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The Rant Du Jour(27 posts)

The Rant Du Jourlonefrontranger
Mar 30, 2002 10:57 PM
Further thoughts on the bike vs. car controversy, tagging onto the Critical Mass thread below. Yes, I've seen Critical Mass rides. No, I do not want to have any part in something that pisses drivers off that much.

I might point out here that (at least in the U.S.), bicycle laws vary from state to state. I am originally from Ohio, where the law states that cyclists have the right to ride 2 abreast, and that cars must pass bikes on the far side of the yellow line. I heard a police officer tell a group I was riding with in Cincinnati to "double up" on a narrow road so that our line was shorter for the overtaking cars to pass.

Here in Boulder, the single file law is forcefully applied, with (in my view) mixed results. The main result that I see is the cars feel they have every right to pass us within inches (sometimes millimeters), regardless of how far right we are. On narrow roads, which don't have a shoulder, this leaves one teetering on the verge and mucking through the glass and gravel. The flip side is that many CO roads have a useable bike shoulder or bike lane, and Coloradans in general are vastly more aware of, and generally more understanding of cyclists. I haven't been cursed, chased by a loose dog or had objects thrown at me since I moved here. All of these were sadly regular if not daily occurrences in SW Ohio / Northern Ky where I used to ride.


Now for my personal rant. Regardless of the laws and what we think of them, it remains our duty as responsible cyclists to visibly adhere to them. Like it or not we are conspicuous. Here in Boulder, there are a couple of notorious group rides who have created havoc with the law. The most notorious of these is essentially a large, disorganized mob of young, arrogant pro/semipro racer dudes who unanimously feel they have the right to block traffic, run red lights and stop signs, and otherwise ride as if they were the only users entitled to the road. These yo-yos make life miserable for all the other law-abiding group rides in the area, and I would dearly love to beat the snot right out of 'em. After their well-publicized ticketing for blowing through a busy stop with a large group a couple seasons ago, most of the group rides in the area came under harsh scrutiny by John Law, whether or not they deserved it. I regularly ride with a couple dozen Category 3/4 Masters guys, and we've had police officers follow our rides for several miles. I guess they were trying to catch us out at something; fortunately these guys are smart enough and experienced enough to behave, and not just when the law is watching. For Pete's sakes, people use your common sense. We ride around with our home shop and sponsors emblazoned all over us. You'd better believe the first thing an irate driver is gonna do is call the shop and/or your title sponsor and give 'em an earful.

Today I had the personal satisfaction of (at least psychologically) beating the living tar out of some idiot who caused a near-wreck at a busy 4-way stop on a well-traveled bike route. This older poseur type dude on a fancy Postal bike, with no helmet on came from my left, without slowing a wink and made a left turn, totally blowing the stop sign and causing the driver who was next in line to turn to nearly eat his steering wheel in order not to hit the turd. So now everyone's p.o.'ed, including me, 'cause now I'm front and center with six or seven angry drivers out of synch, glaring at me and waiting for me to do something similarly stupid. I came to a stop with my foot down as I always do at any stop with traffic present, and waved the next in line through. Yes, I can trackstand, no I don't do it at busy multi-way stops because it confuses the drivers. I took my turn, chased idiot boy down and gave him a piece of my mind. I'm hoping it sunk in that he was caught on an uphill headwind chase by a small female carrying a commuter backpack that would comfortably house a thi
further rant (truncated again)lonefrontranger
Mar 30, 2002 10:59 PM
I took my turn, chased idiot boy down and gave him a piece of my mind. I'm hoping it sunk in that he was caught on an uphill headwind chase by a small female carrying a commuter backpack that would comfortably house a third world family. After telling said moron off, I contemptuously dropped him like the sorry shriveled sack he is, and may his ego never recover.

I swear these fools will be the death of me someday. I ride and race my bicycle because it's necessary transportation and because it is my source of joy, competitive release, fitness and many other positives. I do NOT, however, want to become a road pizza at the hands of some crazed, road raged homicidal maniac because some arrogant fool wannabe bike racer got their goat and I merely provided a handy target for displaced aggression.



LFR
further rant (truncated again)colker
Mar 31, 2002 5:55 AM
relying your life and security on other's(fellow cyclists f.i.) conscience is a dangerous game. it disappears under the first desire to= have fun, show off, make money etc..
that moron will behave for a few days though. the words of the faster, tougher than girl will remain for a while. you got respect the stronger ones.
Well Spoken.Len J
Mar 31, 2002 6:33 AM
Why does it always have to be (in some cyclist eyes) us versus them?

We all have enough experience with both angr/agressive/Ahole drivers as well as inconsiderate/selfish/ahole cyclists, however, in my experience both of these groups are the minority. For every bike unfriendly driver I see, I have 10 or more drivers who don't obviously wait for me to pull out from a side street as opposed to making me slow or stop. For every selfish cyclist I see 10 or more that do try to act as if they are "Sharing the road" with other vehicles. In my oponion, if we let these minority groups define the whole, we are going to end up with contiual escalation.

LFR, you did the right thing in confronting this jerk, and in showing drivers that there are considerate cyclist out there. I would contend that what you showed the drivers will have a longer lasting impact.

Len
more concerned bicyclists than belligerent ones...harlett
Mar 31, 2002 9:50 AM
len...i agree.there are far more concerned, active and responsible riders than belligerent ones-- i prefer to try and change things in a positive way-- we can all support the advocacy of bicycling in a way that gives us something better for our efforts-- it starts with being a considerate rider-- taking the time to get to know local/state advocacy groups can give you the information that can lead to positive change-- it can be as simple as knowing when to email a local government member about a cycling policy issue or as involved as helping your local government find funding for the development of bicycle infrastructure and programs-- you would be surprised how little time simply being informed takes, reading newsletters can be done quickly-- the action you take is more time sensitive but who of us doesn't have the time to send an email supporting a cycling issue-- there is satisfaction in doing something positive--

some national advocacy groups--
bicycle federation of america 202 463 6622
bfa@igc.apc.org

adventure cycling 800 933 1116
gmacfadden@igc.apc.org

league of american bicyclists 410 539 3399
bikeleague@aol.com

rails to trails conservancy 202 797 5400

some state and local groups and people--
http://peteandedbooks.com/badv.htm
http://www.carfree.com/link/fbik.html
http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/who.html
Good idea Harlett, as usual, & one more thing.Len J
Mar 31, 2002 11:17 AM
I want to reemphasize that there are more friendly drivers than belligerant ones. We, as cyclist, seem to rant continually about the bad drivers & don't acknowledge the many more courteous & safe & biker friendly drivers.

I may see one or two Belligerent drivers in 2 or three weeks of riding. How many other drivers do I come in contact with? How many give me plenty of room when they pass me? How many wait for me to go by before they pull out or turn left (from the opposite direction)? Hundreds? Yet we seem to take this for granted as a right. The truth is, while it may be the right thing to do, we are much more vulnerable on a bike than someone in a car is.

All drivers (even of SUV's :-)) are not jerks, in fact, most of them aren't. If we don't want a few bad cyclist to ruin it for the rest of us, let's not lump all drivers together either.

Len
You know, maybe it's just me,Leisure
Mar 31, 2002 2:06 AM
but I don't see very many of these morons in the areas where I ride (neighborhood-wise, not state-wise). I feel lucky; it may or may not contribute to the relative lack of hostility I get as a rider. No, most of what I deal with is general stupidity, which also ticks me off sometimes. Still, over the years I have seen numbers of riders that fit the mold you describe, and I don't blame you for being pissed.
.02 from the recliner while waiting for Easter Bunny ...Elefantino
Mar 31, 2002 4:22 AM
I agree with you in that anything that makes drivers angry is counterproductive.

This is not like the '60s, when civil disobedience led to social change. There is no underlying current in the general public that favors cyclists. Maybe it's just me, getting older, but if we as a group, or as individuals, do something to annoy or inconvenience drivers ON PURPOSE, we will be defeating the idea that is on my license plate here in Florida: "Share the road."

We, too, have a group of over-testosteroned riders who, every Saturday morning, feel it is their right to ride three abreast on two-lane roads and to hell with cars. I have ridden with them and seen them blow through many stop signs, cut left-turn corners, etc. (They also don't talk, at all, except to yell "watch your line!" when you're not doing anything wrong, so I don't ride with them anymore.)

Last June I was pulling a group of seven along a four-lane highway with a grass divider. As we were approaching a slight uphill to a set of railroad tracks, two cars approached from the rear. The last two riders were riding side-by-side.

The car in the right lane, a Ford Explorer, swerved slightly, not because there was no room but because it appeared that there was none. As he swerved, a Dodge Neon, driven by an older lady in a white-laced church dress, swerved violently to the left, onto the median, did a 180 into oncoming traffic, barely missing a Ford Expedition, and wound up down in a ditch off the other side of the highway.

Fortunately, she was unhurt. I called 911 and the sheriff came. No one was cited; her car (which was OK, miraculously) was driven out of the ditch and everyone went on their way. But there was no question that we were at fault. The Explorer driver said he "moved over because of the cyclists" and the sheriff just let it go at that. We got lucky. This time.

FYI, the rider behind me didn't own up to riding side-by-side until after we had left the scene and finished the ride. But I know that he now knows better.

FWIW,
Mike
Riders you want to ride with...mwood
Mar 31, 2002 9:41 AM
I agree, the "over-testosteroned" (who might, in fact, be suffering from testicular inadequacy) are not any fun to ride with and should be avoided at all costs. These are the same axxholes who don't even give a nod, much less a "hello" when you pass them on the road...BTW, how many cyclists do you typically encounter who do say anything as you pass? It seems like most of the "serious" cyclists consider it a loss of posing points to acknowledge other cyclists, especially my normal group where I'm usaully the youngest at age 40! (The only time I don't respond with a wave and a "hi" is if I'm descending and concentrating on apexes and the "line", but otherwise I've been taught it is part of being in the "family").
The riders I want to ride with are better/faster/stronger than I am, but not so much that it is impossible to stay tight (throw in a few who see me in the same light, as being hard to catch). They are friendly, enjoy the experience outside of the "training value" and will always lend a hand when you have any type of mechanical. They are still serious, most being triatheletes and century+ riders, and don't meander around with stops every 10 miles, but they are not obsessed with the "image" of what a "cyclist" should look and act like!
I don't think you were at fault...rollo tommassi
Mar 31, 2002 11:52 AM
I respect you for feeling at fault, but this incident seems more clearly an incident of poor driving skills (and poor manners!)

Sometimes the safest way to get ahead is to slow down. That is all the SUV driver had to do - slow down, and then safely signal to change lanes (did he?), check his mirrors (did he?) and tuck in behind the neon.

I think the officer saw through the drivers' accusation of "it wasn't my fault", and I'm surprised that no one was cited.

At any rate, I'm glad no one was hurt.
Rabbits ReduxSlipstream
Mar 31, 2002 8:04 AM
And I thought Boulder was "cycle friendly." Maybe Boulder is having a backlash from being too cycle friendly and having too many out of control cyclists. The inmates have taken over the asylum. King of Hearts, King of Hearts.

Rabbits have a cure for when there are too many of those idiotic floppy ears in a small space. The alpha rabbit simply chews off the testicles of the other males.

My hats off to you for being the alpha rabbit in the Boulder pen! I am sure he doesn't have the balls to pull that stunt again in the near future.

I think you should put a notch on your bike for each such rabbit you cut down to size. I bet at the end of the season you would have an entire warren.

Bravo Zulu!

ride hard; have fun; be safe--and keep those incisors sharp ;>)
i disagreeishmael
Mar 31, 2002 12:11 PM
ive never come to a complete stop at a stop sign, and no one driving expects me to or seems to want me to...it slows things down too much for everyone...the groups i ride with on saturdays and sundays average about 40 people and they all blow through stop signs and ocassionally lights if the group is already on the way through or no one is around...
and when driving i understand and expect them to go through 4-way stops...
we all arent one big family as some here seem to think,we all behave differently and have different expectations, i think it might be best for alot of the sanctimonious folk here to reduce their expectations...
i disagree with youJekyll
Mar 31, 2002 12:35 PM
Because you are a rider you know (or think you do) what to expect of a cyclist when you are the driver. Average drivers have no idea what to expect from cyclists. My father's favorite expression used to be that the two things that scared him the most on the road were drunks and cyclists because you never knew what to expect from either.
Expecting drivers to read your mind is unfair and unsafe. If you run a stop sign and get hit by a car - its your fault and outside of getting you in the hospital it does nothing to further the relationship of the driving and the cycling communities.
Pissing off driver because you can by running lights, etc only adds more unfair anti-cycling laws. When we are on public roads were are in the cars' world (like it or not). When we act like other vehicles on the road we get more respect and safety.
Enough of us get hit by cars when we follow the rules of the road because drivers to do not see us. Complicating this further by running stop lights and signs does not help in reducing your chances of an encounter with 2 tons of steel. An encounter in which you will always lose.
This "I ride a bike and therefore I can apply rules of the road as I see them" or "I'm on a bike and I'm better than you" attitude only gets people pissed off and riders killed.
give and demand respectscruffyduncan
Mar 31, 2002 12:54 PM
Here in the UK, most of the group rides I've been on go 2 by 2 (double up , whatever), but obey traffic rules. We should expect car drivers to treat us the same as any other piece of traffic, the lane you are in is your's, just as it would be in a car, however you should obey the rules in the same way. Obviously common sense applies, don't ride up a hill in the middle of a lane holding up traffic etc.
absolutely (nm)Jekyll
Mar 31, 2002 1:03 PM
so you come to a complete stop?ishmael
Mar 31, 2002 12:54 PM
ive never seen anyone come to a complete stop, not even a car...the times i do try to act just as the other cars do at a busy intersection they all wait for me to go regardless of who's turn it really is...they expect me to go, cars understand that im on a bike and its a pain in the ass to stop, and im thankful...im at no risk of being hit when i go through and no one is unhappy to see me do it..i also know of someone who is scared to death of hitting cyclists and they should be, its rational to worry when it's your responsibility to wield so much dangerously fast metal...
when the car became commonplace in the beginning of the 20th century the speed limit was 10miles per hour in chicago and there was a huge contraversy when it was going to be moved to 15...the streets were where people played, pavment was also first put down for bicycles...why do we give so much freedom to people in cars, they kill cyclist not the other way around...
yes or track stand....Jekyll
Mar 31, 2002 1:27 PM
It's my life and even if I had your obvious bias against cars I would not allow it to delude me into believe that my cause justifies taking unnecessary risks with my life. I've been hit by a car (a driver pulling out of a driveway). I can't say that I enjoyed the experience.
When riders are hit by cars it usually does not involve a homicidal maniac in a vehicle. Most accidents seem to be caused by either the driver not seeing the rider or the rider acting in an unpredictable manner.
We have the same basic rights (in most states) as automobiles. If we are to demand that those rights are respected we have to play by the rules they entail.
Why we give people in cars so much freedom stems from both their number and necessity (try living outside of a metropolitan area without a car). Like it or not, we are in their environment. Asking why cars kill riders and not the other way around as absurd as asking why surfers get eaten by sharks and not the other way around.
Why roads were laid down in the first place is arguable to the say the least. The brief, ecstatic popularity the first "safety" bicycles brought does not seem to account for the majority of the nation's road ways. The idealistic vision of children playing in the nations streets before the "big, evil" automobile is somewhat suspect as well. Makes one wonder why booties were so popular as foot ware for both sexes in the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries - maybe to keep the horse manure off one's feet?
In Colorado,TJeanloz
Apr 1, 2002 6:56 AM
In Colorado, the law requires bicycles (and motorcycles) to have one foot STOP on the pavement at a stop sign. It interestingly does not require a complete stop of the bicycle (or motorcycle) wheels- you can clip out, plant a foot (so long as you don't drag it) and then clip back in without actually 'stopping'. But, at least around Boulder, you are likely to get a ticket even for a trackstand that comes to a complete stop.
Its one thing to be right; its another to be dead rightSlipstream
Mar 31, 2002 2:04 PM
Which do you prefer?

You've made me another tag line:

ride hard; have fun; be safe; ride smart

;>)
Actually, I can see what your'e saying with 40 people...Leisure
Mar 31, 2002 6:36 PM
and a ROLLING stop. That's kind of what you meant, right? I've never been in a group ride that large, but in other group rides drivers treat us cyclists more or less like a single entity; the leading cyclists do the rolling stop not unlike a car and wait their turn. When the preceeding cars have gone, the cyclists all go through at once, and in that situation hardly any of the riders (following farther back) had to stop at all. It's been a long time since I've pulled up to an intersection and had cars waiting for me to go when it would properly have been their right-of-way, however. You must live in a friendly area.
a common request to @#$%'s like yousgc
Apr 1, 2002 11:17 AM
If you are going to take the @$$hole attitude towards the rest of the world and make people pissed at cyclists, do us a favor and let us know where you ride. You really are jeopardizing other people's lives unnecessarily...

I don't want to be riding where you do...
Like the hexa-red thing says... Stop!tma
Apr 1, 2002 1:14 PM
In NY state, traffic law 123-ABC (or maybe ABC-123, it's so simple as to be confusing) says bikes have all the same rights and responsibilities as cars, which I take to mean that if I hit a stop sign or red light and there are cars around, I come to a complete stop and then proceed through the intersection as if I were a car with all the same protocol. I will admit to a rolling stop when I'm out in the country and can establish that there isn't anybody around. If I can't see down the road far enough to know I can get across in case I'm wrong about it being clear, I stop until I establish that it is clear. This is when I'm alone. The only groups I ride with seem to have a similar attitude, the one thing we do that might go against this is if the pack is all together and we hit an intersection, we start through if it looks like we can all get through and go through as a unit. Once or twice that gets a little fuzzy but I think it's been done fairly well. When you're in town, you really have to lean toward overcaution. The time to bomb is out on the open road. Hammering the two or three miles in town make little difference to a long ride.

Scaring drivers pisses them off. A mad driver is a bad driver. Blowing through intersections, cutting across gas stations or parking lots, hanging up the following traffic wouldn't be done in a car, why do it on a bike? The next thing you know, the cars are doing it and mayhem ensues. No, educate the people who aren't thinking. Maybe they're tired and had a lapse of thinking, I know I have and been irritated at myself after, but sometimes they need somebody to kick start their thinking processes because they haven't started yet.
I actually was complemented for being a law abiding..Lone Gunman
Mar 31, 2002 4:25 PM
rider yesterday. A busy intersection at the bottom of a hill near my house, I stopped for the sign, let traffic go and proceeded through the intersection. While stopped a woman sitting on the porch said "good job, you stopped for the sign, better than the cars that blow through here." Ride like you drive, it has been a long long time since I got a moving violation ticket.
re: Rant.guido
Mar 31, 2002 9:32 PM
Got a ticket the other day for running a stop sign--in my car. Just like on the bike, I slowed at the intersection, looked both ways, observed the way was clear, and glided through the intersection, a cop right behind me. Live and learn.

Turning the front wheel away from oncoming traffic at an intersection always works for me. If a motorist pauses as if waiting for you to make your move, nod, or steer away and motion them to go.

Why wouldn't it be possible for a group ride of over 20 or so, to have a lead vehicle, preferably a police motorcycle with a flashing light, and a follow vehicle with more flashing lights and warning sign. The big rides are all like that. Most motorists are glad to give up their right of way for a sporting event.

Went out today with five club members. All cars were cool. Someone always yells "car back!" and we get single file. Motorists love that. It shows respect, even if they have to slow and wait for us to do it. Except where it's obvious, we always conceed right of way to motor traffic, even if it splits the group and we have to regroup later.

Glad you caught that guy and told him off. Amazing what otherwise sane people, pumped up on endorphins, will do on a bike!
fed upgregario
Apr 1, 2002 7:16 AM
I no longer ride with my local club for just such reasons. They show no regard for traffic laws, piss off drivers, and I don't want to by guilty by association.
re: The Rant Du JourTomS
Apr 1, 2002 7:52 AM
> I haven't been cursed, chased by a loose dog or had objects thrown at me since I moved here. All of these were sadly regular if not daily occurrences in SW Ohio / Northern Ky where I used to ride

Well after lurking here forever I just have to add my 2 cents to this thread...

I usually ride either solo or with 1-2 other people, and around Boulder, west into the foothills, north towards Loveland, and east to the plains all seem ok; but almost everytime I go south I seem to have some sort of "incident". I especially have bad luck on the McCaslin bridge over 36, now that superior is so crowded there's always a ton of traffic on that narrow bridge and I've gotten yelled at to "stay off the *** road" many times. The funny part is I almost always catch up with the yeller at the next traffic light and they usually sheepishly say something about how either it's not safe, or I'm holding up traffic (yeah, an extra 30 seconds over that bridge is going to ruin their day!).

I've never tried any club rides around here though, when I do ride with other people it's usually with a couple of friends that also just ride for fun. We probably could keep up with most clubs, but it's kinda intimidating with so many strong racers around! Of course sometimes it's hard to tell who's really a racer and who just dresses like one ;)
I agree 100% (nm)RideLots
Apr 2, 2002 6:34 AM