You do me proud, people of social media. Your steadfast, no bullshit approach to the conservative funded PR blast was spectacular.
You give me hope for a better future.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard about Nick Sandmann smirking and menacing Native American Nathan Phillips.
You will also have witnessed the rapid ascent of a conservative PR firm “script flipping” the narrative, surrounding the events that occured.
You can read some really good accounts of it here and here.
A really good narrative can cast doubts in the minds of average people.
Average people don’t question the narrative, they don’t research, they don’t question their own internal biases, they don’t even examine if they do have internal biases.
How do you get around people like that?
In a world where average people hold sway over the lives of those in vulnerable positions. A world where those average people are told what to think, how to think, when to think. Like a mass army of minions, a sleeper cell of bots, ready to turn on marginalized people at any moment. Sometimes even against each other.
For me, I’ve found standing my ground, standing firm, has helped. But it has not been a perfect solution. Because they are always writing, scripting, a narrative that benefits them and causes you harm.
So again, how do we get around people like this. All those average people who think they’re so smart. Looking at the world through their own warped lense. Gleaning the information which only reconfirms their own internal dialogue.
Walls are more than a metaphor, a wall is a real blood brain barrier, a cognitive barrier that is viciously guarded. Like any wall, there are weak points and there are strong points. We can’t know what or where those weak points are and we can guess at the strong points. But we’d only be guessing.
The reality is that our messaging isn’t for the protagonist, it’s for their followers.
We aren’t tearing down walls. We are planting seeds. These seeds will take hold, their roots will run deep and search out those weak spots on their own. Our only job is to spread the message, work with legislators, and activist groups to get the message out.
We know this method works because it’s been used for decades. It was used to change public opinion surrounding women’s right to vote, the right of slaves to be free, and the right for people to marry whom they love. It’s a system of messaging that creates a shift in public consciousness.
I am looking for people to help me flip the script, tear down the patriarchal narrative which surrounds and intertwines itself throughout our everyday lives.
As I was making my way home, I passed through White-Marts overly expansive auto squatting lot.
I scanned my way through welfare for auto’s and yielded to foot traffic as appropriate. Upon completing my turn into the home stretch lane, I scanned for male centrist autos driven by any person behind the wheel.
As I approached the stop sign, I witnessed a white pick up truck careening off the main road, his white truck bouncing over the curb, the rear end fishtailing as he hit the gas.
Visually calculating the distance, I knew there wouldn’t be time to make it through the squatting lot intersection and avoid the large white man who occupied the large white truck.
None of the rules applied to him.
He was normal.
I was not.
He gave me a white, shit eating grin, from behind the white whiskers framing his white face, as he sat behind the wheel of his white truck. His large white thumb sticking up in the oppressive air which surrounded him.
“Thank you for following the rules of the road,” his actions screamed, as he himself broke several.
Pedaling off from my power position, pedal up, as my weight propelled me forward.
I looked over my shoulder and signaled to him that he was indeed number one.
Normative male centrist society, from which sprung forth the auto, has classified rules which dominate all others. By default, you and I are ‘other’.
The culture around “Those rule breaking bicyclists,” perfectly sums up a micro view of normative white culture.
My two disadvantages are being a woman on a bicycle. It irks me to no end when white men co-opt rape culture to ‘prove’ their victimization. Which isn’t to say that they can’t be victims of a crime. But they will never be a black man, woman, LGBTQ, and a victim of a crime
For that white man, he momentarily becomes other(ized) as he climbs on his bicycle. This other(ing) is brief and surface deep. Like dipping a toe in to test the temperature of the otherness water.
These men, who also invented the bicycle, before rapidly tossing it for the much more exclusionary auto, can not be the voice of bicycle advocacy.
They are, as a whole, crushing any forward momentum we have obtained.
Only recently have I found a few men, who have grasped the concept that you can not rationalize with the irrational and male culture is irrational, full stop.
People who drive, break as many “rules of the road” as anyone else who doesn’t drive. But Pedestrians and Bicyclists bear the brunt of being labeled a wanton rule breaker.
Any motorist, no matter their race or gender identity, is participating in, propping up, and re-establishing white normative culture as the default culture when they ‘other’ anyone traveling on foot or using alternative transportation, such as a bicycle.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 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.
Where the article in TreeHugger fails is in…
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.
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.
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?
We need to immediately stop slurring anyone who is using VC cycling principles for their safety.
We need to create a safe place where people can share their concerns about infra without immediately resorting to name calling.
Repeal all mandatory bike lane use laws.
Make it a penalty against the officer for not ticketing a motorist who causes injury to a cyclist.
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.
Mandatory cycling education across the board and on every level.
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.
Lower speed limits.
Re-visit past tort law and educate law enforcement that the onus is on the driver to operate with care around pedestrians and cyclists.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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.
It’s a long walk.
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
Uneducated on the equal status of bicycles as vehicles.
Educated by auto ads that their auto is “like a family member,” and we all put our family before strangers.
Car culture breeds lazy, distracted, and passive driving.
Namely tyler doesn’t want to be harassed.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
The driver is maintaining a fixed and steady gaze on the road ahead of him.
You are in that narrow cone of vision as the driver maintains that fixed stare.
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.
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.