The Chainlink

I've been "shoaled" and I just don't understand it. I've never done it myself. Is there anyone in our midst that is a shoaler or shoaler reformed?

I believe the definition is: passing the faster rider (that just past you) at the light while he/she is politely set back from the intersection and waiting for the light only to be passed by the faster rider once more after the light changes. (please correct me if I'm wrong)

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I've been accused of shoaling when I in fact stopped at the light and lined up behind the accuser at each light, took off at the same time and simply accelerated much faster to top speed (and then was passed after they eventually reached their top speed).

My bike is geared. The other was a single speed. I disagree that I should have to take off slower to stay behind someone that may or may not eventually pass me.

If the amount of time it takes for them to pass you is "eventually," then they're probably not all that much faster and just need to chill a bit.

Shoaling epitomizes the societal behavior that exists in most realms of shared space in Chicago: self-centricity with little regard for others. In other words, me first, whatever to the rest. The example I use when trying to eradicate this cycling style: cars don't all bunch up at traffic lights. There's organization, there are protocols, there's flow. It's not a free for all, because that would be disasterous, especially at speed. My main beef with shoalers: their disregard forces more risk on the rest of the cyclists, as well as compiles the hatred/fear/disrespect by car operators.

" don't all bunch up at traffic lights"?? How could they? There's no room! So people driving cars are paragons of societal behavior?! Have you ever heard of tailgating? Multi-ton vehicles passing closely at high speeds? Cutting across multiple lanes? All of which are far more dangerous than anything done on a bike! Cars try to squeeze by other cars all the time. They're usually unsuccessful because of a lack of room. Then there's the ones who take the right lane (usually reserved for right turns) and use it to zoom ahead of the middle lane, and then merge ahead of the cars in the middle lane right where the right lane turns into a parking lane. So organized, such protocol!!

Passing on a bike, when done safely, is safe (and legal). 'Forcing' the 'faster' rider to pass the 'slower' rider is not dangerous, as long as they pass safely. Arguments against made up things like 'shoaling' is all about annoyance. Poor babies. So-called 'shoalers' are just trying to get where they want to go, like anyone, anytime, in the history of the world. They see an empty space at the light, so they fill it. (The horror!) Look at the pedestrians pouring out of the train stations downtown. Do they 'line up' at the intersection, single file? Or do they fill every inch of sidewalk space, and even spill into the street at times? Is there anyone afoot, anywhere, who lines up at a light? Not even queue-happy Britons do that!

Even in the bicycling paradise of the Netherlands, people do what is called 'shoaling' here. You can see it in the videos. But only in America was the term coined, because we excel at taking a behavior, assuming it's a privilege, and then claiming it as a right.

I don't think you get what shoaling is.  It's not finding "an empty space at the light".  It's the practice of compulsively moving to the front of any group of cyclists waiting at a signal.  What makes it a problem is that if there are enough cyclists, the crosswalk or even part of the intersection can be blocked (by the resulting "shoal").

Is it the world's biggest problem?  Of course not.  But it's dumb, just like when drivers block the box, and it's interesting to speculate about why people are motivated to do it.

No argument that motorists and pedestrians often can't seem to follow basic rules of the road either. But we can't have a free for all in a city this size, the fact that bad motorist behavior is the most lethal doesn't mean we should encourage or celebrate it for other modes of movement.

Here's an example of self centered pedestrian behavior, where the people "filling empty space" are in fact having a most demonstrable negative impact.

Sadly, agreed. Forcing the risk on others is the big issue with right passers, shoalers, and red-light runners. Our own worst enemies in these cases... sigh. 

Seriously, is this more of Stuff White People Like -- Shoaling (and bitching about it)?

A First World Problem, indeed.

True.  If Chainlink ever expands to Burkina Faso, this topic will probably not show up on the forum.

It's been said before and i'll repeat: the biggest problem cyclists seem to have is other cyclists.


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