parking and cigarettes

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bikefind
Participant
#

It may be that I take alot longer than the average person to lock up my bike, not sure. I do the U-lock, and I do a cable, I take my panniers off, remove lights, computer, water bottle, whatever of that stuff I’ve got, take off my helmet and gloves, get all my stuff into some reasonably organized semblance that I can carry (most of it just goes in the panniers), and head into whatever place I’ve just ridden to. Sometimes my U-lock gets feisty, sometimes I get a little spacey about the order I need to do things in (gloves off while messing with velcro, panniers off before trying to get the bike into one of those bike-rack slots, hopefully have somewhere ready to put my stuff when I start stripping it off my bike, etc.) At any rate, sometimes it takes me a little while.

And the last couple times I’ve been at a branch of the carnegie library (oakland, squirrel hill branches), I’ve felt like I was being tortured while I went through my routine.

People seem to see the area where the bike racks are and think “hey, what a great place to have a cigarette!”

I’m kind of sensitive to the smoke.

And wildly sensitive to someone getting right on top of me when I’m kind of stuck there trying to do something I need to do before I can walk away and blowing toxins in my direction.

A woman at the Squirrel Hill library got so close to me I thought she must have been unlocking a bike (I was trying to unlock my bike and only saw her peripherally.) But instead she was having a (unfathomably loud) cell phone conversation and lighting up. I actually asked her to move, letting her know I get kind of sick (she did move, but maybe more in an “I want to get away from you” kind of way, as opposed to “sorry, let me spare you my smoke” kind of way. I did have to interrupt her conversation to make my request, so it wasn’t a completely thrilling interaction for either of us.)

In her defense, the receptacle for cigarette butts is right by the bike racks. I’m thinking I might ask the library if they’d consider moving it further away.

At the main branch, I didn’t bother even trying to say anything: I think the smokers were library employees, I was outnumbered and not feeling quite as nervy.

But I really hate having to breathe that stuff while I’m parking or unparking my bike. Just feel like a sitting duck. I’m thinking of writing to the library and asking if they’d post No Smoking signs near the racks. But then I think, maybe I’m the only one who takes this long to get out of there. Maybe for most people it’s a couple breaths and not a big deal. I might still write, but thought I’d see what other people’s experiences are.


stefb
Participant
#

I really am not a fan of cigarettes or cigrars or how they smell normally. I will avoid places that allow smoking unless there is a show or something that i really want to go to. However, I would rather have people smoke outside than inside. But I think businesses really should try to move smokers away from the doors of a building so that you don’t have to walk through it.

I visited my grandma at the beaver medical center recently and there were signs when you turned onto their property stating that it is a smoke free campus. There are even signs aging that you cannot smoke anywhere the property and you have to leave if you want to. It also added that you Should not litter by throwing your butts on the ground on any one else’s property or the road.

I work at a pittsburgh hospital and it is kind of embarrassing when nurses and whoever else is smoking at the entry ways.

Now that am pregnant i really have to avoid second hand smoke. I kinda have to hold my breath when i walk into malls and work. Kind of a pet peeve of mine also.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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i personally have very little problem with smokers. i’m a former smoker, and i still find myself hanging out with smokers. when it’s constantly in my face, i do my best to turn my head or breath differently to avoid it, but i don’t mind being around it so much.

additionally, i pretty much always leave my panniers on my bike, along with my computer and lights and my saddle bag with my multi-tool and patch kit in it. incidentally, i’ve never had any problem with anyone going through or taking stuff off my bike (though i will take lights and such with me if i’ll be away for a while or it’s at night). so i’m usually pretty quick about parking and unparking.

that said, i don’t think you’re being a negative nancy or overly picky by asking the library if they would consider moving their smoking area. i think cyclists in general are probably more likely to adopt your attitude toward ambient smoke than the general population (we value our air, as we breathe a lot of it), and i think the library will take your concerns seriously, as they seem quite reasonable.


dwillen
Participant
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The hospitals in Oakland have a never-ending cloud of smoke from the patients, visitors, and employees (really, health care professionals?) standing outside on the sidewalk puffing away, right on 5th Ave. I try and walk to work on the other side of the street, but sometimes even that is not much better.

The worst is the people who lean up against the bike lockers to have their smoke break outside Posvar. I am breathing pretty heavily, having just biked in (I don’t go slow) and then I’m forced to change shoes and put my bike away while breathing in that smoke. Never asked anyone to move though. I did tell a few people they “dropped” their cigarettes, after they toss it on the ground right in front of me.


ieverhart
Participant
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I had to change a flat tire yesterday up by Friendship Park, near West Penn Hospital, and because I am so clever, a piece of my mini pump fell onto the grass when I was adjusting it for presta/Schraeder. I found it after a few minutes of looking through the grass… but I found a LOT more cigarette butts.

Yuck.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Oh yeah, health care professionals. When my wife started nursing school, 35 of the 42 incoming freshmen smoked. That was the mid-80s. I don’t know what it’s like for today’s grads, but that generation of nurses? You bet.


88MS88
Participant
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‘I second-hand smoke two packs a day’ – Jerry Seinfeld.


Lyle
Participant
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I don’t believe that the occasional waft of second-hand smoke is all that horrible. It’s probably no worse than the diesel bus particulates. I think people are offended by bad smells and interpret them as threats.

And, stef, please don’t take this the wrong way, but there is an entire industry of professional alarmists out there trying to scare the hell out of pregnant American women, telling them that they’re going to do irreparable harm to their future pride and joy if they just do this, that, or the other thing wrong. For instance, according to a best-selling gestation guide found in bookstores everywhere, one favorite naked recreation with a long latin name can actually be FATAL!!!1! to mom or muffin or both. It can cause an EMBOL1SM!!eleven! And I’m sure you’ve heard from the worrywarts already all aflutter about your cycling.

(Yes this pervasive panic is a shared social game between the scared and the scarer, but I’m also not reckless enough to deconstruct THAT in public). In any event, the concentrations of crap in second-hand cigarette smoke are far too sparse to make it through the placenta to Junior. Without any hard data, I suspect that holding your breath is more harmful… After all, you might not look where you’re going and trip and fall. I wouldn’t camp out in a cloud, but I wouldn’t stress about it either.

That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking the library to move their smoking area if possible.


bikefind
Participant
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Thanks Lyle,

It’s easy to make it about health, without even noticing I’m doing it. The issue for me is mainly that I hate it. (And that I feel trapped with it while I deal with my bike.) If people all started congregating around the bike racks to fart, I’d be just as unhappy. At least.

If I write to the library, I’ll focus on the unpleasantness of it.

And be grateful, in any event, that it’s just smoke.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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General Note (from my experience): one gives health advice to a pregnant woman AT THEIR OWN RISK!

You have been advised.


stefb
Participant
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Well i am a health care professional. Being an asthmatic, smoke makes breathing worse for me. So does riding in the city behind big busses. I really haven’t been riding much. I take my workout inside with less pollution. And yes, there was a time when pregnant women smoked. Their babies were also a lot smaller. I would rather play on the safe Side though.

Stu- there are quite a number of nurses that smoke.. But it also seems like there is a higher number in their 40s+. Some in their 20s do it but but you’re right… Mostly a slightly older generation are seen doing it more.

I think the littering really really irks me. Oh well. I will just keep doing my thing and people can keep doing theirs.


Benzo
Participant
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Personal Pollution Filter, marketed at least partially for cyclists. Could be an option for issues with terrible air, bus exhaust, and maybe smoke, just saw this for the first time in urbanvelo the other day.

http://totobobo.com/


netviln
Participant
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I agree with Stef in that i am not so much concerned about the health issues as I am the rude factor. One day when it was raining this summer, I was unlocking my bike beside the theatre square garage in the nice new bike facility there. A lady walks over, less than 3 ft from me, and lights up. Im not saying she cant smoke, I smoke cigars every now and then, but if I am in a place with people around, I ask if its ok, if they indicate they they would rather I not light up, I dont.

If you walk up to someone, stand right beside them, dont ask if you can do something that could potentially offend them or make them ill, and do it anyway, then you are rude.

There are usually plenty of places to smoke in and around buildings that are out of the way, but people feel the need to hover around places where people tend to pass.

The right to swing your fist ends at my face.

sorry for the rambling.


Lyle
Participant
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Yeah, junkies can be pretty self-absorbed. I think that’s the nature of addiction.


reddan
Keymaster
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@lyle: Speaking as an ex-nicotine junkie, yeah, I was. Never even thought of flicking a butt out the car window as littering until at least a couple years after I quit.


JZ
Participant
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I think that it’s pretty natural for smokers to gravitate towards outdoor ashtrays (and sometimes in their absence, trash cans). I think that suggesting to the library, or any business or public building, that they locate them away from bike racks and entrances is perfectly reasonable. If the placement isn’t clearly visible to people entering/exiting the building, posting a sign to help them find the designated area can help.

There are different kinds of rude, but one that may be at work in some of these cases is the unintentional kind – a smoker who believes they are in the appropriate designated location.

I also think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask smokers if they would mind moving elsewhere. I’ll add that this is defintely a case where one catches more flies with honey- a polite “Would you mind moving {downwind,over there,whatever} because I am very sensitive to smoke” is more likley to generate the desired outcome than a treatise on the deleterious effects of tobacco use.


timito
Participant
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As a smoker I have to agree that lighting a cigarette three feet from somebody is rude, there’s so many good places to smoke, you can’t smoke on the steps of the main library, it’s perfectly reasonable to prohibit smoking by the racks. I don’t even ask people I just move away, unless they’re driving, then I try and blow it in the window.

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