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more car vs bike aggro from a 'newspaper'(7 posts)

more car vs bike aggro from a 'newspaper'MJ
Jul 29, 2002 4:31 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,2766-366988,00.html

The Sunday Times - Review



July 28, 2002

Bryan Appleyard: One day, I’ll kill a Lycra lout
Watch out, cyclists are on the rampage on a road near you



It may be simple idleness, but I’ve never been the killing sort. Genocide, murder and manslaughter have all passed me by. So far. But now I am facing the real possibility that I am going to kill someone and they will probably be wearing Lycra shorts.

It won’t be my fault. Much as I dislike Lycra shorts, they do not inspire homicidal tendencies. It will, rather, be a case of finding myself involved in what will, in effect, be an assisted suicide. The law will not see it that way. I shall lose my driving licence and probably be imprisoned. For the victim will be a cyclist and I, a car driver, will inevitably fail to elicit the jury’s sympathy.

I am a boringly cautious and experienced driver. Nothing in my character or on my licence makes this a death foretold. Nevertheless, I am resigned to my fate. For lately I have found myself assaulted on all sides by cyclists determined to end their lives at my expense.

A few days ago, for example, I was edging at walking speed into a lane of traffic. Suddenly a man clad in Lycra and a helmet was toppling over next to me. He had been going at full speed and attempted to enter the same lane from behind a lorry. I stopped. He stood in front of me screaming and threatening to smash his fist into my bonnet. Innocent though I was — I could not possibly have seen him — I did not attempt to argue. Eventually he, self-righteous and satisfied, left me, shaking and baffled.

Telling people about this was rather like telling them I had lower-back pain. Everybody had suffered. A colleague had had her wing mirror smashed by an angry cyclist’s fist. She had done nothing to provoke this. Others speak of demonic bio-mechanical centaurs suddenly racing up on their inside as they attempt to turn left. Almost all had been shouted at by cyclists for no clear reason. “Oh yes, cyclists are screaming at me all the time,” said one resigned lady.

What appears to have happened in, say, the past six months is that cyclists have gone on the offensive. They have begun to attack on two fronts — aggressive riding style and self-righteous anger.

First, the style. Your chic cyclist about town wears all black and rides a black bike. This makes him difficult to spot in traffic. Clever. He also likes to flaunt the superior mobility of his vehicle. Waiting at one set of lights I saw a cycle courier performing balletic figure eights in the junction in front, one hand on the handlebars and one clamping a phone to his ear. He could not see the lights and would only know they had changed by the cars moving forward. But we could not move forward; he was in the way. Meanwhile, he risked being hit by traffic coming in the other direction. But he did look really cool.

For aggressive cycling style is all about courting risk. At most junctions in London you will see a cyclist cruising around the yellow grid, waiting for a chance to get across whether the lights change or not. If they’re quick, they might make it, if they’re not, they’ll die.

I am currently mourning the almost certain demise of one wobbling woman cyclist laden with shopping bags who was trying this trick in rush hour. Actually, I’m mourning even more for the driver who by now has almost certainly ended her life — it definitely wouldn’t have been his fault.

Or there was the pair of Lycra Louts cruising along chatting while hundreds of cars slowed to a crawl behind them. Horns blared and they chatted on, waving languid V-signs as they went. If one driver further back in the queue had been unable to see the reason for the delay and attempted to overtake, they too would have died &#
this guy isnt against cyclistsSteveO
Jul 29, 2002 4:37 AM
seems to me he's against rude, violent, dangerous, law-breaking cyclists. So am i.
we're all against rude, violent cyclistsMJ
Jul 29, 2002 6:08 AM
but how many times have you heard the I didn't see the cyclist lament after an accident or a near miss? a better way to say that I wasn't looking

it also astounds me that the guy confuses riders in lycra with riders that use the pavement (sidewalk)

all in all though he's not as bad as the other threads that have appeared here over the past few weeks
agreed, thoughSteveO
Jul 29, 2002 6:30 AM
the writer did preface with the fact that he's a cautious, defensive driver, and we have no evidence of the contrary. Perhaps some of his momentum is fueled by his continual courtesy of and safety towards cyclists, who, as a whole (from his perspective) do not behave similarly.

For the record, though, being an avid cycist AND motorcyclist, i despise the 'I didnt see him' excuse, and I moreso despise the fact that it's (seemingly) good-enough for the local ticketing-agency.
"aggressive cycling style is all about courting risk"AllisonHayes
Jul 29, 2002 5:18 AM
so is stupid behavior on the part of cyclists.

b Are conditions too crowded? Consider how behavior changes in animals when they are over crowded...

i When confined in over crowded cages, animals become stressed and anxious. They start picking on each other, biting each other and resorting to "cannibalism".

i So what solutions have been implemented? Give the animals more room you say? Hardly. That would be too costly.

i Instead, in pigs they remove eight teeth with wire cutters and in the male piglets cut off their testicles to reduce aggression in crowded areas. Chickens are debeaked, and cattle are dehorned. When confined in battery cages, chicken attack each other with their beaks. According to industry, chickens are debeaked to protect them from one another. In factory farming, cattle are dehorned because they attack each other under conditions of confinement.

Clearly this writer has a legitimate complaint. His solution is consistent with animal behavior in similar conditions. We can talk about a "share the road" approach, but there are enough irrational and stressed drivers out there where that does not matter. And we are only kidding ourselves to think otherwise.

We can talk about educating both cyclists and drivers alike, but unless we change the endemic problem of overcrowded conditions, I doubt this will make a lot of difference.

The answer is to be aware of the exigencies waiting you as a cyclist and ride defensively.

(I still believe we need to create a Cyclebahn for the cycling community. Think how enjoyable it would be to cycle for hundreds, even thousands of miles on your own dedicated road. A pipe dream? Sure is.)
If you act with arrogance and aggressiveness,MXL02
Jul 29, 2002 5:34 AM
you will no doubt kill yourself or someone else, whether you are on a bicycle, motorcycle, or in a car.
Reminds me of an incident I witnessed this Sat. morningkenyee
Jul 29, 2002 6:42 AM
My brother and I were driving on a two-lane two-way (four lane total) road w/ no shoulder w/ a parallel bike path to the right of the sidewalk that runs next to the road. It's Memorial Drive for those of you who know Boston. There was a cyclist moving at a good 20mph clip in full bright spandex in the right hand lane. We were in the left hand lane giving him planty of room.

Guy in a red minivan squeezes between us and the cyclist. Must have missed him by inches. Cyclist screams F*** You. Driver sticks his thumb out pointing at the left lane. Even my brother (non-cyclist) thought the minivan driver was a nutball. We passed the minivan a little later and the guy was smiling w/ his wife in the passenger seat; I thought about giving him a lecture on how his life would be ruined if he hit the guy, but decided not to mess w/ a psycho. Later, at a stoplight, the cyclist goes to the left of the two lanes (yep, into the oncoming traffic's left lane), then swoops through the red light and goes right (he also did that before this incident).

Who do you think was at fault?