The Chainlink

A nice short article in the Guardian

"The motorist is born free, but everywhere he is in queues... [The bicyclist] demonstrates the freedom that car drivers have traded for comfort."

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Driving is stressful, and is often anything but comfortable. You have to deal with the sudden stops and unexpected maneuvers of other drivers. You have to endure long, boring waits at lights. You have to crawl on expressways at less than walking speed, moving forward in increments of a few feet between stops. Driving gives your body no physical exercise, yet you often arrive at your destination feeling completely spent.

Encountering a cyclist can be another source of stress. Often the roadway is not wide enough to allow safe passing. If you relax, slow down, and follow the cyclist, drivers behind you get angry and aggressively tail you. Because little provision has been made for cyclists, many of us (based on our experience about what we must do to survive) do things (like taking the lane, or waiting at stops in the lane rather than at the curb) that drivers don't understand. But we don't all behave the same way. So cyclists can seem unpredictable, and dealing with unpredictable situations is stressful.

Even as a daily transportation cyclist, I have to admit that when I am driving, I'd rather not encounter cyclists. But at least, as a lifelong cyclist, I have the advantage of understanding better what the cyclist is doing, so I'm less confused than the typical driver.

Quite interesting introspection--we all hate "cheats" but we don't see ourselves as "cheats" even when we are cheating.  Thanks for posting.

So the author is driving more slowly now.  I'm sure cyclists everywhere really appreciate that -- especially the dead ones and their families.    

This guy makes some good points, but it's nothing more than preaching to the choir at best.  Fact is, the overwhelming majority of drivers behave antisocially (and worse) while in their vehicles.  The reason for this is not simply that motorists "hate our freedoms"; that's really insulting and hardly a new thought, anyway.  Why doesn't he mention how gas is so expensive, how people are losing jobs (and can't find a job when overqualified), how just having 'a bad day' can make you drive like a maniac at put others in serious risk?  Take these broken, frustrated souls and put them in a caged hunk of steel and you're almost handing them a license to take out their frustrations on anyone for anything, and to walk away with a slap on the wrist in most cases, if you even manage to be tracked down.  But, since there's no money to be made off of fining or jailing bad drivers for harassing cyclists, not to mention killing them, it's not a priority for law enforcement or 'government.'  Which goes without saying that there's no money to be made off of pointing out how the car has essentially ruined us as a society, either.  No, just drive slowly - everythings gonna be alright.       

      

I postulate that we are hated by motorists by the impression we created of ourselves. I ride my bike as if it were a motorcycle. I stop in the line of traffic which eliminates the chance of getting "right hooked." I take the center of the lane in a left turn lane to avoid getting passed which is illegal and dangerous in a left turn only lane. I signal if vehicles are close enough that I deem it necessary. And I always stop for red lights and stop signs which is Kass' biggest complaint. I have found that letting motorists know my intentions and being predictable gains a lot of respect from motorists, at least here in the burbs. Try it. Hopefully you'll feel good about yourself. And to Zoetrope there is no such thing as being overqualified. If I needed brain surgury I want the surgean with decades of experience as opposed to the surgean fresh out of med school.

The cursed courier and other "cheaters".

I don't know about London traffic but blowing a light in Chicago traffic is dangerous if not impossible, and when it's raining, cold, windy... please tell me how I'm getting away with something?

What psychological affect does it have to stare at red taillights for minutes/hours? It's not a calming color.

Ever wonder why Harley riders and other motorcyclists refer to a car as a cage?

I did this for years and still got treated like garbage that had blown into the street by motorists on a regular basis. If you believe it works, more power to you.

Douglas Iverson said:

I postulate that we are hated by motorists by the impression we created of ourselves. I ride my bike as if it were a motorcycle. I stop in the line of traffic which eliminates the chance of getting "right hooked." I take the center of the lane in a left turn lane to avoid getting passed which is illegal and dangerous in a left turn only lane. I signal if vehicles are close enough that I deem it necessary. And I always stop for red lights and stop signs which is Kass' biggest complaint. I have found that letting motorists know my intentions and being predictable gains a lot of respect from motorists, at least here in the burbs. Try it. Hopefully you'll feel good about yourself. And to Zoetrope there is no such thing as being overqualified. If I needed brain surgury I want the surgean with decades of experience as opposed to the surgean fresh out of med school.



Zoetrope said:

So the author is driving more slowly now.  I'm sure cyclists everywhere really appreciate that -- especially the dead ones and their families.    

This guy makes some good points, but it's nothing more than preaching to the choir at best.  Fact is, the overwhelming majority of drivers behave antisocially (and worse) while in their vehicles.  

Is this any different for cyclists? Between cyclists that shoal regardless of how fast they go, salmoning cyclists that play chicken, bike ninjas dressed in black at night and without any lights, there's quite a few cyclists that engage in antisocial behaviour on their bikes.I think it comes down to most people are jerks and that's doubly so if it's in regards to people they can't identify with or don't know. 

Actually, yes, I believe it is different. The physical properties of a car isolate one and make one feel completely disconnected from society in a way that being on a bicycle never will.

When is the last time you saw a cyclist dump an ashtray or a McDonald's bag on the street with a completely blank expression on their face? When is the last time you saw a cyclist laying on their bell or screaming at a line of traffic in front of them that's waiting for a pedestrian to cross? When is the last time you saw a cyclist waiting at a light with their finger completely buried in their nose? When is the last time you saw a cyclist purposely swerve at someone to "teach them a lesson?"

S said:



Zoetrope said:

So the author is driving more slowly now.  I'm sure cyclists everywhere really appreciate that -- especially the dead ones and their families.    

This guy makes some good points, but it's nothing more than preaching to the choir at best.  Fact is, the overwhelming majority of drivers behave antisocially (and worse) while in their vehicles.  

Is this any different for cyclists? Between cyclists that shoal regardless of how fast they go, salmoning cyclists that play chicken, bike ninjas dressed in black at night and without any lights, there's quite a few cyclists that engage in antisocial behaviour on their bikes.I think it comes down to most people are jerks and that's doubly so if it's in regards to people they can't identify with or don't know. 

The behavior of motorists doesn't warrent breaking traffic laws on a bike. Only half the population has an IQ of average (100) or higher. Ever heard of the Darwin Awards? An example is someone who uses a cigarette lighter to check the level of gas in the can and by killing himself he has done the human race a favor by not passing on those genes. Here is a very informative website about motorists, cyclist and prdestrian rage.
drdriving.org/pedestrians/bicycling.htm

I've been around long enough to know that any time someone starts a sentence with "Here is a very informative website" it's going to be filled with all kinds of bullshit that only agree's with things that person believes to be true.  

You are wrong this time zoetrope. This website covers lots of viewpoints I don't believe in such as bikes only belong on sidewalks. It covers the gammet of human nature. Visit this website and let me know what you think. It is very long and was written by Dr. Driving. There are many topics both statistical facts and opinions. Some of which only proves that there aren't many Einsteins out there.

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