The Chainlink

I know this horse has been beaten beyond the point of recognition as an equine, but I have to vent.  I consider myself a relatively courteous cyclist.  I've accidentally made a couple of d*ck-moves in my riding career (inversely proportional to my age), but what really has been bugging me lately, is the number of cyclists I see playing chicken with cars when they don't have right of way.  Examples include:

1. Approaching a 4-way stop-signed intersection with multiple cars waiting, and blowing the intersection w/o waiting for the car who got there first to go (different from "shadowing" a car who is already moving through the intersection), effectively trusting that the drivers will stop.

2. Blowing a red light from a dead stop at a 5+ way intersection, trying to sneak through after the red light, and before the start of the green left turn light for oncoming traffic... which can be ok, unless the cross-traffic goes through too late, in which case you force the  cars in the oncoming left turn lane to delay their turn. Again, trusting that they won't proceed before you do.

3. Riding up the median to the left of traffic (and basically in the oncoming lane) to make a left turn in a left turn lane, and then cutting across the crosswalk, completely ignoring the fact that a car might be turning right from the parallel street, and has zero viability of the left-turning traffic until they clear the corner.  I saw this twice in 5 minutes yesterday; both times, the cyclists were extremely lucky that the drivers stopped in the middle of their right turn. 

I know that cars do all sorts of crazy ish too, and many pedestrians also act like morons, but I'm just talking about cyclist behavior here.  I sometimes blow red lights and stop signs, but I alwaysalwaysalways try to yield right of way. I've noticed that almost every time I'm approaching a crosswalk now, even at a red light, pedestrians will stop in fear, fulling expecting me to blow the light/intersection.  Respect needs to be given to everyone, and I wish I'd see more of it from my fellow cyclists. 

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How bizarre that you were hit by another cyclist a day after posting this rant!

Did either of you require hospitalization? Is your bike still rideable?


Joe Schmoe said:

If you don't care, then why reply?  You might care one day when you get T-boned by an idiot completely running the intersection w/o looking like I did tonight. 

Zoetrope said:

If I cared about what other cyclists were doing at stoplights my ride would suck more than it often does.  (Thank you: wind, cars, assholes.)

Good luck trying to change rogue cyclists behavior in the city.  

 

How is more bikes on the road going to solve the issue of people on bikes not following the rules of gthe road in a dangerous and irresponsible manner?

Who care how many people get converted by being nice; why not just be nice?

If you really thing that $10/gallon gas is going to get people on bikes you are pretty short sighted.

In 1975 gas cost around $.50/gallon and by the time I was driving in 1992 it was up to over a dollar, more than a 100% price increase in less than 10 years and people still drove as much, if not more, than they did before.  There were more cars on the road than ever.

In 2002 it was about $1.40 and people still drove.  Right now it is right around $4/gallon, almost a 400% increase in ten years, and people are still driving, and they will continue to do so no matter what gas prices do.  People will always find a way to keep driving no matter the cost because it is what they are taught to do, driving is ingrained in our couture.

You want to get people on bikes make it easier, safer and friendlier to bike and that includes getting people to follow the rules so there is less tension ont he streets.


Zoetrope said:

Anyone can be T-boned, not just people that don't care for being a hall-monitor of the streets.  Whose behavior are you trying to change -- drivers or cyclists?  Or both?   

The only thing that is going to lead to less of this behavior is more bikes on the road as well as less cars.  No amount of nice-guy act is going to convert dedicated drivers to cycling in any appreciable quantity.  Things that will convert drivers to cycling:  10 dollar a gallon gas and running out of oil.        

I think this depends to a great deal on how much of a financial cushion people have.

I would not have expected it, and I think it's less of a factor in more affluent areas, but I have definitely seen more people on bikes, been party to more people talking about how they're switching or want to switch to bicycling, been asked for advice, and heard confirmation of same from others (e.g. local bike shop owners) at times of spiking gas prices, in my part of town.

notoriousDUG said:

How is more bikes on the road going to solve the issue of people on bikes not following the rules of gthe road in a dangerous and irresponsible manner?

Who care how many people get converted by being nice; why not just be nice?

If you really thing that $10/gallon gas is going to get people on bikes you are pretty short sighted.

In 1975 gas cost around $.50/gallon and by the time I was driving in 1992 it was up to over a dollar, more than a 100% price increase in less than 10 years and people still drove as much, if not more, than they did before.  There were more cars on the road than ever.

In 2002 it was about $1.40 and people still drove.  Right now it is right around $4/gallon, almost a 400% increase in ten years, and people are still driving, and they will continue to do so no matter what gas prices do.  People will always find a way to keep driving no matter the cost because it is what they are taught to do, driving is ingrained in our couture.

You want to get people on bikes make it easier, safer and friendlier to bike and that includes getting people to follow the rules so there is less tension ont he streets.


Zoetrope said:

Anyone can be T-boned, not just people that don't care for being a hall-monitor of the streets.  Whose behavior are you trying to change -- drivers or cyclists?  Or both?   

The only thing that is going to lead to less of this behavior is more bikes on the road as well as less cars.  No amount of nice-guy act is going to convert dedicated drivers to cycling in any appreciable quantity.  Things that will convert drivers to cycling:  10 dollar a gallon gas and running out of oil.        

Actually, threads like these do make me reflect on my own behavior and how others see me (another good trigger for self-evaluation and understanding drivers:  renting a car and observing cyclists behavior). 

Sometimes I'll do risky things like those described above, but while I may be confident in my abilities to handle those risks and have clear intentions in my head, it helps to be reminded that others can't know my full intentions and abilities and that my behavior, and the perception of those behaviors by others, does affect my fellow cyclists.


Zoetrope said:

If I cared about what other cyclists were doing at stoplights my ride would suck more than it often does.  (Thank you: wind, cars, assholes.)

Good luck trying to change rogue cyclists behavior in the city.  

 

I generally will — at the very least — slow down for a stop sign, but I always stop for red lights. I will also cut in front of cars waiting at the red light, but that's more of a visibility thing than impatience. I've done a few dick moves to be sure, but I generally am aware of my surroundings and try not to take risky moves.

The author of the OP certainly made a civil plea for more courteous behavior from cyclists.  However, I find these types of posts to be self-serving and almost always devolve into people either patting themselves on the back for stopping at red lights (which, c'mon, you clearly don't have to come to a full stop at a red light to see if another car or bike is barreling your way) or spewing vitriol towards fellow cyclists for what are really very minor offenses.  Bicycles are not cars, and the idea that they should behave the same and be subject to the same rules of the road because they're on the road at the same time is stupid, regardless of safety issues.  You may not agree with that, I'm aware of that.  When I'm on my bike I'm courteous to fellow cyclists and wish them all a safe and enjoyable ride, but as I said earlier, I just don't have the hall-monitor personality that worrying about this kind of thing calls for.  

Try picturing car enthusiasts posting threads like this about discourteous/risky drivers on car forums.  Do you think they're making the slightest dent in the amount of idiotic behavior on the road?  Let's see, after adjusting for the number of cars on the road and alteha;oetkahjsdf, there it is: 100 out of 100 drivers agree, the answer is no.  There will be idiotic people walking, driving and biking the streets for the rest of my time on Earth -- I've come to terms with that.  I think our best chance at eliminating this behavior is to get cars off the streets and more bikes on them, because then there will be no more drivers for cyclists to cut off.     

 

JeffB said:

Actually, threads like these do make me reflect on my own behavior and how others see me (another good trigger for self-evaluation and understanding drivers:  renting a car and observing cyclists behavior). 

Sometimes I'll do risky things like those described above, but while I may be confident in my abilities to handle those risks and have clear intentions in my head, it helps to be reminded that others can't know my full intentions and abilities and that my behavior, and the perception of those behaviors by others, does affect my fellow cyclists.


Zoetrope said:

If I cared about what other cyclists were doing at stoplights my ride would suck more than it often does.  (Thank you: wind, cars, assholes.)

Good luck trying to change rogue cyclists behavior in the city.  

 

Adam, this used to happen to me all. the. time.  Most motorists, in my experience, expect cyclists to run stop signs.  (Hell, I expect most cyclists to run stop signs.)

 

I've gotten into the habit of making a big exaggerated windmill gesture as I approach the stop, waving the driver already at the intersection to go first.  Most drivers understand, proceed through the stop, and even give a little courtesy wave, like I did them a favor for yielding proper right-of-way.  It saves us both a couple of seconds of aggravation.

Sometimes this backfires though when some douche on a bike passes me, runs the stop sign, and cuts off the motorist I just waved through.  Oh, well.

Adam Kitzmann said:

There is a car at a stop sign. I approach sign, slow down (because clearly the car has the right of way) the car just sits there waiting for my to blow the sign. We both wait confused for a moment, then I finally just say 'fuck it' and ride through.

JeffB, thank you. My point exactly. 

h': I ALMOST got T-boned  (sorry, I left out the almost by mistake)... I slowed down at a 4-way stop, and looked both ways. The idiot cyclist didn't even look.  I had to brake hard to avoid the collision.  He didn't even look up (was wearing earbuds). Then, the next day, two spandexers on Sheridan cut me off in the crosswalk, totally on purpose, as I was walking with my grocery cart. I was waiting at a red light with two lanes of traffic filling the intersection.  The light turned green for me to cross, the cars stopped at the red light, and then I started walking.  I had to stop to avoid being hit as they ran the red light (they would not have done this if there were a car proceeding through the intersection, I'm guessing).  I yelled "NICE". And they both said "thank you." (I almost threw a rock).  But this is all my fault for caring about what other cyclists do?  When they take risky (and generally illegal actions) that put my own life at risk and refuse to yield the right of way

You can call it "hall monitor" attitude if you want.  Really doesn't bother me.  It's self-serving in that I'm trying to reduce the number of times a day I'm almost killed by cars, and other cyclists. This is a good a forum as any to try to get reasonable people to think about the way they ride. Lord knows I don't ride like I used to in my early 20s. 

The whole point of my post, is that there are plenty of times when traffic laws make no sense (deserted intersections w/ stop lights, empty 4-way intersections, etc.), where there is no one that you need to yield to.  But in heavy traffic , when you don't yield the right-of-way to other cyclists, cars, and pedestrians, you are a great big throbbing prolapsed asshole. If that makes me a hall monitor to point that out, then I am king f*cking hall monitor.  And you don't have a hall pass. 

Joe, I understand what you're saying.  However, your original post doesn't much resemble what you're currently angry about.  Your original post: "I've accidentally made a couple of d*ck-moves in my riding career (inversely proportional to my age), but what really has been bugging me lately, is the number of cyclists I see playing chicken with cars when they don't have right of way.  Examples include:"


...and then you go on to list why cyclists should be nicer to cars.  But now you're ranting about guys in spandex cutting you off.  That's fine, and if it happened to me I'd be mad too.  But, I don't know what else to tell you, except


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