No -didnt get any messages!
My Bikey-email address is: bikeygirlpgh **at** gmail.com
ean mcdowell geezuz, this oughtta be good…i am so sick of motorists demanding “respect”….i’m on Grant St. Sun. AM, downtown, heading back to the Parkway West, left hand lane…there’s a chick in a car, right hand lane next to me, taking up the ENTIRE right hand lane, as cars frequently do…so i’m giving her the “4 feet on the left” blah, blah, blah” “respect” thing….the light at Grant and 5th is RED, she goes RIGHT THRU it! the next light is Grant and 4th, also RED, she goes RIGHT THRU that! So you motorists want “respect”, but you play by your own rules?? WTF!! I don’t want to judge all motorists by one’s behavior, but WAY too many of you motorists are idiots on the road…Enuff is enuff, man…too many of you motorits don’t deserve my respect…
It’s funny how well that works every friggin time.
You know, McDowell seems like a jerk, but this is the one time where replacing bike with car actually doesn’t work. Running red lights in the middle of a cycle (not just going through late after a yellow) is something that cars almost never do, which is why it pisses people off so much. It’s seen as a serious taboo, and when bikes do it, it’s viewed as showing total disregard for the rules of the road in a way that other rule-breaking isn’t. It’s not necessarily a rational reaction from drivers, but it’s extremely common, and if we want to improve the image of bikes in this city, we should stop doing it (or at least don’t do it in front of cars). Are those 20-30 seconds saved really worth all the aggravation it causes?
Sometimes you gain more than the 20 or 30 seconds. Sometimes it’s an open road vs a cluster f*ck of traffic.
Anonymous 09/11/2012 at 12:59am #
I ride down grant all the time (my church is on grant and I bike there whenever the weather permits), and honestly, I take the lane always and if there is NO (as in NOT ANY) cross-traffic I run every red on grant (ESPECIALLY IF IM HEADING TOWARD 2nd ave). Why? Because if/when I don’t, cars either tailgate 14 inches off of my back wheel while on the horn, or try to force me off the road onto the (extremely busy, business district) sidewalk. The 15-50 foot buffer zone from the headstart is worth pissing off drivers (only when there is NO cross-traffic).
After the incidents in Cleveland, Houston, Raleigh, NC, and Sacramento some years ago, Clear Channel would presumably be quite reticent to court more negative publicity. Several people specifically indicated that they would no longer support WDVE or it’s sponsors, so it’s no surprise that the thread vanished. They’ve had some hard times lately with the economy after all, the poor dears.
I wonder how many conspiracy theories about cyclists suppressing free speech are percolating in the narrow minds of Sean McDowell’s supporters tonight.
A friend of mine who wrote to Clear Channel about the incident got a response from management that they took the post down, were taking it seriously, and were going to sit down with McDowell to discuss the incident.
Not so bad.
To go against the grain for a minute…
Maybe there’s a different tack to be taken with a guy like Sean McDowell?
I get how he feels about the douchebag cyclists. I feel the same way every time I drive through the city. Ninjas, red-light-runners, lane jumpters, etc. They’re there, they’re not going away, and unfortunately, they’re one of the main faces of cycling in Pittsburgh even when they’re in the minority. And every time I see them (pretty much every time I drive in the city), they royally tick me off.
We can get mad that people like Sean McDowell fire off about the idiots and fire back at him, or we can take our time to think about it and respond as the real cyclists who’ve gotten a shitload of bike lanes painted the last three years and have gotten the mayor to fight with a city councilor about who was the first to put in a bike corral.
My vote is for the latter. We’re all here because we believe in bicycle advocacy. Antagonism is counter-productive to our goals. His words piss me off, for sure, but I sort of understand his sentiment. Getting pissed at him isn’t going to help us or our cause.
Every angry message from a cyclist that McDowell reads will simply reinforce the image of the angry, entitled cyclist he has in his head. Reinforcing that image is the worst thing we can do (and every angry response to his words has done nothing but that).
We need to respond with a *positive* image of cyclists, one that challenges McDowell’s take on the status quo. We need to find a way to convince him that his impression from the scofflaws is not the correct one. Angry replies and threats against his advertisers is *NOT* the way to do this.
We need to *engage* him, to show him what the Pittsburgh cyclist is all about, and we need to do it in a neutral, non-confrontational manner. I’m not sure how to do that, though, so I’m posing the question back to the board.
How do we engage someone like McDowell, in a positive manner? How do we undo (as best we can, at this point) the bad will that’s been generated from our responses to his post?
McDowell is a generally good dude, the type most of us wish more people were, he just did something really stupid with tons of people watching. He got called on it, it got pulled, and he probably won’t do that again, be it bikes or anything else. That’s a good thing. My guess is if we reached out to him and gave him a chance to redeem himself he might bite. Hell, at least get on the phone with him and say that we (those who are good cyclists) also dislike those people and do not like the hatred of them being taken out on us as we ride to work. Pitch it to him like the woes of the working man just trying to get by.
I wonder if he, or anyone else, knows about Idaho Rules: A cyclist can treat a stop sign as a yield sign, a red light as a stop sign. If we had that in PA, and adhered to it, a lot of the anger would go away (I think).
Even I will pull an “Idaho” from time to time. Case in point: 4th Ave at Cherry Way, two one-way streets, neither with a huge amount of traffic, fairly low speed. On a bike, if you get a red here, and are first in line, either direction, you can see pretty well what’s coming. Come to a complete stop, verify nothing’s there, then go. Not to be done in a car, mind you, as there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic, but on a bike, (if this was Idaho) it’d be OK.
What about secondary awareness of the actual impact of registration fees to the PA roads?
I actually didn’t think McDowell’s own comments were terribly offensive. He saw someone run red lights, not justifiable. It was the commenters who got really shitty. That is the key problem with someone in a visible public position such as him making the sort of comment he did, and giving the aholes a window to take it too far. I think that is the point that should be made to him – look at what a simple un-considered observation opens up.
I suggest we see if he will have Scott Bricker on his show, esp if Clear Channel would like some positive “penance”. Scott is the most level headed and sensible voice of cycling in the land. I would want him to speak for me.
Anonymous 09/11/2012 at 1:12pm #
Scott would probably do better than me, I’d bring my own [BLEEP] button, just incase theirs broke during the broadcast.
I couldn’t agree more. For some reason, people would rather take a more militant approach to garnering support. Too much reality TV, I guess.
having BPGH (Scott) on a clearchannel radio show, any clearchannel radio station, would be awesome. They own the channels that a huge number of people listen to.
As for Mr. McDowell personally, I don’t believe even he has that same opinion 100% of the time, very few people, when they sit down outside of a car, face to face with a calm person who cycles often and can discuss some of the issues at hand, will persist in denying them the respect accorded to most humans by each other.
The problem is the “Facelessness” of Facebook, and instantaneous in-the-moment ability to communicate one’s off the cuff, flippant, or heated ideas.
The guy is capable, as most humans are, of rational, measured thought and communication. It’s just not as visible as FB.
Even on here, while many of us know each other IRL, this is still a very public forum and we too post things that upon reflection are not as thoroughly thought through as we are capable of.
We are not our online personas. Neither are the people whose online personas get our goats. The trick is to keep all the online personas off the roads.
FWIW, what Sean McDowell said wasn’t nearly as offensive as what some of the commenters said.
My main objection to the whole spiel about cyclists breaking the law is that it’s just a pretext used to justify whatever other anti-cycling remarks you want to make. They don’t follow the laws, therefore they don’t belong on the road, they don’t deserve cycling infrastructure, they don’t deserve to live if you’re extreme enough. If drivers were the perfect angels they pretend to be then maybe they would have a point (well, not that last thing, obviously), but drivers break the law constantly. It’s just an astounding level of hypocrisy, especially since drivers’ actions have far worse consequences.
Anonymous 09/11/2012 at 7:20pm #
he did post a “statement” on facebook…
“sean mcdowell i had no idea my comments about “arrogant idiot bicyclists” would piss so many people off, like, seriously piss so many people off…for the record, i respect everyone on the road, even oblivious bicyclists…and i would never want to see someone get hurt…”
Anonymous 09/11/2012 at 7:31pm #
too little, too late.
and it also reeks of being fabricated by “company” lawyers.
Mark Madden (WXDX 105.9) is ranting against bicyclist right now. Same old, same old (run lights, blah blah blah) Tame by comparison…and because it was spoken, it is now gone.
thank you kelw, I’m really glad to see that. Statements like that provide a lot of reasonable hope.
Wow, so the “comments” after McDowell’s apology are full of ignorant, self-righteous drivers/f’ers…. I’m trying to stay in a “zen state” so I’m staying away….
It’s looking more and more like comments sections on news sites and Facebook posts are becoming just as much of a “battlefield” for us as the roads are (at least in terms of changing people’s attitudes).
I think we need an organized “critical mass” type of presence online also.
From now on whenever I see a thread with dozens of “I saw a cyclist run a red light once” comments, I will simply post “I am a law-abiding cyclist” and hope many others do the same.
pbeaver, I wouldn’t give the guy so little credit. time has passed, he’s likely read some of what’s been added and may even have discussed this with someone at the station/owners.
When not behind the wheel, when tempers have cooled, people are less likely to be adams’ apples.
Damn you, bikeygirl! I should have resisted… but I couldn’t resist. well, at least I tried to be a little more lighthearted this time around.
Can someone come and change my facebook password and refuse to tell it to me?
MORE AND ANOTHER THOUGHT:
(and this might open a can-of-worms in here)
Looking at the other side of the coin, I will say that while I still think it was wrong for Sean McDowell to rant about cyclists in a way that incited violence towards them, I will point out that this is a clear example of how –by the action of one/few– the rest of the cycling community is and can be judged.
I admit that sometimes I get angry when I see fellow cyclists running red lights for no-reason, or weavin in & out of traffic, or making turns without signaling. It makes me feel powerless….
There was this time when I was stopped at a 4-way street/lights, and we were 3-cyclists all following the rules and waiting our turn/waiting for the light to turn green, when racing down comes this dude who runs the red light after waving around a crossing car that had just gone-by. I actually yelled at him “Don’t be an asshole!!!” and made me feel embarrased for his behaviour, yet the car next to me, who was also at the stop light with me, said to me -thank you for not running the red light….. AND THAT right there made me feel better.
So, yeah…. I think that from our part as cyclists, while we can’t do anything about what kind of careless/crazy/tired/or just pure sychopath gets behind the wheel, we can do our part by trying to abide the rules of the road as much as we can for the safety of ourselves and others…. and not us be the ninja/careless bike rider…
I do not claim to be safest-best cyclist ever, but I do-try to be…
I’m sorry you had to look. I went to look again too and broke my peace-mode and also posted what I hope was a positive/constructive FB post….
Anonymous 09/11/2012 at 8:51pm #
@BG, yours was a thoughtful, civilized, and well constructed comment.
Sadly, it will probly jsut be met with hate by an extremely vocal minority that gets off on acting superior.
@EJ, i dont think he should get too much credit for changing his public opinon.
Granted he may actually feel remorseful over the publc results of his “letting off some steam”, but he also didnt realize that within a short timeframe his venting had completely snowballed into a mass spewing of hatred. Given the timeframe of the original incident, he could have seen what was happening on fb and after himself calming down a bit, atleast attempted to pursuade cooler heads to prevail.
The current appology post is more akin to a small child with thier parents making them confess to a neighbor that they were the ones that broke their window.
The scariest thing of all of this in my eyes isn’t that someone voiced an opinon in a puplic forum, last time i checked, we encourage people to do that in this country.
The scary thing is the willingniss of the public to support the physical harm to citizens of thier own community based on antecedents, 3rd party stories, and “stuff they read online”.
Am I the only one that thinks the gas tax/registration argument is ridiculous? I think that the main proponents of this argument havent really thought it out. An electric car doesn’t pay anything in gas tax and a hybrid might pay half of what I pay in gas tax a year but no one is making the argument they don’t belong on the road.
Anonymous 09/12/2012 at 1:08pm #
What is the actual contribution to the roads from drivers, or rather what percentage of the required funds to build/maintain roads come from the use of cars?
@boostuv, the gas tax argument is a red herring anyway, because local roads (where bikes do the vast majority of their riding) are not funded by gas taxes or registration fees, but by local property and income taxes, which everyone pays in one way or another.
The highway trust fund has pilfered $30B from the general fund in the past few years, because the gas tax doesn’t cover expenditures. I don’t know about the state but I think willb is right about local roads.
It’s just stupidity.
It’s just stupidity.
No, it’s willful fantasizing. Stupidity and ignorance can be addressed through means such as discussion, education, or at least appeals to authority. People making these arguments are not moved by any of the above, because they are not engaged in rational debate.
*Any* arguments that support the idea that “bikes don’t have the right to be on the road” are red herrings. The law is clear, no matter how badly people wish to believe that their pet theories somehow invalidate it.
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