Monday, August 6, 2012

Placing Blame: A Thousand Middle Fingers Can't Be Wrong

Not too long ago, I was in the parking lot of a shopping center.  (I'm a freegan and was knee-deep in expired produce doing my marketing for the week.)  Suddenly, I heard the scream of a redlining motor, followed by a tremendous boom.  When I went over to investigate, it turned out that, in an attempt to leave a parking space, a driver had instead somehow managed to drive into the door of a department store.

I didn't stick around for the "sticky pedal" excuse that almost certainly followed, and amazingly nobody was crushed, but I did think about how that sort of thing just doesn't happen with bicycles.  Anti-veloist forces love to portray cyclists as menacing scofflaws, but I've never seen someone manage to smash a plate glass window while removing his fixie from a bike rack.  (Though I have seen it happen with a tall bike.) Nevertheless, as a culture we've become inured to the inevitable smashings and crushings that follow drivers everywhere, yet we're disproportionately outraged when a cyclist commits the slightest infraction.  This was also nicely illustrated in a recent New York Times opinion piece:

In it, the guy who used to be "The Ethicist" explains why and how he doesn't stop at red lights while cycling:

I roll through a red light if and only if no pedestrian is in the crosswalk and no car is in the intersection — that is, if it will not endanger myself or anybody else. To put it another way, I treat red lights and stop signs as if they were yield signs. A fundamental concern of ethics is the effect of our actions on others. My actions harm no one. This moral reasoning may not sway the police officer writing me a ticket, but it would pass the test of Kant’s categorical imperative: I think all cyclists could — and should — ride like me.

I agree that this is ethical behavior--unlike using an expression someone else has coined and not crediting them for it:

I am not anarchic; I heed most traffic laws. I do not ride on the sidewalk (O.K., except for the final 25 feet between the curb cut and my front door, and then with caution). I do not salmon, i.e. ride against traffic. In fact, even my “rolling stops” are legal in some places.

Actually, I'm just pleased that "salmon" has officially entered the lexicon, and I plan to credit myself for it in my epitaph anyway--just above another equally important attribution:

I only hope when the New York Times reports on how I drowned in a bathtub full of Jell-O they point out that I was wearing a helment.

Anyway, the writer then goes on to look at why light-running is so annoying to everybody:

If my rule-breaking is ethical and safe (and Idaho-legal), why does it annoy anyone? Perhaps it is because we humans are not good at weighing the dangers we face. If we were, we’d realize that bicycles are a tiny threat; it is cars and trucks that menace us. In the last quarter of 2011, bicyclists in New York City killed no pedestrians and injured 26. During the same period, drivers killed 43 pedestrians and injured 3,607.

This is true.  However, there is one thing he doesn't point out, which is that everybody thinks their rule-breaking is "ethical and safe."  I agree it's ethically fine to roll through a red light at a quiet intersection, and I'm also willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's smart enough to do so responsibly.  Unfortunately though, the clueless Nü-Freds who ride heedlessly through crosswalks and leave hordes of disgruntled pedestrians in their wake also think they're doing so ethically and responsibly.  I didn't study philosophy, so I really don't know anything about Kant's categorical imperative beyond Randy Cohen's brief explanation of it in the article.  Therefore, I have no idea if it takes into account the fact that that many, many people are complete morons.

Still, despite the moron factor, I mostly agree with the article.  I also agree that people's resentment of cyclists is irrational, as he points out:

But most of the resentment of rule-breaking riders like me, I suspect, derives from a false analogy: conceiving of bicycles as akin to cars. In this view, bikes must be regulated like cars, and vilified when riders flout those regulations, as if we were cunningly getting away with something. But bikes are not cars. Cars drive three or four times as fast and weigh 200 times as much. Drive dangerously, you’re apt to injure others; ride dangerously, I’m apt to injure myself. I have skin in the game. And blood. And bones.

I would argue that this impression stems from the mechanics of oppression in this country, which I like to think of as "oppressive equality."  By refusing to recognize differences between groups then we don't have to address the unique needs of those groups.  How many times have you been told as a cyclist that "You have all the rights and responsibilities as a driver of a car"?  This is a polite way telling you to go fuck yourself.  We don't have to make any changes to the infrastructure to accommodate your vehicle.  Instead, it's your job to strap on some safety gear and pretend you're a car.

By the way, not only do I not really know anything about Kant, but I also couldn't make sense of the accompanying illustration:

If anybody can explain to me what a cyclist presenting his buttocks to a riderless bicycle has to do with anything contained in the article then I'd be very grateful.

Meanwhile, here's Randy Cohen's deranged west coast bizarro-doppelgänger, as forwarded to me by a reader:

Basically, a cyclist who may or may not have been observing Kant's categorical imperative runs a stop sign, and the following exchange ensues:

The scrawny, pale, twenty-something with thinning curly dark hair – wearing only Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt and, of course, no helmet – flipped me off and shouted a string of expletives. I felt my Sicilian blood boiling as I kept pace with him. “Why is it you think you’re exempt from the law?” Suddenly and without warning, like the snake that he was, Curly whipped his head around and spit at me from the passenger side. I was in the process of rolling up the window, so his wad of spit didn’t hit me. Instead, it bubbled slowly down the window of my just-washed car.

I kept pace with Curly, rolling the window down part way again. “What you just did qualifies as battery in the state of California,” I yelled, “and you should be arrested for road rage.” Curly laughed and flipped me off with both hands as he steered the bike with his knees

At which point the driver attacks him with her car:

Curly sped up and so did I, pulling in front of his bike, and trapping him between my SUV and the car parked next to him. As he came to a screeching halt, I rolled the window down a couple of inches. What color he had in his pale face drained and suddenly the smug smile was gone. “Are you crazy?” he asked, his voice shaking. Any ability I had to be rational went out my spit-covered window. “If I was crazy I would crush you like a bug right now,” I screamed. “Fortunately for you, I’m not crazy – but the next person you spit at might be and they could run you over or pull out a gun and shoot you.”

No, actually you are completely and utterly crazy.  He may have been a complete douchebag, but you're a potential murderer.  Plus, you know nothing about they cycling lexicon:

But Curly hadn’t learned a thing. He pulled along my driver’s side and spit all over that window, then he spinelessly pedaled to the opposite side of the street and rode, illegally, against traffic. 

That's called "salmoning," just ask Randy Cohen.

Anyway, after reading this I delved deeper into Susan Dyer Reynold's journalistic output, and it would appear that she's some kind of bike douche magnet:

Basically, the pattern in every case seems to be as follows:

1) A cyclist does something she doesn't like;
2) She yells at him;
3) The cyclist gives her the finger.

To wit:

The very next day, I stepped into a crosswalk on Page Street and was nearly mowed down by a helmetless, headphone-wearing cyclist who ran a stop sign. I yelled at him about following the law and he flipped me off without even looking back as he blew through another stop sign.

By my count, she's been on the receiving end of "the bird" at least four times between these two articles alone.  I don't deny that there are some extremely inconsiderate cyclists out there, but when you're getting flipped off on a daily basis odds are bikes aren't entirely to blame.  Eventually, you have to come to terms with the fact that the real problem lies with you.

Speaking of problems and neuroses, I was reading Lennard Zinn's column on Velo-whatever because I find Fredly hand-wringing over equipment to be highly amusing, and as I read I was reminded of why I never want to have anything to do with crabon wheels:

The Reynolds engineering and design team simultaneously engineered the brake pads and brake track to be an integrated system, working together to effectively minimize heat buildup from pad-to-rim friction and provide the best possible performance. The Reynolds system is called CTg (Cryo-Glass Transition) and the chemistry of the Cryo-Blue brake pad is engineered as a complimentary component of the resin system in the carbon fiber laminate in the wheel’s brake track. In the case of a warranty claim, following the manufacturer’s instructions to a “T” is always in the customer’s best interest, and using anything other than a Cryo-Blue brake pad can void the warranty. Reynolds is not alone in recommending proprietary pads with our wheels, as Zipp, Easton and a few other well-known brands do the same.

Because of the nature of carbon fiber, it is critical that all cyclists follow their particular wheel brand’s recommendations to avoid problems that some of your readers have experienced.

In crabon, bicycle companies have found the world's most malleable material--not in terms of what shapes you can make out of it, but in terms of how it allows them to bend the Fredly mind to their will.  By investing it with all sorts of mystical and paradoxical qualities--stiff yet compliant, strong yet brittle, bulletproof yet temperamental--they've finally managed to put Fred-dom completely in their thrall.  Freds fear the crabon.  They covet the crabon.  They respect the crabon.  They worship the crabon.  They feed the crabon special brake pads, or else "because of the nature of carbon fiber," the crabon might explode.

Dispatches like the one above merely ratchet up the roadie neurosis so that they'll be primed for disc brakes--and then just when the roadies think they can brake safely someone will come out with crabon rotors and the cycle will continue.


RB1 said...

really ?

Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...


McFly said...


Anonymous said...



Nebraska Bike Commuter (non DWI edition) said...

Top ten, woohoo!

Chesse Spleen said...

6? Personal Best!

Anonymous said...

6? Personal Best!

tridork said...

Top ten and I read the whole thing

Peta Todds said...

Pack filling.

leogodoy said...


leogodoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rural 14 said...

ant 2nd! I coulda been a contender.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh! Top XX!! No to pretend itz wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Errp...NOW to pretend itz wednesday...

hellbelly said...

Thanks for a great post. Your accuracy on bike/car destructive inequality is dead on. I will happily continue my "mid-pack masters" status here and in the real world. I hope to see you at some CX gatherings this coming season.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there aluminum alloy rotors that are coated with something to keep them from melting already?

Anonymous said...

Slow day... Herbal remedy.

Anonymous said...

The war rages on

Anonymous said...

so advisably rotund:

OBA said...

Like your boy Stevil - "I wasn't born with enough middle fingers."

leroy said...

Would have been here sooner, but my brakes failed and I overshot the comments.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Be the Crabon

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Wildcat, Wildcat, Wildcat,

You know I certainly don't side with an idiot that would trap a cyclist with his car and I totally get that cyclists seem often to be held to a different unrealistic standard.

But really Randy is a Douchebag. And it is of course the moron factor that makes him so. If one were to extrapolate (50 points!!!) his theory of "ethics", then it would perfectly reasonable for a a car driver to run a red light at 4:15 in the morning when no other cars were around:

"Why not? No one else was around! Who is it going to hurt? I yielded!!!....

...but then daddoone came along going with the green on his bike (or even in his car) and I crushed him and now he is dead - since I am an ethical person I am starting a fund for his wife and daughter"

Also, there is the power of one, which you yourself, Wildcat have so eloquently espoused:

I realize there are times when expecting a bicycle to act like a car makes no sense. At red lights it makes TONS AND TONS of sense. I know you know it.

Peace and love

Anonymous said...

Most accidents happen at intersections. Exactly why I don't want to be around them when not wrapped in sheet metal. Stop. Look. Get the hell out of there!

Anonymous said...

I ... agree that people's resentment of cyclists is irrational

Mr Weiss, I believe you're uniquely placed to philosophize on the parallels of cyclophobia and Antisemitism. (The latter being equally irrational, Jews being accused of opposite crimes, e.g. cunningly insinuating themselves into communities AND stubbornly remaining separate.)

Also how about Fiddler on the Roof part two: Tweeter on a Bike, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

"We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the Wheel, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Carbon."
-- Herman Hesse (adapted)

Anonymous said...

0/26<<< 43/3,607


jayteepee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leroy said...

Daddo One -- you're overlooking the potential harm factor.

If the cyclist is wrong about the intersection being clear, he's at risk and less likely that someone else is at risk. If the motorist is wrong, it's more likely that someone else is at risk.

My dog says it's kind of like licking one's self in public. When he does it, the only one he's at risk of offending is himself. If you do it, however....

Anonymous said...

Man oh man. Using a vehicle to teach someone a lesson. Probably a registered voter also.

Anonymous said...

wildcat you're just gettin better and better!

Anonymous said...

How about a caption contest for that incomprehensible NY Times illustration?

Anonymous said...

one law for the lion one law for the ox

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...


firstly, bikes can hurt a person.
secondly, its not all about that.
every time you run a red light you tell everyone else at that light: "fuck off, the rules do not apply to me"...
is that really the kind of place you want to live in? where people continue to think that their interpretation of the law is better than any one else's? that is called anarchy and we don't want it.

lets put it it this way...if you and your dog are so opposed to stopping at red lights, why don;t you have the law changed so that it doesn't apply to bicycles?

Comment deleted said...

Reynolds naively attributes Davis' reputation as a cyclist's paradise to a reverence for the letter of the law.

Our awareness of, and friendliness to bicycles comes from simple exposure. Most people ride, or know someone who rides, and therefore treat cyclists with courtesy. This courtesy is generally returned (cell-phone-or-iPod-plugged UC students excepted).

Idaho stops are the rule, not the exception here, despite the random enforcement downtown. I'm glad Kant agrees with us on this practice.

Anonymous said...

Commenters, BSNYC,

Having spit on a car and had a mug of coffee consequently thrown-and missed-at me I enjoyed the above pieces.

1. Cars-on top of being a life threatened presence-can lead to the driver developing a sense of entitlement that is simply atrocious. The attitude that they cannot be inconvenienced by as much as two minutes, or that this infrastructure, this technology, this affluence, this moment, was merely waiting for their bloated and nearsighted self to tAke.

2. In terms of the careless and angry cyclist, I don't see the issue abating until cycling as commuting is accepted and supported via infrastructure and perhaps public opinion. Sure it is a problem, but these cyclists live in the fringes, with very way to live the lifestyle without being a misfit of some sort.

Still awake?

DerZoots said...

I have been waiting to build up carbon disc road wheels to avoid the brake track problems.

Never thought of carbon rotors.

I could totally offset the ISO weight with those and alloy mounting bolts.

Thanks snobby.
MOAR Obssessin to get with.

Comment deleted said...

Reynolds naively attributes Davis' reputation as a cyclist's paradise to a reverence for the letter of the law.

Our awareness of, and friendliness to bicycles comes from simple exposure. Most people ride, or know someone who rides, and therefore treat cyclists with courtesy. This courtesy is generally returned (cell-phone-or-iPod-plugged UC students excepted).

Idaho stops are the rule, not the exception here, despite the random enforcement downtown. I'm glad Kant agrees with us on this practice.

Anonymous said...

A biking cyclist's highest order is safety.
Standing at a busy intersection with a bike bolted to one foot leaves him exposed to a million horrorshows.
Don't believe it?
When I was an 8-year-old kid I had a friend who was standing at an intersection on his banana bike waiting for the light to change. A lady came driving down the street while unwrapping a candy bar. She dropped t candy bar and in the process of retrieving it from the car floor, she swerved and ran over my buddy and crushed him to death.
No one could anticipate such a thing. So my rule is to follow all traffic rules, then bend the fuck out of them so that I can remain safe from my brainless motoring bretheren.

Dale said...

Excellent, as always, Mr. Wildcat Rock Machine!

Boy said...

Bikes can do damage at intersections. If I go through a green light and suddenly find some nouveau-Fred under my bumper I've got to live with the fact that I killed someone, even if that person was a tool.

Paul Bowen said...

"firstly, bikes can hurt a person"

True and this is acknowledged by Cohen: "In the last quarter of 2011, bicyclists in New York City killed no pedestrians and injured 26. During the same period, drivers killed 43 pedestrians and injured 3,607." It is the difference betweeen those numbers that makes it OK for cyclists to go through otherwise unoccupied junctions on red, imo. "Skin in the game" is perfect.

Paul Bowen said...

Anyway, Kant this and Kant that, who does he think he is, Adrian Wiggins?

wishiwasmerckx said...

DaddoOne, it was thoughtful for you to have translated your opinions from the original German before posting them here.

crosspalms said...

Because Kant is dead he can no longer ride a bike, but his ghost can. That's why the bike appears riderless. The light is Kant's intellect shining on the ex-ethicist and exposing him as an ass about red lights. Just stop, it's not that hard. I'm with Daddo One.

When I drive a car (it happens), would Randy be OK with me sometimes driving on sidewalks or people's lawns if there's nobody around and it would get me places faster?

leroy said...

Daddo One --

You try talking sense to my dog.

He won't listen to me.

He told me that running a red light with no one around is like that tree falling in the forest with no one around paradigm.

As for messages, rules and changing the law, he prefers to think of himself as engaged in civil disobedience. He says he's like Ghandi, but with a tail.

At least that's how he explained flunking his obedience class.

Reading "fuck you, the rules don't apply to me" into acts with which you disagree is reading a little too much into the act. My dog isn't that subtle. If he wants to send that message, he dumps somewhere he shouldn't.

Paul Bowen said...

Wouldn't have thought so because if you did those things in a car you might kill someone, which is the difference between a car and a bike and why they shouldn't be governed by the same rules.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Conflict with cars and bikes is most intense where car and bike are competing for the same patch of real estate.

Where does this happen with the most frequency? At intersections.

For this reason, I run red lights and stop signs whenever the opportunity to safely do so arises.

This view is contra that of our esteemed host, as expressed in his chart-topping NY Times best-seller, "The Enlightened Cyclist," but it is a sincerely held and regularly practiced belief.

mikeweb said...

I think the 'trying to find my ass with two hands' illustration columnist, leroy, DaddoOne, and many others here make the case that the law should be changed. The 'Idaho stop' is a great idea. I'll throw in another great argument.

As a cyclist, our eyes are a good foot or two higher up in the air than the typical car driver's and we have almost complete 360 degree vision of our surroundings, even without mirrors. Think of a driver at a stop sign: they're low to the ground, they have roof pillars, seat headrests, and often cargo piled high blocking their vision to the rear and side. Then they often have park cars and/ or other obstructions blocking their sightlines. Even with mirrors their field of vision is significantly below the 360 degrees that cyclists have. Finally, cyclists can stick our noses right out there and see what and who is or isn't approaching the intersection, whereas drivers can't do this since they have anywhere from 2 to 8 feet of dashboard and hood between their eyes and the entrance to the intersection.

As cyclists, our eyes, ears and common sense are the only defense we have against being turned into a gooey stain inside the wheel well of a 40 ton commuter bus. But they're also a huge measure of active safety that drivers don't have.

yogisurf said...

Easy, Snobby. The invisible cyclist with the blue light is looking for the naked recumbent babe. Instead he found a nu-fred 'presenting' on his invisible bike. The nu-fred is non-plussed.

yogisurf said...

Easy, Snobby. The invisible cyclist with the blue light is looking for the naked recumbent babe. Instead he found a nu-fred 'presenting' on his invisible bike. The nu-fred is non-plussed.

crosspalms said...

Well, I wish the people I usually share the road with were as sensible and thoughtful as the commenters here, my commute would be a lot better.

Anonymous said...

There's definitely an antagonistic relationship between cyclists and vehicles.

Yesterday I had some guy telling to get out of the street as I rode in front of his car and another. A million retaliatory thoughts came to mind, including a remark about his Krusty the clown hair-but I just held my hand to my ear and thusly exhausted his efforts to goad me into an exchange.

I like the point Snobbie makes in that people that are assholes are like that whether in a car or on a bike.

Be safe out there people.

My regards to the fellow who lost a childhood friend; that is horrible.

Marcel Da Chump said...

The meaning of the illustration in literal terms:

the bike stops, ( red light, stop sign-- obeying the law), but the cyclist doesn't always stop.

Metaphorical terms: crosspalm's

I always stop at red lights because it's the law. And it earns respect from drivers.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Reading "fuck you, the rules don't apply to me" into acts with which you disagree is reading a little too much into the act. My dog isn't that subtle. If he wants to send that message, he dumps somewhere he shouldn't.

so running a red light is either like saying "fuck you" or pooping in a punch bowl..either way it ain't right.

Anonymous said...

it is a plan-view, with a cyclist on the ground illuminated by his own headlight after successfully blowing through an intersection only to crash onto an uncovered man hole because scrappers stole it.

Anonymous said...

Velo-whatever or Paul Lew (or both) also need a copy editor: "complementary" ("combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another"), not "complimentary" ("expressing a compliment; praising or approving"). Unless he meant Reynolds actually gives away the brake pads for free?

Anonymous said...

the goal is to arrive alive

it ain't easy

Anonymous said...

While the thought of an invisible cyclist searching for a naked cyclist appeals (webisodes anywhere? pilot funding on Kickstarter?), I think the bike and illuminated rider illustrate a moment of saddle inspection a la Flann O'Brien's "The Third Policeman."

Dooth said...

Don't forget the gorgeous women!
Summer time is the best time
to wait at a stop light
in New York.

leroy said...

Daddo One --

Your interpretation of my dog's res gestae equating punch bowl pooping with red light running would be exactly on point if it weren't completely incorrect.

They are not the same thing.

It makes no difference if the punch bowl is sullied by a sinker or floater; neither is quite like running a red light when there is no one around.

To suggtest otherwise is akin to equating an Idaho Stop with a Cleveland Steamer.

shawn roberts said...


McFly said...

I got looked directly in the eye and then ran into (from a stop so no real carnage, but still) by a golf-carting 14 year old at a motocross race last week. I looked at him and said, "Hey watch you little asshole." It felt real good.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like susan dyer reynolds doesn't like cyclists and like a total cunt. to borrower a phrase from sir stanley wiggins. if she doesn't like cycling than she can just keep her fat ass off a bike and in her suv. but no need to have a written crusade against cyclists.

Comment deleted said...

My only problem with going "legit" via an Idaho Stop law is one of practical implementation.

Notice how few "Yield" signs there are at intersections? My guess is that the concept of "yielding" is too subtle and/or complex for most drivers in Canada's merkin.

This also applies to an disheartening percentage of cyclists, who would no doubt assume the I.S. means they don't have to stop for anything, ever, again.

Anonymous said...

it is all about light bulbs

Anonymous said...

I broke up with my girlfriend, Snob, and I am heartbroken. What do I do?

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

ahh...leroy..i get it...

running a red light is either like saying "fuck you" or pooping in people's punch bowls...but only when they are around

ok i'll go with that...

but we all agree we don't want to say "fuck you" to complete strangers or poop in their punchbowls ..right? reason then (German apparently)...

it is ok for any vehicle to run any red light as long as no one is around

have I got it?

Comment deleted said...


Esteemed...there's poop (and straw) all over your shoes.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the illustrator didn't know anything about Kant and the categoric imperative either. So, he picked a random prefabricated illustration from category: impertinent.
Anyhow, when it comes to car vs. bicycle controversy I'd rather stick with Schopenhauer's art of controversy

middle-aged German tourist

Some Jerk from the Eastbay said...

Yeah, I run a light on occaision, my rule of thumb is I only do it if no one is around, so it's not something I do frequently, and usually out in the sticks somewhere.

The problem with the "I'm a bike , therefore I don't have to obey traffic signs" attitude is I'm now being cut off at intersections(when I have the light) with growing frequency.

Treat it like a vehicle is what I say.

Zardoz the Horrible said...

You have been raised up from Brutality, to kill the Brutals who multiply, and are legion. To this end, Zardoz your God gave you the gift of Crabon. Crabon is good.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said... guys are "preserving some of the momentum you depend upon for efficient travel!!!"

I didn't realize you were pansies who couldn't get back up to speed without whimpering and breaking into a sweat.

I also didn't realize the population where you are is "Idahoan"

Carry on

Some Jerk from the eastbay said...

Cut off by other cyclists who refuse to stop is what I meant to say.

Comment deleted said...

I think that's a wise change in tactics, Daddo. Attacks on masculinity may be less sophisticated than kicking a strawman's ass, but they are are less refutable.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Davis, Ca. for twenty-five years. It's a pretty decent riding environment but not exactly the utopia she describes. Cyclists here blow off stop signs more often than not. If she had stayed a bit longer, we would have pissed her off too.

Anonymous said...

Any comment on the Wednesday Weed DQ of your Judo man?

In other Judo news, I think easily the best breakfall in the Olympics was executed by Zsofia Kovacs.... in the bike leg of the Triathlon.

McFly said...

Speaking of smokin hot cyclists did anyone else notice Canadian Mtn bike olympian Emily Batty has on a really thick pearl necklace? She ALWAYS has it on. Me likey.

Billy said...

I know it's in my head, but when I run a red line while there are cars waiting for it, I can feel the hate pouring off of them. I'm scared that when the light changes, my bad behavior will have finally made them snap and run me down.

Maybe it's not actually provocative, but it sure feels that way. And going by the comments of the local newspaper whenever there's a bicycling article, it reads that way too.

I appreciate the upsides to responsible red-light running after yielding. Cyclists have better visibility, you have reduced exposure to turning idiots, you clear out of the cars' way *before* the light changes, potential for harm is much less, etc. etc.

Maybe if there were greater public acceptance of cycling as a legit mode of transport and not something outlaws, freaks, and man-children do, then we would have different laws for bikes.

Until then, I choose to stop at red lights *almost* all the time, to show that I, too, am a responsible citizen that follows laws and just wants to get where I'm going without hurting anyone.

Anonymous said...

The illustration accompanying the article is obvious. The headlight on the bike is illuminating Kant's categorical imperative for all to observe.


leroy said...

DaddoOne -

My dog insists you are pulling my leg.

I told him he's done much worse to legs.

You're back full circle to equating cars and bicycles. I can only accept that if they also weigh the same as witches and ducks.

But for the record, I pretty much avoid running red lights in NYC. It's very rare to have no one around in NYC. (That's why New Yorkers are so friendly; who would live here if they didn't just love being around so many other people?)

I also pretty much avoid running red lights outside NYC. Cars go a lot faster when they're not stuck in cross town traffic.

And I never cut off a pedestrian. That's just bad manners.

Anonymous said...

Mark Cavendish, in the grupetto, of course.

esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...


look at my post....I said ANY vehicle. I didn't say cars...

any way two things:

1. glad to see you do the thing that makes sense - i.e., you don't run reds

2. we seem to get hung up on the idea that cars are more dangerous than bikes - i don't know or even care if that is true....what i do care about is the fact that in order to be righteous , one must live righteously - until it says "except for bikes" , I cant go all righteous on a car, moped, truck, skateboarder, fellow cyclist for breaking the rules - unless the rules are clear and everyone is expected to conform to them - we "Kant" have people interpreting them all willy and nilly and shit..

...or else all will go to the dogs

rustypants said...

Ahh, The Finger! No, really! I don't give it as much as it sounds like I do in this article, but still... The Finger!!

Ten Reasons You Might Meet My Middle Finger While I'm Biking

rustypants said...

Or at least FIVE of those ten reasons...

leroy said...

DaddoOne --

You're right, I missed the ANY vehicle portion of your equation.

I agree the world would be a better place if those maniac thrill seekers in their steam locomotives would obey the rules.

And those clothes. What is up with those bib overalls?

Anonymous said...

Susan Dyer Reynolds has another article about the cyclist in SF who was riding in a Strava segment and hit and killed an elderly woman.

Anonymous said...

Page st in SF has bike sharrows, and both of SDR's articles are complaining about cyclists on that street.

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Anonymous said...

WCRM, WTF is this, Lord of the Rings? Replace "the crabon" with "the precious", and "the Fred" with "Gollum".

Grump said...

Isn't Bradley Wiggens a big fan of Kant??????

At least that's what a heard.

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sick of it said...

Susan Dyer Reynolds is a fucking cunt and I mean that in the nastiest possible N. American way, not the mild Brit version.
It doesn't matter what ANY other road user does - she needs to mind her own fucking business, shut-up and wait. To wield one's "SUV" as a weapon, as she admits to doing, is inexcusable. She has proven herself unfit to operate a motor vehicle.
Oh, "I felt my Sicilian blood boiling..." well, FuckyouYoufuckingbusybodyfuck

Anonymous said...

You guys are missing entirely the fact that Susan Dyer Reynolds moved to Davis for 6 weeks so that she could be with her pit bull who was undergoing radiation therapy.
On what planet is that considered rational behavior?

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Anonymous said...

That's not a cyclist but a Victorian era swimmer, it is a clever allegory, the riderless bike is illuminating Kant's ground breaking, but oft overlooked, work into tidal forces - the swimmer is alarmed because friction from these forces will inevitably slow the rotation of the earth resulting in its ultimate destruction. As to why the bike is riderless - well that's got me stumped.

Anonymous said...

The bike is riderless because the rider went up into the brush to smoke some weed.

Anonymous said...

The bike is riderless because Susan Dyer Reynolds crushed him to his bloody death with her SUV.


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Anonymous said...

More Kant and Flann O'Brien or ima fucking kill you!

Time to take the readings …

Stupid Name said...

"To wield one's "SUV" as a weapon, as she admits to doing, is inexcusable. ...FuckyouYoufuckingbusybodyfuck."

That pretty well sumarises the problem, Why is it that people (some women) surrounded by 4000 lbs of metal, find it necessary to express their opinion out of a car window into the street.

Confronting stupid people (the cyclist) (with the window partly rolled down) seems like a bad scenario, even if he was shirtless and scrawny.

She instigated the confrontation, and I can not condone or condemn the use of finger and spit as weapon of choice I do understand it.

I would like to see her explain her actions to the police if they had witnessed the scene. I find it amazing that her editor did not fire her for writing this piece.

Oh yea, police hate bikes too, we lose again.

Anonymous said...

Page Street. Hah! Move along, smug on smug violence is never a pretty thing.

ce said...

Deep down I think the main reason I avoid flipping-the-bird-while-riding-a-bike is because it's such a cliché.

Regarding the pedestrian injury/death statistics for motor vehicle vs. bicycle, I would think that you also need to factor in the distance passengers travelled via these transport types during the period. Motor vehicles were involved in 140 times more pedestrian injuries than bicycles were, but perhaps motor vehicle passengers travelled a distance more than 140 times greater than that travelled by bicycle cyclists? There were no pedestrian deaths involving bicycles during the period, while motor vehicles were involved in 47 pedestrian deaths, but very occasionally it does occur. I wonder what that ratio is and I wonder how it relates to the distance travelled ratio. Could motor vehicles be less hazardous to pedestrians than bicycles per Koalamater? My gut instinct says motor vehicles would have to be more hazardous, but perhaps not by the margin inferred in the Randy Cohen article.

TLEWDOWOATWORRCWDAOWLMFRTDNRMJRBTGU (Too Long and Extraneously Wordy and Drawn Out, Way Out, All The Way Out, and Repetitious and Repetitious and Containing Words or Data Able to be Omitted Without Loss of Meaning or Function, and Redundant, and Therefore Did Not Read, or Maybe Just Read a Bit and Then Gave Up): What we really need are "Don't Crash" signs spaced out at regular intervals along the roads, which must be obeyed... and perhaps David Byrne should buy a car.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a bicycleist rider steering with his (or her) knees while pedaling. It would be an extreme case of knee-bar coordination. My guess is the author doesn't know how to ride a bike.

I would also guess that she has a fat, hairy twat.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the "stops at lights" group. Force of habit; I also ride motorbikes and drive cars.

Immanuel Kant was a right pissant, you know....

hey nonny mouse

Ray Sexlight said...

Because you're Kant, you won't and you don't stop.

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