The Chainlink

I love that everyone is out riding their bikes nowadays.  Ever since Hurricane Katrina ripped this country a new one, “transportation biking” has blown up.  It’s nice, really.  Used to be that if I saw someone on a bike in the city, I probably knew who it was.  Now, forget it.  That’s good stuff, man.  Also, I will say that on the average, bikers have gotten much prettier over the last five years.  That’s a complement to the ladies, thanks for riding. 


BUT, I gotta say that I am getting appalled and angry by some of you guys and girlz.  As a veteran Shitcago bicycle messenger, I witnessed how Chicago jaywalking grew like a Texas forest fire in the 80’s.  The bike messengers of the late 80’s and 90’s brought cuttin’ lights to an artform.  Then car drivers thought that they could get in on the action too.  During the 90’s cars started running lights and stopping for nothing.  Plus they were gettin’ angry about it.  Chicago streets are just traffic soup and everyone thinks they are the ladle.

So what am I sayin’?  People follow examples.  Plain and simple.  Messengers make cutting traffic look good, simple, maybe almost safe.  So you try it a couple times.  Wow, what a rush, right?  Now you are getting bolder.  You try bigger intersections at busier times of day.  You start to get the feeling like you are the kid in The Matrix bending spoons with your mind.  HHHOOONNNKKK!!!!  Wake up!  Truck’s coming and you are in my line.  Why?  The point here is that Messengers do it cause we need to save time.  Messengers spend years learning the rhythm of the street lights, the direction of the traffic, and the unpredictable pedestrians, etc.  Getting paid on commission means nobody is paying you to waste time.  But hey, what am I really sayin’ here?  Some people just ain’t cut out to serve up the cuts and don’t know how to say “enough”.

Hell, I have probably run more red lights than anyone.  I am no one to talk.  But this is my area of expertise.  Sure this city is covered by more asphalt than anywhere.  Sure we have tons of roads, but they all go nowhere.  We have intersections every 200 feet that cause opposition to movement every 10 seconds or less.  I get it.  Cycling is momentum.  Everyone wants to keep rolling.  But there is a huge difference in coming up on a stop sign where there are no cars, after careful calculations, you proceed thru the stop sign and a pro messenger operating on six lanes of traffic at 4:45pm on a Friday at the end of the month.  So here it is; I am sick of almost getting hit by other bikers doing stupid sh!t for no other reason than, what? I don’t get it.  Back off.

Anyways, you could all make my life better, maybe yours too, if you all would start working these tidbits into normal life.

1.Pretend you are invisible.  This means you should never make anyone else hit their brakes.  Trucks can’t see you and can’t stop even if they did.  Cabs don’t care anyway.  Bikers don’t have insurance.  Kids are innocent.

2.Right of way.  Yield to those less than you.  Always go behind the pedestrians.  Always give kids extra room. 

3.Share the road, a tube, a smile.

4.Why are you cutting?  Do you have 10 packages in your bag with 10 people waiting for you and an angry angry dispatcher on your radio?  Didn’t think so. 

5.If you got hit by another bike, and the accident was your fault, whose insurance would pay?  So quit trying to cut me off while I’m riding or walking with my kid.  Geez. 


Street cred don’t come easy and it ain’t cheap.  Spend it wisely.  Peace.

 

 

UPDATE BELOW

 

Thank you to the posters whom understand what I was trying to express originally.  

 

Here is the only problem worth addressing in this thread: I have noticed a rapid rise in bikers running red lights, specifically this year.

 

So if you’re going to respond further to this thread please explain to me why people who are not messengers cut thru red lights.  Not why other people run red lights.  Just you, yourself, specifically, why do you run red lights?

 

Seeing as you do run red lights, what do you think the right thing to do is if you cause an accident?  Or how about just making another biker crash?  Is there any code of ethics you follow when you see another biker in the intersection who you just screwed?


 

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You're complaining (again) about people doing the same thing as you, running lights, stops... I know cutting crosswise through traffic and pedestrians takes some skill but as far as learning the direction and flow of the streets seems remedial unless you have the entire street grid of Chicago memorized? THAT is impressive.

your duncle said:

Well some of you get it.  Others not so much.  

 

Here it is real simple:  Too many people are riding like messengers that have no business riding in such a dangerous manner.   

 

Here are some examples to clear up the confusion.  

 

 1.I am going south on Wells, I have the green light at Ontario.  Lady on a rental bike going west on Ontario cuts her red and does the two step squirrel dance right in front of me.  I am the one with the right of way and also the one who has to come to a full stop.

2.While heading south on Wabash with a green light at Chicago where not one, but two people with double strollers push them ahead out into the street against the light and right in front of me.  Not good (granted they are not bikers, but shocking none the less). Full stop at a green light.

3.Going North on Milwaukee at Elston I have the green light.  Lovely little lady with her oversized sunglasses and ballet shoes does a southbound jump out into the intersection right in front of me and then she can’t decide which direction she wants to go to get herself out of trouble.  Luckily, it did not end with UP.  Hopefully she made it to art class on time.  My reflexes hit max output.

4.I was heading west on Huron came up to Dearborn slowed up for the red which was about to change in 4-3-2-1.  Twinkie on his fixie with his headphones in passed me on the right, rolled out into the intersection, brought three lanes of fast traffic to a screeching halt.  Barely looking up, he saunters down the block at his poop in the pants fixed gear slacker pace.  And yes, we was NOT a messenger.  Shook my head. 

 

So please people, wise up and be careful.  

Conceit is a poor vehicle for convincing.

You're kind of missing the point. No one should be riding in a dangerous manner. My husband used to deliver on his bike and laughed at your post. He said it was completely unnecessary to ride that way, regardless of your job.

 

You are coming off as an asshole.

I'd like to see you stay alive.

Statistically speaking, in order for you to do that, you'll need to stop taking unnecessary risks. Riding a 20 pound bicycle through red lights, hoping you don't get hit by a 2000 pound car is taking unnecessary risks.

If you get hit, the best thing that could happen is that you're killed instantly. That happened to a good friend of mine. Thank goodness he never knew what hit him.

The worst thing to happen is that you're alive. Upon arriving at the trauma unit, you're non responsive. Your intracranial pressure is sky high. Your Glascow coma scale rating is <8, severe trauma.

Since this is a numbers game, your family asks what your chances are of getting better. Here are the numbers as reported in a study of over 800 traumatic brain injury patients.

Less than 1/3 will have a good prognosis. Forty percent will have a moderate to severe disability. Approximately one half of one percent will be left in a vegetative state. The balance of the patients will eventually die.

None of the above data takes into account the fact that you may never walk again, feed yourself or be able to go to the bathroom like you used to.

You seem like a very intelligent and wise person when it comes to understanding the unnecessary risks that other people are taking when they behave like you. Please apply that same wisdom to yourself.

Stay alive to ride another day. Please.

I get it. Messenger's need to be fast and sometimes are prone to breaking some traffic rules. The explosion of digital correspondance nearly killed the messenger in the late 80's-90's. Not as many folks needed the messenger. Does the messenger need to hustle less? No

Messengers work on the street, more and more they've had to share their workspace with everyday commuters. Commuters see they way they ride and follow suit. Now you have double, tripple the amount of bikes riding "seemingly recklessly". What's the backlash for the commuter? Eh, another driver hating cyclists. What's the backlash for the messenger? Double, tripple the amount of drivers hating messengers.

 

As a commuter we're on the road back and forth about an hour? Some more, some less. Messengers are out there all day. Do all messengers ride recklessly? No. Is riding "recklessly" safe? No, but in order to get paid it's sometimes necessary.

 

I get it. Is it do as I say, not as I do? yep.

 

R>I>P...I would have more repsect for messangers if they put a helmet on and have respect the roads they use and the others on it with them...

 

"But this is my area of expertise."....

 

Are you serious, what red light running school did you go to...?

Know for sure if I see a messanger I will run them over...and provide some "street cred" right up their butt, and claim that they are "more experienced then me, how did that happen?"...

 

Get off your high horse or get new job! 

 

Don't you guys have your own website to wine on...? 

And you call yourself a professional.... 

 


Uh, No.  Just No.


pjc jr said:

Know for sure if I see a messanger I will run them over...

Sounds a bit like "shoot the messenger". 

Folks, you might not like what he has to say, but he does make some valid points and he is a professional. Does that make running red lights ok? No more than for the rest of us, but then I have long since given up trying to tell other people how to act. Ya know the line about teaching a pig to sing? (It wastes your time and annoys the pig.) Don't be offended by the way he tells you to ride more predictably and less aggressively, just do it. And BTW be glad you are biking in the City of Chicago. It has come a long way and it is way ahead of the surrounding areas. I live in Des Plaines and commute down Northwest Highway; Chicago streets (not counting downtown where I have very little experience) are much friendlier!

Well said.

David Lieb said:

Sounds a bit like "shoot the messenger". 

Folks, you might not like what he has to say, but he does make some valid points and he is a professional. Does that make running red lights ok? No more than for the rest of us, but then I have long since given up trying to tell other people how to act. Ya know the line about teaching a pig to sing? (It wastes your time and annoys the pig.) Don't be offended by the way he tells you to ride more predictably and less aggressively, just do it. And BTW be glad you are biking in the City of Chicago. It has come a long way and it is way ahead of the surrounding areas. I live in Des Plaines and commute down Northwest Highway; Chicago streets (not counting downtown where I have very little experience) are much friendlier!

I prefer Bill and Ted's more positive corollary:

"Be excellent to each other."



monkey said:

This applies to pretty much everything:

Rule #1: Don't be a douche.

It's just that simple.

But they have lasted far longer than the Pony Express did.
I hope you never forget a lens at a hotel.  

Michael Brosilow said:
Just as obsolete. 

David Lieb said:
But they have lasted far longer than the Pony Express did.

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