Why Cycling will never be accepted by road users PERIOD

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Jeytown, May 22, 2006.

  1. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    I completely agree with this. I think the best solution for everyone (assuming it's financially and physically feasible) is for there to be a place for bicyclists to ride without having to deal with cars. Most of the roads out here (Northern CO) do have nice sized bicycle lanes in both directions. It's great for everyone involved.
     


  2. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Infrastructure is not the whole answer. I have seen cyclists knocked off by cars on the cycle path here in Denmark. In most cases the cars decided to go up the kerb onto the cycle path to overtake other cars on the inside and ended up rear-ended the cyclists. They could absolutely see the cyclists, but chose to use their vehicle as a weapon of intimidation, and when the cyclists did not give way quick enough the car driver shunted them. It so happened the cyclists weren't even aware there was a car behind them. Why would they? It's a cycle path... In other cases the cars have 'raced' the cyclists to a junction, where the car wishes to turn, but the cyclist has the right of way for straight on. One incident I saw unfold in front of me: the cyclist also had a green light and the car ran a red to hit them...

    A simple removal of driving licenses for extended periods from these kind of motorists is the answer. Along with stiff penalties for driving without a license.

    The minister for transport here lost her driving license for knocking a scooter rider off with a cutting-up turn onto a marked cycle-path (the cycle path is painted a light blue at junctions to indicate to motorists to take extra care). But a simple repeat driving test got it back again. Not really much of a punishment for an action that could have easily killed a cyclist. What sort of message does it send?
     
  3. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    Im kind of surprised to hear that... I thought that countries like denmark were more enlightened about cyclists and sharing the road... but that is another facet of the issue. Knowledge about traffic laws and true accountability for actions... I haven't really faced it yet but there seems to be problems with drivers and police not knowing the traffic laws concerning cyclists... and there also seems to be problems with enforcing traffic violations concerning motorists and cyclists...
    here in the US, if someone loses a license, that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't drive during their suspension...heck, there was a news program about how drivers will lose their license in court and drive home after the hearing.
     
  4. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Here are the questions I ask of drivers exhibiting this attitude: Do you get equally annoyed by being stuck behind tractors or caravans? How much room do you give them when you catch up and then in overtaking?

    I would suggest that many answer 'less', and 'more'.

    So the truth is that such drivers are only annoyed because they can get away with be annoyed and use that as an excuse to exhibit intimidating behaviour. Civilisation is but a thin veneer for many people: they can, in the case of a car meeting a bicycle, get away with actions that in other circumstances would lead to further confrontations.
     
  5. Farmguy

    Farmguy New Member

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    [​IMG]


    Enough said....:)
     
  6. e0richt

    e0richt New Member

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    I agree, and it does show cowardice on the part of motorists when they do exhibit that type of behavior...
     
  7. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    In all honesty, speaking for myself; there is no difference in what is holding me up, the amount of 'annoyance' I feel is directly related to how much of a pain in the butt it is for me to get around it.

    So, a tracker going 15mph that takes up half the road is more annoying than a cyclist going 15mph that takes up 1/6th of the road.

    A cyclist on an empty road where I can safely pass without any fear of hitting anyone is virtually a non-issue. On most of the roads out here, cyclists stay in the bike path and it has no effect on me.

    Maybe I'm the exception to the rule, but that's my honest answer.

    Also, I'm proud to say I'm offically cycling more than I drive...but I do still feel the same way. Maybe it's not the case for all people, but for me, regardless of if I'm driving in my car or riding the bike; I prefer for other things not to be in my way, and I get (mildly) annoyed when things are. Sometimes that thing is a car, sometimes that thing is a cyclist.
     
  8. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Good that you're cycling more, the more you cycle, the more chilled out you'll get to things that really shouldn't be annoying you at all.

    Remember lifes a beach, and one day you'll get caught by the undertow.
     
  9. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    I'm not sure that I agree....

    I don't see cycling as something that is going to change how a person feels or acts. A jerk behind the wheel is still going to be a jerk when you put him on a bicycle.

    I don't see anything wrong with feeling annoyed when people inconvience you. That doesn't make you a jerk, your reaction to it does. Besides, in my experience so far, I'm far more likely to be inconvienced on my bicycle than in my car....

    In the last 6 attempts to commute via bicycle I've experienced 2 flat tires, a ripped 'back-pack', been completely disappointed with the warmth of the *$40* dollar cycling gloves I bought, fallen once, sat and waited for a light to change that didn't consider a bicycle worthy of changing for, showed up to work only to realize I didn't bring dress-socks once, and had to stop and wait for traffic/cars to move countless times when I 'technically' had the right of way but couldn't possibly keep up.


    Granted, I'm still 'new' and both of the flats were on a bicycle different than the one I currently ride (so the new bike is 4/4 - no flats or problems), the time I fell was my own fault for trying to balance the bike without unclipping (I'd seen someone else do it, it looked cool), and as it becomes more of a habbit I'll be less likely to forget things. But, without a doubt, it's much 'easier' for me to drive to work than ride.
     
  10. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    Many studies have shown how cycling really does alter brain chemistry, usually towards what society generally states as being for the better.

    You write as if these things you state are problems, eventually you'll see it's all part of the fun.

    As to forgetting to unclip, what you need is to do is learn to Track Stand.
     
  11. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    I'd be really interested to read some of the studies, if you've got any links handy. If not, no biggy, I can Google during lunch :)
     
  12. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    So many there is actually a Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology which publishes papers on both how exercise gets your brain right, and how to get your brain right for exercise. :D[size=-1][/size]
     
  13. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    Oh, I gotcha - I thought you meant cycling specifically and not just exercise in general. Exercise in general is good for pretty much all of you, it can help prevent things like alzheimer's disease, reduce stress, and even help people think better.

    But even so, it's not exactly behavior or personality modification; and the benefits you'd get from cycling seem to be pretty much the same as what you'd get from any cardiovascular type workout.

    For me personally, I've been physically active for years; I'm using cycling to replace my time on the treadmill/eliptical machine - so I doubt any amount of cycling will turn me into a happier person. I just see it as part of my workout routine.
     
  14. Fudge Monkey

    Fudge Monkey New Member

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    I use to give cyclists a hard time when driving.. then i began biking.. and now i'm ultra curtious.

    Only public transit buses try to "squeeze" me off the road.
    I purposely take up alot of room when i'm being tailed to avoid getting forced up on the side walk when they pass me.

    I've only been honked at a couple times all summer by motorists.. and most of the time it was my fault for not paying attention.

    Ottawa drivers are very good to cyclists.
     
  15. Bolter03

    Bolter03 New Member

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    Opinions about clothing and safety?
    I've heard posts mocking those that wear team clothing when riding and want to get some opinions.

    From my view point it seems I am getting more respect from the motorized world in my team clothing. It's obviously more visible and by following the rules of the road I can actually signal a left turn and have vehicles slow and let me in just like I am one of them.

    So I guess I have to ask if it should really matter to me what other cyclists think and is it my imagination or do the drivers who really don't know anything about cycling automatically give me the benefit of the doubt because they might think I am a pro?

    Lastly but perhaps also relevant is that in general, I can get professional grade clothing at a discount (sometimes 50% or more) over designer stuff.
     
  16. NORECUMYET

    NORECUMYET New Member

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    You bring up an interesting premise to say the least. I believe that you are definitely getting more "respect" out on the road while wearing team colors for a number of reasons. For one you're brightly colored making you more noticeable. Your clothing brings an air of professionalism that I'm certain helps. You're more likely to have several other riders close by. I think this particular reason is very strong. You know, safety in numbers. There's the uniform thing. Even though folks doubtfully consider a professional rider to be in a position of authority, I think the there's a subconscious thing going on there. Last and certainly not least looking the part of a professional athlete brings with it an air of being at least a little tougher than average. All of these things together will help the average hothead to lean more towards simply driving away rather than making some sort of aggressive overture.

    I personally have found that I always receive a very wide berth whenever training with a twelve gauge draped over my shoulder. I'm currently looking for a titanium model. I hate to carry all that extra weight.
     
  17. NORECUMYET

    NORECUMYET New Member

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    Thank you so much "Threaded" for this astute observation. You've said in a few sentences so very much about the crux of the what this entire thread is about. "Why drivers will NEVER get along with cyclists" would have been much more accurately titled with the following; "Why I can't seem to get along with people." I'm very surprised to log on and still find this person trying to get folks to tell him or her that it's O.K. to be annoyed all the time. (After all, that's exactly what this person is trying to do. He or she feels that if he or she can just get a few folks to agree with him or her, that it will validate these "icky" feelings he keeps having. That it somehow makes it O.K.) By simply gauging consensus the author should be able to see by now that the vast majority who've read his posts have the same opinion.

    That opinion is this. He needs to chill out. Live and let live. Take a deep breath and understand the truth of the Universe. That truth is that NO ONE has control of ANYTHING other than what he or she feels, says, or how he acts. That's it. It's actually a very beautiful thing when you can finally wrap your head around it.

    Wouldn't ANYONE find it ridiculous if they were to run across someone that was truly angry because there were clouds in the sky? Of course they would. Why. Because EVERYONE KNOWS that NO ONE has control of such things. So why get upset, frazzled, or otherwise annoyed if you happen to be held up for what probably has never amounted to more than 30 seconds out of this person's life due to a bicycle slowing him down? It just doesn't make any sense.

    In fact, when you can finally take the high road on this issue, you may actually find yourself being rewarded in ways you had previously never considered. For instance. I've always given a very wide berth to motorcycles that I see in my rear view mirror. When they're cutting through between cars and I see them in time, I move over as far as possible to the opposite side of the lane so that they have extra room to get around me.

    They don't all acknowledge this but many of them do. Call me goofy but I think it's "cool" when a great big tattooed guy with his "ole lady" on the back both give me the thumbs up after seeing that I've given them extra room. I can say one thing for certain. It sure feels better than getting the finger.

    And now for the serious stuff. I am even as I type using this wonderful freedom I've found. You see my big brother died quite unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. He was a marathon runner and died quite senselessly of pneumonia. Every time I start to feel badly about this situation I concentrate on what's important and what I actually have control over, which of course is pretty much nothing. Especially whether or not a loved one passes away. I won't go as far as to say that this way of thinking keeps me from feeling loss, anger, frustration, and even fear because of this. It does make it possible however to keep things in balance and perspective. To carry on and "do the right thing".

    So, the next time SOMEONE feels anxiety over being so very slightly slowed down by something completely out of his control, I have this suggestion. Think about the poor guy that's coming home from Iraq without his legs, arms, or eyes. Worse yet in a body bag. Then ask yourself this question. Is it really worth getting "annoyed" over something SO PETTY?

    You can never get those precious minutes back. They're gone FOREVER, and you just wasted them on having a tissy fit because you had to slow down when you didn't feel like slowing down. Was it really worth it? Seriously bud, IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

    P.S. I doubt seriously that anyone who spends a lot of time on public roads bicycling could still have these feelings towards cyclists. Maybe spending that time is your answer, your perspective, even your mantra. The sound of the pedals going round and round and your own heartbeat. It's pretty hard to be annoyed with the small stuff when you're always tired from working out. (BIG HINT) It's all small stuff!!!!!!
     
  18. NORECUMYET

    NORECUMYET New Member

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    You've written the third or fourth post I've seen stating the same general idea on "offensive" cycling. (Riding in a proactive manner that is.) I've been using these techniques for many years and I do believe that I've avoided many dangerous situations by doing so. Riding as if you're apologizing for slowing down the autos with whom we SHARE the road only invites the driver prone to road rage to take further advantage of the situation.

    Unfortunately we cyclists MUST make ourselves SEEN. We've got to be obvious and ride with a sort of attitude that says "I've got just as much right to be here as you". We all cringe knowing the reality that if a driver wanted to he could easily run us over. We have virtually no protection against an adversary that can so easily overwhelm us.

    This makes one point very obvious. All we really have for protection is our brains. Attempting to simultaneously ride, duck, cover, and somehow be apologetic for inconveniencing our fellow road users is simply a ridiculous proposition. This proposition is no more viable than the road rager's mantra, "get your ass on the sidewalk and off my road." (Yes I've actually heard this screamed out the window on more than one occasion.) This is where our minds have the job of projecting an air of propriety to every aspect of our riding whenever we find ourselves surrounded by three ton vehicles capable of crushing us. In other words, we need as a matter of course to continually make the driving public aware that we have every right to share the road. In fact, in many situations, legally, we have even more rights as cyclists. (I've never been one to lean on or hide behind the law, I simply point out the facts.)

    My premise is this. If just one driver, just once, decides to give a cyclist wide berth when his inclination is to do wholly otherwise, and this decision is based at least in part due to the idea that there very well may be severe consequences to his inability to stop himself from being annoyed, then everything I've written, and every punitive action I've ever taken has been well worth it. Furthermore, in my opinion, if most or all cyclists were to somehow, someway make if painfully obvious to the driving public that losing your cool when confronting a cyclist in your car is absolutely unacceptable and possibly even dangerous, then the number and or severity of accidents between motorists and cyclists will be drastically reduced.

    I know that my tone is offensive to some so let try to explain it in a sentence or two. (O.K. I can't do it in two.) My most memorable and frightening recollections have been those that involve myself and speeding automobiles with drivers who've gotten ANNOYED with me for one reason or another. Mostly everything I've written about this thread has been based on one thing. My fear of being killed or terribly maimed in a vehicle versus bicycle confrontation, and fear is arguably the most powerful of all emotions. It brings with it things literally out of our control such as rate of respiration, heartbeat, release of adrenaline and other powerful hormones, as well as sometimes even spurring on great strength.

    That's it folks. I'm scarred silly of getting creamed by a car. You know, I can live with the idea of my mortality. Very well I believe. But the idea of losing my life or bodily functions just because someone allowed themselves to get first annoyed, and then to make bad decisions born of that controllable emotion really sucks. There's so many important things going on this world right now. Yet somehow we still manage to add grievously to the list because we refuse to let go of the idea that we, or our petty wants and desires are more important than those of the other umpteen billion people on this planet.

    I was once challenged to a little test. It was a simple one. The idea was to start a stopwatch at the very second I put my car in drive when I left for home from work. The first week I was to obey all traffic laws, be as courteous as possible to all other drivers, remove jack rabbit starts from my driving repertoire, and to take lots of deep breaths. I did this for a five day work week and recorded the times as well as my stress level rated on a one to ten basis. The following week I was to do anything I thought I could get away with to beat by as much as possible my times from the previous week. I recorded these times and my stress levels for this second week.

    I know it's obvious from a mile off but I'll write it anyhow. My times for the first week, you know, the one where I just took it easy and obeyed all the laws were virtually the same or faster than the times for my second week. I've failed to mention that during the second week I drove like a maniac. I broke every law imaginable, I literally drove over a hundred miles per hour at least once every day of this week, and of course cut people off and did my share of flipping the bird.

    Of course I rated my stress at an average of 8 out of 10 for the second week but for the first it was a very comfortable 3. I've repeated this test a few times over the years just for curiosity's sake and what do you know? I got the same basic results every time.

    So for the folks that somehow have convinced themselves that the inconsiderate cyclist up ahead of them that's so severely slowing them down is at fault for making them late to work I offer this challenge. Repeat the little test I've written about. If you can still say after comparing the results that cyclists have ever actually given you justifiable reasoning for getting your dander up then I will eat my hat. You know, the stinky sweaty one I put on in the morning when I'm too lazy to wash my hair. Really! I will!
     
  19. Bolter03

    Bolter03 New Member

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    Maybe a pro jersey isn't the way to go but perhaps a custom jersey displaying the name of the most prominent 'Ambulance Chaser' attorney in town might work the best. Dewey, Dickum and Howe, maybe?:rolleyes:
     
  20. NORECUMYET

    NORECUMYET New Member

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    I like that. Even though your joking the idea has legs. Whatever it takes I say. Anything that will help to get the idea into the driving public's mind that cyclists are not a step lower on the list from say......a police cruiser, and who would ever consider to cut-off or "squeeze" a black and white off the road? Unfortunately, there are a small percentage of drivers that seem to consider cyclists as nothing more than annoyances that don't warrant the same respect or consideration that they themselves deserve. And, because of their perception that any form of havoc they may cause the cyclist to endure will so certainly be without any meaningful consequence, they simply know that they can continue on their journey unimpeded.

    I don't advocate violence although some may say differently. I'm simply a strong proponent of making bullies aware of the fact that just because the target of their daily frustration has all the outward manifestations of a cute little puppy, that pooch may indeed be a formidable rabid dog.
     
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