Cycling, cyclists' rights and ecology

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by iglagol, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. iglagol

    iglagol New Member

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    The questions I would like to turn myself to society with are like these ones:
    -are cyclists respected in your country for mantaining ecology by using bike as basic means of transportation?
    -do cyclists in your country feel hard about standing for their rights on the road?

    Thank you beforehand for your answers!:)
     
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  2. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

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    My country is the U.S. Trying to lump THAT country into one homogenous mass is like herding cats.
     
  3. iglagol

    iglagol New Member

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    I see. For your case I might paraphrase: In which states are the cyclists more respected and in which less?
     
  4. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I live in the Pacific North West - (Seattle specifically), which is pretty well known for being probably more ecology minded than much of the country, but even here, using thinking green as a reason to use a bike as your main transportation is often met with jeers from some car owners. They label cyclists as elitest snobs, who are basically calling them fat, lazy, polluters just by being out on the road........

    Not that this is the worst place in the country to be a cyclist. It's mostly a war of words. We have our share of dumb f*cks who think that passing you with about an inch to spare in their Escalade is funny, but I think we have proportionally fewer cases of out right road rage against cyclist (I've never had anyone throw something at me here) and we have enough of us out on the road that *most* drivers are courteous and cautious.

    We also have a lot of rights in this state and much to the dismay of drivers many cyclists actuallly assert them. We can ride 2 abreast and we can take as much of the lane as is necessary to be safe. Our driver education, however, is relatively poor, so at times it is necessary to remind drivers of those rights.
     
  5. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    Hey I'm from Seattle (Eastside though) too. I ride on the Orange-jerseyed team (;) ). We do the Sunday morning ride around the south end of the lake. Which means our "peloton" can hold up cars on Lake Washington Boulevard for sometimes a mile or so. But I heard that LWB was once horse, carts, and bikes only. At least that's what my team-mates tell me.

    I think the major acrimony derives from the fact that cyclists (especially in groups) plough straight through stop signs. This seems to ire drivers (understandably). In Idaho they have different laws which make stop signs into yield signs for cyclists, which would be a good idea in WA if they could introduce it.

    BTW Eden - Please come down and pop into the FID thread and post ("This forum is dying" thread) in the Grand Tours forum. Its a general chat thread and there are a few ladies in there. They seem to enjoy the banter. There's a bit of ribbing and pseudo-flirting but its all in jest.:p .
     
  6. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Something tells me you don't look like your avatar - me on the other hand, I look a lot like mine and I'm guessing you can tell which team I ride with
    ;) When we all get together we can be a pretty imposing crowd too, but it rarely happens.

    The story that I've heard about Lake Washington Blvd is that it was indeed a non-motorized path for many years, then the Olmsteads came along and said they'd design a park, *but* it had to have access for cars..... so they widened and paved :mad: . On the other hand I'll bet you've noticed the "Cars must yield to bicycles" signs that are posted in several places in the park. My husband and I believe that there must still be some type of covenant or something that states that it is a *bike path* first and foremost and we are just allowing cars to drive on it.

    I've got some mixed feelings about stop signs. When I'm alone I always at very least track stand them - if there is a car waiting to go I put a foot down. When we do our group rides we generally slow for them, and proceed if there is no traffic, but it would be crazy to expect each rider to stop and take a turn..... I expect that would delay and tick off motorist much, much more. We never run red lights - it seems like a lot of motorist complain about that, but I very, very rarely see it happen. Most cyclist have much more common sense than that.
     
  7. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    No, I don't look much like my avatar. I am older and have brown hair. Look more like this one, though I'm a few years older now and less good-looking.:p

    I ran into a bunch of you guys at the corner of Seaward Park Rd and Rainier Drive S about a month ago while I was on a small Saturday morning group ride.:rolleyes:

    Anyway, I was mainly referring to LWB south of the I90 bridge, as we leave from the coffee house at Leschi on a Sunday.

    I think the cycling is generally good in Seattle and Eastside areas compared to other places I've lived. I was a little perturbed though by the recent shooting of that cyclist by a car full of idiots in West Seattle. I occasionally ride over there to Alki. The BB gun pellets they used ruptured his lung. I don't know how people can do these things. Unfortunately he didn't get a license plate number.
     
  8. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    The BB gun shooter(s?) in West Seattle were equal opportunity to anyone who looked vulnerable. They shot at some school kids and a 70 year old man too - more walkers got shot at/hit than cyclits.

    I do think its pretty good around here. People whine a lot, and when they can anonymously post to "sound off's" in the paper there are a few that regularly troll and talk trash, but drivers really are mostly pretty good out on the road. The only place I've ever felt that we've actually been consistantly harassed is the Carnation valley (hmmmmm car-nation?, coincidence or no :p ).
     
  9. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    I didn't realize the news that the BB gun shooter went on a random rampage. That's somewhat reassuring, but condolences obviously to the other victims. Did they end up catching the culprit?

    I also haven't had any problems with cars here. Generally everyone is very considerate. Maybe because of the number of riders on the road in this area as I think you mentioned before.

    There was also that one nasty case in the STP this year. We were about a mile in front of that hit and run accident and the vehicle sped past us at about 90 mph. I never heard whether the guy recovered OK. But that Spanaway to Yelm area is notorious for bicycle and cyclist haters. In fact, as you're probably aware, a lot of vitriolic anti-cycling letters were sent to the local newspaper editor defending the maniac who took out the rider.
     
  10. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I haven't heard anything about the BB shooter being caught - but I also haven't heard about anyone else being shot since Bicycle Alliance/ the Randonneurs started putting up their Crime Stoppers, Reward for Infomation posters in response to Peter's being shot.

    The STP guy was hurt pretty bad, but was expected to recover, there's some info on him over on Cascade's message board. However, several months later, another cyclist was killed nearby. Yes - the paper sure was full of cyclist haters after both of those incidents. You would think that a drunk driver/meth addict would not be the one garnering the sympathy.......

    No doubt that the STP does cause a lot of inconvenience one day of the year, but geeze get over it. I don't complain about the marathon, and where I live is pretty much encircled by it - and they close the roads for that one, so its not like it just takes longer to get somewhere. It's difficult to impossible to actually drive out of here on that day, so I plan to not! (its not so hard to cross it on a bike though :D ) It's not like you don't know its coming.
     
  11. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    For marathoners, motorists have no built-up resentments IMO because they don't have to normally share the road with runners.

    For cyclists however, I think many motorists have some deep-seated (maybe subliminal) experiences of frustration with cyclists. I think at some stage, every motorist has had at least one experience where they were in a hurry and were stuck behind a cyclist or cyclists that they felt weren't allowing them to pass or considering that they were impeding traffic. Many motorists don't understand that cyclists deliberately take up carriageway space so that motorists DON"T try to pass in a dangerous section of road. Many motorists also don't understand that a bike has just as much right on the road as a car does.

    I think that cyclists don't acknowledge sometimes how much normal riding scenarios can irritate motorists though. The fight between cyclists and motorists tends to get acrimonious, but I think we don't, as cyclists, do ourselves any favors when we condone law-breaking (such as riding stop signs) just because it is convenient. We should be getting the laws changed. But that's just my 2c, and I'm likely to get flamed.
     
  12. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    In Tucson, we lead the good cycling life. We've got shitloads of cyclists, and the local city governments are cycling proactive. Pretty much every new road in the Tucson area has to have cycling lanes built into it. A transportation bill passed from last year will add about another 300-500 miles of bike lanes. We have a 3 ft passing law in the state to protect cyclists (theoretically, anyway), and of all the places I've pedaled my bike, Tucsonans rank pretty damned high on the Aware of Cyclists list.

    Still, as with any population, there will be assholes, and there are a few here. They are the minority though.

    As for respect, who the hell knows. I didn't know that cyclists deserve any more respect than anyone else.

    One thing, I believe that Tucson might have the highest percentage of girls riding bikes with skirts while pantyless than any other place on Earth....or so it seems from my observations.
     
  13. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    I might just have to move to Tucson then from your sales spiel. For all those reasons you stated except the pantyless skirt one of course.;)
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Then I won't tell you about the times I've almost wrecked my bike whilst watching lipstick lesbos making out n' feelin' up each other's goods.
     
  15. Crankyfeet

    Crankyfeet New Member

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    The direction this thread has turned is a great lesson to all lurkers of the evil effects of viewing too much cycling pornography.:p
     
  16. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    I think in the U.S. a cyclist dressed in lycra is viewed by most people as someone is doing this for fitness. There is not the implication that concern for the environment is involved. A rider who is commuting in regular clothes will be suspected of being too poor to drive a car. The general population view people who commute by bicycle by choice as a little crazy. It is definitely not normal.
     
  17. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    As a cyclist who does about 20,000 kms per year on his bike I would like to ask for a great hand to come down from the sky and scoop up the precious few idiots who spoil the roads for everyone.

    I see or am just about the first to arrive on at least one serious traffic accident a month and I really really am utterly fed up with it. Sometimes I would like the ability to look the other way and completely not notice a car in a ditch for example, and leave people injured and alone whilst waiting for the emergency services arrive, like so many other road users seem able to do. It would be cheaper on cycling clothes too.

    Only last week I was physically attacked by a drunken driver who first tried to use his car to knock me off my bicycle for no better reason than I was a cyclist on my own, in the dark, on a relatively lonely stretch of road.

    Yes, to commute regularly by bicycle one does have to be more than a little crazy, and the reactions of a Ninja cat on it's last life.
     
  18. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    I ride for fitness and enjoyment. Where I am (KY, USA) it isn't practical to commute on a bike due to the distance I have to travel and the heavy traffic. Not that the drivers are intentionally hostile, they just don't pay attention. It's too dangerous, sooner or later your luck will run out. I'd love to commute on my bike, if there was a reasonably safe way to do it. About 21 miles each way, so it's definitely doable if it weren't for the careless motorists and lack of bike lanes.

    I have noticed bike lanes beginning to spring up in the last few years, and there's a bike trail being built to run the circumference of Louisville, over 100 miles. So it's getting better, but still not to the point where cycling as commuting would be practical. A couple of guys that I work with do commute on cycles, but they're very devoted and don't have families to support (a big factor when you think of injury or worse).

    I spent a wonderful week in Holland. Cycling paradise. Everyone rides bikes over there, motorists are friendly, plenty of bike lanes, and the high cost of petrol is a good motivator. Cheap beer and excellent coffee, too.
     
  19. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    In Rome cycling is purely a fitness/sport thing. Only those too poor to own a car commute by bike, and it is definitely not fashionable to give up your car.

    Your car, as a male, is viewed as an extension of your penis. A turbo-charged vehicle seems to equate (in the minds of many of my countrymen) in the feeling that you have artifically enhanced your weewee.

    Unfortunate, really. Everyone knows that riding a De Rosa makes your weewee bigger and all the hot babes desperate to spend quality time with you. :D

    Having said that, there are a number of the consular roads around Rome that are 'known' to be places where people ride a lot, so we tend to have to deal with the usual 10% of assholes on the road, no more or no less than anywhere else, I suppose.
     
  20. iglagol

    iglagol New Member

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    alienator wrote:
    Sounds quite wise, indeed. But you might be interested to learn the fact that cyclists in Norway are respected presicely more "than anyone else".

    Well, guys, I would like to thank you for these interesting answers you have given and my question for this time is:
    What is the situation about car-free zones in your area? D'you have many or little of them?
     
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