Cycle crash cover-up uncovered?
May 3, 2007 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Has Australia's largest cycling club attempted to cover up the possible causes of a fatal crash at its latest event? The Canberra Cycling Club's press release says that the race was conducted in accordance with Australian road rules. Their photo gallery for the event certainly shows small groups of riders keeping to one side of the centre line. Local sleuths The RiotACT say different.
posted by obiwanwasabi (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
At least they're only killing each other... unlike the Melbourne case where a cyclist is arguing that he had no choice but to run a red light, resulting in the death of a pensioner, rather than upset his 'hell-riding' friends.

Because obeying the law would be uncool, or something.
posted by pompomtom at 5:20 PM on May 3, 2007


Obeying law isn't the point, anyone on a cycle has as some experience of falling ..and it hurts...and we know. Most cyclist are also deeply afraid of car drivers and their cars.

A cyclist running a red light at high speed ? Only an idiot out of ordinary cyclist (and a race isn't an excuse)...but idiot comes in all size, shape and hobbies.
posted by elpapacito at 5:33 PM on May 3, 2007


Are you sure it was a fatal crash?
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:37 PM on May 3, 2007


First, what fatal crash? Unless you have a second stories that says someone died in the cycling accident, it appears there were no fatalities related to the bike crash on the hill. The 43-year-old woman who died was in a separate, single-car accident that had nothing to do with the bike race. Shoddy writing on the part of the Canberra Times.

Second, if there's a cover-up going on here, it's that the CCC took down pictures of racers and support vehicles on the wrong side of the road. But there's no proof at all that the vehicle someone pointed out in the close-up is even in the wrong lane, let alone a support vehicle; has no one ever considered that that van is actually moving in the opposite direction?

In any case, though all this might point to road infractions, it says nothing concrete about the events leading up to the accident. At most it says that at parts of the race, the bicyclists may have strayed into the opposite lane, and thus were putting themselves and other motorists at severe risk. Anyone who's seen a bike race before knows that this isn't a case of some amped-up riders breaking the law for no good reason; people were in the oncoming lane because there may not have been enough room in the proper lane. What that suggests is that the CCC should have filed for road closure permits. And hey, what did the CCC spokesperson mention in the Canberra Times article? The possibility of road closures next year.

The CCC should've have thought of road closures earlier, especially upon seeing the record sign-ups this year, but this hardly seems like a case of overzealous bicyclists flaunting the law to prove a point.
posted by chrominance at 5:46 PM on May 3, 2007


Yeah, the article talks about the bike pileup and a separate single-vehicle accident, only related in that they happened on the same weekend.

(They don't close the roads during a major bicycle race?)
posted by mendel at 5:47 PM on May 3, 2007


Obeying law isn't the point

Conceded.

Not killing people would be the point.
posted by pompomtom at 5:49 PM on May 3, 2007


Shoddy writing on the part of the Canberra Times.

No, sloppy reporting by me. We were talking about it in the office this morning, and several of us thought somebody had died in the crash. I checked the opening para of the CT article again, but should've read through. Mea culpa!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:50 PM on May 3, 2007


I blame fixies.
posted by The Deej at 5:55 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


uh, Chrominance in the picture at the bottom of this page it is quite clear that there several vehicles side by side coming towards the camera. the ones in the wrong lane are blurry but you can distinctly see a grille, windscreen and bonnet on at least one.
posted by Megafly at 6:14 PM on May 3, 2007


Regarding the "Hell ride" cyclist in Melbourne who went through a red light; this has happened to me multiple times. (Well, not being killed by a cyclist, but having myself and other pedestrians have to jump out of the way of cyclists going through pedestrian crossings on a red light). On another occasion, I've seen a cyclist approach a red light, then jump the curb and ride around the red light before returning to the road so he didn't have to stop.

All this greatly lessens my tolerance for cyclists demanding their "rights" on the road. I know, collective justice is bad and all that, but if cyclists want to be treated as equals on road then they've got to fucking stop at red lights, and not take part in unofficial "75-kilometer high speed rides through the suburbs", because if a group of motorists decided to do a "75-km high speed drive through the suburbs" you can bet your arse the police would be after them.
posted by Jimbob at 6:27 PM on May 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jimbob, come live in Footscray... where the local cyclists are too scared of the big nasty roads, and thus habitually ride at pace on the footpaths.

I know I should be tolerant of cyclists, but it's becoming harder and harder daily...
posted by pompomtom at 6:39 PM on May 3, 2007


Well, I actually now live in Darwin, where it's legal to ride on the footpaths. Thankfully, we've got loads of footpaths and cycle paths around the place, and relatively few pedestrians out here in the suburbs, so it actually works quite well.
posted by Jimbob at 6:47 PM on May 3, 2007


In all my time walking (and riding) the streets of Tokyo - I never once had issue with cyclists. And that was on footpaths.

In Australia, it's illegal to ride on footpaths - they're not really designed for more than 2 people at a time, whereas a lot of highly trafficked footpaths in Japan are several metres wide.

Those that ride on the footpaths in Sydney, know they're breaking the law, so don't actually care - in general - if they travel at speeds that are dangerous.

The issue is one of respect - the Japanese are masters of respect - particularly for the law. Their bikes, also, don't tend to be machines capable of being launched, at speed, into the air off curbs while holding 2 fingers aloft - the rider looking more like a fucking gladiator than a leisurely commuter. Of course this an extreme - most of us can't pull those types of moves.

While there exists a culture of internecine warfare between cyclists and motorists (and to a lesser extent, pedestrians), there will always be issues of safety for all involved led by the maverick arseholes that want to make a statement.
posted by strawberryviagra at 6:52 PM on May 3, 2007


They don't close the roads? Jeez, that looks to be the real problem. Big training rides are one thing. You don't need the road closed for that, but a race? That is just not reponsible.
posted by caddis at 7:18 PM on May 3, 2007


At least they're only killing each other... unlike the Melbourne case where a cyclist is arguing that he had no choice but to run a red light, resulting in the death of a pensioner, rather than upset his 'hell-riding' friends.

At least the pensioner had the good sense to get a great publicity shot taken before getting killed.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


All this greatly lessens my tolerance for cyclists demanding their "rights" on the road. I know, collective justice is bad and all that, -- Jimbob

Okay, your comment should have stopped there. Collective justice is bad, therefore taking rights away from other cyclists would, of course, be idiotic.

...but if cyclists want to be treated as equals on road then they've got to fucking stop at red lights

Not at good at this whole 'logical inference' thing, I see.
posted by delmoi at 7:24 PM on May 3, 2007


Well then, clearly cyclists should stop complaining about the way they're treated by motorists on the road, since only a very very small proportion of motorists ever run down cyclists. They should get over it; natural attrition, can't be helped.
posted by Jimbob at 7:40 PM on May 3, 2007


Well then, clearly cyclists should stop complaining about the way they're treated by motorists on the road, since only a very very small proportion of motorists ever run down cyclists. They should get over it; natural attrition, can't be helped.

It's been three months and I still can't bend my right leg to put on a pair of socks without pain. Drivers and bicycles are a different story and, I'm sorry, but on the basis of simple physics, specious comparisons anywhere else just don't apply.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on May 3, 2007


...but if cyclists want to be treated as equals on road then they've got to fucking stop at red lights

Disagree, Jimbob. That argument is a massive sour grape put out by motorists frustrated by cyclists like me who pass between them when they are banked up at the lights, then skip across the red when it's safe to do so. They just wish that they had opted for a simple, cheap, healthy, fast mode of transport like I have.

The thing is, by jumping the red, cyclists actually help improve both their own safety, and also the speed of the traffic. We can put 50-100m between us and the next car behind before the lights change to green, which means that the cars don't have time to get frustrated by our 'lack of pace' before they are halted by the next bank of cars stopped at the next lights.

Then I skip ahead of those suckers (repeat & repeat again until I get to work).

Like I said, sour grapes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:51 PM on May 3, 2007


Like I said, sour grapes.

If you read my comment again (and I may not have made it clear), I was referring to cyclists not stopping at pedestrian crossings. Dozens of people crossing a road. Cyclist coming towards them at right angles at full speed, not stopping, and trying to dodge through the crowd instead.
posted by Jimbob at 7:57 PM on May 3, 2007


I couldn't give a shit about cyclists coming between cars at the lights when I'm driving, then taking off when they have the chance. That doesn't endanger anyone, except perhaps themselves if someone's rushing the orange light in the other direction.

I do kinda care about cyclists riding the wrong way down the street towards me, but apart from that, cyclists are usually well behaved in regards to cars, because they have to be to survive.

The way they behave in regards to pedestrians, however, sometimes leaves much to be desired, and I can only imagine it's because they see themselves as one more place up the pecking order, just as motorists may believe they're up more rung above cyclists.
posted by Jimbob at 8:00 PM on May 3, 2007


Sour grapes UbuR? It's sour grapes to share roads with cars but conveniently disobey well-known traffic laws and "skip across the red when it's safe to do so"? It's hypocritical is what it is.
Tell you what: you don't wanna wait for a red light to turn green? Get off your bike and walk like a pedie in the zebra. It's safe and that's where you're supposed to be, not zooming through intersections against right-of-way.
posted by now i'm piste at 8:02 PM on May 3, 2007


So the crash was still caused by a car?

Gotcha.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:09 PM on May 3, 2007


pompomtom : Jimbob, come live in Footscray... where the local cyclists are too scared of the big nasty roads, and thus habitually ride at pace on the footpaths.

I know I should be tolerant of cyclists, but it's becoming harder and harder daily...


Seriously.. try commuting on the 'big nasty roads' for a month. Hell, for a WEEK. I've done it here in Brisbane, where the roads aren't nearly as insane as those in Melbourne (before you even take into account those damned tramtracks).

You will shit your pants.

Then try actually commuting on the footpaths, and find out JUST HOW STUPID pedestrians can be. I'm not a hoon, I don't ride a million miles an hour, and I ride on bike paths (which pedestrians use despite not being supposed to), but the number of times I've had a ped blithely cross in front of me without looking, and then get abusive and violent is without number.

Yes, cyclists should obey road rules. That they don't is no justification for threatening actual bodily harm or death.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:44 PM on May 3, 2007


but the number of times I've had a ped blithely cross in front of me without looking, and then get abusive and violent is without number.

This thread is just going to become a big list of competing anecdotes.

Back in Adelaide, we have paths running through the parklands to the city. The path is wide, and it has a white line running down the middle, and on one side of the line is has a picture of a person walking, and on the other side of the line it has a picture of a bike.

Sounds simple?

I've been walking on the path, on the pedestrian side, and had a cyclist ride up from behind and abuse me and yell at me to get out of his way. Then once he was in front of me, he crossed onto the pedestrian side of the path.
posted by Jimbob at 8:48 PM on May 3, 2007


What part of "cyclists should obey road rules" was unclear in my comment? My point was that motorists threatening to hit/ram/force off the road/caress/fondle/whatever a cyclist with their car has a high likelyhood of that cyclist ending up either in hospital, or DEAD.

And that attitude seems to predominate both in this thread, and in the motoring public's opinion in general. CARS FUCK CYCLISTS UP. And that's not a good thing.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:57 PM on May 3, 2007


uh, Chrominance in the picture at the bottom of this page it is quite clear that there several vehicles side by side coming towards the camera. the ones in the wrong lane are blurry but you can distinctly see a grille, windscreen and bonnet on at least one.

Uh, Megafly, do you know we drive on the left in Australia? There are two cars heading towards the camera on the right. It's difficult to tell whether the one on the left is a ute heading away, or a sedan heading towards.
posted by zamboni at 9:01 PM on May 3, 2007


now i'm piste: the road rules that you and motorists indignantly cling to are framed with cars in mind. If they allowed drivers the discretion to cross reds if they felt it was safe to do so, what do you think would happen? Yep, they would slow marginally from normal cruising speed, then slam into each other, or into pedestrians or cyclists.

The fundamental difference between motorists & cyclists is that drivers are psychologically & physically coccooned in a ton of metal armour, padded with climate control & stereo sound insulation against their environment, whereas cyclists are right out in the elements, and very very very vulnerable to injury or death. For that reason, we take care, and pay attention to our surroundings. It helps that we have far better visual & auditory input than motorists, travel at lower speeds, and accelerate more slowly.

The danger & physical limitations mean that I am unlikely to be "zooming through intersections against right-of-way" as you say, but "crossing", pretty much like a jaywalker, but a jaywalker with better vision & acceleration. Luckily, the road rules normally fulfil their purpose, which is to ensure predictability of behaviour from the people in the four-wheeled killing machines, and they are the ones who need to be regulated, because they are the ones who pose the real danger to others.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:02 PM on May 3, 2007


"Shoddy writing on the part of the Canberra Times."

*falls over in shock*
posted by Lucie at 9:14 PM on May 3, 2007


Or, alternatively, cyclists need to lobby to have road rules changed to reflect the different nature of their vehicles, instead of taking the law into their own hands out of some sense of moral superiority and hard-done-by-ness. This isn't an impossible dream; the continued installation of cycle paths and cycle lanes demonstrate that, believe it or not, someone in government is trying to make things safer for cyclists.

What part of "cyclists should obey road rules" was unclear in my comment?

Well, part of your comment suggested that, not only do cyclists have to watch out for those damn stupid motorists, they also have to watch out for those damn stupid pedestrians! Fair enough. We also have people pointing out that motorists have to watch out for those damn stupid cyclists, and pedestrians have to watch out for those damn stupid cyclists. Do you disagree with this?

People are acting stupid all over the place. UbuRoivas seems to be presenting the argument that cyclists have some extra right to act stupid because the road rules weren't written with cyclists in mind. How this relates to a cyclist, on an unoffical "race through the suburbs" running a red light and killing a pedestrian because his companions urged him to do so, is unclear.
posted by Jimbob at 9:15 PM on May 3, 2007


Jimbob: it's related because you seem to think that cyclists, categorically, should stop & wait at red lights like motorists even if it is safe for us to cross. It's also related in that the FPP & discussion revolve around the extent to which cyclists should stick to road rules designed for cars.

"moral superiority and hard-done-by-ness"? Nope, pragmatism. It's faster & safer to ride this way.

"the argument that cyclists have some extra right to act stupid" - are you fucking kidding? Acting stupid, on a bike, means getting yourself killed or crippled. That's why most of us *don't* act stupid. Getting a break on motorists who would otherwise become frustrated & sideswipe us in a pathetic attempt to reach the next red in five seconds time - rather than seven - is the very antithesis of stupidity.

The hypocrisy here is that if we waited with the cars at the lights & invoked our right to take up the entire lane, the motorists would be pissed off that we slow them down. Do them a favour & get out ahead of them & they whinge that we break the rules.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:31 PM on May 3, 2007


As a daily cyclist in a major city with not enough bike lanes, I think UbuRoivas is an idiot of the highest order. Are there any other laws he plans on breaking just because they weren't written with him specifically in mind? They're called the rules of the road, not the rules just for cars and well everyone who's not UbuRoivas. Don't like it? Get off your fucking bike and walk.
posted by thecjm at 9:34 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


And that attitude seems to predominate both in this thread, and in the motoring public's opinion in general. CARS FUCK CYCLISTS UP. And that's not a good thing.

CYCLISTS FUCK PEDESTRIANS UP. And that's not a good thing.

I don't own a car and next to shank's pony my bicycle is my primary mode of transport. Nearly every day I watch other cyclists terrorize the poor, dumb pedestrians in my city many of whom are tourists and unfamilar with the rules of the "road." The attitude of these cyclists towards pedestrians seems not unlike the car driver's attitude toward bicyclists.

Makes me want to buy a car.
posted by three blind mice at 9:45 PM on May 3, 2007


I think UbuRoivas is an idiot of the highest order.... Don't like it? Get off your fucking bike and walk.

Seconded. Red means stop, green means go. Making up your own rules is not doing anyone any favors UbuRoivas. If you're in such a bloody hurry, maybe you need get into better shape.
posted by three blind mice at 9:49 PM on May 3, 2007


Issac Newton is spinning in his grave.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:53 PM on May 3, 2007


Nah dude.. Newton stands up.
posted by coriolisdave at 9:59 PM on May 3, 2007


Jimbob: it's related because you seem to think that cyclists, categorically, should stop & wait at red lights like motorists even if it is safe for us to cross.

There are plenty of situations where cars are forced to wait at red lights when it's safe for them to cross, but if they do, it's called breaking the law.

The incident in the link where the cyclist ran a red light and killed a pedestrian is clearly a case in which it wasn't safe to cross. Presumably he didn't see the pedestrian. Presumably there are other situations where cyclists run red lights, not seeing trouble they may run into.

The incident I described where cyclists rode through a crowd of pedestrians crossing at a pedestrian crossing demonstrates cyclists not even caring about the obstacles in their way; they're apparently just too lazy too stop.

moral superiority: "They just wish that they had opted for a simple, cheap, healthy, fast mode of transport like I have."..."the people in the four-wheeled killing machines"
hard-done-by-ness:"the road rules that you and motorists indignantly cling to are framed with cars in mind."
posted by Jimbob at 10:14 PM on May 3, 2007


I break the road rules just about every day on my bike (from Footscray, so bite me pompom). It's the only safe thing to do, and if drivers want me to follow the rules exactly they'd better be prepared to not overtake me unless they indicate and change lane safely. Cuts both ways.

But hellriders and cycle groups that think they own the road should all be given mass tickets, or have their carbon fibre bikes inserted up their lycra covered recta.
posted by wilful at 10:16 PM on May 3, 2007


It's OK wilful... you already know I'll be sticking a stick in your spokes if you come near my yard on the footpath.
posted by pompomtom at 10:29 PM on May 3, 2007


Also, the 'only safe thing to do'? Please... even you can't believe that cycling is some god-given right. If you think it's dangerous, get off and walk like everyone else.
posted by pompomtom at 10:30 PM on May 3, 2007


Jimbob, dude, where you really lost credibility in my mind was the unauthorized high speed rides through the suburbs bit. What's high speed on a bicycle? Lance Armstrong was getting like 33 kph in the Tour de France. I'm not sure what speed limits are like down there but up here 20 mph generally does not result in police pursuit.

As for stops and what not, the part that pisses me off when I'm riding a bike are the stop signs that were placed there to slow cars down to something like the speed limit (which I could train for years and still not hope to break). Their existence is a waste of aluminum, gasoline and my knees.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:34 PM on May 3, 2007


thecjm: you can feel free to call me an idiot of the highest order if & when I kill or injure myself, but until then, can you please keep your thoughts on law & libertarianism to your Legal Theory 101 class?

I'll even suggest the topic you might like to discuss with your tutor: "does one act of conscious law-breaking entail that all people are entitled to break all laws?", because that's the implicit strawman argument that you are using: that any act of 'civil disobedience' inevitably leads to wholesale chaos.

Back in the real world, people break all kinds of minor or victimless laws all the time. Ever smoked pot? Parked in a no-parking zone to pick up some milk from the store? Fudged your tax return? These don't lead to the collapse of the Rule of Law. Realistically, they are usually a calculated risk, as my cycling is. If I get fined, I'll weather it, but so far, no copper has cared enough to pull me over, so I think they think as little of it as I do.

Jimbob: I don't condone reckless riding. Cyclist riding dangerously through reds are idiots. And those quotes you pulled out of context? The gist was that motorists get uptight when frustrated in traffic, shake fists at cyclists, and whinge "you should be made to be as slow as us, by following the rules that were only designed to keep us from driving dangerously!". The fact that rules were designed to keep cars in check is a fact, nothing to do with hard-done-by-ness. *That* is reserved for all the fucking freeways & tunnels & no fucking bike paths.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:40 PM on May 3, 2007


Jimbob, dude, where you really lost credibility in my mind was the unauthorized high speed rides through the suburbs bit.

Well my point was, that going on "hell ride" races isn't really an appropriate use of public roads, it doesn't matter if you're in a Maserati or a skateboard. The cyclists weren't riding to the shops, or riding to work. They were racing, on public roads, to the extent that they were deliberately running red lights. Cops might chase people racing in cars because they would be exceeding the speed limit. But surely, there's a certain aspect of irresponsibility in racing a vehicle on public roads no matter what your top speed may happen to be.
posted by Jimbob at 10:48 PM on May 3, 2007


*curse the solar car challenge!*
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:52 PM on May 3, 2007


even you can't believe that cycling is some god-given right. If you think it's dangerous, get off and walk like everyone else.

It's the cars that are dangerous, not the bikes. I break the law to limit my exposure to cars, and their wilful breaking of the law.

Pompoms, you’re more likely to be seen driving on the footpath than me riding there.
posted by wilful at 10:53 PM on May 3, 2007


So you fear injury from sharing a pathway with a larger vehicle, so your response is to become the larger vehicle in a different pathway? That's about as reasonable as buying a 4wd to ensure that the injuries from any future collision will be in the other vehicle.
posted by pompomtom at 10:59 PM on May 3, 2007


Disagree, Jimbob. That argument is a massive sour grape put out by motorists frustrated by cyclists like me who pass between them when they are banked up at the lights, then skip across the red when it's safe to do so. They just wish that they had opted for a simple, cheap, healthy, fast mode of transport like I have.

Wow. So when people don't like your wanton disregard for obeying the rules of the road, it's because they want to be cool like you? Oddly, that's also why people don't like gang members running around with guns: it's because they just wish they'd opted for a simple, cheap, fast mode of getting rich and powerful like gangs have.

The thing is, by jumping the red, cyclists actually help improve both their own safety, and also the speed of the traffic. We can put 50-100m between us and the next car behind before the lights change to green, which means that the cars don't have time to get frustrated by our 'lack of pace' before they are halted by the next bank of cars stopped at the next lights.

The thing is, by stopping at the light, cyclists actually help improve both their own safety, and also the speed of the traffic -- because the cars and bicyclists all come to rest at the same time, have a moment to position themselves, then when the light changes the huge pack of cars can motor by while the bicyclists are still getting up to speed, and while the overall speed of all vehicles is much slower.

The gist was that motorists get uptight when frustrated in traffic, shake fists at cyclists, and whinge "you should be made to be as slow as us, by following the rules that were only designed to keep us from driving dangerously!"

Rules were not designed to keep cars from driving dangerously. Rules were designed to establish a set of behaviors that can be easily and consistently expected of everyone else you're sharing the road with. When the light turns red, cars stop. Pedestrians stop. Bicyclists stop. Now the people coming across the intersection with the green -- be they driver, rider or walker -- don't have to worry as much about someone pulling out.

It's about being predictable, in short; and that's why the rules apply to you as well as drivers and pedestrians. Every single accident being discussed here in this thread could have been prevented, had someone not broken the fundamental rules of "don't go through red lights" and "don't go on the wrong side of the road."

honestly, I'm not usually one to get pissed about this sort of thing, but as a bicyclist and a driver and a pedestrian, the only thing I shake my fist at is when a driver, a bicyclist or a pedestrian does something foolish and unexpected -- breaking the rules of the road -- and puts themselves and other people at risk.
posted by davejay at 11:02 PM on May 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


One more bit before I run off to do the dishes:

thecjm: you can feel free to call me an idiot of the highest order if & when I kill or injure myself, but until then, can you please keep your thoughts on law & libertarianism to your Legal Theory 101 class?

Did you know that two guys in a Porsche recently killed a man and critically injured his wife while running the Gumball 3000? I have no doubt whatsoever that the driver's attitude was similar to yours, because you can't run something like the Gumball 3000 without somehow justifying the stupid risk you're taking with your own life -- and the lives of others -- when you do it.

Also, one of my children's teachers lost a brother last year to two kids drag racing. Same deal applies.

In both cases, it was a car-on-car accident, but that changes nothing: if you're travelling at high speed and believe that rules apply to everyone but you, you're risking more than your own life -- you're risking the lives of innocent people. You're obviously welcome to go on justifying your behavior by any means you feel comfortable with, but you can't expect other people to respect that kind of attitude, because there are too many people here who personally have close friends and/or family who have become the victim of accidents caused by the "rules don't apply to me, and I'm only risking my own life" attitude.

BTW, smoking pot and disobeying rules of the road is apples and oranges
posted by davejay at 11:08 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Quick clarification about my statements above, to anticipate the "what about auto racing la la la" type of response -- when people get on a track to race any type of vehicle, they're all doing so because they want to participate in the contest, and so accept the associated risks, and have the appropriate safety equipment to do so. When you're on the road, or a bike path, or whatever, you're sharing that space with little kids, senior citizens, and a middle-aged person who just wanted to go grab a pint of ice cream and come back home before bed.
posted by davejay at 11:11 PM on May 3, 2007


which is, by the way, what makes bicycle racing on public roads with other types of traffic on it (not participating in the event) so incredibly stupid. if marathons can be run on closed-off streets, so can bicycle events.
posted by davejay at 11:12 PM on May 3, 2007


So when people don't like your wanton disregard for obeying the rules of the road, it's because they want to be cool like you?

No, it's because they are stuck in traffic & I am not. This is compounded by the fact that my ease of moving through gridlock is partially achieved by doing things flagrantly against the law. Just forget that "simple, cheap" etc bit, because it's not all that relevant. It possibly adds to the frustration, though.

when the light changes the huge pack of cars can motor by while the bicyclists are still getting up to speed, and while the overall speed of all vehicles is much slower.

You're kidding me, right? Do you cycle? What would you rather do, get 100m ahead of the cars by crossing an empty intersection, or have twenty cars pass by, squeezing you up against the gutter? Seriously, no contest here. Agree about predictability, though. I'm not advocating wanton randomness. When I cross a red, I can guarantee that every single person who needs to know what I am doing knows what I am doing.

Did you know that two guys in a Porsche recently killed a man and critically injured his wife while running the Gumball 3000?

And that is like me taking off at 0-10 Km/H across a vacant intersection how, exactly? You talk of apples & oranges, but the difference between me & this Gumball thing is like chimney & octopus. Once again...legal theory. To repeat: does one act of deliberate law-crossing justify all? Here's a hint to help out: maybe it is a matter of degree, eg degree to which I-and-others might be harmed. Take it from there, considering that it is far more likely for an infringing car to kill somebody than an infringing cycle. That's very basic physics (speed, mass, momentum, maneouvrability...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:22 PM on May 3, 2007


What would you rather do, get 100m ahead of the cars by crossing an empty intersection, or have twenty cars pass by, squeezing you up against the gutter?

We're clearly talking apples and oranges here. You seems to be talking about real inner city travelling; trying to get ahead of the cars so you can get to the next red light before them.

In the suburbs, or on roads with less traffic and longer distances between intersections, your reasoning doesn't stick. When I'm on my bike, I much prefer all the cars to speed away ahead of me from a red light so I have the road to myself, than to be ahead of the cars so 15 of them can whizz past me at high speed.

Your concern about gridlock, and how all the cars must be jealous of you because you can avoid it, also doesn't hold water once you get outside the inner city. There's no gridlock where I live. Call me lucky. There's also plentiful bike paths running through every suburb. Call me extra lucky. Maybe that's why I don't understand the necessity of cyclists breaking the rules.

Also, despite the beliefs of some cyclists that all motorists are out to get them out of some sense of jealousy or sour grapes; I can tell you that, in fact, there are a certain percentage of motorists who are simply wankers. They're wankers to cyclists. They're wankers to pedestrians. They're wankers to other motorists. They're cutting me off, squeezing me out of my lane, failing to give way, failing to indicate, riding up my arse when I'm in my car. There isn't some great anti-bike conspiracy, just a bunch of wankers who should have their licences revoked.
posted by Jimbob at 11:34 PM on May 3, 2007


Jimbob: yep, inner-city Sydney. It helps that I follow the same route each day & know exactly the cycles of the traffic lights etc. The Canberra-of-the-North is indeed different. For a start, we have nothing like Mindil Beach Markets :(

On the bright side, we can actually swim in the ocean without fear of salties of box jellyfish. Only the occasional grey nurse shark or blue-ringed octopus here, so that's a fair enough trade from my point of view :P
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:42 PM on May 3, 2007


salties OR box jellyfish.

(salties = saltwater crocodiles)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:44 PM on May 3, 2007


Kid Charlemagne, you clearly have no knowledge of cycling. The 'average speed' over an entire day of the Tour de France can be around 50kph. Given that this includes uphills, they clearly reach much higher speeds during the race, and I know personally that on a good downhill road, cyclists can definitely reach 60-70kph. You might have been trying to refer to Lance's record for 'fastest average speed over the entire race', which was 40kph.
posted by jacalata at 1:14 AM on May 4, 2007


Jimbob: Maybe that's why I don't understand the necessity of cyclists breaking the rules.

If cyclists break traffic rules, it's because the rules screw them over. Cyclists get the worst of both worlds. Vehicles treat us like pedestrians, they can't be depended on to get over when they pass us, drivers get pissed off if you're in the middle of the road, and you can't really make normal lane changes or turns without being run down. On the other hand, pedestrians treat you like vehicles - most places, you're banned from the sidewalks, you're not really supposed to cross intersections as a pedestrian, and pedestrians don't expect you in their space (i.e. they don't act in a predictable manner.)

You basically get shoved into a tiny space in the shoulder and expected to stop at any occupied intersection, because cars think they always have the right of way whether they actually do or not. Cars zoom by two feet away. It's a pretty unpleasant system.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:17 AM on May 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


On the bright side, we can actually swim in the ocean without fear of salties of box jellyfish.

A man can dream...

Cyclists get the worst of both worlds.

Well that's an interesting perspective and you may have a point. I always felt "cyclists want to be treated like cars, but be allowed to behave like pedestrians when they want to". You're saying they are actually treated like the worst aspects of both. Fair call.

Mea culpa. Amazing what three Coopers Stouts after work on a Friday evening can do for your perspective.
posted by Jimbob at 1:25 AM on May 4, 2007


>> ...but if cyclists want to be treated as equals on road then they've got to fucking stop
>> at red lights
>
> Disagree, Jimbob. That argument is a massive sour grape put out by motorists frustrated by cyclists
> like me who pass between them when they are banked up at the lights, then skip across the red
> when it's safe to do so. They just wish that they had opted for a simple, cheap, healthy, fast mode
> of transport like I have.

Funny, I walk to work most days and from my on-foot perspective it still pisses me off to see cyclists obey the road laws only when it's convenient. As a formal thing I still advise motorists "share the road, don't cream the cyclists" but to be truthful I also feel a strong element of "those guys are on-their-knees begging for Darwin awards and deserve to get a few."
posted by jfuller at 3:38 AM on May 4, 2007


Yeah. That's pretty much what I was trying to say.
posted by Jimbob at 3:59 AM on May 4, 2007


Funny, I walk to work most days and from my on-foot perspective it still pisses me off to see cyclists obey the road laws only when it's convenient.

I walk to work a lot too, and it still pisses me off to see people obey the road laws even when there's no point. That includes pedestrians.
posted by poweredbybeard at 6:57 AM on May 4, 2007


it still pisses me off to see people obey the road laws even when there's no point

Of course, the problem with this is that your interpretation of "no point" and mine can and probably would be very different.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:08 AM on May 4, 2007


I drive occasionally and walk frequently, and I have to side with the cyclists (in general) on this one. Car drivers (myself strenuously included) are distracted assholes to cyclists. I've come dangerously close to creaming two (motor) cyclists that I can remember off the top of my head for the simple reason that I wasn't looking, and they're substantially louder and more obvious than bikes. I've never had a bad experience with a cyclist as a pedestrian and I don't begrudge them jumping the light a bit if they feel safer doing it that way. I do think there should be more laws and infrastructure to protect cyclists, but in the meantime I won't complain when the only person they put in danger is themselves.

The shooting through pedestrian crossings nonstop is right out though.
posted by Skorgu at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2007


In Idaho it's legal to go through a red light on a bike after assessing that it is safe to do so.

I've never had a problem with motorists, and I don't think they've had a problem with me. However, I always have a bit of tension because of the fact that some motorists will see a rude cyclist and then take the aggression out on me. Don't be that guy murderer.
posted by zhivota at 7:45 PM on May 4, 2007


The only time I've almost hit a cyclist was when they've run red lights without stopping. If they stop before hand, I don't mind, especially if they'll be out of my way sooner.
posted by stavrogin at 11:18 PM on May 4, 2007


Cyclist hit by car - car drivers get all indignant and preachy on the internets about those damn cyclists who deign to share the road with them, how dare they, don't they know that bikes are for kids?

A lot of drivers have a big hate on for cyclists. Fuck them. I used to flash them a bird when they would push me off the road or whatever, but then I found that waving a gentle "helllo" made them even more irate. Yeah, I am that guy who is riding right down the middle of the fucking road at 20 mph, next to the 50 mph sign, because right here there is no room to pass and your four ton suv with boat mirrors will have to wait until there is no traffic coming from the opposite direction. :)
posted by caddis at 1:21 AM on May 5, 2007


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