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Bike to Work Week/Day
May 14, 2003 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Once again its Bike to Work Week (now) and Day (tomorrow). There are at least 40 reasons to ride to work. Obviously, riding a bicycle is good in many ways. This isn't just for out of shape Americans, either. Will you be out there on a bike tomorrow?
posted by john m (53 comments total)

 
and in other news, tomorrow is also Run Over Annoying Bicyclists Who Only Care About Traffic Laws When They Feel Obstructed And Otherwise Zip Through Red Lights And Also Wear Stupid Tour De France Looking Gear For No Apparent Reason Whatsofreakingever.

I forgot the URL for it, though.
posted by xmutex at 4:12 PM on May 14, 2003


I work about 20 miles from home, across a major transbay bridge with no bike lane, the closest station in our regional rail system (which no longer permits bikes on trains during rush hour) is a few miles away from my office, on the other side of a major freeway, and on my way home from work I'm going downtown to see a movie with some friends. Can I be excused?

(not trying to be an asshole - I'm actually just pointing out the ridiculously impractical arrangement of my own live/work vitals, and some limits in our transit system, which might otherwise augment a bike quite effectively).
posted by scarabic at 4:16 PM on May 14, 2003


'Look, if I'm going to have to try at anything, I'm not going to do it. Better yet, I'll just make fun of it.'
posted by Hall at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2003


Xmutex, I thought every day was Run Over Annoying Bicyclists Day.

I'll be out there on my Brompton, getting forced off the side of Los Angeles roads as usual.
posted by 4easypayments at 4:22 PM on May 14, 2003


Annoying Bicyclists Who Only Care About Traffic Laws When They Feel Obstructed And Otherwise Zip Through Red Lights

I never really cared one way or the other about bike messengers in San Francisco who do this a lot. They seem to be safe enough, if no one is coming in any direction and they get safely across a red light, why do you care if they do it?

Also Wear Stupid Tour De France Looking Gear For No Apparent Reason

I hear this from time to time, and I don't even wear the clothes when I ride (can't stand how they look, heh). But I'm fascinated when I hear it and want to know why that's the first thing that springs into anyone's mind when they think of annoying things that cyclists do. What causes some people to go into a fit of range against spandex when they talk about cyclists? Is it jealousy? Plain old fashion hatred? Something else?
posted by mathowie at 4:24 PM on May 14, 2003


matthowie: I guess I've had too many experiences when it was my legal time to turn and some fool flies around in front of me on a bicycle, or when I am trying to lane change and a jackass flies right down the median strip, etc, etc.

Add to that the way bicyclists treat pedestrians (ON YOUR LEFT!!) and they generally grate on my nerves.

As for the spandex induced rage... man, it's spandex. You're not in the hills of France. Let it go!
posted by xmutex at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2003


Why is it that the first few comments after every pro-cycling post are along the lines of "I will squish you beneath the wheels of my Escalade, worm"? Hey xmutex, on Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, do you tell your co-workers that it's also Get That Anklebiter Cooking Lessons Cuz She's Only Going To End Up Barefoot And Pregnant Day?

And I've been run over (ok, sideswiped, but it was a cement truck), and it was about as funny as your attempt at a joke.

Also: I ride my bike to work everyday. Everybody should! I save a pile of cash. And running those red lights is a great workout.
posted by monkeymike at 4:29 PM on May 14, 2003


monkeymike: no, but that's great, I'll definitely pull it out next time. I kept using the Bring Your Goddamned Obnoxious Brats Who Don't Fill That Empty Void In Your Life Like You Thought They Would Day, but it's a mouthful and doesn't have the same ring.
posted by xmutex at 4:31 PM on May 14, 2003


I'll be on the bike rain or shine (probably rain). No spandex here, I look more Devo/Gwar than Kraftwerk.
And to keep it going, I obey the lights and stop at the stop signs. I wish the people in the cars signaled better, and stopped making right turns in front of me when I have the right of way.
posted by thirteen at 4:36 PM on May 14, 2003


I'm there every day, but am happy to see others give it a try. Also, I'm in the same line as the SUV crowd when it comes to wanting to smash cyclists who do not obey traffic laws. In my book—if you catch a cyclist running a light, not signaling, etc—you should have a carte blanche to run 'em over. By the same token, respect those who do follow the rules. I've gone through a helmet, two rims, and shift lever as a result of some repugnant fuck bouncing me over the curb or forcing me into a storm grate. Oh, while I rant, let me give a big fuck you to the city planners who insist on using storm grates with vertical slots in the direction of traffic. They're completely unsafe.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2003


Most of these reasons are really stretching it, not to mention logically dubious.

Regarding Everybody should bike to school/work: Biking in non-urban areas in the US is usually rather impractical due to the lack of safe bike paths and the great distances involved.

In the Netherlands, where there are on average 2.6 bikes for every person, nearly all school children aged 8 to 18 bike to school each day, rain or shine. This is not due any particlarly enlightened population, but rather because Dutch towns are often much compacter than their American counterparts, since they've usually evolved over several centuries around a central core as opposed to being planned from the very start, like most American suburbs. Most towns here also have safe bike paths nearly everywhere, whereas American towns (at least from what I've noticed in Massachusetts) have virtually none.
posted by ar0n at 4:53 PM on May 14, 2003


I'm going to go out on a limb here -

There's no real reason why bikes should stop at stop signs. The speed bikes travel at is minimal compared to cars, so bicyclists have much more time to react to anything in their path. They usually have better visibility than any car, with no frame around them. There's plenty of time to check out all directions of the average intersection as you roll up to it on your bike. Stopping all the way, then cranking back up, is unecessary, and a waste of energy.

If the entire wold rode bikes, we wouldn't need stop signs, in other words.

However, drivers become upset with bikers who ignore stop signs for one simple reason: they're breaking the rules. I don't mean to say that it's annoying. But driving is a complicated task that requires some coordination, and one of the things you need to be able to do is assume others will move and behave in a predictable way. You need to be able to assume that an oncoming car won't jump the stripe and hit you. Otherwise, you'd be in the ditch every five seconds. When a driver sees a biker zoom through a stop sign, it breaks up their expected pattern of how traffic will behave. It's jarring, and it can be scary, too. The fact that the bicyclist is putting himself in danger makes him seem like an asshole, and the driver knows that he's the one at risk of killing someone else and going to jail, if an accident should happen.

So drivers have plenty of reason to get pissed off.

In short: bikes and cars on the same roads are not compatible. At least, not when the cars outnumber the bikes by 100 to 1. I went to college in Davis, where bikes outnumber cars most everywhere. And in those circumstances, it worked better. Everyone had more respect. You could also get a ticket for riding a bike at night with no light. I see idiots doing that in my Berkeley neighborhood all the time, and I generally yell out the window at them "GET A LIGHT!"
posted by scarabic at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2003


About 30k tomorrow, rain or shine. Is it just me, or cycling in the rain more fun anyway?

There are lots of jerks on bikes, just as there are lots of jerks on cars. I've seen one Captain Spandex force a pedestrian into a canal and pedal off without a backward glance. As a cyclist, one can hate squids as much as car drivers hates the cell-phone-talkin', Starbucks-swillin', big-haired power-walkers in SUVs. Besides, both cyclists and drivers can agree on the true menace of the streets: the roller bladers.

The togs, however geeky they look, do have one great saving grace: they are comfortable. Lined shorts are the only way to ride, after you've worn your first pair. From there, it's a natural progression to tight jerseys, knitted gloves, wind tights, a wind vest, arm- and leg-warmers....
posted by bonehead at 5:24 PM on May 14, 2003


I always find it funny how you SUV drivers have no problems with cyclists breaking the law as long as it's to the driver's advantage. One example: let's say I'm riding on a two-lane street (one lane each direction), I come up to the quiet intersection and then I stop for the red light. I'm in the middle of my lane and I'm planning on proceeding across the intersection once I get the Green. The SUV driver behind me wants to make a right-on-red turn Right Now. The driver will be upset that I am following traffic laws. If I decide to ride through the empty intersection, the SUV driver won't complain at all.

I also find it amusing that many drivers think downtown bike messengers just randomly ride through the streets. Yes, their darting around might frighten you for a few seconds, but in general their awareness of the current traffic patterns/dangers is usually a lot higher than yours.
posted by gluechunk at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2003


I'd love to bike to work but can't - there's no way I can carry 48 landscape timbers, a ton of gravel, a yard of loam, two trees and four shrubs on my bike. Well, mabe I could but it'd be a lot of trips.
posted by TimeFactor at 5:34 PM on May 14, 2003


xmutex:
Or maybe today is Lurk on Mefi Waiting to be the First Person to Throw in a Nonproductive Wanky Comment Day.

That should really only come once a year.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:41 PM on May 14, 2003


As a former bike messenger and from being on my bike everyday, I will tell you all that 99% of bikers are much more aware of what is going on than any driver.
posted by Hall at 5:46 PM on May 14, 2003


By the way, in Canukistan, our equivalent is the Commuter Challenge which runs from June 1 to 7 this year.
posted by bonehead at 6:11 PM on May 14, 2003


Why is it that the first few comments after every pro-cycling post are along the lines of "I will squish you beneath the wheels of my Escalade, worm"?

I'm all for the idea of bicycling. I wish there were more bike lanes in the U.S. If there were, I might even consider bicycling myself. As it is, however, bicyclists remain a slow, road-blocking annoyance to most drivers. I realize all the benefits of riding a bike, etc etc etc, but many roads which are single-lane cannot be a home to both bikes and cars, because cars can go much much faster and it is infuriating to be stuck behind some wobbly bicyclist.

I realize also that a lot of bicyclists know the rules and obey the law, but a lot of them often look like they're about to topple right over. And after hearing my stepmother's horrifying description of the bicyclist that did topple over into rush hour traffic, I am petrified to even drive near a bicyclist. I've never been in an accident, but I can acknowledge that I'm not a perfect driver, and your puny fleshy bodies are so fragile compared to all the metal and airbags I'm protected by. (No, I'm not paranoid at all.)
posted by catfood at 6:30 PM on May 14, 2003


drivers become upset with bikers who ignore stop signs for one simple reason: they're breaking the rules

For me, it's more that some bicyclists complain about cars not following the rules while some bicyclists (who may or may not be the same people) break the rules.

In San Francisco, there's a lot of resentment towards bicyclists because of the July 1997 Critical Mass. (There's timely article in this week's SF Weekly.)

And the spandex is annoying because (1) most of the people wearing it don't really need it, like how most people who drive SUVs don't really need them, and (2) most people wearing it do not have the physique for it.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 PM on May 14, 2003


I'd happily bike to work if I didn't work at home...

I don't even own a bike, actually; I live downtown, and anything far enough away that I can't walk there is far enough away that I couldn't bike there either. But I like the idea.
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:43 PM on May 14, 2003


I bike every day - but I live in Boulder, Colorado, which has great bike paths. We also have a bike/walk to work week in June or thereabouts, which includes a day of free breakfasts along many of the bike to work routes. Off topic: I was wondering, if we have"I/P" fro you-know-what threads, can we have "B/S" for Bike versus SUV threads?
posted by carter at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2003


Ingatius: Let's just hope you didn't put too much time into that.
posted by xmutex at 6:48 PM on May 14, 2003


There's no real reason why bikes should stop at stop signs.

Other than, of course, the minor, trivial detail that it's against the law.

Now, I'll go out of my way to try to avoid cyclists, but if some idiot decides he's going to run a stop sign, I have news for you: my Grand Cherokee is going to win.
posted by piper28 at 7:02 PM on May 14, 2003


What causes some people to go into a fit of range against spandex when they talk about cyclists?

I will squish you beneath the wheels of my Escalade, worm"?

Hey xmutex, on Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, do you tell your co-workers that it's also Get That Anklebiter Cooking Lessons Cuz She's Only Going To End Up Barefoot And Pregnant Day

Bring Your Goddamned Obnoxious Brats Who Don't Fill That Empty Void In Your Life Like You Thought They Would Day


This thread has some of the greatest quotes I have read recently. I was laughing outloud.
I work 47 miles from my home. Somehow I think I am just going to have to skip this day of cycling to work.

For the love of Pete, please stop criminalizing SUV's too.

I always find it funny how you SUV drivers have no problems with cyclists breaking the law as long as it's to the driver's advantage. One example: let's say I'm riding on a two-lane street (one lane each direction), I come up to the quiet intersection and then I stop for the red light. I'm in the middle of my lane and I'm planning on proceeding across the intersection once I get the Green. The SUV driver behind me wants to make a right-on-red turn Right Now. The driver will be upset that I am following traffic laws. If I decide to ride through the empty intersection, the SUV driver won't complain at all.

Of course, that is ONLY the SUV drivers, right? Sure it is. It isn't anyone else? You sure. Hmm......

SUV=evil is old. Let it go already
posted by a3matrix at 7:22 PM on May 14, 2003


The two main complaints many drivers have are: cellphone users (their minds are elsewhere) and drivers who don't use turn signals.

As one who occasionaly bikes to work, I have to say that these two offences are noticed much more by us bikers. Maybe because our lives are more at stake.

Use your turn signal; don't talk and drive.
posted by kozad at 7:50 PM on May 14, 2003


if I actually had a job, I probably would bike to work most of the time. ah well.

that said, in my small residential area, people in cars never stop for stop signs and people on bikes ride them on the sidewalk with loud blasty headphones on (and also don't stop for traffic control devices). in both cases the pigs just sit around watching and do nothing. I'm always surprised there aren't more accidents, guess the idjits are burning lots of karma osj. well, also because the pedestrians have been rather effectively trained into sheep.

over in manhattan, I see more cyclists riding the wrong way up one-way streets and gunning thru pedestrian-filled crosswalks against the light than those actually obeying the law.
posted by dorian at 8:27 PM on May 14, 2003


I ride my bike to work everyday. Everybody should! I save a pile of cash.

Let's see. If I rode my bike to work, that would mean I'd have to live close enough to work to bike there, which means my rent would cost $200-300 a month more. I don't spend anywhere near that much on gas each month, so explain to me how that's saving money again...?
posted by kindall at 8:40 PM on May 14, 2003


i can tell you why spandex is useful for two reasons which i thought were obvious: preventing damage to pants, and wind resistance. as for the first, i have shredded the right leg on a pair of jeans and a pair of warm-up pants after catching them in the spokes on bike. (i have both a road bike and a mountain bike.) after buying a pair of very nice long leg bicycling pants, problem solved.

secondly, if you have a long commute across a windy flat stretch, you could save a few minutes.

do you make fun of people who wear climbing shoes when wall-climbing? they're functional, people.

btw, mine are black. you're welcome to ridicule people who wear day-glo green cycling shorts. :) consult vh1's "i love the 80's" for the appropriate time to wear day-glo colors.

as for riding your bike to work, i can understand why some people might not want to. i certainly don't do it everyday, and i live so close to work that biking and driving take the same amount of time. but, do you spend a couple hours in the gym each week? your commute to work could free up those hours. do you account for maintenance on your car, the amount you spend on repairs, tune-ups, oil changes, the miles that decrease its resale value? not to go all corporate, but consider the TCO of your car.
posted by complex at 2:23 AM on May 15, 2003


I'm taking the subway, the only real way to ride; you can't (safely) read the morning paper on a bike or in the car.

Why don't y'all live in a =real= city?

Oh, and I hate it when the bike messengers ride on the sidewalk. It's so dangerous -- they've killed a few walkers in sidewalk collisions. Dammit, get in the street! I'm not going to start on red-light running, as they're in danger of getting hit by cabs, so it all works out.
posted by meep at 2:52 AM on May 15, 2003


I'm always suprised at the amount of anti cycling posts. I guess it's just because those respondents are all so unfit that they are embarrassed to admit that they can't cycle themselves.

The whole issue of cyclists ignoring stop signs and ignoring traffic lights is a joke - its hardly an emotive issue because of safety, its an emotive issue because you have to sit there in the traffic for hours while I safely speed past you all.

The worst traffic offender is the person that buys a big car for their own personal safety, because they're not confident about their judgement or driving ability. The driving test should be more difficult - YOU SHOULD NOT BE ON THE ROAD.
posted by jonvaughan at 3:03 AM on May 15, 2003


Once y'all get to work, here's the Ultimate Bicycle Parking Site.
posted by sheauga at 3:58 AM on May 15, 2003


because they're not confident about their judgement or driving ability.

If that is a comment regarding my previous comment, let me just explain that my fear of squashing a bicyclist stems from the woman my stepmother had to try to piece back together after she managed to fall over off her bike and have her head crushed by oncoming traffic. It has nothing to do with my driving ability per se, but in cars, we are required to have things like seatbelts and some of us even have airbags. We're protected against the other drivers, and the other drivers are protected against us and acts of nature. You are not protected against anything. Your helmet might help if you, say, just fall over onto the sidewalk, but I'd like to see how it fares in an actual car accident. Actually, strike that. I would never like to have to see that.

I also think motorcycles are awful for the same reasons, so it's not me being an anti-cyclist.

I have no control over someone else's biking abilities, and at least 50% of the bicyclists I see wear dark colors at night, no helmet, have minimal reflectors, and many don't even seem to be able to not wobble. Maybe they should make training wheels for grownup bikes?

its hardly an emotive issue because of safety, its an emotive issue because you have to sit there in the traffic for hours while I safely speed past you all.

Actually, usually the bicyclists are holding everyone up in my area. I have yet to see a bike go faster than a car.

I really don't see many anti cycling posts here at all, either. Most people think they would bike to work if the roads were built to accommodate both bikes and cars. However, they're not. Most roads are just narrow enough for cars, and when a bike cannot go the speed limit, it's really not fair to hold up traffic just because you hold the unreasonable expectation that everyone should be patient and smiling about how they're "sharing the road" while the person in front of you is mindlessly biking at 20 mph while the speed limit is 45.

Some of us have jobs where we actually have to be on time or face the music.
posted by catfood at 4:18 AM on May 15, 2003


I bought a new bicycle last year, the first one I had in the longest time, probably since I was 10. I learned something real quick... you have to be in really good shape already to ride one of these things, especially if you have a lot of hills in your area. I can't push my bike plus my big rear up a hill, yet.

For those who are out of shape, I suggest a few trips to the gym before attempting this. That was one of my big things about joining a gym this year, was so I could ride my bike.
posted by benjh at 5:09 AM on May 15, 2003


polite version-

Now catfood,
It is the law that you yield to pedestrians and bicycles (and trains and turning semis, and horses...).
Driving is a privilege and not a right.
A responsible driver would leave for work a few minutes early lest they squish someones head beneath their wheel.
posted by pekar wood at 5:12 AM on May 15, 2003


Thanks, Sheauga - it's amazing the variety ways people can find to design something that is apparently quite simple, and then do it badly.
posted by carter at 5:47 AM on May 15, 2003


I used to bike in to work a few times a week, in both Philadelphia and Boston, cities each featuring some of the world's most aggressive drivers. I can tell you that the hyper-alertness demanded by this kind of traveling does in fact carry over when you get behind the wheel, and it makes you a WAY better driver. So there's that.
posted by luser at 6:31 AM on May 15, 2003


I actually ride my work 90% of the time. I can usually keep up at a "safe" cruising speed with cars where there are heaps of traffic lights to break up and slow down the traffic. Most drivers in my town are pretty good, however, drivers with hats (young or old) and war mothers in 4WDs are typically clueless. You get pretty good at reading the traffic, and which drivers are likely to do stupid things, since the prospect of immediate, bonecrushing death sharpens the mind considerably. It also makes you pretty buff, too... better than the Fatkins diet.

I usually ride on the road, however I live in the sort of town where cyclists ride on the footpath and pedestrians walk on the roadway or lurch into the street to cross it without checking if someone's shuttling along at 35kph.

I do agree that a lot of bicyclists, typically twonks on BMXs, do even stupider things, but I can't stop them from trying to kill themselves, or giving the rest of us a bad name. I can identify with the "get a light!" comments above, for instance.

(Actually, the biggest idiots are the city council linemarkers, who mark out bike lanes that run straight into tree guards and other roadside obstacles.)

And my fashion tip (ha Ha!) is; if you think Tour de France spandex get up looks gay or French or whatever, and you wear jeans or pants anyway, tuck them into your socks. You look dorky enough riding a bike anyway, so there's not much loss.

(aside: On the TdF, one ponders the reception Texan Lance Armstrong will get this year. Though he'll probably still be more popular in France than in his home country anyway.)
posted by GrahamVM at 6:47 AM on May 15, 2003


Another reason for wearing spandex shorts is the chaffing. Regular shorts or pants tend to bunch up in the crotch as you pedal, this can become very uncomfortable over time and even rub you raw (if you spend a lot of time on your bike). Spandex does not bunch up. The pad is also very good for saving your butt.

That said, I’ll have to agree with complex, you gotta stick with the black spandex.
posted by gemshwil at 7:21 AM on May 15, 2003


The average speed of a car in a city is 12 MPH or therabouts. Not hard to match on a bike, in reasonably level terrain and an adequate bike lane. And not nearly enough to wreck your morning 'do. ;)

As for good bike storage, this one from Solo is about the simplest most elegant solution I've seen, providing there's a wall on which to mount it.

*sigh* yet another piece of the urban design puzzle.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned ye olde Segway in this thread.
posted by yoga at 7:23 AM on May 15, 2003


We all seem to agree that cyclists and larger vehicles should not be on the same road (mostly). Why not develop this idea by writing to your political representative, or voting for one who supports the building of dedicated bike lanes?
Cycling in traffic is dangerous, but when I was sideswiped I was the only vehicle on the road for half a mile in either direction, and when my sister was almost killed she was hit by a driver performing an illegal maneuver on a bright morning with maximum visability.
Some people do not know their car's size, or handling abilities, they are a threat to safety on the roads, I advocate advanced driving lessons for all!
posted by asok at 7:47 AM on May 15, 2003


I bike to work fairly often, and I share the anger that drivers feel over cyclists who disobey traffic laws. I can't stand it when cyclists run stop signs and red lights because what they are doing is unpredictable. Plus, as we've seen here, drivers only remember the cyclists who break laws; they don't much notice cyclists such as I, who obey the laws.

I'm lucky enough to live in a place with plenty of bike lanes, so I often don't slow drivers at all. Some places don't have bike lanes, and, yes, drivers sometimes have to slow down before passing me safely. On the other hand, I tend to drive the speed limit when I'm in my car, and that means that I obstruct other drivers even more when I'm driving my car.

I have found that when I use signals, ride in the proper part of the lane (in a bike lane or on the right, center or left side of a traffic lane, whichever is appropriate under the circumstances), heed stop signs and traffic lights and other traffic laws, ride in a straight line without wobbling, and, in general, behave predictably, drivers don't have a problem with my presence on the road whatsoever. This is the case even on a short stretch of my commute when I have to use a left-turn lane on a five-lane-wide road (five lanes wide each way), and I'm waiting for the left-turn arrow, incongruously mixed in with all the cars. And when that light turns green, the cars in front of me are slowing me down; I'm not slowing anyone else down.

There are a lot of cyclists like me, so drivers shouldn't paint cyclists with too broad a brush. If you complain about cyclists who run red lights and stop signs, you really, really should make sure you never do the same. Do you stop completely at each stop sign, or do you coast through slowly? When you turn right on red, do you stop completely? You're supposed to, under the law.

(In case you're wondering when it's proper for a bike to occupy the center or left side of a traffic lane, consider these examples: I'm in a left-turn lane, mixed in with cars. I should be in the center of the lane. On the other hand, if a bike is at a stoplight on a two-lane road with no bike lane, and drivers behind the bike will want to turn right on red, it's proper for the cyclist to occupy the left side of the traffic lane, so cars aren't stuck behind the bike. Then the cyclist pedals like made when the light turns green and gets back to the right edge of the road. It's a matter of courtesy and thinking ahead.)
posted by Holden at 7:59 AM on May 15, 2003


pekar i don't see anything in catfood's posts (she doesn't want to hurt anyone accidentally and supports the creation of more bike lanes) that warrant your version of restrained politeness (condescending sarcasm combined with meaningless platitude). as an avid city cyclist myself i found nothing hostile or inflammatory about her remarks.

facts are - most cities do little to make it possible to share the road (cars don't even share well with other cars, let alone other vehicles), and most drivers of any sort of vehicle are piss poor at following all the rules, not to mention fairly hostile and or in too much of a hurry.

we need to give up begrudging, insulting, and blaming eachother and start making demands of city planners, politicians.
posted by t r a c y at 8:49 AM on May 15, 2003


We all obviously have different situations going on, and live in different economies. My commute is 9 miles one way, but living in a flat place, I would have no problem considering a 20 miles + commute. Biking is way cheaper than driving here when you consider local parking is $12 a day at the cheap place. Obviously this is different that what Kindall has to deal with. I am saving $72 a month not taking public transport, and I would consider it a bargin if I was losing money in that senario since I always seem to get the flu when I ride the train.

My ride takes about 20 to 35 minutes depending on the wind, which makes it generally faster than public transport which requires connections and waiting. I have 2 routes, one is on a lakefront bike path which is extra nice cause there are no cars that way, and a more direct route that I generally take home cause it is less windy and slightly shorter.

Traffic being what it is, I travel as fast or faster than the cars on that route (in the bike lane) The same cars pass by me again and again, but they stop and stall so often that I generally overtake them in the end.

There is no reason for anyone to be angry. If everyone is just a little courteous, everything works out fine. The bikes are not going anywhere, and if the smokers and fast food are any indication, litigious people will be going after a car ban within our lifetime
posted by thirteen at 9:16 AM on May 15, 2003


No one has brought up another crucial point: I had to work in a cubicle next to a guy who biked to work every day and, damn, he stunk.

So no thanks.
posted by xmutex at 9:39 AM on May 15, 2003


It always amazes me when someone in a car pulls up behind me on my bike and seems to be unable to pass one cyclist on a clear road.

In Italy, where the roads are generally narrower than here in the US, motorists seem to have no problem passing groups of cyclists riding 2-3 abreast. They pull up behind the cyclists, see if the road is clear, and zoom on past. There is none of the horn honking and yelling that happens so often here.

I know it's not really as simple as that, but if you really stop to think about how much time you actually "lose" when you have to pass a cyclist, you really aren't missing out on that much.

Bicycles *are* traffic.
posted by Icky at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2003


We all seem to agree that cyclists and larger vehicles should not be on the same road (mostly). Why not develop this idea by writing to your political representative, or voting for one who supports the building of dedicated bike lanes?

Actually, on both a per-mile and per-hour basis, cycling with the flow of traffic is safer than any of the alternatives (the jury is still out on bike lanes). If you want a really dangerous activity, walking as a pedestrian is the most dangerous form of transportation.

In fact, the primary predictive factors in regards to bicycle accidents are visibility, predictability, and experience. Not whether they are on the road or not.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:28 AM on May 15, 2003


Some people do not know their car's size, or handling abilities, they are a threat to safety on the roads, I advocate advanced driving lessons for all!

How about driving lessons period!? When I was in the UK for 2 years while in the USAF, it was my understanding that if you wanted a drivers license there, you HAD to take formal driver training to some certain amount of hours. IE, everyone driving had at the very least a common skill set when behind the wheel. UK mefiers will correct if I am wrong here (tia)
Here in the states, there are NO COMMON DRIVER TRAINING CRITERIA!! People learn from themselves, from their inept parents, from their crazy uncle. You get a permit by taking a silly quiz, and driving tests tend to be ridiculous. That being said, there is no national standards for any of this either. It is left to the state govt's.
posted by a3matrix at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2003


kozad:

The two main complaints many drivers have are: cellphone users (their minds are elsewhere) and drivers who don't use turn signals.

Both groups should be publicly bull whipped, especially cops who always break the laws that they are supposed to enforce. I'm a one-percenter; the one percent of the U.S. population that always uses turn signals. I refuse to own a cell phone so that doesn't apply to me either. I don't even have a radio in my car.

I give courteous cyclists a very wide berth and I'm very patient with them. They have just as much right to be on the road as I do. On the other hand, I've had many run ins with lots of cycling idiots who think that they should be allowed to run stop signs, stop lights and ride down the wrong side of the road. They are just as bad as morons in cars, trucks and SUVs that break the law and should be punished accordingly.
posted by mark13 at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2003


No one has brought up another crucial point: I had to work in a cubicle next to a guy who biked to work every day and, damn, he stunk.

Some people stink without the bike riding. I do not think it a guarantee that you are going to smell bad. I towel off , and shower at the gym at lunchtime. Now I have to be all nervous that I am offending. (Not much of a sweater really)
posted by thirteen at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2003


Here in the states, there are NO COMMON DRIVER TRAINING CRITERIA!!

Huh!? Way off base. It varies state by state, but I had to take classes and driving lessons with a trained instructor. The driving test was not "silly" either, I thought it was an accurate check of one's ability to drive, turn, and park safely.

I think I was misunderstood before, but such is the case with mefi. My point was that no driver is a perfect driver, but most cars have safety features to protect the driver in the event of an accident where bicycles do not, which is why I find them scary.

Believe it or not, I really do like bicycles.
posted by catfood at 3:27 PM on May 15, 2003


I think I was misunderstood before, but such is the case with mefi. My point was that no driver is a perfect driver, but most cars have safety features to protect the driver in the event of an accident where bicycles do not, which is why I find them scary.

The same conditions also apply to motorcyclists and pedestrians. And yet, neither of them seem to draw the same level of ire or misguided calls to further complicate their relationship with automotive traffic. One of the reasons why I don't find arguments for bike lanes convincing is because they create a problem merging back into traffic at intersections. (Wider lanes, perhaps, but special bike lanes are not convincing.)

Bicycle policy is one of those cases where people for all their good intentions propose bad policy based on peceptions rather than hard facts. The basic facts about bicycle-car accidents show that overtaking accidents are a very small minority of accidents. The vast majority of accidents occur due to conflicts of right of way at intersections, driveways and sidewalks. Basically, here it what I think bicyclists need more than bike lanes or city infrastructure:

1: Training for automobile drivers including the rights of cyclists.

2: Training for cyclists emphasizing safety and the rules of the road.

3: Enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists including fines. Perhaps even to the point of confiscating bicycles from violators on site. Getting the bike back requires going to a training session.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:01 PM on May 15, 2003


All 3 of those ideas are great ones.

But, for the record, I feel the same way about pedestrians and motorcycles as I do about cyclists. Just so you don't think I'm unfair or anything. ;-)
posted by catfood at 9:23 PM on May 15, 2003


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