Rape Culture, Religious Fanaticism, Jim Crow, and Bicycles

Dear gentle reader,

Don’t you hate it when people start off writing with an opening like that? I know I do. I write this salutation to warn you that what you are about to read will (hopefully) blow your mind. I wrote it quickly and without proofreading. So excuse my deplorable punctuation and grammar. Which has always been deplorable but had the benefit of proofreading. This needs to be said and it needs to be said now.

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning you will, hopefully, have noticed a theme.

I am first and foremost a proponent of everyone getting along and sharing that which has been entrusted to the public for public use. I paid attention in Kindergarten when we were taught to respect each other and share. I hope you did too.

I am not, as some less than emotionally stable people will insist, against infrastructure. What I am against is the flawed logic that all of cyclings problems can be resolved with infrastructure alone.

In fact I believe that it is this bicycle infra. only cult which has lead to the deaths of many cyclists and the culture of removing the blame from motorists for their bad driving habits. Because “if they’d only had a bike lane none of this would have happened” is specious logic.

At the end of this blog I will present solutions to these problems.

Where the article in TreeHugger fails is in…

RAPE CULTURE

Blaming cyclists for the injuries they sustain due to careless drivers is rape culture. As this, hot off the press and the straw which broke this blogger’s back, article in TreeHugger accurately portrays. Where they fail is in the conclusion.

The article in TreeHugger promotes rape culture. Blaming infra. or the lack thereof but not fully placing the onus on the perpetrator of the attack is rape culture.

Blaming a cyclist for the actions of a careless driver are ingrained in us, not by those who want to see cyclists as expected and respected, but rather by those who have made it their personal mission to create a smear campaign against those of us who are actively trying to require motorists to be held accountable for their actions.

I often hear “If they had a bike lane this wouldn’t have happened,” as though we can just engineer all of societal ills out of public roads.

That’s exactly like this judge blaming a rock concert for a Brazilian woman’s rape.

I believe that everyone has a right to use the public roads and that they should be treated with equal status when on the roads. I also believe that good bicycle infra is an essential component of encouraging cycling. I don’t believe that it’s the only component to promoting cycling.

I myself was arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road. I wasn’t not using the shoulder to be “Cute” or “Prove a point” as the zealots claim. No! I was a new, in every way, cyclist who took up cycling as a means to provide for her children.

I, as a poor hardworking single mom, got shafted by both “Motorists are king of the road” car culture and “Special snowflake syndrome” bike culture. Not to be confused with responsible motorists and responsible bicycle advocates.

I still struggle to get people to take my story seriously because some people have chosen to latch onto the idea that this was a stunt by VC.

Where the article in Tree Hugger fails is in…

RELIGIOUS FANATICISM

Religious fanaticism is the antithesis to religion.

You can not believe in an all loving God. A God whom you believe created everything on earth and pronounced it good while shitting on those who question its existence. Nor can you follow such a God and believe that he has chosen you, above all others, as especially blessed, giving you special leave to shit on anyone who doesn’t believe in this same God, exactly as you believe in it.

Enter bicycle specific infra. only zealots.

Every problem which plagues cyclists can not all fit into a bike lane. The bike lane is not Jesus resurrected, come to save cyclists from the sinfulness of motorkind.

Bike lanes, like religion, can be good and helpful.

And like religion, they can also be bad. Very, very bad, and that which was created to solve problems can in and of itself create a plethora of new problems, as this article shows. Link here. Especially if the bike lane is engineered using the very common practice of “get cyclists the hell off the road and out of our way!” car culture engineering.

Anyone who questions the safety and viability of a bike lane is immediately shouted down by the “Infra. only zealots.” A rather cultish group of people who troll twitter and call anyone who asks for better forethought in bicycle infrastructure a “Cunt,” as in… “You must be a VC! Because only a VC would ever question a bike lane you cunt.”

I was so angry when a twitter user did just that because I was trying to promote bike infra which would accommodate wider bicycles for people with special needs.

123A.PNG
John jumped in mid conversation and started slamming me with slurs then immediately blocked me. So I switched to my other account to find his offensive tweet and snap a picture.

Where the article in TreeHugger fails is in…

JIM CROW

Our European friends may not be familiar with “Jim Crow” laws and it is this lack of familiarity which will lead them to question our aversion to words like “separated infra.” Because as we know here in the United States and especially the South, “Separate but Equal,” is anything but. Andy Clarke was himself a infra only leader and used his political power to try and establish mandatory cycle lane laws in Washington state. A state where cycling is given the advantage of infra succeeding or failing by the comfort with which cyclists feel when using it. And calling a cyclist a VC (Vehicular Cyclist) has, in the world of cycling, been given the emotional weight of calling a person of color the “N” word. It is a word which was once and briefly used to describe the facts of a person’s skin color but then rapidly became a way to dehumanize and humiliate a class of people. Much in the same way that overly zealous followers of infra only “Guru’s” will preach to their follows that all VC are ANTI-INFRA! For an interesting read about the opinion of just such a Guru, click the blue link.

When in reality nothing could be further from the truth. I consider myself a connoisseur of infra. I understand how to operate in traffic and I want the best infra possible. I don’t want crumbs from the “Car Culture” table and I don’t believe that we are being given a feast when someone paints a shitty little lane into the gutter. Or worse between two 12 foot wide lanes. I know better.

12Aa
This is a bike lane. We don’t currently have a word to describe this crap as opposed to good infra. So anyone complaining about this, without first asking what they are referring to, is slammed as VC. Here in Oregon state laws says I’m obligated to use this lane and if ticketed, I have to go to the trouble of proving I had good reason not to be in it.

 

What Mr. C. Anderson consistently fails to grasp is that in America, our shitty by blow bike lanes, a bastardization of auto culture, are further made unbearable by “Mandatory Use” laws. And it is those laws which I hate above all else.

SUMMARY

He almost had it right.

A vehicular cyclist isn’t repulsive. A vehicular cyclist is one of the most educated cyclists on the road. And as @Rightlegpegged once asked “Have you even read the Uniform Manual on Bicycle Infra or attended a city council meeting?”

Have you even. Much like, you’re so stupid but I’ll condescend to acknowledge you.

The answer is yes. In fact, the greater majority of VC I know are passionate advocates for good bicycle infra, as they themselves are cyclists who cycle for transportation. They, like me, cycle in spite of a lack of infra. So let’s give them the respect they deserve.

Have you even talked to a VC about their concerns?

HOW DO WE SOLVE THIS?

  1. We need to immediately stop slurring anyone who is using VC cycling principles for their safety.
  2. We need to create a safe place where people can share their concerns about infra without immediately resorting to name calling.
  3. Repeal all mandatory bike lane use laws.
  4. Make it a penalty against the officer for not ticketing a motorist who causes injury to a cyclist.
  5. Stop encouraging people to cycle on the edge of a road by shaming them into thinking they are being VC if they occupy a whole lane.
  6. Mandatory cycling education across the board and on every level.
  7. And I feel this is super important. Create policy mandating cycling infra be made with the same specification on the user’s safety as is given to auto infra engineering.
  8. Lower speed limits.
  9. Re-visit past tort law and educate law enforcement that the onus is on the driver to operate with care around pedestrians and cyclists.
  10. Ban auto ads from television and social media. Like cigarettes they have a huge impact on public health and shape the culture of speed makes right and entitlement.

We can do all of this and still promote good infra.

I also would like to see sharrows in low speed residential areas. This is a place where bike lanes don’t make sense at all.

While I’m working to end car culture, be so kind as to support me. Instead of talking about me behind my back, giving me the cold shoulder, or making fun of me ask me about what I would do to make cycling better for all.

112A

112AA.PNG
Criminalizing walking on the sidewalk is the next push in auto culture. Criminalizing texting while walking in pedestrian zones.

 

 

Let me plainly state that my problem with the article in TreeHugger is that it blames a lack of infra on the careless actions of a motorist. That is rape culture.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Irresponsible ads are contributing to child mortality rates.

As a person who commutes solely by bicycle, I am shocked by the inundation of auto ads on T.V. and in my social media news feed.

Maybe it is because I live a auto free life that I notice the frequency of the ads?

I’ve spent a great deal of time educating myself on safety and laws which govern our use of public space. I even have some nifty certifications to show for all that time spent.

CBmSyxLUgAA6fev

 

People are being injured and killed at an alarming rate. Traffic fatalities fall in 2014, but early estimates show 2015 trending higher.

Though this isn’t anything new, since the inception of the automobile the death toll has been catastrophic. Americans have recognized the dangers of high auto speeds. It’s a universal knowledge that speed kills. Yet it is often the last reason cited in traffic collision reports. There was a time when people tried to mandate the use of governors to effectively reduce the operating speeds of motor vehicles. Auto manufacturers were understandably alarmed.
Higher awareness about the inherent dangers of speed meant less product sold. Or maybe it was that fewer people would crash and destroy their auto thus requiring the purchase of a new auto?
Either way a slick propaganda campaign was implemented and people were convinced that this was an end to their personal freedom. Never mind the freedom of everyone else.

Companies, such as AAA, which today are known for their emphasis on safety were behind the push to force pedestrians and bicycles off the road.

AAA and other auto clubs turned first to the younger generation, financing safety education programs in the public schools that were designed to teach children that streets are for cars, not for kids. “The Invention of Jaywalking.”

The product, and the financial gains to be had from it, were the driving force behind the movement to all but eliminate the competition.

Once the landscape had been cleared of obstacles, figuratively and literally, the motor manufacturers were free to irresponsibly sell product.
The advertisements were focused on economy, durability, and reliance.
They emphasised the manliness of auto owners and their ability to “Wow” the ladies. One advert emphasised their auto as being so easy “Women and children can safely use it.”, another calls their auto the “Boss of the Road” and “So simple that a boy of 15 can run it.”

1903_Fordmobile_Ad

Motor ads were not responsible in the advertisement of their products. They had one mission in mind, to sell as many autos as possible. No matter the cost to human lives.
That cost was excessive. Upto 55,000 people were killed per year by autos. That’s an epidemic!

When faced with a health crisis of these proportions, we take action. Yet we have largely overlooked the consummate dangers to public health by turning a blind eye to auto ads.

We banned ads for cigarettes, as public awareness grew over the dangers of smoking to the public. Big tobacco companies were pushing their product on unsuspecting consumers.

By banning ads for cigarettes public health interests, like W.H.O., have effectively reduced the incidence of smoking. This is an important beginning step to eliminating an expensive and destructive bad habit. The costs of which affect the user individually and the public as a whole. We acknowledged the health risks to the users of tobacco products as well as to those who were subjected to secondhand smoke.

The auto isn’t any different.

The auto is the most dangerous form of transportation available in modern day.

The health impacts are mind boggling. Pollution, cancer causing agents, socio economic suffering, legal systems which punish the poor through a pay to play ticket scheme, the death of our children outside and inside autos, and increased health risks through lack of exercise. It’s all too much to put into one story.

Not too much more can be said, which has not already been said, about the history and nature of the auto.

The automobile is a weapon or a tool. It mainly depends on the ability and intent of the user.

There was a time when the auto filled a need as a personal mobility device. With the expanding use of public transportation and alternate means of travel it is a product whose time has come and gone.

With denser urban areas becoming the norm, revivals in public transit, and auto for hire schemes such as Lyft and Uber; there really isn’t a need for personal autos. Not even for long distance trips. Rent a car and be done with it.

One would think that we’d be over the car kick by now. Except we aren’t.

Part of the reason, I believe, is because of persuasive auto ads. These ads are designed to create a sense of urgent need and a feeling of superiority when on the road.

I really love driving distracted
You know how people are warned about the dangers of distracted driving by Public Service Announcements? Well none of that matters in Auto Ads.

Gas prices are dropping and Auto Ads are increasing. Along with these increases are deaths. Your loved ones are being destroyed by auto culture and you’re ok with it. Not because you’re ok with your loved one being killed, but because you are brainwashed by auto ads to believe you need that product which is killing your loved ones.

Remember cigarette ads on T.V.?

Neither do I. Yet there was a time when they were sold via television ads. So many ads telling people how sexy smoking was, how invigorating, how tasty! Smoking was increasing and so were the illnesses associated with it.

Through the efforts of activists who genuinely cared about the well being of the American people, over the profits of cigarette manufacturers, a ban on television ads were put into place.

In 1964, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed that advertisers had a responsibility to warn the public of the health hazards of cigarette smoking. In 1969, after the surgeon general of the United States released an official report linking cigarette smoking to low birth weight, Congress yielded to pressure from the public health sector and signed the Cigarette Smoking Act. Via History Channel

This is exactly what we need for auto ads.

We need a full out ban on ads which promote products rated by the CDC as the number one killer of our children.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 33,000 people died from motor vehicle crashes in 2013 alone.1   Via CDC

leading_causes_of_death_age_group_2014_1050w760h
They call it “Unintentional Injuries” but Motor Vehicle collisions are what the majority of them are. When you drive distracted, drowsy, buzzed, high, or like you own the road. It isn’t unintentional.

Driving is not a passive act. It is hard work and you are required to keep your wits about you while you are doing it.

With the huge flux of auto ads telling us that driving is fun, easy, desirable, sleek, sexy, and your ticket to freedom. Is it any wonder that people “feel” like they “need” to drive?

These are all catch phrases that were used to push cigarette ads and yet we were able to fight “the man” and have them kicked off of television and radio.

So why aren’t we doing that for auto ads?

#BanAutoAds

So the next time you see an auto ad pop up in your news feed, be sure and let them know what you find disturbing about it and add the hashtag #BanAutoAds. Your children’s lives depend on it.

You have options on how to get to work and people are fighting to make those options easier and more accessible to you. Help them.

Don’t wait around for special infra as some people will tell you to do. Take an education course such as Cycling Savvy and learn what real freedom actually feels like.

You can safely travel by walking, cycling, public transport, and auto rentals to get you where you need to go.

All that space removed from auto’s gives us more space to build business’, shops, schools, and cultural activities.

#BanAutoAds

Auto companies are gathering slick advertisers to promote their dangerous product to children using cartoons.

I’d like to sell you a bridge…O’Canada!

Burgoyne bridge St.Catharines Ontario

0db19ffc-4e56-4712-ad0f-433c47b299fc
Canadian Engineering. The struggle is real.

 

Douglas Bruce Ford, Jr. is a Canadian businessperson and politician in Toronto, Ontario. Ford was Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North in Toronto from 2010 to 2014 at the same time that his brother, Rob Ford, was mayor of Toronto. Wikipedia

Robert Bruce “Rob” Ford is a Canadian politician and businessperson who is a Toronto City Councillor. He was the 64th Mayor of Toronto, serving from 2010 to 2014. Prior to being mayor, Ford was a city councillor. Wikipedia

Car centric societies have no business engineering bicycle specific infrastructure. They aren’t qualified. You can not live your entire life driving a car and think that your engineering degree makes you fit to design bicycle specific infrastructure. You can’t do it. It’s like hiring someone who only walks, and has never driven, to design the roads you drive on. You would consider them unqualified, no matter how extensive their engineering knowledge or how many framed bits of expensive paper they have hanging on their wall.

You have to feel bicycling.

Local cycling advocate Tyler P. wants to ride his bicycle. He has a job, he goes to school, he shops, pays taxes, and is an all around responsible person.

He is a first class citizen being treated with second class status.

Because he rides a bicycle.

Toronto a.k.a. ‘Car’onto thanks to politicians like the “Ford’s” is vastly lopsided in its engineering practices. These engineering policies affect the entire province of Ontario, including the city of St. Catharines in the Niagara region.

Tyler P. has been actively reaching out to the local administration in the Niagara region and asking them for

bmufl-addition
Legally it’s “Shall” but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.

These are temporary signs that he is asking to be placed until the new construction is complete.

As it stands now. There is a 1.2 meter sidewalk and the city of St. Catharines is asking cyclist to dismount and walk their bicycles across a bridge.

8e0883d3-416b-4f29-9e28-bfaa95d94ae6.jpg
Looks like someone wanted to be cute and put a little blue hat on the cyclist.

It’s a long walk.

880999ff-32d2-4df8-9906-7660bb51b70f.jpg
All bridge photo’s courtesy of Tyler P.

Bicycling for transportation is fun. It’s also healthy, good for the environment, and easy on the wallet. The number one response from cyclists when asked why they enjoy cycling is “FREEDOM.”

You can’t get that with a car, even if you made it 100% free in every aspect you would still be hemmed in, limited, and stuck in traffic. That is the nature of autos.

Car centric societies are jealous of the freedom which cycling brings and it’s why people blame cyclists for their traffic problems, try to pass laws restricting them, and gamers design infra which hems cyclists in on every side.

Why can’t he just ride in the lane?

Well he can. Legally in St. Catharines, and all of Canada, Tyler’s bicycle is a vehicle and he is legally allowed to occupy the full lane of travel. Which is why he is asking for the sign. Tyler knows what he can do. That’s not the problem. The problem is that people driving autos will make his life a living hell for exercising his rights. Because they are

  1. Uneducated on the equal status of bicycles as vehicles.
  2. Educated by auto ads that their auto is “like a family member,” and we all put our family before strangers.
  3. Car culture breeds lazy, distracted, and passive driving.

Namely tyler doesn’t want to be harassed.

 

120a6482-fda0-47d7-b15c-f14dae1f91e0.jpg
There is plenty of space for Tyler on the road. There is little space for pedestrians, Tyler and his bicycle.

There has been Twitter mention to the authorities in charge of this project to take into consideration the needs of the cyclist before after the construction is completed. As it stands now the bridge is being built to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as an afterthought.

There is a real problem with bicycle infra that project engineers, city planners, and cycling advocates like to pretend doesn’t exist.

All transportation engineers put every measure into insuring that autos can operate at maximum speed with safety. They put very little of this same safety culture into bicycle design. Everyone assumes all cyclists are going to operate at super slow speed. I can tell you from experience that cyclists do not, and most will not, operate at the speeds for which you are designing their infra.

You create unsafe places for cyclists, pass laws mandating that cyclists must use these unsafe facilities, and then scratch your heads and conduct million dollar research studies to figure out why cyclists keep dying after all that effort.

Go ride your bike! 

I’m talking to you transportation engineers.

In the meantime. Can we put a little lean on the people in charge of the Burgoyne bridge in St.Catharines, Ontario and get Tyler P. the help he needs in creating space for cycling?

You can contact them here. Niagara Region
And here.
the construction firm
the region is like the county
the mayor who seems responsive at times
Alan Caslin

Please be aware that:

Feb 19
Tyler P.
When it’s done it will have painted lanes at the edge

And on a highly trafficked bridge some paint on the road is completely unacceptable. If a cyclist can be harassed for safely controlling their lane. Then the city has a moral responsibility to create a protected space. Not just from auto’s but from the debris that they push into bike lanes. (It’s why I prefer to cycling in the travel lane. Those nice people in their autos keep them swept clean.)

Please contact the names listed and go to their FB page.

Nicely! Ask them to support cycling.

Do it for yourself, Do it for cycling, Do it for the environment, But above all!

Do it for Tyler!

3826612e-1cde-4ed1-a3a8-67df83f19b17
Steady there. Once false move and it’s a head under a tire. #ForTyler

Lane control…Did I stutter?

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

But that is actually a misquote.

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” The quote is most likely due to George Santayana, and in its original form it read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Via Google Search.

It is kind of like that childhood game of telephone. Words are repeated, misconstrued, rehashed, and then repeated further down as though it were the original statement.

As cycling “season” approaches let me start this all over again.

Lane control saves lives. Reduces the frequency of negligent motorist behavior and is the highest form of defensive cycling.

I will present to you a video in which lane control is not used. It is a highway much like the one described in Extremist thinking is hurting cycling.

The driver is at fault whether or not the cyclist was operating defensively or passively.

Cyclists may use the shoulder. Though I don’t recommend it.

We learn from our past so as not to make the same mistakes. It’s how I went from riding the shoulder to controlling my lane. I learned from near misses, logical thinking, and a careful review of state law.

In the video the motorist is seen drifting onto the shoulder. This is the first drift seen and the motorist maintains control of the vehicle as they correct for their mistake. The actions imply that the motorist is leaning over to the passenger side and reaching for something.

An earlier accident — which officials said wasn’t fog-related — involved a semi-trailer that was headed east on Interstate 70 along the turnpike. That accident caused motorists to slow down for several hours Wednesday morning as crews worked to clear the scene.

In that crash, which occurred at 3:20 a.m. at milepost 193.1 on eastbound I-70, near the Shawnee-Douglas county line, a 2005 Freightliner semi-trailer crashed after the driver lost control of his rig while reaching for a pack of cigarettes, turnpike official said.

The semi drifted to the right shoulder, then tipped over onto its right side and slid down the right driving-lane shoulder into the ditch. Via http://cjonline.com/

When a motorist is reaching over for an object it is their natural tendency to maintain a fixed and steady gaze on the road directly ahead of them. The fixed state of their gaze and the physical motion of leaning over will cause the driver to pull the steering wheel in the direction of their lean and they will drift out of their lane. All the while they will maintain eye contact with the road directly ahead of them. When a motorist is fixated in gaze their peripheral vision is compromised and this is exacerbated by speeds over 20mph.

speed-visual-focus-diagram-426x500.jpg
The critical ten

The driver in the video is not maintaining their lane. They are operating a vehicle without regard for other road users. This behavior is normalized socially and the proof of that is in how many motorists are allowed to slide the system. Either by not being cited or having their citations reduced or dismissed.

How lane control reduces and eliminates this behavior. 

Lane control works on these basic principles.

  1. The driver is maintaining a fixed and steady gaze on the road ahead of him.
  2. You are in that narrow cone of vision as the driver maintains that fixed stare.
  3. The driver is forced to acknowledge your presence and react accordingly

Does it work?

Damn straight it works.

There was a time when I was cycling down U.S. 27 and before I knew it a motorist had driven off the road, onto the shoulder, and passed me on the right. At first I interpreted this as bullying harassment. So I caught up with them at the corner gas station and confronted the driver. The driver informed me that he was distracted by his child in the back seat. Mom was sitting in the passenger seat. I realized that this father put not only my life but the life of his family in danger, it was this realization which made me lose my temper and I yelled at him to focus on his driving. I was worried that he would end up killing his family exactly like the driver who actually did end up killing his entire family. this also occurred on U.S. 27. (Completely unrelated to me but still profoundly affecting). Some idiot lady came out of the gas station and hollered at me to stop hollering at people. Because you know how annoying it is when vulnerable road users holler at motorists who almost end their life through careless driving. Poor motorists. Worse! Tea Party Libertarian Motorists. Arrogant and Victimized all in one.

Now, motorists will pitch a fit about you being “In The Road,” and some will eagerly pass legislation requiring you to operate as far right “Out Of Their Way” as possible. Some states even going so far as to legally require you to operate on shoulders. So check your state laws first. Fortunately those states are few and far inbetween. See also Bike League for some help on this subject.

Now here is where the game of telephone mentioned earlier comes in. Not every state has uniform statutes on “Cyclists Far To Right” laws. If a state’s “Bicycle Specific” law contradicts the state statutes you have a valid legal argument. Gather your peeps and start a movement to have those discriminatory laws abolished.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to telephone. You will hear rumors about “safety” and riding the shoulder or as far right as possible. It will seem to make sense. I mean isn’t it logical that something hurtling towards you at high speeds is an increased danger to you? Well yea, if it’s blind and has no brakes. Can you add and subtract?

Sidetracked again. A motorist hurling themselves at you at 55 mph (if they are so dense as to hit you directly from behind) while you are operating your bicycle at say 25 mph will have a striking speed of 30 mph. Which is why the guy in the video was surprised at how few injuries he sustained. I would estimate the driver of the vehicle to be operating at between 35 and 45 mph and the cyclist to be operating at 24 mph. Which means that the striking speed was actually around 11 to 21 mph. Totally survivable and why we don’t ride against the flow of traffic.

Back to telephone, fer reelz this time.

So we hear all these rumors about what is safe and how operating on the shoulder is safe. We are told that the law requires us to operate out of the way of motorists. Basically we hear a lot of stuff. But is any of it actually true?

After a lot of careful study which I won’t go into here; I can tell you that your bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and you have every right to control your lane and operate with traffic as an equal. That means in the lane. Fully in the lane. Not on the wee bitty edge.

If the cyclist in the video was fully educated on his rights to lane control and had been doing so, here is what I hypothesize would have occurred.

  • Motorist one (who was clearly paying attention) would have been required to reduce speed.
  • The motorists behind motorist one would have followed, so as to avoid rear ending the vehicle in front of them. (We all know rear enders are the fault of the person doing the rear ending and not the person being rear ended. How we flip that for cyclists I fail to understand.)
  • This chain reaction would have forced the negligent motorist to abandon their passenger side “dig” and focus entirely on the road.
  • Everyone would be irritated with the cyclist. Honking horns. Calling them an idiot. Tweeting snarky comments.
  • The cyclist would have felt harassed, marginalized, bullied.
  • Motorists would change lanes to pass or cyclist would have moved over and graciously allowed motorists to proceed before reclaiming their lane control position after being passed.
  • Middle fingers would be waved.
  • The cyclist would have coffee with their friends and commiserate about what a rude lot motorists are after hanging up their bicycle for the day.
  • The motorist would blame their bad day on the cyclist and tell their wife or boss that they were delayed not by their own lack of time management but by that one lone cyclist who slowed them down for 20 seconds.
  • Everyone would be alive and well. No injuries. No police reports. No delays lasting for hours. Paperwork to fill out. Insurance companies to call. Court dates to attend; leading to missed time from work.

Operating on a road is a fifty fifty deal. If everyone does their part, nobody gets hurt.

Motorists are terribly unreliable.

So we lane control to stack the odds in our favor.

Because ultimately the driver was the one who created the situation which lead to the collision. The driver is at fault. The Driver Is At Fault. THE DRIVER IS AT FAULT.

THE DRIVER IS AT FAULT!

And now here is the video.

Happy watching.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/158039745″>Clipped from behind</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user49751273″>Anon Rider</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

It looks like they deleted the video.

So here is a different one.

Which I should warn you is very upsetting to watch.
You will read in the description about how the motorist admitted to seeing the cyclist in this instance but judged (wrongly) that they could overtake.
Again. 
Lane control prevents good motorists from making bad choices.
Bad motorists always make bad choices.
Don’t be a bad motorist.

 

A driver of a White Ford SUV killed a boy. Everyone in comments section victim blames. Except me.

Read the story here.

Screenshot-2016-03-01-12.36.53-660x330.png
Wonderful and well loved boys life cut short by careless driver.


Nicole B
.
How very sad. My prayers go to his family in this hard time. Honestly though this should never have happened. There is no reason why a 16yr old boy should be out at 230am riding his bike.. Where are the parents?!


Lisa S
.
This is a very sad tragic story and I may get hate comments for this, but he had NO BUSINESS at 16 YEARS OLD LEAVING his girlfriends house at 2:30AM!?!? Wonder if he snuck out of his house… My prayers to the victim and his family… I can’t imagine their heartache….


Katre R
.
WHY WHY WHY was a 16 yr old KID allowed to be at 02:30 !!!!!! Lack of parenting that’s why. His parents and the girlfriends parents should be charged with chiid neglect !!!!! Stop being your kids best friend and be a parent. You’re neglect cost him his life!!!


Kevin C
.
My condolences to his family and friends. I just want to say, that street is very dangerous at night. The surrounding neighborhoods have no street lights. I strongly believe the city of Victorville needs to do something about that. I have had a close call or 2 jogging on Luna Rd early mornings. I’m just happy the driver was responsible for his actions and did their part. I respect them as a person. Accidents happen lives are loss, no one is to blame. Its sad such a young kid lost his life, this should be a cause for the citizens to ban together and pressure the city of Victorville in taking more precautions to prevent fatalities like this. I’m sorry to say, but the city of Victorville really doesn’t do much.

My response to the BULLSHIT!

Cherokee Schill
Every single person who empathized with the driver, blamed the parents, blamed the victim, or in any way did not place direct blame on the driver needs a swift lesson on driver responsibility.

You do not hit things or people with your auto! Not ever!
It isn’t ok. It isn’t an “accident.”
It is careless driving. You have headlights for a reason. You use them to see what is in front of you. If you can not see what is in front of you then you SLOW down. If you failed to do any of these things and hit someone or something YOU are at FAULT!
If you kill someone while failing to do any of these basic driving components or use your basic safety measures i.e. dashboard to see how fast you’re going, brakes to slow down, headlights to illuminate what is in front of you. Then you are GUILTY of Felony vehicular manslaughter.
Driving is a responsibility and a privledge.
Riding a bicycle is a RIGHT. That’s why they don’t require licensing or insurance. Because it’s a right to ride your bicycle at any time of the night or day!
P.s. Streets are not dangerous. People who use streets irresponsibly are dangerous.

That is why we can’t have nice things.

It isn’t the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of education.
Remember the excitement over Japans lack of bicycle specific infra?
Please don’t bring bike lanes to Japan.

We lack real education on bicycle rights. We are inundated with auto commercials which depict unsafe driving and declare “Feel the Freedom!”

We have a very bad culture in the auto world and a very bad culture in the cycling world.

When the first thing out of a cyclists mouth, after I’ve told them I was arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road, is “in the car lane?” with a slowly growing look of horror. Then you know there is more going on in America then some paint and bollards will ever be able to fix.

It isn’t the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of people who are willing to put their bike wheels where it matters. In the lane. In groups, in the lane. Not all trying to squeeze into a bike lane. But in the entire, publicly funded with your tax dollars, travel lane which is intended for all vehicles. Motorized or not!

Bernie Sanders and Bicycles

Ask me why I want Bernie for President. I’m a woman, pro-choice, and I ride a bicycle for transportation.

Let me start by saying that I am perpetually shocked by cyclists who maintain a conservative view of women and their bodily rights.
Rights aren’t for a privileged few. Rights are for everyone. Yet, it appears the greater majority view personal rights as a privileged status.

You have rights if you can buy them.
You have rights if you can fight for them.
You have rights if you can defend them.

If you don’t fall into any of those categories? Oh well!

Bicycling as transportation; effectively destroying the stranglehold that the wealthy have over the poor.

I don’t mean people like “Make America Great Again,” (hereafter referred to as MAGA) I mean people who make up agencies such as your local DOT and Auto Manufacturers. Though it also includes those who make up MAGA as well as the after mentioned DOT ruling class.

Bernie Sanders understands these institutions do not MAGA and will never and have never MAGA’d. He also understands political lobbying and why institutions like DOT, FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), and the Auto Manufacturers, which breathe life into them, use your tax dollars to effectively lobby politicians to pass legislation against your best interests.

I’ve spoken to transportation employee’s and heard them refer to cycling advocacy groups as “special interest” groups. These people are completely unaware that the very departments they work for are Government sanctioned “special interest” groups. And they lobby for laws which effectively restrict any of your tax dollars being spent on infrastructure which is not auto centric, I’m talking about sidewalks and public transportation.

Tennessee is currently trying to pass legislation which prevents your tax dollars from being spent on any infrastructure that doesn’t benefit autos. Click here to read about it.

HB 1650 (with a companion in the Senate), as originally introduced and intended, would entirely ban the use of state gas tax revenue for building any sidewalks (even as part of a larger road project), bike lanes and trails, or other similarly cost-effective and popular projects to help make traveling on foot or by bike safer and more convenient.

P1760756-1024x682.jpg
Sidewalks would be useful here on Nolensville Rd, a state highway that’s also a local street through Nolensville, TN southeast of Nashville. A new Tennessee law could prevent state gas tax dollars from being used to add them.  Photo and Caption by: Stephen Lee Davis

Want to know something really scary?

Your state already has legislation like this and it’s most likely written into your state’s constitution. Lobbied for by special interest groups and paid for with your tax dollars.

You need to understand that these people are serious about taking your rights away. Look at what they did to women in Tennessee.
Tennessee amended their state constitution to guarantee a woman does not have any legal rights to abortion. Click here.

Tennessee voters reversed that decision last fall by adding language to the state constitution that denies abortion rights protections.

Wouldn’t it be amazingly powerful if we could get all people who respect Civil Liberties of Women and all people who respect Civil Liberties of Pedestrians and Cyclists to come together and promote the election of a President who will fight for all of our Civil Liberties?

Minorities have the most to gain from a President who defends everyone’s Civil Liberties.

You don’t have to be a cyclist to respect cyclists and you don’t have to be a woman to respect women. But you do have to be a decent human being who values others Civil Liberties so that your own Civil Liberties aren’t taken away.

Bernie Sanders understands the bigger picture.

Have you read any articles about how auto owners spend 30% of their income on transportation?

Imagine if you could break up with your auto. Yes, “break up” because it really is that emotionally fraught for some people.

By dumping the auto, you would effectively increase your income by up to 30%. That is 30% which becomes flexible income.  You would have money to spend on your dreams, your family, a hobby, and really anything which tickled your fancy.

That is the real difference between those who have and those who have not. Those issues have consistently been highlighted by Bernie Sanders.

The ability to spend money on items which produce happiness and have money to spend on those things which bring us joy is empowering. If you aren’t enjoying living are you really living? I suspect not.

Bicycles have been the great social equalizer. Historically providing women the means to travel outside their narrow confines, elevating the poor to independent, and giving minorities a chance long before it was “cool” to do so. Though not without the threats from racists in the organization. Read about Major Taylor.

12049214_10153949368578744_3427732750015799269_n.jpg

And that is what I want to highlight now.

Cycling is a great equalizer, and yet! There are those within who would exclude and ridicule anyone who is different from their perceived notion of cycling. Just as there are women who will harass and ridicule women seeking abortion care. I’ve volunteered as a clinic escort and the vitriol which comes from women is shockingly disturbing.
So again, I emphasize that you must respect others Civil Liberties so that your own may be protected.
I personally believe that if Major Taylor had been fully and unconditionally accepted more minorities would have given the cycling community the oomph they so desperately needed to fight back the destructive “special interest” auto lobbyists.

Your auto isn’t freedom, if you are poor and middle class. It is the illusion of freedom.

Bernie Sanders has promised to give power back to the American people, that is a Republican value, and why I, as a Republican, will be voting for Bernie Sanders.

Read: “Why we drive” by Andy Singer

If we should fail to elect Bernie Sanders in the primaries then I would ask you to consider the following.

ProBernie.PNG

Before I leave you, I want you to consider this, I’m writing this article as someone who has spent a great deal of time reading and studying this issue. If you disagree with something, first ask  yourself “what does she see that I’m not seeing?”

Being arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road tends to give you 20/20 vision on a lot of social issues surrounding car culture. It is this knowledge that I am trying to impart to you. Without you having to first experience the drama of being arrested and having tea party libertarians assault you for safely and legally cycling. The Republican party has greatly sidestepped their original values. Values which first inspired me to join the Republican party back when I was in middle school.

Living in a town which is the epitome of tea party libertarian agenda, I have first hand experience and can confidently tell you that their idea of liberty doesn’t include yours.

With a Democratic establishment we can hold off the impending apocalypse but we won’t fix it. Which is why my first choice is Bernie Sanders and I hope yours will be too.

 

Bicycle Specific Infrastructure and Robert Moses

A cyclist who uses lights, signals, and behaves as a predictable part of traffic doesn’t require bicycle specific infrastructure, some people would argue.

I would agree with them up to a point.

My views of a better culture for people don’t jive with bicycle specific infra (short for infrastructure) in dense urban area’s. Instead, I see these areas as perfect for true greening and humanizing public space.

The problem, as near as I can tell, is our cultural immersion in Robert Moses and his vision for the cities of tomorrow. Huge concrete jungles where everyone has a specific space and directions on how to operate in that space.
I hear this theme repeated back in transportation engineering. One webinar going so far as to suggest that trucks, motorcycles, and personal autos should each have their own specific lane.

4362eac2529d9e9dc9_uim6i6jou.png
Well that makes everything better! Especially if you only ever intend to cycle forward. I hope there’s a 7-11 in the middle of the street. 

It’s utter madness.

We don’t have space for each type of vehicle to have its own specific lane to operate in and we sure as hell shouldn’t confine people to “lane cages” in an attempt to regulate the mess that is humanity.

Looking back over the history of the rise of the DOT empire and their powerful influence over local governments; I begin to understand why cycling advocates have been wooed into this desire for bicycle specific infra in their neighborhoods. The propaganda is seductive.

I look over Streetsblog, People for Bikes, and League of American Cyclists literature and their love affair with bike lanes; I see people advocating for gilded cages.

You don’t need, nor should you want, a bike lane in dense urban areas. These are places where people should be free to mill around the neighborhood and shop. Pedal from one side of the street to the other as they run their errands. There should be trees, shrubs, food gardens, and benches to sit on in the middle of the road. Or at least on either side of a dedicated rail or tram line.

After speaking with the director of bicycle promotion in Japan, Mr. Hidetomo Okoshi, I left the North American Handmade Bicycle Show with a better vision of cycling and its future.

Mr. Okoshi explained to me that people in his country do not as a rule commute by auto to their jobs. Nor do they commute by bicycle. Instead they take the train and in their communities they get around by foot, bicycle, and auto. In that order of hierarchy. The people he explained do not travel far by bicycle. I asked him about bike lanes. He had an air of apprehension as he explained that Japanese do not need this as much as Americans because of their respect for each other. That is when the lightbulb hit.

Bike lanes do not create respect for cyclists anymore than sidewalks create respect for pedestrians. Communities which insist on bike lanes as a “friendly” way of incorporating cycling as a viable means of transportation aren’t doing anything to help the pedestrians in their communities. Bike lanes, by forcing cyclists off the usable portion of the roadway, enable motorists to speed and endanger both cyclists and pedestrians, not to mention themselves.
As was recently pointed out by Tim Cupery on my Facebook page who said:

it’s worth pointing out that edge-riding IS doing a favor to motorists, so they can continue to go the speed that they would prefer.

This is a key motive behind segregated infrastructure, and many cyclists think of themselves as second-class road users.

And he is right; Motorists do not slow down in the presence of bike lanes. If anything it only encourages them to speed.

How then are bike lanes heralded as a means of humanizing current infra? Because as I see it they aren’t. Instead I see places like downtown Louisville, Lexington, New York, and Portland as huge Robert Moses machines. Churning out the same style of precision engineering which treats people as machines or worse robots who are programmed to follow a specific flow.

Now some might get confused and understandably so, because bicycle infra when held up to car culture is confusing, over whether or not I support any infra at all!

The answer is YES!

But not the way you imagine it and not the way we are currently being sold.

My vision entails trains as mass transit over great distances and as high speed movement between fixed places. Walking and cycling as the normal means of transportation between shorter distances. Zoning which creates inclusive infrastructure and alleviates the homeless crisis, not exacerbate it. Neighborhoods where kids play on the street and tool around on their bicycles. E-assist pedal transport of heavy goods from a centralized location. More reliance on creative solutions and less dependence on the Moses era of thinking.

Bicycle highways which connect cities to each other are an excellent start to this vision. Zoning for the use of the areas around it to meet the needs of those cycling long distance is crucial.

But what do we do in the meantime?

We dismantle DOT or at the very least remove it from power as an oligarchy.  Sorry that was a bit ambitious for step one. Let me start over.

  1. We advocate for mandatory cycling education in all schools. Educating our children on how to operate their bicycles as a part of traffic.
  2. We advocate for mandatory cycling education on all drivers licensing, re-licensing, and court appointed diversion programs.
    (By following these first two steps we can effectively remove or at least significantly reduce cycling prejudice in one generation. Something to think about.)
  3. We advocate for reduced speed limits in neighborhoods and dense urban areas including cities. 20 mph is plenty.
  4. We advocate for mass transit and transitioning from Heavy Goods Vehicles a.k.a. tractor trailers to E-assist Heavy Goods Pedal Bikes.
  5. We advocate for programs with local police to report bullying and dangerous motorist behavior.
  6. We advocate for Greening our local communities with tree planting, food gardens, and shrubbery.
  7. We advocate for repeal of mandatory bike lane use laws.

If we get this started we can all have nice things.

8239366155_4f99b3d101.jpg
You can ride your bicycle through here. It’s lovely isn’t it?

 

Or we can continue to have this.

1_fi_cityparking_1.jpg
Let’s stick a bike lane in here and call it green infra!

Space is scarce without resorting to urban sprawl. Yet urban sprawl is exactly what layering bicycle culture over auto culture is creating. I hate #SneckDown as it 1. doesn’t actually change anything. 2. It’s a crappy way to “educate” people. 3. It is, in my own opinion, a throwback to Oliver Twist. “Please Sir! May I have some more?” We aren’t asking for our space, it is ours to begin with, we are demanding it back.

street-atmosphere041.jpg
I call it “Cycling Without Apology.” And far too many of you cycle as though you are apologizing for being present on the road. 

 

People who have much to gain from selling Bicycle Lanes shouldn’t be trusted as a source of unbiased opinion on the greatness of Bicycle specific infra.

images (11)
I have some infra I’d like to sell you. It will make your life so much better. 

This picture is a perfect example of gilded cages. It is a modern day version of separate but equal. Except that you aren’t treated as an equal. You are a bird in a cage and your freedom of movement is an illusion. Need to get to the shop in the middle of the other side of the street? Tough shit! Go down a block, make a U-turn, and then you will eventually reach your destination.

But we love authoritay! and some people want to treat cyclists as special snowflakes.

special-snowflake

We will never move towards a society which unequivocally increases its modal share to bicycling unless we first remove all prejudice against and all special snowflake syndromes from cycling.

“Cycling without apology” and “Cyclists: Expected and Respected” should be mainstays of our advocacy language.

I don’t apologize for using road space which my taxes helped pay for. I am your equal on the road, respect me.

Any infra proposed which does not treat cyclists as either or both of those isn’t infra which is going to move our society forward nor will it increase modal share.