Tuesday, January 15, 2013

someone like you.

It's lame just to have left the comic and the comments here but the thing provoked a flame war on the bicycle list I'm on and I wanted to think about my take-aways after considering the comic and the comments.

First, why read comments and upset myself.  Not sure.  Possibly dumb.  I think I am looking for the pulse of non bicycle riders, why they think as they do, why they behave the way they do.

What shocked me?  The person whose brother was killed by a car and saw the car as blameless.  I don't get this at all.  To me if you hit a person, you were going too fast, you were behaving dangerously.

What surprised me?  I'm sure I have noticed this before and not really thought about it but...I'm surprised by the way bicyclists are generalized into bicyclists who compete in road races.    I bicycle every day and I see tons of bicyclists and the number of people who are actual racing bicyclists is about the number of people who both run and are national champions - it's very small.  The bicyclists I see are generally commuter schlubs like myself.  Often they are kids too young to drive.  Some of them are retired people.  Many people like a road bicycle for the same reasons I do - it is fun and fast, but we are not racers and we are aware that we are not racers. 

What was the flame war about?  Some of the bicyclists blame other bicyclists for riding in a way that provokes the cars.  They feel that these bicyclists cause problems for all of us with their riding. 

What do I suggest?  I think it's time for a PSA about who rides bicycles.  It is your neighbours, your friends, your nieces, and your nephews.  Bicyclists are teachers at your kid's school.  They are accountants and checkout clerks and mid-level management.  Bicyclists are a lot like you, and if you looked at them like this maybe it would feel strange to make a point of forcing [them] to the shoulder whenever [you could.]


Selected comments seen below the above comic:

1. This is why I refuse to “share the road” and make a point of forcing those Lance Armstrong wannabes to the shoulder whenever I can.

2. in Ohio, the cyclists have the same rights as the motorists, and are bound by the same laws. They have the same rights, but even though you have the same rights, does it make any sense to be riding a flimsy piece of metal in 45 MPH traffic during rush hour traffic in the dark? Any conflict between a steel object and human flesh can only have one result. Ask my poor dead 11 year brother. It was NOT the motorist’s fault, but he’s still not with us. Cyclists, use some common sense!!! That’s what the bike trails are for!!! Same thing for joggers who like to run in the roads.

3. cyclists are really annoying when they won’t use the sidewalk, but use the middle of the street, thinking they are winning the tour de france. even if the city spends money to make bike path lanes, they don’t use them.

4. Cyclists in my area usually ride 2, 3 even 4 across in a lane, instead of single file to the right like the law says. What a great way to build up good will, by being a-holes and blocking traffic. Plus the look so gay in their gaily colored, body tight spandex.

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