Anti-Social Bike, Car Drivers

| 6/9/2009 10:53:44 AM

Bike Accident

With money getting tight across the country, people are dusting off their bicycles for a cheap alternative to cars. That’s not entirely a good thing for people who were biking all along. Bike lanes get crowded and police officers become more likely to crack down on bicyclists who flout the law, according to former Utne Reader editor Craig Cox writing for the Minneapolis Observer Quarterly. At times, bicyclists elevate “reckless cycling habits to a form of political/cultural protest.” That works, if it’s a small number of bicyclists on the road, but if the streets are filled with surly bikers going the wrong way down one-way streets, the law breaking becomes a problem. 

Even before the police start making arrests, the cultural divide between car drivers and bikers has already grown from a crack into a chasm. The Urbanite magazine is hosting a road rage roundtable, where spandex-clad bicyclists can hurl insults at car drivers, while enraged motorists can scream about the need to ban bicycles from public roads.

The United States has become “a nation which recognises only the freedom to act, and not the freedom from the consequences of other people’s actions,” George Monbiot wrote back in 2005. Our reliance on driving cars is his example of this anti-social behavior, but bicyclists can be just as bad. “When you drive,” he writes, “society becomes an obstacle,” rather than something you are a part of.

Image by Foxtongue, licensed under Creative Commons.

Sources: Minneapolis Observer Quarterly (article not available online), The Urbanite,

6/16/2009 10:01:49 PM

I have more frequently been put in danger by my fellow cyclists than by the motorists near me. I am not fast and I have an old clunky bike, so I try to ride predictably and make it easy for others to pass. I signal. I make myself visible. I pay attention. I don't get up every morning and say to myself, how can I make life miserable for people with $2k road bikes, shoe clips, and spandex shirts? I just want to bike to work. But my fellow cyclists seem to need to pass me in heavy traffic under an underpass, pass me on the right in a narrow bike lane in rush hour, and they never, I mean never, say anything like "Coming on your left." As more people bike, the bike lanes will have a variety of riders with different capabilities. We will all need to share them. Sorry to say the frontier is over. It's not the Tour de France; it's a commuter trail, slow, crowded and annoying. Get a grip. Be polite. It won't kill you.

6/16/2009 7:21:28 PM

Journalists also have a duty not to incite and to get their facts right. cycling is a normlaised activity, its benefits far outweigh any personal angst road users may perceive. For this article to have any credence you need to cease being sensationalist and over dramatic with a false claim of masses of riders going the wrong way... and in any event if in any location that occurs ( ourt nof necessity no doubt)are they?... is cycling such a bad thing that if riders did ride em masse the wrong way on a roadway , its sending the right message... that Americas love of the motor car is its greatest weakness. Safety is in numbers, the research proves it. Riding is a normal activity that doesnt always require lycra and in most cases merely needes a pair of every day pants and a short or business suit and pumps, it isnt a uniform of demarcation, and if any one wears lycra/ what get over it and leave your prejudice in the loo wear it belongs. GROW UP Riders, be visible, predictable and legal, drivers be responsible and less selfish and all will get along. cheers

6/16/2009 11:54:37 AM

This is a very interesting view point that each class of society needs to be aware of. From the auto-drivers p.o.v. there needs to be more courtesy towards bikes on the roads. From the bike-rider p.o.v. there needs to be more courtesy towards cars that ultimately have the power over you. I am a part time bike commuter and I try to ride defensively, but sometimes I blow right thru a stopsign. I realize on the other side of the intersection what I just did and make myself promise that I'll never do it again. When i drive sometimes I blow right through a red light, on side streets or even an occasional stop sign. It's a major taboo in autos to do such a thing, but as a bike rider we just slap ourselves on the wrist. We all need to be "present" and "conscious' of what we are doing and why. BE AWARE OF YOUR ACTIONS. I will try my best too. Peace & Love to all...

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