Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost Cause: Take My Lane--Please!

I am a firm believer in the psychological and spiritual benefits of unburdening oneself through the act of confession. For example, I should tell you that it was I who put the Clenbuterol in Alberto Contador's steak, though I only did it because Andy Schleck promised me a position as Team LAY-oh-pard's choreographer and spirit coach in return. Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to confess that I've been looking at way too much smugness porn.

People have long argued that consuming too much sex-themed porn can be psychologically damaging, but I could not disagree more--in fact, I've got another Internet browser window open to promiscuousheatingventilatingandairconditioningtechs.com open even as I type this, and not only am I experiencing no ill effects whatsoever, but I've also learned more about humidity control as it relates to coitus than I ever thought possible. Smugness porn, on the other hand, is incredibly bad for you, because what happens is you build up a tolerance to it. First, you start with the softcore stuff, like Bikeportland, where in honor of Valentine's Day yesterday they had a post called "Love and bicycles: A photo essay:"


(Getting married to your bicycle is Having Way Too Many Cats 2.0)

After awhile though, once you've seen one person with severe social phobias and deeply-rooted commitment issues get married to an inanimate object, you've seen them all. In fact, not only is it unexciting, but it's also depressing, because you realize that by now they probably hardly speak anymore, and instead they sit in opposite corners of the room reading the paper while the bride flirts surreptitiously with her vintage end table.

So then you move onto the harder stuff. After all, Portland's only the second-most bike-tastic city in the United America of States, and everybody knows the first-most most bike-tastic city in Canada's bedpan is Minneapolis, home of the "Stupor Bowl:"

DOWN BY THE WEEP HOLE: The story of the Stupor Bowl from Nathaniel H. Freeman on Vimeo.

This sort of smugness porn is far too scatalogical though, and even the most determined smugness porn addict probably can't find almost a half-hour to watch a bunch of people who look like they could use a shower talk about riding around in Prince's hometown while drunk.

So once this doesn't do it for you, there's only one place left: Streetsblog. I'm sorry to report that this is where I wound up last night, and it was there that I found the most hardcore smugness porn I've ever seen in my life:



Yes, like all the best smugness porn, it came from Holland (or maybe it came from the Netherlands, I'm not sure which) and in this particular video the entire country of either Holland or the Netherlands is outraged when a person in a pickup truck hits a group of cyclists and causes them minor injuries:

Obviously, this sort of smugness porn is dangerous on a number of levels. Firstly, unless you actually live in either Holland or the Netherlands (which, even though I've been there, I'm still not convinced actually exists), there is obviously almost no circumstance in which a driver would actually get in trouble for hitting you on your bike. Secondly, even if by some miracle the driver actually did get in trouble, there is no way that the general public would be outraged by the driver's actions. If anything, they'd be outraged at you for inconveniencing the driver with your unregistered and unlicensed vehicle, and they'd say you brought it on yourself by not wearing a helmet.

Clearly, the cyclist who watches this sort of smugness porn and then thinks he or she will be afforded any sort of consideration on the streets is the same as the frat boy who watches too much sex-themed porn and thinks that women prefer a first date to end with a face full of semen.

What makes this video even more painful is that, here in New York, the city actually had the temerity to pretend that they liked us for awhile. Clearly though, those days are over, and the backlash has arrived like a dominatrix's whip punishing the posteriors of the smug. Consider this news report (via Gothamist) about the dangers of the Prospect Park West bike lane in Brooklyn:



(If video embedding fails because the administrator of this blog is an idiot then simply use this link. I apologize for the inconvenience and please come again!)

In it, there is sensational footage of an ambulance being forced to use the bike lane to circumvent the "traffic jam" the bike lane has supposedly caused:

Of course, the footage is only a few seconds long, and in fact before it cuts away the cars actually begin moving, most likely because they were simply waiting at a red light. Moreover, neither the reporters nor any of the people interviewed in the story point out that it was probably a good thing the bike lane was there, since it would have been a lot harder for the ambulance to drive through all the parked cars that used to be there before it was installed. Still, Park Slope residents like Steven Spirn are horrified:

"It makes one much more emotionally tense and frightened because you don't have speedy access to Prospect Park West so you can get to the hospital."

I have a feeling that a lot of things make Steven Spirn emotionally tense and frightened. In fact, he strikes me as the sort of person who might have a breakdown while ordering a half a pound of lox, and is almost certainly what psychologists call a nebbish. Now, I have nothing but sympathy for Mr. Spirn and his ailing 94 year-old mother-in-law, who no doubt criticized her son's driving, career choice, and general attitude the whole way to the hospital, but I also wonder how much trouble they really had getting there since it's only like two blocks away:

I'm sure in the Netherlands they'd just throw bubbie in a "bake feets."

In any case, it's bad enough they're giving this guy airtime because he got stuck in some rush-hour traffic and he's trying to shut up his mother-in-law, but it's even worse when the reporter pretends that the real victims are the cyclists:

"But ambulances using the bike lane as a traffic detour could also be life-threatening. Imagine being on a bicycle with a speeding ambulance bearing down on you."

Right, because speeding ambulances never bear down on you in New York City on streets that don't have bike lanes. I'd much rather encounter one in the Prospect Park West bike lane than in the way it usually happens, which basically involves trying to make my way through a bunch of moronic drivers who don't have the sense to pull over. For some reason, drivers will run lights all day long, yet when there's an emergency vehicle behind them at an intersection and they have to do it they just sit there stunned. Anyway, as a cyclist, I think having a bike lane but having to yield to an ambulance in an emergency situation once in a great while is better than not having a bike lane at all, though apparently this guy disagrees:

"I wouldn't want to be riding my bike and have an ambulance coming straight at me," says this obvious shill just before accepting half a pound of lox in compensation from Mr. Spirn.

But the traffic! What about the deadly traffic!?! Well, I've ridden and driven along Prospect Park West many, many times, both pre-and post-bike lane, and the only difference is that, well, now there's a bike lane. Sure, there's some rush hour traffic, but there was always some rush hour traffic. Plus, as the video shows, this traffic is still exacerbated by exactly the same things, which are delivery trucks and idling cars:

The rest of the time, though, traffic seems to move fine--even with all the double-parkers and delivery trucks. Still, "A spokesman from the ambulance and fire unions tells me there's tremendous concern about the traffic congestion caused by bike lanes and whether it will impede emergency response," says the reporter as she stands in front of a completely empty street:

But none of this changes the fact that people in New York just don't like cyclists, which is why politicians who want to become mayor are now distancing themselves from cycling as much as possible and harnessing the awesome power of coddling drivers:


Yes, if you ride a bike, people really, really don't like you:

The relatively new push to spread the bike lanes further across the boroughs is only fueling the deep divide between drivers and bikers.

Yolanda Lopez of the Bronx is no fan of the the new pro-bike regulations.

“I hate it with a passion,” Lopez said.

“They put up a new sign, I make a wrong turn, I get a $90 ticket and points on my license. Nothing’s happening to these guys,” said Kate Helpern of the Lower East Side.


Kate Helpern is clearly an idiot, since not only are cyclists subject to the same fines as drivers, but the city is also in the middle of a truly "epic" cycling ticket blitz. Then again, many of the cyclists who get tickets for running lights and complain that drivers never get ticketed are similarly idiotic. You'd think most adults would have outgrown the whole "How come I get punished but he doesn't?" thing years ago, and I wonder if Ms. Helpern was slurping from a juice box during her interview.

But while that attitude may be irritating, it's not nearly as frightening as victims who side against other victims. Consider the author of this article (a few months old, but I'm just seeing it now), who thinks Martin Erzinger was unfairly targeted because he was rich:


Sure, it may seem unthinkable that anyone could believe that a driver who hit a cyclist, left him for dead, subsequently blamed his actions of "new-car smell," and then received as a sentence only 45 days of charity work and a year's probation was unfairly treated, but I guess he's just bitter since nobody looked out for him:

The clear implication is that Erzinger is getting off easy because of his wealth. I think this is probably 100% backwards.

I suspect that if Erzinger hadn't been a wealthy guy driving a brand new Mercedes Benz he would never have been arrested for the hit and run.

In 2007, I was struck by a white mini-van while crossing the street in lower Manhattan. The van sped off after throwing me across the street. My leg was shattered. It's now held together with a rod made of a special metal alloy. Walking took months of physical therapy. I can still feel the pain on some days.

Thanks to eye-witnesses we found the owners of the vehicle. Her insurance paid for the extensive surgery required, as well as the extensive medical bills. She had no real assets, so I never pursued her in civil court. The police, after the initial interview at the scene of the crime, never followed up. It was just a hit-and-run, after all.

Maybe things are different in Eagle, Colorado. Maybe the cops are super-vigilant about pursuing hit-and-run drivers. Or maybe Erzinger was arrested because he was driving a fancy new car.

Wow, he's like an ethical salmon, like the guy in "Life of Brian" who loves the Romans:



Speaking of ethics and not understanding something, Tom Boonen can't understand why Alberto Contador is being cleared by the Spanish cycling federation:


“They may have to change the whole system and accept that an athlete can have a certain product in his body without him being held accountable for it. But that is a completely different story.”

"Certain product" indeed. "How come Contador gets to have drugs but I don't?"

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

Half-man, half-awesome!

Anonymous said...

very good article. nice work.

Anonymous said...

suckaz

Paul Bowen said...

Odium!

Anonymous said...

Podium?!?

Anonymous said...

3rd: Now you know why I don't live in NYC anymore... sick of the constant battle for every square inch!
-Detroit Mac

Anonymous said...

top 10 for Huggy

Anonymous said...

top ten? z90

wishiwasmerckx said...

Top ten. Woo-hoo!

ringcycles said...

Phinney'd by the fans in the road.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Joseph Nocella said...

"now, with 10% real juice"

OBA said...

Marcia Kramer ate my baby!

Anonymous said...

"It was just a hit-and-run, after all."

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Do DAs just routinely ignore crimes perpetrated by drivers?

John said...

@12:42 - Yes. Yes they do.

Portlandpeopleeater said...

top 10?

hillbilly said...

I just tell the cops to 'crackdown on this', that seems to do the trick. I also say my name is David Byrne.

AL 'Jolie' Douche' said...

Here is a little preview of my latest musical extravaganza, "There's No Business Like Douche' Business."



ALLS:
There's no business like Douche business
Like no business I know

MEN'S CHORUS:
Everything about it is Doucheatonic

WOMEN'S CHORUS:
Everything that Douching will allow

etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Now i know why my first dates don't go so well.

AL 'Jolie' Douche said...

Oh! I nearly forgot the best part ...

ALL:
Let's go on with the Douche'

Anonymous said...

Panties! Porn! Panties! These pretzels are still makin' me thirsty!

Anonymous said...

The ad is too good. "Stress out"? Why would I want to stress out. I'm already stressed enough. Proof (if any were needed) that advertising majors are idiots.

mikeweb said...

Penny Lane.

Anonymous said...

Too many cats 2.0!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

BOOB ALERT!!!!!11oneone Where is Larry King?!?!?

CommieCanuck said...

The Erzinger case is exactly why I drive a shitbox.
I mean literally, a box of shit with wheels. No one will sue you if you are driving around in a box of shit, Try it.

ant1 said...

snobby - "blamed his action of "new car smell,""

crosspalms said...

"the traffic congestion caused by bike lanes"

Last time I looked, which was this morning, the only traffic congestion was caused by cars. Parking is obviously too cheap.

But I look forward to seeing a bike lane make a U-turn or swerve across several lanes to pick up a fare or double-park to make a delivery or back up half a block for a parking spot.

Terre Haute Karl said...

"imagine being in a bicycle lane and having an ambulance bearing down on you."

I would imagine it's quite similar to being in a bike lane and having a Mercedes bearing down on you. Thanks to the other cars on the road blowing their horns to warn me, I am here today to imagine the ambulance scenario.

@ant1 - I know it sounds like the shit snobby makes up, but the guy really did blame "new car smell"

Jon said...

Recumbabe is in a civil union with her recumbicycle. Look, they're having relations right now!

mikeweb said...

It was just a hit-and-run, after all.

Seriously?!?! And the police didn't pursue it?! So a hit and run driver just has to deal with an 'insurance headache'?

I've come to the conclusion that in America, the right (no, not the privilege) to hold a drivers' license is held more sacredly than the freedoms of speech or assembly.

Then again maybe the guy with the smashed leg was jay-running across the street while talking on his cell - or texting, so he's sort of actually accepting some measure of responsibility.

John Carney said...

Bicylists are woosies, everybody knows expensive cars hitting you feels like butterfly kisses.

Now if you are poor, and were hit by somebody driving a VW Jetta, you would be in deep shit.

My other articles are about the 2008 financial crisis caused by poor people asking for heating fuel subsidies.

I am not a hedge fund apologist engine said...

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15837548/cid/176037

Is this what CNBC calls journalism?

Martin Erzinger said...

John Carney is my kind of guy

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford was in New York for the weekend. The side by side comparison shows that his blog is still better.

Anonymous said...

if only 1/2 of the over weight, smug drivers where on bikes, in the bike lane, there would be ample room for the emergency vehicles...

Anonymous said...

the answer is fewer cars and more bikes, not fewer bike lanes...

SseGurrmun said...

speaking of smugness bike porn...just take a look at this guy's channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/luvmastertx

Marcel Da Chump said...

Lob forbid I hit someone with my bike, but if I do, I'll blame it on old bike smell.

PawnShop said...

hooray, your writings on theater and writing much missed! meh!

ervgopwr said...

Is it a NY thing to make absoulutely no effort to move your car for the ambulance to get through?

Thanks goodness that bike lane was there to provide some space.

On another note, I like riding in the traffic wake that an ambulance makes through busy streets here. At least most people make an attempt to move out of the way.

Mohammed Al-Weartoday says.... said...

Don't wear pants.

Frat Boy said...

If you pay for dinner, isn't that how a first date is supposed to end?

PawnShop said...

hooray, your writings on theater and writing much missed! double meh!

Concerned 2.0 said...

Snob, it still astounds me how these reporters can actually be paid. Seriously, when are you going to have your own column on the New Yor- oh sorry, i mean the Wall Street Journal??

grog said...

Holland without windmills is like Snobbers without sprockets.
I confess, I've never had a certain product, thank lob.

Anonymous said...

Laterally meh and vertically compliant:

http://tinyurl.com/ahk9r9

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:58

I don't find getting the first date a problem ... but I do now know why there's never a second.

Charles said...

Take a look at the intersection
of PPW and Union St between 8-9am
during the week. It really is
*bad* and backs up traffic on
streets feeding in often. It
could be better if the various
trucks and ambulettes stopping at
the assisted living center would
not take up a lane of traffic; but
I don't hold out much hope for that happening soon.

The rest of it is OK I guess, except
parking on PPW now sucks because
you cut down traffic flow on the street by 1/2 until you're parked.

deary said...

oh god... Those 'news reports' were fucking depressing.
Snobby - wanna move to Holland with me?

streepo said...

Women don't like semen on their faces at the end of the first date?Really?

I Go Around and Around said...

I live near Madison Ave. It turns into a parking lot at about 3:00PM. Why? Well, there is a fair amount of northbound traffic all day long. But at 3:00PM, all the private schools get out along both sides of Madison Ave. and double parking reaches stratospheric levels. At 92nd where there is a confluence of Yura's & a pizza shop and about several hundred teenage girls with lacrosse sticks and their doped up moms, all with the attention spans of hyperactive fleas, I have seen double parking 4 cars deep while someone darts into someplace for a little something quickly. And yes, 4 cars deep is indeed the entire width of Madison Ave. Meanwhile there are stacks of UPS trucks, FedEx trucks, gold bullion trucks, Ralph Lauren facial emollient trucks, etc. Really you have to come witness it for yourself. Astonishing.

Oldentard said...

What was the special alloy in the "Ethical Salmon's leg?! Damn it details like these really , uh, flesh out a story. Did that rod make him vertically stiff and later compliant?
I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

If you converted the remaining 3 lanes of Park Slope to bicycle-only, then you'd have a nice ambulance raceway / landing strip. People don't argue on reason; they argue on prejudice. Thanks snobbie for helping us face this fact.

g-roc said...

Hey, John Carney: Did you mean "woosies"? Or were you the brakeless guy who wrote the note?

Anonymous said...

skidoucheki

CommieCanuck said...

snobby - "blamed his action of "new car smell,"

Not a problem in a box of shit.

dr2chase said...

You need the bike lane for the ambulances, because you can depend on the bicycles getting the F out of the way. Last time I was on the same road as an ambulance, I was OFF THE ASPHALT and standing on the other side of a guard rail, while the cars were still bumbling around like a mess of deaf sheep.

And Christmas, how loud ambulance sirens need to be, in order to be heard inside a car.

Coach Lombardi said...

"It was just a hit-and-run, after all."

Ahh, c'mon ya PUSSYs, walk it off, still hurts?, here's quarter for a tampon from the lades room.

CommieCanuck said...

Women don't like semen on their faces at the end of the first date?Really?

This contradicts the clear message put out by PSAs from the California porn industry. The internet could be wrong. Who knew?

Jasper said...

"And Christmas, how loud ambulance sirens need to be, in order to be heard inside a car".
Well, that's just another American thing. Sirens in the UK are still a tad quieter, ie they are not going to wake you up from ten blocks away. Car driver response is no less dopey though

CommieCanuck said...

In the bike divorce, who gets custody of the tricycles?

lob's Scottish cousin said...

Me fookin exoskeleton is kill'in me.

Must be molting time again.

carfreepvd said...

Huge American Truck? Are you kidding me? That's a Dodge Dakota - merely a "mid-size" truck. I'd like to see what those dutch/hollander/nederlander types would think of an F-350.

Anonymous said...

Hey Snob, your site is now blocked by our city for inappropriate content! Maybe lay off the scatological, porn cumshot references and I'll be able to read your blog while paid!

Frank Eeckman said...

check this out:
http://www.droogfietsen.nl/

It may come in handy in NY

TBoner said...

How come Contador gets to have drugs but I don't?

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Steve Tilford and why does he keep posting in these comments?

Steve Tilford - i mean, anonymous said...

who indeed...

leroy said...

The current NYC bicycle ticket blitz is depressing.

But when I put "NYC bicycle ticket blitz" in a popular search engine, I saw that it's nothing new.

I feel much better now.

Even if folks suggesting we do away with bike lanes to make sure folks on bikes don't get hit by ambulances in the bike lanes feels fresh and new.

ERK said...

snobby,

Today I had to work on-site rather than in the office and wasn't able to read today's post at lunchtime, as happens on a typical day. Having had to take Metro-North, I had bought, and was reading, an honest-to-god print copy of VeloNews (like they had back in the day!) muttering to myself about missing the podium sweep today, which was fantastically unsurprising, unlike today's post. I have a laughably small understanding of literary devices, but I appreciate your essays in how neatly things reference around; I can almost see it...

Anyway, "big ups" and all that... Just wanted to say today's was extremely good in both wit and to the aforementioned, I've likewise been bugged by people's nonchalance toward ambulances. I always thought it was de rigueur to get the fuck out of the way as efficiently and safely as possible...

ce said...

Anon 2:29, that concept bicycle uses Kevlar wire produced by DouchePont.

ce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ce said...

Martin Erzinger owns a lot of shares in DouchePont. Coincidently, new car smell is caused by outgassing from many DouchePont materials.

Anonymous said...

just saw the bike clip from Portlandia super duper funny shit my pants the guy on the fix gear yelling at traffic a day in the life of smugness

ce said...

Wikipedia says in relation to new car smell: "In some instances the odor can actually result from a manufacturing defect. According to official documents of Bentley Motors (BT26), there is an "obnoxious odor" in Bentley cars for model years 1999-2002. The smell emanates from a rust inhibitor that was used by Bentley during that time"

If the quality control at Bentley is as lacking as this reference suggests, it would be reasonable to assume that obnoxious odor defects may be commonplace in more recent models also. In which case Snob should cut some slack for the legion of beleaguered Bentley owners who at any time could be forced to hastily abandon their motor vehicle in the bicycle lane as they find themselves suddenly overcome by new car stink.

Luxury cars in general may be very susceptible to obnoxious odor defects due to their plush and exotic interior finishes and uncommon accessories. Therefore, it is not only Bentley owners that are deserving of our consideration. We should pity the whole stinking caste to which they belong, the filthy stinking rich caste. Both TEXSGOLD and the likes of Erzinger are beset by odour not because of any wrongdoing of their own, but simply because they were born into a world where archaic social norms demand they live this way, amidst the smell of new luxury cars.

Ghandi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world". The blind beggar sitting in the dust whose hand Ghandi happened to be standing on at the time thought instead: "Be the change you want to smell in the world".

ce said...

blogsucking at it's worst right there.

wishiwasmerckx said...

CE, over here in the upstart Colonies, we have odors. We no longer have "odours."

That is all...

Anonymous said...

Put naked recumbent chick in the bike lane. Traffic will respect that.

Anonymous said...

congratulations! This blog entry officially got BSNYC blocked/banned from the City of Portland's internet, so now none of the smug bikey bureaucrats there can read your rants about how smug Portland is anymore.

I have no idea why, maybe you used the word porn just one too many times???

just thought you'd like to know.

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Anonymous said...

"Clearly, the cyclist who watches this sort of smugness porn and then thinks he or she will be afforded any sort of consideration on the streets is the same as the frat boy who watches too much sex-themed porn and thinks that women prefer a first date to end with a face full of semen."


LOL

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