I wrote a blog about how people should operate vehicles in parking lots. You can read it here.
In some areas it is next to impossible to find a place to lock up your bicycle. Pleasure cyclists, occasional cyclists, and roadies rarely have kickstands or Dutch locks. My bicycle has both. It’s better than sliced bread. Seriously.
If you’ve been frustrated by your plea’s for bicycle parking falling on deaf ears, never fear, I have a solution for you.
One of the easiest ways I’ve been able to draw attention to the disparity in bicycle parking facilities is by using the parking facilities already present.
If you don’t have a kickstand on your bicycle, well, you’re screwed. Unless you can find someone who has a sturdy bicycle, with a kickstand, and is willing to let you lean your bicycle on theirs.
This “lack of bicycle parking facilities” protest is better when it’s done with friends.
Some people will say that they feel bad, taking up so much space. Screw them! I don’t see too many motorists torn up about taking up a full parking spot, especially to haul just one person. Why should you care if you are taking up a space to haul one person? It’s almost like some of you cyclists aren’t really cyclists. Some of you are so apologetic for cycling, you remind me of a beaten animal who slinks back to its abuser and apologetically licks the abusers hand. Seriously! Get some PRIDE! Show a little backbone! You’re a cyclist! Motorists should be falling over backwards THANKING YOU!
Cyclists are awesome.
We don’t tear up the roads we travel on. We don’t spew toxic chemicals into the air. We don’t run down your family pets as they cross the road. Hell! We save the pets motorists dump on the side of the road!
So stop feeling guilty for using a parking space. You are not a second class citizen. You deserve convenient and secure parking.
What’s more Pedestrians deserve the sidewalk. Nobody wants to trip over your bicycle(s) as they try to navigate the, often, too narrow sidewalk.
No person in a wheelchair should have to struggle to get past your bicycle as it blocks the sidewalk.
As a cyclist I believe it is our duty to look out for pedestrians.
Here is a possible kickstand solution for you roadie types.
A simple U-Lock works or you can add a Dutch style bicycle lock to your bicycle. Not recommended for the roadies. Your cycling bro’s will totally laugh at you (but inside they’ll be jealous).
Some towns have passed ordinances making it illegal to park a bicycle in an “auto” parking spot. Most have a clause about this ordinance only applying if there is a bicycle parking facility. Read and know your state, county, and city laws. Civil disobedience is a beautiful thing.
By now you should know that calling a crash an accident is a way of moving liability away from the person driving the vehicle.
Reading an article in CNN Money, I see a correlation between litigation and blaming the inanimate object. (Yes, you can draw an analogy about guns here too.)
There isn’t any such thing as an accident when it comes to auto collisions. Wet roads are no more to blame for your lead foot than an app is to blame for this horrific collision.
“The plaintiff, Wentworth Maynard, was merging onto a four lane highway outside of Atlanta, Georgia when his car was struck “so violently it shot across the left lane into the left embankment,” his lawyers contend.”
Everything you do is about choices. We make choices everyday. We choose to oversleep an alarm because we chose to stay up late. We choose to linger in the shower and we choose to speed under the false assumption that we can “make up time.”
When cycling advocates are educating you about light signals and how traffic is engineered to operate at a set speed, you chose to ignore us.
We make many minute and seemingly inconsequential choices everyday.
Which weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?
They both weigh the same. A ton. But the volume of feathers to create a ton is vast compared to the volume of bricks to equal the same tonnage.
Each feather is a seemingly inconsequential choice that you made throughout your day, week, year, and life. But when that ton of feathers hits you, it’s going to feel like a load of bricks.
Manufacturers and corporations make choices too.
I’m not saying that corporations don’t have a part to play in the choices we make. They most certainly do.
Snapchat chose to put out an app with the ability to capture your speed while using the app.
Auto advertisements show people driving in ways that are patently unsafe and they choose to pay a lot of money to have these ad’s placed during prime viewing times.
Here’s a scenario: You can read it in full detail here.
You’re driving down the road in your car on a wild and stormy night. The weather is like a hurricane, with heavy rains, high winds, and lightning flashing constantly. While driving, you come across a partially-covered bus stop, and you can see three people waiting for a bus:
An old woman who looks as if she is about to die.
An old friend who once saved your life.
The perfect partner you have been dreaming about (your “soulmate”).
Knowing that you only have room for one passenger in your car (it’s a really small car), which one would you choose to offer a ride to? And why?
You can believe that you are limited by your choices or you can think outside the box.
We need to emphasize critical thinking skills when educating drivers and cyclists.
We also need to emphasize that speeding, distracted (any distraction) driving, and driving drowsy or drunk are choice’s and there isn’t ever an excuse for the choices we make. We are to blame when we make bad choices.
I mention the above scenario about the bus stop because I was confronted by an Atheist (I’m one too). He said that I was on some high horse and that there were definitely excuses for speeding. He then brought up a real situation in which he believed that his mother was dying and he sped to the hospital. He was pulled over and given a speeding ticket.
He then went on to justify his speeding by admitting that he was so distracted by his distress over the idea of his mother dying without him that he failed to notice the speed limit sign.
I tried to reason with him logically about public spaces and how his actions have direct consequences for others on public roads. He refused to acknowledge anything I was saying and launched into a personal attack instead. I saved the conversation and will present it in another blog at a future date. But for now, know that two of the deadliest weapons in history, the automobile and the gun, have even critical thinkers blathering emotionalism when it comes to their cherished beliefs. It truly defies logic.
There isn’t ever an excuse to justify speeding. Much like there isn’t an excuse to justify shooting someone who is unarmed. Corporations and manufacturers have a responsibility to the public at large. Snapchat has no excuse for putting out an app that encourages users to speed. Users have no excuse for choosing to use the app or for speeding.
When your choices affect others, you are duty bound to consider the consequences of your actions!
Public roads are shared space. You are required to share public roads with large vehicles, small vehicles, slower vehicles, and people on foot.
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.
(Note from 2018: If you’re reading this, the worst has happened. The officer was exonerated of all charges. Michael Brown, who was racially profiled and murdered, for walking while black, has not had justice. His family still suffers under the stigma created by white normative people in the media. #BlackLivesMatter has been cruelly co-opted by white supremacists running #BlueLivesMatter. Up is down and down is up. Flint has been poisoned by their government and children are being cruelly ripped from their asylum seeking parents, at the border. The current POTUS is set to establish himself as dictator and white men still think that bike lanes are the most urgent issue facing the bicycling community.)
The Roads are for moving People.
A car is one way to move people. So is a horse, a truck, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and legs. Legs move people. Legs have been moving people for millions of years. In fact people got tired of using their legs and invented the wheel so they could put their feet up and rest.
I’ve heard about the tragedy in Ferguson. I’ve heard that the first issue the officer had with the young man was that he, the young man, was walking on the road. Well, that is what a road is for! Walking moves people and the modern paved roads were invented to move people with less difficulty than rutted dirt roads.
From what I have heard this wasn’t about concern for the young mans safety. This was about someone who was potentially getting in the way of cars. That young man had every right to be there. He had every right to cross the road and expect to be given due care by motorists who happened upon him.
It’s a cultural issue. One that has been deeply ingrained into our psyche ever since automobiles began to dominate the roads.
Remember the Civil Rights movement was originally argued over transportation. The rights of people to access the same facilities as other people with out regard for their heritage.
Car culture and hatred appear to go hand in hand. The idea that it is o.k. to besmirch, accost, and verbally assault someone just because they are not in an automobile has to end.
I could be wrong, but I believe that the underlying current here is road rights, exacerbated by a media induced stigma on young men in economically depressed and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
People should feel safe letting their children travel and play upon their neighborhood streets.
It is a sick society, a car sick society that we live in. The very idea that being on the street could be cause for suspicion is deeply rooted in the automobile industries quest to rule the road. A quest that has killed millions of people and assisted in the downfall of our economy.
There are a lot of ways to be prejudiced against someone. That child had more going against him than the color of his skin.
For the Dutch cycling is not mainly a sport or leisure activity. For the Dutch, cycling is transportation first and fun second. To be considered a serious cyclist here, one only needs regular street clothes and a bicycle. No special equipment needed.
The Dutch want infrastructure. When the Dutch set out to build cycling infrastructure, it is with the idea of meeting the cyclists needs. Bicycle Dutch – Infrastructure, It is not the intention of the Dutch to get cyclists “Out of the way”, as it is here in America. No, the Dutch give their cyclists preferential treatment and it shows in the quality of movement on their streets. Even where there are no cycle paths. Cyclists move through traffic the same way they do here in the states. Dutch Cycling Observations.
As a sport, cycling is a big deal here in America. In America cycling is fun and leisure first, transportation second. To be considered a “Serious Cyclist”, you are expected to wear Lycra shorts, neon shirts, head-gear, specially made shoes, and have a specialized bicycle.
The Americans want infrastructure. When the Americans set out to build cycling infrastructure, it is with the idea of meeting the motorists demands. Ticket for not riding in Bike Lane. Bicycle lanes are not built, they are painted. Bike Lane Fail – as seen in this video. Where the cyclist is forced to squeeze between curb traffic and traveling traffic. Here in the States, Bicycling for transportation is some rogue phenomenon. Hardly taken seriously. So when Bike Lanes are built or rather painted, they do not take in the needs of the cyclist and cyclists get shoved down the transportation food chain. Cyclists in America are treated as second class citizens and the culture here reflects that. Attempt at humor – Fail.
It’s the Culture!
When Americans start accepting that Motor-Vehicles are not always the most convenient form of transportation and that quite often they are the problem, not the solution. Will they then start building infrastructure that caters to the needs of cyclists?
I hope so.
Until then, Stop ticketing us for being on the road, Stop turning a blind eye to harassment from motorists, Start educating local law enforcement and require them to ride in traffic and not on the sidewalk. Stop ticketing cyclists for not riding in unsafe bike lanes. Normalize cycling. Be the example and lead the way.
Safe interactions with motorists on busy streets can be done!