The Chainlink

Outside magazine article - worth reading...

...bike riders are part of the problem, and they have to be a big part of the solution.

...cycling-policy experts also wonder about negative repercussions from all the noise. Social-media alerts spotlighting hit-and-runs are useful—they help create national awareness of incidents that, a few decades ago, wouldn’t have reverberated beyond the coverage area of a local newspaper—but nowadays cyclists love to crowdsource their rage in other ways, like uploading snapshots of cars parked in bike lanes or sharing GoPro footage of yelling motorists.

The effects can be counterproductive. Hottman says that while incriminating video taken by cyclists can move law enforcement to take action, cops are hardly chasing down the drivers of every photographed license plate. Meanwhile, the general population, which frequently sees riders bending traffic rules themselves, often views cyclists’ finger-pointing as sanctimonious.

In response to a long, sympathetic Chicago Reader story about cyclist Bobby Cann’s fatal 2013 collision with an allegedly inebriated driver, an online commenter named “Cmccord” couldn’t get past what seemed like the riding community’s hypocrisy, since people on bikes are sometimes plastered themselves. “Perhaps this article can be addressed in all of its overwritten entirety during the next drunken debauchery meeting of cyclists knows as ‘Critical Mass,’ ” Cmccord wrote.

Even heads of cycling state get uncomfortable with the riding community’s tendency toward preachiness.

“That we can be arrogant jackasses and a pretty self-righteous group? That doesn’t sell well,” says Andy Clarke, president of the Washington, D.C., League of American Bicyclists, cycling’s oldest national advocacy group. “It’s an Achilles heel when we go to any city council meeting.”

One suggestion from the article: instead of flipping off offending motorists (who take their anger out not on you but on the next cyclist they encounter) how about giving a nice wave of thankful encouragement to motorists who show a little extra courtesy?

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How about we as 'cyclists' not accept it as our collective responsibility to charm the socks off 'motorists'?

Because that's what communities are supposed to do - it takes a village and all that.

Because it's in our collective (again, as in community) and individual best interest to do so.

How about we, as individuals (on foot, on bikes, in cars), each take it upon ourselves to treat the people in our path (on foot, on bikes, in cars) with courtesy and in accordance with the law?

Sounds like a plan. How about we, as individuals, encourage others to do the same? Starting with those in the communities we are in closest contact with...

None of us wants to be defined by the worst behavior of others perceived to be in our same group. There are driver, cyclists, pedestrians...students, teachers, protestants, catholics, Palestinians, Israelis, Democrats, Republicans, White Sox, Cubs etc etc, who act poorly and also who serve as examples of enlightened behavior. Too often we lump groups together and perceive bad behaviors. I'm no different. I admit I have a prejudice against BMW drivers and am aware that there are plenty of folks who are ultimate driving machine users who are also good citizens. I just have not seen many of them compared to the others in my non-scientific and statistically insignificant experience. 

It is not fair that cyclists have to deal with the perceptions of the rest of the world of us as entitled babies who flout the rules of the road until something happens to us.  It's not fair that smart people I know rail about "those #$%& bike riders". Yet, deal we must. Widely held perceptions are still out there. So, we ride with our heads held high (it's safer that way both physically and emotionally) and conduct ourselves as Jeff said as individuals. All those individual actions may have a side effect of making a small change in the old perceptions. 

My mantra that we are all trying to get home in one piece. Helps. Of course, a rider is much more  likely to suffer serious injury than a driver when we simultaneously occupy the same space.

Oh so sorry rage fill fire breathing multi-ton murderous metal monsters, for the discourtesy of so very often interrupting your haste and mamon with our bones.

How about those of us who don't identify as "cyclists", who are riding bikes for transportation and don't necessarily identify "community" with our mode of transportation?

Reboot Oxnard said:

How about we as 'cyclists' not accept it as our collective responsibility to charm the socks off 'motorists'?

Because that's what communities are supposed to do - it takes a village and all that.

Because it's in our collective (again, as in community) and individual best interest to do so.

The concerned cyclist should struggle to:

  • be beyond reproach
  • always obey the rules
  • be polite
  • never be drunk
  • be visible and outspoken.

Go forth and multiply concerned cyclist!

All the rest will do what they have always done.

This would be a non-issue if we had bike paths that were separated from cars via concrete or other large barriers.

I went from 3K+ miles per year to about 500 because of just this issue.

There is my vote. Get to work advocates.

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