The Chainlink

I looking for news articles for a project at work, and I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal I wanted to share. It's titled: Cycling's New Rules of the Road. It talks about the cycling boom right now, but focuses mainly on NYC. I wanted to point it out because I thought it was a good read as I was going through it as I read about how it can be choas at times with drivers, pedestrians and cyclist all having the share the road. Then halfway down the article it swiches gear (pun not originally intended, but sticking with it) about a new ad campaign that NYC is launching. It's titled "Don't be a jerk" and is aimed at cyclists. I like that there's a campaign about sharing the road that has this title, but I don't understand why it can't be aimed at drivers and pedestrians at the same time, teaching everyone to share. Anyway, my intention isn't to post this to create a rant. I thought a good part of it was an interesting read for a few reasons. 1. The guy who is the main source for the article in regards to urban planning and cyclists being a part of that plan is working on a study about cycling in cities that Chicago is partially funding. 2. The article states that in Chicago bus drivers and cab drivers are required to take a course on safe driving with cyclists. The bus driver part I knew, but cab drivers are required too? Really? 3. I think the article had good information to add extra knowledge and perspective as a bike advocate.

 

I just realized how long it's been since I've posted anything here. Jeez.

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I came across this yesterday and almost started a thread (it's listed at the bottom of the main chainlink page with the other articles).
I got about halfway through the article thinking it was well researched and that the author seemed to have an evolved perspective, but then somehow the agenda of promoting vehicular cycling as the only solution became the pervasive flavor and I decided not to promote it any further.
I also tried to contact the author about the use of "road" (as opposed to "rode") as past perfect of "ride" but could only find links to subscribe to WSJ and gave up.
Interesting but maybe not the best cheerleader for bikes. I was just in NYC and I can't imagine that Chicago is doing more as the article says.

Another NYC bike related article also indirectly or directly grumbles about cyclists as a group, typified by bad bad not by the rules riders, which has led noncyclists to get parts of the biking infrastructure removed. Note the huge recent increase in cyclists after the bike lanes went in - a source of joy to some and consternation to others. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/nyregion/23bicycle.html
New York is quite different from Chicago in that the culture is all about walking and transit. (The majority of New Yorkers don't have a car.) Cyclists are viewed as dangerous annoyances not for the reasons they are in most cities, but because this is a place where jaywalkers are generally regarded as having the right of way against traffic.

That said, the reason New York cycling advocates complain that other cities are doing more is that they are. New York is incomprehensibly big, much larger than people who haven't lived there tend to appreciate, and the vast majority of it is very badly wired for cyclists. (Queens alone is comparable to Chicago in size and has about two-thirds the population, and we may as well be Amsterdam by comparison.) Manhattan and large parts of Brooklyn may have a lot of cycling infrastructure, but planners have in mind that Staten Island, which is about as large and populous as Boston, doesn't.
Some excellent points you make - NY is a much larger city. But where are the 250 miles of bike lanes, the bike box markings, the separated lanes, the bicycle traffic lights in the other cities that are doing better? Sure, there are some, but not here. I can see the negative comparison to any city in northern Europe or to Japan, but I don't think that we can really be too sure that Chicago is doing more than NY on these issues. I think that NYC starts from way ahead, too, from a human scale transportation standpoint, for just the reason you mention: they don't have cars (and usually can't drive til coming out into our world to go to college) and they can take public transit and walk everywhere.

An interesting point raised in the article(s), I think, is that they argue that the new infrastructure has pulled lots of new riders out onto the street, but some cyclists don't follow the rules, and that gives people with nothing better to do an opportunity to complain and try to take away what really is a public benefit. But last year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these kinds of allegations served to cover a different objection to cycling based in religious intolerance to nontraditional clothing (NY Post). Do we as cyclists all have to ride like the 'good example' cartoon chipmunk in a drivers ed movie on vehicular lanes, or is it something else about cycling that bugs the grumpy people and we lose no matter what we do? If it's the latter, and I think it might be, we should stop apologizing (those who do), assert our right to proper bicycle infrastructure instead of having to compromise by riding on roads like Irving Park, and just ride where we're going.


Dr. Doom said:
the reason New York cycling advocates complain that other cities are doing more is that they are.


Allen Wrench said:
But last year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these kinds of allegations served to cover a different objection to cycling based in religious intolerance to nontraditional clothing (NY Post). Do we as cyclists all have to ride like the 'good example' cartoon chipmunk in a drivers ed movie on vehicular lanes, or is it something else about cycling that bugs the grumpy people and we lose no matter what we do? If it's the latter, and I think it might be, we should stop apologizing (those who do), assert our right to proper bicycle infrastructure instead of having to compromise by riding on roads like Irving Park, and just ride where we're going.



Underlining for emphasis by me.

You hit the nail right on the head. There are certain people who will never be content to let certain other groups have any freedom. We have our own haters in this community who would ban cars if they had the chance. Whatever reason comes to hand is a good reason to get a handle on getting what they really want.

Just ride your bike. I'll ride mine. When everyone is riding one then what are they going to do?

When it's time to railroad we railroad. When it's time to ride bikes we'll all be riding bikes. That's how social phenomenons work. I think that riding will become much more popular as time goes on and there isn't anything anyone is going to do about it. Perhaps everyone will be riding electric-powered bikes when the technology gets here and those of us still pedaling will be the minority -but I think most people will be riding on light two-wheeled vehicles regardless in our near future.
Sometimes I'm a car, sometimes I'm a bike, sometimes I'm a pedestrian. Whichever hat I'm wearing, I, like most, want a minimum of impediments to my mode, line and pace of travel. And I'm just naive enough to believe that's what everyone else wants as well. The only car, bike or pedestrian I generally hate is the one directly in front of me.

Each of these modes of transportation has it's proportionate share of jerks, but no one has a monopoly on jerkdom. I don't like the smart phone/dumb pedestrian shuffle and weave. I don't like bicyclists that block the right turn lane at stoplights. I don't like cars that accelerate and swerve so they can get to the next red light more quickly. My experience is that cars behave in the most predictable fashion.
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" -George Carlin



Kevin Conway said:
Sometimes I'm a car, sometimes I'm a bike, sometimes I'm a pedestrian. Whichever hat I'm wearing, I, like most, want a minimum of impediments to my mode, line and pace of travel. And I'm just naive enough to believe that's what everyone else wants as well. The only car, bike or pedestrian I generally hate is the one directly in front of me.

Each of these modes of transportation has it's proportionate share of jerks, but no one has a monopoly on jerkdom. I don't like the smart phone/dumb pedestrian shuffle and weave. I don't like bicyclists that block the right turn lane at stoplights. I don't like cars that accelerate and swerve so they can get to the next red light more quickly. My experience is that cars behave in the most predictable fashion.
All the time.


James Baum said:
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" -George Carlin



95% of drivers consider their driving skills to be above average-
( W.C. Fields? The Onion? Ghandi?)
Fields might have driven.
How is a vegetable/satirical newspaper supposed to drive?
I doubt Ghandi drove.
H3N3 said:
95% of drivers consider their driving skills to be above average-
( W.C. Fields? The Onion? Ghandi?)
Svenson. And it was only 93%

H3N3 said:
95% of drivers consider their driving skills to be above average-
( W.C. Fields? The Onion? Ghandi?)
Wow, good read. Apologies for the grossly inaccurate percentage and the catastrophically negligent misattribution. Although I think it's become common, accepted practice to attribute quotes to Ghandi. I mean, can you prove he never said that?


Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. This is evident in a variety of areas including intelligence, performance on tasks or tests and the possession of desirable characteristics or personality traits. It is one of many positive illusions relating to the self, and is a phenomenon studied in social psychology.

Illusory superiority is often referred to as the above average effect. Other terms include superiority bias, leniency error, sense of relative superiority, the primus inter pares (first among equals) effect,[1] and the Lake Wobegon effect (named after Garrison Keillor's fictional town where "all the children are above average"). The phrase "illusory superiority" was first used by Van Yperen and Buunk in 1991.[1]


I guess this entry was written before they started calling it the "Mr. Rogers Effect."

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