Re: Homicidal Thoughts While Driving, Reconsidered

1

Fucking Iranians in their black Beemers.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:29 AM
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Is this what you're thinking about? For me, kids buckled in the back seat would count as a redeeming quality, unless I was pretty far gone.


Posted by: Vance Maverick | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:29 AM
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I've argued in the past

I bet, in the course of the past argument, someone supplied this missing piece.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:30 AM
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And don't get me started about motorcyclists.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:30 AM
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kids buckled in the back seat = God damned overbreeding, overprivileged Americans sucking up resources and thinking it's their birthright.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:32 AM
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You haven't mentioned race or country of origin yet, ogged.

You feeling okay?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:34 AM
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So you're saying that the problem is basically that most people are more or less stupid and don't reflect on things before acting? That's true, I think, and explains more problems than this one.


Posted by: matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:35 AM
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This ties into my theory that driving is primarily a psyhological enterprise; the better you can understand the motivations of the drivers around you, the better you can anticipate what they are likely to do that will negatively impact you, and stop them from doing it.

Moreso than the type of car this should rely on an off-the-cuff profile assembled from clues present in the other's driving style. Are they riding slightly closer to your line? They desperately want to cut in front of you. It's important also to see the road through their eyes; for a driver intent on exceeding the speed of the flow of traffic, the space in front of your car should never seem like the most attractive target to weave into. Closing off the opportunity presented there is important in exact proportion to how optimal that driver's other opportunities might be: if they have shown a willingness to pass on the right, you merely need to make sure the right lane is open before comfortably leaving a generous space between you and the next car. If they are accelerating in the middle lane such that -- barring a merge -- they will have to hit the brakes, they're probably eyeing your lane and you should close the gap in front of you.

Some things are constant: if you're in the left lane, nobody actually needs to be in your lane, so you can feel confident that anybody trying to merge in front of you is simply trying to appropriate your free-flowing lane space, and, given that merging for no reason on their part will slow down all the traffic behind you, there is no need to feel guilt about preventing that merge.

I think I overthink this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:38 AM
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I think that what also comes into play is that there are certain rules for driving, and it really ticks people who are following the rules off when they're screwed by people not following the rules.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:39 AM
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I'm pretty sure this post gets it exactly right. But what's the cynical construction of cyclers? I'm practically beeped and cussed off the road every time I work up the gall to commute on bike.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:40 AM
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See Ugh, when you look at it that way, you've already been defeated. You, like a benevolent parent, have the ability to shape the other driver's opportunities so that following the rules produces the best outcome for both of you. If, after that, people still choose to sabotage their own travel by doing foolish things then that is their loss, and it will not affect you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:42 AM
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10- You think you're morally superior to those CO2 emitting drivers, don't you?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:42 AM
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10: you have no idea what you're wading into with that one. The belief that unprotected, human-powered vehicles are, in fact, the most flat-out evil way to get yourself from point A to point B has many adherents here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:43 AM
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12: Sure, but how does "tree hugger" translate into "MOVE THE FUCK OUT OF MY LANE BEFORE MY HEAD EXPLODES!"?


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:45 AM
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A long time ago I saw a study on road rage that found that drivers on the German Autobahn are more likely to be courteous to drivers of the same brand of vehicle. This result would seem consistent with ogged's theory.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:45 AM
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When I get mad at cyclists, I think of them as people who cling to rules (bikes have just as much right to be on the road!) even in the face of contrary reality (bikes are in my goddam way). Since this trait is also a pet peeve of mine, I can really hate them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:47 AM
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There's an interesting correlation to ogged's theory in the way people relate online; you are similarly given very sparse and fragmentary information with which to judge somebody's personality, aggression and hostility are similarly overrepresented compared to face-to-face interaction, and protective anonymity is similarly blamed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:48 AM
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16: it's not that bikes have just as much right to be in the road, although that's true, it's that bicyclists are forced to share space with much larger, faster, more powerful vehicles that could kill them extremely easily (it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk). Now, you could say "well, then people should just drive," but then you're an earth raper, aren't you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:50 AM
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Personally, whenever I'm driving I'm aware of the fact that I'm being a much bigger asshole, environmentally, than anybody on a bicycle or motorcycle, in addition to taking a lot less risk, so I try to give them space and -- where possible without being a jerk about it -- help them not get hit by other cars.

It's not that I'm sanctimonious. It's that I'm better than you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:52 AM
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I guess cyclist-hate falls under the first part of your theory. Cyclists are relatively rare in these parts of North Carolina.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:52 AM
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I think of them as people who cling to rules (bikes have just as much right to be on the road!) even in the face of contrary reality (bikes are in my goddam way).

I was with you part of the way, there. When I lived in Chicago and drove all the time, I would be infuriated by the disconnect between the insistence on "Bikes have just as much right to the road!" and the fact that bicyclists never obey traffic laws, blowing through red lights and racing the wrong way down the middle of one-way streets. So, I agree to their rights to the road, but follow the fucking traffic laws! (And stay off the goddamn sidewalks. And my lawn. Dammit.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:53 AM
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According to my sisters, and to their great amusement, I talk at the traffic, and according to what they tell me I say, it's pretty much a running social commentary that would provide excellent evidence for the post.

I am going to make a great crazy old lady.

Cyclists don't get me angry, but they do frighten me, in that you can fit approximately 300 bicycles in the blind spot of the average vehicle, I can't predict how they're going to move, and I am not good at knowing how much of a berth they need and if I hit them, they're going to be dead. (And I say this as one who spotted the gorilla in that little video PSA running around the past few weeks.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:53 AM
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Here's my beef with cyclists: by occupying a lane (that they have every right to) and proceeding along in their 10-20 mph way, they are not only slowing me down, they're slowing down all traffic. I get pissed at them the way I get pissed at any slow-assed dink who doesn't know that the skinny one on the right is what they need to keep things moving along. If cyclists could figure out how to bike in traffic while not fucking up dozens of people behind them with their snail's pace, I'd not care a whit.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:55 AM
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21: this is sort of half-assed, but my justification for cyclists blowing off (some) traffic laws is that riding according to all traffic laws is actually a lot more dangerous for a cyclist than ignoring some of them (so, for instance, waiting patiently to take a left turn on a bicycle can be nigh-suicidal unless you can accelerate really fast).

This does not actually offer any plausible justification for going the wrong way on one way streets, but drivers in Boston do that too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:56 AM
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23: Even worse, they slow down their lane, and then when we get to a red light, they treat it as a stop sign and go through it while everyone else has to wait. Then when it turns green it takes the cars about five seconds to speed up and then get stuck behind the bike again.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:58 AM
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23: but why should the onus be on bicyclists? If cities built more bike lanes, then bicyclists would have someplace to go where they weren't in traffic. But people who drive have no interest in this, because they don't see the good of having less cars on the road, instead seeing the immediate problem of not being able to get to their destination quite so quickly and then either forgetting about it or hating on bicyclists.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:58 AM
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Admit it, ogged: I was right.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:59 AM
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But never mind me, cars are awesome, and people should get out of the way of cars. The more cars, the better. Look at LA!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:59 AM
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Those of us who don't drive or bike still find ways to judge the character of those around us. Walking fast a lot on busy sidewalks results in a lot of the same kinds of outrage. People who walk abreast of their companions even when others are approaching on a narrow sidewalk? Assholes. People who subtly drift toward you as you pass one another, as if you are somehow both invisible and magnetic? Assholes. People who walk incredibly slowly with no sense of others approaching from behind? Assholes. Groups of stroller-moms who insist on walking in a horizontal line at a snail's pace? Assholes. People who walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk, especially when rounding corners? Assholes.

Although walking has fewer obvious dangers than driving, doing it all the time makes for some very similarly frustrating observations. Plus, when you give someone the drolly pursed lip when walking, they see you do it. I really have to watch this behavior. I try to get very zen about the bad walking habits in my neighborhood.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:59 AM
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And I say this as one who spotted the gorilla in that little video PSA running around the past few weeks.

Showoff.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:01 AM
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if you're in the left lane, nobody actually needs to be in your lane

In Tweety's world there are no left turns.

(it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk)

Somebody should inform the bicyclists.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:01 AM
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22: Is visibility really the problem? On fresh legs, I travel at about 21 mph, while the cars around me are going 35-45 mph, if not more. Headmath tells me that I'm traveling in their blind spot for much less time than is required for a good wreck. Also, they're coming from behind me, so it'd be impossible for me to slip into a blind spot unnoticed unless they're not paying attention.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:01 AM
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AWB forgets the bane of my existence, the people who stop to have a conversation at the top of the subway stairs.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:02 AM
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31.1: Sorry, I meant on the freeway. Yes, obviously, if there's a left turn to be made up ahead that's not true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:03 AM
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Admit it, ogged: I was right.

Stay off the road, JM.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:03 AM
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I thought of another interesting addendum to ogged's post: I feel so disappointed when somebody with a bumper sticker for a candidate I admire is driving like a jerk. Similarly, when I had a Kerry sticker on my car, I was much more conscious of driving courteously.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:05 AM
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33: OMFG. Yes. And people who insist on exiting through every turnstile, instead of using the handy-dandy exit-only turnstiles two feet to the left, while you're trying to swipe and enter. When you have an unlimited pass, and you swipe, and someone comes back through, you haven't just lost $2, you also can't swipe again for some period of time and have to get the station agent to let you in. Bollocks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:06 AM
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And here I just bought a bike to start commuting to work. Anyone want to lay odds on how long it takes for me to get smucked?


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:06 AM
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29 is so, so true (expect that it fails to mention all the fucking bicycles).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:07 AM
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25 is illogical- you should want the bike to run the red light because it gives the cars more traveling time at a higher speed. If the bike obeyed the light you'd be stuck behind him 100% of the time.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:09 AM
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In Tweety's world there are no left turns.

The Sifu's not for turning.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:09 AM
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17 is interesting, probably right.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:09 AM
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37: That's a failure of will, AWB. When you swipe your card, you have to fucking own the turnstile.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:10 AM
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40: What if I am actually traveling perpendicularly, and have to lock them up in the intersection to avoid the light-running cyclist?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:11 AM
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Another thought on cycling: I think people who don't ride bikes don't have a sense of how terrifying it is to be biking somewhere -- because that's how you get around -- and to be forced, just by virtue of road design, to be in the way of somebody who is really angry at you and could instantly kill you if they wanted. If you believe that biking places is a net good -- which I find it hard to argue that it isn't -- and you're just trying to do the right thing and not bother people, is it any wonder the cavalcade of near-homicides you experience breeds a certain amount of self-righteousness? You're trying not to get killed, they're trying to get to their destination 30 seconds more quickly. Wow, big loss, dude. Especially when you consider that the net effect on traffic of a single person commuting to work by bicycle is almost certainly positive, unless they manage to completely hog an entire lane the entire time, which never happens.

And, the people who bitch about bicyclists blowing red lights: would you really rather that the cyclist waited patiently in front of you, so you were slowed down out of the light instead of later on?

Besides which: if you catch up to the cyclist before the next light, and then they blow through that one, all you're really prevented from doing is getting to that next red light slightly faster. Why is this so important?

Boy, I really am being fucking insufferable. Good times. I also drove to Fenway last night, which makes me a giant hypocrite.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:13 AM
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44: that sucks. Bad cyclist!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:13 AM
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Bave is right. By the time your card is through the slot, you've got to have your entire body positioned and your face set in Grim Determination and Indifference to Others.

I drive, however, like a senior citizen hippy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:13 AM
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I think people who don't ride bikes don't have a sense of how terrifying it is to be biking somewhere

Actually, this is the *exact* reason I don't bike places.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:14 AM
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45 was insufferable and partly pwned by 40.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:15 AM
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48: well, right. Which is crappy! And should change!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:15 AM
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Cyclists just shouldn't do it. I used to bike regularly in Chicago, because there are bike trails, but I brought my bike to California and didn't ride it a single time, because getting on the road with cars is insane. So, "imagine how I feel, doing this totally insane thing," doesn't inspire sympathy. Stop doing it! You're not going to save the planet, but you will annoy dozens of people each day.

I probably shouldn't have let myself be baited into this discussion, but it beats actually killing cyclists (in some ways).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:16 AM
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43: I have quite literally shouted "NO!" at people trying to push back against me at the turnstile after swiping.

I think the relative lack of physical danger is possibly why I can't help but get worked up about bad walking etiquette. In a car, I'm thinking, "Don't get mad. Just get where you're going. Revenge is not mine." But on the street and in the subway, I've very nearly thrown blows.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:16 AM
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a catalog of disappointments visited upon them by evil people

Mouseover text?


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:16 AM
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And, the people who bitch about bicyclists blowing red lights: would you really rather that the cyclist waited patiently in front of you, so you were slowed down out of the light instead of later on?

I bitch about bicyclists blowing red lights because I am a pedestrian. This lame-ass hipster dude nearly ran me down the other day. He was so wobbly on his self-righteous-mobile that I almost pitied him, but no, I was just mad.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:17 AM
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I pretty much never have any trouble with bikes when I'm driving; lots of streets here have bike lanes, so they're hardly ever in my way. Most of my encounters with bikes involve me trying to walk down the sidewalk and them whizzing by out of nowhere and narrowly avoiding hitting me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:18 AM
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Hipsters on brand-new fixies that they can't really ride are both hilarious and infuriating.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:18 AM
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51: but, like, how reactionary is that? "I know the system sucks, but it's how it is, so don't try and rock the boat. Look at me, I don't!"

Besides which, cars are expensive. What are -- say -- students in San Francisco supposed to do? Pay for a car, insurance, endless parking tickets, gas, all so they can congest the road more? That's really better than just trying to be less of an asshole to bicyclists?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:18 AM
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48: Me three. People who bike around Manhattan seem certifiable to me. Biking in Chicago anywhere but the Lakeshore seemed terrifying too (with certain neighborhoodly exceptions: biking around Hyde Park, sure why not; down the very busy 55th St., say, kinda scary!). Everyone I knew in Chicago but CA and me biked everywhere, however.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:19 AM
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but, like, how reactionary is that?

About as reactionary as ogged himself.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:19 AM
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I biked to Fenway last night at 7pm and back home at 12:15 while wearing a NY jersey, and I wasn't killed. Clearly the dangers of biking are overstated. (Actually I put my bike in the car and drove to Cambridgeport and biked from there, so I'm only a midget hypocrite.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:20 AM
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Hipsters on brand-new fixies

So infuriating, in fact, that I actually hate two of the words in that phrase.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:20 AM
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Going to UNC was what killed any desire to ride a bike for transportation. Chapel Hill already has way way way too many cars for the streets, making driving around town an unpleasant and time-consuming experience to begin with. But the thought of riding a bike on those never-uncrowded streets just fills me with dread.

To be certain, laziness would have been quite sufficient disincentive all by itself, but still.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:20 AM
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What are -- say -- students in San Francisco supposed to do?

Walk.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:20 AM
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I'm with 29. I hate when groups of people won't make room for a walker heading in the opposite direction and my hate is so strong that when I'm walking in a group, I will immediately drop back "single file"-style if I see someone else approaching.

And yeah, I hate when bicyclists use the sidewalk.

Also, I would really prefer if people walked on the right-hand side of the sidewalk (as I do) -- except in cases of large puddles, etc. -- but perhaps this is asking too much.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:20 AM
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60: everybody was probably just psyched you stuck around so they could mock you at the end of the game.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:21 AM
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In my neighborhood, food delivery guys will often bike really fast on the sidewalks without looking for perpendicular foot traffic. Quite often, I have shrieked in terror at nearly being plowed into. Gah.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:22 AM
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Basically it's like this: anyone who's in my way, for whatever reason, and no matter my mode of conveyance—be it a car, a bicycle, these two feet of mine, or the feet of another—is an asshole. Unlike ogged, however, I don't feel the need to look for a covering law that explains how these people are assholes over and above whatever they've done in the particular case.

M/rtha N/ssbaum would approve!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:22 AM
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What are -- say -- students in San Francisco supposed to do?

Walk and use public transit. I don't see that my argument is reactionary, unless you think that biking advances the cause of biking, which I don't think it does; it just makes people want to kill cyclists. I'd be all for higher taxes for bike lanes or whatever it is you people need.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:22 AM
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63: what if you live (say) 3 miles from school because you needed someplace affordable?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:22 AM
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The real underlying problem here is that we still haven't yet transitioned to our jetpack-based society. I blame excessive marginal tax rates.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:24 AM
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You're not going to save the planet, but you will annoy dozens of people each day.

Dozens of selfish people who are often closer than they realize to killing people to shave a few seconds off their drive.

Not every cyclist is trying to earn his Captain Planet badge, you understand. Many are homeless, and many more are trying to maintain gainful employment without access to an automobile or useful public transit.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:24 AM
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Oh, jetpack etiquette is going to suck even worse.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:25 AM
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68: if nobody bikes nobody's going to be interested in paying for services for bikes. Do you really think that cities would build bike lanes if there was no constituency that wanted to use them? Do you really think that drivers would be at all interested in road funds going to something that doesn't help them at all?

And saying "walk and public transportation" is a great answer except that (a) it doesn't work and (b) when it does it takes like 8 times as long as riding a bike would. And when you ride a bike you're not hurting anybody, except aggrieved morons in cars with no ability to understand the consequences of their actions outside of a 15 or 20 second window.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:26 AM
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Biking in SF is way more convenient, hills and all, than public transit, which, near as I can tell, basically blows. There are also plenty of bike routes in the city and in Palo Alto and environs, so I don't get what ogged's deal is.

I did used to like biking down El Camino, because, damn, that'll sure motivate you to go fast. But even there, you can stay to the right and it's no big deal.

However, I am a responsible and law-abiding cyclist, except when I run red lights, which I only do in a responsible manner.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:26 AM
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Many are homeless, and many more are trying to maintain gainful employment without access to an automobile or useful public transit

I don't mean to be a complete ass, but now cyclists are the wretched of the earth? I hereby grant homeless people special dispensation to bike wherever they urgently need to go.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:27 AM
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that'll sure motivate you to go fast

Not fast enough, jerk.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:27 AM
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sam k, for me, at least, it is a visibility problem. I only encounter bicyclists in relatively low-speed, city-traffic situations, and when it's stop and go, the bicyclists sneak up because they don't stop at the red lights.

The gorilla video shows this, but what it doesn't show that it's not as easy as 'just look for bicycles' because all of our driving behaviors (scanning the area for things moving quickly, being aware of the body language of other cars, being aware of which cars you've passed and where they've gone etc) aren't things that bicycles do. Your movement profile is all wrong. You might not be in my blind spot all that long, but you might not be showing up in my mirrors, and while I'm pretty good at keeping a mental list of what cars are around me, bicyclists are harder to keep track of because they move differently than the rest of traffic.

They can also fit through little spaces. If I am in the right lane next to a parking lane, I don't have to worry about another car trying to fit through there. A bicyclist can sneak up on you.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:28 AM
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I mean seriously, saying that people should just stop biking is so unbelievably stupid. There is an efficient, low-impact form of transit that takes up very little space and is affordable to basically everybody on the planet, and people should stop doing it entirely because you -- living in the world's greatest resource hog -- are slightly inconvenienced on occasion. Go live on a floodplain.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:28 AM
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For about decade now, I have been utterly, utterly convinced that any minute now a bicyclist will collide into me and that I will be left with broken limbs. It's not so much a phobia as a premonition: I'm so certain that it's going to happen eventually that I almost welcome it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:28 AM
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You're not going to save the planet, but you will annoy dozens of people each day.

Think globally, annoy locally.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:28 AM
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Respectfully, ogged, you're are so full of shit on the bike thing it's comical.

73 is right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:28 AM
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67 gets it exactly right. What I really need is a button on my car that causes anyone within a 3 mile radius of me to pull the fuck over and get out of my way. Really, it's in their own best interests.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:29 AM
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The gorilla video shows this

No it doesn't. As I said in comments over there, the gorilla video is a re-enactment of a famous psychological experiment that shows something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the visibility of bicyclists or motorcycles.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:29 AM
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Oh, jetpack etiquette is going to suck even worse.

Only if the damn nanny state gets all involved. Look, it's my right not to wear a helmet and if slamming into the side of the city watertower results in a traumatic brain injury, well, I'm willing to accept that risk in exchange for Freedom.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:29 AM
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Not fast enough, jerk.

When you outpace traffic for half the distance from one intersection to another, encounter frequent red lights, and make up the difference before the light turns green, I think that counts as "fast enough".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:30 AM
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What I really need is a button on my car that causes anyone within a 3 mile radius of me to pull the fuck over and get out of my way. Really, it's in their own best interests.

When I used to cycle regularly I used to wish I had some sort of uber-EMP weapon that'd fry engine management systems.

So, if someone really cut me up in a crappy way I'd press the button and BBZZZZZZTT.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:31 AM
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If the gorilla video started out by saying "by the way, there may be gorillas in this video, so keep an eye out for them", you'd have a better case.

Especially if the gorilla had lights and signalled!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:31 AM
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As I said in comments over there

You commented on youtube?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:32 AM
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Many are homeless, and many more are trying to maintain gainful employment without access to an automobile or useful public transit.

I don't mean to be a complete ass, but now cyclists are the wretched of the earth?

So wretched and downtrodden they have opinions about $4000 bicycles. Look, sam, I think more people should cycle, I think it's awesome, good for the environment, and if more of them did it it probably would be safer, but most of the people I see commuting to work on bicycles are hippy professionals, not salt-of-the-earth types who just can't afford their own cars.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:32 AM
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Howcome the one time recently that I'm trolling no one accuses me of trolling? Huh?

I do feel bad for cyclists, and biking is great. The problem, as we've discussed at great length before, is that most American cities just aren't designed for the co-habitation of bikes and cars, so there's going to be mutual enmity until that problem is solved. Arguments of the sort "there would be no problem if only the other guy acted differently" are unhelpful.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:32 AM
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Also, Sifu is fat and doesn't even own a bike.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:34 AM
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Since I became a father, I have consciously tried to become more Zen behind the wheel (partly out of the habit of driving with them in the car, partly because even when driving alone I don't want their father to die in a car wreck, and probably partly because of the drop in testosterone levels that is said to afflict men with children).

I have developed a complex set of ready-made rationalizations to exculpate or mitigate the sins that other drivers visit upon me. It's sort of a variant on the old "That Porsche driver is just compensating for having a small penis," only less self-indulgent.

For example, if a clueless old senior citizen is impeding my progress, I say to myself "It's OK, he probably fought the Nazis, you owe him." If it's a taxi driver, I say "He has a rough life, he has to drive like that to make ends meet." The system breaks down only when I encounter big SUV's sporting GOP bumper stickers. The best I can come up with there is, "It's OK, he's probably going to die in a roll-over accident."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:34 AM
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87: well, and if the video said "watch the basketball players carefully!" and then the gorilla showed up. Instead it said count the passes, which just tells you that focussed attention on one kind of cognitive task is going to reduce your ability to do other kinds of cognitive tasks. Looking for cars and bicycles are, in fact, the same kind of task.

It's a pretty stupid example for them to use, because, if they were right that it was equivalent to looking out for bikes, it would not be possible to avoid hitting them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:34 AM
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90: I... you... yeah. Yeah, I know.

91: I... you... I do too own a bike! More than one! They're right there, in my storage space on the other side of the country.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:35 AM
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83: It shows we don't see things when we're concentrating on something else, right? Not strict visibility, but you'll notice most of the things I mentioned aren't strict visibility.

I mean, the problem here is that the skills that make me a safe driver -- paying attention to the other fast-moving metal objects -- are the ones that are of no use to the solitary bicyclist.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:36 AM
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88: it was linked on EoTAW.

Rephrased as a youtube comment:

YO dis vid is GAY I wlud hit a monkey with my truck if I seen it hahahahahaha lol 2 bad apezzzzz


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:37 AM
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For example, if a clueless old senior citizen is impeding my progress, I say to myself "It's OK, he probably fought the Nazis, you owe him." If it's a taxi driver, I say "He has a rough life, he has to drive like that to make ends meet."

Excellent; I do this, too. I was once driving behind an old guy driving slowly and was going absolutely batty. Then it turned out to be someone I know and admire. No more getting mad at old guys; now it's "how would you like to be old and have only this way of getting around?" etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:37 AM
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I think they are different kinds of cognitive tasks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:37 AM
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79: I have the same premonitions about being plowed into by a car. Every time I walk through an intersection without carefully analyzing the traffic, I think, "They didn't get me this time. But next time...!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:37 AM
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For about decade now, I have been utterly, utterly convinced that any minute now a bicyclist will collide into me and that I will be left with broken limbs. It's not so much a phobia as a premonition: I'm so certain that it's going to happen eventually that I almost welcome it.

I am similarly convinced that I will be driving on the highway, and there will be a MOSQUITO in my car, and I will be so singularly obsessed with killing it that I will cause a massive accident and launch myself into oncoming traffic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:38 AM
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95: it shows we don't see things when we're concentrating on a specific, and different, kind of task. They didn't say "look out for things in this video", they said "count the passes".

If you avoided collisions by reading the numbers off license plates, maybe it would be the same thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:38 AM
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most of the people I see commuting to work on bicycles

Two disjoint populations, one native born, the second immigrant. The social shittiness of biking in traffic totally depends on traffic density. Biking is unpleasant to do and an impediment if the road's at capacity, not otherwise.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:38 AM
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98: but they aren't; "look out for things in the road" is the cognitive task. "Look out for things in the road that are made of metal", if that's how you actually do it, would imply that you spend a lot of time mowing down pedestrians and blowing through traffic signals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:39 AM
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Sifu is just on fire today.

Everything he's said in this thread is correct.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:40 AM
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I had to drive 570 miles yesterday and now I fucking hate everybody.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:40 AM
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I think they are different kinds of cognitive tasks.

Yeah, but you're a philosopher.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:40 AM
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I must admit that I'm less likely to give a car with a Bush sticker space to merge into traffic because, really, if you don't have sense enough to scrape that shit off by 2008, you can just pull over and wait for traffic to thin out some.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:41 AM
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Can I be pissed at the bikers who choose to ride on the street when there's a perfectly acceptable* bike path, um, right next to the street?

*My guess is that since these tend to be the guys who think they're training for the Tour de France, given what they're weighing, that the bike path to them is not "perfectly acceptable" because of all the other people on it.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:41 AM
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75:I don't mean to be a complete ass, but now cyclists are the wretched of the earth?

Whatever, ogged. You strongly implied that the only reason a cyclist might find himself in your way is misguided idealism, and that's just not the case. In my redstate location (1.5 hours south of Apo), the idealists are too smart to face hostile traffic. The only people I know who bike as a primary means of transportation are minimum wage workers, and the homeless whom you already granted dispensation.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:42 AM
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"what they're wearing", even.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:42 AM
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In Germany, bikepaths are often part of the sidewalk.

I'm still scared to bike there, because the other bikers are so frikkin' fast.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:43 AM
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They probably don't weigh much either, Ugh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:43 AM
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110: Ha! I thought you meant all the fat cyclists were clogging the bike lanes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:44 AM
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I'm less likely to give a car with a Bush sticker space to merge

There's a pickup truck that drives around here with huge anti-abortion placards attached to it. I can never decide whether I should cut it off rudely or if that is giving the driver some perverse satisfaction. The most recent time, I cut it off rudely, but it was less satisfying than I hoped.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:44 AM
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110: Ha! I thought you were commenting on their teensy upper bodies. I've dated a lot of serious bikers, and it's really amazing what lengths they will go to so as to look somewhat like the caricatures in The Triplets of Belleville.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:44 AM
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Hey, this is your area, though I think that there's a case to be made that between the size, different speed, and varying movement patterns, looking for bicycles is different than looking for SUVs.

But fine, granted, the gorilla video shows nothing. We still have the problem that bicycles are smaller than cars, move irregularly compared to the rest of traffic, etc. I don't think I hate bicyclists, or that I don't pay attention to the road, so why is it harder to see bicycles than cars?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:44 AM
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115: Ha!-pwned.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:45 AM
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I must admit that I'm less likely to give a car with a Bush sticker space to merge into traffic because, really, if you don't have sense enough to scrape that shit off by 2008, you can just pull over and wait for traffic to thin out some fuck off and die.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:46 AM
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Can I be pissed at the bikers who choose to ride on the street when there's a perfectly acceptable* bike path, um, right next to the street?

Yes, of course.

Being a bicyclist, it makes me even more annoyed when I see other bicyclists acting like assholes on the road, because I feel like they're just contributing to the bad reputation of bicyclists and making life worse for everyone else.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:47 AM
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Being a bicyclist, it makes me even more annoyed when I see other bicyclists acting like assholes on the road, because I feel like they're just contributing to the bad reputation of bicyclists and making life worse for everyone else.

NickS is the Glenn Loury of bicyclists.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:49 AM
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How would a well-designed bike path that ran alongside the streets work with intersections (where the cyclist might have to turn left)? Just like another lane on the road? Would the cyclists then have to stop at lights?

If we had bike paths around here, I'd probably buy a bicycle.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:51 AM
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Yes, of course.

Good! Fucking bastards!


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:53 AM
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bicyclists are harder to keep track of because they move differently than the rest of traffic
I have no problem doing this, possibly because I often drive and bike on the same streets at various times. When I'm at driving through an intersection I'll remember biking there and being cut off so I know where to expect the bikes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:54 AM
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How would a well-designed bike path that ran alongside the streets work with intersections (where the cyclist might have to turn left)?

Evel Knievel-style ramps.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:54 AM
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In the more bike-friendly European cities, I think they have separate signals for the bike lanes. Cyclists in Amsterdam looked like they obeyed the traffic laws pretty well, maybe a little casually. To make car/bike coexistence better in the U.S., you'd definitely need to control the wilder urban cyclists.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:55 AM
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when I encounter big SUV's sporting GOP bumper stickers. The best I can come up with there is, "It's OK, he's probably going to die in a roll-over accident."

Schadenfreude never tasted so sweet as that time a few years ago when my GOP-lovin', flag-wavin' cousin moaned to me about having to sell his Ford Excursion at a loss because he couldn't afford to keep it on the road. "Oh, that's so awesome sad," I said.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:55 AM
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Nope. Sorry. I rarely if ever have road or sidewalk rage. I also drive, have always driven, like a little old lady or as if I were stoned. I'm so very mellow, dudes. I have sat thru two green lights. I sometimes have to watch my speed so I don't end up at 20 mph. Anyone who wants to pass me or cut in front may do so with my gratitude.

The lady hates me driving and won't ride shotgun. She is a very aggressive and alert driver. Neither of us gets tickets or has accidents. (PS:I have a relative with horrible luck. Do you ever go 22 in a school zone? She gets 3-5 tickets a year.)

I spend much time on the verge(? off the sidewalk) letting other people by or just giving them space.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:55 AM
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How would a well-designed bike path that ran alongside the streets work with intersections (where the cyclist might have to turn left)?

As a make up for looking the other way when they blow through stop signs and red lights, cyclists would only be allowed to make right turns.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:56 AM
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Re saving the earth: I wonder what the net effect of a cyclist hogging a right hand lane in busy traffic for, oh, say half a mile, causing all the commuters behind him to slow down by 10 miles an hour has on net MPG for the 10-20 drivers inconvenienced? Is more or less fuel consumed than if the cyclist had just driven a car over the same stretch?

(Yes, there's a specific stretch I'm thinking of, and the same cyclist jacks me up every god-damned day.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:57 AM
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Friday night the lady was trying to get somewhere before sunset.

I says:"But that's a half hour drive"
She:"Uhh, ten minutes."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 10:59 AM
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Also, can anyone propose a remedy for keeping that asshole behind me from tailgaiting? I use a combination of tapping (and sometimes more than tapping) the brakes and slowing down to the actual speed limit (or even below) for a time and then speeding up to see if they get it. Usually one or the other works, but was wondering if anyone has any other recommendations (short of hand to hand combat).


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:00 AM
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Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.
There's a dedicated bike lane turn in Porter square, it's like a jughandle just for bikes with a separate signal. That only works because it's a 3 way intersection, with a 4 way there would have to be more complex lights and longer timing.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:01 AM
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NickS is the Glenn Loury of bicyclists.

I should add that I live in a city that's relatively bike-friendly (aside from the fact that it rains all the time) so there's no excuse.

Really -- if you want to bike on the sidewalk, don't go faster than a jog, and remember that pedestrians have the right of way.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:03 AM
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123: Maybe it should be part of driver's license exams.

125: But what do you do when the cyclist has to go across the car road? I'm sure I'm just being obtuse here, but

I heart Goneril, for the ramps solution.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:03 AM
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132: There's a special left turn lane for bikes in Harvard square at the Church Street intersection now, too. The bike lane veers out to the right and around to spit the rider out into a bike lane parallel to the pedestrian crossing, using the pedestrian signal.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:05 AM
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121: I've seen left turn lanes for bicyclists. They work somewhat okay, but you have to merge across all the non-turning car lanes to get there, which requires fortitude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:06 AM
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Also, can anyone propose a remedy for keeping that asshole behind me from tailgaiting?

Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:06 AM
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137: Hmmm...I should have used "strategy" rather than "remedy." But I will keep the giant, anus-like blowtorch in mind apo.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:09 AM
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In Germany, bikepaths are often part of the sidewalk.

The first time I was in Germany I stayed with a friend way out at the end of the U6 line (at Alt-Mariendorf). The division between the person and the bike portions of the sidewalk were practically invisible to me for several days, so I constantly transgressed the boundary, resulting in several frustrated Germans.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:09 AM
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131: let them pass, and then goad them into going faster and faster until they get a ticket.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:12 AM
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135- Really? I'll actually use that- I used to get to Brattle St. by coming up Mass Ave. from Central and pulling a sharp U turn around Out of Town News. That pissed off no small number of people.
65- Despite the loss, I felt superior to most of them because my seats were better than theirs. Here I am in my NY hat and shirt, out of focus next to Joe's left elbow.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:17 AM
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139: Yeah, when people visit me it often takes several days of reminding them before they start to automatically pay attention. I tend to go for reminders like, "Hey, if you keep walking there you might die."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:19 AM
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141: damn and I thought my seats were good. At least I had a waiter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:19 AM
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SP was on television! He's famous!
(Of course, none of us here has a television, so we'd never know.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:33 AM
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I wish I'd known you were there, SP. I could have thrown a beer at you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:34 AM
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Also, can anyone propose a remedy for keeping that asshole behind me from tailgating?

I just slow down. If they carry on, I slow down more. Eventually they overtake, but in the meantime, if they're going to drive into me, I'd rather they do it at a slower speed. (Of course, I am now worrying about the puppy in the boot, so ... )

My take on road rage - people look through a screen and think that basically they're in a game. The other people are about as real as those on GTA. My exboyfriend had a motorbike, and after sitting on the back of that for months, being in a car felt really weird - fake and disconnected from the outside world somehow.

And I liked what Sifu was saying in 8. C and I were discussing recently how obvious it is what some people are planning to do if you're watching. But some people (e.g. my mum) drive with no anticipation of what might happen at all. So then they're surprised and annoyed when someone acts like an arsehole, whereas someone more observant/attuned will have been expecting it for 3 minutes and it won't be a big deal.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:42 AM
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As you may know or at least likely suspect, Portland is very bike commuter-friendly, with great infrastructure and enough cyclists around for a sense of strength in numbers. You might think that that would create a mellow scene, but it's actually kind of tense, as though a Critical Mass event could erupt any second.

Confession: I reflexively think "asshole" any time I see someone driving a Hummer. It's not nice or fair, but there it is.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:43 AM
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141: Damn, SP. I basically attempt to troll WGN by wearing a halter top and keeping score at Cubs games, thinking they *have* to put me on the teevee now. Chick! in a halter top! keeping score! I'm unwilling to up the ante to a bikini top, and thus will fail. (The WGN camera crew are also fond of very large men in funny hats and babies.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:43 AM
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146.1: And let that asshole get around me?!!? No, he must stop tailgaiting and yet remain in his place! Harumph.

146.3: I find that even more frustrating, when I just know that asshole is going to cut into the right turn only lane at the last second, bypassing all the cars waiting patiently, it just makes me more angry when my anticipation is correct.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:47 AM
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148: I had never been to Wrigley until two weekends ago. It's pretty awesome, though I wish the Ivy had been alive.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:54 AM
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I think my own road rage is enhanced by repressed rage elsewhere in my life. It's so safe to let a stream of obscenities fly in the safe confinement of my car. I can tell that idiot ahead of me exactly what I think of him in ways that I can't do to bosses/customers, etc.

Also, I've gotten into the habit of thanking lights that turn green just in time so that I don't have to slow down. It makes just as much sense as screaming at the red ones.

But I also walk a lot. Yes bikers, it's called a sidewalk. Don't come sneaking up behind me and yelling "Pass!" at the last fucking second. Makes me want to carry an umbrella at all times just for your spokes.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:56 AM
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150: Isn't it just? I grew up going to Yankee Stadium and the two are night and day. I was sitting in front of some Yankee fans during game 2 of the Cubs/Yanks series at Wrigley a few years ago, and when they sat down they said, "Holy shit. This is like a little league field!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 11:57 AM
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Did I mention how safe cars feel? Very safe.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:00 PM
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I went to a Yankees/Jays game Wednesday night, and a Cubs/'Stros game Sunday afternoon. The difference was even greater than that between night and day. Also, I don't know why I capitalized "ivy," and I meant to say that it hadn't bloomed yet, not that it was dead.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:07 PM
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If you allow yourself to keep up a low-level running comentary about various cruddy things in your life, then annoying other driver behavior is just a blip on the radar.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:15 PM
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Did I mention how safe cars feel? Very safe.

Oddly enough, I get really creeped out whenever I drive a friend's car due to the lack of visibility compared to a motorcycle. The driver's side A-Pillar and windshield mounted rear-view mirror combine to block about half of what you might actually want to see.

I think PJ O'Rourke had a bit about the social atomization brought on by the car, and how they made forming a riot or a mass demonstration impossible.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:16 PM
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That bicyclist has a perfect legal right to ride 10 mph up the long hill from the mosque to the cathedral at rush hour. Guess who also has a legal right to honk and yell?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:33 PM
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Honking and yelling is really obnoxious--it's terrifying, frankly. If you want to risk a biker falling over right in front of you, go right ahead.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:41 PM
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158: So humorless.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:47 PM
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Of course it's obnoxious. But perfectly legal. Now if the bikers want to get off the I have a legal right to make you slow down horse (along with the you suck because you're driving a car horse) maybe we'll get somewhere.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:49 PM
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160: Hear, hear.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:50 PM
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Ogged has rediscovered the Fundamental Attribution Error.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:51 PM
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I biked a lot when I lived in Davis, because the town is one giant bike lane, and the buses--which are operated by students--aren't very reliable and don't go on Sundays. When my car died, and I needed to go to Sacramento, I took my bike on the bus to Sacramento and biked there rather than wait for the in-town bus. Sacramento is not a bad place to bike, but there was almost no traffic there when I did it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:53 PM
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I once saw Ferris Bueller honk at a bicyclist and make her fall down right in front of him.

He said it was okay because she was a school administrator.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:53 PM
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Oh, and when I'm made dictator, honking at cyclists who are obeying the rules of the road will be subject to capital punishment.

(Honking at cyclists who do not obey the rules of the road, e.g. by riding against traffic, will be mandatory.)


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:54 PM
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if the bikers want to get off the I have a legal right to make you slow down horse

Do you mean, if bikers want to somehow magically develop the lung power to blaze up hills at fifty miles an hour on streets where there's no bike lane or room to pass? Because really, the problem is that the roads are built incorrectly.

If your point is that bikers should pull over and stop--and then have to restart, on an uphill grade, sans momentum--so as not to interfere with your precious right to get where you're going, then you're being at least as selfish as you're accusing them of being, and you deserve to have them looking down their noses at you and keying your car.

That said, I'd pull over. But if someone honked at me, I might not, and I'd definitely key their fucking car if I had a chance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:56 PM
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Noone can make you a dictator, zadfrack. You have to do it for yourself.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 12:56 PM
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In fact! Knowing that Napi is a honker, I hereby promise to sneak away from the party and key his car at the next UnfoggeDC.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:00 PM
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and I'd definitely key their fucking car if I had a chance.

Even Bueller's? (Actually it's his rich friend's dad's car, but Ferris would feel awful bad for getting his buddy in trouble like that).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:02 PM
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and I'd definitely key their fucking car if I had a chance

Thus relieving me of having to listen to you whine on about what is or is not perfectly legal.

I think bicyclists should pull over if they are impeding more than a couple of cars for more than a minute or two. If that presents a problem for them, they should pick a different route. Or a different mode of transportation.

People can look down their noses at me all they want. It's not that good an idea, of course, if they're trying to get into my pocket. Or get me to refrain from cursing them.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:02 PM
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Knowing that Napi is a honker, I hereby promise to sneak away from the party and key his car at the next UnfoggeDC.

Racist.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:04 PM
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Bicyclists should pull over, yes; it's courteous to do so.

Just as it's courteous not to honk at people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:07 PM
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In fact, white people's predilection for blasting their carhorns at bicyclists is the origin of the term "honky".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:09 PM
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I wonder what the net effect of a cyclist hogging a right hand lane in busy traffic for, oh, say half a mile, causing all the commuters behind him to slow down by 10 miles an hour has on net MPG for the 10-20 drivers inconvenienced?

That saves a lot of gas, actually. Remember 55 mph speed limits on the freeways during the last energy crisis? Because driving slower uses less gas. So bicyclists who ride in the middle of the lane at 10-20-mph and slow everyone else down are working even harder to save the world than those who merely ride in bike lanes. And yet, where is the gratitude?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:12 PM
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Even Bueller's? (Actually it's his rich friend's dad's car, but Ferris would feel awful bad for getting his buddy in trouble like that).

Did you watch the end of the fucking film M/tch? Ferris never feels bad about anything. And anyone could have keyed it with impunity; Cameron's dad wouldn't have noticed by the time they were finished with it!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:14 PM
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If your point is that bikers should pull over and stop--and then have to restart, on an uphill grade, sans momentum

I don't understand why they don't just give up and walk their bikes up hill, on the sidewalk. That's what I would do. Downhill good. Uphill bad.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:15 PM
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I never understood why bikers feel the need to bike down major traffic arteries during rush hour. It seems to me to be both dangerous and unnecessary. I.e., biking down a side street seems much safer and more efficient, espeically given their predilictions to blow through stop signs anyway (said stop signs thus being less of an obstancle to getting somewhere fast).

E.g., you cyclists need to stay off 16th street and Connecticut Ave. in NW DC during (and even before/after) rush hour, dammit!


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:21 PM
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and I'm done correcting my own typos for today.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:23 PM
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I never understood why bikers drivers feel the need to bike down major traffic arteries drive, especially during rush hour. It seems to me to be both dangerous and unnecessary. I.e., biking down a side street seems much safer and more efficient, espeically given their predilictions to blow through stop signs anyway rush-hour traffic.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:24 PM
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I know parts of 174 are meant in jest, but can't figure out if "[b]ecause driving slower uses less gas" is. I'm hoping yes.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:24 PM
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It's usually faster for a confident cyclist to take major roads than back roads, IME.

Seriously, we need to accept bikes as a fact of urban life and build to accommodate them rather than wishing they'd go away. 16th Street and Conn Ave need bike lanes.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:26 PM
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Of course driving slower uses less gas, ceteris paribus.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:27 PM
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Well, I've never actually honked at a bicyclist.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:31 PM
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I've only ever biked in a rural area, but I'd say that although I don't bike in traffic that often, I'm annoyed or inconvenienced by others doing so even more rarely. I don't even know how I'd handle the rules of the road or whatever if I wanted to make a left turn through a four-way stop. I also never even bother trying to bike in traffic and just slip by cars on the right. At one traffic bottleneck at a bridge near my apartment, this usually results in me passing the cars. I'm always a little nervous about that, but, hell with it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:31 PM
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I'm not going to go off and research this, but I was taught that most car engines are tuned for optimal efficiency in the 35-40 mph range. Thus, slowing down above that speed (e.g. from 65 to 55) is a net improvement in efficiency, but slowing down from 30 to 15 actually decreases mpg.

I'm certainly willing to be taught otherwise, though. Any experts around?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:34 PM
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Of course driving slower uses less gas, ceteris paribus.

"Ceteris paribus" is doing a lot of work there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:34 PM
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when I'm made dictator, honking at cyclists who are obeying the rules of the road will be subject to capital punishment

I once made the questionable decision to bicycle the circumference of the Sea of Galilee. Part of the road on the Western side is quite well-travelled, and every car that approached me honked its horn at me. At first it freaked me out ("Why are you honking at me, you filthy Zionist?"), but after a time I realized that it must be considered a safety measure or even a courtesy over there to honk at cyclists as you approach them (similar to the Egyptian practice of honking at every intersection).

Anyway, my point in posting this comment is to point out that what zadrack is advocating is tantamount to genocide against the Jews.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:36 PM
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OK, so I was off in the specifics, but right in general.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:36 PM
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you cyclists need to stay off 16th street

Was that scrawny-legged lardass complaining about the wind at the beach really you?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:36 PM
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how I'd handle the rules of the road or whatever if I wanted to make a left turn through a four-way stop

Same as a car; if you're biking at a reasonable speed and there's room, you move into the left hand lane, stop, signal, and go when it's your turn.

If you're a slow or nervous biker, you stop at the corner and walk the bike across like a pedestrian.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:37 PM
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183: Okay, then I won't key your car. You're entitled to grumble internally, just not to terrorize bikers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:38 PM
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Different cars have different speeds at which they're using the least gas per mile driven. See, e.g. some powerpoint slide I just found linked at wikipedia showing efficiencies at different speeds for a 2004 Chevy Impala. It's slide 14 at that link.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:39 PM
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Did you watch the end of the fucking film M/tch? Ferris never feels bad about anything. And anyone could have keyed it with impunity; Cameron's dad wouldn't have noticed by the time they were finished with it!

I sense a kindred hatred of Bueller in you asilon. Excellent!

It's been a long time since I saw the film, but didn't Ferris, after the failure of his glib, harebrained scheme to remove the mileage put on the car by those low class parking garage attendants, offer to take the rap for it, thus giving Cameron the opportunity to square his shoulders and decide to face his dad himself?

I mean, I hate that f*&ker Ferris, but I'd hate to be unfair to him.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:39 PM
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It's 3:37, I haven't had lunch yet, and I haven't read much of anything here. But whoever said upthread that Sifu was absolutely right is absolutely right. Some of the rest of you are nuts. sam k is making sense too, although I think his(?) points might be geographically contextual.

OT: Freudian slip of the day. In making an analogy about a sculptor looking at a block of marble and seeing the statue of David, versus what the rest of us see, I said we saw only "a big hunk of stone."

Thank goodness I caught it before it went out.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:41 PM
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185: I don't know if that's right, but I've heard the same thing. Engines are optimized for efficiency at x mpg. Above or below that, and fuel efficiency drops.

And of course, stop and go traffic is worst for fuel efficiency (if it were just speed that mattered, we wouldn't be talking x city/x+c highway.) I don't think the bicyclist adds much more to that problem on top of general city traffic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:42 PM
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195: According to my understanding, the problem is not that the engine is optimized for slower speeds, it's that wind resistance really kicks in at ~60 mph, given the shape of most automobiles.

(That's what the guys on Car Talk said.)


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 1:58 PM
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194: they're trolling us, Witt. Not to worry, they won't actually kill bicyclists, and may not even wish for a fiery, barren, depopulated Earth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:00 PM
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194: Sifu was absolutely right is absolutely right

Fuck that shit, Sifu==Ferris on a bad day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:00 PM
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198: I prefer to think of myself as more of a Buckaroo Banzai, but sure, the ingenuity of Ferris appealed to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:01 PM
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it's that wind resistance really kicks in at ~60 mph

You can verify this for yourself by driving on the Autobahn. If you are driving at 100kph (roughly 60mph) and you suddenly let off the gas pedal without hitting the brakes, you decelerate noticeably, but not abruptly. If you are doing 160kph (roughly 100mph) and suddenly let off the gas pedal, you feel an abrupt slowdown, like hitting on the brakes in normal driving.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:02 PM
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But Sifu! Ferris is BAD! Didn't you read 164? Why won't you listen??


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:07 PM
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201: no man who can be that mischievous with a synthesizer can be truly bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:09 PM
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Well, there's nothing special about 100 or 160kph. It's just that wind resistance grows really really fast on the order of velocity^3. Some really neat wind resistance modeling for bicycles here:
http://analyticcycling.com/


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:10 PM
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Go live on a floodplain.

So, you wanna dance again, Jetpack? Is that it?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:13 PM
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I think bicyclists should pull over if they are impeding more than a couple of cars for more than a minute or two.

I think motorists should drive smaller and narrower cars if they are clogging the roadways for more than a minute or two.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:14 PM
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204: don't think I don't know about the levees on the Sacramento, mister.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:16 PM
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199: 198: I prefer to think of myself as more of a Buckaroo Banzai, but sure, the ingenuity of Ferris appealed to me.

Don't mind us, we're just bitter, clinging to our misanthropy, stand mixers and aerobies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:18 PM
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whenever I'm driving I'm aware of the fact that I'm being a much bigger asshole, environmentally, than anybody on a bicycle or motorcycle, in addition to taking a lot less risk, so I try to give them space and -- where possible without being a jerk about it -- help them not get hit by other cars.

I agree with Sifu. Give the people on bikes a wide berth. Let us encourage bicycle transportation, not discourage it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:20 PM
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207: Hunting aerobies, with razor sharp edges.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:29 PM
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209: I'm the Sheik of Aerobie!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 2:31 PM
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179: b, if I can't make semi-nonsensical complaints here, where am I supposed to do it?

189: I haven't been to the beach, since, like last month. So, no lardass, scrawny-legged is debatable.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 3:12 PM
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193 - Probably, the manipulative little git. My kids of course now think Ferris (and probably Sifu) is supercool. Not that they understand, "So that's how it is in their family."

(We had to ban them from saying "69, dude!" after they watched Bill & Ted..)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 3:27 PM
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This was said a long time ago, and we're mostly over the earnest discussion part, but:

Even worse, they slow down their lane, and then when we get to a red light, they treat it as a stop sign and go through it while everyone else has to wait. Then when it turns green it takes the cars about five seconds to speed up and then get stuck behind the bike again.

Doesn't make much sense as a complaint. Or, rather, reveals the fundamental irrationality of the complaint. The driver is angry that the rider goes through the red light "while everyone else has to wait" (Oh! the injustice!); then he's angry again when "the cars about five seconds to speed up and then get stuck behind the bike again." So you mean that the cyclist rolling through the red light had no ill effect on your life whatsoever? But you're really annoyed about this?

Anyway, Sifu was (of course) right that cyclists clearing the intersection pre-green is optimal for drivers - it allows turners to do their thing, and ups the chances of drivers to have room to pass the cyclist in the middle of the next block (where there's likely to be fewer cars in the opposite lane). But I think that 23 revealed the real resentment about red lights: "Why should she get to go, while I'm stuck here?" Yes, for about 15 more seconds. Just like you would if there were no cyclist. And now, thanks to the cyclist's law-flouting, you have a better chance to move quickly when the light changes.

But, by all means, nurse that resentment. It keeps you young.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 3:54 PM
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Also, on poor cyclists: Bicycling mag did a story in Dec. 2005 about "Invisible" cyclists - the poor day workers riding shitty pseudo-mountain bikes as their only transport. The story's in LA, and suggests that close to half the riders out there are in this category. I certainly notice about as many "invisible" cyclists as spandex-clad and hipsters around here.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:05 PM
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Last thing: I feel more nervous out on country roads than city streets. Probably largely a function of where I've done most of my riding, but the bottom line is that city drivers are going slower on streets where they expect to see non-cars. It's awfully easy for a driver closing on me at 40+ MPH to scan the road, see no other cars, and reach down for a CD or whatever. I'd never have a chance, riding on the shoulder or anywhere else. It's not clear to me how Cala is driving in places where cyclists are sneaking up on her from behind at stoplights, yet she doesn't need to be alert for objects of all shapes, sizes, and speeds.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:09 PM
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If you assume that it's hard for cars to pass bicyclists mid-block, it's a valid complaint. All the waiting for a gap to get by is neutralized, and rather than cruising comfortably down the road at 50 mph, they sit behind a bike, pass it, stop, get passed, etc.

Nursing resentment about other drivers is, of course, silly. If they want to go faster than you, let them by. If you want to go faster than them, pass them. If they won't let you, take comfort in the fact that someone with weaker self-control will no doubt fly off the handle and shoot them or run them off the road.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:15 PM
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Last thing: I feel more nervous out on country roads than city streets. Probably largely a function of where I've done most of my riding, but the bottom line is that city drivers are going slower on streets where they expect to see non-cars. It's awfully easy for a driver closing on me at 40+ MPH to scan the road, see no other cars, and reach down for a CD or whatever. I'd never have a chance, riding on the shoulder or anywhere else. It's not clear to me how Cala is driving in places where cyclists are sneaking up on her from behind at stoplights, yet she doesn't need to be alert for objects of all shapes, sizes, and speeds.

Oddly enough, there are two main routes from SF to my place of employment. One goes down El Camino, the other goes down Skyline, then cuts into San Bruno. Skyline has a reasonably wide shoulder and cars go 60 mph; El Camino has slower traffic but intersections, driveways, parking lots, etc.

I've always assumed that the odds of a car just randomly running in to me while I'm riding down the side of the street are pretty low compared to the odds of a car pulling out or turning in front of me, but most of my co-workers are much more scared of Skyline than El Camino.

Bizarre.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:20 PM
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There are a number of things going on w.r.t fuel efficiency. Some important ones.

- air friction goes as velocity cubed. That means it always wins eventually, and this starts to dominates somewhere around 60 mpg.
- cars idle inefficiently. This kills you in stop and go where there is a lot of stop. (this is one reason hybrids do very well in city traffic)
- more generally, there are power curve tradeoffs in transmission and fuel systems designed around expected speeds.
- accleration is much more expensive than maintaining speed. so jackrabbit starts kill you. generally, slow accelleration and decelleration between lights will use much less fuel
- keep your tires properly inflated, it makes a big difference


Posted by: opinionated mechnic | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:24 PM
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179: b, if I can't make semi-nonsensical complaints here, where am I supposed to do it

Oh, feel free, just as long as you're okay with me smacking you down when your complaints are bad ones.

"Invisible" cyclists - the poor day workers riding shitty pseudo-mountain bikes as their only transport. The story's in LA, and suggests that close to half the riders out there are in this category.

I'd say 2/3rds of the bicyclists here in Ventura, and probably more like 80% of the folks who like me use bikes as their regular round town transportation.

Which is another good thing about bikes; they break down the bullshit barriers that make suburban mommies like me think there aren't any poor people, or that we have nothing in common.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 4:43 PM
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JRoth, it's the combination of "I have legal rights!" and "I don't have to follow the law."

I have no objection to bike lanes. Get them built. I also have no objection to bicycles. I just feel about them the same as I would if joggers ran in the middle of the lane: uninterested in their feelings of entitlement or superiority, unsympathetic to their complaints about obnoxious behavior.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:02 PM
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If you assume that it's hard for cars to pass bicyclists mid-block, it's a valid complaint.

But it's not. I mean, I've bike commuted hundreds of days, and cars could pass me mid-block, not at intersections. At an intersection, I'm either (A) at the front of the line, beside the first car, or (B) in the middle of the line, right in the middle of the lane. If it's (A), then maybe the first guy outpaces me on the green, but no one else does, and the cars coming the other way through the green make passing me impossible. If it's (B), then obviously no one who was behind me before the light will be passing me at or after the light... until mid-block, perhaps.

One of the things I don't think drivers understand is that cyclists know drivers very well - most of us drive as well, but regardless, we're surrounded by cars at all times - whereas (the vast majority of) drivers have no fucking clue what cyclists are doing - they don't see very many, and they don't recognize the particulars of their encounter. This is part of why the conversations tend more towards heat than light - we know exactly what you're on about, and you generally sound clueless yet angry. It's condescending to say (you're all bitter!), but it's so fucking true.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:02 PM
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I feel solidarity with the poor folk when I ride my $4,000 Serotta to work.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:04 PM
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probably more like 80% of the folks who like me use bikes as their regular round town transportation

Keep keying cars and 100% of the people who like you will ride bikes.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:05 PM
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220: the difference, of course, is that joggers actually have a right-of-way. Sharing the road with you, for a jogger, would be illegal. Bicycles, on the other hand, are entreated by law to share the road with you, and are forbidden from riding on the sidewalk. So what you're really saying is that bicycles should be banned anywhere there isn't a designated bikeway which -- given that bike lanes are mixed use -- is everywhere.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:05 PM
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Sorry, bike paths are mixed use. I gather that you're okay with people riding from one end of the bike lane to the other which -- given that they almost never actually connect up properly -- is all you would be able to do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:07 PM
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Napi, it has nothing to do with entitlement. The best way for everyone to move through the right of way is for cyclists to treat red lights as stop signs. The simple reality is that they bug you because they slow you down. It has not a thing to do with rights or laws. A cyclist going 10 MPH down the middle of the lane, in front of your car, is slowing you down and obeying the letter of the law. And pissing you off. A cyclist turning left at a red light (after slowing down to check for traffic, obvs.) is getting out of you fucking way and disobeying the law. And pissing you off.

So please don't try to tell me that you're being reasonable, and that cyclists should stop oppressing you. Share the goddamn road - we pay for it, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:10 PM
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I have no objection to bike lanes. Get them built. I also have no objection to bicycles. I just feel about them the same as I would if joggers ran in the middle of the lane: uninterested in their feelings of entitlement or superiority, unsympathetic to their complaints about obnoxious behavior.

Nápi, I'm trying hard not troll, but what you are saying is just crap. Since you feel this way about cyclists, surely you must the same way about motorists, especially those in luxury cars. Although I find minivan drivers to be the biggest assholes on the road.


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:12 PM
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Alright, we managed to make it rancorous again! Woot!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:12 PM
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I didn't say they should be banned. I said they should be considerate drivers. I encounter bikes fairly frequently -- certainly more often than once a month in the summer. It's not my lack of experience with them that makes me irritated with them.

I ride downtown myself, now and then, but not on the arterials at rush hour.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:13 PM
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I absolutely feel the same way about minivans going 10 mph on a road where the flow is otherwise 40.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:14 PM
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How frequently do people actually key cars? (Has anyone here done it?)

A friend of mine reports having seen a fancy sports car on the road with a vanity plate reading "YBPOOR". He said he's been tempted to key cars before, but probably would have done that one, given the chance.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:15 PM
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I avoid arterials at rush hour: it's common sense. But the difference between a bicycle and a minivan is that the bicycle can go as fast as possible and still be going slower than the flow of traffic. Should horse and carriages be banned from streets? Same difference.

There are, obviously, inconsiderate bike riders. There are also inconsiderate drivers. It's just that it's only bikers who get judged as a group: nobody says "minivans should get off the road!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:16 PM
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I'm not actually pissed about bikes running red lights, on entitlement grounds. That was trollery, I admit, although it may approach Ugh's (lightly held, I'd guess) position. Running red lights, though, is part of the unpredictability with which I do have an issue.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:18 PM
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nobody says "minivans should get off the road!"

People say it about SUVs all the time, spinmeister.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:20 PM
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I meant that there are TONS of motorists, especially luxury car drivers, who are "uninterested in their feelings of entitlement or superiority, unsympathetic to their complaints about obnoxious behavior."

Motorists are surely some of the most entitled and obnoxious people on earth. Anytime I slow them down, I love saying to them, "TOO BAD."


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:20 PM
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233: I mean, I agree that consideration between bikes and cars should be a two way street (so to speak), and I further agree that until there are either a hell of a lot more bikes (like, more than cars) or a lot more dedicated bike lanes, that isn't going to happen. Still and all, we can both agree what should happen, and I would argue that putting all (or most) of the onus on bicycles, because they're a minority, is missing a number of important points.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:21 PM
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234: tee hee.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:21 PM
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It's just that it's only bikers who get judged as a group

Oh yeah. I've never heard anyone who rides a bike complain, generically, about drivers. That can't be what (the vast majority of) drivers have no fucking clue what cyclists are doing or I find minivan drivers to be the biggest assholes on the road amount to.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:24 PM
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I think people who don't ride bikes don't have a sense of how terrifying it is to be biking somewhere -- because that's how you get around -- and to be forced, just by virtue of road design, to be in the way of somebody who is really angry at you and could instantly kill you if they wanted.

Concealed carry for bike riders! Level that playing field a bit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:24 PM
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certainly more often than once a month in the summer.

This is supposed to be often? A bike commuter will encounter a couple hundred cars every single workday. A casual recreational cyclist will encounter a couple hundred cars once or twice a week. As I say, it's a completely different experience (FWIW, as I've said here before, I've had vanishingly few bad experiences with cars, in thousands of miles of almost exclusively urban riding, in a city with a not-good rep for cyclist/driver interactions; I think the whole thing is pretty overblown, but then fear of the unfamiliar always is).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:27 PM
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238: oh well, those are the bad kind of cyclists. Don't listen to them.

Anyhow, I will swallow my inchoate sense of victimhood in the spirit of comity.

239: I knew several messengers who rigged quick draws on their bags for kryptonite locks and, in one case, one of these.

I myself once kicked the bumper of a car that almost ran me over, causing the driver to chase me for two miles, trying to run me over.

I can understand his point: the (rubber) bumper might have been scuffed!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:28 PM
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The last part of 241 may actually help explain the intensity of my feeling: I wager not that many people here have had a cyclist actually try to kill them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:29 PM
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215
Last thing: I feel more nervous out on country roads than city streets. Probably largely a function of where I've done most of my riding, but the bottom line is that city drivers are going slower on streets where they expect to see non-cars. It's awfully easy for a driver closing on me at 40+ MPH to scan the road, see no other cars, and reach down for a CD or whatever.

I'd say the reverse (probably as a function of where I've done most of my riding). When biking in the country, cars might not notice me, but I can notice them a lot more easily than in town, where cars are coming and going from all directions.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:30 PM
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I've had vanishingly few bad experiences with cars

One is all it takes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:30 PM
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238: Yeah, but I only said it in response to provocation. Plus, it's true, and not derogatory as such (most toddlers have no fucking clue about particle physics; I'll stand by that). Indeed, 240 (which says in the parens that IME drivers aren't a big problem) was posted before I saw 238.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:32 PM
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This is from the DC code of municipal regulations:

There shall be no prohibition against any person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the District, so long as the rider does not create a hazard; Provided, that no person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the Central Business District* except on those sidewalks expressly designated by Order of the Mayor, nor shall any person ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in any area outside of the Central Business District if it is expressly prohibited by Order of the Mayor and appropriate signs to such effect are posted.

Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:35 PM
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246: sweet, good for them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:36 PM
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I feel a little puzzled by this thread because my car is definitely small enough that the biker and I can drive side by side if need be, and I can pass them easily - in Boston streets, which are not that wide -- although it scares me because most of them look young and foolhardy, so I still vastly prefer to give them a wide berth.

(yay honda civic hybrid! it fits in better for parallel parking too - though not as much as that tiny new indian car, the tati, which i would love to buy and park perpendicularly to the sidewalk as much as possible - so awesome!)


Posted by: mmf! | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:37 PM
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248: Smarts are neat like that, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:38 PM
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Running red lights, though, is part of the unpredictability with which I do have an issue.

Right, but when bikers try to be predictable--that is, by following all the same rules as cars--you get pissy about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:48 PM
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Alright, I've got to go catch the bus.

I have no problem whatsoever with the bikes that aren't in my way, where they can't be passed, on an arterial, during rush hour. Nor even then if they are on arterials at rush hour but take opportunities to get out of the way for cars, when a long hill makes it especially difficult for them to keep even their reasonable, but slow pace. I don't really see such riders -- they're either on some other street, or have gotten out of the way, so I don't notice them for more than a second as I drive along.

I do see the riders blocking the road saying "too bad" and loving it, because they are in the way. I think my experience is pretty common, and so JRoth, it's not ignorance, but familiarity that leads to the irritation some riders have experienced.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:48 PM
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Not at all, B. I'm not pissy because they're following the same rules as cars. I meant it about minivans: I expect a car that can only drive 10 mph up a long hill to periodically pull over and let other people by. People who won't do this, but instead revel in the inconvenience they cause are assholes.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:51 PM
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I don't really see such riders -- they're either on some other street, or have gotten out of the way, so I don't notice them for more than a second as I drive along.

I do see the riders blocking the road saying "too bad" and loving it, because they are in the way.

The first sentence, I think, explains the second. Some riders have taken to asserting their place on the pavement -- blocking traffic -- because they fear that otherwise they will be invisible to passing traffic, making e.g. left turns and parked cars tremendously risky things to deal with. This is the operating principle of Critical Mass.

It is meant to be annoying, which is sort of hostile, and it doesn't particularly represent my philosophy of bike riding, but I definitely understand how they got there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:52 PM
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People who won't do this, but instead revel in the inconvenience they cause are assholes.

That's fair enough.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 5:55 PM
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So the middle-aged guy in the Mercedes who blows through the stop sign is the very picture of insensitive male privilege, and a poster-boy for the evils of capitalism to boot.

Actually, in this case, you are right. Mercedes drivers (at least in Tokyo) are just a**holes.

There's this road near me where two lanes have to merge into one. Traffic backs up way behind the actual merge point as people wait their turn to merge into a single lane of cars. Every now and then, some genius figures out that he can cut the whole line and drive up the one empty lane to the actual merge point, and then bully his way into line. Virtually every time I notice this behavior, the car in question is a Merc.

Also, BMW drivers are a close second.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:06 PM
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People say it about SUVs all the time, spinmeister.

But the difference is that SUVs should get off the road. And maybe minivans too. I haven't decided just how strict my nanny state is going to be, once I seize power.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:10 PM
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249: yes, Smart cars are great. They're intended for cities, but you can even go on the highway in them, because if you floor the gas pedal they will go 60... and the feeling is just - scoot! It's a little disorienting to look out the back window though, and see where the butt of your car ends. (I guess they feel more anthropomorphic too).


Posted by: mmf! | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:10 PM
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I haven't decided just how strict my nanny state is going to be, once I seize power.

You can ban minivans only if you mandate the return of station wagons with seatbelted jump seats. People with large families (like my friend who had two sets of twins!) need some way to schlep the kids around.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:14 PM
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258: what, a roof rack's too good for 'em?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:15 PM
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Station wagons are way better than minivans. That rear-facing back seat was the best place to ride.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:19 PM
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Also, I believe minivans are the preferred form of transportation if you, or someone in your family, has a wheelchair. I'm afraid we have to allow minivans.

But there's nothing an SUV can do that the old Subaru Legacy 4wd couldn't do, so fuck 'em.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:23 PM
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I am not ready to drive a Smart Car on the freeway. But I totally want to zip around in one in the city. A friend's wife calls them "shoes." Look! she apparently cries out gleefully whenever she sees one. A shoe! I also own two model Smart Cars, of different scales, bought at the Rome Smart Car boutique? dealership? shop thingy. In conclusion: Smart Cars are cute.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:24 PM
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258: Maybe in mcmctopia all those kids will be redistributed. Or raised collectively.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:24 PM
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The wisdom of the market is taking care of your hated SUV. They can't give them away with gas at $4 per gallon.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:25 PM
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Mercedes drivers (at least in Tokyo) are just a**holes

In Germany, the joke goes that a Mercedes comes with a built-in right of way as standard equipment.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:25 PM
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I think minivans are fine, actually. There's a particularly nice all-wheel-drive Dodge Grand Caravan that'll go anywhere you want it to.

They get much better gas mileage than SUVs, that's for sure.

Of course I don't want to ban those, not really. People should be free to choose the form of transportation that suits them best, within reasonably limits.

Of course, when I look at the line of full-size SUVs parked outside my door, here in downtown Boston, I wonder if people are really all that good at doing that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:26 PM
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Station wagons are also excellent for transporting your llamas.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:26 PM
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267: my favorite part is "Toyota" hand-painted on the back.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:27 PM
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My favorite part is the llamas, because they are so chill and awesome. But my second favorite part is definitely the hand-painted "Toyota".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:30 PM
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253: I'm of the "take up enough of the lane so cars have to move over to pass you" philosophy.

This doesn't mean "ride in the middle of the lane", but I always give my self 3-4 feet to my right.

It's far more dangerous to hug the curb, because (a) you don't have as much room to get to the right if you need to, and (b) if you make a car move over to pass you, they'll give you plenty of room.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:34 PM
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The wisdom of the market is taking care of your hated SUV. They can't give them away with gas at $4 per gallon.

Not a moment too soon, TLL. But before you get too aroused by the wisdom of the market, I hasten to point out that, if the full cost of "projecting power" into the Gulf region had been captured in retail price of gasoline for the last 25 years--much less the full price of carbon emissions--the Ford Expedition would never have seen the light of day.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:34 PM
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258: Maybe in mcmctopia all those kids will be redistributed. Or raised collectively.

Great idea, oudemia. And I think we'll genetically modify them so we have worker bees and a leisure class. Just to be nasty.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:39 PM
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Never mind the nanny state, I need some llamas to ride on top of my car now.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:41 PM
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They can't give them away with gas at $4 per gallon

Actually I saw someone driving a Hummer with temporary plates on it the other day. Apparently being a stupid asshole doesn't automatically make you poor.

The llamas on the toyota are awesome, but I bet you'd really piss off Napi if you drove around like that during rush hour.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:45 PM
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And I think we'll genetically modify them so we have worker bees and a leisure class.

Been tried. Caused some trouble a few years back, but it's going pretty smoothly now.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:45 PM
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Tragedy of the Commons, KR. Also, remember that the Asian collapse of the late Nineties led to $10 per bbl oil, and the slowdown after 9/11 kept prices low. Smarter policy may have helped.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02E0D81530F931A35752C0A9649C8B63


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:50 PM
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270: my general theory is to give cars as little chance to hit me as possible, so I try not to stay alongside them, or if I am I try to anticipate where they're going and not be there. This means I'm in lanes a fair bit when I'm in the city, which works in Boston but works less well in SF, where I ran a light and had a guy drive up onto the sidewalk after me: time number two somebody tried to hit me with their car.

As I have said here before, I used to be a huge asshole. Now I mostly ride places that are pleasant and wide, and try not to break traffic laws in ways that will upset poor sensitive drivers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:52 PM
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274b made me laugh so hard my mouth hurt. I was at the dentist's today and the anaesthetic is finally wearing off. I really wanted to paint tonight, but I think instead I will dig up my old bottle of vicodin and get stoned.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 6:53 PM
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Running lights is dickish. DICKISH, I SAY! It makes me fuckin' nuts in my capacity as pedestrian, though not as much as riding on the sidewalk or in crosswalks. But driving onto the sidewalk in pursuit is, in fact, even dickisher.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:03 PM
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not as much as riding on the sidewalk or in crosswalks.

See? If you try to make the car people happy, you piss off the walkers. If you try to make the walkers happy, you piss off the car people.

(That said, I'd rather be considerate of the pedestrians, though I confess--to my sorrow!--that I do occasionally ride on the sidewalk or in crosswalks, especially if I've got PK on back and the other option is to try to cross several lanes of fast-moving traffic. But as I get stronger, i.e., faster, I'm being better about this.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:06 PM
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279: if it helps, there were no pedestrians, and traffic was gridlocked through the intersection, so it's not like the guy was going anywhere even when the light turned, nor like there was cross traffic. Really I think he was just angry I was moving and he wasn't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:08 PM
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262: i was in portugal, where there are a lot more Smartcars (and fewer vehicles in general) on the road.

and we took sea-cliff-side hairpin curves in the Smartcar - woo!

(my friend drove).


Posted by: mmf! | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:15 PM
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#258: You can ban minivans only if you mandate the return of station wagons with seatbelted jump seats. People with large families (like my friend who had two sets of twins!) need some way to schlep the kids around.

No, they should just have fewer kids and stop hogging our planet's limited resources; this will become mandatory once we adopt a China-style one-child policy. Parents who already have more than one kid will be asked to choose their favorite.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:27 PM
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Sifu, fwiw I once had a couple of guys hit me with the trailer mirror on their pickup coming up to a light. Not hard enough for real damage. Anyway they yelled at me about being in the way so I tore off the mirror and handed it to the passenger. Fun times.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:37 PM
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284: heh. I knocked a mirror off once, but really it was all my fault.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:38 PM
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they yelled at me about being in the way so I tore off the mirror and handed it to the passenger

That's very awesome, especially if they didn't then get out of their truck and beat the crap out of you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:43 PM
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286: nice thing about a bike, it's very easy to get away if you have red lights and sidewalks handy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:45 PM
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That's very awesome, especially if they didn't then get out of their truck and beat the crap out of you.

Could've been much, much worse.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 7:52 PM
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288: not as grizzly, but heartrendingly stupid... In my sisters city there was a guy on his bike hit from behind by a drunk in a pickup truck late at night. The drunk took off an d hid the truck at his girlfriends place, never realizing the cyclist had ended up unconscious in the truck bed. He bled to death in her driveway....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:02 PM
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288: Lord have mercy, that is awful. Reminds me of this notorious case.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:07 PM
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Knecht vs. Knecht: true crime gross-off!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:07 PM
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Errr, I meant 289. But you've got me dead to rights on the oneupsmanship aspect.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:12 PM
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290: yikes, I remember reading about that one. I tried to google a reference to the other one, but it wasn't immediate, and I'm lazy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04-14-08 9:12 PM
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