Straight-up list of Pittsburgh idiot cyclists

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dfiler
Member
#

This is interesting when compared to cars. My take is that there is a much wider range of cycling skill levels than driving skill levels. The difference in vehicle handling, for otherwise similar looking vehicles, is also much different.

I try not to follow closely enough behind anyone that they’d get scared. Or similarly, not to pass too closely. But at times I have offended. I think this is because ethe other riders perceived a danger. While there was no danger, it made sense for them to think that there was. Many people have no clue how well modern hydraulics work and how quickly a skilled rider can stop. Or, if I am indeed a skilled rider on a dialed bike.

The same is true when passing pedestrians. But I give them even wider birth than I fellow riders who look experienced. The sole purpose is to avoid unneeded angst. There’s no way for the other person to know for sure that I pose no danger, or perhaps they don’t have the experience to know. Common courtesy is to take that into account but it isn’t 100% effective, particularly if someone is startled. A startled person will be confrontational once when their blood is boiling.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Penn Ave around 27th this morning around 9:15. I’m in the right lane, car passes me in the left lane, going much faster. Meh. But just after this, some guy rolls off the left sidewalk, veers first into the left lane, then into my lane, actually cutting me off, then proceeds to ride in the door zone on the right.

What’s worse, he appeared to look before he pulled that maneuver. I don’t know how he didn’t see me. If he had done that only a few seconds earlier and didn’t see the passing car, he would have been moosh.

I have this on video, but it’s going to be a couple days before I can process it.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Last night, around 8:30pm–about an hour after sundown–standing at the red light on inbound Centre at Morewood:  Twentysomething male rider rolls up huffing and yelling about a driver who almost flattened him pulling out of the Cancer Center, then was yelling at him for the block since.  He takes off before the light changes, yelling something exasperated about “Drivers!”

Somewhere in the next block I realize, asshat is flying through red lights in the dark with no lights on.  No wonder he nearly got hit.


Benzo
Participant
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It’s salmon spawning season in oakland again. SMDH


erok
Keymaster
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I was on smallman, heading inbound. i approached a stop sign, and a car on the side street, which happened to be an Uber robot car, got to their stop sign first. I stopped, the Uber started to proceed like they should, then some dude on a bike behind me doesn’t slow down, and blows the stop sign full speed giving a real live test to the Uber car. I was sure he was going to get hit, but surprisingly, the Uber stopped on a dime and the dude ended up fine. straight up idiot, but i’m kinda glad he did that so i could see a robot car do that in a real life situation


DoubleStraps
Member
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That’s actually fascinating.

I wonder what sort of bad behavior robot cars will inspire. For instance, I’m sure there is a subset of cyclist/pedestrian/driver that will see the robot car behave in the way you saw, and the next time they’re in that situation think to themselves, “the robot car is programmed to stop for me, it HAS to stop for me, therefore I will make it stop for me”, and proceed to run the stop sign/light.

 


Gordon
Participant
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I was on smallman, heading inbound. i approached a stop sign, and a car on the side street, which happened to be an Uber robot car, got to their stop sign first. I stopped, the Uber started to proceed like they should, then some dude on a bike behind me doesn’t slow down, and blows the stop sign full speed giving a real live test to the Uber car. I was sure he was going to get hit, but surprisingly, the Uber stopped on a dime and the dude ended up fine. straight up idiot, but i’m kinda glad he did that so i could see a robot car do that in a real life situation

I wish you had a dash cam to record that! It would be a great evidence to show that autonomous motor vehicles are safer and it is time to phase out human-operated motor vehicles. It is possible that more autonomous motor vehicles may encourage jay-walking or stop sign running, but it is better than getting pedestrians or cyclists killed. If such law-breaking behaviors become a cause of traffic jam, autonomous motor vehicle designers could install dash cam linked with facial recognition system to report the law breakers to the police. Such a facial recognition app had already been developed in Russia, which has a 70% success rate: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/17/findface-face-recognition-app-end-public-anonymity-vkontakte


J Z
Participant
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Wow, very interesting.  I’ve been seeing that Uber autonomous vehicle downtown on Penn and have seen it enter that facility on Smallman Uber is using to store or stage it.  Fascinating to read about a “live fire” exercise where someone does something human (and unabashedly stupid) and hear about the cyclist coming out okay.


Italianblend
Participant
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Crap guys, I think I was actually passed by the auto car this morning. Oh man, I wish I would’ve payed more attention to it. I believe it was on 5th avenue. I was going from penn to Aiken. I was in the right lane and I think the uber car was in the left lane. So I’m not sure if it actually “passed” me or just was driving in the left lane.  I want to say it got into my lane after that but gosh darnit I can’t remember

Honestly at first I thought it was a google maps car but now I realize it’s quite possible it was uber. Hmm.


ErinK
Participant
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You don’t know if it was the car that braked or the override driver, though.

The Uber cars all have those spinning radar arrays on the top. Look like MCP from the old Tron movie. The Google Street View car looks different, kind of a Zeiss projector-looking camera thing on top, covered in trash bags (plus they’re white and have Google logos). In my last job I saw a lot of a Street View car (it parked a few blocks away from my office off Ellsworth) and the Uber cars were quite fond of cruising River Ave. by my current office before they got logos.


Italianblend
Participant
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Yes it was a black car with the spinning radar at the top. Ugh I’m kind of mad I didn’t realize what it was. I even saw people pointing to it.


Ahlir
Participant
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The Uber cars are all black with radar stuffs on the roof, and 2-3 occupants all intently staring at their notebook screens. I make a point of steering clear…

The Streetview car, in Shadyside (on College, I think):

The Streetview cycle, in the Mountain View Computer Museum:

 


jonawebb
Participant
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I genuinely think this is the fatal flaw with robot cars. They are scaredy-cats. Won’t be long before people figure that out, and start taking advantage.


jonawebb
Participant
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I was going to start a new thread for this, but this’ll do:

Pedal Pittsburgh sucks

Watching the long line of cyclists coming down Aylesboro, crossing the intersection at Murray without stopping at the stop sign, many without even slowing down, while motorists patiently waited on Murray Avenue for a chance to proceed, I thought: what an awful display of bad cycling behavior. What a shame. What a lost opportunity to teach good cycling etiquette.

People are given an opportunity to experience Pittsburgh on a bike, and instead it becomes an opportunity to teach people they don’t have to follow traffic laws.

I’ve been on group rides that ran stop signs; but we stuck together, someone would ride ahead and block the intersection, and thank the drivers for waiting. Not today.

I’ve seen drivers run stop signs, but never one after another, not even slowing down.

It’s a great event for bringing cyclists together, but lousy for education, and terrible for our public image.


Marko82
Participant
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^I rode the 25 mile PedalPgh loop Sunday as a sort of sweep carrying tubes and such looking for riders having mechanicals.  I yelled repeatedly  for people to “Please obey the traffic signals,”  which was basically a waste of breath on my behalf.  I saw both roadies and noobs running stops & lights – with the most disturbing offender being a father pulling two kids in a tag-a-long running a red on the North Side; he then mocked me as I passed him a half block later.

OTOH, I didn’t see a single aggressive driver the whole day.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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The aggressive drivers seemed to be mostly up on Troy Hill/Mount Troy–I had several people pass me on blind curves up there.  Not as many issues in town…

Definitely agree on the number of idiots running lights and stop signs.  Wonder if it would help for the ‘riders must stop at stop signs’ postings to mention not just “it’s the law” but “it makes our job more difficult when you don’t”…. it not only teaches new riders bad behaviour, but feeds non-drivers’ “bike people are above the law” bullshit.

 

To come from watching some asshole blowing every red light in the mile from North Ave to Penn yesterday to being honked at this morning because I did stop at a traffic signal still dead after last night’s storm…


jonawebb
Participant
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Given that it’s an organized event, with riders identified by number, it would be possible for Bike Pittsburgh to strongly encourage better cycling behavior. The literature for the ride could make it more clear that cyclists should obey the law. And, beyond that, monitors on the course could tell riders to stop at key intersections, and note riders who didn’t obey. Repeat offenders could be banned from riding next year.

I think it’s important for Bike Pittsburgh to try to use this event to encourage better cycling behavior. It’s one of the few places where riders might listen and learn.

Right now, it seems to be working in the opposite direction.


J Z
Participant
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For the record, part of the reason I haven’t rode PedalPgh in several years is my discomfort with some of the behavior described above.

I specifically remember being asked by a fellow rider why I was stopping at lights Downtown as riders passed around me and responding, “I commute down here every day, that isn’t how I would ride down here during the week.”


Ahlir
Participant
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I agree that it was discouraging to see how many cyclists didn’t bother to obey traffic signs. I was on the 62mi ride but I have to say that most of the bad behavior I saw was on the bits joint with the 25mi ride. And don’t get me started on all the roadie and imitation roadie behaviors… It’s a frickin’ ride, people, not a race to the next stop light; you’re not a car.

But I would have to admit that I also went through some stop signs (though never lights) but typically these were at Ts or maybe intersections that were clearly low traffic, and not before checking for cross traffic. Simply charging through was wrong, even with people wizzing by. (Anyway, you got to pass them on the next climb).

I did run across a scene at Aylesboro/Beechwood with a clumb of cyclists waiting at the intersection for their friends, and long lines of cars from either side of Beechwood waiting for something, anything, to happen. It was embarrassing. The clumpers should have know to wait beyond the intersection; the lead cars should have simply proceeded, but I guess their drivers were nice people. Opportunistically I just plowed through, taking advantage of the mess.

 


FunkyDung
Member
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I’d just like to know whose brilliant idea it was to route PedalPgh across Swineburn Bridge. It’s narrow and windy, with no shoulder and poor line of sight. It strikes me as unsafe for cyclists, especially the inexperienced, and a major inconvenience for drivers.


chrishent
Member
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@funkydung, the Swinburne routing is a consequence of the closure of the Greenfield Bridge, as the route traditionally goes through Schenley Park. The Greenfield Bridge is set to reopen next Spring, so this will hopefully be a one-time thing.

Honestly though, I think Swinburne is fine.  It’s a short climb with a decent gradient and was repaved last year. YMMV, but I usually ride it either after 6 pm on weekdays, or on weekends, and never have a problem. I suppose they could’ve cut out part of the route on Beechwood and sent the ride through Forward/Poccuset into Schenley, but I think the modified route worked out fine.


FunkyDung
Member
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Well, my wife didn’t think it was fine as a driver on that bridge. ;)


Ornoth
Member
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Am I right in believing that only the metric century riders took Swinburne? If so, then it would hopefully only be experienced, confident, traffic-aware riders taking that climb.

That said, while I’ve done it before, even I generally don’t choose the Swinburne ascent, for aforementioned reasons. But I take the Swinburne descent often.

It would have made more sense to me to send riders up Junction Hollow and then down Swinburne, though that would have required sending all routes down its descent.

I won’t respond to the implication that cyclists should not inconvenience drivers.


Italianblend
Participant
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For the record, I’m glad to read that most of you have the open mind to state when cyclists are in the wrong.

Allow me to play devil advocate: if indeed many cyclists were breaking laws by not obeying traffic laws during pedal pgh, would you be in support of the police giving warnings and / or tickets if it was as out of hand as it has been stated in this thread?


Marko82
Participant
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Yes I would support a warning blitz. But if they are going to hand out tickets, I think it should target ALL road violations regardless of mode – so sit at an intersection and write up whatever violations occur car/bus/bike/ped.


Ahlir
Participant
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It’s actually complicated, and I’m trying to limit my post lengths. But anyway:

  • In a large group ride, it’s ok for a clump to go through. It’s safer for the riders. And have a corker.
  • It’s not ok, when there’s a clump waiting at a light, for individuals to scamper across.
  • If cutting through a stop sign, always slow down and check for cars. Choose such intersections carefully; you should already know what to expect.
  • Sure, police should enforce traffic laws. But why can’t we wait until they have the car drivers under control? People wielding 2-ton kinetic weapons are a much greater menace to society than unarmed cyclists foolishly taking their lives in their hands.

 


jonawebb
Participant
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I think it’s something Bike Pittsburgh can, and should, handle better than the police; monitors and attempts to educate.


PedOnly
Member
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All of the cyclists I see riding at night with no lights and wearing dark clothing. This happens all over the east end. Don’t they understand that they are basically invisible? They need to take responsibility for their own safety.


edmonds59
Participant
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Ok.


unixd0rk
Participant
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Can someone please explain to me how insisting that every cyclist following every law to the letter makes anybody any safer out on the streets?

Every cyclist fatality so far this year seems as though the cyclists were following the law.  Two that I am aware of were people being mowed down from behind.

Why is it that we rarely hear of a cyclist getting killed running a light, I wonder.

I highly suggest that people who believe that laws or lines on a street prevent you from being struck by a vehicle take a moment to think about whether it gives you a false sense of security when you are out on the streets.

ride safe everybody.


unixd0rk
Participant
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If you are in the east end with a bunch of lights all over you flashing don’t be surprised when you attract the attention of some idiot teens who might do things like: throw bottles or other objects at you, shove you off of your bike at speed causing you injury, or possibly hold you up for your bike because you made yourself a “mark”.

I run a rear light only in “shady” areas where I have seen and/or heard of delinquent kids causing trouble.  If I were running no lights, I feel that I’d be hyper-aware of that fact and act accordingly.  Cars are usually easy to see at night as they are supposed to have lights on.  They also make a bit of noise, for the most part.  Easy to avoid them.


joshious
Member
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While biking home from work a few days ago, at about the meeting point between Bloomfield and Friendship, on South Aiken right before Friendship Ave, some douchebag on a bike was coming down the street (on the street, not the sidewalk) going the wrong direction on the one way street.  Myself and two cars were stopped at the light and at first I didn’t exactly realize what seemed so wrong with the situation. Then some people in the back seat of the furthest car back yelled out the window “watch out! this is a one way street!”, to which the douchebag cyclist turned around and flipped his middle finger at them.  Then I shouted at him as well “you’re on a one way street and a car is about to hit you asshole!”, he turned around to look forward at the last second, where  car coming around the slight bend almost hit him and had to swerve over almost hitting parked cars to avoid him.

This is the kind of asshole who makes car drivers so antagonistic towards cyclists!

I bike to work almost every day, and fortunately I can go down East Liberty most of the way where there is a dedicated bike lane. However, I can’t count the number of times I have felt in danger because of asshole drivers.  I also cant count the number of times I have seen asshole cyclists doing stupid shit and making the rest of us look like jerks.  Running red lights, not even slowing down at stop signs, swerving in front of cars, etc..

Self-centered and obnoxiously selfish people are the problem, not necessarily cars, bikes or pedestrians.  However, bikes and pedestrians wont kill anyone by doing something stupid on the road (at least not very easily), but a car is a massive hunk of metal that is a very effective weapon. Car drivers being assholes is a much bigger problem than cyclists being assholes, but I think that pedestrians and cyclists being assholes makes more drivers act like assholes to cyclists and pedestrians.

We all need to follow the rules and drive/ride/walk safely.

Rant over… =)


jonawebb
Participant
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@unixd0rk I ride through some bad neighborhoods and have been doing so for years. There’s been two times when I was confronted by delinquent kids at night. Two times during the day. Versus many times when I was riding along and somebody saw my lights and maybe didn’t run into me as a result. I think there’s no question at all having lights makes you safer.
I don’t think anybody here thinks cyclists should follow the law “to the letter.” It’s not possible, anyway; as cops know, follow anybody for two blocks and you’ll see them commit a traffic violation. The law is written in a stupid, over-precise manner. Opinions differ, but I think most folks here think it’s a really bad idea to run stop signs without at least slowing down to check for traffic (and stopping if there is), and stop at stop lights (even if they don’t always wait for a green).
Oh, and yield to pedestrians, always, even if they’re not where they’re supposed to be.


Italianblend
Participant
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I will suggest that the psychology of drivers vs cyclists are not as opposed as you might think.

“Drivers” (as a loose category, not everyone of course), like to keep moving and get annoyed when a cyclist forces them to slow down. As in “oh crap, another cyclist.  Now I have to slow down.”

“cyclists” as a loose category like to keep their momentum. Especially at lights, stop signs. It is physically and psychologically a pain to come to an absolute stop at a stop sign. I rarely do it. I make sure it’s safe and slow down, but I rarely come to a complete stop unless there are cars around.

bottom line is we all like to “keep going”

so, sort of unrelated:

biking to work on Wednesday, I got into a line of cars at Forbes and shady near the dunkin donuts. I stopped at the light behind a car  and cyclist proceeds past us and used the walk signals to bike through the intersection.  Was that cyclist wrong? I’m not sure. I feel like I do the right thing stopping at the light.

 

 


edmonds59
Participant
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From a philosophical standpoint, you both did the right thing. You followed the rules designed for 4 wheeled motor vehicles. The other individual followed rules designed for an upright, slow moving human being. Bicycles are neither automobile nor pedestrian, and (as of now, here) there is no infrastructure designed specifically for their unique characteristics. We are forced (or able, depending on your POV) to choose between the 2 modes that have been made available to us, depending on which choice seems to be the most rational at the time. From the (rational) automobile viewpoint, if you would have used the pedestrian mode, you would have freed up space in that infrastructure for use by others, however, you followed the rules. From a (rational) pedestrian, that person did no harm by carefully utilizing that infrastructure along with them. Our society ideally should allow more situations where rationality dictates over written law. Our tendency to listen to our primitive lizard brains prevents that.
Does that answer your question?


helen s
Participant
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There was a ticket issued to a cyclist last summer for doing the same thing- riding through that intersection on the pedestrian walk signal.  Indeed cyclist are vehicles (which we are while in the street) we need to fully act like them.

My method of getting through those pedestrian walk signals is to hop off my bike, run across the intersection, then hop on to ride away on the other side.


unixd0rk
Participant
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what’s funny is that when riding the wrong way down a one way street (most likely – “alley”), you are statistically less likely to be killed by a driver running you over from behind and would have less to worry about than on a two-way.  should you be aware that people might not expect traffic from that direction?  probably.

i have yet to see any volumes of news reports of ninja cyclists in all black with no lights getting killed running red lights and stop signs.  the people getting killed seem to be a lot of experienced cyclists who seem to have been following all applicable laws.

it’s probably safe to say that people who antagonize cyclists are most likely antagonizing all sorts of other people around them throughout their daily lives.  to say that we should shame cyclists who don’t feel safe playing “sitting duck” in intersections just because some road-rager might get mad and post a screwed up comment on a PG news story is to concede that getting steaming mad at seeing a cyclist run a light with no injury or ticket is a valid and sane reaction.

i detect a severe logic disconnect in the argument that if all cyclists followed the law there wouldn’t be more cyclist fatalities due to increased proximity to dangerous motorists in tight spaces and also it makes no sense whatsoever to presume that all of the anti-cyclist road-rager drivers would suddenly have a ‘Grinch that Stole Christmas’ change in heart and begin to respect other people on the road, including fellow motorists.


joshious
Member
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Thank you for the responses to my post. I agree with Italianblend’s interpretation of the issue through this idea of keeping moving. Nobody enjoys being slowed down or blocked by the existence of others sharing the physical spaces we occupy.

That said, while nobody enjoys being slowed down by others, and essentially inconvenienced by the existence of others, I think that it is important for people to cultivate a sense that everyone has just as much a right to be in that space as we do (as long as they actually do have such a right, i.e. not a bike riding on the freeway or something).  This is something that collectivist societies accomplish better purely through necessity. It has been my consistent observation, that as a more individualistic oriented society we have far too much of a sense of entitlement in these kinds of ways.

I do not mean to imply that one way is better than the other. Collectivist societies definitively have their own shortcomings.  I nevertheless think that we have something to learn from the notion that these spaces we share with others are called “public” for a reason.  It is our obligation to share the space, but also not to hoard or crowd it unnecessarily.

However, I will say that I think that edmonds59’s point about rationality dictating over the letter of the law is problematic.  Most laws are first of all in place for a legitimate reason. Some are clearly not, and the large scale and open flaunting of such laws is usually a good thing and leads to changes in such laws.  Traffic laws are in large part not something that can be said to ever be excessive or unwarranted, because safety should always be seen as paramount over convenience or efficiency. Preventing one dead cyclist, pedestrian, or driver for that matter, is worth an infinite amount of laws being followed that slow down or inconvenience people on the roads.

I am the kind of person that even as a pedestrian, will stop at a red light in the middle of the night when no cars are around for miles, and wait until the light turns green.   The rules are there for a reason, and even when they don’t make sense in certain instances, it is still important to follow them.  This is not merely because of the immediate safety concerns that we may or may not always be aware of, but also because of the “broken window” phenomenon. When people see others breaking the rules it encourages more rule breaking and less order, thereby more danger. Also, when we ourselves break little rules that we clearly see as being ridiculous in certain instances, it causes us to have a more lax attitude towards rules in general, subconsciously thinking “well if that rule was dumb, this one that I don’t like might be too”.  This is what civilization is about, inconveniencing ourselves in agreed upon ways for the sake of a lot less inconvenience for everyone in the long run.

When biking, walking or driving I will never stop at a red light and go before it turns green just because there is no immediate or obvious danger to do so. I also always slow down and nearly stop at stop signs on my bike, even when there are no cars coming in the other directions.  I think it is also very important as a pedestrian to never cross a road at a red light without the walk sign being on for them, even if we might feel that we can easily get across in time, or that we are somehow “entitled” to not follow the rules when they inconvenience us and when there will almost definitely be no repercussions for us. That is also an important point: just because we likely won’t be punished in any way, we still should follow all applicable and not obviously absurd rules. These things ultimately boil down to a matter of civilization for me, and it makes me feel better to feel like I am not personally contributing to its downfall.

Yes, perhaps a harsh comparison, not stopping at a stop sign being the downfall of civilization; but every little bit helps.

Thanks again for everyone’s responses =)


joshious
Member
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unixd0rk:  I have never once seen an instance where not following the law was ever a safer option for a cyclist or a pedestrian. In fact it is always the opposite.  How is it being a “sitting duck” to not stop at a red light or a stop sign?

I will concede that I agree with you on the point you made about people’s anger towards cyclists being more complex than it stemming from simply seeing people on bikes break the rules.   I think it stems from a combination of guilt and anger at the person prompting them to feel such guilt. This all being subconscious of course. I think drivers see someone on a bike and deep down know that that person is being inherently more environmentally and socially responsible than they are in their current transportation situation.  They feel almost as if the biker by merely existing is somehow trying to tell them that they are morally inferior. Similar to how simply mentioning being vegetarian often makes meat eaters bewilderingly hostile, almost as if you are inherently implying by your decision not to eat meat that their decision to do so is wrong.

I feel like that same dynamic is at work with bikers and drivers, and nobody likes being made to feel like they are morally inferior, even if no words are being spoken and it is all coming from within their own mind.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  joshious.

unixd0rk
Participant
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i like the thoughts on our preference to “Keep going”.  it reminds me that in the unfortunate event of my being any part of what the news will label an “Accident” and surely what throngs of trolls and trump types will victim blame me for having been on a bike, that it sure is nice to pretend that the odds that, I, the cyclist, can “Keep going” after the incident are the same as the person in the metal box built using engineering principles and safety features developed by manufacturers competitively racing cars at near 250MPH these days.

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