The Chainlink

http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/27635186-452/could-rahm-lose-rac...

The thing is that Bike Lane's aren't the problem, but they are an obvious change upon which the drivers can blame their problems.   But if someone beats Rahm, they will, no doubt, give a great deal of credence to the Anti-Bike forces.   I am afraid that the mis-advocating of the ATA is coming back to roost.  We need that political capital that they threw away on that horrible Ashland Abomination, the Berteau "No Way", and a number of other badly thought out projects at the expense of real and useful projects.   Oh, and Critical Mass, I am looking at you too.   Once a month you deliver the message that Bicyclists think that they are better than the rest and don't have to follow any of the social conventions.    And that enters into the mix on these comments as well.  

Here's what we all need to do.   Dress and act respectfully (i.e. no naked bike ride, no bright flowery helmets with shirts that say "can you see me now asshole"), follow the primary traffic rules (right way on streets, stop at lights) and try to make people realize that we are part of the solution.  For if we don't, we are an election away from getting swatted hard.

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Thank you for expressing this specifically. I was too irritated to even get out something eloquent.

Simon Phearson said:

Of course, the example of same-sex marriage cuts against your argument, since the most recent step came only after decades of in-your-face advocacy and generation-by-generation, individual-by-individual coming out to families, friends, and workplaces.



Michelle Milham said:

  --- so here, you are actually admitting that they are exactly the same thing, but that you approve of one and don't approve of the other. It won't matter really, if it causes traffic, people won't like it. 

My comment:  Nothing of the sort.  Ride of Silence is later in the day, it is organized with a known route ahead of time and has pre-arranged police escort.  And if it were set apart from CM, it might actually have some impact.

2.  

 Would you argue that we have accomplished our goal in Chicago? Because I certainly would not. 

My comment:  Hmmmm.   The CM proponents have always argued that they are simply having a good time and that CM is not intended to promote anything.  So which is it?  is it having a good time or is it trying to "protest" for bicycling?   If the later, its doing a really rotten job of it.

3.   I'm not creating the us vs them mentality. Drivers are. I would much rather they just shut up and we all got along, but I will fight for my right to the road until they do, by any means possible short of violence

My comment:  Sure you are.  Your comments reek of "us" versus "them".    And they are the supermajority and they can take away the "right" you have to the road if they so deem.  That's why "fighting" is the wrong way to go.  You will lose.

(btw... there are like 10 y/os at CCM so where you continue to compare it to protests like the Vietnam War protests... you're not correct. It's far more civilized and orderly. 

My comment:  Unlike you, I was around during the Viet Nam war protests.    Lots and lots of 10 year olds (and younger) were at the protests.   And a great many of them were civilized and organized.  And they were all "ineffective".

Instead of the cops beating us or gassing us, they're hanging out with us, blocking streets for us, and chatting with us. Pretty much not the same tone at all.) 

My comment:  The Police Riots in 1968 in Chicago were not the only "protests" and not the only kind of reaction from the police.   Viet Nam era protestors would often say the same thing to justify their ineffective actions.

5.Please, by all means, tell me again how smoking doesn't cause asthma attacks. That's funny.

My comment:   I didn't say that.   But you also ignored the fact that the anti-bicycling forces could cite to, for example, the elderly Pedestrian killed in San Francisco by the bicyclist.   Remember, its perception not fact that controlled.

 The facts, like, the actual, rock solid, undisputable, scientifically backed facts are on the side of bicyclists. So these situations are not really as comparable as you think they are. 

My comment:  Which facts?  

6.      - Great. But they're essentially the same thing, only one is slightly more planned than the other. And only slightly more. CCM changes route to route every month, but is no where as large of an undertaking. Really, drivers should be more inconvenienced by Bike the Drive than they ever will be by CCM, since their chance of actually running into the mass is slim to none.

My comment:  CM occurs in the middle of the business district at the height of rush hour on a Friday.   BTD occurs very early on a Sunday Morning (at the period of lowest traffic flow).    The two are very very different.    Some folk are "upset" over BTD, but lots and lots of people are mad at CM.   It upsets drivers, it upsets Pedestrians, it upsets Bus Riders (and train riders that miss their trains).     They are not the same.

7.
- Our right to bicycling on streets is not enshrined in the Constitution, no.

My comment:  Game, Set, Match.

But our right to peacefully gather and protest, as we do at CCM, is. Contrary to your belief, it is peaceful.

My comment:   Speech can be reasonably regulated.  CM got its permit?  And is CM a "protest" or a "fun time" (as most CM people claim).   If the former, it has done a lousy job of protesting.   And, by the way, don't put words in my mouth.  I never said CM was not peaceful.  I said it was offensive and counterproductive.   

And our right to the streets is enshrined in other laws. Precedent is for us, not against us. You may have forgotten who streets were originally built because of... that hasn't changed. Our right is enshrined in highway code as well.

My comment:   Laws can be changed by the majority.  

Maybe not our right to bike lanes/infra, but certainly our right to be there. Unless you think that drivers are capable of overturning more than 100 years of precedent in highway codes... pretty much we have a right to be on the road.

My comment:  Its actually about a twenty word change to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code.   Precedent is irrelevant if the law is changed.

And rights are in place to protect minorities, and any judge worth their seat knows that removing minority rights at the will of the majority goes against everything this country stands for. 

My comment.  Great. Show me a right.   That's the problem.   Using a bicycle on a public way is not a "right".  It is presently allowed under Illinois law, but it is not a right.   

Also: do you REALLY think that no one protested for gay marriage? Honestly? Yeah... everyone just had an epiphany an that just happened. Totally. Ugh. 

My Comment:  The actual changes occurred after the "protests" stopped. 


- I hope you never have the "Choice" between walking 10 miles to get to work or riding them. That is the choice some people face, which isn't much of a choice at all. 

No.  Its not much of a choice.    Life isn't always fair.  Working for societal justice would solve these issues.  But nattering on about non-existent rights to bicycle on the street and pretending that CM is not bad....   doesn't make it so.

If by flame war you mean "argument"- no one is "flaming" anyone here.



rwein5 said:

ha! classic CL flamewar



Simon Phearson said:

Of course, the example of same-sex marriage cuts against your argument, since the most recent step came only after decades of in-your-face advocacy and generation-by-generation, individual-by-individual coming out to families, friends, and workplaces.

I'm not sure the marriage equality cause really supports you here.  Things didn't take off until the the last 5 years or so when a majority of the population supported marriage equality after about 20 years of steadily increasing support.  OTOH, the early bold steps to gain equality like the Hawaii state supreme court decision in 93 resulted in DOMA being passed and an amendment to the Hawaii constitution banning same sex marriage.  At least for DADT and marriage equality, it seems like the slow gradual behind the scenes approach resulted in the stolid sustainable gains and that was after popular opinion started swinging decisively in favor of getting rid of these bans.

If we want car drivers to support bike infrastructure, we have to find ways to convince them that it's in their interest to do so, and achieving that requires somehow conveying that message to them in a convincing way. Good bike diplomacy - while always advisable - is not really a complete PR campaign. 

Honestly, I'm not sure critical mass really helps here.  It's not civil disobedience  and does things (corking, ignoring stop signs/traffic lights) that aren't used in another cycling context.

+   Exactly.    The cause changed its approach and emphasized the commonality and has now made great progress.  Its how adults support causes.....

S said:



Simon Phearson said:

Of course, the example of same-sex marriage cuts against your argument, since the most recent step came only after decades of in-your-face advocacy and generation-by-generation, individual-by-individual coming out to families, friends, and workplaces.

I'm not sure the marriage equality cause really supports you here.  Things didn't take off until the the last 5 years or so when a majority of the population supported marriage equality after about 20 years of steadily increasing support.  OTOH, the early bold steps to gain equality like the Hawaii state supreme court decision in 93 resulted in DOMA being passed and an amendment to the Hawaii constitution banning same sex marriage.  At least for DADT and marriage equality, it seems like the slow gradual behind the scenes approach resulted in the stolid sustainable gains and that was after popular opinion started swinging decisively in favor of getting rid of these bans.

If we want car drivers to support bike infrastructure, we have to find ways to convince them that it's in their interest to do so, and achieving that requires somehow conveying that message to them in a convincing way. Good bike diplomacy - while always advisable - is not really a complete PR campaign. 

Honestly, I'm not sure critical mass really helps here.  It's not civil disobedience  and does things (corking, ignoring stop signs/traffic lights) that aren't used in another cycling context.

My point is that a majority of the population supporting marriage equality didn't appear out of nowhere: that's a consensus that had to be built, and the early stages of laying the foundation of that consensus included, yes, in-your-face advocacy. We would not be where we are today if it weren't for previous generations of outspoken advocates reminding LGBT people that the best thing we could do for one another is come out, outing public figures that took anti-LGBT positions, organizing parades, etc., etc. 

The biking movement seems like it's in a very early stage, relatively speaking. I don't think just being good bike diplomats and trying to nibble at the edges of infrastructure budgets otherwise massively devoted to paving over neighborhoods and parks, at this stage, is going to get us where we want and need to be. That just feeds into our image of being part of a dismissable fringe, a bunch of loons riding toys to work and the grocery store, and continues the current status quo. What we need to do is effect a cultural shift, where drivers look at their cars as the optional vehicle, the device they don't actually need to use every day; where drivers understand that a bike rider next to them at a light is one fewer car in front of them. 

Is CM the way to do it? I am skeptical. But I do know one thing: CM is the sort of thing that shouldn't be a big deal, and it wouldn't be if our infrastructure weren't entirely designed to move cars into and out of downtown as quickly as possible and if our drivers weren't so preoccupied with their own personal need to get there fast. They should try doing their commute at bike speeds and see whether their lives completely implode. Opposing CM, you might just as easily take the drivers' side on bike lanes - those also impede traffic in some tenuously-understood way. Some nerve us cyclists have, riding in them!

The same could be said for not obeying traffic rules. The reason cyclists run red lights, among other things, is that red lights and the rules relating to them are simply not designed for bike traffic. Obeying traffic laws while riding may be required, but it's stupid in a way that most cyclists seem to intuit. Every evening commute, I spend probably five minutes in a left turn lane on Kinzie, trying to get into the Dearborn PBL. I feel like an idiot the whole time, but - bike diplomacy. That's why I do it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need a real strategy. Open displays of irreverence are maybe not the way to ally ourselves with drivers in a project to make our streets and neighborhoods saner, more connected, and more pleasant to live in and travel through. But assimilating ourselves to car culture will only perpetuate that car culture and leave us squarely at the fringe. A lot of what we're fighting against right now are just the truly privileged ways that people think about their commute. They can't even imagine a city that isn't asphalt streets everywhere and driveways and towers of parking and highways wherever we can pack them.


S said:



Simon Phearson said:

Of course, the example of same-sex marriage cuts against your argument, since the most recent step came only after decades of in-your-face advocacy and generation-by-generation, individual-by-individual coming out to families, friends, and workplaces.

I'm not sure the marriage equality cause really supports you here.  Things didn't take off until the the last 5 years or so when a majority of the population supported marriage equality after about 20 years of steadily increasing support.  OTOH, the early bold steps to gain equality like the Hawaii state supreme court decision in 93 resulted in DOMA being passed and an amendment to the Hawaii constitution banning same sex marriage.  At least for DADT and marriage equality, it seems like the slow gradual behind the scenes approach resulted in the stolid sustainable gains and that was after popular opinion started swinging decisively in favor of getting rid of these bans.

If we want car drivers to support bike infrastructure, we have to find ways to convince them that it's in their interest to do so, and achieving that requires somehow conveying that message to them in a convincing way. Good bike diplomacy - while always advisable - is not really a complete PR campaign. 

Honestly, I'm not sure critical mass really helps here.  It's not civil disobedience  and does things (corking, ignoring stop signs/traffic lights) that aren't used in another cycling context.

I understand this. I am not taking  a position on hard core following of the Rules of the Road or on Critical Mass. Still, I agree that we have to at least follow the spirit of the Rules of the Road. As I posted earlier, we need to ride with a consciousness that we are all on the road together and that we want everybody to get there safely. As to CM, I don't ride it but don't have any issues with it. I am usually not free when CM takes place. Years ago I had a problem with it as I interpreted CM at that time as an us against them mentality. I do not agree with that but also feel that CM has evolved and does not necessarily stand for that today. But then again, since I am not a CM regular I am not going to define it or say what it stand for. 

I think the future of the roads in urban America will not be about us or them. It will be integrated in the newspeak we hear from transportation advocates. We are all part of a share of the road and there are a variety of modes of transportation. Most of us do and will use many of these modes on a regular basis. 



Simon Phearson said:

The same could be said for not obeying traffic rules. The reason cyclists run red lights, among other things, is that red lights and the rules relating to them are simply not designed for bike traffic. Obeying traffic laws while riding may be required, but it's stupid in a way that most cyclists seem to intuit. Every evening commute, I spend probably five minutes in a left turn lane on Kinzie, trying to get into the Dearborn PBL. I feel like an idiot the whole time, but - bike diplomacy. That's why I do it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need a real strategy. Open displays of irreverence are maybe not the way to ally ourselves with drivers in a project to make our streets and neighborhoods saner, more connected, and more pleasant to live in and travel through. But assimilating ourselves to car culture will only perpetuate that car culture and leave us squarely at the fringe. A lot of what we're fighting against right now are just the truly privileged ways that people think about their commute. They can't even imagine a city that isn't asphalt streets everywhere and driveways and towers of parking and highways wherever we can pack them.



Agreed.  I feel that way when I travel abroad , esp in certain european cities.  There is no bike culture cause it is so part of the norm.

David Barish said:

I think the future of the roads in urban America will not be about us or them. It will be integrated in the newspeak we hear from transportation advocates. We are all part of a share of the road and there are a variety of modes of transportation. Most of us do and will use many of these modes on a regular basis. 

 

This is a fair point - standing up for what you believe in is a fundamental requirement if you're going to achieve your goals.

What also matters is whether you're standing up or acting out. Sometimes a little misbehaving is a good way to get attention, see: every two year old child whose tantrum gets him a piece of candy. Sometimes, however, a little misbehaving garners the wrong kind of attention, see: every two year old child whose tantrum results in a swat to his fundus and a time-out. By three, most children have learned the secret to achieving an objective lies in the ability to adapt and innovate, not to stand in the middle of the room screaming.

The takeaway from the poll remains: resistance to cycling is increasing to the point that it may become actively detrimental to our cause. Hopefully, as every two year old does, we can learn from our experiences and avoid acting out when the parents are in a bad mood and earn a collective smack down. Tipping points are inflection points, they only demarc changes in trend lines and can be either good or bad for those whose principles are at stake.

Social change almost always starts with a 'lunatic fringe' getting attention by acting out but it never actually gains acceptance until the movement learns to behave responsibly while insisting on change. If cycling is going to achieve the critical mass that would make it mainstream, it's time to abandon the tactics of Critical Mass that threaten to create a backlash.


Michelle Milham said:

Said every single person who ever just say down and gave up on an ideal.

I have only heard negative views from people who are drivers. My mom's main complaint is how it impacts times for emergency vehicles. I haven't been to more than one or two, so I don't know how the crowd responds (I would hope by pulling to the right!) but the back up can be pretty bad even on intersecting streets, so I don't think it is unfounded to think an ambulance or police car might get tied up by Critical Mass.




Michelle Milham said:

DO Critical Mass rides hurt the publics view of cycling? Honest Question. Honestly? I think if we asked the public their opinion on Critical Mass... most would say "what's that?" and those that knew might say "Oh is that that thing I waited for once? That looked bizarre." - that's hardly "negative." 

I've only been on one, mind you, but the one I went on was supported by police who were blocking a lot of intersections, was mostly organized and polite, contained families and children, and only a few fringe weirdos were angry/riding like asses. There was a lot of bell ringing and cheering, and people were coming out of their houses, leaning out their windows, and rolling down their car windows to shout hello. There were copious high fives and everyone was shouting "Happy Friday!"  Whole families were greeting us in the streets. We rode to the food bank and paused there to donate. Honestly? It felt like a pretty fantastic way to MEET the community and be involved with it. 

Were there a few laying on their horns? Sure, but they were few and far between compared to the people who were amused/asked who we were/thought it looked fun. I seriously rode with the cops and chatted a little with them, and they said they don't mind us at all. 

I think Mass in Chicago used to be something very rebellious, judging from my research. But now? I think Mass is mostly an accepted monthly ride with hundreds of participants. 

Also I have a question about this: "lycranauts schuss-bombing the LFP hurt the public view of cycling."  -- may I ask, where, exactly, are people who would like to train supposed to go to ride? I'm not saying I think the LFP is the place, but it just seems like a) lycra gets some sort of really weird bad rap that doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever (I don't wear much of it, I prefer cheap old navy yoga clothes, but hey I can't argue that having pockets on your back isn't convenient) and b) there is literally no where that a serious cyclist can go ride full out that they won't get sh*t for it. So I wonder about that often when I hear that argument. 


Reboot Oxnard said:

Emmanuel has been a big benefactor to cycling but that largesse may represent a big threat, too. If cycling is identified with Emmanuel - and, right now, it is - and it becomes a factor in his defeat in the upcoming election, what will the impact on cycling be? Does it matter?
The reality is that sooner or later, if cycling doesn't cross over to the mainstream community, there will be a backlash against the current level of infrastructure expenditures and traffic disruption (both motor vehicle and pedestrian) that it has cost/caused. There certainly won’t be more money or political support. The increased support cycling has enjoyed simply isn't sustainable so long as it remains a fringe activity, especially when existing users are so heavily identified with the estranged.
Bicycling infrastructure is essential if cycling is to be a viable option yet that infrastructure must be widely utilized if society is going to continue to pour money into it. So what can the cycling community do to help cycling establish itself and expand its utilization factor?
There are two fronts to address:
1. Promote the positives. Cycling can be a viable mode of travel, one that presents a wide range of benefits including cost, health, congestion, economic development, etc. We’ve done a reasonably good job of that.
2. Suppress the negatives. Cycling has high negatives in the community and we need to start addressing them before they become our Achilles heel. You can argue the pro’s and con’s of Idaho stops until you’re blue in the face but lack of respect for traffic laws hurt the public view of cycling. You can argue that Critical Mass rides are fun and not a significant inconvenience but they hurt the public view of cycling. Likewise, lycranauts schuss-bombing the LFP hurt the public view of cycling. Hell, arguments about mandating helmets hurt the public view of cycling. It is in our interest, as a community that has been receiving funding and support far in excess of our due from the community, to begin the process of policing ourselves. The process needs to start right here, on thechainlink. We have not done a very good job of that.
The challenge the cycling community faces is to begin conforming to the standards of the mainstream or lose the support/tolerance of the larger community. Acting out is an effective tool for getting attention but we’ve done that. Now, it’s imperative to demonstrate that we can behave and offer a net benefit to the community or that public attention will become our worst enemy.

I love the new cycling infrastructure and do not want its progress impeded in any way and definitely do not want it to go away. I think there's a lot of ways to address the need of getting more people to bike (that's the ultimate goal, right?) and having more approaches to rally behind will probably help get more people to get on board. For example, I don't ride CM because I don't like crowds and I'm painfully courteous, so making people wait for a parade to roll by that they didn't know about makes me feel guilty. (Embarrassing, but true). So, while CM scratches the bike advocacy itch for others, it doesn't work for me. Fortunately, I know there are other ways to encourage people to bike, like sharing good routes with nervous riders, etc.

However, somewhere earlier in this, er, discussion, someone did say something that pushed one of my buttons. One thing I wish was not so prevalent is the us vs. them mentality, or the notion that people are either "drivers" or "bikers". When did those modes of transportation become mutually exclusive? My fave mode is biking, but I also drive, walk, take the CTA...I love having the options and would hate to give any one of them up. Does that mean I hate bikers when I'm driving or hate cars when I'm biking? Of course not, at least assuming everyone is following the rules of the road and acting respectfully. 

Well said!

Maria Boustead said:

I love the new cycling infrastructure and do not want its progress impeded in any way and definitely do not want it to go away. I think there's a lot of ways to address the need of getting more people to bike (that's the ultimate goal, right?) and having more approaches to rally behind will probably help get more people to get on board. For example, I don't ride CM because I don't like crowds and I'm painfully courteous, so making people wait for a parade to roll by that they didn't know about makes me feel guilty. (Embarrassing, but true). So, while CM scratches the bike advocacy itch for others, it doesn't work for me. Fortunately, I know there are other ways to encourage people to bike, like sharing good routes with nervous riders, etc.

However, somewhere earlier in this, er, discussion, someone did say something that pushed one of my buttons. One thing I wish was not so prevalent is the us vs. them mentality, or the notion that people are either "drivers" or "bikers". When did those modes of transportation become mutually exclusive? My fave mode is biking, but I also drive, walk, take the CTA...I love having the options and would hate to give any one of them up. Does that mean I hate bikers when I'm driving or hate cars when I'm biking? Of course not, at least assuming everyone is following the rules of the road and acting respectfully. 

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