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Don't go up there! You're a silly cyclist.
September 8, 2012 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Silly Cyclists: The Video Series. Silly Cyclists was created by Gaz, a cyclist from London. The series features footage from Gaz and other cyclists showing silly, stupid, or extremely ill-considered decisions by cyclists around the world. Each episode features a top-ten countdown of Silly Cyclists, followed by a Savvy Cyclist.

Highlights in the episodes include footage from bikers all over the world, including clips from as far away as Wellington, NZ. Special episodes include a look at silly cycling in Lucas Brunelle’s documentary Line of Sight, and the Best of Episodes 1-9 and the Best of Episodes 10-19.
posted by pie ninja (27 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Downright stupid and bloody dangerous fucking idiot cyclists" might be a better title. I don't drive or cycle, but I do walk around London a lot and I'm sick to death of cyclists who nearly mow me down by ignoring red lights and pedestrian crossings, riding on the pavement (sometimes very fast) or weaving through stationary traffic when they can't see what's in front of them.

I know not all urban cyclists are like this, but far too many are, and their behaviour is made all the more infuriating by the fact that they're so self-righteous when you challenge them - and seem to believe that they (and they alone) should be exempt from the Highway Code.

The sooner every major city passes legislation requiring all cycles to carry a registration plate like those on cars and levies a system of automatic camera-driven fines on cyclists who behave badly, the safer pedestrians will be. The money raised could be used to improve facilities for responsible bike riders.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:56 AM on September 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh lord.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:24 AM on September 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was always told that when biking on a road, I should see my bike as a car and never seek to nip through, overtake, or otherwise make a silly maneuver that wouldn't be done in a car. When there's a line for a red light I take my place in it with the cars--even if there is a forward box--and keep in the middle of the land where everybody behind can see me.

Needless to say, some of the folk on these films are crazy. I wouldn't be amazed to find they ended up dead.
posted by Jehan at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2012


Because licensing drivers and cars has done so much to prevent stupid and dangerous driving.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wonder if there are "silly cyclists" in countries with fully integrated and safe bike infrastructure.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was about to write something along the lines of: "I wonder how long before we kick off the obligatory flamewar wherein every class of road user accuses other classes of road user of being self-righteous over-entitled sociopaths?" But I see we're well on the way already.

As to the video series itself: excellent stuff. It's really nice to see someone step outside the clan mentality that generally destroys any attempt to talk about these issues. And the reasoned tone is far more likely to actually make a difference than over-the-top ranting. If you call someone a "fuckwitted douchebag traffic maniac" they're going to respond in kind; if you say "well that was rather silly" they might -- just might -- think about not doing it next time.
posted by pont at 9:53 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


When there's a line for a red light I take my place in it with the cars--even if there is a forward box--and keep in the middle of the land where everybody behind can see me.

If you actually do this, you are probably the most driver-despised cyclist on the road because when the light changes, there is no way you can keep up with the cars ahead of you in line, making you the source of a potentially large bottleneck-- and you are breathing so much extra exhaust as to more than nullify any health benefits you would receive from riding a bicycle in the first place.
posted by jamjam at 9:56 AM on September 8, 2012


If you actually do this, you are probably the most driver-despised cyclist on the road because when the light changes, there is no way you can keep up with the cars ahead of you in line, making you the source of a potentially large bottleneck-- and you are breathing so much extra exhaust as to more than nullify any health benefits you would receive from riding a bicycle in the first place.
I only do it while waiting in line so that I am seen. I move to the side of the road once the traffic begins to flow. The point is that I don't nip down or wait at the sides of cars. It makes it safer for all of us.
posted by Jehan at 9:59 AM on September 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, silly doesn't really adequately describe the stupid moves these cyclists make. I prefer a line used in one of the videos, "Ride Like A Tool."
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:00 AM on September 8, 2012


Right off the start we get the let's license cyclists argument. As a dedicated cyclist I will get a license if it's required. Licensing will only punish casual cyclists, who will either need to leave their bikes hanging from the hooks in the garage or become scofflaws on pleasant evenings when they want to tool around the neighbourhood with the family. Obtaining a license won't be worth the hassle for casual cyclists.

I remember reading a theory that stated that poor people are considered more crime prone because they live their lives on the street and on front porches while the wealthy shelter their drinking, drug consumption, thievery and fighting behind office doors, walls, fences and gates. Cyclists too are more visible than drivers, because we're thought eccentric in North America, because we move slower and because we can't hide our actions in the same way drivers do. I see drivers on cellphones, including texting, every time I leave the house, despite it being illegal where I live. Silly drivers. Here in Toronto the idiot Mayor was recently photographed reading his upcoming speech as he drove 80 kph on the expressway. Cars are always running into houses or mowing down pedestrians, but such events are so common they doesn't stay on the news rotation past lunchtime. An irresponsible cyclist hits a pedestrian and people two years later are still using it as evidence for anit-cycling arguments.

There are many bad cyclists. So it's good to see bad actions highlighted in a way that isn't antagonistic towards all cyclists. The cycling population includes many who live on the margins, who are riding a bike only because they can't afford a car or lost their license. But lots of other cyclists, including the pros in the spandex, make stupid moves too. Good thing they're not in cars, because they might do real damage then. I saw a guy carrying a window air-conditioner on his handlebars at the start of the summer. I was knocked down last weekend when I slowed to walking pace on a multi-use pathway, trapped behind some walkers with a 400lb man in a scooter passing in the other direction. After the scooter passed I slowly nudged out to go around those in front of me and was clipped by a guy who thought he could squeeze behind me and the scooter without breaking cadence. Tip for those who don't want to be silly cyclists: put your ego away and be prepared to slow down when it is appropriate.

The city where this video was taken looks to have some decent bike infrastructure.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:13 AM on September 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think there is a desire to defer responsibility for reckless driving behavior onto cyclists by motorists since it makes their silly behavior seem less silly. The same could be said for cyclists deferring responsibility for their silliness onto pedestrians.

We're all silly.
posted by Divest_Abstraction at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2012


Cyclist shaming?
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:23 AM on September 8, 2012


Do they really put their bike lanes inside the bus lanes? Someone's silly, and it isn't those cyclists...
posted by nicwolff at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2012


More like bad apple shaming....
posted by Increase at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2012


I never really know what to say to cyclists on the sidewalks that would get them to potentially stop doing it. So all I end up doing is looking at them like they're a two year old who's showing me their poop.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:34 AM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I just read the Bike Snob guy's new book, and it left me more cheerful about the prospect of us all someday getting along than I had been. If anyone wants another dose of hey-let's-all-behave-better that isn't lobbing shame and generalization, I recommend it. Also, it's pretty funny.
posted by asperity at 11:55 AM on September 8, 2012


I know he's in the right, but I find the commentary quite irritating - it's really smug and 'i told you so'.
posted by shiny shoes at 12:29 PM on September 8, 2012


It's like Goofus and Gallant! I bet there are a lot of skills that could be taught in a Goofus and Gallant style.
posted by shortyJBot at 12:43 PM on September 8, 2012


I want to get a sticker for my car: "Four Less Bikes"
posted by marvin at 12:45 PM on September 8, 2012


Yes, in London the bus lanes double as cycle lanes.

.. with 10-ton vehicles on them.

Though there are quite a lot of dedicated cycle lanes as well. I actually don't mind using the bus lanes too much; mostly it just involves passing stopped ones. And to be fair, the bus lanes are essential for making London's excellent bus system work, and there's only so much space between buildings in an old, pre-grid city.
posted by Drexen at 12:46 PM on September 8, 2012


I guess a lot of it is common sense, but nobody actually **teaches** people the principles of safe cycling in urban areas.

If I had a kid, I'd want someone to sit down and tell him "when cycling, DONT PASS A BUS IF YOU HAVE THREE CENTIMETERS, especially if its a double decker!" the same way I was yelled at to check my blindspot in driving school.
posted by cacofonie at 12:48 PM on September 8, 2012


there is no way you can keep up with the cars ahead of you in line, making you the source of a potentially large bottleneck

This isn't even true. Usually when I do it, the cars in front of me keep me waiting. As soon as traffic speeds up to the point that I can't keep up, I navigate to my usual place near the curb.

In any case it's moot, because the right place for a cyclist, legally, is the pace where they're safe, regardless of how fast they're moving. In an intersection, that's usually the middle of the lane.
posted by klanawa at 2:14 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The sooner every major city passes legislation requiring all cycles to carry a registration plate like those on cars and levies a system of automatic camera-driven fines on cyclists who behave badly, the safer pedestrians will be. The money raised could be used to improve facilities for responsible bike riders.

Could also be very useful in combating bike theft.
posted by mannequito at 5:31 PM on September 8, 2012


As a fairly committed and (on occasion) silly cyclist, I LOVE this web site.

I ride fairly thoughtfully by not riding on sidewalks, obeying traffic signals, and signaling intent. However, I more often than not ride very aggressively and on occasion speed and timing nearly got the best of me. I've not yet jeopardized other cyclists, but I have a few times hurt myself.

I've been dialing it back and the analysis Gaz provides is helpful because he gives names to behaviors which in many cases are legal but ill-advised. I like the reinforcement I get when I see things I would not do and appreciate the self-realization when I see silly things I have done/will do.

The "Savvy Cyclist" bit a the end of each ten silly cyclists are especially good. Nothing like positive role-models to put everything in perspective.

Stay safe everyone!
posted by mistersquid at 6:23 PM on September 8, 2012


As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be Goofus.

And maybe that's a good thing.

But not on a bike

posted by mazola at 10:43 PM on September 8, 2012


As much as I don't want to be that guy, watching the "no-hands" rider on the fixy fall into the truck as he tries to stop sans manos was some fucking beautiful schadenfreude.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:01 AM on September 9, 2012


I'm a casual biker. I enjoy the activity of going out to local bike-friendly parks and spending an hour or so riding around. I'm not out to set any speed or endurance records, and a good ride is as equally determined by the number of adorably fluffy dogs I spot as it is the distance I pedal.

Last weekend I tried biking the Minuteman Bikeway and found it to be insanely crazy. Competing for the same narrow path were casual bikers like myself, families, athletic enthusiasts, genuine commuters, and pedestrians. There were advanced cyclists going close to thirty miles an hour on road bicycles, and there were meandering children who had just graduated from their training wheels. There were people riding four abreast, people on cell phones, people who were oblivious to the world beyond their earbuds, and and people who just didn't care. Hardly anyone signaled their intentions to pass, and the majority of those who did were already passing when they signaled.

Though I think the absolute worst part was cyclists second-guessing my decisions as a cyclist. There were occasions where my lane was completely occupied by slow-moving pedestrians and enough oncoming traffic to deem passing unsafe. I would come to a near stop behind the pedestrians while waiting for the situation to clear, but instead of stopping behind me and respecting my decision to stop, several cyclists would blow right pass on the center line and thread the needle in a most dangerous fashion.

Yes, I am a bit cautious, and perhaps I was seeking a much greater margin for safety than necessary, but if you were driving a car on a road, and the car in front of you stops, you stop. You don't have the right to second-guess another driver's decision; you can only wait your turn to make your own decision.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:04 AM on September 9, 2012


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