

    So there you have it -- proof positive that helmets can cause biking accidents.
     
  6. tanyaq

    tanyaq New Member

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    This may not be the motivation for these helmet danglers.. but often if I am stopping frequently I may not bother putting my helmet back on between the short trips, and just let it dangle. So I'll ride (helmeted) to a store, lock up the bike to park, take the helmet off, go shopping, return, unlock the bike. If the next store I want to go to is in the opposite direction of the traffic flow (so I'd have to cross and re-cross) I'd just walk my bike along the sidewalk to the next one. If there aren't any pedestrians or intersections I might ride at a very slow pace rather than walk it. However I also hate sidewalk racers, those that come along at full speed, and also fully expect the pedestrian to move aside for them when they ring their bell.
     
  7. Babbar

    Babbar New Member

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    When I first started cycling again, I was a macho, he-man! No wussy helmet for me, no siree! Then, I was going down a pretty steep descent, with switchbacks, and upon rounding one I hit a branch on the road that launched the macho he-man into what my British friends call an "over ender." Over the bars, through the trees, just missing two stout oaks with my head, and landed, thankfully, in a huge pile of mulch and leaves. Not a scratch on me or my bike.

    I immediately rode to my LBS, bought a helmet and wear it each and every time I ride. Even if it is only one block. My helmet is part of my cycling persona.

    As to those who ride sans-helmet, if they have adequate health coverage, fine. But the problem is the morons who ride cycles, powered or pedaled, have an accident, scraping their head across the pavement or butting it into a wall or other immovable object, and required hundreds of thousands of dollars of life saving surgery, and the taxpayers foot the bill.

    RANT RANT RANT!
     
  8. FreeHueco

    FreeHueco New Member

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    I tend to just chase those people down and tell them what the law says about what they're doing.

    This will usually get a blank stare in response, but it may help..
     
  9. Chris_L

    Chris_L New Member

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    Alright, I don't offer any support whatsoever for what these idiots were doing, but I do have an issue with the "giving cyclists a bad name" aspect. I would like one good reason why any other cyclist out there should accept responsibility for the behaviour of these imbeciles. I have asked this question on three forums and two mailing lists and I'm still waiting for an adequate answer.

    To put it in it's most simple terms, if a non-cyclist somewhere can't tell the difference between cyclists who follow the road rules those who don't, they are lacking either a basic knowledge of the road rules themselves, or basic intelligence. Either way, I won't be losing any sleep over their opinions anytime soon.

    I often wonder what sort of reaction I would get if I suggested that an a red-light running driver (something that is surprisingly common around here) gave all drivers "a bad name". Somehow I don't think that suggestion would get very far. So maybe someone can explain to me why we should apply it to cyclists.

    It's not up to me or any other cyclist to "police" this sort of behaviour, it's up to the actual police themselves to do it. If they don't, well, maybe Darwinism can take care of it for us.
     
  10. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    But tanyaq what is the different between riding on sidewalk fast or slow.

    They are both riding on the sidewalk are they not ?

    No matter if there are no pedestrians.
     
  11. wildcard

    wildcard New Member

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    I must admit that where I come from, I see far more twat drivers than I do cyclists but that doesn't mean to say I haven't had my share of run-ins with these two-wheel crack-pots..

    It's a reflection of mentality; despite being a cyclist you can encounter other cyclists who never obey the laws, weave in and out of commuters like sidewinder missiles and are completely obnoxious when called up on their behavior. I have even had cyclists target me as a cyclist for stupid road-rage games; one was so dum that after exiting an island on a racer cycle, he took my legitimate hand signal as some form of race gesture and cut right in front of me on the road, slowed right down the darted right across the other side of the road in heavy traffic to mount the pavement. The look I gave him just about summed up my anger.

    In general I will admit this - I cycle on the pavement/sidewalk and I'll tell you why. It's because the roads in England were never designed even for reasonable amounts of traffic let alone cyclists - 56+ million people crammed into an area the size of Oregon. Couple this heavy freight traffic and a moronic attitude by an awful lot of drivers towards pedestrians and cyclists and you have a recipe for injury.

    But anyone with a shadow of sense knows how to act when on the pavement, pedaling very slowly, watching out for people and drivers pulling out their houses, junctions etc. - giving right of way because you know at the end of the day they have priority.

    However, in my neck of the woods cyclists are often targets for unnaceptable abuse not just from car drivers but, would you believe, pedestrians no matter if you're on the road or the pavement. Daily you have to watch out for the 'red myst' syndrome whereby people of all ages (not just kids), will put your life at risk, throw broken glass in your path, intimidate you and try to force you off your bike. In my view if the laws regarding pavement cyclists are to be rigorously enforced then there should also be more protection for cyclists while they're commuting because too many people are getting away with causing annoyance and a much worse fate, death. I'm not in any way saying that this is the case in other parts or trying to lessen the importance of what you're saying - I know how you feel.

    I also agree that it's not up to the good cyclists to monitor the behavior of the bad one's in the same vein as not every car driver is a mindless moron. The law needs changing so that, in my opinion, if you can video someone behaving like this on a bike, on a pavement or get witnesses, they will be prosecuted; tackling them yourself can often be dangerous even through they are 'fellow' cyclists (with no brains).

    Car drivers are one thing, but in some parts of the world pavement anarchists can also be equally dangerous. That's the case in my neighborhood.

    PS to hell with those bozo's who nearly ran into you - pity they didn't hit a car, don't let it get to you because inevitably they WILL meet their match: a ton or more of steel unable to stop because it doesn't have to.
     
  12. rolfdevinci

    rolfdevinci New Member

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    Yup...I agree. The other day I had a guy cycling the wrong way(in rush hour traffic),with bags of groceries dangling from the bar and arbitrarily jumping back and forth from the sidewalk to the street.
    I wonder why I get grief when i`m on the road...any motorist who had to guess what this bonehead was gonna do next would easily get the wrong impression of all cyclists.
    After 5 concussions and a history of falling on my head(lol)I always wear a helmet. Three weeks ago on a group ride a set of wet railway tracks did me in.....sure glad I had a helmet on that crash.
     
  13. stevenaleach

    stevenaleach New Member

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    The difference is that when you see a driver drive right through a red light or perform some similar act of stupidity, you recognize it as unusual and exceptionaly poor behaviour. When you see some moron riding on the sidewalk and usualy not bothering to even slow for traffic at crosswalks, well it isn't exactly unusual or exceptional. Around here (and everywhere else that I've ever lived), that is normal cyclist behaviour. I ride on the road and obey traffic laws, but I have yet to see another cyclist stopped at a traffic light.
     
  14. stevek

    stevek New Member

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    anymore if I see a driver go through a red light it is almost normal. some interestions if the light (usualy a turn signal) runs out before the cars do they just keep going through. pretty pathetic when 4 or 5 people go through a red light
     
  15. Dee

    Dee New Member

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    Around here, it's easy to see why cyclists don't follow the rules - they don't know them! And neither do the motorists. Nobody knows what cyclists are supposed to do. Many motorists actually think that we're not supposed to be on the streets, that it's illegal. Growing up, we are never taught any cycling rules; living in the suburbs, we barely know how to properly cross a street walking. I made it a point to search out cycling laws for my community, but it was no easy thing to find; I had to doggedly search the internet. Once, at a four-way-stop, a police officer in a car started out when it was my turn, then abruptly stopped; when I asked him if the same rules applied to cyclists as to motorists, he laughed and said "Beats me."

    I theoretically agree that cycling on sidewalks is a bad idea; however, around here, if we didn't use the sidewalks, we wouldn't be able to go anywhere - the drivers are so unaccustomed to cyclists, they would drive right over us.

    On the subject of helmets on the handlebars, one reason might be the same reason I used to do that when I first started getting into cycling. When I came to hills, I would get so hot (I live in Alabama, where in the summer the temp is usually in the high nineties (F), with humidity to match) that I was afraid I'd have a stroke if I didn't take my helmet off, so I'd hang it on my handlebars. Later, I'd put it back on.

    I'm not trying to excuse bad cyclists; I'm just saying that I think many are oblivious - they don't even know there are any rules they are breaking. Same with motorists who don't know how to drive around cyclists. I think we need massive public campaigns, signs, etc., to raise public awareness regarding cycling. I'm sure it's better in other places, but I think cycling is rapidly increasing everywhere, which is a good thing. :)
     
  16. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Here's one... one afternoon, after a nice day of riding around and outside of my hometown, including some country hill-riding -- a leisurely 30 miles or so's worth. I rolled back home, approached my apartment building, pulled up onto the sidewalk, stopped, dismounted (straddling my frame) to unlock the downstairs lobby door, and some helmet-less creep on a Merckx track bike blows by on the street, yelling, "GET OFF THE SIDEWALK!"

    Excuse me? Mind you, I'm in full-team gear; not to be a snob, but I'm not exactly looking like a sidewalk pirate.

    What kind of presumptuous jerk needs to yell at other cyclists so much, that he'd make the assumption that I was avoiding the road? I wasn't even moving. How did he know I wasn't pulling out? Or coming home, as I was? Or hadn't stopped for a breather, or a repair?
     
  17. Dee

    Dee New Member

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    The needy kind. The kind that try to bolster their own egos by doing what they assume is knocking others' down. They feel they are affiliating themselves with an elite "in-the-know" group, but are actually being looked at, as you say, as jerks.

    He didn't know and it didn't matter to him. He was seizing an opportunity to announce publically that he knew a thing or two about sidewalks and cycling - something that less superior cyclists didn't know about. To understand why some people are like that, you'd probably have to go back to their potty-training, LOL.
     
  18. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Thanks for the vindication. If I see this guy again, I'll be sure to tell him that Dee backs me up!

    :)
     
  19. kwv

    kwv New Member

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    Another thing is that you said "helmet-less" so by yelling they are covering up what they have done wrong.

    And in which I find from drivers who write in such things as newsgroup.

    They don't answer questions you asked of them as this will show they don't know what they are talking about.
     
  20. patch70

    patch70 New Member

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    I am not suggesting that cyclists that follow the rules are responsible for those that don't.

    It's just that it seems to be human nature that people tend to generalise. I know I often start to think that all car drivers are fools! Look at the way so many people think all Muslims are suicide bombers, or all African Americans are criminals, or that all Asians can't drive, or that Catholics are worse than Protestants (or vice versa), or people from Western suburbs are stupider than Easter suburbanites, etc etc.

    If pedestrians are nearly run over by cyclists a couple of times, they will start to think all cyclists are dangerous. If, however, they see 'responsible cyclists' telling those irresponsible ones that their behaviour is inappropriate (when the police are not around to do this), then they are more likely to take a balanced view.

    Also, I spend a lot of time on my bike. If motorists have a bad opinion of cyclists thanks to some jerks that ride like fools, it is more likely that it is me that will get run off the road.
     
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