Is there a virus out there causing oblivious selfishness?


Let’s hear his side of the story first, shall we? A bicyclist in Spokane was cruising down a community trail when he spots some pedestrians up ahead. He yells “Hot pizza!” (what?) and smashes into them. Then he gets up, yells at them, and later writes a facebook post about how stupid they were.

So first ride without the brace and some pedestrian wouldn’t move!! Centennial trial is not yours alone pedestrians!! When someone yells on your left or hot pizza maybe turn around instead of walking 3 wife with your strollers and dogs blocking the whole trail! !! F#&@!!!!!! I wish I had my go pro to document the stupidity.

He broke a 67 year old woman’s arm. There are witnesses who state that he had room on the path to go around them. He didn’t even slow down, and he publicly admits it.

“I hate to slow down,” Haller said when asked why he didn’t. “Most of the time people move. These people wouldn’t move,” he added, noting that the moms with strollers were part of the problem, too.

Ah. So I guess next time he’ll feel justified running over babies. The little bastards are just too damn slow.

This is a guy who is absolutely in the wrong on all counts. Pedestrians have the right of way, he is expected to bike responsibly on a shared path, he came up too fast and collided with people from behind, and he was biking with an injury (from a previous accident!) that made him less effective at braking. There’s no excuse.

Yet somehow, he blames it all on the woman he injured.

It’s egregious stupidity, and I wonder where this is coming from. There seems to be an epidemic of diminished empathy sweeping across the country, and it’s having consequences that range from accidents on park trails to the Occupant of the White House.

Comments

  1. doubter says

    There seems to be an epidemic of diminished empathy sweeping across the country…

    I’ve recently decided to choose optimism in the face of Trump, so I’m going to cling to the hope that this is actually confirmation bias.

  2. Alverant says

    It’s not Trump. Bicyclists have pretty much always been like that. In my state cyclists are required to follow the traffic laws but I have yet to see one do something as simple as stopping at a stop sign. And before anyone makes excuses about not wanting to get hit from behind, ask yourself “do I have a rear view mirror so I can SEE cars behind me? do I wear ear buds while driving that prevents me from HEARING cars around me? why don’t I stop at stop signs along bike paths when there is ZERO chances of a car being behind me?”

    I’ve been paying attention to bicyclists’ behavior more these past few years. They want the law to protect them but hardly feel any obligation to follow those same laws. I’m more than three times as likely to see one driving down the wrong side of the road wearing ear buds (both of which are illegal for vehicle operators to do in my state) than to see one making a legally required turn signal (84 vs 27), to say nothing about the “slow down” hand signal. It seems like the only days I don’t see cyclists running stop signs and stop lights are the days when the weather is too crappy for them to be out.

    Don’t say more biking lanes are needed. They hardly use the ones they have now!

  3. cartomancer says

    It’s a symptom of modern American culture’s obsession with individualism. That and the fact that the US political class has been systematically dismantling community and communal activities over the last forty years. In places where people are connected with one another and feel themselves a part of the wider community, this sort of thing happens much less.

  4. brucej says

    Haller said he calls it a good day when he makes it home without an accident. “I’ve broken 25 bones,” he said. “When I lived in L.A., a doctor asked me if I was a stunt man.”

    Ok right there is the problem. I’ve been commuting by bicycle and riding recreationally for decades and if you’re crashing every day and have broken that many bones, you’re riding like an incompetent asshole. I can count the accidents I’ve ever had while commuting on one hand, and have a finger left over to show him…

  5. frog says

    I recognize the need to make places more bicycle-friendly, but I’m with Alverant @ 4 on this one. Philadelphia recently took a lane out of Chestnut Street (a major commuter road), reducing it to two driving lanes, and installed a bike lane behind the row of parked cars. Yay, good safety and okay, let’s share the road. I can live with that, even if it inconveniences me.

    BUT.

    I still see bicyclists in the CAR LANES of Chestnut Street, slowing down an already choked road even more. Many don’t use the damn bike lane that was set up just for them. That is assholery.

    The bicyclist of Philly are also well known for ignoring stop signs and red lights. I get that folks don’t want to lose momentum—I wouldn’t want to either—but fucking SLOW DOWN at least!

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Are we all now expected to know bicycle slang?

    My personal conditioning when I hear “hot pizza!” is not to jump to the right, it’s to salivate.

  7. erichoug says

    So I worked as a bike messenger in downtown Houston for about 9 years. In all that time I only hit 1 pedestrian. That was a guy who literally stepped off the curb about 3 feet in front of me. He wasn’t on at the corner, he was facing away from me and he didn’t even bother to look. I completely locked up the brakes, which prevented me from going down. But he got hit with all 200lbs of me, still going fairly fast, and went flying. that is literally it, in 9 years of 45-60 hours a week in downtown traffic, that is the only pedestrian I hit.

    In that case, I wouldn’t have even been able to get “hot” out of my mouth before I smacked him. If this guy had time to yell “hot pizza” he had time to avoid hitting this woman. There is literally no reason why he ran into her except for he is a shitty cyclist and was being an asshole.

    He all but tells you he is a shitty cyclist in his posts. He broke his wrist in another wreck just a few weeks prior to this one. Again, 9 years,45-60 hours a week, in downtown traffic I never broke anything. Someone parked on my foot once but that was it. Also, during those 9 years, my bike was my primary transportation. So imagine me with groceries or takeout and still, only one pedestrian and no broken bones. So in the span of a few weeks, this guy has had 2 major wrecks.

    Asshole, just an asshole.

  8. erichoug says

    Also, “Hot Pizza” is not cycling slang. It is just something this idiot thought was clever to shout.

  9. leerudolph says

    from a previous accident!

    There is no legitimate sense in which this incident was an “accident”. Given the rest of what he has written, I don’t believe that any of his “accidents” have ever been accidents.

  10. nomadiq says

    Often ‘bike paths’ are called that but in reality they are mixed use. A mixed use path, in my area, is clearly labeled as such and the bike riders have no excuse beyond selfishness.

  11. Mobius says

    Back when I was in grad school, the president of the campus Objectivist Club wrote an editorial for the campus paper complaining about how pedestrians in the crosswalks, who have right-of-way, wouldn’t get out of his way when he tried to drive through. He said he was perfectly willing to hit them since their right-of-way got in the way of his car.

    What a privileged jerk.

    (This, BTW, was only one of many terrible editorials he wrote. They seemed to come at least once a week. One can easily see why he was such a fan of Rand.)

  12. monad says

    @4: prejudice like cyclists are always like this is a bad response here. No, they don’t normally go crashing into pedestrian. Actually what made this story stand out is that it was a cyclist doing it; far more you hear these sorts of stories about cars vs. bikes, and it seems to come from exactly this sort of attitude.

    In truth, there are lots of bad cyclists who don’t follow the law, but there are more bad drivers, probably in proportion to total numbers. Except we learn to ignore the one as normal and remember the other as some horrible environmentally-friendly aberration. That’s how prejudice about team colors work.

  13. Matt says

    @14 Totally agreed. Jerks are jerks no matter what vehicle they’re operating. He should be charged with negligent driving (which is a charge in WA state.) I’m from Spokane and have both jogged and biked the Centennial Trail many times. I live in San Diego now and bike in traffic all the time. I’ve never hit a pedestrian. Before condemning all cyclists consider that their carbon footprint is considerably smaller than that of a motorist, they don’t take up parking spots, they usually don’t occupy a whole lane of traffic, and they’re about 10x more vulnerable on the road than a motorist is. There are many benefits to the motorists of more people cycling, so give them a break (and a brake.)

  14. =8)-DX says

    Reading the article, that guy is a monumental idiot and a danger to himself and others. Glancing hit with a vehicle! Broken more than 25 bones! Calls it a lucky day when he doesn’t come home injured! What a monumental asshat! After a lifetime of cycling the worst I’ve had happen was a torn eyebrow, which was entirely my fault for incorrectly breaking, it would never occur to me to run into pedestrians if they don’t jump out the way, especially since I regularly *am* that pedestrian on the same paths! Get a bicycle bell and drive safely: if in doubt, slow down or stop, slow down before a curve or where there’s bad visibility, always assume the other person you’re trying to avoid might make a mistake.

    He should have his bike taken away and a lifelong cycling ban.
    =8)-DX

  15. erichoug says

    Few simple rules I learned as a cyclist.
    1) If it is in front of you, it’s your responsibility, if it’s behind you, it’s not. – I know this is a bit scary for some folks but believe me it works and is effective. Just don’t be an asshole suddenly jerking out into traffic and we’ll all get along.
    2) With traffic, not against. – No, you only think you want to “see it coming” also, see rule 1.
    3) Stay off the sidewalk. – I know it annoys people when cyclist take up a good chunk or all of a lane. But believe me, the sidewalk is worse. Especially when you have to cross streets. It’s a nightmare and the most common way I saw people get hit by cars.
    4) four points in contact at all time. – I don’t care what the law says, do not take your hands off the bars for any reason. The worst wrecks I have seen have always been when someone takes there hands off the bar.
    I agree with the thing about no ear buds but not about stopping at stop lights and stop signs. Especially the lights. Let’s say I stop at the light,usually some asshole is going to muscle up next to me because he figures he’s in a car, and screw me. So when it’s time to go, I have this asshole right up on me, and everyone behind me thinking that they can run me over if I slow them down. Usually what I do is to stop, roll up to the front of the line and go through when traffic is clear. This is easier for everyone. Stop signs, if I have clear lines of sight and no-one coming I won’t even slow down. If there is any kind of traffic or an obstructed view, I follow the same procedure as with lights.

    I know some of this would annoy people but, in all the time I’ve been riding, I’ve never been hit by a car, never caused a car wreck, never been hospitalized because of one of my wrecks, and I’ve had some doozies. One of the few things I can say with confidence is that I am a good rider. This guy, not so much.

  16. komarov says

    So if he drove a car I guess he’d honk once and continue at the same speed, expecting any cars/people/animals/inanimate objects to dive out of the way? Naturally, any resulting crash couldn’t possibly be his fault. He honked, by Zeus, and he hates slowing down. People should show more empathy for his plight.

    When someone yells on your left or hot pizza maybe turn around

    Don’t US bicycles use the bell as we do in (I think) most, if not all EU countries (and possibly the world)? Most people would probably ignore random stuff being yelled out in a public place. Hot pizza is somebody else’s problem and there’s no reason whatsoever why a stranger say it to me. Therefore my brain shifts its into the background noise – at least until I (apparently) end up with bicycle stuck in my back.
    A polite “excuse me” when closer is much more effective but would involve some slowing down and some awareness of the people you’re sharing a path with.

    “Most of the time people move. These people wouldn’t move,”

    “Damn those pedestrians, full speed ahead!” is quite possibly the worst approach to cycling. The one person guaranteed to fall and possibly get hurt in any collision is the cyclist. I’m amazed to discover someone too selfish for his own self-interest. Well, maybe not amazed

    […] noting that the moms with strollers were part of the problem, too.

    I was going to mention the legendary manoeuverability of (crewed and loaded) strollers but this “notion” is just too stupid. The defendant is hereby restricted to walking everywhere with a ball and chain. This is provided he can prove that he can operate his new mode of locomotion safely, i.e. without tripping other people up with the chain. And that’s on top of the medical bills he’s responsible for and the enormous embarrassment this incident ought to cause him.

    Haller said he calls it a good day when he makes it home without an accident. “I’ve broken 25 bones,” he said. “When I lived in L.A., a doctor asked me if I was a stunt man.”

    Make that two sets of ball and chain. Bailiff, tie his laces together before you escort him out.

  17. TheGyre says

    I really have to weigh in here. I’m an avid cyclist. I ride the Virginia Capital Trail regularly. The trail was made possible by the strenuous efforts and money of the local cycling community. That being said, it is understood that it is multi-use and everyone is welcome to use it. I do not begrudge anyone getting outside for some exercise and fresh air. But there are rules and something called ‘trail etiquette.’ The rules of the trail are clearly posted — keep right; cyclists must signal that they wish to pass when encountering others ahead of them. And those people in turn are required to move to the right if they are walking side-by-side, pull their dogs aside, and so forth. The problem arises when you signal from behind (I have a very loud bell) and those up ahead either don’t or won’t move over to let you pass. Perhaps they don’t understand what the bell means, are hard of hearing, or, in some cases, are just assholes. You must understand that a good road bike is moving along at least 15 mph. I well know the consequences of crashing at that speed. At the least its road rash on the arms or knees, but it can also mean broken bones or a concussion or worse. Now I have never run anyone down, but I must admit that it can be difficult to know what to do when I know they have heard my bell and simply refuse to move two feet to the right. The trail is only 8 feet wide and the sides are often heavily wooded and there is often no option to move off the pavement. But the most aggravating situation is women walking their dogs on those damnable retractable leashes. The dog is twenty feet off to the left sniffing something and the leash is extended from the woman’s hand at waist height across the trail. On more than one occasion I have had to come a complete halt and wait for the dog to be reeled in. When I make a comment that she shouldn’t block the whole trail I get an earful of abuse which usually goes: “The trail is for everyone! or How rude! or Slow down!” (Oh, and they often let their hounds shit on the trail and don’t clean up. That’s always nice.)

    The simple reality is that trail etiquette extends both ways: to the cyclist and the pedestrian. I in no way want to take the side of the cyclist who ran the 67 year old woman down (I am a healthy 66 but my hearing is poor, so I can empathize with her as well.) The cyclist in this case should have slowed down to a crawl and shouted, “Trying to pass!” or “On your left!” I’m sure that she would have moved aside if she was allowed time to do so. I have no idea what the hell “hot pizza” means and I’ve been biking for decades.

    The only possible excuse I can make for him is endorphins. They are like natural opiates produced by the body in response to pain or strenuous exercise. Once you turn on the speed and have been pedaling for a while you can get into the ‘zone.’ I’ve been there many times. It’s sometimes called ‘runner’s high.’ Your brain acts differently. You get tunnel vision and are not thinking normally anymore. Actually, you are not thinking at all at this point. Your body takes over and its all about moving forward, always forward. When he said he hates to slow down I had an Ah-hah! flash of insight. He may have become an endorphin junkie. This might explain all the broken bones. His system is flooded with endorphins and he doesn’t give a damn about anything. If you’ve never experienced this yourself it’s not possible to understand the feeling. I recently road 75 miles in 4.5 hour and when I got home my wife looked at my vacant stare and asked, “are you alright?” I could hardly talk. “I’m fine,” I mumbled and then walked on rubbery legs to take a shower. I didn’t come down for about 30 minutes. The world seemed a wonderful and peaceful place. The truth is, if I don’t bike at least twice a week I just don’t feel right anymore.

  18. says

    Cyclists seem to be an odd sort of species. They rightfully complain about lack of infrastructure and car drivers recklessly endangering them and then some of them turn around and do the exact same thing when it comes to pedestrians and/or, much like motorcyclists, decide that they can ignore the rules of traffic because they’re small and light and can pass.
    So I guess they’re just like everyone else, just on bikes, but it’s probably their middle position between being the weaker one when it comes to cars and the stronger one when it comes to pedestrians that makes them especially annoying.
    Also, wear fucking helmets. I will not take any biker complaining about bad infrastructure and reckless car drivers serious if they think helmets are optional.

  19. redwood says

    I realize this is a tangent, but I wanted to mention it. When I was younger I often played pickup basketball games and golf in the US. The number of cheats I witnessed was astonishing. At first I thought it was a kind of entitlement, that they believed themselves to be better than they were playing at the time so they just “adjusted” the game to fit their reality. Later I thought that maybe they had inferiority complexes and cheated to give themselves better results than they merited because they wanted to “be” better than they actually were. Of course, they’re all jerks no matter why they do those things. Anyone want to bet against me that Turnip cheats when he plays golf?

  20. juliestahlhut says

    Anger-management problems aren’t a new phenomenon, but every day we’re confronted with people proudly proclaiming their “rights” to steamroller over other people and call it freedom. So maybe there’s less incentive for people with low anger-management skills to improve them.

    It’s a tough call, because it’s not all that different from blaming street crime on violent games and TV shows, or student suicides on role-playing games. There will always be confirmation bias there; someone who’s excited by real violence will probably enjoy violent entertainment, but most people who love action-adventure games and films aren’t at all violent in real life. And those are imperfect analogies anyway, because fictional characters in a violent film don’t actually harm anyone, while professionally enraged public figures (… cough … Trump … cough … Hannity … cough … Alex Jones) are very real, and and target real people for abuse.

  21. monad says

    @23 redwood: No bet. It’s well documented.

    Trump will sometimes respond to a shot he duffed by simply playing a second ball and carrying on as if the first shot never happened. In the parlance of the game, Trump takes floating mulligans, usually more than one during a round. Because of them it is impossible to say what he has actually shot on any given day, according to 18 people who have teed it up with Trump over the last decade, including SI senior writer Michael Bamberger, who has done so nine times. In 2007, Trump called Bamberger to brag about a 68 he had shot at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. Trump’s handicap index is officially 2.8, but he has posted only three scores since ’14. Els, a South Florida resident who has known Trump for many years, estimates he is “an eight or a nine.”

  22. raven says

    Also, wear fucking helmets. I will not take any biker complaining about bad infrastructure and reckless car drivers serious if they think helmets are optional.

    I’m going to echo this here.

    An old school chum who had been biking for his whole life, recently went over the handlebars in a crash. No helmet. A concussion. It looked like he could die in the ICU. He lived sort of.

    He is functional in every day life. He lost one thing though. His memory. He doesn’t remember much about his past life. He doesn’t know who I am. He doesn’t know who anyone from his past is.

  23. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Anyone want to bet against me that Turnip cheats when he plays golf?

    That’s pretty well established. I’m not going to bother finding the reports, but they were out there during the election.

  24. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Or I could just refresh before I post and realize that monad beat me to it.

  25. says

    They created a bike lane in Philadelphia? I don’t believe it. I’ve spent many hours driving in Philly, and that would be treated as a parking lane by all the drivers.

  26. thirdmill says

    I don’t understand why the police said they couldn’t charge him. It sure looks like assault with a dangerous weapon to me.

  27. says

    raven
    That’s the thing. No amount of infrastructure and respectful drivers will change the fact that you go at a considerable speed without the protection of two tonnes of steel around you. Sometimes it’s just a stone in the wrong place that makes you crash, or in my case a dog running into my lane.

  28. rietpluim says

    The good notwithstanding, but I’ve seen a lot of this kind of selfishness from speed cyclists.

  29. davidc1 says

    I hope the woman sues him ,doubt if he has got insurance ,it should be compulsory for bike riders ,same as it is for other road users .
    One thing i hate about cyclists ,is their smug attitude ,as if the fact that they are not using a car is going to help anything.

  30. A momentary lapse... says

    As a cyclist I can say I absolutely despise this kind of behaviour. Aside from the injuries caused, it only serves to give ammunition to the “all cyclists are smug assholes who deserve every injury they get” crowd, with the result that it makes it harder to get decent cycling infrastructure. I guess it’s a culture thing, several European countries seem to do quite fine with a responsible culture around cycling, the Anglosphere seems to prefer a toxic everyone-versus-everyone get-the-hell-out-of-my-way situation.

  31. busterggi says

    Looks like I should bring my walking stick when on paths. It helps me keep my balance and can quickly be rammed into the spokes of bicycles.

  32. asclepias says

    Oh, great. Just what we cyclists need. Another tale of an asshole being an asshole that gets attached to every cyclist in the United States. For the record, I do not ride that way, nor would I ride with anyone who does. We are despised enough (for completely unjustifiable reasons) as it is.

  33. EigenSprocketUK says

    To all the people who said

    Bicyclists have pretty much always been like that
    Cyclists seem to be an odd sort of species. They…
    One thing i hate about cyclists ,is their smug attitude

    I’d just like to say a heartfelt fuck off to your narrow-minded generalisations and your confirmation bias. Your anger is absolutely justifiable, but you’re angry about one more arsehole in the world – who is this time on a bike.
    Fortunately, not a single person has supported this one special two-wheeled example of arseholery. And if someone did support him, they’d be just as irrational.
    Oh, and to the wonderfully authoritarian request [4] for cyclists to

    give the legally required “slow down” hand signal

    I think it’s fair to say that I would happily give such a signal on the cold day in hell when you honestly give the “I intend to travel forwards” hand signal to a traffic officer. Not a moment before.

  34. jahigginbotham says

    As several, especially monad #14, have mentioned it is the US vs THEM response. “Bicyclists are all evil because some of them are and i am not a bicyclist.” Yet these same people don’t condemn all car drivers when one of them does something stupid because they themselves drive cars. It is the same mentality largely responsible for racism and other -isms. And whatever you might think of the second Bush, he (or his speechwriter?) did a good job with “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” Sadly some of the anti-cycling commenters here validate that.

  35. says

    EigenSprocketUK
    I suppose you simply stopped reading after you reached your confirmation bias, because if you hadn’t, you’d have reached the point where I made it pretty clear that this doesn’t make them significantly different from others.

  36. says

    I ride a bicycle for all my nearish-distance travel needs whenever it is warm enough out, and I have learned to despise both 90% of cyclists who ride on the road and approximately ⅔ of people who drive or ride in cars.

    If you see somebody who is riding a bike on the road when there is a reasonable alternative, you can be fairly sure that they will do one or more of the following: completely ignore stop signs (and even traffic lights!), not look down cross streets for oncoming traffic, ride on the wrong side of the street, fail to signal turns under all circumstances, or ride down lane divisions.

    On the other hand, people in cars seem to forget how to drive the minute they realize there’s a bicycle within sight. They’ll try to wave through cyclists at crossings who are clearly stopped for good reason, slow down when anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle would rather they sped up, ignore bicycle turn signals, not look for pedestrians in the direction they’re turning when pulling out of parking lots, get upset if a bicyclist gets into the left turn lane at a busy intersection, honk at bicyclists who are making perfectly legal and signaled turns, refuse to use their turn signals (I’ve actually had cars pass me just before an intersection and make unsignaled right turns in front of me), refuse to pull up far enough to trigger traffic light sensors (which bicycles usually won’t do — congratulations, driver-who-won’t-pull-up-five-more-feet-even-though-I-moved-way-over-and-waved-you-forward, now we both get to wait until somebody shows up from the other direction), open doors on the street side of a parked car immediately in front of bicyclists, honk at me for crossing at a 4-way-stop-sign intersection after waiting my turn in perfect compliance with traffic law, honk at me for not crossing early at a 4-way-stop-sign intersection, make a turn and then notice that there are bicyclists crossing the road and stop while blocking the intersection, and any number of other dangerous and annoying things. (To say nothing of the increasingly common trick stupid and malicious people pull of waiting until their car is level with a bicyclist and then deliberately screaming as loud as they can out the windows in hopes that the bicyclist will have an accident. Really funny.)

    Oh, and as for bike lanes: while running errands, I go through several areas where well-meaning people have instituted bike lanes. Out of all of them, however, only one actually leads anywhere anybody would want to go. All the rest go from nowhere to nowhere by way of nothing at all, because of course bicyclists just love to bike in the street for no reason at all, they aren’t actually trying to accomplish anything. (And that single useful lane leads to a shopping area which has incredibly busy streets with only one lane in each direction and traffic lights which confuse most drivers… and signs every 50 feet or so saying not to ride bicycles on the sidewalk so that legally, bicyclists are required to make traffic worse unless they get off and walk… except that there is also almost no bike parking anywhere nearby. Somebody was not thinking this through.)

    Oh, and while I’m at it:

    @#4, Alverant

    do I wear ear buds while driving that prevents me from HEARING cars around me?

    You’re in a car. You don’t have wind whistling in your ears. On a bicycle, wearing headphones often (not always — it depends on the shapes of the headphones and your ears) reduces wind noise so much that even with music playing your hearing is improved.

    @#34, davidc1

    One thing i hate about cyclists ,is their smug attitude ,as if the fact that they are not using a car is going to help anything.

    I’m willing to bet you’re one of those people who thinks it’s important to turn out and vote, though, even though the good of a single vote is approximately equivalent to the good of a single person not driving a car.

  37. cartomancer says

    I wouldn’t want to condemn cyclists out of hand. I mean, you’re all vile heathen sorcerers of the most unnatural kind, obviously – how you manage to get those baneful metal things to remain upright is a profane mystery, let alone while they’re moving. Probably involves human sacrifice I’ll wager, and blasphemous pacts with the spirits of the land and the air. Hurts the eye to even look at, so it does.

    But apart from that…

  38. unclefrogy says

    thanks for that reminder!
    every once in a while I like to watch those dash-cam video compilations that you can find on YouTube helps to remind me that the best strategy is defensive driving because shit happens. I guess that it should also be defensive biking and walking as well. situational awareness is all important regardless of what the rules of the road may be.
    uncle frogy

  39. anbheal says

    Heh heh, funny thread, all this self-righteousness. It all boils down to Kerouac’s observation that the most astonishing phenomenon in Nature is how many more horse’s asses there are than horses. I have been hit by couriers in Manhattan, several times. One time, when I clearly had the right of way, and he saw me well in advance, but clearly wanted to establish his spandex dominance, I just turned as a defenseman would behind his hockey goalie, and offered my arms in a cross-check. We both went sprawling, but he took the worse of it, and wanted to fight. Fuck that, he ran a red, saw me, and leaned in toward me, so he went home badly scraped up. Because I offered my cross-check rather than leaping toward safety.

    On the other hand, in Amsterdam and Bruges and Luxembourg City and Antwerp and Haarlem, bicicylists have the absolute right of way, over automobiles, buses, and pedestrians. 1.2 million citizens of Amsterdam ride bikes to work every day, and that’s 1.2 million cars not on the road. They ring their bells, they ring aggressively, and they shout at you if you’re a stupid gringo straying into the bike path. I approve.

    But the single worst offenders are typically suburban ultra-mommies in their Hummers and Excaliburs and BMW urban assault vehicles, plus the occasional impatient Wharton MBA in is Audi, at rush hour. I rode my daughter to and from daycare for five years in Boston, and the one thing a Republican leafy lane asshole in rush hour hates most is to see a Democrat on a bike going past her….so the first thing she or he does as soon as there’s a bit of space, is to rev it up to 48 or 52 mph and intentionally swerve within 9 inches of the 18-month old infant in the bike seat, just to say FUCK YOU, LIBERAL, NO WAY I’M GONNA LET YOU GET TO THE NEXT INTERSECTION IN FRONT OF ME.

    People complaining about bicycle use are not so different from people complaining about kneeling at football games — sure, some of the athletes might be pampered rich assholes, sure, some of the BLM activists might be a bit strident for your suburban 1950s tastes, but picking on bicyclists basically says you support global warming and traffic jams and rich people in Audis whose commute isn’t pleasant, because they’re too selfish to take the commuter rail. So what if some biker ran into some people, he’s an asshole who should be charged the same as if some kid shot a skyrocket into a neighbor’s living room and started a fire. The anti-bicycle screeds here are Republican Lite bullshit — we just don’t like conservation and ecological solutions, because, um. we sometimes have to apply the brakes when a bicyclist is in front of us, oh boo fucking hoo.

  40. leerudolph says

    PZ: “They created a bike lane in Philadelphia? I don’t believe it. I’ve spent many hours driving in Philly, and that would be treated as a parking lane by all the drivers.”

    A couple of weeks ago, I was driving in Cambridge, MA, for only about the 3rd time since I last lived in the Boston area. Some time in the intervening 40 years, and I am guessing much more recently, on at least some streets Cambridge has created a bike line separated on its left-hand side from the (single) automobile traffic lane in its direction by high (1 meter or more?), apparently semi-flexible plastic, well-spaced-out, highly visible barriers, and separated on the right-hand side from an automobile parking lane. … This description doesn’t sound possible, but I swear I saw some such thing. Surely someone here can correct me on the details. Whatever it was I saw, those bicycle lanes couldn’t feasibly be treated as automobile lanes of any sort, even in Philadelphia.

  41. komarov says

    Re: cartomancer (#42):

    I wouldn’t want to condemn cyclists out of hand. I mean, you’re all vile heathen sorcerers of the most unnatural kind, obviously – how you manage to get those baneful metal things to remain upright is a profane mystery, let alone while they’re moving. Probably involves human sacrifice I’ll wager, and blasphemous pacts with the spirits of the land and the air. Hurts the eye to even look at, so it does.

    Merely a blood sacrifice is required, paid through all those scrapes and bruises that are part of the initiation rites. How much blood depends on your devoutness. Or your agility and sense of balance. There are different schools of thought.

    I hope this helps you understand us a little better. In any case I thank you for your grudging acceptance of our caste. It’s all we ask. That, and maybe that you and your fellow automobilists stop parking on the thrice-damned* cycling lanes.

    *Not actually damned, cursed or hexed. Maybe that’s the problem?

  42. F.O. says

    That guy is a massive asshole and his behaviour is outright criminal.
    Whenever you are on a shared path, it’s the biker’s responsibility that pedestrian be and *feel* safe.

    This said, the amount of contempt and for cyclists in the thread is astonishing.

    There is such thing as car privilege, and the general mentality is that bicycles don’t have a right to exist on the road.
    Drivers actively resent bicycles existence.
    Cars will routinely cut your way, park on bicycle lanes (hence why bikes tend not to use them), push you against the curb.
    And victim blaming is rife: “bikes are dangerous” rather than “cars are dangerous to pretty much everything”.
    Cars are so much the status quo that anything challenging it is sneered at when not actively despised.

  43. shadow says

    I used to ride all the time. Then I got pneumonia and I can’t go for more than about 1/2 mile without an asthma attack. When in HS, I rode to / from school (Private school, 13 mi+ away one way) and only was hit once – while in the bike lane a driver pulled up and made a right turn into me. I managed to move to one side of the bike — the crank needed to be replaced. Didn’t even fall. I hope to get my endurance back as my 21 speed sport bike keeps calling, saying it’s lonely.

    I’ve seen good cyclists and bad (do they REALLY need to be in the center of the road?) just like drivers (and pedestrians).

    As has been pointed out above – assholes are assholes.

  44. whywhywhy says

    #21

    moral superiority brought about by eschewing fossil fuels

    Is there evidence to show that this is actually a thing? I know some folks ride for this reason but I haven’t met any that are smug about it. What percent of cyclists are flaunting their ‘moral superiority’ versus just enjoying a good ride?

    I ride bicycle every day in all weather (including snow storms, though the ice storms are the worst) and do it because it is fun and cars are expensive. (I am a cheap bastard at heart : ) )

    Effectively, there are jerks and assholes in all modes of transport. Main rule is to be predictable and visible on the road. That goes for cars, trucks, and bikes.

  45. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Giliell and Raven, I’m afraid you have an opinion based in ignorance of the evidence. The data shows that bicycle helmets, just like football helmets, do little to prevent concussions. They are not wide enough or soft enough to mitigate the abrupt deceleration of hitting one’s head at speed. They do prevent fractured skulls, and that is a very good thing. Good enough that I always wear mine, but they are not the be all and end all of protective gear.

    The data also shows that head injury is relatively rare in cycling. Some folk look at those two facts and come to a reasoned decision to not wear a helmet. Again, it’s not the decision I come to, but it’s far from one that disqualifies them from the courtesy of examining their other arguments on the basis of those argument’s merits.

  46. says

    Deary me, another bunch of diverse people summed up by stereotypes, it’s almost religious. As a dedicated alley cyclist, I get to meet all my fellow friendly polite cyclists, all who avoid conflict like the plague. I’ve never been hit by a car, never run down a pedestrian, and that’s in over 40,000 miles/60,000km since I returned to cycling as an adult. It’s just the way I manage risks.

    If you’ve got bad attitude, you’ll be an asshole no matter what your preferred method of locomotion is.

  47. EigenSprocketUK says

    Giliel, yes I did actually think twice about including your opening quote, because I did read your second para which modified it. And I saw the way you ended the same para, and decided it was still making a generalisation that singled out cyclists this time, and one which is in my opinion toxic.
    However, I do not wish to derail the otherwise eye-opening thread, so I’ll leave it. I am sorry that my including your words, with the others in my list, offended you. I did not wish to offend anyone, just to blurt my dismay at what seemed to me hurtful generalisations from too many people.
    /out.

  48. raven says

    @Fossilfishy.
    OK, I didn’t realize bicycle helmet use was controversial.
    I asked Google and got the whole spectrum of arguments pro and con.
    Here is one biomechanical study that looks competent at least.

    Format: AbstractSend to
    Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Sep;70:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.02.016. Epub 2014 Mar 28.
    Bicycle helmets are highly effective at preventing head injury during head impact: head-form accelerations and injury criteria for helmeted and unhelmeted impacts.
    Cripton PA1, Dressler DM2, Stuart CA3, Dennison CR4, Richards D3.
    Author information
    Abstract
    Cycling is a popular form of recreation and method of commuting with clear health benefits. However, cycling is not without risk. In Canada, cycling injuries are more common than in any other summer sport; and according to the US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 52,000 cyclists were injured in the US in 2010. Head injuries account for approximately two-thirds of hospital admissions and three-quarters of fatal injuries among injured cyclists. In many jurisdictions and across all age levels, helmets have been adopted to mitigate risk of serious head injuries among cyclists and the majority of epidemiological literature suggests that helmets effectively reduce risk of injury. Critics have raised questions over the actual efficacy of helmets by pointing to weaknesses in existing helmet epidemiology including selection bias and lack of appropriate control for the type of impact sustained by the cyclist and the severity of the head impact. These criticisms demonstrate the difficulty in conducting epidemiology studies that will be regarded as definitive and the need for complementary biomechanical studies where confounding factors can be adequately controlled. In the bicycle helmet context, there is a paucity of biomechanical data comparing helmeted to unhelmeted head impacts and, to our knowledge, there is no data of this type available with contemporary helmets. In this research, our objective was to perform biomechanical testing of paired helmeted and unhelmeted head impacts using a validated anthropomorphic test headform and a range of drop heights between 0.5m and 3.0m, while measuring headform acceleration and Head Injury Criterion (HIC). In the 2m (6.3m/s) drops, the middle of our drop height range, the helmet reduced peak accelerations from 824g (unhelmeted) to 181g (helmeted) and HIC was reduced from 9667 (unhelmeted) to 1250 (helmeted). At realistic impact speeds of 5.4m/s (1.5m drop) and 6.3m/s (2.0m drop), bicycle helmets changed the probability of severe brain injury from extremely likely (99.9% risk at both 5.4 and 6.3m/s) to unlikely (9.3% and 30.6% risk at 1.5m and 2.0m drops respectively).

    These biomechanical results for acceleration and HIC, and the corresponding results for reduced risk of severe brain injury show that contemporary bicycle helmets are highly effective at reducing head injury metrics and the risk for severe brain injury in head impacts characteristic of bicycle crashes.

    Make of it what you will.
    I would wear one if I was bicycling myself.

  49. asclepias says

    Here’s the thing–in downtown Cheyenne, I do ride in the middle of the road because cars are parked all along the side of the road and it is built to form a parabola, of which the dividing line is at the top. It is difficult to stop on the road without falling over from a dead stop, at which point you get 3 motorists (bless them) stopping to ask if you’re all right (and doubting it when you say you’re fine–falling over from a dead stop is rarely injurious). I prefer to ride in bike lanes–or even the shoulder–when it is available, but the bike lane running along Sheridan Street is only on one side of the road. My dad got hit by a guy turning out of an alleyway once, and shattered the guy’s windshield with his (helmeted) head. There is no way in hell I would use that lane while riding east on that road! I note here that most drivers give us plenty of space out on country roads. There are bike routes around here that I absolutely will not ride even though I like the route, because getting there gives me the heebie-jeebies (case in point-Terry Ranch Road. Riding College and Terry Ranch are fine, but to get from one to the other you have to ride 2 miles down South Greeley Highway, with no shoulder and lots of 65 mph+ traffic.).

    As far as helmets go, I have been hit a few times. The first time was at 35 mph in 1985 with no helmet, and while a helmet wouldn’t have kept me out of the hospital it might have saved me the worst of the nerve damage. The second time was a couple of years ago on my way home from my volunteer job. I don’t remember much of it, but I think the driver brushed me with his outside rearview mirror while trying to pass me without getting into the other lane (there was no oncoming traffic). That driver was nice enough to give me a ride to the emergency room–I’d lost consciousness, after all.The first question at the hospital was, “Were you wearing a helmet?” Of course I was, and there were gravel marks in the side of it. The third time was as much my fault as it was hers. I should have known when she didn’t make eye contact with me that she didn’t see me. Fortunately, she was going slow enough that all I got were some scrapes and a bent back wheel. She said, “You’ve gotta believe me, I didn’t see you.” I did believe her, and still do, even though my bike and I passed right in front of her windshield.

    Yeah, there are a few idiots in town who try to get me to fall over by screaming at me (two teens in a brand-new shiny black pickup once, who apparently wanted to communicate that they thought I was a wuss. Unfortunately for them, they did so at the top of a pretty steep hill, which resulted in me thinking, “Yeah, you think I’m a wuss, but you just came up this hill in a truck. I did it under my own power. Who’s the wuss now?”) In my experience, drivers don’t want to hit a cyclist any more than the cyclist wants to be hit. I ride defensively. I am very cautious about crossing streets. Yes, I yell at cyclists who are riding the wrong direction (often right towards me and not paying attention), and I am courteous to people walking on the bike path (although there is a problem if you slow to a crawl and yell, “On your left,” at a jogger in front of you, nothing happens, and you end up turtling along 3 feet behind said jogger and scream “On your left,” at the top of your lungs, and then notice the jogger is wearing earbuds and has her music turned up so loud that YOU can hear it as you very cautiously pass her on the grass.) None–and I do mean NONE–of the cyclists I know ride the way any of you have described. We stop at intersections and stoplights. We ride alternative routes (to the point that some people complain about the bike lanes on the main roads because they never see anyone using them. Then again, sometimes when I ride in the marked bike lanes downtown, I get honked at by drivers behind me, only to discover that said driver (as she passes me) has a cell phone in her hand.). It is illegal here to use cell phones while driving, for the safety of other drivers as well as cyclists, yet I see drivers on their cell phones all the damn time. I drive a car, too, and those cell phones make me as nervous while I’m driving as they do while I’m cycling. I reiterate, here, that I do not think many drivers deliberately hit cyclists (or maybe drivers here in Cheyenne arer just more courteous, as are most cyclists).

  50. unperson says

    I think that part of the problem with bike paths is that no one knows what the damn rules *are*. Are they roads? In that case, pedestrians are required to keep *left* (in most right-driving jurisdictions) and face oncoming traffic. This position is supported by the facts that they permit vehicles (bicycles, some electric vehicles, etc.) and they often have painted center-lines and road signs of various forms, but is contradicted by signs and various guidelines that *everyone* keep right and the fact that >99% of pedestrians do so. Alternately, are they sidewalks? In that case, there are no rules regarding where anyone is supposed to be in relation to anyone else and pedestrians have an absolute right-of-way over bicycles (as vehicles), but this is contradicted by the existence of center-lines and road signs. Or are they something else? In that case, what rules apply and where are they codified?

    Much of the Bow River trail system in Calgary has separate paths for high-speed (bicycles, etc.) and low-speed (walking, etc.) use. I wish that that pattern was more common. Enforcing 10 mph speed limits on cycle-commuters is ridiculous; one may as well tell them to put their bikes away and drive to work.

  51. cartomancer says

    Komarov, #48

    Hey! I’m no automobilist! I’m a lifelong and committed pedestrian thank you very much. The operation of the horseless carriage remains a sacred mystery to me as much as the diablery of the damned velocipede.

    Honestly, the cheek of some people…

  52. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks for that study Raven. I hadn’t seen that one. I thought I’d looked at this more recently than 2014, but maybe not. Or my search-fu isn’t great.

    On thing that jumps out is the lack of mention of torquing forces. It’s my understanding that rotational forces do more brain damage than linear ones. Recent high end helmet designs are addressing this issue as traditional ones don’t offer much protection in that way.

    Another is that 2/3rds of hospital admissions are head trauma related. That is in direct conflict with other things I’ve read. Again, that could be due to my lack of research savvy. Or I could be misinterpreting what I’ve read.

    Anyway, interesting. I’m going to have to look at the studies I’ve seen again. But at the moment I’m on holiday in a beach town with only my phone for access.

  53. dorght says

    Cycling in a new city I started greeting people on the mixed used path. A simple “good morning” or “good evening.” Was common practice where I used to live. First month or so I got blank stares or active eye aversion. Then slowly I’m being getting 1 or 2 acknowledgments a ride. A simple nod or wave feels like fulfillment of my evil plan of spreading people being nice to each other and enjoying the outdoors together.
    Idaho rules! Since no one else mentioned it thought I would. The state of Idaho laws allow bicyclist to treat a stop sign same as a yield sign, a stop light as a stop sign (with some *). Seems to be working well.
    Recently had it explained to me why that idiot is riding in the middle of road, it not always just being an asshole. The question you want the driver coming up behind you to ask is not ‘can I get by?’ it is ‘is it safe to pass?’ On a narrow road way sometimes you have to move left to make it safe for everyone, by taking away the option of trying to unsafely squeeze by, and make them consciously have to use judgment of oncoming traffic to pass just as if passing another car.
    So on a 100k very hilly rural ride last month a SUV was stuck behind us on a narrow 2 lane climb with no visibility to pass, no place for us to move over. As passing the passenger yelled at me “Come on, are you kidding me!”. Typical impatient gas’acoholics. Few miles later I gave myself a good chuckle when I thought comment might have been prompted by her having to stare straight ahead at my amble spandex clad butt that entire time. Poor lady.

  54. ck, the Irate Lump says

    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) wrote:

    Some folk look at those two facts and come to a reasoned decision to not wear a helmet.

    Let’s be honest: The real reason people reject helmets is generally the same reason people reject seat belts — they can be uncomfortable. Everything else is really just a post hoc rationalization. The fact that these safety measures can occasionally cause injury is minor compared to the injury they guard against. Concussions aren’t great, but skull fractures are much worse. Broken limbs or ribs aren’t great, but going face-first through the wind shield is worse.

  55. DrVanNostrand says

    Just because of the incredible amount of cycling antagonism here, I would like to add my own experience. I spent over 10 years hiking in the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District areas in the SF Bay Area. Most of the trails were dual use, and cyclists were almost always polite. I encountered a few entitled assholes, but no one like this guy. The notion that pedestrians can get out of your way quickly enough that a cyclist doesn’t even have to slow down is ludicrous. And, by the way, comments like “hot pizza” are useless and stupid because they don’t even identify what side of the trail the cyclist is on. “On your left” is much more useful, but you have to realize that pedestrians will still generally look back and identify the riders before moving. This is natural and reasonable. There are asshole pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Frankly, based on what I’ve read here, I’m sure this guy is an entitled asshole no matter what mode of transportation he’s using.

  56. chigau (違う) says

    OT
    FossilFishy #61

    But at the moment I’m on holiday in a beach town with only my phone for access.

    bleeding luxury
    It’s hovering at 0°C.
    The tomatoes are toast.

  57. A momentary lapse... says

    ck, the Irate Lump

    Let’s be honest: The real reason people reject helmets is generally the same reason people reject seat belts — they can be uncomfortable. Everything else is really just a post hoc rationalization.

    Let’s be honest. This is your prejudice talking. There are reasonable considerations that can be made against mandatory helmet-wearing. And certainly the fact that some people’s view on the risks does not accord with your own is not justification as Giliell, prejudiced cynic seems to think, to dismiss out-of-hand cyclists who want to see safer infrastructure. I don’t see many pedestrians wearing helmets despite the fact that it could reduce head injury in the case they get hit by a car while crossing the road (and could also help in the case of objects dropped of scaffolding, really small meteorites, etc.), so should we demand that pedestrians also wear helmets before we consider any infrastructure improvements for pedestrians?

    Incidentally I find it fascinating that helmets are the first thing the anti-cycling crowd goes for, rather than things like the large number of people who seem to find it ok to cycle at night with no lights (and usually wearing dark clothes).

  58. says

    And victim blaming is rife: “bikes are dangerous” rather than “cars are dangerous to pretty much everything”.

    So, which driver was to blame when a dog ran out in front of me and I had a really nasty bike crash? Or when my husband didn’t see the small branch that had fallen onto the bike lane and had a crash? Or when my father in law broke a few bones in a crash on a country lane with no car in sight?
    The funny thing here is that the current “bikers” act as if nobody who is currently using a car as a primary means of transport ever used a bike as a primary means of transport. I did. I know drivers can be arseholes. Hell, I know that drivers can be arseholes because I share the road with them every day. And yeah, I’m usually the person they’re honking at because I refuse to overtake a cyclist when there is not enough space. No amount of “time lost” is worth risking somebody’s life. Now, if some cyclists also went by that rule, especially considering that it’S their life, we’d all be better off.
    BTW, this morning I met exactly one cyclist. He was going at high speed on the sidewalk, which is illegal, and left me completely without a clue as to what he was going to do next. So I stopped and waited for him to pass and get out of the way.

    FossilFishy

    Giliell and Raven, I’m afraid you have an opinion based in ignorance of the evidence. The data shows that bicycle helmets, just like football helmets, do little to prevent concussions. They are not wide enough or soft enough to mitigate the abrupt deceleration of hitting one’s head at speed. They do prevent fractured skulls, and that is a very good thing.

    I would certainly say so.

    The data also shows that head injury is relatively rare in cycling. Some folk look at those two facts and come to a reasoned decision to not wear a helmet.

    I’ve never been in a car crash. I still wear a seat belt.
    Also, Helmets do decrease head injuries

  59. says

    anbheal

    On the other hand, in Amsterdam and Bruges and Luxembourg City and Antwerp and Haarlem, bicicylists have the absolute right of way, over automobiles, buses, and pedestrians.

    That is, of course, complete bullshit. You’re also aware that you’re talking about three different countries, right?

  60. KG says

    One thing i hate about cyclists ,is their smug attitude ,as if the fact that they are not using a car is going to help anything. – davidc1@34

    Presumably you hate anyone who is in any way reducing their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, or any other form of pollution.

    I ride a bicycle for all my nearish-distance travel needs whenever it is warm enough out, and I have learned to despise both 90% of cyclists who ride on the road and approximately ⅔ of people who drive or ride in cars. – The Vicar@41

    Wow! There are 10% of cyclist and approximately 1/3 of people who drive or ride in cars that you don’t despise??1?!! I think that will surprise just about everyone here.

  61. A momentary lapse... says

    busterggi

    Looks like I should bring my walking stick when on paths. It helps me keep my balance and can quickly be rammed into the spokes of bicycles.

    And if the rider gets horribly injured or killed, who cares, because after all they’re only a cyclist. Hahaha. Thanks for sharing your fantasy of assault and murder, I’m sure you’re a wonderful human being. Have a nice day.

  62. says

    To no surprise, there are anti-cyclist diatribes not worth responding to.

    In Taiwan and several places I’ve been across Asia (e.g. Okinawa), there are designated paths for each – cyclists _here_, pedestrians _there_. And to no surprise there are oblivious and arrogant people who act like rules don’t apply to them, walking or riding in the wrong place. Stay in the designated areas and keep to the right (or left, in Japan), and traffic will flow much smoother.

  63. davidc1 says

    @41 &69 ,They forget that bikes are made in a factory that causes pollution.
    Don’t hate everyone ,just those with smug attitudes ,such as cyclists ,by the way
    a woman was killed by a cyclist over here in GB ,he got 18 months in jail .
    Anyway ,the world is doomed ,people riding bikes is not going to help ,they are just like the people who say
    the planet belongs not to us but to our Grand kids ,can’t see the irony in there being too many people on the planet.

  64. Arawhon, So Tired of Everything says

    As someone who actually knows/knew Justin (and I cant believe Im actually talking about this), let’s just say he’s very much a complete asshole. In my time with him I learned he was a deeply misogynistic dickweed, a loud mouth boor, and had an arrogance that would rival most CEOs or our damnable president. It seems in the time since I last saw him a couple years ago, the little gains I’d made into expanding his empathy have all disappeared.

    Ramming his bike into a bunch of women who are interfering in his day, as he would put it, is something perfectly in keeping to his character. Yelling “Hot Pizza!” is also something he would definitely say, a phrase he got from working in a pizza joint when trying to clear a path quickly.

    So yeah, this isnt about cyclists being assholes or any of that other shit, its just a single arrogant douchenozzle being an arrogant douchenozzle who also happens to cycle.

  65. says

    They forget that bikes are made in a factory that causes pollution.

    That’S bullshit, because so do cars and fucking shoes.
    What I’d like people who can use their bike to acknowledge is that there need to be factors present for this. You need to be physically able, live in a place that doesn’t look like a Tour de France mountain day and have a relatively short commute. I recently had a discussion with somebody who thought that the solution t pollution was to tax the shit out of cars that go into town. When I pointed out that this was unsocial, because rich drivers can just pay and poor people get an extra burden, he claimed that this was irrelevant because environmental politics was not social politics, aka ecological class warfare.

  66. davidc1 says

    @75 ,If you ask someone why they cycle ,10 to 1 they will say it is good for the planet ,that is where the smugness comes in.
    I live in the countryside ,p**sed off with the number of cyclists who take up half the road
    A lot of cyclists get killed because they don’t obey the highway code ,,drive without lights ,pull up along HGVs that are turning left (GB) and get in the drivers blind spot and and squashed .
    I used to ride motorbikes ,so i know how vulnerable being on 2 wheels can be ,more so in cities .

  67. mond says

    @Giliell

    I have a ebike which will power assist me up to 15mph then I am totally on my own power.
    (My bike is a folding one with 20 inch wheels so won’t do much above 20 mph anyway).
    I live in quite a hilly town and it is a godsend (sic) to get a boost up hills and on the flat if I am honest ;-)

    I am physically able to ride an regular bike if I wished.
    However it is great to get a bit of exercise but when you get to where you are going you are not sweaty and need to lie down in a darkened room for 10 minutes to recover.

    I could see an ebike being a realistic option for some people who may have thought that their cycling days were behind them.

  68. says

    davidc1

    I live in the countryside ,p**sed off with the number of cyclists who take up half the road

    Existing on the road you want to use, how dare they?

    mond
    That’s probably a nice solution for some people. But this is actually the very thing I’m talking about: the assumption that everybody could do this thing if only they really wanted to and had this information, instead of understanding that people actually know their own lives better than you and didn’t ask for your advice.

  69. mond says

    @77 ,If you ask someone why they drive a car ,10 to 1 they will say it is destroy the planet…..

    Oh look, I can do a strawman too.

  70. blf says

    I know two individuals who failed to suffer serious injury because they were wearing a bicycle helmet. One is a friend whose accident I witnessed, and the other is me.

    I have nothing but contempt and loathing for people arguing bicycling helmets don’t work; to me, such eejiits are nearly-indistinguishable from anti-vaxxers. A very loud a hearty FECK YOU to each and every one of both the anti-vaccine and anti-helment arseholes.

  71. mond says

    @81 blf

    I know two individuals who failed to suffer serious injury because they were wearing a bicycle helmet.

    That is non falsifiable assertion, since the exact accidents cannot be reproduced.
    The plural of anecdote is not data

    There will be people who have died from or had severe injuries whilst wearing helmets. Is this evidence that that they don’t work? No, it is evidence that in those accidents they were not enough to protect from severe injury.
    However in your examples we cannot even be that sure. You may have had your lucky socks on that day and that is what protected you from injury. (I don’t believe in lucky socks, it just a silly way of saying that other causal factors may not have been eliminated from your analysis)

  72. freemage says

    As a driver, I typically am actually grateful to bicyclists–they take up less space on the road, improving traffic, and are one less damaged exhaust system I’m likely to get stuck behind, I repay them for this by driving as courteously as possible, waiting for them to have a place they can reasonably get over to the side before passing (or moving into the oncoming lane to pass if there’s ample space, just like I would a car that was hobbling along due to a bad tire or lost driver or somesuch). There is a class of cyclists I refer to as ‘future hood ornaments’, namely those who ignore stop signs as a general rule–and interestingly, as I’ve seen more bike lanes built in Chicago, I’ve seen fewer of these guys–either they’re dying off, wising up, or just having a space of their own on the road cuts down on bad behavior. I genuinely hope it’s some combination of the latter two, since that would be a hopeful thing for humanity in general.

    As a pedestrian, though, I’ve had innumerable close calls and near-misses while in the crosswalk, with the light, and been hit twice, both times while on the goddamn sidewalk. Part of the reason for the hostility for bicyclists isn’t the idea that all bicyclists are bad, it’s that bad bicyclists so rarely face any consequences for their bad behavior, in comparison to drivers. Sure, you have bad drivers, but they routinely do get pulled over by the cops, ticketed and insurance adjusted accordingly. It’s a rare cold day in Hell when a bicyclist gets a ticket, especially outside of an actual accident that forces the cops’ hands. I’ve never once seen a cyclist pulled over for riding on the sidewalk, or driving recklessly. It’s that de facto immunity that galls so much.

  73. blf says

    ● Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists:

    […]
    MAIN RESULTS: No randomized controlled trials were found. This review identified five well conducted case control studies which met our selection criteria. Helmets provide a 63%–88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists. Helmets provide equal levels of protection for crashes involving motor vehicles (69%) and crashes from all other causes (68%). Injuries to the upper and mid facial areas are reduced 65%.

    REVIEWER’S CONCLUSIONS: Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for bicyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes including those involving motor vehicles.

    ● Do Helmets Prevent Head Injuries?

    ● Systematic reviews of bicycle helmet research

  74. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    How I wish I could bike around town, but I live in Georgia, so there is horrible sprawl with everything being miles apart and the weather and drivers suck something fierce. The main road I need to take to get anywhere is a 45mph ‘highway’ (two to three lanes each direction) with many large hills and cross-roads, and the back roads are only better in that there are fewer lanes to permit scary “dart across three-lanes to make a u-turn” actions by drivers. Even if I had finally gotten around to adding an electric assist motor to my bike, or building a fully custom electric moped, that would only downgrade riding from a “seriously suicidal” status to a flippant “at least I’m an organ-donor” status.

    That said, there are quite a few roads in and around the town center where it is much easier and safer to ride due in part to lower speed limits. One particular formerly horrible road was repaved from “two very narrow car lanes each direction” to “one bike lane and one wide car lane each direction with a central shared turn lane”. It was on that repaved road – well between any class-change traffic surges – that I accidentally caused a rider to get knocked over while walking the last mile or so to work. I was exiting the crosswalk with a car stopped at the red light waiting to turn right while the bike was traveling toward me on the sidewalk (opposite the flow of road traffic). I detoured around the traffic pole to avoid getting in the bike’s way while forgetting that there was a driver mostly looking for car traffic coming from the left. Only a few scrapes and a spilled bottle as the driver did not accelerate much and braked very quickly, but I do hope the guy got a ticket (riding on sidewalks and riding on roads against flow of traffic are both illegal here) since there was absolutely no reason not to use the correct bike or road lane at that time of day.

  75. davidc1 says

    @79 ,glad you agree with me ,see i can do sarcasm as well .
    @80 I do not wish to know what you do in your spare time .

  76. jahigginbotham says

    @73, You left out the bias in that GB case. [Forget the attitude of the cyclist which no doubt contributed.] The venerable BBC described the cyclist travelling at “high speed”. What’s high speed in a roadway accident – you guessed it, not 65 or 85 mph, but he was going “almost 18 mph”. Would a car get that description? Also there was no mention of lights, right-of-way, or any mitigating circumstances. And other bits.
    Hope you’re not so cranky today.

  77. ck, the Irate Lump says

    A momentary lapse… wrote:

    Let’s be honest. This is your prejudice talking. There are reasonable considerations that can be made against mandatory helmet-wearing.

    And yet all I hear are variations on the same justifications I’ve heard from drivers protesting mandatory seat belt use. I’d rather be thrown clear during an accident. I’ll just brace myself with my arms in an accident. I’m a good driver, and have never been in a major accident. But what if the seat belt traps me in the vehicle?

    I don’t see many pedestrians wearing helmets despite the fact that it could reduce head injury in the case they get hit by a car while crossing the road (and could also help in the case of objects dropped of scaffolding, really small meteorites, etc.), so should we demand that pedestrians also wear helmets before we consider any infrastructure improvements for pedestrians?

    Well, that’s certainly disingenuous. Leaving aside the ridiculous suggestion of small meteors and making pedestrians wear protective gear to avoid other people’s negligence, you don’t suppose there might a difference between an average pedestrian travelling at 3 MPH and a cyclist travelling at 15 MPH, do you? There’s a pretty well established relationship between speed and injury rates (along with their severity), and it isn’t a directly linear relationship. Here’s AAA’s study on motor vehicle collisions that measures severe injury (AIS score of 4 or higher, which excludes most broken limbs, crushed joints, and many other serious, permanently debilitating injuries) and death rates compared with the speed of impact. The same forces that cause these injuries in association with cars is also in effect with bicycles, even if you’re far less likely to be crushed under a bike that ran you over.

    Incidentally I find it fascinating that helmets are the first thing the anti-cycling crowd goes for, rather than things like the large number of people who seem to find it ok to cycle at night with no lights (and usually wearing dark clothes).

    It might have something to do with the fact that helmets are often mandatory in many North American cities, yet are relatively rare among bikers in those cities. It’s an obvious and visible proxy for a lack of regard that too many cyclists give the law and rules of the road. Is it the worst thing bad cyclists do? Obviously not, but like the seat belt thing, it’s a dead giveaway for someone who thinks that rules shouldn’t apply to them.

    And, no, I’m not anti-cycling. I’d love to see more cities be much more bicycle-accessible (although, I place a far higher priority on accessible, efficient and cheap mass transit which is often just as neglected as bike trails). I think the assholes driving motor vehicles that endanger cyclists should be dealt with severely, but dangerous asshole drivers aren’t an excuse for cyclists to be dangerous assholes, too.

  78. says

    “There seems to be an epidemic of diminished empathy sweeping across the country, and it’s having consequences that range from accidents on park trails to the Occupant of the White House.”

    Or, as I see it, the widespread diminution in empathy and manners is more a consequence of various WH occupants than a cause. As tempted as I am as a Trump-hater to chalk this up to an attribution error, I find it hard to believe that the undeniably vast chasm between people of different views in the U.S., which is statistically without precedent, hasn’t led to a phenomenon of people having a greater overall tendency to simply be assholes. Those who were already likely to do things such as ride bicycles in an assholian manner (and as a resident of Boulder, Colorado, recreational cycling is well known for featuring a panoply of dickheads) are probably doing such things with even less consideration than before, whereas those formerly on the asshole edge, who may have stood a 50/50 chance of being honorable before, have now tumbled off the cliff into the maw of the antisocial anus.

    One good reason to believe this is because I myself often feel like being more of a jerk to people when I find reason to conclude on scant evidence that they are Trump fans. If someone comes overly close to me in a pickup truck with a gun rack while I’m out running, my mind immediately pictures the driver in one of those red-and-white dunce caps and wishes special ill on him. Not fair and not something I like about my own psychology, but I suspect I am very far from alone on this one.

  79. says

    “and as a resident of Boulder, Colorado, recreational cycling is well known for featuring a panoply of dickheads”

    Sorry for the dangling modifier. Fucking Trumpers have ruined my writing skills with their profligate horseshit…oops! See?

  80. chigau (違う) says

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  81. says

    jahigginbotham

    @73, You left out the bias in that GB case. [Forget the attitude of the cyclist which no doubt contributed.] The venerable BBC described the cyclist travelling at “high speed”. What’s high speed in a roadway accident – you guessed it, not 65 or 85 mph, but he was going “almost 18 mph”. Would a car get that description? Also there was no mention of lights, right-of-way, or any mitigating circumstances. And other bits.

    Yeah, fucking inconsiderate of that woman to drop dead after being hit by somebody who was riding a bike that was not legal (no front brakes). Is that the American tendency of considering it perfectly reasonable to run over pedestrians if they get on the road or is that just you?

    a momentary lapse

    Incidentally I find it fascinating that helmets are the first thing the anti-cycling crowd goes for

    Remember, stereotyping is bad unless I do it.
    Simply ignore all the people who are or have been bikers. Fail to engage all the studies they posted. Simply declare that they have a nefarious agenda and be done.

    , rather than things like the large number of people who seem to find it ok to cycle at night with no lights (and usually wearing dark clothes).

    Is there a special name for that fallacy? The one where you’re trying to change the topic by proclaiming that the others should have been talking about this instead of that without actually engaging with the substance? Right, I mean, why aren’t we talking about lights? Probably because the lights discussion is so 1970s. You hardly have people tell you at length why they’re making a “reasonable decision” not to have their lights on.
    Apart from that, if it were lights, you’d say we should discuss clothing with reflectors. If it were clothing with reflectors you’d say we should discuss texting and bike riding*.

    *Yes, that’s a thing. One of the many cyclists I failed to hit was coming towards me in my lane having both hands off the handle and writing on his smartphone.

  82. jahigginbotham says

    @93 Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-
    You totally missed the point of what i wrote (or more likely, perhaps, just ignored it). You think 17+ mph is a “high speed” for a vehicle on a road? Normally i don’t consider it even remotely reasonable to run over a pedestrian but i suppose i could make an exception if you wish.

  83. says

    jahigginbotham
    No, I pretty much saw you handwringing about a sentence in one publication, which you called bias, while going on about the other circumstances of the accident, while somehow still failing to mention that the speed is relevant when considering the fact that he had no fucking front brakes. In short, you’re trying your best to shift the blame from the person who killed another person because they were reckless and thought the laws are for other people.
    Is 18 mph “high speed”? That simply depends on where you are and what the situation is. Oh, and if you can actually still control your vehicle. “Speeding” is not something that is a number. It’s something that has to do with place, time, weather, etc.

  84. jahigginbotham says

    I’ll try once more.
    If a car is going down the road doing 28 mph in a 35 mph zone and hits a kid who pops out from behind a parked car, would you describe that as “high speed”?

  85. ledasmom says

    I admit to not stopping for stop signs on bike trails, if there is enough road visible in both directions so I know I won’t get in anyone’s way. In general I think it would be good if the law allowed cyclists to do this on roads, though I can’t imagine daring to around here. Most pedestrians on mixed-use trails here are good about moving when you ding your bell, though I have had a few encounters with earbud-wearers who presumably didn’t hear. The general rule is bikes yield to both pedestrians and horses, but I would be fine with that if “earbud wearers keep well to the right” were added.
    Unfortunately, the impressive hilliness between here and work makes bike commuting impractical. Sometimes I have fantasies of a suspended bikeway that would eliminate the ups and downs. You would access it by a pedal-powered elevator. Usually I think of this when I’m on foot, halfway up the second hill to our house with a bag of groceries, but it doesn’t seem that wildly impractical, just strange.

  86. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I took a walk this morning along the local trail. Counted eight bikes that passed me; only one gave any kind of warning. That’s unfortunately fairly typical in the DC area.

  87. says

    If a car is going down the road doing 28 mph in a 35 mph zone and hits a kid who pops out from behind a parked car, would you describe that as “high speed”?

    Yes, if you are in an area where kids are and you can’t leave a decent distance between the parked cars and your own vehicle. It’s called “safe driving”.

  88. numerobis says

    There is a class of cyclists I refer to as ‘future hood ornaments’, namely those who ignore stop signs as a general rule–and interestingly, as I’ve seen more bike lanes built in Chicago, I’ve seen fewer of these guys

    It seems the first people out cycling tend to be the ones who do so with reckless disregard for themselves and others.

    Once you have a larger population cycling, the probability that one of them is reckless goes down (the number of reckless cyclists doesn’t much change, but there’s an increasing proportion of non-reckless cyclists).

    And of course the better the infrastructure, the more cyclists there will be. Causality is bidirectional: cyclists cause infrastructure (by demanding their legislators create it) and infrastructure causes cyclists.

    None of this is really related to this colossal asshole. We should all be thankful he’s a colossal asshole on a bike, not a colossal asshole in a car, or with a gun.

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