Giving The Bikers Some Space

This seems to make sense:

As more riders take to the roads on bicycles, more states are giving them a bigger chunk of pavement — 3 feet to be precise — so they won’t get swiped by cars.

A Colorado law recently signed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter not only requires motorists to give riders at least a 3-foot-wide berth, it also makes it illegal to throw things at riders, says Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado. Previously, he says, police could only cite a motorist if they actually hit the rider.

“Cyclists need to be treated with respect and not surprise,” Grunig said.

I had to read this twice to make sure I was reading it right. What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker? Even something little moving at the right velocity could be extremely dangerous, let alone causing the biker to wreck and run into oncoming traffic. People are just morons. I’m seriously not sure how we made it this far as a society.

At any rate, this seems like a good thing that needs to be done. Before I got the dog and started going to the rails to trails everyday, I guess I never really noticed how much bike paths and trails added to the daily quality of life for people.






174 replies
  1. 1
    Fencedude says:

    As someone who has no interest in bikes, but lived in the Daytona area for 8 years, I must say that in general, bikers are the nicest group of people you’ll ever meet.

    Now, NASCAR fans? Utter assholes on every level.

  2. 2
    marrus says:

    That implies it was legal to throw things at riders? How was it not already illegal simply as assault?

  3. 3
    Emma says:

    Actually, it can be worse. A friend of mine was slapped on the back by the passenger on a fast-moving car and thrown to the ground. Damaged a knee. There were witnesses, but there wasn’t much the police could do because it wasn’t illegal to do that particular act and supposedly it didn’t rise to the level of assault. I believe since then there have been laws enacted in Florida to proect people in bikes.

  4. 4
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Used to ride the backwoods of Appalachia and got hit with empty beer cans, soda ice, you name it. One day a carload of cracker jackasses tried to swat me with a belt, but missed. I started carrying rocks in my pockets and chunked him right back. never hit a moving car with a rock, but it felt good trying.

  5. 5
    Hunter Gathers says:

    How can throwing something at a biker when riding in a car not be illegal? I is confused.

  6. 6
    Joey Maloney says:

    Now, can we get other states besides Cali to allow lane-splitting so that motorcycles will have more of an advantage in traffic?

  7. 7

    I used to ride a bike around DC, and before that in Indiana.

    I experienced being intentionally hit in both places, nothing like a tap to the handlebars to send one flying. I only experienced objects being chucked at me in Indiana (usually beer bottles). Invariably the vehicle swiping me/being used as a missile platform was a pickup truck.

    The upshot is that I have well-developed peripheral vision and reaction time from it all.

  8. 8
    Cols714 says:

    Except for some reason this very reasonable law has provoked a lot of backlash. There was even flyers telling car drivers to harass bikers during a scheduled bike ride and extra cops had to be brought in.

    There have been numerous letters to the editor complaining about this in Boulder’s Daily Camera. It’s all just nitpicky stuff, like “Oh my gosh that biker didn’t come to a complete stop!” or “I saw bikers riding 2 abreast!!!!!”

    Anyways, I think it’s a great law, but people here have reacted very strangely to di.

  9. 9
    Will says:

    I stopped riding my bike to work because of the hostility of passing drivers. Never had anything thrown at me, but I had people scream, honk and swerve dangerously close. The incident that made me give it up, though, was when a woman in an SUV lightly – and considering the speed, almost certainly purposefully – bumped into me and forced me off the road. I broke two ribs and she drove on.

    Ask anyone who bikes frequently in a place that’s not Portland or the like. They’ll have similar stories.

    Lots of hostility toward bikes. Every time the local paper runs an article on the possibility of adding bike paths or lanes, the comment sections are filled with ranting about bikers. Shockingly, it’s usually the conservative usual suspects who have real problems with people who bike on the road.

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    @marrus:

    Sure it would be, but I would think you would also want to make it a traffic offense that could act as a point(s) against your license (I assume every state has a system where a certain number of points against your license causes a suspension).

  11. 11
    ellaesther says:

    Laws I never would have thought needed writing:

    1) Don’t throw things (from your car or at all, really) at bikers. Check.

    2) Don’t dig up people’s graves and resell the plots (apparently some people in south suburban Chicago found whatever existing laws on this subject were not clear enough). Check.

    3) Don’t have sex with a dead deer by the side of the road (not long ago, some man did this, somewhere in these United States, and got off, or got off lightly, because the authorities didn’t know what to charge him with. I’d research it, but I’m afraid I’d vomit into the Google).

    Really, is it so hard, people?

  12. 12
    Foobar says:

    In these parts, drivers have a reflexive anger gene that fires when they see a biker on the road. I’m an avid road cyclist and its normal to put in a 30-to-50+ mile bike ride on the weekends. There are some fast riders in the group who can get the speed up to 28-30mph no problemo. Whats comical is the “stay on the sidewalk” nimrods who think you can do 30mph on a stinkin sidewalk for one mile let alone 50 miles. And we do have our share of crap thrown at us. Recently a life-long cyclist was struck and killed by a driver here. The cyclist was wearing a neon green vest, had bike lights, and was on the correct side of the road. The DA here didnt press a single charge. The local paper’s forum was flooded with the anger-laced “stay on the sidewalk” / “drivers pay taxes” asshattery posts.

  13. 13
    cbear says:

    “What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker? ”

    What if it’s Dick Cheney on the bike?

  14. 14

    And let’s not forget the *kind* of person who hits a biker and then takes off: Bob Novak, Prince of Darkness

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....11985.html

  15. 15
    James Joyner says:

    How can throwing something at a biker when riding in a car not be illegal? I is confused.

    Because it requires passing a law making it illegal. Many things that are obviously really bad aren’t against the law. And we can’t prosecute for those things until enough people do them that we pass laws.

  16. 16
    Ken says:

    I used to get stuff thrown at me all the time. Also, random shouts of “get a car”!

    Bikers anger some drivers. Never really figured it out.

  17. 17
    Bootlegger says:

    I only mountain bike, won’t go anywhere near a road.

  18. 18
    Shinobi says:

    I actually think there needs to be some kind of registration and silencing program for bicyclists who want to ride on heavily traveled roads.

    I live in chicago which is moderately bike friendly, there are bike lanes on a lot of major roads and bike paths and so on and so forth. I’ve never seen anyone intentionally hurt or thow something at a biker, though I did once accidentally open a cab door into one eeeek.

    but the number of traffic violations I see on a daily basis by bicyclists is ridiculous. I was almost run over by one going the wrong way on a one way street (which they do all the time) they run red lights and stop signs, they don’t yeild to pedestrians, so on and so forth.

    Now I have no problem with people wanting to bike, but if you’re going to ride a bike on the same road that people are walking and driving on, you need to obey the same laws they do. And the simple fact is that most bikers that I see do not follow basic traffic laws AT ALL.

    So I think that bikers need to be lisenced and policed like drivers for their own safety and the safety of others, and perhaps registered as well so their taxes can help pay for the bike lanes that are so necessary for their safety and the bike parking areas. (And help keep track of bike theft which is a HUGE problem here in Chicago.)

    On a less egalitarian and friendly note, critical mass can go fuck themselves. It is not a “happy friday” if I can’t get home because you jackasses are having a fucking “parade” in front of my train station. Shit like this does not help animosity towards bikers as a group.

  19. 19
    ellaesther says:

    @Will: Lately, I’ve been reading something on just about a daily basis that makes me long ever more powerfully for a colony on the moon, or Mars, to which I could retire and live out the rest of my days.

    Your story wins the prize today!

    OMGod in heaven. What the hell is wrong with people?

  20. 20
    Graeme says:

    People really are just assholes.

    I don’t understand why I’m supposed to cede the road to people sitting on their asses when I’m WORKING to get where I’m going on a bike.

  21. 21
    Shinobi says:

    that should be licensing not silencing, spell check FAIL

  22. 22
    Punchy says:

    I had to read this twice to make sure I was reading it right. What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker? Even something little moving at the right velocity could be extremely dangerous, let alone causing the biker to wreck and run into oncoming traffic.

    Coming from a guy who lives in a college town….I’m surprised you haven’t seen this. As an avid biker, I’ve had all sorts of shit thrown at me. My revenge is the red light, accompanied by either a hot loogie on the windshield or a squirt of water in an open window. Then a quick exit down a different street.

    And the chicanery continues on a diff day…..

  23. 23
    Steve says:

    Because it requires passing a law making it illegal.

    No it doesn’t. Throwing something at another person is obviously assault. It’s a common-law offense that existed long before this country did.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Bikers anger some drivers. Never really figured it out.

    Bicyclists are fit, gay, European, socialists who are only riding those things — toys that real men give up when they discover beer and get their learners’ permit — to make everyone going by in a tin box propelled by fossil fuels — in other words, being American — feel guilty and fat and out of shape, and bad. A lot of them are professors and performance artists, too.

  25. 25

    @Bootlegger: In DC the bike messengers (fallen angels of the asphalt) advised me to ride a mountain bike w/ slicks b/c the potholes destroy a road bike’s frame too fast. It was darn good advice.

  26. 26
    Soylent Green says:

    I ride 8,000 miles a year. Here in bike heaven (Portland) we get respect from most drivers, although there are always plenty who pass unsafely so as not to lose five seconds from their day. Elsewhere (Oklahoma and Nevada in particular) I have had beer cans chucked at my head, been run off the road for laughs, been clipped by the mirrors of drivers wouldn’t give up an inch, etc.
     
    Old joke: “Half of the drivers are afraid they will hit us, the other half wish they could.”

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Bikers anger some drivers. Never really figured it out.

    Bicyclists are fit, gay, European, soc 1alists who are only riding those things—toys that real men give up when they discover beer and get their learners’ permit—to make everyone going by in a tin box propelled by fossil fuels—in other words, being American—feel guilty and fat and out of shape, and bad. A lot of them are professors and performance artists, too.

    (may double-post, because of the boner-pill filter)

  28. 28
    Bootlegger says:

    @Shinobi: This is a very good point, if only from a PR perspective. Bikers need to be conscientious about the rules of the road if they want others to do the same. Most bikers, by far, are very conscientious for safety’s sake as well as a desire to do it the right way. But I’ve been on bike committees on campus before and students on bikes hauling ass through pedestrian areas was the number one complaint held over our heads, and it was a fair complaint. At Auburn we decided to ask the local bike police to help us out and they were happy to deploy on campus several times a week. They “warned” for the first month then cracked down with tickets. Seemed to work.

  29. 29
    EdTheRed says:

    As media browski pointed out, here in DC, drivers don’t bother throwing things, they prefer to hit cyclists with their SUVs: http://dcist.com/2008/10/14/ag.....hority.php

  30. 30
    Bootlegger says:

    @media browski: I have slicks for when I do ride on the road, usually a ride with the kids on the local trails. I feel a lot safer frankly on a mountain bike than I do hunched over a road bike.

  31. 31
    Napoleon says:

    @Steve:

    You are correct, but its not a traffic offense that would go into your driving record. I am willing to bet that what they are proposing is something that goes in your driving record and gets picked up in your risk rating for auto insurance purposes.

  32. 32

    @Bootlegger: There’s actually a movement starting to create laws for bikes b/c the rules for cars, like coming to a complete stop, don’t apply real well to bikes.

  33. 33
    Halifirien says:

    It’s not just bikers who get hit. I’m a pedestrian. Just walking around Parkersburg over the years, I’ve been hit with a hot dog and a potato, and just barely missed being hit by a can of Pepsi.

  34. 34
    SGEW says:

    The only things I throw at bikers are love and kisses. And curses and/or the bird, of course (Observe the rules of the road! You are on a vehicle! The traffic lights, stop signs, and one-way restrictions apply to you as well!).

    I have a serious love-hate relationship with bicycles here in NYC – on one hand, many of my friends are ardent bicyclists and I have a deep appreciation for the low-carbon impact, zero pollution, and traffic management advantages of bikes. On the other hand, professional bike couriers. Fucking bike couriers, man.

    [However, a true story of serious badassery: Once saw a bike courier get sideswiped by a cabbie, knocking the guy down. Cab speeds off, but is stopped at a red light a block away. Bike courier gets back on his bike, pedals on up to the cab, leaps off of his bike, takes out his chain, and smashes the living fuck out of the cab’s windshield. Cabbie runs the light, peeling rubber. Bike courier gets back on his bike and exits, stage left. Do Not Fuck With Bike Couriers.]

    Also:

    I’m seriously not sure how we made it this far as a society.

    Depends on what you mean by “we” and “society.” Not to mention “made it.” See, e.g., war, genocide, abuse rates, etc.

  35. 35
    r€nato says:

    Rode extensively in San Diego County, on Coast Highway. Drivers are respectful and tolerant of bicyclists.

    Here in Phoenix, you might as well paint a target on your back and hang a sign over it saying, “Cyclists for al-Qaeda”.

    Though I do my best to avoid riding near busy or even semi-busy streets, it can’t always be avoided. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been cut off by some jackass who just HAD to turn into the gas station parking lot two seconds sooner than if he’d just waited for me to pass the driveway.

    I’m thinking of starting an NRA chapter for bicyclists. Yeah, I’m getting a little militant about this shit…

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    I’ve had things thrown at me while on a bike. Also had things happen like getting yelled at for being in the left-turn lane, waiting for the left-turn signal to go green. What exactly was the problem with that? Well, I guess it’s because I was on a bike. I bike commuted for five years. You have to be extra aware if you do that.

    @Shinobi:

    And the simple fact is that most bikers that I see do not follow basic traffic laws AT ALL.

    My experience is that a small number of cyclists break laws, but ruin it for everyone else. Other cyclists, who are being safe, get lumped in with the jerks who are breaking traffic laws. And people like pedestrians and car drivers have to navigate around the rude, law-breaking cyclists. It stinks and I agree that cyclists should be ticketed if they break traffic laws. In my neck of the woods, they are. Not as often as they should be, but they are ticketed sometimes. I know someone who was.

  37. 37
    Travis says:

    It’s a common enough story from regular bikers, although I’ve never really heard a good explanation. Are the drivers offended? Dismayed they might have to move over a little? It’s so close to assault or even accidental murder that I cannot begin to understand. Living here in a college town, probably 25% of the bikers here are idiots — but again, who would try to kill someone for mild inconvenience?

    I have heard of bikers taking out windshields at the next red light, too, by using their locks.

  38. 38
    r€nato says:

    @Bootlegger:

    Bikers need to be conscientious about the rules of the road if they want others to do the same.

    Cyclists could run stop signs all day long and it still doesn’t justify a single incident of turning right in front of a cyclist, or throwing shit at a cyclist, or running them off the road.

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …I am willing to bet that what they are proposing is something that goes in your driving record and gets picked up in your risk rating for auto insurance purposes.

    Thirty years ago I got a ticket while cycling in Chapel Hill (for making a left-hand turn without signaling) and it was on my record two years later when I finally bought a car in Atlanta, and went to have it insured.

    So a moving violation is a moving violation is a moving violation, sometimes, anyways

  40. 40
    Mr Furious says:

    I commuted to work in Michigan (Ann Arbor) fairly regularly and never felt endangered. Here in Asheville I’ve already had drivers scream at me for making what amounted to a right on red, and drivers in general are less aware and the streets far narrower and harrowing.

    At a light recently I counted nine drivers in a row on their cell phones as they drove past.

    I still ride on occasion, but I think about leaving my children without a father each time and that really fucking sucks the pleasure out of it.

  41. 41
    John M says:

    I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had any worse than “get on the sidewalk” or honks designed to scare the crap out of me. I commute by bike 2-3 times a week, and while there is some hostility, I am fortunate to commute on streets lined with bike lanes.

    In three years of bike commuting, I have had two close calls. One was last week, when a car that was going the wrong way on a one way street panicked and turned directly in front of me. The other was a few months ago. I was crossing a street on a dedicated bike/pedestrian trail, with a pedestrian signal (legally), and was nearly creamed by a fellow cyclist blowing through a long red light.

    I have to reluctantly agree with Sinobi that there is quite a bit of antisocial behavior by a significant minority of cyclists. Of course, that is true of motorists as well. I’m not talking about pushing it on a light that is turning red or getting a head start on a green light or rolling through a stop sign. The flagrant disregard of traffic signals just has to stop. It bothers me much more as a cyclist than as a motorist.

  42. 42
    someguy says:

    Bicyclists are fit, gay, European, soc 1alists who are only riding those things—toys that real men give up when they discover beer and get their learners’ permit—to make everyone going by in a tin box propelled by fossil fuels—in other words, being American—feel guilty and fat and out of shape, and bad

    So when did rabid mountain biker GW Bush come out of the closet as European? Haven’t seen him on the road lately but his old but John Kerry used to ride a pretty nice Serotta. I’m not sure biking is a partisan thing but if you want to ban Repukes from the road I’d support you, just on general principle.

  43. 43
    doctor tecate says:

    I appreciate the intention of these laws wherein there are looking out for the safety of bikers and more awareness overall. Sadly protective laws such as these are nearly impossible to enforce. You would need to prove the intent of the object tosser; assault or just littering. Perhaps he had not seen the biker.

    We have recently passed laws in Chicago where you can be fined if your vehicle cuts off a biker within X amount of feet. Again, there is rarely a police officer who just happens to be around to document this. Sadly I feel this sort of fines just fan the flames of the eternal biker/driver battle.

  44. 44
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Emma: What? No disorderly conduct charge? We KNOW cops can use that for anything.

    Civil suit would still fly here. That’s why it’s available.

  45. 45
    SGEW says:

    @r€nato:

    Cyclists could run stop signs all day long and it still doesn’t justify a single incident of turning right in front of a cyclist, or throwing shit at a cyclist, or running them off the road.

    But I can still yell at them, right?

  46. 46
    James K. Polk, Esq. says:

    I was biking up a particularly large hill and was smacked in the back of the head with a orange thrown from a passing car. This is in the SF Bay Area, btw. I was on the correct side of the road and well off the middle for easy car passing.

    I was wearing a helmet, and it didn’t really phase me beyond the stinging while I was riding. I did come to the conclusion that I was better off not riding on the streets after that.

  47. 47
    r€nato says:

    Are the drivers offended?

    I think it comes down to road rage and the general tendency of people to unleash their id when they are behind the wheel, where they feel like nobody can see them pick their nose and they can act like an utter asshole because they’re ‘anonymous’. (just like idiots who download kiddie porn think they are ‘anonymous’ on the internet)

    They see that biker ahead and they get pissed because that guy is going to slow them down or inconvenience them by making them slide over a couple feet. It’s the whole ‘it’s my fucking road’ attitude, in spades… except they’re driving the two-ton vehicle and the other guy is on a bicycle, so their inner bully comes out in a way it wouldn’t if the terms were more equal.

    I have heard of bikers taking out windshields at the next red light, too, by using their locks.

    That’s a damned good idea. I’ll remember that one…

  48. 48
    neil says:

    Isn’t littering illegal?

    (Apparently it’s not, in Colorado.)

  49. 49
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @James Joyner:

    Because it requires passing a law making it illegal. Many things that are obviously really bad aren’t against the law. And we can’t prosecute for those things until enough people do them that we pass laws.

    Wait a minute. If I throw a rock or can at someone anywhere, it would be considered assault of some degree. No different if I’m on a bike. You can’t legally do stuff to others that can induce bodily harm and it makes no difference what the setting. Geesh!

  50. 50
    r€nato says:

    But I can still yell at them, right?

    Have at it. I’ll be too out of breath to yell anything back anyway ;-)

  51. 51
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @John M: When I take the bike downtown for a meeting, I take it just inside the edge of the wrong side of the tracks. The roads are wide because that used to be the nice part of town (like 120 years ago) and there’s almost no other thru traffic. The people there are happy their cars are running at all and don’t ever give me any trouble over whether I’m insulting their fat-assed lifestyle.

  52. 52
    southpaw says:

    For relatively silly legal reasons, it’s not assault unless your victim was intended sense your menacing behavior while you’re doing it.

    So if you throw something at biker while coming up behind him and hit him, it’s probably battery. But if you miss, it’s probably not assault.

    There are, however, any number of attempt crimes that (I presume) a person throwing an object at another person from a moving car could be convicted of.

  53. 53
    Mr Furious says:

    For the record, as a new resident to NC, when I got my NC drivers license I noticed that the rules and regs of the road apply to bikers exactly as they do to motorists—bikes are considered a vehicle, and violations can get you points, and you can be charged with DUI on a bike.

    Bikers are also entitled to an entire lane as well.

    Full disclosure, when I am bike commuting, I consider myself a hybrid of car and pedestrian. Since I dont REALLY get a lane since I cannot pedal 35 mph, I feel like I can make up some ground at intersections. That doesn’t mean running red lights, it means coming up carefully to a light, stopping and then crossing in the crosswalk just like someone on foot might. More jaywalking than light-running…

    Boy THAT pissed a few people off. The same assholes who ride my ass and honk if I line up in traffic at a light like I’m supposed to.

  54. 54
    dhd says:

    While there are a lot of jackasses on bikes out there doing stupid things (google “fixed gear freestyle” for some entertainment) I’ve also noticed that drivers who push the “follow the rules of the road” thing don’t really understand those rules themselves sometimes. If I stop at a four-way stop before you, I have the right of way, and yet I’ve been yelled at for this at least twice in the last month or so.

    And then sometimes the laws are just absurd. If I come to a complete stop at a stop sign and don’t put my foot on the ground, in theory I’m breaking the law. In any case, I usually slow to about 5 mph which is slower than most cars do in the same situation!

    Then there’s my local city councilman who thinks the bike lanes on East Liberty Boulevard are “racist”. But I’m not touching that with a 57cm top tube…

  55. 55
    Eric S says:

    I live in Chicago and ride to most locations in the city. A few years back, on return trip from a softball game, a minivan swerved at me in the bike lane and the passenger screamed in my ear from about two inches away. Scared me half to death but also caught a real surge of adreneline. I caught them half a block later and none-to-politely told them to pull over and get out of the van. They chose to speed off. It may have had something to do with the two baseball bats strapped to my back. Asking around other cyclists and a bunch of people had similar experiences with the same vehicle.

    As far as the traffic laws go I agree and disagree with they “you must stop at every light and stop sign.” Cycling is all about momentum which is created by human effort. Complete stops every block is futile. However, those cyclists that scream through intersections without looking and not yielding right aways are in the wrong. My philosophy is to slow and roll through on my turn.

  56. 56
    Mr Furious says:

    The best part about commuting in Michigan? Since nobody walks anywhere, the sidewalks (where they existed) were always w i d e o p e n.

  57. 57
    Steve says:

    For relatively silly legal reasons, it’s not assault unless your victim was intended sense your menacing behavior while you’re doing it.

    No, that’s not right. An attempt to commit battery is also a common-law assault, regardless of whether the victim is aware of it.

  58. 58
    Shinobi says:

    @Violet and Bootlegger

    Well I think that most of the bikers I see breaking laws are actually professional bikers, we have a lot of bike messengers downtown, and they are, to put it mildly, fuckholes. (And I’m talking about this from a pedestrian’s point of view. )

    I think the idea that bkes are different class of vehicle that need different laws is interesting, I think it would be more interesting if bikes where I live and work didn’t already seem to be following there own set of laws. I think it is important to note too that for cars there are a lot of laws that you follow so you don’t get into an accident. (i.e. don’t run red lights when there is oncoming traffic.) But you still have to follow even if it would be safe to break them.

    And I don’t see bikers doing that. What I do see bikers doing is getting away with running every light and doing every illegal thing they can get away with without actually putting themselves at risk. And I think that’s what bothers me.

    That could just be my perception. I think I will start tracking, what I see bikers doing. I will start making notes because I honestly can’t ever remember seeing a biker stop when they didn’t actually have to, and that might just be my own bias.

  59. 59
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    , it’s probably battery. But if you miss, it’s probably not assault.

    Assault, battery, whatever. The offender could always claim it was inadvertent and it would be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, unless you have good witnesses willing to testify. Aside from getting a conviction, the act itself has to be illegal whether battery or assault. You could pass a more specific law in theory to make it more prosecutable.

  60. 60
    Tom says:

    @Bootlegger

    I too live in Chicago and was about to write a similar post, but you beat me to it. I think the bike lanes work in general, but if biker’s want more respect and laws protecting them, they need to obey the basic rules of the road.

    As you say, anytime I take the car out in the city, I see numerous bikers blow stop signs or lights or even weave in and out of traffic.

    And I don’t mind Critical Mass. Then again, I’ve never been stuck in a traffic jam caused by one of their “rallies.”

  61. 61
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @r€nato: Cars run stop signs all day long too. I live in front of a 4-way. No one stops. Not a one. Cars can’t legitimately bitch about that. What they don’t do is run red lights downtown. Which I do after stopping. There are so few other bikes, and no facilities specifically for bikes, that I reassign myself pedestrian status. I’m slow and chubby enough on my junky bike to qualify. I do this right in front of the courthouse and county lockup even and no one bothers me, so the cops agree by proxy.

  62. 62
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker?

    That would be the irresponsible and immature kind of twisted jackass. You know, teenagers and wingers.

    .

  63. 63

    I think dismissing anti-biker-rage as “people are assholes” is too simple, and as an explanation it doesn’t *explain*.

    I drive on roads (in semi-rural NJ) where there are a lot of bicyclists. I used to be one of them, until it got to be more dangerous than I was comfortable with.

    As a driver, cyclists *scare* me, they make me tense and wary, because I know how easy it would be for me to hurt them. I think there are a huge number of Americans whose reaction to being afraid, *especially* in their cars, is rage. They can’t acknowledge that they’re afraid, so they channel it into anger.

    These people are more likely to be young males (who can’t admit they’re afraid), especially young males riding together (because they *really* can’t admit to fear with someone else in the car), and to be driving SUVs, because SUVs are cars for people who are afraid and who get a big car to protect themselves.

    The fear->anger->Dark Side cycle is a huge driving force in American life, and particularly for men and the red states. IMHO.

  64. 64
    Mr Furious says:

    Eric, I had similar situations riding back from softball in Brooklyn. The Louisville Slugger was definitely a nice accessory…

    Not as a retaliatory tailight-smasher (though I’d been tempted), but as a bit of back-up when I yelled “FUCK OFF” at the offending driver.

  65. 65
    The Moar You Know says:

    I can top all of you; while riding in Santa Cruz – on the road just north of town – I was shot at from a car.

    People in cars are dicks.

  66. 66
    RedKitten says:

    I’ve also never understood the anger that many drivers have towards cyclists. They should vacation in Holland for awhile and see what it’s like when the cyclists basically own the roads.

    No sidewalks where I live, but I’ve often had to go around cyclists on the main road. And if there’s oncoming traffic, and I can’t safely go around them, I wait. If it means going from 90 km/h down to whatever the cyclist is going, until I can safely get around them, so be it (although I feel bad for basically rolling along behind them like that — it must make them feel somewhat pressured and stressed out.)

  67. 67

    @r€nato:

    I’m thinking of starting an NRA chapter for bicyclists. Yeah, I’m getting a little militant about this shit…

    A very intriguing idea. We could all be issued stickers: “This bicycle protected by Smith & Wesson.” You know, that has a certain charm about it.

    I live up here in northern New England and we have some pretty good bikes paths and trails, along with bike carriers on the FREE public buses. I only drive when I have no other choice.

  68. 68
    Gus says:

    <blockquote?I guess I never really noticed how much bike paths and trails added to the daily quality of life for people
    You should read the wingnut comments in any article about construction of new bike trails (or any type of transportation expense other than roads) in my local papers. “Why is my tax money being used for bike trails, rail lines, etc.” Drives me fucking nuts.

  69. 69
    Eric U. says:

    A batch of cycling advocates actually urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to veto the 3 foot law, which he did. I forget the exact argument. Basically, these are people that will always take the lane and force motorists to pass just like they would any other vehicle. This is the safe way to do things, but motorists are not educated about that.

    In Pennsylvania, they changed the laws so that cyclists are now the same as slow moving vehicles. You can take the lane unless it is wide enough to allow a motor vehicle to pass safely, about 14 feet. A lane that wide is extremely rare in PA.

    I ride in as cooperative manner as I can while still maintaining my safety. I commute by bike, and I really don’t care what the motorists think. I’ve found that accommodating motorists doesn’t stop the abuse.

    I am somewhat concerned that people can’t stop texting when they get in their cars. That really should call for a summary execution.

  70. 70
    Mr Furious says:

    @Comrade Darkness: There are so few other bikes, and no facilities specifically for bikes, that I reassign myself pedestrian status.

    EXACTLY!

  71. 71
    Cols714 says:

    I think it’s mostly just road rage. If the driver would just realize that at most the cyclist is going to make them 1 minute later than they would’ve been otherwise, then everything would be OK.

    And the whole not stopping at stop signs thing, there is a law in Idaho that works very well where a cyclist is not forced to come to a complete stop, but rather must slow down and make sure it is safe to proceed. This is just common sense. Momentum is everything when you are biking and coming to a complete stop wastes all of it.

  72. 72
    Cols714 says:

    Why do conservatives hate laws that would help cyclists?

    This is do not understand.

  73. 73
    Ken says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I fit about half of those stereotypes… so I guess your theory is correct :)

  74. 74
    Shinobi says:

    @Tom:

    I wasn’t even in a car! I was on the sidewalk and couldn’t cross the freaking street to get to the train. They suck.

  75. 75
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Cols714:

    Why do conservatives hate laws that would help cyclists?

    Bicycle = libtard sockalist hippie. To them

  76. 76
    Emma says:

    Comrade Darkness, we couldn’t figure it out either!

  77. 77
    Eric U. says:

    @Tom: I don’t care about respect, but I demand a stop to the assault. I can assure you that riding legally in full compliance to the law does not command any sort of respect from many motorists. You are not responsible for the criminal motorists and I am not responsible for cyclists that endanger themselves by riding through red lights. If American motorists didn’t drive like maniacs, there wouldn’t be a stop sign at every corner for cyclists to run. The maniac drivers are a menace to society at large, cyclists are mainly a menace to themselves.

  78. 78
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Cols714: Conservatives hate conservation. I posit that this is because their moniker is meaningless.

  79. 79
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m thinking of starting an NRA chapter for bicyclists. Yeah, I’m getting a little militant about this shit…

    @r€nato:
    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    I don’t advertise what I’ve been carrying in my bag since 1991, if you get my drift.

  80. 80
    adolphus says:

    I have been a motorist/cyclist/avid pedestrian/dog-walker/ runner for decades. I have had things thrown at me and/or hit from all manner of motorists and cyclists. Training for marathons on any number of rails-to-trails across the Eastern Seaboard I have been hit by passing cyclists (usually with a bicycle pump or water bottle and the occasional power bar or GU wrapper) as often as I have been hit with projectiles from cars as a commuting cyclist. (although relative speeds make projectiles from cars more dangerous) In both cases it is a minuscule minority of cyclists/motorists that engage in such behavior and it would be wrong to over generalize.

    As far as cyclists being the nicest group of people, I don’t think so. They tend to be nice enough, but as a group they have a chip on their shoulder that assumes they are the lowest group on the traffic safety pecking order. Even when they are on the sidewalk they seem to assume everyone should get out of THEIR way and “share the road” really means you need to share the road (and sidewalk) with them but not vice versa.

    I wish I could be more sympathetic with cyclists, they/we do have a rough row to hoe, but as a pedestrian I have too many close calls and outright hostility (including the rare projectile or rap on the back) from them to totally be in their/our corner.

  81. 81
    Cols714 says:

    @Shinobi:

    Who cares is bikers don’t stop unless they absolutely have to? Does it hurt your feelings? Look, riding around in 2000 lbs of metal is a lot different than riding a 20-30 lb bike.

  82. 82
    grouchygardens says:

    We have recently passed laws in Chicago where you can be fined if your vehicle cuts off a biker within X amount of feet. Again, there is rarely a police officer who just happens to be around to document this. Sadly I feel this sort of fines just fan the flames of the eternal biker/driver battle.

    Unfortunately when this happened about 7:30 this morning there were no police officers around. Am contemplating adding a nice light alloy bat to my cycling gear for these situations.

  83. 83
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @RedKitten: They should vacation in Holland for awhile

    They should vacation in Holland, get stoned and laid and chill the f*ck out. Oh, you were thinking so they would understand bikes… oh, I was thinking they needed to have the rod of righteousness pulled out of the ass in general.

  84. 84
    Cols714 says:

    @adolphus:

    I have never seen cyclists behave that rudely on a sidewalk. Some people go a little too fast, but mostly bikers on sidewalks are pretty respectful. The bigger question though is why to they have to be on the sidewalk at all?

  85. 85
    Bill H says:

    I always give bikers plenty of room.

    But I have a bit of a resentment problem doing it when the bike lane is three feet wide or more and they are pedaling along right on the white line. They will get all pissed off if, due to them riding on that line and not using their three feet of space, I refuse to get uncomfortably close to a two-ton 4-mph projectile and get closer to them than they like.

    Or as I come up behind them and they are riding three abreast, with one of them in my lane, and as I approach they refuse to single up, forcing me to waith behind them for oncoming traffic to clear so that I can swing into the opposite lane to pass them.

    And these are “professional” riders, with the spandex uniforms with advertiser logos, and the special shoes and helmets and everything. They are also assholes.

  86. 86
    Brian J says:

    I don’t mind bikers, either the people on the smaller bikes or the motorcycles, at all. Most of them ride much better than the regular drivers I’ve seen, and if the people on the motorbikes or whatever they are called want to zip in and out of traffic, so be it. If by some awful chance they collide with my car because they are being stupid, they would lose out, not me.

  87. 87
    The Moar You Know says:

    I have never seen cyclists behave that rudely on a sidewalk. Some people go a little too fast, but mostly bikers on sidewalks are pretty respectful. The bigger question though is why to they have to be on the sidewalk at all?

    @Cols714: In California, it’s against the law for bikers to be on sidewalks.

  88. 88
    RedKitten says:

    @Comrade Darkness: Well yes…that too. Either way, I think a vacation in Holland would do them a world of good. One of my best memories from my trip there was when my husband and I accompanied two of our new friends out to the pubs and they picked us up on their bikes. We were each riding on the back of the bikes, on the small rack over the rear wheel. Most girls there, when riding on the back of a bike, ride sidesaddle, but I was way too scared for that, so I rode astride. It was hysterical and scary and exhilarating to be weaving in and out of traffic, within arm’s reach of the cars, hanging on for dear life. I think we laughed the whole way downtown. :)

  89. 89
    bystander says:

    Recently, in Colorado there have been two serious car-bicycle accidents. Both are detailed toward the bottom of this page. Incredibly, the person riding the bicycle pictured, not only lived, but was relatively unscathed. The other rider has been upgraded from critical to serious. The comments sections of the local newspapers were filled with some pretty uncharitable comments as well as the more typical chest thumping.

    I’m not sure why some people can’t imagine trying to close their eyes to sleep and seeing a continuous loop of a rider going over the hood of their car instead. As a cyclist, I don’t want to be anyone’s human hood ornament, and as a motorist, I don’t want to have the recurrent real-time nightmare, either. I guess if you’ve never hit the road on a bicycle, you’ve no idea how vulnerable a cyclist is. It’s the only thing I can think of to make the near-misses I’ve had with cars make sense.

    In addition to the three-foot rule, there is the possibility for some additional legislation which would allow all counties in Colorado to close various roads to cyclists. Details, such as they are right now, can be found here.

  90. 90
    Bad Horse's Filly says:

    @Cols714: Okay, as the other designated Colorado cyclist here, I can actually see both sides to this story. In some locations here, bikers are downright rude (won’t name names) and they truly piss me off because they make it dangerous for all of us with their arrogance. They cut in front of fast moving cars, they speed by pedestrians on paths without warning or care, etc. I’m sure in a car they are just as dangerous.

    But yeah, in general the 3′ law is good, though I’ve never really had any problem with cars, it is amazing what a friendly wave and a smile will do with most people.

  91. 91
    mr2wheels says:

    Oh hell yeah. I’ve had junk pitched at me while riding on the road. Most people are lousy shots anyway and then throwing from a moving vehicle is also very difficult, so I’ve never been hit. Probably there will come a day. And this is in Portland, OR, supposedly one of the more bike-friendly cities. Drivers are absolute assholes.

  92. 92
    JGabriel says:

    Doctor Science:

    I think dismissing anti-biker-rage as “people are assholes” is too simple, and as an explanation it doesn’t explain.

    Okaaay …

    I think there are a huge number of Americans whose reaction to being afraid, especially in their cars, is rage. They can’t acknowledge that they’re afraid, so they channel it into anger … The fear->anger->Dark Side cycle is a huge driving force in American life, and particularly for men and the red states.

    Sorry, Doctor Science, but I’m not quite convinced that explaining why people are assholes makes them any less an asshole.

    In fact, it kind of ends up blaming the victim. Bikers should forgive people who throw things at them from – or hit them with – CARS because the drivers are just fearful insecure people who aren’t in touch with their inner emotions?

    .

  93. 93
    Punchy says:

    @Eric S: I had a situation where a car turned slowly left right in front of me. I know they saw me; I looked right in her eyes. So as I slam on the brakes and swerved around her minivan, I pounded on the back of the van as hard as possible. It was LOUD. I can guarentee I gave her a near-heart attack as she thought she’d run into/over me, and I heard the gasp of shock from her open drivers-side window.

    I highly suspect she’ll never cut off another cyclist again.

    Shit, I have dozens of these stories. Dont even get me started about cycling down in the South Florida area. Fuckin suicide.

  94. 94
    Violet says:

    @Shinobi:

    You might be pleased, then, that the days of bike messengers could be numbered. Recently read an article discussing how changes in court requirements for electronic filing has hurt bike messenger businesses. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.chron.com/disp/stor.....40670.html.

  95. 95
    JGabriel says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    People in cars are dicks.


    Driving makes you stupid!

    .

  96. 96
    adolphus says:

    @Cols714

    The actual projectiles and hitting usually doesn’t happen on sidewalks, unless one counts the slight swerve a pedestrian gets from an irate cyclist when he doesn’t get out of the way fast enough. Actual hostility, including projectiles usually comes on trails or even on the shoulder of sidewalk-less roads and they happen, I suspect, for the same reason hostility is directed at cyclists from cars, frustration at having to slow down to pass, a close call interpreted as a all the other person’s fault, and a self-centered arrogance that you (generic you, not you Col714) are the most important person on the road/trail and everyone should get out of your way. I have always assumed that when I did get hit it was because I was the 3rd or 4th (or more) runner a cyclist had to slow his (always a guy) cadence for and he is frustrated at the interruption in his ride. Many times it is because a cyclist has had to wait a long time to pass due to various sets of pedestrians and there are admittedly many pedestrian groups (especially groups of runners) who don’t obey basic rules of the road and move to the right or run too many abreast or in a line or don’t clear off the trail when they stop. But that’s the same type of excuse motorists use about cyclists and in neither case does it justify assault.

  97. 97
    Palindrome says:

    I work 14 miles from home, drive 8 and bike 6 so I see both sides of the story. If you’re driving, just act like the cyclist is your mom or brother or kid. How would you feel if somebody sideswiped them with a ton of steel? If you’re a cyclist, obey the damn traffic laws. It drives me crazy when I see some jerk on a bike blowing through stop signs and red lights and weaving through traffic because I know that I’ll pay the price with some driver that s/he pissed off last week.

  98. 98
    Palindrome says:

    I work 14 miles from home, drive 8 and bike 6 so I see both sides of the story. If you’re driving, just act like the cyclist is your mom or brother or kid. How would you feel if somebody sideswiped them with a ton of steel? If you’re a cyclist, obey the damn traffic laws. It drives me crazy when I see some jerk on a bike blowing through stop signs and red lights and weaving through traffic because I know that I’ll pay the price with some driver that s/he pissed off last week.

  99. 99
    drillfork says:

    I’ve never done anything worse than honk at a cyclist, but I’ve wanted to. Gawd I’ve wanted to.

    It’s great that people want to exercise. It’s great that people want to lessen their use of fossil fuels. It’s great when roads are wide enough to accommodate bike paths. And it’s definitely shitty some of the cycling horror stories people have brought to this thread. But the fact is that most of the roads in this country were and continue to be built for cars and only cars. Despite this reality, many cyclists are jackass Lance Armstrong-wannabes who consider the streets theirs.

    The commenter who said drivers are scared nails it. Cyclists weave through traffic, suddenly emerge unseen from lines of street-parked cars and in general make driving “scary.” That’s the source of the rage. Even if a part of me wants to run these a-holes down, I’m still trying not to.

    I know it’s not workable for the competitive cyclists, but I’d much rather have a cyclist doing 10 mph share paths with (and being consider of) pedestrians than have them vie on the roads with cars doing 30-60 mph. On sidewalks and paths cyclists are a mere nuisance. On the roads they’re an absolute menace…

  100. 100
    Cyrus says:

    @doctor tecate:

    I appreciate the intention of these laws wherein there are looking out for the safety of bikers and more awareness overall. Sadly protective laws such as these are nearly impossible to enforce. You would need to prove the intent of the object tosser; assault or just littering. Perhaps he had not seen the biker.

    If a driver doesn’t see a biker (assuming it’s broad daylight and/or the bike has those reflective lights on it, assuming the biker didn’t come out of nowhere, assuming the driver hadn’t just changed course to avoid something else, etc.), then the driver was probably driving negligently. I mean, I realize what you’re saying is a likely excuse and would probably be accepted by a cop for an accident report without a raised eyebrow, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good excuse.

  101. 101
    Matt D says:

    but the number of traffic violations I see on a daily basis by bicyclists is ridiculous. I was almost run over by one going the wrong way on a one way street (which they do all the time) they run red lights and stop signs, they don’t yeild to pedestrians, so on and so forth.

    And drivers coast through stop signs, run red lights, ignore crosswalks, don’t use their blinkers, drive in the turn lanes, drive in the bike lanes, drive in the shoulder, pass illegally, speed like motherfuckers, double-park, make illegal u-turns, cross the center line, etc. I spent a couple hours driving across state a week or two ago and witnessed all of those things. The difference of course is that when drivers witness drivers behaving bad, they just write it off because obviously if you yourself are a driver, all drivers can’t be bad, whereas when they witness cyclists misbehaving (or, really, witness cyclists doing anything at all) they go into a seething rage because obviously all cyclists are breaking the law and deserve to be, you know, run over.

  102. 102
    Matt D says:

    But the fact is that most of the roads in this country were and continue to be built for cars and only cars. Despite this reality, many cyclists are jackass Lance Armstrong-wannabes who consider the streets theirs.

    No, the fact is we have a legal right to use them.

    The commenter who said drivers are scared nails it. Cyclists weave through traffic, suddenly emerge unseen from lines of street-parked cars and in general make driving “scary.” That’s the source of the rage. Even if a part of me wants to run these a-holes down, I’m still trying not to.

    If we talking about guns, that would probably be enough to have you arrested. Oh, you really want to shoot me and you’re just trying not to but your murderous rage is oh-so justifiable.

  103. 103
    Irony Abounds says:

    First, it is absolutely, positively without a doubt wrong to throw anything at a biker for any reason. With that said, the bikers who feel it necessary to travel in packs of ten or more are extremely arrogant and seem to delight in traveling three abreast just to piss motorists off. The goofy spandex outfits certainly don’t help the situation (but again, don’t justify hurling any projectile in the general direction of the guy or gal wearing the goofy outfit).

  104. 104
    ChrisB says:

    I ride in suburban New Jersey and have had my share of problems with asshole drivers, though nothing worse than garbage being thrown at me or people cursing from their cars even though I’m always on the right side of the road and riding properly.

    If you ride a decent amount on suburban or, worse, exurban roads, all you need is an infinitesimal percentage of jerks to have an incident or two or three per year.

    I have been riding with my 11 year old daughter this summer on safer routes and drivers have a completely different attitude. We’ll be waiting, say, at a T intersection to make a left hand turn and the cars will stop even though they have the right of way. No way that happens if I’m alone or in a paceline.

  105. 105
    Fwiffo says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve had shit thrown at me on a bike path. And not one of those bike lanes that’s part of the same swath of pavement as the road. There’s the road, then a curb, then a strip of grass, then a bike path. Apparently, that’s in their way or something.

    Also, don’t yell out the window of the car at bikers. We can’t understand what you’re saying when you’re going by at 50. Really, it’s just comes out as “blah I’m an idiot blah”.

  106. 106
    Eric S says:

    The maniac drivers are a menace to society at large, cyclists are mainly a menace to themselves.

    Exactly! When a car sideswipes a bike, the drive goes to auto body shop. The cyclist goes to the human body shop.

  107. 107
    r€nato says:

    @drillfork:

    Despite this reality, many cyclists are jackass Lance Armstrong-wannabes who consider the streets theirs.

    Project much?

    As a matter of fact, in every single US state (AFAIK), bicycles are considered vehicles and are just as entitled to be on the road as you are in your car. We only want motorists to SHARE the road with us. How you twist that into, ‘cyclists consider the street theirs,’ is pretty much akin to how uber-Christianists consider it ‘discrimination’ when they’re expected not to shove their views down others’ throats in our schools, courthouses and legislative bodies.

    The commenter who said drivers are scared nails it. Cyclists weave through traffic, suddenly emerge unseen from lines of street-parked cars and in general make driving “scary.” That’s the source of the rage.

    Really? All cyclists do this?

    And this is more ‘scary’ than the day-to-day discourtesy shown by fellow motorists?

    I know it’s not workable for the competitive cyclists, but I’d much rather have a cyclist doing 10 mph share paths with (and being consider of) pedestrians than have them vie on the roads with cars doing 30-60 mph. On sidewalks and paths cyclists are a mere nuisance. On the roads they’re an absolute menace…

    Just about everywhere, bicycles are supposed to be on the street and are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk, though my instincts for self-preservation usually keep me on the sidewalk when faced with riding near a busy street. In my city at least, nobody walks anywhere anyway so the sidewalk becomes a de-facto bike lane…

  108. 108
    Cols714 says:

    @Irony Abounds

    What do the spandex outfits have to do with anything? I don’t wear spandex because I think it looks silly, but I don’t see why it would piss someone off to see someone in spandex.

    Also, yes, groups traveling in huge packs that slow down traffic are a nuisance, but in reality how much time are you losing by waiting until it is clear to pass them? With stoplights and such, you probably aren’t going to arrive much more than one minute after you would had you just plowed through bikers.

    I guess mostly what I see is some bikers acting like jerks, but most of them being courteous. And even the ones that are acting like jerks are little more than a nuisance, they aren’t threatening a car or causing you to be late, they are just annoying. There isn’t any reason to get pissed off about it.

    This could all be solved with some decent bike lanes and paths. But the same people who are upset about cyclists in the road are the same people who will be against adding transportation infrastructure for cyclists.

  109. 109
    r€nato says:

    The goofy spandex outfits certainly don’t help the situation

    wow, I’m going to have to abandon this thread. I’m getting pretty pissy and self-righteous about some of the stupid shit being posted here.

    I’ll take my ‘goofy spandex outfit’ over your pot belly and double-chin any day of the week.

    Ooops there I go again. I’m outta here…

  110. 110
    doorzone says:

    @ Bill H:
    The reason cyclists often do not use the whole bike ghetto – sorry, bike lane – is because it is not swept clean of debris by passing traffic like the regular roadway is. Riding close to the white line you’re less likely to run over the glass, gravel, dead squirrels and other crap that collects in the ghetto. Don’t motorists try to avoid piles of glass and other possible hazards? What would you rather see, me riding a straight, steady, predictable line close to the ghetto edge, so you know you can pass safely, or me swerving wildly around all three feet of that ghetto, sometimes out into your lane, trying to avoid every sewer grate oriented to snag my tires, not to mention every damn chunk of some crackhead’s 40 oz from last night?

    People who refuse to single up, though, are asshats, and should be ticketed.

    Don’t even get me started. SAME ROADS, SAME RIGHTS, SAME RULES, b1tch3s!

  111. 111
    Sad_Dem says:

    Regular rider here in Los Angeles. Last Friday a guy in a Mercedes used his car to force me to the side of the road and slam on my brakes. Then on Sunday some kid in a car hit me with an egg. I’ve had other things thrown at me too. Talk to any regular bike rider and he or she will tell you stories about hit and runs, assault, etc.

  112. 112
    adolphus says:

    In an attempt to bring us all together on something we can agree on:

    Don’t you just hate Segways?

    The worst attributes of drivers, cyclist, and pedestrians wrapped up in a rich, entitled suburban wrapper. Especially the ones with the retro bike horns. YOU DON’T LIKE THE WAY I WALK, GET OFF THE SIDEWALK!

  113. 113
    Tax Analyst says:

    Halifirien said:

    “It’s not just bikers who get hit. I’m a pedestrian. Just walking around Parkersburg over the years, I’ve been hit with a hot dog and a potato, and just barely missed being hit by a can of Pepsi.”

    Hey – Hot Dog, potato & a Pepsi – come on, man, they’re giving you a free lunch! And you, all you can think to do is complain.

    See, THAT’S why these morons hate bikers.

  114. 114
    daryljfontaine says:

    Ugh, can we not have this comment thread turn into Biker Commenters vs. Driver Commenters? Had enough of that shit on Usenet back in the day.

    Basically, bikers have the right to be treated with the same respect as other drivers (or motorcyclists, although apparently no one wants to maliciously fuck with a guy on a Harley). But bikers who use city streets should be subject to the same traffic laws as the drivers — and ticketed for violations just as frequently.

    D

  115. 115
    Tax Analyst says:

    Oops! I meant to say biker AND pedestrians.

    OUCH! Hey, if you’re gonna throw stuff at me, at least make it edible, will ya’?

  116. 116
    StrandedVandal says:

    We have had 3 people killed on bikes this year. Not a single charge has been filed. All of them are people that I have ridden with and are not newbies.

    I commute a lot on my bike. In Idaho, bikers do not have to stop at stop lights or signs. We have to slow and if we can proceed without impeding traffic we are allowed to go. It keeps us from being a stationary target. I don’t always do it. In the morning I am apt to do it because the sun is so low that drivers can’t see.

    I’ve been hit 3 times. Once she looked right through me (I was almost 300 pounds at the time, riding a 50 pound POS mountain bike and looking like I was ready to vapor lock at any moment.) She looked right through me and pulled out. I put a good size dent in her drivers side door. Scared the hell out of her.

    I took the side mirror off of one of those jacked up trucks that guys with tiny dicks drive.

    I had a guy mow me over at a traffic light that I had the green light on. He turned right and literally ran me over. He asked if I was OK as I tried to determine if my shin was broken. (clipless pedals) He must have assumed that since I was able to cuss a blue streak at him, I must be OK, and drove off. No one else stopped to assist.

    Usually when I am on a long ride 75-10 miles on Saturday, if anything happens, which is rare, I get spit on on rednecks in pickups. It comes with the territory I guess. There aren’t lot of houses way out in the sticks, so it’s pretty easy to find where they came from.

  117. 117
    someguy says:

    I’m a competitive cyclist. I do upwards of 10k miles a year on the road, more than a lot of people drive. I ride to the right as much as possible, follow the rules of the road as long as it’s safe to do so (I admit to rolling stops at deserted intersections and splitting lanes). I try to be cool but I get buzzed occasionally, and have been run into the ditch a number of times, gently ‘nudged’ by a car and hit pretty hard twice, once on purpose I think. (Hint: that’s vehicular assault, people, a felony akin to shooting somebody). I catch the usual amount of abuse. I split lanes and hop curbs in the city, messenger style, for the simple reason that it’s safer for me to be moving faster than traffic and get the hell out of the way, than it is for me to sit there trying to act like a car in rush hour traffic surrounded by a bunch of pissed off drivers for whom I provide a convenient object to vent their general rage at. I cruise pretty easily in the low 20s and can pedal 35 on a flat without much trouble, a good deal faster if there’s a handy box van or dump truck to draft off of, but even a tall dude in bright clothes is invisible to people in cars, they don’t look for somebody to be moving in traffic at that pace. I’ve found the ratio of right wing assholes to left wing assholes, based on bumper stickers, to be about 50:50. I live in a very blue area so get abuse from a lot of tree huggers and Obama (and previously Kerry and Gore) voters in the city, but encounter the right wingers on long rides out in the country. Paulnuts seem cooler than the McCainiacs, maybe they’re more live-and-let-live types.

    The times I’ve been assaulted on the road by people trying to run me off it or actually ‘nudging’ me I haven’t done anything to bring it on other than just being there, riding up the road on a wide shoulder or bike lane past traffic, or cruising along out in the country, again on the white line or within 12 inches of it. My rule is that if somebody threatens my life in a clearly intentional way, to try to catch up and beat the shit out of the guy who did it. If you knock on the window, he’ll lower it, then you drag him half out and kick his ass. I’ve done that a few times. I’ve been hit by a couple women to and wouldn’t hit them, but I’ve beaten the crap out of a few side panels and doors. The one time it made a crazy screaming noise when I did that but come to think of it that may have been the woman who ran me out of the bike lane and pinned me up against the retaining wall as a form of anti-bike protest.

    One thing for the riders – I wouldn’t recommend pulling any of that crap in a club jersey or the Ride To Work Day T-shirt you got from your workplace. In fact I don’t recommend doing any of what I do. But I’m relating the stories to let people understand a bit what it’s like out there. I don’t see a cute little swerve onto the shoulder “to show him” as acceptable behavior, I see it as menacing, same as you waving a gun around, and I will respond appropriately. Riders should always ride safe – you may piss off the wrong guy on the wrong day and he may try to kill or maim you – but if you’re not acting like an ass and somebody does this to you, under no means should you put up with that kind of crap. The cops aren’t going to help you, they don’t give a fuck about cyclists getting killed. You need to decide whether you want to take a stand.

  118. 118
    someguy says:

    What do the spandex outfits have to do with anything? I don’t wear spandex because I think it looks silly, but I don’t see why it would piss someone off to see someone in spandex.

    The reason you wear spandex is because if you wear nice loose fitting cotton the ‘comfortable’ clothes on a long distance ride, or on regular middle distance rides, the fabric (particularly the seams) will cut holes in your thighs and ass that will make it look like somebody attacked you with a bandsaw and a 1/2″ drill. That, and you drivers think we’re all gay and we enjoy making you really, really uncomfortable.

  119. 119
    Punchy says:

    Well, if you dont like the bikes, just ban them

    Wow.

  120. 120
    CT says:

    I spent most of my 20’s using only a bike to get around in a very bike-friendly town (Eugene). My observation was that most cyclists (including myself) were complete scofflaws about certain traffic laws (coming to a complete stop at stop signs, in particular). Not being reckless, but mostly of the “it would be inconvenient for me to stop/signal/stay in the bike lane/etc” type. This all feels safe to the cyclist because they aren’t going fast, can stop and change direction quickly, and have terrific visibility, but to a driver, this looks quite different. Knowing what my behavior looks like to a driver has led me to modify my cycling so it fits better to the rules of the road. This won’t protect me from a-holes, but I think it’ll keep me safer.

  121. 121
    StrandedVandal says:

    @someguy:

    Amen. There is nothing as entertaining as have 20 of us walk in to a coffee joint after a group ride. Oh, the agony and guilty curiosity we see! Besides, I worked hard to lose 100 pounds and I look pretty damn good in Spandex.

    Deal with it people.

  122. 122
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    In California, it’s against the law for bikers to be on sidewalks.

    That may be true about certain cities, but it is not part of the Vehicle Code. Unless you’re talking about motorcycles?

  123. 123
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @daryljfontaine:

    Ugh, can we not have this comment thread turn into Biker Commenters vs. Driver Commenters?

    All is not equal between those on a 40 pound bike and those steering a two ton auto/truck.

    They don’t deserve the same respect as other folks on the road. They (those on bikes) deserve more respect, when it comes to safety. That’s the point of this thread, and whether bikers do stupid stuff up the yazoo, people in cars cannot retaliate by tossing objects at them or using their cars to “teach them a lesson”. I applaud Colorado for codifying this common sense solution. I am also a driver of a truck, and always give bikers a wide berth and extra precaution, even if they piss me off by not moving closer to the shoulder so I can pass them safely.

  124. 124
    Cols714 says:

    @CT:

    “coming to a complete stop at stop signs…”

    Once again, this is not necessary. Idaho has a great law that allows bikers to keep their momentum. They should not have to come to a complete stop. That doesn’t mean they are allowed to blow right through a stop sign, but they have to slow down and determine if it is safe to proceed.

  125. 125
    Cackalacka says:

    Wow, props to Colorado.

    I don’t bike very often, but I enjoy it, and would like to bike commute, if it wasn’t a freaking death sentence in these parts.

    My state is pretty f’ed up when it comes to bicycle perceptions. Last week, a fireman shot at a cyclist, striking his helmet. The cyclist had a daughter in one of those rear seat thingies.

    Last month, an area bicycle safety advocate was killed in a traffic accident.

    You’d think folks would have more common sense than to write a letter to the editor of the local paper, using this poor soul’s corpse to grandstand against the use of bicycles.

    You would be wrong.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/op.....20332.html

    http://www.newsobserver.com/op.....11850.html

    http://www.newsobserver.com/op.....11854.html

  126. 126
    slag says:

    Before I got the dog and started going to the rails to trails everyday, I guess I never really noticed how much bike paths and trails added to the daily quality of life for people.

    Yay community space! Sad that it has to come right along with lameass community members who can’t keep their projectiles to themselves.

  127. 127
    Alan says:

    @Joey Maloney: I agree with you on lane-splitting or filtering. Our culture needs to embrace the two-wheeled vehicle. If people are serious about cutting emissions or reducing our dependence on foreign oil they’d push for laws that make riding motorcycles and scooters more desirable. Legalizing lane splitting/filtering is one. Making parking more accessible, like in Austin Texas, is another.

  128. 128
    Olly McPherson says:

    Regarding stop signs–nobody comes to a complete stop at stop signs! Nobody! Drivers. Bikers. Pedestrians. If that’s the source of your frustration toward bikers, that’s nuts.

    Of course, bikers shouldn’t blow through them into oncoming traffic, but as others have pointed out, if you’re making the machine move with your own pumping legs, it’s really inefficient to have to stop every block for a clear intersection. It’s much better to slow, look, and go, law be damned.

  129. 129
    Mr Furious says:

    If I recall correctly, in New York Ciry (statewide?) riders under 12 can be on the sidewalk and must wear helmets. Riders over 12 are prohibited from sidewalks.

  130. 130
    Cols714 says:

    @Olly McPherson:

    This is it exactly. I don’t know how many irritated driver letters I read that were mad because a cyclists didn’t put his foot down at a stop sign.

  131. 131
    Sarcastro says:

    All I ask from bicyclists is a modicum of common sense in choosing and riding a route through the mountains around here.

    I ask far too much apparently.

  132. 132
    Mr Furious says:

    Someguy, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m not a guy that has or ever could beat the shit out of someone—people fucking with my kids might be the only thing that draws that out of me…but I’ve been pissed enough that I’d beat the shit out of an asshole’s car if given the chance.

    Punchy, I’ve done the pound on the car move too, and it’s immensely satisfying, not to mention imperative if you’re trying to let someone know they are about to kill you.

  133. 133
    Mr Furious says:

    On a related note, there’s an asshole in a delivery van that tears through my neighborhood and makes the turn in front of my house almost on three wheels. If I ever see/hear him coming, or figure out his pattern, he’s getting some fucking lawn chair body work.

  134. 134
    Mr Furious says:

    The logical part of me knows how stupid that would be—it’d be patently obvious where I live, for instance, but that’s how enraged I am when I see it.

    File it under “Fucking with my kids” as I mentioned above.

  135. 135
    daryljfontaine says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: I agree with you, but am begging to avoid the personal flame war between commenters about it. Just leads to lots of angry blah blah fucking blah between people whose anecdotal evidence differs widely.

    I wholeheartedly approve of the bikers who choose to respond to vehicular assault in creative ways. Bike lock to the windshield, I never would have thought of that.

    D

  136. 136
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Sarcastro:

    I ask far too much apparently.

    No, you don’t ask too much, and most bikers in my experience do use common sense in riding, if for no other reason than self preservation. There are jerks in all walks of life, though bikers I think are less so than other kinds.

    As for choosing a route, I don’t know what you mean. Bikes have the right to ride on any road they wish, even ones without much shoulder. It’s the car driver with the lethal weapon that will just have to suck it up and slow down. Except for interstates there is no minimum speed limit, but there is a requirement to operate an auto safely for all concerned..

  137. 137
    YellowJournalism says:

    Can’t we all just hate the stupid driver/cyclists/pedestrians equally?

    I hate it when drivers don’t signal to change lanes, among a million other offenses like speeding up when someone is trying to pass you just because you finally realized you were going 25 kph under the limit.

    I hate it when cyclists decide they’re suddenly a pedestrian and illegally ride through the cross walk without stopping, getting off their bike, and walking it across like they’re supposed to here. (Some of you may not agree with this, but here it’s the law. If you’re riding over a certain age, it needs to be on the road and you’re automatically supposed to follow the same rules as a motor vehicle unless you get into pedestrian mode with your bike. Yes, that includes stopping at a stop sign/light.) This is especially annoying to observe when they almost run down the old men and ladies who cross at the same time near the retired peoples’ centre near our home.

    I hate it when pedestrians walk out from a row of cars, not at a cross walk, and expect you to suddenly stop. Love it even more when they shove their kids out first because they’re in a hurry. And when you do stop, they give you a dirty look or flip you off. (Hey, you’re just lucky I do the speed limit and know to look out for you guys in certain areas.)

    There are idiots in all modes of transportation. Unfortunately, the car drivers need to take the extra amount of caution because they’re in charge of a machine made of tons of metal that can do a lot more damage than Punchy slapping their passenger-side door. That’s why I try to give cyclists as much space as I possibly can when I see them on the road.

  138. 138
    Eric S says:

    But I have a bit of a resentment problem doing it when the bike lane is three feet wide or more and they are pedaling along right on the white line. They will get all pissed off if, due to them riding on that line and not using their three feet of space, I refuse to get uncomfortably close to a two-ton 4-mph projectile and get closer to them than they like.

    Some one mentioned that not having the bike lane swept clean is one reason and that’s part of the reason. Another is the unexpected door opening. In Chicago most of the bike lanes are between the traffic lane and the on street parking. I guarantee every cyclist can tell stories of car doors opening and the only option you have is to slam into it.

    Personally I try to stay as far right as I can but also stay conscious of the potential of a door opening. I try to look ahead and identify people sitting in their cars. When I see someone I move left as much as I feel safe. Sometimes the lighting makes it impossible to see inside of cars. Again a cyclist is advised to move left.

    Generally I advocate safe and courteous riding. I know people who aren’t and criticize them for it. They upset drivers and contribute to a hostile riding environment.

  139. 139
    Bill Zebub says:

    What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker?

    Maybe the kind that’s sick of these stupid motherfuckers riding on winding country roads with high banks and low visibility. Hey, so sorry to be one more exhaust-belching contributor to environmental degradation, but not everyone has an extra twenty minutes on their commute to ride behind a pack of rich yuppies forcing everyone to either putt along at fifteen mph or take a chance on a head-on collision. Some of us actually have jobs to get to and can’t afford to spend the afternoon fucking off in the countryside at a leisurely pace.

    There used to be a pack of forty or fifty of these trust-fund shitstains who used to do exactly that on the road where I used to live. They’d all meet at a general store down the road, and then take off riding together at the same time. They’d always manage to space it so that if you wanted to try to pass, you’d have to try to get around about ten of them at a time on a road where you rarely had more than twenty yards of straightaway to do it in.

    And no, I never threw anything or screamed at them or anything else, but I sure would have been happy to hear about someone else running their oblivious asses off the road into a ditch. Selfish sacks of shit.

  140. 140
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @daryljfontaine:

    but am begging to avoid the personal flame war between commenters about it. Just leads to lots of angry blah blah fucking blah

    Biker v Motorist is a long standing food fight. I suspect Cole knew this when he posted it, but I get your point. No flame war for me on a topic like this.:)

  141. 141
    Cols714 says:

    @Bill Zebub:

    Poor guy, you just want to get to work. These are exactly the type of comments that make me want to ride slowly in the middle of the road.

  142. 142
    Bill H says:

    @doorzone:

    I knew somebody was going to say that. So, in order that you can pedal along without having to worry about looking for rocks in your allocated lane, you want me to crowd the car next to me. You want two 4000# vehicles going 40mph to risk hitting each other in their allocated lanes so that you can ride outside of your allocated lane and not have to look out for rocks.

    As for the spandex, I don’t care what they wear, I was merely saying they are people who supposedly know what they are doing.

  143. 143
    Bill In OH says:

    @Bill Zebub:

    I guess those “selfish sacks of shit” didn’t realize that it’s actually all about you.

  144. 144
    gex says:

    @Bill Zebub: Wow. Nice.

    I guess the world revolves around you. And people shouldn’t be allowed to gather to go cycling together because you can’t leave yourself enough time to get to work unless everything goes exactly perfectly.

  145. 145
    Bill In OH says:

    @Bill H:

    You know what Bill H? I’m not going to risk getting a flat and wiping out so you don’t have to slow down for a few seconds. And that’s bullshit anyway, at least where I ride. Even if I’m “on the line” there’s still a solid three feet between me and a normal sized car riding in the middle of the lane.

    Really, people! Is it really so terrible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a minute? I was going to avoid commenting on this thread, but this is ridiculous.

  146. 146
    Irony Abounds says:

    @r€nato: Nice try, but four nights of basketball and modest work with weights have keep my pot belly and double chin pretty much under control. What I don’t have is any compulsion to put on a silly looking outfit to proclaim to the world that I’m a world class athlete. Not to mention the fact that I see a fair number of people with unsightly bulges riding bikes in goofy spandex outfits.

    As I thought I made clear, I am absolutely opposed to anyone throwing anything at bikers, nor should anyone buzz bikers or do anything that might cause them physical harm. Given that, just as I expect drivers to have respect for bikers, I expect bikers to show respect for motorists.

  147. 147
    Fwiffo says:

    Is there any biker here who hasn’t had some driver try to kill them?

  148. 148
    Maou says:

    There’s a difference between passively endangering someone because you’re not paying attention/are violating certain rules (however benign or dangerous that may be), and actively trying to hurt random bystanders (bydrivers I guess) by throwing stuff at them.
    If you do one, you should fix it (and using the full force of the law to force you to do so/render you unable to repeat the offense is completely fine with me).

    If you do the other… just drop dead. Just like any other POS who enjoys abusing their position of power (mass and velocity of the car) to harm people they perceive as being unable to defend themselves for their own personal satisfaction.

  149. 149
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Fwiffo:

    “Is there any biker here who hasn’t had some driver try to kill them?”

    I just use the exercise bike in my second-floor apartment, so I’m not too worried about it.

    If a passing motorist DID yell at me or throw something at me while I was on that bike, I’d probably have bigger concerns- like how he managed to ramp his way into my apartment, and how much of my stuff was going to get destroyed by his vehicle’s trajectory.

  150. 150
    Bill In OH says:

    Ranting aside, I was never that much of a bike lane fan until I moved to a location that had one. In my area (western suburbs of Cleveland), the drivers are very courteous and easy to co-exist with. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I try to be one of the “good” cyclists by following the rules of the road, etc., but when I used to ride on a scenic parkway (with a lower speed limit but no bike lane) I got a lot more abuse. Based on this, I think Doctor Science (he knows more than we do!) has it basically right. Unfortunately though, I think it’s unlikely we’re ever going to see a bike lane on every major street. There just isn’t the demand for it.

    And unhappy motorists? I’m sorry that an asshole cyclist did something to piss you off/scare you, but it’s not my fault. Please don’t take it out on the guy who’s riding safely and courteously. Thanks!

  151. 151
    RedKitten says:

    @Bill Zebub:

    Maybe the kind that’s sick of these stupid motherfuckers riding on winding country roads with high banks and low visibility. Hey, so sorry to be one more exhaust-belching contributor to environmental degradation, but not everyone has an extra twenty minutes on their commute to ride behind a pack of rich yuppies forcing everyone to either putt along at fifteen mph or take a chance on a head-on collision. Some of us actually have jobs to get to and can’t afford to spend the afternoon fucking off in the countryside at a leisurely pace.

    So encountering this large bike group was obviously a regular occurrence for you. Why did you not then allot yourself the extra time, knowing that the odds were good that you’d be encountering them? I’m sorry, but I live on a winding country road with high banks, minimal shoulders and low visibility, and often am delayed in my commute due to both cyclists and tractors, and I don’t have a lick of sympathy for you.

    Yes, it can be frustrating when you’re stuck behind bikers and can’t get around them due to poor visibility or oncoming traffic, but you know what? Regardless of how frustrating it can be, it is NO excuse for deliberately trying to harm another human being — something you seem to be excusing altogether too readily.

    Suck it up, princess. It’s their road too.

  152. 152
    Mr Furious says:

    @Bill H: So, what you’re saying is you are incapable of judging distance and velocity and when it’s safe to pass? Not the bikers fault, moron.

    Bike lanes along the shoulder are regularly riddled with chunks of asphalt, washes of sand, etc any of which might send a cyclist hurtling into traffic or a tree, but dicks like you can’t be bothered to yield even a bit of road or actually pay attention when you fucking drive?

  153. 153
    Mr Furious says:

    What REd Kitten said.

  154. 154
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Suck it up, princess. It’s their road too.

    I think that was a direct hit. Bravo RK!

  155. 155
    Mary says:

    @Cols714:

    Who cares is bikers don’t stop unless they absolutely have to? Does it hurt your feelings? Look, riding around in 2000 lbs of metal is a lot different than riding a 20-30 lb bike.

    No, it scares the shit out of me. I try to make it a point to not hit people with my car. This gets hard to do when a cyclist appears out of nowhere and runs through a stop sign while I’m in the middle of my turn.

    The point of traffic laws is to create a system that makes other people’s movements on the street predictable. If you can’t predict where and when a cyclist will stop (or not) it becomes a lot harder to avoid them.

    I have absolutely no problem with most cyclists. Unfortunately, it’s the ones that stand out for bad reasons that stick with you.

  156. 156
    Bill In OH says:

    @Mr Furious: And broken glass. Don’t forget broken glass. I wonder where THAT comes from?

  157. 157
    inkadu says:

    Just three random ideas:

    – Why not start making cars have little LED lights on their left sideview mirror anytime the car is stopped and in neutral or park? This would give bikers an easy way to tell which cars they need to watch.

    – This has probably been brought up in other threads, but wide roads are sometimes more of a hazard to cyclists than narrow ones. The most important thing is that cars are going slow AND that the driver is motivated to pay attention. Wide roads with easy curves and high kerbs encourage speeding and lack of attention. Narrow roads with sharper turns, low kerbs, and traffic calming features (trees near the road, elbow bends, etc) do more to slow cars down and to make sure the driver is aware. High kerbs are also hell for cyclists, make ditching impossible, and force psychologically force the cyclist to the side of the road.

    – And on the asshole driver front — there are a lot of cyclists in some areas. If everyone starts getting license plate numbers, you might find a cop (maybe even a bike cop) who would be willing to give you their address. Show up at their door at the earliest legal hour on Sunday morning in your goofy spandex with three or four of your buddies and tell them you do not appreciate their driving and ask them to respect the rules of the road, then leave them a copy of the Watchtower and be on your way. Anonymity breeds assholes on the road as much as the internet; if people think they are being watched, they will act more responsibly.

    And, finally, a little story:

    I was driving my car on a country route with just enough curves to make passing technically illegal. I was going the speed limit — 45 MPH — when this jerkoff drives up behind me and starts tailgating me. He does this for a few miles, then passes me even though the road was DOUBLE YELLOW LINES! So I think, “Who the fuck does this guy think he is? Passing me and breaking the rules?” So I speed up, drive up next him and and slam my car against his, forcing him down a ditch and into the river. As I drove on, I looked into my rear-view mirror to see his tail lights disappearing beneath the ice. “Asshole,” I thought, “You deserve it for not following the fucking rules.”

    Seriously. That’s what some of you people sound like. Get your heads examined.

  158. 158
    bystander says:

    Right now I’m spending a lot of time on the trainer trying to adapt to a new clipless pedal system (SPD to Speedplay). There are enough differences between them that I’m not automatic getting back in. I want to be sure that when the traffic light next turns green, the car behind me, expecting me to move right out, isn’t surprised.

    @ Bill Zbub
    As a motorist, I can appreciate your frustration. As a cyclist, I hope you manage that frustration a bit better than your comment suggests.

    True story. I and another cyclist, riding single file, and dressed in high vis yellow (neon green), had a short (0.2 mi) steep stretch of narrow road, with no shoulders to navigate to the glorious bike lane on the other side of a major intersection. A woman driving a big SUV came from behind, we could hear the vehicle speed up, as she took her lane in the middle, scaring the crap out of us, and nearly putting an oncoming car in the ditch.

    Naturally, as the fates would have it, we caught up with her at the traffic light. As we were waiting for the light to turn, I looked at her. She was staring straight ahead, biting her lower lip, and I think her chin was trembling. I actually felt sorry for her. She, we, and the oncoming car narrowly escaped disaster. And, it didn’t gain her a thing in terms of time. Instead, it almost cost her all day. A very unpleasant day, and probably many unpleasant days ahead.

    Some motorist may indeed kill me some day, but I wouldn’t want their life after they do.

  159. 159
    Mr Furious says:

    @Bill In OH: I don’t know how I forgot to write it, because my blowout was in the forefron of my mind.

  160. 160
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    This thread reads like Israel v. Palestine.

    A lot of people are assholes. Assholes use transportation of all sorts. Bicyclists who are assholes, will probably be assholes if you put them behind the wheel of a car. Motorists who are assholes will still be assholes if you suspend their driver’s license and make them ride a bicycle to work.

    Assholes don’t besmirch the reputation of entire modes of transportation, except in the short-sightedness of people who assume that every bicyclist/motorist they encounter is an asshole because a couple of the ones they previously encountered were, can do that.

    Bike lanes or no bike lanes, bike trails or no bike trails, there will always be assholes on the road, driving every sort of vehicle they can get more than 200 yards in without a cop pulling them over. Deal with it.

  161. 161
    ChrisB says:

    @Eric U.: @<a

    I am somewhat concerned that people can’t stop texting when they get in their cars. That really should call for a summary execution.

    There’s something I’ve never been tempted to do – text while riding my bike.href=”#comment-1319300″>The Moar You Know:

    I don’t advertise what I’ve been carrying in my bag since 1991, if you get my drift.

    I’d consider it if not for the extra weight.@r€nato:

    I’ll take my ‘goofy spandex outfit’ over your pot belly and double-chin any day of the week.

    Well, my problem is having all three – not a pretty sight.

  162. 162
    chopper says:

    @Cols714:

    Except for some reason this very reasonable law has provoked a lot of backlash. There was even flyers telling car drivers to harass bikers during a scheduled bike ride and extra cops had to be brought in.

    what?! is everyone on fucking crazy pills or something? “how dare the gummint step on my fundamental right to assault people!”??

    jesus, this shit puts me in a foul mood. after finally climbing out of a 3-days funk about the direction humanity is going in, i read this.

  163. 163
    Malaclypse says:

    Is there any biker here who hasn’t had some driver try to kill them?

    Probably not. I still remember the driver who was stopped at a stop sign, made eye contact with me, then pulled out dead in front of me because “bikes should always stop for cars” (even though he had a stop sign, and I had none). And the driver who made a left dead in front of me, and gave me the finger as I laid the bike down on pavement.

    Look, I get that some bikers, like some drivers, are jerks (although very few bikers are foolish enough to use a car phone while moving, unlike drivers). The key thing to remember is that cars weigh about 100 times what a bike does. No bicyclist will ever kill an auto driver, no matter how stupid or rude the biker is. Our behavior never threatens your lives. Yours threatens ours.

  164. 164
    Joel says:

    I’ve been a cyclist for about five years or so; generally my experience has been a good one.

    I do recall running into my fair share of obnoxious drivers, and obnoxious cyclists, too (critical mass, anyone?). If only people understood the value of courtesy, I feel like we could make the roads safer for everyone…

  165. 165
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Malaclypse:

    “No bicyclist will ever kill an auto driver, no matter how stupid or rude the biker is. Our behavior never threatens your lives. Yours threatens ours.”

    Depends on whether you count dying as I swerve to avoid you as you killing me or not. I can envision many scenarios in which an asshole bicyclist kills a motorist. Hell, I’ve practically lived through a couple.

    Just sayin’. Assholes are dangerous no matter what they drive. And if an irresponsible squirrel can cause a fatal collision, so can an irresponsible asshole on a mountain bike.

  166. 166
    Malacylpse says:

    Depends on whether you count dying as I swerve to avoid you as you killing me or not.

    Well, the only way that happens is if you try to pass when you don’t have enough space to safely do so. Bikes don’t force you to pass when passing is foolish.

    I can envision many scenarios in which an asshole bicyclist kills a motorist. Hell, I’ve practically lived through a couple.

    Then you really should take a remedial driving course, so as to learn how to cope with situations good drivers can anticipate. Good luck with that. Maybe better eyeglasses?

  167. 167
    Steve_in_NC says:

    As a recreational road bicyclist for the last 30 years on mostly rural roads in North Carolina my biggest beefs about cars are:

    Passing too close, if you need to get halfway in the other lane you might as well get all the way in the other lane, a partial headon collision is pretty close to a full head on. If you think you can squeeze between me and another car your plan is to actually to kill or injure me.

    Someone passing me an then making a right turn directly in front of me (cutting me off). This is called a right hook and happens far too often if you need to wait for me for 100 yards chill out and wait.

    Cars not stopping at stop signs or lights for right turns. This happens all the time, at rural intersections I bet fewer than half the right turners stop, and the very rarely see a bike.

    My biggest beefs with bicyclists:

    Not stopping at Lights and Stop Signs. I understand the loss of momentum, and I do it as well, but I slow almost to a stop. Far toom many cyclists will cross or turn right with traffic coming. I hate is when I’m driving a car, I hate it when I’m riding my bike.

    Passing my car at stop signs so I have to pass them a second time. If car traffic is jammed go ahead and pass, that’s a bike commuter benefit. but if traffic is not backed up at a light, wait your turn in traffic.

    Groups of two people riding side by side when traffic is trying to pass (go single file!). If you group is five or larger then go side to side; then it takes less time to pass.

    I will note that the behavior of drivers seems to be getting worse around here. I was hit by the sideview mirror of a truck that passed too close on purpose. He stopped to complain about me, and wanted to call the Highway Patrol to ticket me. When the HP arrived they gave him a ticket. However they only gave him a ticket because I had a witness, otherwise the officer would have called it a he says/she says situation.

  168. 168
    Dr. Drang says:

    There are worse things than having stuff thrown at you.

    According to our local paper, last week, in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, a driver hit a bicycle deliberately at a downtown intersection and drove off with the bike stuck to the car. Fortunately, the cyclist heard her gun the engine and jumped off before impact to avoid serious injury.

  169. 169
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Malacylpse:

    “Well, the only way that happens is if you try to pass when you don’t have enough space to safely do so. Bikes don’t force you to pass when passing is foolish.”

    Bicycles are capable of a wide variety of reckless actions- traveling from the shoulder directly in front of a speeding vehicle to cross the street for no apparent reason, for example. Or, say, not stopping at a red light, forcing me to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid you. Sort of like when a squirrel runs in front of my car, but much, much stupider.

    “Then you really should take a remedial driving course, so as to learn how to cope with situations good drivers can anticipate. Good luck with that. Maybe better eyeglasses?”

    Maybe better bicyclists, asshole. It’s not my fault if you’re stupid enough to run red lights on your fucking tenspeed.

  170. 170
    mothra says:

    But the fact is that most of the roads in this country were and continue to be built for cars and only cars

    BZZZZT. Wrong. Roads in this country were paved due to the lobbying efforts of the League of American Wheelmen. At the turn of the century, bicycles were proliferating as a mode of transportation in the United States. The roads were all rutted dirt, which were difficult for bicycles to manage. So, the League of American Wheelmen sent a petition to Washington, D.C. asking roads be paved for bicycles. You can see the petition for yourself at the National Archives–it’s on a wooden mock-up of a bicycle! Very cool.

    Sadly, they could not forsee that automobiles would take over and the drivers of those automobiles would be so selfish and rude that they wouldn’t want to share even an inch of the roads the Wheelmen got paved with a bicycle.

  171. 171
    dhd says:

    I think we can all agree that this sort of thing should not happen:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09217/988590-53.stm

    Oakland hit-and-run ends dream of better life
    Wednesday, August 05, 2009
    By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Mr. Lin’s step-by-step pursuit of the American dream ended in Oakland on Monday afternoon, when a pickup truck struck his bicycle as he was delivering food for a Chinese restaurant. Mr. Lin, 38, was pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m. at UPMC Presbyterian.

  172. 172
    dhd says:

    Or this, for that matter. I knew this guy.

    http://www2.nbc4i.com/cmh/news.....ent/19697/

    Local Bicyclist Dies After Hilliard Accident

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—A local bicyclist who was critically injured in a weekend accident died Tuesday night.

    “This will probably be the highest profile cycling fatality we’ve had here, and it will galvanize and bring the cycling community together in a way we probably haven’t seen before,” Stephens said.

    “Steve was as safe as they come on the road, and he didn’t deserve what happened to him,” Stephens said.

  173. 173
    Liam says:

    @Shinobi:

    Your post is just sad. You seem to assume that ALL bikers are lawless while the drivers in Chicago wheel about like upstanding citizens. Perhaps you’ve never seen anyone turn without a signal, run a red light, turn in front of a pedestrian, speed unnecessarily down a residential street, park in a bike lane, or the ohh so Chicago d-bag move of passing on the right. But I have and many times in front of “Chicago’s Finest”. Listen, it may seem like all the people out there are riding bikes downtown because its some kind of fad, but the more cost prohibitive it becomes to drive the more cyclists you will see on the roads. The lights and signs in modern cities are set up to move the flow of motor traffic. Fair enough. But many cyclists find the timing of these inefficient to their movement. The same way drivers do! I choose not to always obey the rules but to move with traffic in a respectful way. That means not cutting off cars or pedestrians. Critical mass may annoy you now as a once a month thing that “fucks up” your afternoon, but eventually that mass will be real and it is drivers not cyclists who will have to slow down against the pace of traffic. I would suggest you move to the suburbs, buy a team of mules to attach to the front of your Escalade, and wait for the end of fossil fuel. Happy Friday.

  174. 174
    Tom says:

    @Shinobi: I’m commute to work via bike in Chicago. What I can tell you is it’s not just bike riders breaking traffic laws. My commute allows me the luxury of riding the entire way in a bike lane. This bike line is defined by a white line on either side. From my understanding of traffic laws, you are not to cross that line unless it’s an emergency. Double parking or picking up a cab fare, in my opinion, does not fall under that category.

    Pedestrians aren’t much better. How many people do you see actually waiting for a walk sign at a traffic light? I’ve had several not even LOOK one direction before darting out into the middle of the street, causing me to take defensive actions and swerve to miss them. Jaywalking through cars stop at lights is also a major source of danger to peds and bikers alike. Just because the traffic is backed up for cars doesn’t mean that the bike lane isn’t clear. Car doors. Cars that right turn in front of bike lanes without checking for bikes. The list goes on. And for stop signs, how many cars actually come to a complete stop? By my estimations about zero. I was hit by a motorist after stopping at a stop sign, and checking for it to be clear. The car blew through the stop sign and I hit the it in the side and flew across the windshield. The car stopped for a second, then sped away.

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