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On a bike is no place to make a statement(20 posts)

On a bike is no place to make a statementafrican
Jul 16, 2003 12:17 PM
Well, us bike riders here in St Pete are getting tons of attention now days. I ride in the packs this author writes about.

http://www.sptimes.com/2003/07/16/Columns/On_a_bike_is_no_place.shtml
I think I pretty much agree with him (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 16, 2003 12:34 PM
re: On a bike is no place to make a statementgregario
Jul 16, 2003 12:37 PM
I don't ride on club rides exactly for this reason. Many motorists hate us. I'm not going to win a contest with a car. I don't ride in a pack anymore because the club members around here can't get it through their thick skulls that they're pissing off drivers by acting as if they own the road, ie. blowing stop signs right in front of cars, running lights, taking up the whole lane and ignoring cars trying to pass, etc. You can argue until you're blue in the face about how cyclists have a right to the road, and we do, but we gotta realize that there are folks out here that don't agree and have the ability to kill us.
He's right on (nm)94Nole
Jul 16, 2003 12:41 PM
There is an implication in there...No_sprint
Jul 16, 2003 12:47 PM
anyone else see it? The writer says some say the driver was infuriated and the writer says he's convinced the cyclists did something to infuriate the driver. Sounds like it could be an intentional act committed by the car driver. If so, well that opens up huge possibilities of serious criminal acts. He could end up with decades in jail as this could be attempted mass murder. How could they have infuriated him if they're simply passing by each other going different directions on the road? I did read he hit them head on and was over a non-passing line.

An intent to hit them is surely on the way to attempted murder. If that's the case he should hang, regardless of how much the wacko was infuriated.

This does not equal another assessment I've read where the cops believe he simply passed out because of his drugs or something.
There is an implication in there...russw19
Jul 16, 2003 3:17 PM
NoSprint, don't take this wrong, as I understand your point, but the problem with it is that you have to convince a non-cyclist judge and a non-cyclist DA that this is indeed what happened. Both of whom are suppossed to err on the side of impartial to begin with. And it's more likely that both don't ride bikes, than one does, so they may not see your point. And that's just who you need to convince to get this to trial. Then you have to convince an entire jury. Chances are not that good that justice will come out of this particular case.

God bless those who were hurt in this incident, but I have to agree with the writer of the story.. we need to look out for ourselves, not make statements on the road. I took physics classes in school, and I know for a fact that when it comes to it, I will not overpower a Honda Civic in a battle for the roadway. I hate to say it, because I feel that the road should be equally mine, but I am not willing to fight for it, bike to car. In the courts, in city council meetings... those are places you take a stand, not on the road, and I think that was the writer's exact point.

Respectfully to all my fellow cyclists,

Russ
Explain53T
Jul 17, 2003 7:40 AM
How do you err on the side of impartial? Is that anything like Democrats backing away from the center? (as was suggested on NPR this morning)

Bottom line, of the cyclists did anything to infuriate the driver and that fury had something to do with his driving, his actions are escalated from foolish accident to a felony.

A commentator, like Maxwell, scores no points for his side when he chooses to point out rude cycling behavior in the aftermath of a callous and inexcusable attack on those cyclists. It reminds me of the scene in "Airport" when the commentator opines on the passengers who are flying without a pilot "They knew what they were getting into when they bought a ticket, I say let them die."

Of course "Airplane" was a satire. Maxwell is imitating a serious columnist. Would it make any sense to berate motorcyclists for having loud exhaust systems a few days after a truck runs over 10 of them in a freak accident, or even in a deliberate attack?
Explainrussw19
Jul 17, 2003 8:43 PM
I think you are missing at least my point.. and maybe what I thought to be Maxwell's. Although I may have misinterpreted Maxwell, I know for a fact my own point, so I will stick with just it.

Sometimes in the US court system, right and wrong, and actual facts don't matter. It's all what you can prove and if you can convince a judge and jury. (OJ and the glove for example) What I meant by erring on the side of impartiality was that the judge in the case should (has to) take no assumptions into the court before the evidence is presented. That means he can not assume the cyclist ran a light or stopped at it. He cannot assume the driver plowed thru them out of rage or if he overshot a curve. What you and I know and believe to be true, even if we were witnesses, cannot be presupposed until it's presented as evidence. And even then, it can be cross-examined. Therefore if you were one of the cyclists in this case, you cannot presuppose that the driver was intending to murder someone. And to convince a judge and jury that the driver premeditated this act is going to be an impossible stretch. That is what I was commenting on in my reply to No Sprint. To convince a non-cyclist judge that this guys actions are akin to murder... no way.

My other point was that I am smart enough to know that if I am going down the road at 25 mph and a car is approaching me at the same speed and we collide, I am going to lose that battle of physics. I have always and will always try to ride as defensively as possible in any situation to prevent that from happening. I will not be stupid and run a stop sign so I can finish my ride 4 seconds earlier at the sake of being plowed by a car in the process. I think that was the point Maxwell was trying to make. I know for a fact that in the State of Florida, on a 2 lane divided highway, as long as I as a cyclist am not impeeding the flow of traffic, that a car MUST, by law, signal to pass me, change lanes to do so, and only do so where the law and safety provides. Now that said, if I am on my bike and collectively we weigh 220 pounds, and some guy wants to pass me in his SUV that weights over 6000 lbs, am I going to make a statement as to my rights, or do the smart thing and let him drive on by?

That is what Maxwell was saying about being on the bike is not the time nor the place to make a statement. But hey, if you choose to do so, it's your life you risk... be safe.

Does that help to explain my POV? Hope so... anyways.. cheers... and be safe.

Russ
I ride a bicycle, but I am not hard core...lampshade
Jul 16, 2003 12:54 PM
That quote is funny on so many levels, especially when you look at the author's picture as you read it.
Don't know about thatTWD
Jul 16, 2003 1:11 PM
I think he misses the mark by a long shot. I particulary don't get how he jumps to the conclusion that the riders were at fault and must have provoked the driver.....and basically that makes his actions justifyable. In other words, he's saying, that all club or serious cyclists have an attitude problem and therefore they deserve to be run down. Nice.

His theory doesn't add up. How exaclty does a group of cyclists provoke an oncoming car? Sure, I've seen plenty oncoming cars swerve, honk, or throw things, but none of it was anything provoked by the cyclist. Nope, I think this Pastore idiot has some serious issues. His comments basically read like "Sh!t happens, wasn't my fault, too damn bad for them." Basically no remorse or regard for human life, and not willing to sack up and take responsibility for any of his actions. I hope they lock him up for good.

The only good point this columnist makes, is that we as cyclists do need to wise up a bit when it comes to riding in a pack. Due to the circumstances described in the articles I've read, I doubt the club riders in this instance were doing anything wrong, or in any way caused the accident.

However, in my experience, I've ridden with a number of different clubs, and in each one, I've seen some stupid and dangerous pack behavior. Particularly, when moving through traffic in town, and when the pace gets faster. I can't count the number of club members that blow through stop signs, cut off cars, take the whole friggin lane on a fast moving road while holding up traffic, and in general disregard all the rules and all the other road users.

When the pace gets quick, there always seems to be a contingent of weaker riders that want to hang with the pack at all costs. If they can make up time or save energy by passing other riders when it isn't safe, hogging the lane, darting into oncoming traffic, or blowing a stop sign to catch back on, they do. I don't care to recall the number of times that I've seen riders come so close to getting killed or seriously injured for the sake of not getting dropped. Many of the stronger guys (and gals)contribute to the problem by attacking, or sprinting for city limits or stop ahead signs on dangerous sections of road where they are have no business doing so. If there's traffic around, you don't sprint...end of story.

We as riders need to wise up, and realise that every time we pull that kind of crap, we make new enemies out of everyone who witnesses it, and each of those enemies is driving a deadly weapon. So that means we need to play by the rules even though the motorists don't.

Sure, they'll be drivers that hate us no matter what we do, but we don't need to fan the flames.

Just my opinion.
Don't know about thatafrican
Jul 16, 2003 1:18 PM
You said it exactly the way it is here. On the day of the accident the police say a witness came forward and said the pack blew a red light 4 blocks before the accident (after the first riders went through orange).

On group rides since this accident there is more caution in the pack but still guys blowing lights and stop signs in front of cars. It is like a Vark cars mentality, but it really is the other way around, cars will vark you up big time.
Don't know about thatfiltersweep
Jul 16, 2003 2:23 PM
One guy that usually shows up on club rides doesn't ever get what "car back" means. He always rides to the left of the leader, even when everyone else forms a single-file paceline. Drives me nuts...

Club rides can be crazy with all sorts of stragglers blowing red lights right when they change... there seems to be a real group dynamic that occurs. The group DOES become a single organism. The first riders through a stop sign may slow considerably- the next few just slow- the next slow slightly, and the tail end actually accelerates through the stop to catch up... happens all the time. If a line of 20 cars came to the same intersection, each car would individually wait their turn to go through...

Frankly, the larger issue is WHY it even offends motorists. I legitimately hate it when I take care to pass a cyclist or a group, then the blow by me to my right at the red light, and we all need to wait to pass them again. I have no respect for that behavior. A group need not do this.

Finally- so what if the pack blew a red four blocks earlier. They were hit head-on by a driver who could not have possibly known this.

If it sounds like I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth, it is because I am.
YepTWD
Jul 16, 2003 2:59 PM
It's really unfortunate that we as a whole bring at least some of the wrath upon ourselves as a result of our own actions.

For example, a friend and I were out mountain biking last night. We kept getting evil stares from other trail users (hikers, equestians, and dog owners) even though were were smiling, waving, saying hello, slowing down to a crawl, and giving them the right of way. While not unusual, we were commenting on why people have to be such pricks.

Then, later in the ride, we ran across probably 4 or 5 groups of other riders. We would nod, or wave and say hello, and out of the say 5 groups, all but one completely ignored us, gave us the blank stare, or rode three across on a fire road and forced us off to the side.

With attitudes like that towards other cyclists, no wonder we were getting dirty looks from other trail users. I can only imagine how these losers were treating those other trail users.

It's no different on the road. One rider cops an attitude, and another 5 miles down the road gets flicked.

There's no excuse for treating people like crap, no matter how similar of different they are.
you don't live north of San Fran, do you?kenyee
Jul 16, 2003 3:38 PM
There was a really funny article on MTBers fighting w/ locals up there in the latest Bicycling mag (I know, hate to admit I read parts of it, but it's a free sub :-)
Don't know about thatMShaw
Jul 17, 2003 11:16 AM
I've been riding and racing for lots of years now. I've seen a lot of interesting things and learned a lot.

For the most part, I agree that group rides can get sketchy. I know I've seen many that are. It usually isn't the leaders that are the problem, but the people in the pack that are holding on for dear life. Since the leaders can't see the whole way to the back of the pack, it is up to the people in the back to look out for themselves. All I gotta say is: it ain't a race, relax. It isn't worth dying to win the workout!

Re: packs taking up a lane. Its safer for there to be a 100m pack of cyclists taking the lane v. a .5-1km line at 1-2 abreast. What happens when some idiot driver decides he/she needs to turn right when the middle of the long line of riders is passing their street? Better a few seconds of inconvenience than someone getting killed by a driver cutting through the pack.

Now, if there are just a few riders, then it is obviously safer to ride 1-2 abreast. The trick is to figure out where the "break even" point is.

Remember to smile and wave when someone does something stupid in a car. Why stoop to their level? Mind you, you can say anything you want, as long as you're smiling and waving.

These are opinions. Just like belly buttons, everyone has one...

Mike
It's all road rage!Kvonnah
Jul 16, 2003 3:12 PM
It is funny that this topic is here now. I just got done with my commute home. The final three miles is up Capital Hill on 14th St, for those of you who don't know Denver this is a 3 lane, one-way street. I ride solo and to the right of my lane but I do take my lane because of parked cars.

One car comes up behind me and honks his horn. Granted, I'm only doing 21 in a 30 but I can't move over more in my lane. He honks again so I gesture to go around in the other lane. He honks again and comes by so close that I have to push off his car with my hand! Now I'm pissed and I flip him off (I know, you shouldn't antagonize but the dick just about ran me down in traffic!) He pulls off in an ally about a block up and by this point I'm pissed enough to brawl. He jumps out of his car and I jump off my bike. He starts yelling about me being on the road etc. so I get almost punching pissed. I am 6' 5" and 190 my HR is probably 180 and I'm dripping sweat. I yell back about my rights as a cyclist and that there were 2 other effin lanes to use I get in his face a little more and of course he backs down and offers a weak apology about not knowing the laws of the road.

After all this happened, I started riding off again and I realized that this was all road rage on his part AND mine. I do feel I have a right to the road but I ride courteously. When stuff like this happens though I do get somewhat elitist thoughts, specifically about there polluting, gas guzzling, vehicles and how I have to pay so much for my medical insurance because they can't get off there fat A$$es and exercise. I commute to work why the hell can't they?? I know this is not productive thinking but how do you stop it and how do you learn to ignore the ignorant? Help!!
Although I disagree with some of his characterizationsMel Erickson
Jul 16, 2003 5:20 PM
and implications, his point is well taken. No matter how much we would like it otherwise, we will always lose the battle between Italian steel and Detroit steel. I don't want to be dead right.
Critical Mass?jtolleson
Jul 16, 2003 5:35 PM
Funny, that's the first I've heard that there was any "statement making" going on. He makes it sound like a CM ride, instead of a regular club ride. And by doing so, he creates the perception that it was the drawing of the proverbial line in the sand, and the challenge was met.

But honestly, most of his reasoning is right on. It amazes me on popular hill climbs when I'll call "car back" hoping that the 2-3 folks riding slowly in the center will move over and not make enemies, I am looked at as though I have four heads.
re: On a bike is no place to make a statementCritLover
Jul 16, 2003 6:46 PM
All the polite and courteous bike behavior in the world will not prevent some drivers from disliking cyclists. The only group that I've rode with lately is very courteous, moving over quickly, stopping at lights, single file, etc., and I guarantee that those who hate us, still hate us, regardless of our behavior.

I don't know how easily or quickly these attitudes can be changed. The more important minds that need to be swayed are those of city officials who decide where to add shoulders and/or bike paths.
He's certainly got one thing wrong.Ridearound
Jul 17, 2003 6:15 AM
Bicycling is very much about politics.