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that when people (often a family member,) know that you're a cyclist, they feel obliged to bitch to you about the bad behaviour of cyclists?

i sat very patiently through a cousin's tirade (for about the tenth time) about an incident he witnessed involving a rider who yelled at a driver after a right hooking encounter. He even made a point of telling me that if he'd caught up to the rider he'd have run him off the street with his car. Nice, eh?

i got to hear for the umpteeth time about how cyclists act like privileged editholes that don't stop at reds and stop signs and yell at drivers blah blah blah blah... ad nauseam. And how Mayor Rahm was ruining the city by creating bike lanes and otherwise ruining it for cars by letting bikes take over the  streets and ranted all his conspiracy theories along those lines of thought.

His brother chimed in with his own story of woe about getting stuck behind a CCM bunch. 

 

Do you get this too? How do you deal with this? What do you say when you hear this sort of thing?

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In cases like this, I just do whatever is necessary not have to listen to any more of the rant and rarely make any effort to counter them.

Yeah, but it was hard to tune it out last night as it was a small family dinner. i just hate the confrontational tone that seems to demand an explanation and apology for other people's perceived transgressions. It's worse than a political or religious arguement at the dinner table.


 
h' said:

In cases like this, I just do whatever is necessary not have to listen to any more of the rant and rarely make any effort to counter them.

I explain that I am a cyclist, a car driver and a pedestrian and I can complain about all three from each perspective. There is not a commute I make where I do not see a car driver blow a stop sign, stop light or fail to signal a turn. And, I see pedestrians stand in the street, ignore traffic lights and cross in the middle of the street. Why not stop the complaining now and discuss the ways to improve the situation from all three perspectives. Said forcefully enough, they start talking about the weather.

Whenever I hear this kind of thing, I just match story for story with bad behavior by drivers.  Then I attempt to explicate certain logical fallacies: false association (one cyclist did this, so all cyclists do that) being the key one.  The logic part always fails, but I can match story for story all night long.

I just listen for a bit and try to change the conversation to another topic. It is a sad thing to know most of the people we know and love cannot understand life beyond their dashboard consumerist lives, it is good that you are so patient and listen. Perhaps with your example and those of the others postings, if they don't change at least they will know a little better as the velorution takes shape.

Its never too late to create a new family.

I've found that if I choose the right "bad driver behavior" story for the particular complainer, it can shut them right up.  Not guaranteed to work on everyone, of course.  ;)

Bill Savage said:

Whenever I hear this kind of thing, I just match story for story with bad behavior by drivers.  Then I attempt to explicate certain logical fallacies: false association (one cyclist did this, so all cyclists do that) being the key one.  The logic part always fails, but I can match story for story all night long.

You can choose your spouse, but not your in-laws. 
 
djm said:

Its never too late to create a new family.

I start out with agreement phrases and then move into the details that I hope will make them think differently in the future. Like if they rant about bicyclists blowing through red lights, first start with, "Yes, there are some bicyclists who do that, and that's very dangerous for them, and scary for drivers to witness. But they're really the exception. Most bicyclists stop for every red light and wait; it's just that you might not remember seeing them do that." 

One woman recently was complaining to me how bicyclists are "swerving all over the place" on the street and it makes her nervous as a driver. I told her how I had to "swerve" everywhere because there's no dedicated space for me on the street, or if there is a bike lane, drivers double park in it, etc.

A coworker who drives to her Loop job from Lakeview was complaining to me about how there were too many people on bikes all over during her morning commute and I pointed out that many of those pesky people were like me, who own a car and could afford to pay for parking if I wanted to, and would she prefer to have each of them in a car in front of her on Diversey instead?

I actually think the WORST people to counter are those who start their anti-bikes-in-Chicago rant with descriptions of their bicycling history to establish that they know of what they speak, and it usually consists of daylong power training rides in the Illinois cornfields in the early 1980s. 

If one of my cousins mentioned running a cyclist off the road I would punch them.

whenever a family member goes off on some tea party racist paranoia rant, I just nod my head alot and say "yeah" over and over while they speak. when they pause I say "y'know you're batshit crazy and your mind is full of bad information, right?" in a concerned voice and change the topic.

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