Dear White Woman: Fuck You!

I don’t owe you anything.

You roll down your window to point out the bike lane on your far right.

I’m turning left.

I’m not going to smile and wave.

I’m not going to politely explain my reason for making a left turn.

I don’t owe you an explanation.

I don’t owe you anything.

I don’t owe you politeness.

You have no right to interfere in my day.

You have no right to an explanation.

You are garbage.

A human waste of space.

Fuck you.

You use your feminine whiteness as a bludgeon.

You beat anyone who doesn’t fit your narrow white world.

You morally justify yourself, as you wave your hand and loudly explain how bicyclists should make a corner to corner turn, using the crosswalk.

As if you understood everything there ever was to understand about bicycling.

Fuck you.

You’re lucky I’m white too.

If I weren’t, you’d be publicly shamed for the racist that you are.

Yes, you’re a racist.

You white perfidy.

You’re prejudiced against anything and anyone who doesn’t conform to your whiteness.

I hate you and all the white women like you.

Fuck you!

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Women, Freedom, and Bicycles.

I came very close to going to prison. Not because I had done anything wrong by cycling on U.S. 27, but because the system is flawed. It works for those who have the money to buy the right connections.

Purvi Patel and I were in the same boat but for different reasons. Her story could have very easily been my story. I’d had two late term abortions due to severe fetal anomalies. Even writing the last part of that sentence sits wrong with me. I shouldn’t have to include my private medical information so that you’d feel empathy for me instead of disgust. But there we have it. Rape culture and victim blaming.

I can’t speak for Purvi Patel’s legal council or the laws that were used to charge her. I’m not familiar with either. What I can speak about with confidence is the mixed reactions people had when her story broke. Some people felt empathy, while others wanted to crucify her. I recall trying to raise awareness about her story and a woman wrote to me saying that “she dumped the body in a dumpster!” as though that should seal her fate. It reminded me of the pseudo cycling advocates who say “She’s cycling on the road!” as though that was all the evidence they needed that I was doing something wrong.

I’ve worked in a hospital before as hospital staff. My first experience with hospital waste came from my first summer job I had before college. I was working for the college laundry and we serviced the hospitals dirty linens. The stuff you find in there is shocking. The stuff you see in a hospital is shocking. But it’s only shocking to the people who live in suburban and urban bubbles. People whose closest foray into the medical world is watching edited for T.V. medical dramas don’t understand. Real life is much messier and less black and white.

So they judged her without knowing her and they prosecuted her with barely a peep from Civil Liberties giants like the ACLU.

Recently I saw an article declaring high speed internet in rural locations as our next civil liberties crisis. I thought, wow! What a crock of shit! Huffington post highlighted a story about a man who was struggling to earn enough through his online business to support his family. This has the ACLU galloping to fight for “justice.” Internet is important and it’s a great tool for learning but there are other avenues and no one is having their freedoms destroyed because they can’t connect at speeds greater than 25mbps.

Meanwhile Purvi Patel might very well languish in prison for 20 years because she felt conflicted about a pregnancy, shared those feeling via text msg, and had a miscarriage that was probably more of a relief for her than it was a loss. Then she put the already dead fetus in the trash. Much the same way that your local hospital does. Though most have their medical waste incinerated to prevent biohazards from getting into the environment. It’s all very regulated.

My first late term abortion I opted to have my pregnancy induced. It was just a matter of time and time wasn’t on my side. The baby had at this point died in utero and I was becoming sick. Every woman is different and every woman’s body handles a dead fetus differently. Maybe Nicholas was alive right up until the birth and they told me they couldn’t find a heartbeat to help me feel better. I don’t know. What I do know is that he was dead when he came out and I got to hold a 25 week old fetus in my arms. They are fragile as spun glass. Very tiny too. In fact the anti-choice posters they wave at Planned Parenthood don’t look like 6-12 week old fetus’. They look more like my son Nicholas at 25 weeks. Which is to say that those people are lying to you. They are lying to you when they tell you that Purvi Patel’s baby was born alive. They will feed you half lies and tell you that they are semi truths while denying that a half truth is a whole lie.

Much like this picture of me here.

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*That’s me. Before I learned lane control. I was getting a lot of close in the lane passes. 

The picture is carefully taken to show you what looks like a nice wide shoulder. Looks pretty smooth too. But it’s not and the broken white line you see to my right is the beginning of a turn only lane. The same turn only lane that I used to illegally cycle forward through and almost got killed on one occasion. So I stopped and tried riding further right only to find that the motorists were taking the right turn at such high speeds that they didn’t see me and I almost got killed again. So I said fuck it and started riding in the lane. Where it was legal and safe. Besides broken glass, rumble strips, pot holes, right turning motorists (at high speeds), and intersections. I still had to deal with people rolling coal on me and throwing things at me. One person even tried to run me over while I was attempting to merge onto the shoulder. They passed me on the shoulder and almost struck me. So I said fuck it! I’m not breaking any laws by staying in the right hand lane and that’s where I’m safe, so that’s where I rode.

If you didn’t know all that just looking at the picture would make you question my “morality,” which is an absurd thing to do but it’s what humans do and we as a species are absurd.

The courts didn’t have a legal leg to stand on but with an inept conservative Republican, who is also a Lexington KY road cyclist, for an attorney. One who specialized in contract law and had never conducted a courtroom trial, I was screwed and I knew it. People ask me why I didn’t ask for a continuance when the ASSistant C.A. Eric Wright introduced a new charge at my trial. Mostly I wanted my relationship with my attorney to be over but also because I felt bad for the people who had paid air fare to come out and defend me. I really just wanted the whole thing to be over. I knew my attorney wasn’t prepared to represent me and I knew I was going to lose on those first three tickets. I wanted to win. I wanted to win so bad I could taste it. But the odds were stacked against me and I knew it. Filing an appeal was my next option but the new attorney I hired, thanks to all of your generous donations, advised against it. As did Ohio bike lawyer Steve M. He knew that the case was poorly represented and Steve had given it his best but there was only so much Steve could do with the local attorney who sat through the whole trial like a bump on a log. The guy who filmed my news segment, the one from which the picture is taken and my local attorney are tight. Both cyclists. Both men. They are not bad people. What they are is really out of touch people. People who think Trump is going to make America Great again or that Hillary Clinton has a fighting chance against Trump. They are really out of touch with working class Americans.

My new attorney said we had two options, file a mistrial due to incompetent legal counsel. Which I didn’t want to drag Steve’s name into. Or accept a plea agreement. The plea agreement was only accepted by me because I did not admit to any guilt. That was my one stipulation above all else. Jude Booth had already ruled my cycling on the road was legal.  The City of Nicholasville agreed to drop all charges, have the first three tickets expunged from my record and the fines waived (taxpayer dollars down the drain), and all I had to do was agree to not cycle on U.S. 27 for two years. We threw in that the police had probable cause to pull me over. But I didn’t give a shit about that because the U.S. Supreme court later ruled that cops can pull you over if they “think” you’re breaking a law but you’re not actually breaking a law. Meaning that the cop could think you’ve broken a law or he can make up a law and that would count as probable cause. Like I said the whole system is fucked up. So I gave them probable cause and agreed to not cycle on U.S. 27 for two years. Since U.S. 27 runs directly through downtown and I knew that the county attorney and his crew were as corrupt as fuck. I had no choice but to move away. I couldn’t go to my bank or the grocery store without using U.S. 27 and you know they’d throw my ass in jail for breaking the plea agreement if I said or did anything they didn’t like. Even though I wasn’t cycling on the main road to Lexington it was still U.S. 27 and I didn’t trust those fuckers.

But I would have fought and continued fighting if I wasn’t pressured into moving to Louisville. I really did want to fight but at the same time I didn’t because I was so overwhelmed and tired. Having someone constantly telling me to move and even going so far as to tell us to stay with them was enough to influence my decision.

I think Purvi’s legal team really didn’t have a clue as to how to defend her but I do know they put more effort into it than my local attorney did.

I also know that the same type of people who think I’m against bicycle infrastructure are the same type of people who think that Purvi Patel threw a live infant in the trash. Ignorant, out of touch, privileged, mostly male but some women too, and they are all assholes.

The environment that we are currently living in is so geared away from freedom and the people who live in it are so apathetic that they can’t even get 100k signatures to free Purvi Patel BUT! they get over 100k signatures to ask for the freedom of a man who strangled and killed a woman. 

He might very well be innocent or he may be guilty as hell! But the fact that the New York Times wrote an extensive article showing that Purvi Patel did NOT kill her baby and that it WAS dead before it ever came out of her vagina is still not enough to garner enough interest to reach more than 18k signatures.

As a woman who was getting a lot of hate from the Mountain Biking community, male auto drivers, and an unwarranted amount of hate from the “progressive” male dominated Democrats of Lexington KY; I knew my pooch was screwed. That and I was fucking tired. Tired of the hate, tired of the controversy (where none need exist), and above all else tired of the attention and people hanging on my every word.

I fought Nicholasville KY because I wanted to keep my home and my kids. I wasn’t looking to be the face of cycling. It wasn’t a stunt to bring attention to cycling or even VC cycling. The VC cyclists were the only group that said “Fuck yea! You have the right to cycle anywhere the hell you want!” That and that alone is what attracted me to them.

As I got to know some of them I realized that the group was comprised of assholes too. Just a different kind of asshole. So I dropped out of the group. No one got a hold of me or brainwashed me into Cycling Savvy. I approached it from logic, the law, and personal experience.

I fantasized about a bikeway that had bike lights and riding on a trail with no fucking self entitled motorists.

I hate bike lanes. Not because I hate bike lanes but because the overwhelming majority of them are crap. Pure fucking crap. I cycle less here in Oregon because of them. I still only cycle for transportation. But If I can take the bus, I so will. I still get harassed for lane control. Even though it is specifically legal to control a lane here in Oregon.

Sometimes I see the bike lobby much the same way I see the “right to life” lobbyists. Always crying about life and how precious it is until the life that matters isn’t one they are particularly interested in.

Abortion without apology and Cycling without apology. They are both our civil rights.

Self autonomy and freedom!

Vote Bernie Sanders!

 

*Before I learned about lane control I cycled on the right third of the lane.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Burgoyne bridge St.Catharines Ontario

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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.

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Looks like someone wanted to be cute and put a little blue hat on the cyclist.

It’s a long walk.

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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.

 

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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!

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Steady there. Once false move and it’s a head under a tire. #ForTyler

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

Read the story here.

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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!

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.

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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.

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

 

Or we can continue to have this.

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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.

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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.

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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.

All those pesky details.

I have cancer.

My health care was interrupted by Nicholasville Police Department and their ticketing campaign against me.

I was a cyclist fighting for her rights.

But I wasn’t fighting for the rights of cycling.

I was fighting for the right to keep my job, my home, my health insurance.

I was fighting for my kids.

My posts on bicycle safety was a response to the backlash.

I wasn’t doing anything illegal and I was cycling safely.

So why should I have to defend my right to commute to work by bicycle?

I think it is because cycling advocates have pushed so hard and for so long to make cycling appear scary and dangerous without special infrastructure or equipment.

We need laws to keep us safe!

We need bike lanes to keep us safe!

We need all these shiny things so we’ll be safe!

And you still get killed and I’m still alive.

Even with my healthcare interrupted.

The year my story hit the news was the year my doctor told me my cancer was in remission but that I still had to come in for regular check up’s.

I remember putting the lab results on the fridge with a magnet. Right next to the ticket I’d received for “Careless Driving,” because I rode a bicycle in the travel lane.

I haven’t been able to go in for regular check up’s since everything happened.

I, like any other good mother, put my kids needs before my own. I put all my energy into keeping my commute and my job. Then I started getting death threats.

People were intentionally driving their cars at me. People were laughing about what “bad drivers” their spouse is and how he commutes on that road every day. “It’s just a matter of time. Ha ha.”

 

It really is just a matter of time if I can’t go in for a check up.

The reporter who first broke my story nixed the idea of mentioning cancer. I have no idea why. Maybe it humanized me too much? Maybe it didn’t make for a neatly packaged story? Who knows?

I doubt it would have mattered anyways. Arrogant motorists and their thugs a.k.a Nicholasville Police Department didn’t want me on their roads. Period.

Nobody should have to struggle in the aftermath of a full on assault of their civil rights.

But I am.

I hate car culture. It destroys lives in more ways than one.