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View Full Version : My attempt today (perhaps misguided, certainly futile) to improve the cycling world.


Louis
08-11-2007, 10:47 PM
Short version: I yelled at a guy for going through a red light in view of a bunch of cars.

Long version

Today I rode a bit with two guys (complete strangers to me). One of the guys (call him G, because he rode a Giant) went through a red, the other (much faster) guy (call him L because he rode a Lemond) held back as if he didn’t really want to but then he too went on through. I did not say anything. I waited for the light and caught up with them at the next red light. This was right in front of the entrance to 6-Flags and there were a bunch of cars. L and G sort of waited a bit, tried and failed to do track stands then G goes through, and L reluctantly followed. At that point I yelled “Hey don’t do that” and I’m certain they heard me.

This was near the base of a climb with a first very short hill, a flat, then a longer grind. I was delayed at the light but caught up with them near the top of the first section of the hill. G was clearly laboring (he was overweight) so L and I kept on going. At that point, since we were alone, I told him that his friend really shouldn’t go through red lights. I said if it only affected him, I didn't give a durn, but that it surely po’d drivers who would take that out on all cyclists, including me. L said, no, it probably only affects him. I said no way. So L said “What can you do about it?” “Follow the law” I suggested. Shortly after that the second part of the climb started and since he was much faster than I was he just took off. I never saw G again, and at the top of the hill saw L waiting for him. I said “See ya” or something like that, and he replied in a relatively friendly manner.

I supposed a more confrontational person might have talked to G directly, but I’m really not that type and figured it would be more productive if someone G knew spoke to him.

So, what do you do in this type of situation? Nothing? I was just p!ssed to have to see it twice.

Louis

Ken Robb
08-11-2007, 10:57 PM
I think you would be well-served to mind your own business unless you have a badge and are on duty.

Louis
08-11-2007, 11:08 PM
I think you would be well-served to mind your own business unless you have a badge and are on duty.

... so trying to protect myself is not my business?

... and only police officers can enforce rules?

Ahneida Ride
08-11-2007, 11:11 PM
If we don't police ourselves ....

do we have the morality to request consideration from motorists.

JohnS
08-11-2007, 11:15 PM
... so trying to protect myself is not my business?

... and only police officers can enforce rules?
+1 Part of the problem with today's world is that no one wants to get involved. Then they wonder why nothing ever gets improved. Everyone always leaves it up to "the other guy". Of course, my mother has asked me for years "John, why do you always have to say what other people only think?"

Ahneida Ride
08-11-2007, 11:24 PM
+1 Part of the problem with today's world is that no one wants to get involved. Then they wonder why nothing ever gets improved. Everyone always leaves it up to "the other guy". Of course, my mother has asked me for years "John, why do you always have to say what other people only think?"

Bingo John .....

imp25rs
08-11-2007, 11:28 PM
If we don't police ourselves ....

do we have the morality to request consideration from motorists.

I agree with this. It drives me nuts when cyclists pass a line of cars that are waiting for a light and then run the red light. Since I have started riding again the last few months I have noticed a lot more motorists yell at me to "get off the f*****g road". This rarely happened when I road 10 years ago, now it happens almost every ride. Yesterday it even happened while I was riding in a bicycle lane!! It is up to the people riding the bicycles to follow the rules.

Now that I have said that, I will admit to running red lights while on back roads when there are no cars around. My bicyle and I just aren't big enough to trip the sensor and I don't feel like waiting for 10 minutes.

Fixed
08-11-2007, 11:41 PM
bro you guys kill me ....red lights ..
cheers :beer:

Bud_E
08-11-2007, 11:51 PM
I live in a crazy city. Confronting strangers can be hazardous to my health. :argue:

JohnS
08-12-2007, 08:07 AM
I live in a crazy city. Confronting strangers can be hazardous to my health. :argue:
I live in Detroit-BFD. That's the biggest copout around. We're not asking you to confront a carload of gang members, just a fellow cyclist. It's hard to conceal an AK when you're wearing bike kit... :crap:

toaster
08-12-2007, 08:35 AM
When the cyclists learn to behave themselves then go to work on fixing those darn motorists. OK?

:crap:

rePhil
08-12-2007, 09:10 AM
I learned my lesson when I posted to a LBS forum. There is a fit, strong, attractive young lady on a Colnago who rides many of the roads I ride as well as drive on. She consistently runs lights at busy intersections.
I witnessed the angry responses from motorists more than once. So I posted that if anyone knew her to please ask her to stop as she was giving us all a bad name.
The responses defended her.

thwart
08-12-2007, 09:30 AM
I yelled at a guy for going through a red light in view of a bunch of cars. I would've done the same thing, and then, as you did, explain why. Frequently folks are defensive right away, and then later it sinks in a bit, and might actually consider changing their behavior. Obviously that may not be the case, but who knows?

Good for you! :beer:

Bud_E
08-12-2007, 10:56 AM
I live in Detroit-BFD. That's the biggest copout around. We're not asking you to confront a carload of gang members, just a fellow cyclist. It's hard to conceal an AK when you're wearing bike kit... :crap:

Hey I was only ( half ) joking. There are all kinds of ways to change the world a little at a time and I try my best. Lecturing an adult cyclist who runs a red light is pretty far down on the list for me -- that's all.

Anyhow, time to go for a ride now. :beer:

Pete Serotta
08-12-2007, 10:59 AM
:rolleyes: :D :D Ride and wine time......

eddief
08-12-2007, 11:14 AM
on a bike i tend to allow myself to feel like something halfway between a conscious car driver and an unruly pedestrian. in other words i treat every intersection and situation separately. to sit at a red with no cars coming in any direction just seems stupid to me. and of course if it is a crazy busy intersection i would never take my life or the patience of the all the drivers into my own hands.

but then there are all the red light situations in between. with my foot on the ground right up at the front of the line of cars waiting for the light to change, after looking in both directions and with no cars coming i will often jump the gun before the light changes to green.

mostly i believe if careful and not blatant, then i allow myself to carefully negotiate each situation as i consider my own department of motor vehicles rules that are stored in my head somewhere.

some laws written as if bicycles equal cars seem sorta stupid to me. some i have all the respect in the world for...

be careful and smart and it will almost always work out ok.

when trying to change the world sometimes the columbo approch works best at not pissing people off and making them go all defensive on ya. ask an open ended question rather than going on the attack.

tongue in cheek, "i was just wondering if you've ever considered what the consequences of your actions might be as it relates to the other drivers and cyclists with whom we share the road?" this works every time with the PhD's here in berkeley. NOT!

i have found while cycling through our congested gourmet ghetto here that often times my middle finger nearly comes of out of glove while negotiating the world of the upper crust.

Fixed
08-12-2007, 11:27 AM
bro it get me the same cats that think it's a sin to ride through a redlight think nothing of yell"n f u to a car that gets in their way ....
to each his own ..imho :beer:

Grant McLean
08-12-2007, 12:16 PM
+1 Part of the problem with today's world is that no one wants to get involved. Then they wonder why nothing ever gets improved. Everyone always leaves it up to "the other guy".

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you "do nothing" when you believe
there is a problem to solve. My question: is it effective to call out
a stranger on their behavior?

So on the scale of "do nothing" and "yell eff-u" there's no other choices?
Yes, it's frustrating to see something happen, and directly want to deal
with it, but sometimes a less direct approach gets more results in the long
term. Ride by example, talk to your friends, and talk about it on forums...

But in my experience, handing out advice to total strangers is about
as useful as whatever it is the car drivers shout when they go by at
60mph and shout 'wa-blah-eff-oooooo-rr-bluuuuu'.


-g

Louis
08-12-2007, 12:29 PM
I think my opinion of Eddie's "Rules" is clear, so I won't even go there, but his post just reminded of an additional detail about the incident: As L and G went through the second red light one of the cross traffic cars actually had to swerve quite a bit to not hit them...

Ray
08-12-2007, 12:51 PM
I don't lecture, but if I see something particularly egregious, I'll let folks know. If and when I catch someone after a particularly stupid/dangerous move, I'll tell them something along the lines of 'you could get yourself and a lot of other folks hurt or killed with moves like that'. Sometimes they'll ask what they did wrong, seriously not knowing. In which case I'll explain it and they generally hear me. In other cases, they tell me to take a flying leap or words to that effect, in which case I shake my head and ride away from them if I can or slow down and then turn off to a different route as soon as I can. I also make a bit of a show of obeying the law when they haven't to make the point to witnessing motorists that not ALL cyclists are jerks.

And, yeah, if I'm at a light with a sensor and no other cars in my direction, I'll run the red when its safe. But if there's a car waiting there at the same light I'm at, I don't go through until the opposing light is at least yellow (which generally allows me to be just about clear of the intersection by the time we have the green and gets me out of the way). I've literally had drivers thank me for that at the next intersection. But there's just no way we can ask drivers to respect our rights when we don't respect theirs.

-Ray

eddief
08-12-2007, 01:21 PM
if you sort of carefully and slowly push off slightly ahead of the green light in front of the waiting line of cars that it pisses them off? why would they care? just curious, because if i was in the car and saw a cyclist do that safely i wouldn't give a hoot.

so are there degrees of obeying the law, or just obeying the law?

too contentious?

swoop
08-12-2007, 03:24 PM
this just in, people are stupid and frightened and behave as such. the biker and the car drivers are just two sets of frightened stupid people fighting because its the easist thing to do to get rid of the anxiety that comes from being stupid and frightened.

William
08-12-2007, 03:33 PM
this just in, people are stupid and frightened and behave as such. the biker and the car drivers are just two sets of frightned stupid people fighting because its the easist thing to do to get rid of the anxiety that comes from being stupid and frightened.

http://radio.weblogs.com/0123486/images/9.10.05/11.16.05/lemmings-Speed_Bump.gif

Bill Bove
08-12-2007, 03:40 PM
This morning as a buddy and I were on our return leg going north on A1A in Broward county we rode behind a very fit looking fellow on a very nice looking Litespeed (read not-a-newbie), he ran two lights through traffic. As we got further north into Palm Beach county where they just love to write $185.00 tickets for running red lights I rode up beside him and said "just to let you know, they are writing 185 buck tickets up here". He gave me the dirtiest look and said "good for them". We are fighting for road access here and we are our own worst enemy.

eddief
08-12-2007, 03:49 PM
i will call you the next time i consider posting. you are more poetic than i.

Ray
08-12-2007, 03:57 PM
if you sort of carefully and slowly push off slightly ahead of the green light in front of the waiting line of cars that it pisses them off? why would they care? just curious, because if i was in the car and saw a cyclist do that safely i wouldn't give a hoot.

so are there degrees of obeying the law, or just obeying the law?

too contentious?
Never been a problem for me. They see me sitting patiently along with them for most of the duration of the red. Then, when the opposing light turns yellow, I look both ways and, when clear, pull into the intersection slightly ahead of a bunch of cars. I think they understand. I've never had a negative comment on that.

-Ray

Don
08-12-2007, 04:16 PM
For more than 15 years I've been involved with bicycle advocacy, serving on boards in Illinois and Florida. My reason for service is simple. I love cycling and I feel it worthwhile to try and make our sport as safe and as enjoyable for others. There have been notable successes such as the attitude of the Chicago mayor and the enviable record of trying to accomodate cyclists in his planning. And, there have been unfortunate delays, especially here in Palm Beach County where it has become necessary to file suit against the Florida Department of Transportation along with the League of American Bicyclists as a supporting petitioner. State Statutes mandate that bicycle lanes MUST be included in road construction, renovation, etc. when sufficient state owned land is available.

The most frequent "attack" against cyclists at the meetings and forums I've attended is "why should we consider you people when you don't have the decency or courtesy to obey the law?" State Statutes here, as well as in many states, tell us that we have the same rights AND responsibilities as other users of the roads. What we do by flaunting (breaking) the law is reinforce the negative attitudes of so many motorists.

Quite simply, we instruct new riders to ride their bikes in the same manner as they drive their cars. To do otherwise is so counter productive and so detrimental to gaining the cosideration we expect.

Come on people. It's up to each of us to instruct and set the proper example!

Fixed
08-12-2007, 04:21 PM
bro you'll never win that war ..imho .cheers

cadence90
08-12-2007, 04:32 PM
For more than 15 years I've been involved with bicycle advocacy, serving on boards in Illinois and Florida. My reason for service is simple. I love cycling and I feel it worthwhile to try and make our sport as safe and as enjoyable for others. There have been notable successes such as the attitude of the Chicago mayor and the enviable record of trying to accomodate cyclists in his planning. And, there have been unfortunate delays, especially here in Palm Beach County where it has become necessary to file suit against the Florida Department of Transportation along with the League of American Bicyclists as a supporting petitioner. State Statutes mandate that bicycle lanes MUST be included in road construction, renovation, etc. when sufficient state owned land is available.

The most frequent "attack" against cyclists at the meetings and forums I've attended is "why should we consider you people when you don't have the decency or courtesy to obey the law?" State Statutes here, as well as in many states, tell us that we have the same rights AND responsibilities as other users of the roads. What we do by flaunting (breaking) the law is reinforce the negative attitudes of so many motorists.

Quite simply, we instruct new riders to ride their bikes in the same manner as they drive their cars. To do otherwise is so counter productive and so detrimental to gaining the cosideration we expect.

Come on people. It's up to each of us to instruct and set the proper example!
We have met the enemy and he is us.... (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-criticalmass12aug12,1,7129852.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=5&cset=true)

(Well, not really "us", or at least not me, but these people are a big part of the problem imho.)

toaster
08-12-2007, 04:51 PM
The most frequent "attack" against cyclists at the meetings and forums I've attended is "why should we consider you people when you don't have the decency or courtesy to obey the law?"

That's a poor excuse by motorists who believe that cyclists should'nt be on the road in the first place.

Using that same logic, and driving my car as lawfully as I possibly can, I should have zero respect for those motorists who speed or roll stop signs. I am so frick'n righteous myself!

Fivethumbs
08-12-2007, 05:12 PM
If we don't police ourselves ....

do we have the morality to request consideration from motorists.

I think this is a good point. But the key phrase is "police ourselves". That doesn't mean police others. I see all kinds of bikers breaking the rules. I work in downtown Los Angeles quite a bit and it looks to me like the only rule the bike messengers have is "don't get run over". Around my city I watch teenagers on BMX bikes doing pretty much the same thing. College students on beach cruisers as well.

How many people here drive 75mph in a 65mph zone or roll a stop sign when there's no one else around, or exagerate their charitable donations on their taxes, or take too long a lunch, or surf the web at work. Would these people appreciate being called out on it? Probably not.

My point is that everyone has their own little transgressions. I don't think its wrong to try to change the world for the better but don't be surprised if your good intentions are met with hostility. No one appreciates being scolded by someone who, in their mind, has appointed themselves "hall monitor".

Ray
08-12-2007, 05:14 PM
bro you'll never win that war ..imho .cheers
Even assuming we may never win it, isn't it just common courtesy to treat motorists with the same respect we want them to treat us with? In my experience, 99.9% of motorists are damn considerate of cyclists (maybe 99.8%, but the VAST majority). I'm seen on my bike around my small town ALL THE TIME and, over time, I've gotten used to seeing a lot of the same motorists day after day. And, over time, they've treated me with more and more respect / courtesy. I have to believe that's because they see me playing by the same rules they have to play by and treating them with the same level of courtesy I'd like to be treated with. At a four way stop, if its a close call - I'll usually wave the motorist through but more often, they beat me to the punch. This is a lot better way to get through the day than always trying to get the jump on them. Occasionally, you're gonna run across a jerk - that's life. But most people respond to being treated well by treating you well.

-Ray

Fixed
08-12-2007, 05:30 PM
bro you run into them they get dent
they run into you ..you dead
cars can kill you .it's a jungle out there never trust a car ..
17 years as a messenger
only in the hospital once crack ribs bruised spleen
cheers

Don
08-12-2007, 05:33 PM
Toaster,

I agree with you regarding "poor excuse." But, this is what takes place at public meetings and planning forums. Our response is basically what you mention, i.e., don't paint us all with your broad brush. We don't advocate denying motorists the use of the roadways because of speeding, running lights, etc. any more than we advocate eliminating pedestrian foot traffic because of jay walking. So, please don't deny us what is legally ours.

We continue to argue for a level playing field where responsible actions are the rule rather than the exception. And, we continue to fight for educating law enforcement personnel to finally learn just what rights cyclists have.

But, we can not stoop to the level of those who just don't give a damn and think that as cyclists we can't gain what is rightfully ours. Each of us has to remember that our individual actions reflect upon our entire community.

And, Fixed, my fellow Floridian, I admit at times it seems as if we are tilting at windmills. But, is this really a reason to give up?

Don

csm
08-12-2007, 05:46 PM
I let the situation dictate if I blow a red light or stop sign off. I'm on a bike after all.
there is an "oldtimer" who rides with the local club who adopts a holier than thou attitude about riding and feels that others should benefit from his experience. all well and good when it is presented in an appropriate manner. I've heard him say some of the most boneheaded things, both to me and to others. he's chastised me for not wearing a helmet on the few occasions that I forgot it. It was not on a club ride but rather just me and a buddy out. the first time I smiled, the second and third I got progressively sharper.
It's my head. I wear a helmet 99% of the time. I ski with a helmet. I ride motorcycles with a helmet. At this point in my life, I don't need the lecture or advice.
he's made mention of other's riding skills. I tried to follow his wheel during a b level club ride. it was absolutely maddening. he could not keep a consistent pace and was nearly causing a pile up with every change of speed. I finally gave up after enduring this for 10 minutes or so and hearing him tell me "not to cross his wheel."
after the ride he approached me in the parking lot about it. I apologized for crossing his wheel and asked him if he thought about riding a consistent pace rather than the slow fast slow fast he was doing.
anyway, he and I are not the best of friends and sadly, the club rides this season have fractured into shop groups rather than ability groups.

eddief
08-12-2007, 06:02 PM
is a key factor in so many values-oriented dialogues. some of us value rigidity more than others.

Peter P.
08-12-2007, 07:21 PM
To cut to the chase: I am in Don and Ray's court on this.

Louis, to answer the question on what you should have done-you should have addressed G instead of L. His response may have been the same, except he wouldn't have exhibited the "I'll show you" behavior and ridden away from you. L was clearly trying to snub you with his move. Isn't it amazing how much alpha-male, butt sniffing behavior there is when encountering other riders?

When you addressed L and he became defensive with "What can you do about it"?, I would have replied, "I just won't consider you cyclists". Say it once and don't continue to harp on the issue. If L rides away, don't take the bait. Besides, the ball's in his court as he's stuck waiting for G all the time so he'll be frustrated that he can't show you how big that thing in his pants is.
Touche.

Bud_E
08-12-2007, 09:18 PM
If you were here, you'd be a very busy guy :

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/66478.html

Fixed
08-12-2007, 09:49 PM
I let the situation dictate if I blow a red light or stop sign off. I'm on a bike after all.
there is an "oldtimer" who rides with the local club who adopts a holier than thou attitude about riding and feels that others should benefit from his experience. all well and good when it is presented in an appropriate manner. I've heard him say some of the most boneheaded things, both to me and to others. he's chastised me for not wearing a helmet on the few occasions that I forgot it. It was not on a club ride but rather just me and a buddy out. the first time I smiled, the second and third I got progressively sharper.
It's my head. I wear a helmet 99% of the time. I ski with a helmet. I ride motorcycles with a helmet. At this point in my life, I don't need the lecture or advice.
he's made mention of other's riding skills. I tried to follow his wheel during a b level club ride. it was absolutely maddening. he could not keep a consistent pace and was nearly causing a pile up with every change of speed. I finally gave up after enduring this for 10 minutes or so and hearing him tell me "not to cross his wheel."
after the ride he approached me in the parking lot about it. I apologized for crossing his wheel and asked him if he thought about riding a consistent pace rather than the slow fast slow fast he was doing.
anyway, he and I are not the best of friends and sadly, the club rides this season have fractured into shop groups rather than ability groups.
bro just cos a cat is old doesn't mean they know anything
imho
bro the one thing i learned about bike racing ....keep my mouth shut .
cheers

BUTCH RIDES
08-12-2007, 10:51 PM
Hello
Whenever I arrive at a stop sign I come to complete stop. Get off my bicycle and walk across the street . Being carefull I look both ways before ever entering the intersection. I have to do this everyday due to my five mile ride to the doughnut shop. I really like blueberry doughnuts, GI GI likes them also.
Adios Amigos

Fixed
08-12-2007, 11:19 PM
say what?

fierte_poser
08-13-2007, 12:06 AM
I grew up in the town where this incident occurred, and I am very familiar with the intersection, so I'm jumping in here. Its a mess of an intersection between an interstate highway, a perpendicular road that leads to six flags, and two frontage roads. People are getting off the interstate trying to get to six flags, and the locals are dealing with the continuous onslaught of out of town traffic. Its not the sort of intersection where a wise person would test the ability of surrounding drivers to yield to a 175lb rider on a 20lb bicycle.

Louis, I think you did the right thing.

As for the rest of you... wasn't there a thread a few weeks back where one of the forumites noticed that some random dude was riding his bike with the fork spun around backwards? Everyone thought it was cool how one of 'us' would stop to educate one of 'them'. Us being educated forumites and them being every other cyclist alive. Its possible, although not certain, that fixing that fork prevented a car-bike or bike-bike collision.

Similarly, don't you think that Louis's comment was justified? As we would say when autocrossing... the car is fine, its the nut behind the wheel that needs fixing. In this case, L & G's bikes were fine, but their riding was unsafe. I think pointing out bad riding in a truthful, but non-@sshole, non-holier than thou manner is a good thing.

Kent

3chordwonder
08-13-2007, 12:29 AM
If those guys habitually red lights at busy intersections, evolution will sort them out sooner not later - no need for any other intervention imho

toaster
08-13-2007, 12:47 AM
If those guys habitually red lights at busy intersections, evolution will sort them out sooner not later - no need for any other intervention imho

...You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out...
(Lennon/McCartney)
:)

slowgoing
08-13-2007, 01:33 AM
In a small town nearby, they have started citing bike riders for blowing through lights and stop signs. That’s fine by me. I know how much it pisses off drivers, so I do stop at intersections. A lot of drivers are surprised. I also gesture drivers to go before me or thank them for letting me go, mainly to confirm that they have seem me so there’s less chance of being hit. And so what if I have to slow down and then speed up again – we’re in it for the workout, aren’t we?

Too Tall
08-13-2007, 08:10 AM
Louis - It depends, you did right...you said something and in a way that fit the situation just fine. Obviously I'm "out there" alot, I ride more than 10k a yr. and most in an environment where I often see the same folks. Point is, it's a pretty small pond. It's worth it to set an example maybe more so than getting irate right? Mind you I've totally lost it on a number of ocassions...riders who BLOW thru lights in suburban environs really pushes my buttons because soccer dads etc. really are not looking for riders and anyone who is following an idiot cyclist on blind faith will get whacked and it's MY POND dangit!!! Yes I've grabbed a few guys by the neck and read them a version of what I just said. FWIIW getting in a guys face now and than can save a life. I know for a fact that worked with a few locals who I was really f'in tired of who did this all the time. They finally saw the light as it were and chilled out...no hard feelings.

For the most part I leave people alone beacuse all they are doing is slipping thru intersections and generally they are doing it unobtrusively and that's fine with me. If they are oblivious or acting without thinking...that's different and in your case sounds like the guy was a hazard to himself and others...the latter being salient right?

Good thinking :)

barry1021
08-13-2007, 10:41 AM
I obey the rules. I wear a helmet 100% of the time. If you don't I will shake my head, I won't ride with you, I won't waste my time even acknowledging you on the road, have had many helmetless folks wave and think I am a d**k for not waving back i am sure, but that's MY right.

But NOT my role to express my opinion or educate, unless someone 1) directly affects me on my ride, or 2) asks for my opinion.

There are SO MANY experienced riders out there that ignore the law--it's too bad-it makes things worse for all of us, but they KNOW what they are doing, and nothing that I say is going to change anything.

b21