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Are cyclists "freeloaders?"(67 posts)

Are cyclists "freeloaders?"AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 6:03 AM
I went out for my normal 30 mile ride and on the return encountered a 40ish something guy at a long stoplight, who, after looking me over and over, rolled down his window and stated he hated cyclists because they are nothing but "freeloaders." He said his "taxes (gasoline taxes I presume) pay for the upkeep of the roads and that cyclists don't contribute anything." He then muttered something that cyclists should pay for their own roads and keep off of the highways. The light changed, he said, "See you later honey," and drove off.

I didn't say anything back to him because I just didn't start anything. Also, I found his parting comments really irritating, but par for the course.

To me, this raises several issues:

1. How to deal with latent hostility.

> How should I have responded?

2. How to share the road.

>Separate bike paths are so clogged with people that you can't get in a good workout which leaves using the main roads

3. Are cyclists getting a "free ride"

>We don't put any wear and tear on the road. It seems that my state & federal taxes contribute to road upkeep.

btw, he was driving a SUV.
sillyDougSloan
May 30, 2002 6:11 AM
Don't fight a mental battle with an unarmed person.

1. Don't respond at all; ignore them.

2. There are not sufficient "bike paths", and the existing ones are clogged with everything but bikes.

3. a. The law says we can be there. b. We all pay taxes. c. We most all own cars too. 4. Bikes don't harm roads, as you said.

I'd just smile and move on.

Doug
damn good adviceEJC
May 30, 2002 6:14 AM
ignore the sily sod and be content that you are bettering your life through athletics and fitness and he is sitting in his over-sized American car, growing his already oversized USA ass into a helipad by eating a "supersized" happy meal from Chez Burger Death or McDonalds or whatever happens to be the latest Yank contribution to Haute Cuisine.

EJC
Moron: <i>ignorama sapious of the homo sapian family</i>Kristin
May 30, 2002 8:54 AM
It sucks that we can't communicate with morons, doesn't it? Sometimes I think my pets have more learning capacity. But you just can't make a moron comprehend. We feel badly for them--and ourselves, when we encounter their cruelty. (And they can be cruel.) But a conversation with a moron only makes matters worse. I feel your pain. In your passion you want to share the knowledge you possess. Offer hope to this needy breed. But to no avail. I agree with Doug. You did the best thing you could do...but I feel your pain.

(Okay, that was in jest. I was frustrated just reading your post. But I don't want to come accross as if I value one person over another. For sure this guy is ignorant--and wrong--but I believe deep down that there is hope for everyone.)
sillygusriley
May 30, 2002 12:45 PM
DS you're right. I've had this conversation come up between me and non-cyclists. I ask them how many cars do they own. Usually I get the standard 2-3. I reply that I have 5 cars, they're all licensed and all full of gas...guess I pay more taxes to use the road then they do, right?
"Just exercising my right as an American citizen."Spoke Wrench
May 30, 2002 6:20 AM
Near my house, there is a roadside monument that says the road was originally built by Daniel Boone with some kind of a government grant. It would be about 75 years before gasoline was invented and another 100 years before anyone thought to tax gasoline. Most of the roads we use are mainly funded by sources other than gasoline and tire excise taxes.
re: Are cyclists &quot;freeloaders?&quot;curlybike
May 30, 2002 6:25 AM
Surprisingly, there were hard roads before there were cars. Why? Hard roads were built for bicyclists. There were millions of cyclists before the first car. Car driving, bike hating @ssholes will refuse to believe that, but at least you know it. You can always yell "I buy gas too". You are entitled to the roads by the laws of each state and the Feds. We are only restricted from using most limited access highways. I know that the interstate in the NE corner of Colorado is an exception, because I saw the signs to that effect.
Are cyclists alien beings or something?AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 6:38 AM
It seems that the "share the road" mantra doesn't get any mindshare from drivers. There seems to be an almost criminal contempt shown by some drivers towards cyclists.

What is it about a person on a bike that just drives some motorists nuts?
roads and taxesDougSloan
May 30, 2002 6:38 AM
Not sure we can legitimately make the "bikes before cars" argument. While some paved roads pre-existed cars, there is no doubt that the roads we ride on today were primarily intended for cars.

However, typically, gasoline taxes go into the general fund, and are not earmarked specially for roads. Gas taxes don't "pay for roads" any more than income taxes do.

I think the "law says I can be here" argument is sufficient.

Doug
roads and taxesWannabe
May 30, 2002 10:54 AM
Well, can't speak for other states, but here in WI, the gas tax is most definitely "ear-marked" for road projects. The gas tax, which is indexed for inflation here, goes not into the general fund, but a segregated fund for road improvements.

Andy
Does anyone have a theory....Jon Billheimer
May 30, 2002 6:40 AM
why there is so much hostility to cyclists in the U.S.? Not that there isn't any here in Canada, but the hostile motorist theme is quite recurrent on this board. In the Edmonton area I put in about 7000 mi. per year and am out group riding virtually every weekend, and I have NEVER encountered the types of behaviour from motorists that so many of you have to put up with. Is it because of greater traffic loads on American highways? Is central Alberta an anomaly? Maybe Vancouver or Toronto are worse? What do you think?
speculationDougSloan
May 30, 2002 6:45 AM
1. Occasionally, motorists are impeded by cyclists. The motorists don't see the same utility in cycling as they might in a farm tractor impeding them, though, so they get angry.

2. Some cyclists don't ride legally or courteously. We are guilty by association.

3. Envy?

4. Cycling is not accepted as mainstream sport in the U.S. such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and, well tennis, wrestling, bowling, auto racing.....

There really aren't *that* many anti-cycling motorists out there. That vast majority, in my experience, treat us well. They become guilty by association too, though.

Doug
Does anyone have a theory....Miklos
May 30, 2002 6:49 AM
Yes, I find Canadians as a whole to be much more polite than Americans. Thats why I like to vacation in Canada. Will be at Spruce Meadows (Calagry) in September for the Masters Tournement.

Miklos
I think we are a distraction..........Len J
May 30, 2002 7:07 AM
and an occasional safety issue.

Have you ever been on a 2 lane road with no shoulder & heavy oncoming traffic and noticed that there is a line of cars behind you waiting to pass? It aggrevates most drivers who are in a hurry. Compound that with the same situitation on an uphill.

Couple this with the Lycra in front of a Red-Neck (like a red cape in front of a bull)factor and I think you can see the conflict.

Len
Guilty by associationLowend
May 30, 2002 8:09 AM
There a few bad seeds out there that ruin it for the rest of us. Running through red lights, not stopping at stop signs, riding between cars at a stop light and just using up more road than is needed.
Sometimes I yell back. When I'm in a crosswalkPaul
May 30, 2002 6:33 AM
the law says cars shall stop. In MD, they have police stings set up to bag these type of drivers. In VA, you're on your own when in the crosswalk. I've had drivers pull out into the other lane to get around me. I yell, and tell them it's the law to stop. They just ignore me. In Loudon county, VA. A cyclist was constantly being hassled by a truck, one day the truck ran him off the road. The cyclist called the sheriff who told him to carry a gun, and fire at the truck if he did this again.
Unbelievable!
Yes, I hate to get my blood pressure up when dealing with these idiots, burt there comes a time when you have to stop being passive, and fire back.

Lets move to Europe!
Idiotrideslikeagirl
May 30, 2002 6:40 AM
There's nothing you could have said to him that would have made any difference.

Pointing out that you are also a tax payer, would have been completely lost on his pea-brain.
I got the best satisfaction when...biknben
May 30, 2002 6:41 AM
I pretended I couldn't hear a person giving me attitude at a stop light. The guy was giving me the typical get off the road crap, your holding up traffic, etc. He had his window down and I was about a car width away on the shoulder. As he's blabbering I said "What, I can't hear you!". He started up again only louder. I replied the same way. We went back and forth 3 times before I just laughed out load as he was screaming at the top of his lungs. He then realized I was playing with him and I waved as he drove off.

I smiled all the way home.
Tee hee...I'll have to remember that one! nmrideslikeagirl
May 30, 2002 6:48 AM
re: Are cyclists &quot;freeloaders?&quot;pa rider
May 30, 2002 6:41 AM
Apparently the driver has no idea about our roads that he claims to pay taxes for.

I work for Penndot (driver license, but our sister agency is vehicle registration) and we get money from the feds for the "Alternate means of transportion Act" for money to fix roadways. We get alot of money from the feds for our roads other than his taxes and vehicle registration (we have over 11,000 miles of roads in Pennsylvania, based from our Roadway management system).

Vehicle registration, gas tax, tire tax, and other programs don't pay for all the million of dollar projects we have on these interstates or bridge work. You did the correct thing by ignore the a-hole, because doesn't he think that you drive on the road with a vehicle as well.

We rely heavily on the federal highway funds. When they tell us to comply to their programs we have to jump, because they threaten us saying we will not get the expected highway funds. I'm stuck on an patriot act program that the feds want all 50 states to comply or lose your highway funds.

Hope that driver says the same comment to some bikers (harley davison owners) on a rally and see how they reply to his "free speech amendment".

Just my 2 cent.

Emory
Maybe I should get a "skull & crossbones" airbrushedAllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 6:50 AM
frame like the one posted below. I am debating whether to start wearing a leather jacket as well and join the local Hell's Angels bicycling chapter.

This whole thing is making me militant. The more I think about the more I realize that I am really pissed. Is there a David & Goliath strategy we can use here? Let me see, yeah, I could have my Hell's Angels buddies following behind me--that's it. Put 'em in their place, they would.

Cyclists of the world, UNITE!

LOL-thanks for letting me vent!
kill them with kindnessDougSloan
May 30, 2002 6:53 AM
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Smile and ride nicely. You are a good model cyclist, then.

Doug
Yes, and carry a big stick just in caseAllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 7:18 AM
I will tell my HA buddies to simply smile at them (my big stick). Seriously, I agree with you and that works for 99.9% of the drivers.

The issue is dealing with those exceptions--and, unfortunately, there seems to be just enough of these bad apples around to spoil the ride.

Maybe I need to move to Canada, Australia or New Zealand?
I was harrassed once riding........Len J
May 30, 2002 7:24 AM
about 10 years ago. Car full of kids, tailgating, yelling, throwing things, honking, it got a little scary. Then I realized where I was & I managed to lead them right into the back entrance of the local Police dept. They didn't ralize where they were so when I stopped & turned around, they thought I wanted to confront them. Imagine thier surprise when a cop car pulled in behind them & 2 cops came out of the back of the building.

Revenge is sometimes sweet.

Len
How sweet it is!AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 7:27 AM
Made my day! Thanks!
Or move to the West CoastTrent in WA
May 30, 2002 10:39 AM
Allison,

Drivers in some parts of the US are more hostile than in other places. I've biked around 4K miles in the Seattle / Puget Sound area in the last year and can count the number of times I've been hassled by drivers on the fingers of one hand. It helps that lots of people out here ride, so even the non-riders are more used to being around cyclists. I think it also helps that traffic (at least in the PS area) is so miserable that nobody's under the illusion that the cyclist riding alongside the traffic lane is "slowing them down" more than the line of trucks, SUV's, delivery vans, Metros, buses, etc. in front of them.

The question of cultural differences in the perception of other road users is really interesting. I sometimes think that cars are marketed to and bought by Americans as expressions of competitive individualism: rather than being viewed as public spaces, roads are viewed as a competitive arena where you either buy the right to as much road as you can or seize it by being aggressive. If you win, you prove your masculinity and get to reap the rewards (beautiful women, twisty country roads, breeze in your hair, delusions of Kerouackian escape, etc.). Bicyclists, pedestrians, and people in smaller, slower cars piss off competitive individualists because they're reminders that, at some level, all transit activities depend not on competition, but on cooperation, and the guy in the SUV feels both shafted and duped. We're having a good time while they're being forced to be responsible.

My .02,
Trent
Just ignore them and smile to yourself.look271
May 30, 2002 12:34 PM
Knowing that you'll dance on their graves. I usually find that this works for me. =) Honestly, though, I've had a relatively small number of encounters with a-holes on the road. The one time that I got hit wasn't so much a deliberate act as it was just plain stupidity and unattentiveness.
This is not even worthy of a post.bob_vanderhaus
May 30, 2002 6:59 AM
We could sit here all day and tell antidotal stories about how drivers do stupid shit, but that would make this group really, really, boring. The only response to a driver who is saying silly jibber jabber like this is to ignore them.
Don't get all worked up about it, the more you ride the more desensitized you get.
I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy.AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 7:38 AM
Oh wise one, please tell me what posts are acceptable to you.

I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy.

btw, what is an "antidotal story?" Is there an antidote I can take for it?
Answer to question 3elviento
May 30, 2002 7:16 AM
Cars use gas, and cyclists use food. I guess food sales are taxed too.

I don't want to offend anyone, but I do believe people who ride a lot tend to pay more income tax than the general population, because health conscious people who can afford this sport (let's face it, cycling ain't cheap) probably make more than an average fat ass in the Chevy Taheo.

I remember once I had a flat and had to take the subway home. The subway car wasn't really crowded but most seats were taken and a few people were standing. An old lady kept complaining for 15 minutes about my taking up more space, and I got so pissed that I yelled at her, pointing out I do pay a lot of tax and was entitled to use the space. Thinking back, it was not very graceful for me to yell, but some people should get a clue... there is no inherently fair distribution of wealth that is satisfactory to everyone. If I am paying 60K tax a year, am I entitled to stop 90% of the people in the streets and tell them they are free riders?
About paying more...FooBar
May 30, 2002 12:04 PM
Seems to me that is a gross generalization of the cycling community. I, for one, barely pay any taxes a year because I am a graduate student. I cycle as much as possible for stress relief and to reduce the impacts of having what is in essence a sedentary job. I think the same goes for many of my cycling peers.
Just because you make more money does not mean you deserve the space more. If we were going to start to debate things this way, there are many better ways to evaluate a person's worthiness. It just really angers me when some people base your worth or fitness on you socio-economic group.
I guess I really just wanted to break down your second paragraph. Riding around in something like a Chevy Tahoe is something way way out of my reach. A truck like that is well over twice my yearly income. However, a nice road bike is well within my means. Once that intial investment is made, it becomes free entertainment with nice side effects. It's not about the money, it's how you spend what little you have.
re: Are cyclists &quot;freeloaders?&quot;PMC
May 30, 2002 7:20 AM
I think you've encountered what I like to call a case of - disenfranchised suburban white guy syndrome.

The only reason these idiots act the way they do is due to the fact that their lives suck and they feel the need to share their misery. I also find it interesting that most of these miserable fools drive very expensive cars or SUVs and live in 350+ thousand dollar houses. The children of these assholes are normally self-centered losers who feel that everyone, including you, owe them something. The wives are normally on some type of antidepressants and infidelity is rampant, as they cannot stand sleeping with their sadistic overweight husbands.

Be glad the stoplight venting is all you had to suffer through. It could be worse.

On a side note, my wife and I pay more in taxes than I care to think about. Anyone preaching to me about not paying my fare share really, really pisses me off. I'd have been real tempted to tell him to go F*&K him self, although I most likely wouldn't have.
You nailed it!AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 7:25 AM
"disenfranchised suburban white guy syndrome"

or is it dysfunctional?
that's bigotedDougSloan
May 30, 2002 7:34 AM
What the heck does race, residence location, or gender have to do with anything? Those are totally bigoted, unjustified and inaccurate remarks.

While it may be "politically correct" these days to slam the white males, it's no more acceptable than other bigoted remarks aimed at other races or categories of people.

Bigotry is bigotry, and it's wrong in all forms.

Doug
that's bigoted....bob_vanderhaus
May 30, 2002 7:53 AM
The reason it is ok to bash white males is because they have no idea of what it feels like to be discriminated against, they are at the top of the food chain. Oh, I know there is probably about 23 white men in the US that are still complaining that some black guy got the job even though the white guy did better on the test, but give me a break. Be happy you are on the top of the food chain and enjoy the fact that you can drink a bunch of cocktails, climb into you BMW and the chance of getting pulled over is much less than any other ethnicity or race of people. In a way you have to make fun of white men, what other group of people has a lifelong goal of retiring, buying a Caddy and moving to the middle of the desert to play out the final years of their life on the golf course.
it's still racistDougSloan
May 30, 2002 8:01 AM
So you are saying it's ok to be racist if the target deserves the denegration?

If you believe racism is wrong, then it's always wrong. It's not acceptable in any form; you begin condoning it against those who *you* deem deserving, and it will become a vicious cycle of reactionary racism and intolerant attitudes that are demons in any society.

It's wrong. Period.

Doug
it's still racistbob_vanderhaus
May 30, 2002 8:20 AM
The negative results of racism occur when the majority takes action against the minority. I can hate white man all I want, but it ain't gonna do much good, they are the ones making the rules which limits the social economic impacts of my prejudice greatly. People can hate other people all they want but it doesn't mean anything until they resort to violence or legislation aimed towards the minority group.
are you serious?DougSloan
May 30, 2002 8:50 AM
I really can't believe you are serious. You must be just yanking my chain.

Racism can occur one on one. What if a black guy shoots (or, refuses to rent to him, tells him to go to the back of the bus, whatever) a white guy just because he's white?

I'm done. This has gone beyond silly.

Doug
Are you responding to Reactionary Ron? nmdzrider
May 30, 2002 9:15 AM
it's still racistMe Dot Org
May 30, 2002 2:21 PM
"The negative results of racism occur when the majority takes action against the minority".

The damage of racism isn't only in actions, it is holding racist beliefs. Racist beliefs harm the the hearts of those who hold them. People suffer from their own beliefs.

One day I was in a coffee house and I heard one of the employees telling another employee that it was impossible for a black man to be "prejudiced" against a white man, because a black does not have power in our society.

What sick thinking. First of all, be very suspicious of any ideology that asks you to re-define words to make sense of their viewpoint. Prejudice (or racism) is not only about power. It is not okay to hold ideas that are sick or twisted just because the majority of society doesn't act on them.

There is also an incredible disenfranchisement in this kind of thinking. "It's okay for you to feel this way, because you are not powerful".

One of the greatest genocides since World War II happened in Rwanda a few years ago. For years, colonialists had favored the taller Tutsis. Despite the fact that they were the majority, The Hutus were oppressed and out of favor.

Did the Hutus learn from the experience of being oppressed? They learned: in 1994, over 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutus, much of the killing done with machetes. At one school where some 2,000 Tutsis had taken temporary shelter, the Tutsis begged the UN troops to use machine guns on them (at least they would die quickly).

The Hutus were oppressed for many years. Then they were not. The fear and prejudice between Tutsis and Hutus is not controlled by a spigot, you cannot turn off prejudice when a group becomes the majority, or obtains power.

Believing that racism or prejudice is okay if a group is not enfranchised only perpetuates the existence of racism and prejudice.
that's bigotedPMC
May 30, 2002 7:57 AM
I guess that because I'm a middle-aged white male who lives in one of those suburbs, I didn't see it that way.

Whenever I have run into rude a-holes while riding, they always seem to be close to home. The vehicle of choice is the SUV and the racial makeup of the offenders is predominately white. There is nothing like a Ford Explorer hammering down to get around you on a 8 percent grade just to slam on its brakes and take a right while you try to avoid impaling yourself into the rear bumper.

I also ride in some 'not so nice' areas of town and have never, not once, had a problem. The most friendly area I ride through is predominately Mexican and Asian. I've had many conversations at stoplights in that area and not one has been hostile.

So I really don't see it as bigoted, I see it as calling a spade a spade.
that's bigotedDougSloan
May 30, 2002 8:12 AM
Spreading bigotry, even if you are a member of the target group, is still wrong.

What's wrong is that you lump all members of the target category in with the few you have witnessed.

Would it be acceptable to say any of the following:

"I can't stand those little oriental kids zipping around me at 75 mph in their little rice burning slammed down Jap cars when they can't hardly see over the steering wheel."

or

"What really bothers me when riding is the smoke from some ghetto cruiser lumbering along right in front of me with some pot-head dude slumped over the armrest, not paying any attention to where he's driving."

I don't believe those things. Nonetheless, I'd bet that someone has had those thoughts. That aren't any more or less acceptable than your "observations."

I'm sorry for the rant. I just can't stand bigotry in any form. I'm don't believe that you really are bigoted, but your post certainly could be read that way.

Doug
that's bigoted.... Yep. Sure is.speed-chump
May 30, 2002 9:44 AM
Yes. I believe it is acceptable to say those things. While
making assumptions about a person based SOLELY on their
race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. is wrong, I don't
believe that making certain judgements about a person based
on their appearance is wrong at all.

People choose most aspects of their outward appearance -
clothes, mannerisms, jewelry, tattoos, their car, posture,
body language, etc. All of these aspects of a person's
appearance are CHOSEN by the person, and as such, it is
fair to judge them by it.

If a person ostentaciously wears gang colors, I cannot
assume they are in a gang? If a person chooses to appear
so casual about driving that they slump all the way down in
their seat, I can't assume they ARE casual about driving?
If a person driving a BMW cuts me off just before turning
right, I can't assume he's a rich prick who feels he is
more important than me?

When a person slouches in their seat, wears colors, gets
tattoos, gets pierced, choses their clothing, or shaves
their legs, they are SAYING SOMETHING. They are expressing
and externalizing their identity. The same is true for
everyone. We ALL chose how we display ourselves to society,
and we all want judgements to be made from our displays. Don't
believe me? Got any jewelry? Why? Got more than one kind
of outfit in your closet? Why? Shave your legs? Why? Shave
your face? Why? Ever wear a tie? Why?

If someone CHOOSES to put forth an image that says "I am (fill in
the blank)" then I will ASSUME that they are (fill in the blank).
Very well said, s-c. I couldn't agree more. And I...RhodyRider
May 30, 2002 12:45 PM
...for one am tired of folks expecting apologies when I offer judgements of those that solicit them with specific types of behavior/dress/attitude/etc. "You asked for it, you got it..."
And I wonder if some of these altruistic P.C. people, the great defenders, ever get dizzy way up there on the moral high ground?
Don't just sit there and take that crap!Uncle Tim
May 30, 2002 7:28 AM
Tell the complete idiot that you pay taxes, too! There are lots of different tax funds that we contribute to (the vast majority of us drive cars) that go towards building and maintaining roads. For instance, any bicyclist who works pays federal taxes which go towards funding interstate highways, yet bikes (with very few exceptions) are not allowed on them. Maybe the idiot who harassed you was the freeloader.

While you are at it, tell the bozo that bicycles are legally classified as vehicles that share the same rights and responsibilities as every other vehicle on the road. If he doesn't like his state law, tell him to call his state rep and/or senator and harass him or her. He is in no place to harass you.
Actually, DO just sit there and take that crapGator
May 30, 2002 8:05 AM
Simple reason: in the classic battle of Car vs. Bike, the car always wins. Doesn't matter if it's a burly redneck in a monster truck or some old lady in Geo Metro, if you piss 'em off and they use the car against you, you're in a world of hurt. Cars can also contain a host of things unpleasant, guns, bats, bottles...

As they say, know your enemy. Sure, some people are tools, but is it worth your LIFE to let them know it? Smile, emplore them to have a nice day, and move on -- quickly.
I Disagree Strongly; Confront the Bullies!Uncle Tim
May 30, 2002 10:24 AM
I absolutely refuse to go around scared. I've lived to 41 already and it's my experience that these kind of mouthy people are just mouthy. Real tough guys don't sit around talking about it; they do it.

The example given is a classic case of bullying. They find what they think is a weak link and they want to instill fear. If you show them fear, they feel superior and the situation only gets worse. You cannot allow that to happen and maintain your dignity.

I'd rather be run over that to be bullied over. If you stand up to their rude and brutish behavior, it will shock them. They are spineless ba$tards who expect you to sit there and take their crap. Stand up to them!
Really? I'd rather be bullied than run over.Gator
May 30, 2002 12:14 PM
But to each his own. I'm curious -- do you have kids? You'd honestly rather put yourself in a position which might result in your no longer being able to support your family or orphaning your kids rather than let let some nutcase yell at you? Okay...
You're not living...Uncle Tim
May 30, 2002 7:07 PM
I am the father of a soon to be collegiate-aged daughter and I have excellent insurance packages that will provide for her in the event of my untimely demise.

Until that time comes,I have made it a point that I will always stand up to bullies. There's a difference between living and surviving.

If you fail to stand up to these jerks, they'll just go on and harass someone else. Doing nothing is a form of enabling; it gives the jerk a tacit approval that he is justified in, well, being a jerk. When these guys get the idea that the cyclist has power and his jerkiness may come back to haunt him, he'll think twice - maybe even three times - before he harasses a cyclist.

A nearly full water bottle properly thrown can transmit a powerful message. Even a raised middle finger and a motion to ask them to come back and talk it over puts them in a position of running scared.
answer.SteveO
May 30, 2002 7:49 AM
"yes, as long as fools like yourself continue to foolishly waste gasoline, I'll receive a free ride. thankyou".
or the opposite of that...DougSloan
May 30, 2002 7:52 AM
"I have a truck bigger than yours, and I drive like a bat out of hell. Satisfied?"
re: Are cyclists &quot;freeloaders?&quot;Me Dot Org
May 30, 2002 8:17 AM
Well I guess since driving more means more tax money is collected, the more we drive the more roads we'll have and the less traffic congestion there will be, right?

Yeah, that's it...

;-)

BTW, I would be HAPPY to pay a license of yearly use fee. It would stop exactly that kind of attitude, as well as giving us a little more clout at the table when it comes to bicycle lanes. Just make sure that it applies to ALL bicycles.
re: The Right to Travel by Human PowerMr Good
May 30, 2002 8:42 AM
Here's an excellent article on this very topic, written by someone who's given the subject a great deal of thought:

http://sggoodri.home.mindspring.com/sidewalks/humanpower.htm

enjoy
Are our voices going unheard?AllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 9:53 AM
First, thanks for the great article.

He argues that we need "properly designed facilities" to accomodate cars, cyclists & pedestrians. That "cyclist traffic must be accommodated by default when designing roadways, not considered as an afterthought."

Most importantly, these facilities are NOT being built because cyclists interests are not being heard:

"But conspicuously absent are the voices of those who actually use human-powered methods to travel - especially those who rely on them. It is a mistake to assume that those responsible for building and regulating our transportation infrastructure can or will best serve the needs and desires of pedestrians and cyclists without the direct involvement of such users. By default, government is more likely to serve the interests of the motoring majority, and provide for cyclists and pedestrians only what is easy to provide. For this reason, those of us who travel by human power must do our part to get what we want."

My question: can/should this board become the voice for cyclists?
Are our voices going unheard?Mr Good
May 30, 2002 3:02 PM
I don't know about this board becoming a voice for cyclists. The appropriate way to do so here would be a new discussion category for "activism" or something, even though it's not radical or activist to say "I'm allowed to use the road too."

Communicating with other cyclists is important, but the real work of making your voice heard is best done by joining a political group such as your local or state bicycle coalition. One of the main functions of such groups is to be watchdogs who oversee transportation funding and spending. This is because the Feds give all states lots of money for bicycle projects, but states and local municipalities don't usually know (or care) how to spend the money. This is where a good bike coalition/pro-bike organization can make their voice heard and say "this road needs better shoulders, that highway overpass needs bike access, etc."

Here in the San Francisco area we have the very active SF Bicycle Coalition, East Bay bike coalition, and the state wide California Bicycle coalition. These groups (and others like them where you live) do great work behind the scenes to get OUR tax money spent on pro-bike projects that benefit us all.
I'm sorry...Breakfast
May 30, 2002 8:46 AM
...but I would have told that fool that I shit bigger than he does so I must then pay a higher sewer fee.

What a jerk!
Get the facts from your state... gas tax in OR is 36% of $PdxMark
May 30, 2002 9:24 AM
With quick check of the state web site I found the Dept. of Transportation budget report. Only 36% of department costs are covered by gas tax. The next largest contributor is the Fed government (27%). So maybe the response is... "Check the facts, dumba$$, gas taxes pay just 1/3 the cost of roads. Maybe if you rode a bike you wouldn't be so stupid."
You should have.....bnlkid
May 30, 2002 9:44 AM
....pulled down your shorts and given him a shot of your firm buttocks and said, "This is what cycling does for me! If you would ever like a chance to get your hands on them, I suggest you take up cycling." He would be so shocked, then excited about the encounter that he wouldn't even notice the semi as it broadsided him.
LOLAllisonHayes
May 30, 2002 10:06 AM
but then I would get arrested for indecent exposure and causing an accident. I can see it now:

SUV guy, "Yassir, yer honor, here I was just sittin' at this light and this lil' filly started flirtin' with yers truly. I tries to ignore her at first but she persisted on tryin to gets my AAtention. Then, the damndest thing: she just ripped her shorts right off--she peels 'em right down, and there it was--the nicest moon I ever did see. I tells 'ya yer honor, I was so shookup that when I floored it, I didn't see that semi. Yassir, yer honor, it was her fault allright. I thinks yew shuld trow 'da book at her and all her kind. Gets 'em off 'da road. Yep, 'dats my phelossophy, yer honor."
<i>Girls Gone Wild</i> on Bikes... nmspyderman
May 30, 2002 11:10 PM
$0.02hrs
May 30, 2002 9:55 AM
Well, I'm new to cycling, but I'll toss in my opinion

1. Be aware of it and be prepared to react if necessary, but appear to ignore it (no reason to escalate things, especially when you're in a weaker position(ie. car vs. bike)).

2. Last time I checked bikes are supposed to be on the road (state laws may vary here). I try to be curteous and take as little space as possible, ride at lower traffic volume times, and stick to roads with less traffic. And just do my best to be aware and ready to get out of the way of motorists who don't see me or just don't care.

3. I don't know about you, but I pay taxes just like everyone else and if I want to take my bike out for a spin on the roads to unwind after sitting in traffic for an hour, I've got every right to, and so do you.
Agree... to a point.funknuggets
May 30, 2002 10:02 AM
We pay taxes, we have a right to be there, and actually in most states have the right of way.

Just be ready when the buttholes don't go away nicely. Riding in packs is a nice way to avoid the problem, but most of the problems that I have had have been during solo rides. One jerk with a mullet in an old white truck outside of Springfield, MO drove right on my back wheel and honked for a half mile. No matter what I did, slow down, speed up... etc... he just kept at it. I waved for him to go by... to no avail. He then sped by, about an inch from me yelling and giving me the finger. There was a little intersection up ahead that I saw he had stopped and gotten out and was waiting for me. I got nervous and sped up and tried to ride past him and he lunged at me, and barely grasped the side of my jersey why calling me a "stupid f&*Ker". I rode like the wind trying to get to the highway on the other side of the valley. Surely enough, he came back and then came even with me and tried to pinch me off the road. I braked hard and he drove off, only to pull off to the side again up ahead. He got out of the car and came at me again, but I grabbed my trusty ZefalHP frame pump and conked him right under his left ear. He didnt fall to the ground or anything, but the frame pump bent so I just dropped it and rode like crazy. I made it to the highway, but never saw the guy again.

Man, I wish I could have seen my HR. I had the worst adrenaline bonk afterwards and was otherwise pretty nervous. I rode the rest of the 7 or so miles back home.

I stopped a bike policeman when I got back to campus and asked whether I was in the wrong and he laughed and said not to worry about it since the guy was trying to assault me. Nonetheless, just beware, some of these buttholes are not going to back down with a smile.

Chris
Nah.vitusdude
May 30, 2002 11:19 AM
1. You were right to ignore him. It was just his way of working out his frustration over wanting (you) what he could not have.

2. His road, your road, my road, our road.

3. All who work/pay taxes/own road.

4. Big car, small genitals.
Because you're thereTypeOne
May 30, 2002 11:52 AM
Interesting thread here on what looked to be an old topic.

I have begun thinking that motorists yell at us cyclists only because it is easy. They may be venting anger over something else. They may be mad about life at work or at home, or the drivers in front of them, and when they see a skinny person on two wheels who is completely unprotected and out in the open--shoot, it's too easy to roll down the window and yell. Really, the times I have encountered people yelling or throwing things, I know it was nothing I did. It's not even rational. They may not be able to explain why they yelled. But the person is angry and feels victimized by godknowswhat and takes it out on me when I am vulnerable on the bike. Then they probably go home and kick their dog.

On another note, I saw a cyclist a few weeks ago who had taken last year's license tab and affixed it to the back of his rear fender. I assume the intention was to show that he paid for roads, too!
Highways and Taxeschare
May 30, 2002 12:07 PM
Alison,
regarding point #1. The roads in the US are public roads.
You do not have to pay any taxes at all to use them. If one had to pay taxes to use our roads, no visitor from a foreign country could drive while visiting us here in the USA. check out www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/advocacy
you may also want to check out Jan Lundberg's Paving Mortorium website. But to put it bluntly, we spend so much on highways and major roads, that gas tax alone can not pay for the upkeep of these roads. and to reply to point #3 -These roads are highly subsidized by our State and Federal income taxes.
Ask him to stop freeloading on your AIRlnin0
May 30, 2002 8:29 PM
Tell him that his car, unlike your non-polluting bicycle, is freeloading on EVERYONE'S AIR; and that his SUV has apparently used up more than his FAIR SHARE of clean air to breath so he should now just shut up, stop breathing and drop dead.
I like to defuse the situation with a wave.spyderman
May 30, 2002 11:59 PM
On my ride most cars tend to give a lot of room when they pass, so I often give them a wave after to say "Thanks...for not trying to kill me".

(Just be sure to use all your fingers so there's no confusion.)

Besides being polite, it's a positive interaction that reinforces you're human too. I think it surprises most drivers.

Share the Road is not a oneway idea. We all have to be advocates.