The Chainlink

Jack Kass-ery (was Gabe Klein, John Kass & Jake Hartford on the Radio)

As John Greenfield tipped us last week, Gabe Klein was interviewed/tormented by John Kass & Jake Hartford on WLS yesterday.  The Active Transportation Alliance did the hard work of finding the podcast of the event (I tried to find it myself yesterday, and failed).  Thank you, Active Trans!  It's a pretty reasonable interview, albeit one which has Kass yelling at Klein to make "the little bicycle people" pay, pay, pay for tickets and licenses (jeez, get over yourself Kass!).

Gabe did a deft sidestep when, after saying that removing lanes that motorists could use didn't necessarily reduce "throughput" efficiency of movement, and that many Chicago roads could handle more cars, Kass jumped in and said "Oh, so we need MORE cars?"  Gabe then deflected that to "more VEHICLES of different types, like BUSES and BIKES."  Nice work!

 

http://www.wlsam.com/FlashPlayer/default.asp?SPID=0&ID=2589403

Start at 16:50 if you want to avoid the first nearly seventeen minutes of blather about dead whales in Malibu and pigeons eating sidewalk vomit on Lake Street (I wish I had skipped over this myself).

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I sat at a residential intersection in Wicker Park a few years ago and filmed cars negotiating a stop sign for five full minutes.  I edited it and cut out the dead space, and it made for a pretty funny short. There were two cars out of maybe 20 that came to a complete stop.  Some cars appeared to actually accelerate through the intersection.

I have never taken the view that becuase drivers do it we should do it.  It seems to me that it serves our interests to promote the bicycle as a civilized form of transportation- a sharp contrast to the comparatively uncivilized automobile. 

Kara B said:

I totally agree - bikes are different than cars, and the traffic laws are intended to protect people from cars, which kill, as opposed to bikes, which really don't.

And - if we took the '"bikes are the same as cars an should follow the same rules" argument to its logical next step, bikes should really be driving in the middle of the lane, instead of sandwiched between parked cars and passing trucks/cars/etc: and I doubt most drivers would fight for that...


Anne Alt said:

I'd love to see a push in more states to follow the example of Idaho and Virginia.  This, and a broad educational outreach to accompany the change, would be helpful in promoting transportation cycling.

Brendan Kevenides said:

The more interesting question is why do we sometimes roll stop lights & signs and should the law change to permit it.  Here's my take in the current issue of Urban Velo Magazine: http://www.mybikeadvocate.com/2012/11/stop-and-yield.html

I don't worry too much about the right-wing media in general anymore.  They are so out of touch and extreme that only nutjobs (who are immune to logic anyway) really take them seriously.  I don't think Kass or his fellow traveler know-nothings will have much effect on our city's transportation policy.

Post the Vid Jim, post the Vid!

In order to make a change like Idaho stop politically acceptable, we would need some even-handed enforcement of traffic laws, as Jim Freeman suggests in his quote to Kass.  Without that leveling of the enforcement playing field, it's likely to be a cold day in hell before we could gain enough traction to get Idaho stop passed here.  The level of pushback from drivers would probably be a lot more than we're seeing now for protected bike lanes.

Biking scofflaws, driving scofflaws, what about pedestrians?  A wave of them started crossing at Jackson and Wacker against the light like I wasn't heading right for them with the right of way.  There's regularly a bunch of people who seem to wait for the light to change against them before cross at Canal and Monroe.  If the city wanted to make some money and reduce traffic snarls downtown, they could just as easily go after people jaywalking. (I'm assuming there's laws against jaywalking in Chicago that are never enforced?)

Nobody's perfect and all of us break the law sometimes.  I just wish more people would be aware and exercise good judgement and courtesy to others when they do it.  Don't ticket all violators unless you want to make an example.  Just ticket the ones whose actions clearly violate the purpose of the laws to keep everyone safe.



Tim S said:

I sat at Gannon's Pub on wing night about a month ago and watched EVERY car, save for a small number who only stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk, roll through the stop sign on Lincoln. I am getting rather tired of the us vs. them mentality when there are bad drivers on both sides of the equation difference being that a bike causes far less damage then a car when accidents happen. 

Lets Invite Kass out for a ride and a beer at Gannon's so he can count with us how many cars roll the stop sign, talk on their cell phones and not stop for pedestrians vs bikes rolling a stop sign. It is an exceptionally lopsided number, exponentially more dangerous, and far more lucrative to the city to ticket the drivers.

edit... Thanks Thunder Snow for the copy so I didn't have give the Trib a click. 

 

Oy vey! Let me at that mental midget.

John Kass would hand cops the additional responsibility of chasing bicyclists. Finally! Clearly the slackers at the CPD need more work. This noble, yet non-Nobel "jounalist" never saw a low-hanging fruit he couldn't pluck nor a popular emotion-driven, knee-jerk opinion he couldn't champion. Yes John Kass... For a millisecond Ninja Cyclists made you all afluster. Yes John Kass... Benghazi was a mess. Yes John Kass... Fire BURN!!!

Now, go cash your check.

For all that is right and good. Defender against logic and common sense. John Kass: Discourager of bicyclists. Hop in your jalopy and rave at them as they whizz you by in your unsustainable dream world of 1971.

This "Jack" Kass likes seems to like new taxes and some big government that is right up in your face.... and feel this one for me: For pedaling a bicycle!!! What's next Jack Kass? An excise tax for lemonade stands? What brief personal slighting or mild inconvenience will Jack Kass, noble soap salesman of The Fourth Estate, champion today?
How about a surcharge to get on a city beach or the LFP?.. Cower! These are other socialist utopians that have been pulling on the government teat for far too long!!!!

Use your thinky part Jack Kass. Encourage bicycling! We clear the roads... Increase their average speeds... We clear the air... We add more parking spaces.. etc.. etc.. etc... And? Best of all? Cyclists hand their superfluous gas money, not to the Royal House of Saud, our allies in the War on Terror!... Y'see Dr.Kass.... We keep more money local!.. Research shows cyclists are even able to purchase one of Chicago's fine printed newspapers!!... Instead of dialing up the same information on the www for free!.. But, unless they had a bird cage, who would do that?!?

This Jack Kass should be on his knees in service and gratitude for every bicyclist he sees.

:) 

bk (aka: Dr. Mambohead) said:

Oy vey! Let me at that mental midget.

John Kass would hand cops the additional responsibility of chasing bicyclists. Finally! Clearly the slackers at the CPD need more work. This noble, yet non-Nobel "jounalist" never saw a low-hanging fruit he couldn't pluck nor a popular emotion-driven, knee-jerk opinion he couldn't champion. Yes John Kass... For a millisecond Ninja Cyclists made you all afluster. Yes John Kass... Benghazi was a mess. Yes John Kass... Fire BURN!!!

Now, go cash your check.

For all that is right and good. Defender against logic and common sense. John Kass: Discourager of bicyclists. Hop in your jalopy and rave at them as they whizz you by in your unsustainable dream world of 1971.

This "Jack" Kass likes seems to like new taxes and some big government that is right up in your face.... and feel this one for me: For pedaling a bicycle!!! What's next Jack Kass? An excise tax for lemonade stands? What brief personal slighting or mild inconvenience will Jack Kass, noble soap salesman of The Fourth Estate, champion today?
How about a surcharge to get on a city beach or the LFP?.. Cower! These are other socialist utopians that have been pulling on the government teat for far too long!!!!

Use your thinky part Jack Kass. Encourage bicycling! We clear the roads... Increase their average speeds... We clear the air... We add more parking spaces.. etc.. etc.. etc... And? Best of all? Cyclists hand their superfluous gas money, not to the Royal House of Saud, our allies in the War on Terror!... Y'see Dr.Kass.... We keep more money local!.. Research shows cyclists are even able to purchase one of Chicago's fine printed newspapers!!... Instead of dialing up the same information on the www for free!.. But, unless they had a bird cage, who would do that?!?

This Jack Kass should be on his knees in service and gratitude for every bicyclist he sees.

I dunno, Anne.  As I demonstrate in my article, it is happening; slowly, but it is happening in places where you might not expect it, like Arizona and Virginia.

I agree with Jim regarding even enforcement, but I frankly think enforcement isn't as uneven as folks like Kass suggest.  As I'm guessing Jim's video would demonstrate, both cars and bicyclists roll stop signs and both are ticketed for it rarely.  Of course, the difference is that bicyclists (1) have a much better view of the road, (2) slow and accelerate much slower than motor vehicles and (3) pose a far lesser hazard to others using the street.



Anne Alt said:

In order to make a change like Idaho stop politically acceptable, we would need some even-handed enforcement of traffic laws, as Jim Freeman suggests in his quote to Kass.  Without that leveling of the enforcement playing field, it's likely to be a cold day in hell before we could gain enough traction to get Idaho stop passed here.  The level of pushback from drivers would probably be a lot more than we're seeing now for protected bike lanes.

Do you think the person who is the subject of our derision has a google alert or something set up so his computer goes "ding" every time his name is mentioned on the internet?  Do you suppose he rubs his hands together with glee every time he hears that ding?  Are we making him really happy?

Of course, the difference is that bicyclists (1) have a much better view of the road, (2) slow and accelerate much slower than motor vehicles and (3) pose a far lesser hazard to others using the street.

Agreed.  Of course it doesn't help that there's such a huge amount of red light and stop sign running in general (mostly by drivers) and that so little of it is ticketed. People feel like they can get away with just about anything, and they usually do.  And the judges don't necessarily do us any favors even when tickets are written.

A police officer I know wrote a ticket on a cyclist for blowing a red light, which nearly caused the cyclist to end up a hood ornament - on the squad car.  The officer showed up at the court date, but the judge didn't take the charge seriously and dismissed it. Her attitude: why write tickets on cyclists? WTF?!?  If somebody is doing something illegal that creates a significant risk for someone else (who's doing things legally) or injures another person, shouldn't there be consequences for that action, whether the violator is a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian?  That officer doesn't write frivolous tickets.  He writes them if someone is causing a problem, especially one that may hurt other people. That's the kind of even-handed enforcement we need.  And judges need to take it seriously.

And it's rather surprising to see this kind of change passed or proposed in places like Virginia and Arizona.  Where next?

BTW, it's not Jim's video, just a relevant example I picked out.


You wanna do one of the primary things that can be done to stop John Kass, and those like him, from writing things like this?

STOP RESPONDING TO THEM.

I'm not feedin' that troll. Who you gonna call? Trollbusters!  ;)

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