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Mykeru
01-07-2011, 11:17 AM
Today I was biking in later than usual due to a dentist's appointment.

My normal route takes me along the Reflecting Pool, past the World War II Memorial, where I take the path down to the lock house where I cross 17th and Constitution. To me, this intersection is notorious. For whatever reason cars making the turn have divested themselves of the usual DC driver's attitude towards crosswalks, that they are optional and a proving ground for asymmetrical power relationships. Instead, many of the cars making that turn have a "no way in hell am I stopping attitude".

This intersection (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=17th+and+Constitution,+washington+dc&sll=38.891791,-77.039333&sspn=0.00138,0.002481&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Constitution+Ave+NW+%26+17th+St+NW,+Washingt on,+District+of+Columbia,+20006&ll=38.89211,-77.039459&spn=0.00069,0.001241&t=h&z=20).

So, for that reason I'm normally very cautious. I slow, even stop at the lip of the curb and clearly indicate my intention to cross and, if need be, let a seemingly impatient or inattentive driver do what he's going to do.

Today I slowed, then stopped at the crosswalk. I let one car preparing to turn go and then, at about 10:10 am, entered the crosswalk.

I was perhaps one and a half bike lengths into it when a car which has been stopped behind the car I let go first suddenly gunned it, nearly turning into my back wheel and laid on his horn.

What. The. Hell.

I immediately unclipped and swung the bike around, effectively blocking the vehicle.

I pulled the muffler from around my lower face and the conversation ran like this:

"What? It's a CROSSWALK"

Behind the glass the driver, a late middle-aged white guy wearing a fleece cap, angrily mouthed at me, gesturing that he wanted to turn, which apparently trumped everything.

"I was in the cross walk BEFORE you"

The driver continued to shout and gestured dismissively. Apparently he had important things to do, or, at least, far more important than me going through a crosswalk in a safe manner.

I yelled at him: "Well, maybe if you weren't such an ASSHOLE we wouldn't be wasting time like this!"

Now, I have to give props to this aging sedan driver. He played it perfectly. He held up his hands apologetically. Although I doubted his sincerity, I thought I made my point.

No sooner had I swung my bike back around, almost clipped into the left pedal so I could throw my leg over, he gunned it, catching my back wheel and causing the bike to slice under me, knocking me off my feet. The engine roared, I felt the contact and the next thing I knew, I was watching his front driver's side wheel passing six inches from my head.

Totally suckered. I swear: He literally waited until my back was turned.

Then he took off. I scrambled to right the bike and chase after him, but as luck would have it, the light further down 17th street was green and he got clean away. I'm not sure if the light was red if he would have stopped.

Don't believe it? Yeah, well, even as I write this, I still don't believe how quickly and easily some Washington DC driver graduated from being an inconsiderate prick to a hit-and-run felon.

On reflection, there are a few things I will do, anticipating the next incident, and you can be sure there will be one:

1. I was too fixated on t he driver to really remember the make and model of the car, let alone the license plate. All I know is it was a late-model sedan, in that weird metallic mauve color. In the future, I will take special pains to note the license number.

2. For that purpose, I have an Oregon Scientific helmet cam that I used to wear. It's coming out of storage because I'm sure some people on the forum either think I did too much to provoke the driver, or didn't do enough to provoke him into nearly running me down (and so therefore it didn't happen). From my own experience and other's, I wouldn't waste my breath telling the cops about this without a flight data recording of the incident.

3. Back when I rode a motorcycle I carried 6 oz lead fishing weights in my tank bag. Time to start carrying them again. You can string them from the hole that runs through them, securing them to the handlebars with twine that will hold them in place, but is easily broken if tugged. You can figure out what they're for.

Now, I can anticipate some of the responses of people on this forum, especially the one's so concerned about "bad apple" bicyclists who think everything will be hugs and bunnies between motorists and us if we just manage to enforce a 100% good- biker-all-the-time policy.

First, I'm not a "bad apple" biker. Bad ass, maybe (insert wink here), but not bad apple. I stop at read lights. I make my intentions clear. I give right of way. I'm kind to pedestrians. At night I'm lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

I also bike all-season, rain, sleek or snow and deserve common decency and respect because, most of the time, I give it.

Now responses:


1. You're too confrontational.

As I said, I deserve respect. If someone is unwilling to respect me, then they can fear me, occassional forays into getting run the hell over notwithstanding. My mistake in this instance was giving the motorist benefit of the doubt for not being a yellow bastard whose courage came from 4 wheels and a chassis. I wasn't seeking confrontation, but this motorist was. Or, at least, thought he could have it his way without consequences.

That's what situationally sociopathic human sphincters count on: That they can do their thing while everyone else is too timid to do anything but just let it happen.

You, however, as a bicyclist -- and a human being -- can be as cowardly as you want while I do the work in the trenches you will benefit from.

2. You escalated the situation.

Again, I hope you find the level of abject, pants-pissing submission and appeasement that works for you. But, as I indicated in a response to another thread, some motorists just don't like bicyclists and don't really need a reason for thinking its their road and you have no right to it. So you can try to bike in a certain way, and then give up biking entirely until the only thing that's bothering the people who are bothered is your very existence.

Ultimately, you can become eligible for a posthumous Neville Chamberlain award for superior appeasement.

3. You just made the whole thing up and/or it didn't happen that way.

Well, all that tells me is that, despite posting on the WABA forum, you don't bike in DC much.

Aside from all that, I don't really have much of a larger lesson to extrapolate from this, except that due to politics or the economy or the gravitational forces of the moon, drivers might be more ugly than usual. Or maybe they've always been that way. Something in the dynamic is wrapped up in the American fixation with status and power and kicking anyone perceived as weaker or more vulnerable.

Most importantly, it's worth keeping in mind that half the people you deal with in any situation are, by definition, below average intelligence.

Tim Kelley
01-07-2011, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the report! Were you hurt? Is the bike okay?

I've found that when I have the right of way at particularly difficult interesections, getting off the bike and walking it through the crosswalk seems to garner less dirty looks and honks than riding it through.

gregbilling
01-07-2011, 11:45 AM
Did you call the police / get a police report? I know that it isn't the first thing on your mind after a terrible situation like this but it's worth it.

WABA is working with Councilmember Mendelson to hold a hearing about pedestrian and cyclist safety and how MPD helps (or doesn't) help in enforcing the law. So, it's important that people are calling the police and that the police are doing their jobs correctly.

I hope you're ok.

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 11:57 AM
Tim,

When I hit the ground I landed on my elbow, but I wear Six-Six-One elbow/forearm guards. Experience there.

My bike is anything but fragile. The other day I was carry a box of hunting boots (for camping) on the back when one of the bungees snapped and the cord and hook swung into the back wheel. And then got chewed up and spat out. Over the years I've taken my stock Giant Warp DS2 and modified it so it's basically tough as a mountain bike, fast as a road bike and suitable for pretty much all terrain.

The thing in question:

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x78/mykeru/bike/thebeastdownload.jpg

I agree that getting off the bike gets less honks and dirty looks, but at the same time, it makes me even more vulnerable. I'm not sure which is better. It's like this: My biking clothes tend, like the bike, to be all black and grey and a lot of florescent yellow. The thing is, that works if drivers are merely inattentive. If they are actually trying to kill me, then camouflage might be a better option.

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 12:05 PM
Greg,

Unfortunately, and I know we have to go through process and all, after a point I've decided that any interaction with the police, over biking or otherwise, isn't in my best interests.

Way back when Alice Swanson was run over in Dupont Circle, I took a video camera to document abuse of the bike lanes. The police didn't care about cars using the bike lanes, or delivery trucks unloading kegs right in the bike lane. What they were concerned about, of course, was having me present ID for the suspicious activity of videotaping in public. That's one of about a dozen Terry Stops I've gotten for taking pictures.

At the same time, one cyclist who asked what I was doing told me that once they were hit by a car and, while they are laying in hospital, the police dropped by to write them a citation for failure to yield.

A lot of my failure to report (and remember, I have nothing, like a license, to report) has to do with my perception of the role of the police these days: When swat teams show up evict people in foreclosure you can pretty much figure out "protect and serve" isn't on their list of priorities like, oh, traffic revenue and kicking hippies is.

So, unless it's absolutely, positively necessary, I don't talk to the police. Ever. They aren't there to help me.

acc
01-07-2011, 12:33 PM
I think maybe it's time to mount an RPG on your bike.
Seriously, I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope over the next few days your body doesn't come up with new injuries.
I don't trust motorists. Been hit in a crosswalk by an idiot who stared at me the entire time he glided into me. Then left the scene. Hope you're ok.

ann

CCrew
01-07-2011, 01:24 PM
Yikes. Glad you're ok. That's the most important of all. And far from condemning you, I think you handled it fine. Classic case about drivers thinking surrounding themselves in a ton or so of steel makes them superior.

eminva
01-07-2011, 02:26 PM
Wow, very sorry to hear this. I hope you are okay. We all dread this encounter and I wouldn't criticize anything you did.

Love your bike!

Liz

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 02:40 PM
I think maybe it's time to mount an RPG on your bike.
Seriously, I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope over the next few days your body doesn't come up with new injuries.
I don't trust motorists. Been hit in a crosswalk by an idiot who stared at me the entire time he glided into me. Then left the scene. Hope you're ok.

ann

Ann...Well, he just didn't see you...

Isn't it appalling how that excuse actually flies? After Alice Swanson was killed in a right hook by a garbage truck, the truck driver was able to say "Well, I didn't see her" and that was good enough.

Me, I'm not at all injured. I'm pretty resilient and I wear body armor on my arms.

One day a couple months ago I was out shopping. On my bike with my Bob Ibex trailer when a guy outside REI in Bailey's Crossroads saw the Six-Six-One guards I wear and said "That's a good idea", then lifted up his arm to show his elbow. It looked like someone took a spoon to the skin and scooped it out. The arm guards not only protect me in a fall, but when herded into a stationary object by some idiot, I've been able to use them to slide along and recover nicely, rather than putting out my arms and breaking them, or hitting handlebar-first, which never ends well.

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 02:43 PM
Yikes. Glad you're ok. That's the most important of all. And far from condemning you, I think you handled it fine. Classic case about drivers thinking surrounding themselves in a ton or so of steel makes them superior.

I'm sure that one can do an entire psychological study of the American psyche related to cars. From doing it in the back seat, to status, to the psychology of tailgaters and people who cause congestion by obsessive lane changing. In fact, I'm sure someone has.

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 02:51 PM
Wow, very sorry to hear this. I hope you are okay. We all dread this encounter and I wouldn't criticize anything you did.

Love your bike!

Liz

Nice to know I handled it within the tolerance levels of my Scottish-Italian heritage. I was sure someone was going to inflict me with Internet Omniscience.

Love my bike too, that's six years of modification, including all Shimano gear sets, including an extra-large third chainring so I can power downhill.

You see, way back when I was married, my then wife wouldn't let me buy a high-end bike. So I told her I was going to buy a mid-line bike and then, when anything broke or wore out, I would replace it with the best parts. Grady at Papillon Bikes refers to it as "The Giant with no stock parts left".

Of course, my then wife would complain when parts wore out. She would say "Can't you bike more carefully", as if that would prevent parts wearing out when I was biking 100 miles a week. It was either her or the bike. I obviously still have the bike.

And where I moved on Columbia Pike, its now only 50 miles a week to commute. Irony abounds.

Joe Chapline
01-07-2011, 02:55 PM
Ann...Well, he just didn't see you...

Isn't it appalling how that excuse actually flies? After Alice Swanson was killed in a right hook by a garbage truck, the truck driver was able to say "Well, I didn't see her" and that was good enough.

There was a case a few years ago when a woman killed a cyclist while driving with frost all over her car windows, and I think she was lighting a cigarette. Her defense was that she didn't see the cyclist. I should check my facts before I post, but I think that was in Maryland, which at the time had a very difficult standard to prove "gross negligence," which would make it a more serious crime. She had to pay a small fine. There was some movement recently on changing that standard for drivers who injure or kill someone, that may have passed, I'm not sure.

What happened to you was not negligence, though, that was assault with a deadly weapon. I'm glad you're not hurt.

CCrew
01-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Grady at Papillon Bikes refers to it as "The Giant with no stock parts left".



I have a Trek that I can say the same thing about. I hear there's a 12 step program for it... I'd never make the first 10 days!

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 03:21 PM
I have a Trek that I can say the same thing about. I hear there's a 12 step program for it... I'd never make the first 10 days!

"We admitted we were powerless over upgrading and our lives became unmanageable"?

Just161
01-07-2011, 05:10 PM
Wow, Mykeru, what a crappy crappy thing. I don't think you escalated the situation - in fact, I'm impressed you stayed as calm as you did. I've reacted much worse in similar situations.

Something about being behind a windshield makes you forget that the world around you is still full of living, breathing fellow human beings. The willful anger that driving can induce in otherwise normal people is frightening.

Not sure if it would help, but you could send your letter to DDOT or NPS or someone and see if they could put up a sign or something? Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but we shouldn't let these kinds of things go completely unreported. At worst, reporting and complaining does nothing. At best, it might help the situation in the future.

Glad you and bike are okay.

acc
01-07-2011, 07:21 PM
I am glad you are ok and came out of this misadventure in one piece. I am sorry you weren't supported in your cycling, that stinks on so many levels. Please let us know of any new soreness or injuries surface over the next two days. As a former nurse I can tell you it may not hit you for 48 hours. But you already know that I am sure. Most of all, keep fighting the good fight and look into that RPG thing, maybe a small caliber machine gun mounted turret-style would work.

Ann

Mykeru
01-07-2011, 10:16 PM
I am glad you are ok and came out of this misadventure in one piece.

Well, luckily it was a glancing blow to the bike, which then took me out, but considering, it could have been a lot worse, like this idiot trying to explain what happened to a cop with my head flat on the pavement.


I am sorry you weren't supported in your cycling, that stinks on so many levels.

Yes, well, it was that kind of relationship, but, as I said, I still have the bike.


Please let us know of any new soreness or injuries surface over the next two days. As a former nurse I can tell you it may not hit you for 48 hours. But you already know that I am sure.

Hmmn, a former nurse...well, I do feel a bit of soreness right -- well, that probably won't work


Most of all, keep fighting the good fight and look into that RPG thing, maybe a small caliber machine gun mounted turret-style would work.

I have a vintage M1 carbine I take camping, but right now I think I'll stick with the 6 oz. fishing weights.

acc
01-08-2011, 07:12 AM
I must be naive or simple-minded but I do not understand the reference to the lead fishing weights, obviously something sinister but I can't come up with a clear mental image of what exactly is going on.

I assume you fish with the M1 carbine, right? lol

I was a Navy nurse and took care of sailors and Marines but they were sick and a little scared so they at least pretended to relate to me as a sister or an authority figure, and I mean that in a totally protective way.

Looks like another day of spin class or cleaning the house, or realistically watching movies === "Bicycle Dreams" was terrific, saw it last night. Imagine a coast to coast ride in about nine days.

Mykeru
01-08-2011, 07:16 AM
I must be naive or simple-minded but I do not understand the reference to the lead fishing weights, obviously something sinister but I can't come up with a clear mental image of what exactly is going on.

Lead fishing weights stimulate the auto glass industry.

Hey, it's snowing! I knew it would as soon as I took off my Continental Spike Claw snow tires.

acc
01-08-2011, 07:18 AM
It's good to know there is at least one viable economic stimulus plan out there.

eminva
01-09-2011, 01:37 PM
Hello --

I was telling my husband about this last night and he thought of something I hadn't -- some intersections in DC have cameras mounted on the traffic signal structures (and not just red light cameras that are triggered by scofflaws). If this is one of those intersections, there might be a video record of this incident. The first step of course would be a police report, but it might be worth looking into if there is a camera.

Liz

Mark Blacknell
01-09-2011, 06:39 PM
Sorry to hear about this, Mykeru. Good to hear that you're generally fine, though. It's a bit late now, but please consider filing a report anyway. No, you almost certainly won't get any satisfaction out of it, but you'll be helping your fellow cyclists by building a public record of the problems that we as cyclists face. I got hit in May, and didn't call the police. I regret that now. Wrote a bit about that here (http://blacknell.net/dynamic/2010/06/04/getting-hit-by-a-car-some-lessons/).

Rootchopper
01-09-2011, 06:46 PM
I am sorry to hear about this and hope you are okay. Thanks for posting this so others can be wary.

I hope someone from WABA reads this and then asks drivers to sign a pledge to drive responsibly. Maybe they can team up with AAA.

My daughter is learning to drive. She was - for lack of a better word - offended when she saw a cyclist on the nearly empty GW Parkway in Mount Vernon this morning. I asked her 2 questions: "Why weren't you similarly offended when we saw all the cars in the bike lanes on 9th Street the other night?" And "Who or what is that cyclist harming?" To the latter she said "If I were driving, he'd really scare me." To which I responded, "Then you're not ready to drive on the Parkway."

The anti-bike attitude is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. It's going to take an awful lot of time (and maybe some $5 gas) to change people's minds.

CCrew
01-09-2011, 07:15 PM
I hope someone from WABA reads this and then asks drivers to sign a pledge to drive responsibly. Maybe they can team up with AAA.

Oh, I'm sorry, but this is laughable. It's not going to stop anything like what happened to the OP.

What someone should do is start petitioning MVA's or lawmakers across the country to make the law portion of a drivers license mandatory every X renewals. And then be sure there's a portion of the law test that addresses the laws pertaining to other items they may encounter.. like cyclists or god forbid even pedestrians. Make the test adaptive so that when answer "X" fails it drills in deeper.

Getting people to sign a pledge will only garner the signatures of the people that care to begin with. When Bubba can't get his license renewed because he can't comprehend that a cyclist has the same rights as him it'll sink in. I'm sorry, but it needs to be mandatory. It's not even touched on in drivers ed - I asked both my kids and they said "never".

-R

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 04:14 AM
Hello --

I was telling my husband about this last night and he thought of something I hadn't -- some intersections in DC have cameras mounted on the traffic signal structures (and not just red light cameras that are triggered by scofflaws). If this is one of those intersections, there might be a video record of this incident. The first step of course would be a police report, but it might be worth looking into if there is a camera.

Liz

I'm probably really cynical about social mores and the police, but even if there is a tape of the incident, I'm sure the interpretation will be this: The driver is a "citizen", the guy on the bike is a "scumbag".




I hope someone from WABA reads this and then asks drivers to sign a pledge to drive responsibly. Maybe they can team up with AAA.



Seriously? Is the lady who chirped "I HATE bicyclists" going to sign it? If gas hits $5 a gallon, that'll just give driver's more reason to hate bicyclists. That's the fun of irrational, bigoted hatred: It's fueled by confirmation bias.

CCrew
01-10-2011, 05:57 AM
the guy on the bike is a "scumbag".


Naa, he's on the bike because of DUI's and he's an illegal alien. :)

acc
01-10-2011, 07:11 AM
DUIs and Illegal Immigrant Status? You mean it has nothing to do with a Lycra fetish? I'm soooo disillusioned.;)

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 07:11 AM
Naa, he's on the bike because of DUI's and he's an illegal alien. :)

You know, it's amazing how many motorists assume because I ride a bike, I don't have a car. As if being a bicyclist means you're an anti-car luddite or a homeless person a step up from wheeling a shopping cart.

I have a 2008 Jeep Patriot. Mostly because it's sort of a sub-compact SUV, my bike fits in it nicely, and the name itself provides nice contrast to whatever leftist, anti-theist magnetic bumper stickers I swap out on the back for long drives.

I have explain to motorists who think that way, that as I drive and bike, I speak from experience, whereas as they are solely fat-assed, dumb motorists who would drive around a parking lot for 15 minutes so they don't have to walk 30 extra feet, they are speaking from pure ignorance.

It goes over pretty much as well as you expect.

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 07:16 AM
DUIs and Illegal Immigrant Status? You mean it has nothing to do with a Lycra fetish? I'm soooo disillusioned.;)

Actually, it's more of a black latex fetish but 1. Not on me and 2. It's way off topic.

That's another thing. If you follow sites like Fark, as I do, you can always count on one of the "i hate bikes" threads that some motorist poster will go on about having to stare at a guys ass as it pistons up and down clad in black Lycra. Not that there's anything wrong with that™, but a lot of motorists have a definite latent homo-erotic fixation.

acc
01-10-2011, 08:17 AM
Well, as a woman driver I consider it my civic duty to slow down and carefully observe the pistoning black Lycra from a respectful distance of at least 25 yards no matter how long it takes him to get up that hill. Safety first!

But as someone who was hit on my bike in a crosswalk and lived to tell the tale, I wrote a community impact statement on behalf of Stan Miller who was killed on his bike in Montgomery County.
The man who committed this crime will be sentenced Jan. 14th. The information about where to send a letter/email can be found at the Potomac Peddlers' site. http://www.bikepptc.org/

CCrew
01-10-2011, 08:39 AM
You know, it's amazing how many motorists assume because I ride a bike, I don't have a car. As if being a bicyclist means you're an anti-car luddite or a homeless person a step up from wheeling a shopping cart.


Oh yeah. I have 4 cars, but I've heard that one so many times I'm just pre-emptive and throw it out first :)

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 09:07 AM
Oh yeah. I have 4 cars, but I've heard that one so many times I'm just pre-emptive and throw it out first :)

Well, with all undue respect to Sigmund Freud and everything he was utterly wrong about, sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar.

My bicycle isn't a vehicle. More is tied up in it. For me, biking is a challenge and a discipline. Which is why I not only bike all season and in all weather: That's the point. Sure, it's exercise, but it also carries me out of the mundane and makes for a little daily mini-adventure. I know some people think they're "saving the planet". In fact, that was the grating chant on the one DC Critical Masshole ride I ever participated in "Ride a bike! Save the Planet!", said in exactly the same tone as Gerald Broflovski in the South Park episode "Smug", just without overt smelling of their own farts.

Similarly, cars are an overt status symbol and a way for otherwise unimaginative people to tell others "who they are". A couple years ago I had a 17 year old Toyota that I bought new and was basically running into the ground. It was never a beater, never failed to start or ever broke down until it gave it all up in a massive piston rod throw. Anyway, I dated a girl a couple of times who took it on herself to announce "If we're going to date, you've got to get a new car". For which I was thankful: The car allowed me to find out who she was without wasting too much time.

Also, let's face it: Cars are two tons of armor on wheels. Imagine this: Someone steps in front of someone in a cross walk, which makes the person who was stepped in front of make the point of stepping in front at the next crosswalk, and on it goes, until the pedestrians start cursing at each other and flipping the finger. That never happens. But put them in a car, and it's commonplace. Not only are cars status, but they allow people to vent hostility in a way that reduces personal risk to themselves. That is, in a cowardly sort of manner.

So, when bikes and cars intersect, there's a weird dynamic. The guy in the car thinks he's one up on the bike, because, after all, he has a car. What's more, he's protected, and if he's the sort of sociopath/narcissist that's so common in DC, not getting respect from someone he thinks, by definition, is beneath him is really going to burr his ass. What's more, on a certain level the car driver must also be aware that, in this instance, he's outside the adventure that is biking. Yeah, he's got a car, but it's mundane. He knows he lacks the discipline, physical prowess and increasingly necessary courage to be a cyclist in a car culture. So, that's all the more reason for the car driver to want to put the cyclist down.

Personally, I think it's a measure of how pathological we are as a society that something as simple as biking vs motoring has all these undercurrents of money, power, status, hate, repressed eroticism and resentment.

eminva
01-10-2011, 10:38 AM
Well, just look at the last 60 years of automobile advertising -- it's obvious they've been trying to sell us a lot more than mere transportation for decades.

I wonder if the contempt that some drivers have stems from the opposite impulse of must-be-a-DUI/illegal immigrant -- that being able to pedal to work is a luxury they couldn't afford. To the uninitiated, they might think that to be able to commute by bicycle, one must have (1) more leisure time (it takes longer than driving, and if you have to get to the day care center by 6 p.m., that's a non-starter), (2) fewer obligations (picking up two kids from day care, running errands and taking the kids to soccer practice are also incompatible), (3) more discretionary money (a nice enough bike costs a fair chunk of change) and (4) good health. I'm not saying this is what I think, I'm just considering what their thought process might be. I consider all these obstables to be surmountable, and indeed, I have figured out ways around them.

My bicycle commute started six years ago with a revelation. I usually took the metro to work, but for two weeks I had to drive because of a summer camp my son was attending near my office, but out of metro range. I saw all these people on bicycles who [I]looked like me.[I] Prior to that, I had never considered it. Over the years I have arranged my schedule so that it is doable even with family obligations, and have increased my commitment after moving eight miles further from my office. I hold out hope that some of those drivers, not the hostile ones maybe, but some of them will look at me and all of you and the light bulb will go off in their minds, too.

I got Bike Snob's book for Christmas, and he posits that the way to get motorists' and public officials' respect is not so much through advocacy, but through sheer numbers. The more bicyclists out there, the less they can ignore us. Not sure if he's right, but if he is, I don't think we are at that tipping point yet. I'd love to see us get there.

Liz

acc
01-10-2011, 10:59 AM
Before I bought my bike I admired the cyclists I saw, they moved with grace and fluidity. The only time I flinch when I am around a cyclist in traffic is during the height of rush hour and a cyclist is coming up on my right only to be passed when the cars start moving but I know he's there and I am watching to see where he is going to reappear next. As long as a cyclist is predictable and uses hand signals I give them as much space as I can and they don't bother me. When they cut across traffic without warning or weave back and forth I become nervous because I just don't know what they are going to do next.

When I'm riding and a motorist stops for me to cross a street or is courteous to me I wave and smile and thank them. I try to focus on the gracious behavior out there all the while knowing darn well not to trust drivers.

And I agree, the more cyclists, the more noise we make, the more likely we will achieve respect and not just notoriety. Ride a bike, save a planet. Or whatever....

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 12:56 PM
Well, just look at the last 60 years of automobile advertising -- it's obvious they've been trying to sell us a lot more than mere transportation for decades.

I wonder if the contempt that some drivers have stems from the opposite impulse of must-be-a-DUI/illegal immigrant -- that being able to pedal to work is a luxury they couldn't afford. To the uninitiated, they might think that to be able to commute by bicycle, one must have (1) more leisure time (it takes longer than driving, and if you have to get to the day care center by 6 p.m., that's a non-starter), (2) fewer obligations (picking up two kids from day care, running errands and taking the kids to soccer practice are also incompatible), (3) more discretionary money (a nice enough bike costs a fair chunk of change) and (4) good health. I'm not saying this is what I think, I'm just considering what their thought process might be. I consider all these obstables to be surmountable, and indeed, I have figured out ways around them.

My bicycle commute started six years ago with a revelation. I usually took the metro to work, but for two weeks I had to drive because of a summer camp my son was attending near my office, but out of metro range. I saw all these people on bicycles who [I]looked like me.[I] Prior to that, I had never considered it. Over the years I have arranged my schedule so that it is doable even with family obligations, and have increased my commitment after moving eight miles further from my office. I hold out hope that some of those drivers, not the hostile ones maybe, but some of them will look at me and all of you and the light bulb will go off in their minds, too.

I got Bike Snob's book for Christmas, and he posits that the way to get motorists' and public officials' respect is not so much through advocacy, but through sheer numbers. The more bicyclists out there, the less they can ignore us. Not sure if he's right, but if he is, I don't think we are at that tipping point yet. I'd love to see us get there.

Liz




And I agree, the more cyclists, the more noise we make, the more likely we will achieve respect and not just notoriety.


Sheer numbers, of course, is what distinguishes a religion from a cult.

Mark Blacknell
01-10-2011, 01:16 PM
Sheer numbers, of course, is what distinguishes a religion from a cult.

Well, you're just a basket of flowers, aren't you? Enjoy your ride home, Mykeru. I hope it brings some happiness.

acc
01-10-2011, 01:34 PM
Silly me, I thought it was their 501(c)(3) status that distinguished a cult from a religion. In my experience a cult will not open their financial books but the mainline religions are only to happy to show you where the money goes.

Have a safe ride.

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Well, you're just a basket of flowers, aren't you?

Where'd that come from?

I want to find the person spreading slanderous rumors like that and slap them with a cease and desist.

Mark Blacknell
01-10-2011, 02:28 PM
Where'd that come from?

I want to find the person spreading slanderous rumors like that and slap them with a cease and desist.

Some dude driving a late model sedan near the corner of 17th & Constitution. Go get 'im.

Mykeru
01-10-2011, 06:45 PM
Silly me, I thought it was their 501(c)(3) status that distinguished a cult from a religion. In my experience a cult will not open their financial books but the mainline religions are only to happy to show you where the money goes.

Have a safe ride.

I was raised a Roman Catholic. Of course, I became an evangelical atheist once my brain grew in.

That's some funny stuff (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,700513,00.html).

acc
01-10-2011, 08:50 PM
Glad to see you made it home alive, thanks be to.... oh nevermind but I was rooting for the poo-flinging chimpanzee.

Riley Casey
01-11-2011, 09:13 AM
Such an awesome thread. Car trauma, crackpot sociological theories, poking fun at other peoples superstitions ( always other peoples because after all we don't harbor any superstitions ) , fear and loathing and the odd ad hominem here and there. Thanks for a fun read folks LOL

Of course the only safe way to ride after all is to remember that - Cars are out to get us

Mykeru
01-11-2011, 01:05 PM
Glad to see you made it home alive, thanks be to.... oh nevermind but I was rooting for the poo-flinging chimpanzee.

So, you're not glad. You wanted to see me turned into a Belgian Waffle?

acc
01-11-2011, 03:29 PM
No, I believe it was Mr. Blacknell who wanted to throw you into oncoming traffic. He probably knows you better. :-)

I had my own near death experience not augmented by hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals but rather with a bike and car so I would not wish that on anyone except a particular cyclist who decided standing on his brakes was a good strategy when I was about three feet off his rear wheel two weeks ago. But I digress... When the POS car flattened me and I was looking up at its undercarriage I had the irrational thought, "Dear God, I've always owned lousy cars, driven lousy cars and ridden around in my friends' lousy cars. Couldn't I at least be hit by a Porsche?"

Mykeru
01-11-2011, 03:38 PM
No, I believe it was Mr. Blacknell who wanted to throw you into oncoming traffic. He probably knows you better. :-)

I had my own near death experience not augmented by hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals but rather with a bike and car so I would not wish that on anyone except a particular cyclist who decided standing on his brakes was a good strategy when I was about three feet off his rear wheel two weeks ago. But I digress... When the POS car flattened me and I was looking up at its undercarriage I had the irrational thought, "Dear God, I've always owned lousy cars, driven lousy cars and ridden around in my friends' lousy cars. Couldn't I at least be hit by a Porsche?"

Which is another way of saying you're a hippie? Well, a hippie into status when it comes to being run over, anyway.

And

1. I may be wrong, but I get the impression Mr Blacknell should be doing more commenting on UnSuckDCMetro this time of year, and

2. No one knows me, and I like it that way.

CCrew
01-11-2011, 05:29 PM
W
I got Bike Snob's book for Christmas, and he posits that the way to get motorists' and public officials' respect is not so much through advocacy, but through sheer numbers. The more bicyclists out there, the less they can ignore us. Not sure if he's right, but if he is, I don't think we are at that tipping point yet. I'd love to see us get there.


That was the premise behind Critical Mass. Good thought but the execution is a demonstration in anarchy. Pretty much what we have now...

acc
01-11-2011, 06:06 PM
My entire knowledge of hippies comes from watching them on TV as a kid and a memorable walk through Venice Beach several years ago. It seems they have a small enclave there or it may be a sort of government run reservation.

Good luck with the Metro gig, I will miss the orange seating when it is all replaced. There was always a flavor of Running With the Bulls during rush hour...

Had an interesting spin class today, never would have picked Celine Dion for spin music. The weather better improve, I don't need "I'm Alive" playing inside my head much longer.

Thanks Mykeru for emerging from your bunker, even if momentarily. :-)

Mykeru
01-11-2011, 08:30 PM
I was seriously reconsidering emerging from the bunker this morning. (http://www.mykeru.com/2011/01/11/things-that-go-boom-outside-my-place/)

acc
01-12-2011, 09:18 AM
I understand, would be glad to toss you the entire Celine Dion collection, you wouldn't last long, truly a bunker buster.
Kudos to everyone who rode into work today, I felt nothing but admiration for you from inside my climate-controlled cockpit with the automatic seat warmers. Thumbs up.

Mykeru
01-12-2011, 11:11 AM
Yes, I rode in to work today, immortalized in the post Todays's Snow Biking Video (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?433-Todays-Snow-Biking-Video).

Now, I just noticed some WABA mod deleted my ENTIRE POST responding to the sarcastic [deleted], without leaving any indication that I responded.

Deleting someone's entire post is bad enough form, but from the point of view of responsible moderation, just dropping it down the "memory hole" is high-handed and incredibly bad form. Along with the asinine thread proposing to drop the hammer on "offensive" posts, which no one could define and was closed when the discussion rose above their intellectual pay grade, I have some serious doubts about adults being in charge around here. *

Oh well, the delete-happy [deleted] in question was probably stuck on the metro and had nothing better to do but enforce a happy-bunny echo chamber.

Maybe that will change when the weather is bright and sunny enough that even the most timid shrinking violet dares to get out on two wheels again.




*Allow me to apologize for the strident tone here, which is solely used for the express purpose to mock blatant stupidity.

In all seriousness, I'm sort of a free speech absolutist and I've seen the devastating effects of high-handed and capricious moderation on many a forum. However, it's a lot easier, and more fun, to get snarky because trying to explain all this to some [deleted] who thinks he's moderating through divine right and would just delete a post outright is right up there in sheer futility with volunteering to be conductor of the all-pig chorus.

Joe Chapline
01-12-2011, 11:55 AM
"Now, I just noticed some WABA mod deleted my ENTIRE POST responding to ****** above, without leaving any indication that I responded. "

I deleted your post because it contained a personal attack. I intended to immediately post a reason for deleting it, but I was stuck on a commuter train and found my iPad could not deal with the image verification field. I agree this was not a good way to do it. Being on a moving train also would have made it difficult to edit the post, which also would have been better. I did scan it to see if there was anything about bicycling that could have been left; didn't see anything.

I'm also editing this post. From here on out, please refrain from personal attacks, including name calling.

gregbilling
01-12-2011, 12:34 PM
I'd like to say from WABA perspective, I'd prefer not to have to be as involved moderating (or at least monitoring) the forums. I have other plenty of other work to do (as do the other moderators). It's not a freedom of speech issue or "divine right" that I feel to moderate, it's about keeping this forum open to discussion from all members of the cycling community. Please feel free to express your thoughts and ideas but without personal attacks or profanity. Pretty simple. I get requests almost daily from area cyclists looking for information and a place to connect with area experts on bicycling. I send them to the forums because almost thing discussed and talked about has been just that: helpful, respectful, inclusive and all of those other feel-good words. Let's keep it that way.

Thanks to everyone for being a helpful and respectful members of the forums!

(I'll see you all out on the roads as 100% daily bike commuter, rain, shine, snow or cold)

Mykeru
01-12-2011, 01:49 PM
"Now, I just noticed some WABA mod deleted my ENTIRE POST responding to ****** above, without leaving any indication that I responded. "

I deleted your post because it contained a personal attack. I intended to immediately post a reason for deleting it, but I was stuck on a commuter train and found my iPad could not deal with the image verification field. I agree this was not a good way to do it. Being on a moving train also would have made it difficult to edit the post, which also would have been better. I did scan it to see if there was anything about bicycling that could have been left; didn't see anything.

I'm also editing this post. From here on out, please refrain from personal attacks, including name calling.

I apologize. I apologize that I'm going to have to explain this to you like you're six years old.

1. I had already figured you were on a train rather than, say, a bike. It wasn't a stretch.

2. That you were on a train is no excuse. What you should have done is waited until you were able to properly moderate rather than deleting the post out of hand

3. Look at the post I responded to in a manner which you refer to as "name calling":


Such an awesome thread. Car trauma, crackpot sociological theories, poking fun at other peoples superstitions ( always other peoples because after all we don't harbor any superstitions ) , fear and loathing and the odd ad hominem here and there. Thanks for a fun read folks LOL

Of course the only safe way to ride after all is to remember that - Cars are out to get us

That's a troll. I generally don't use the term because it's been subverted to mean "anyone who disagrees with me". That post contains a number of ad hominem assertions:

A. That this thread contains "crackpot theories", so therefore the people making them are crackpots.

B. That the thread contains poking fun at superstitions, and that the people who do so not only have superstitions (which I personally find offensive), but therefore those doing so are hypocrites.

C. Assertion of unjustified paranoia, "cars are all out to get us".

All of which was posted in a mocking tone which had absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion.

So, I responded in kind. Among the things I wrote was the obvious observation that asserting something isn't making an argument and that it's not the cars that are the problem, but the people in it, indicating the posters general inability to figure out how things work.

You may have not liked the tone of my response, but now we are in the position of having to take the word of the person who deleted the post that my response was mere "name-calling", something which you seem to selectively recognize when you see it, which leads me to:

4. Why does someone who makes a mocking, trollish post that contributes nothing get a pass from you? Did it contain anything "helpful, respectful, inclusive and all of those other feel-good words" as gregbilling put it? My guess is that you really didn't read the post I was responding to, or didn't understand it, both of which I would think would be essential to effective moderation.

5. What should be moderated are posts which expose personal identifying information, make believable real-world threats, contain spam posts or links to malware, or intend to topic hijack. Moderating for something as nebulous as violations of some undefined rules of netiquette, not even obscenity, is a complete can of worms.

6. My suggestion is based on this particular instance is that you stop moderating. You are not good at it, and you don't understand what it is you are supposed to be doing.

For yet another example: you edited out the user name of the person I was responding to,""Now, I just noticed some WABA mod deleted my ENTIRE POST responding to ****** above, without leaving any indication that I responded. "?

Are you serious? What possible purpose did that serve?

The hallmark of bad moderation is when the moderator begins to drop the standards for content requiring moderation in order to have something to moderate, and so exposing Lord Acton as an optimist.



I'd like to say from WABA perspective, I'd prefer not to have to be as involved moderating (or at least monitoring) the forums. I have other plenty of other work to do (as do the other moderators). It's not a freedom of speech issue or "divine right" that I feel to moderate, it's about keeping this forum open to discussion from all members of the cycling community. Please feel free to express your thoughts and ideas but without personal attacks or profanity. Pretty simple. I get requests almost daily from area cyclists looking for information and a place to connect with area experts on bicycling. I send them to the forums because almost thing discussed and talked about has been just that: helpful, respectful, inclusive and all of those other feel-good words. Let's keep it that way.

Thanks to everyone for being a helpful and respectful members of the forums!

(I'll see you all out on the roads as 100% daily bike commuter, rain, shine, snow or cold)

I would like to say, as a member of WABA, I would like to have more than a "send us your dues, sign our petitions where we do your thinking for you and shut the hell up" relationship with the organization.

As far as "helpful, respectful, inclusive and all of those other feel-good words", that's nonsense. I'm participating in a forum. I'm also a mean, bitter, sarcastic, intolerant-of-stupid sort of person. Tolerating stupidity tends to encourage it, and I'm working on making a better world here. Unlike some people.

I'm not a minimum-wage guy on the 11-7 shift dressed up as Goofy who has to meet the expectations of light-hearted cheeriness required by the management of the Magic Kingdom.

Now, take your high-faluting ideals about "keeping this forum open to discussion from all members of the cycling community" and actually apply them.

I swear, as someone who has participated in online discussions since back when PINE was cool: There's an online analog to the Drake Equation. One can predict whether a forum will survive and thrive, or descend into acrimony caused by capricious moderation or suffer the living death of being a mere echo chamber, based on a handful of stupid, ultimately intolerant, and basically schoolmarmish assumptions of the moderation. The worst assumption, of course, is that everyone participating in the forum has no greater purpose than to be the organizations's happy parroting PR proxies.

Very quickly, vague, capricious, and inequitable moderation makes everything a meta-discussion about the discussion. Like this.

The way you avoid that, of course, is not to moderate in such a way that you expect everyone to be a dutiful clone of your own idealized self-image.

Mykeru
01-12-2011, 02:18 PM
"Sorry Joe Chapline is a moderator/admin and you are not allowed to ignore him or her."

Damn.

Well, at least I can unsubscribe to the thread.

CCrew
01-13-2011, 07:40 AM
Darn... chill a bit. Take a breath...get a cup of coffee..something.

Now, that said, here's an opposing viewpoint.

This is someone else's house. If I walk into someone else's house I can fully expect not to be asked to curse in front of their kids. I can be asked to not smoke in the living room. I can be expected not to kick the cat out of it's favorite chair. I can also expect to be shown the door if I get too unruly. I pretty much (try to) behave myself in that fashion here because I *think* I know the main focus of why this board is here and I'd say your diatribes are indeed counter to that.

Mark Blacknell
01-13-2011, 07:51 AM
Oh, just look at the excitement I've missed. Or not.

All I think I should really contribute to this thread is a small correction: PINE was never cool.

Riley Casey
01-13-2011, 09:43 AM
I apologize for having created cause for this particular tempest in this particular teapot. In future I will keep my posts as dry and earnest as possible and avoid any possible hint of levity. Thanks for reposting your complaints so that I could appreciate them despite the deletion. If you feel the need for ad hominem comments or other complaints in the future I invite you to message me directly.


I apologize. I apologize that I'm going to have to explain this to you like you're six years old.

... snipped text unrelated to my original post ...

3. Look at the post I responded to in a manner which you refer to as "name calling":



That's a troll. I generally don't use the term because it's been subverted to mean "anyone who disagrees with me". That post contains a number of ad hominem assertions:

A. That this thread contains "crackpot theories", so therefore the people making them are crackpots.

B. That the thread contains poking fun at superstitions, and that the people who do so not only have superstitions (which I personally find offensive), but therefore those doing so are hypocrites.

C. Assertion of unjustified paranoia, "cars are all out to get us".

All of which was posted in a mocking tone which had absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion.

So, I responded in kind. Among the things I wrote was the obvious observation that asserting something isn't making an argument and that it's not the cars that are the problem, but the people in it, indicating the posters general inability to figure out how things work.

... snipped text unrelated to my original post ...

Mykeru
01-13-2011, 09:48 AM
Darn... chill a bit. Take a breath...get a cup of coffee..something.

Now, that said, here's an opposing viewpoint.

Unfortunately, when I tried to multiquote Mark Blacknell, vBulletin ate my entire extensive, very funny and essentially game-changing reply that would have lead to wolves and sheep laying down together...

mostly in order to have hot bestial sex.

And no, I can't be assed to reconstruct it.

What I will say is that, assuming you don't have Aspergers's Syndrome and can help yourself, don't lead in with that patronizing, mocking crap and then offer an opposing viewpoint. It looks like you are attempting to be reasonable, but not before you get some candy-assed little dig in


This is someone else's house. If I walk into someone else's house I can fully expect not to be asked to curse in front of their kids. I can be asked to not smoke in the living room. I can be expected not to kick the cat out of it's favorite chair. I can also expect to be shown the door if I get too unruly. I pretty much (try to) behave myself in that fashion here because I *think* I know the main focus of why this board is here and I'd say your diatribes are indeed counter to that.

Second: I've seen that "This is someone's house" analogy before. In fact, you've repeated it word-for-word as I've seen it before. In which case, you are not an original thinker presenting your original ideas that I actually have to bother to respond to. You are just some guy with nothing better to do than parrot some asinine argument.

Now, here's a cracker: STFU.

P.S. To Mark: I stand corrected if in any way, by assertion or implication gave the impression or by omission of action allowed the impression to stand that PINE was anything but the 2400 baud communication version of PONG.

CCrew
01-13-2011, 09:54 AM
Unfortunately, when I tried to multiquote Mark Blacknell, vBulletin ate my entire extensive, very funny and essentially game-changing reply that would have lead to wolves and sheep laying down together...

mostly in order to have hot bestial sex.

And no, I can't be assed to reconstruct it.

What I will say is that, assuming you don't have Aspergers's Syndrome and can help yourself, don't lead in with that patronizing, mocking crap and then offer an opposing viewpoint. It looks like you are attempting to be reasonable, but not before you get some candy-assed little dig in



Second: I've seen that "This is someone's house" analogy before. In fact, you've repeated it word-for-word as I've seen it before. In which case, you are not an original thinker presenting your original ideas that I actually have to bother to respond to. You are just some guy with nothing better to do than parrot some asinine argument.

Now, here's a cracker: STFU.

P.S. To Mark: I stand corrected if in any way, by assertion or implication gave the impression or by omission of action allowed the impression to stand that PINE was anything but the 2400 baud communication version of PONG.

Wow. Im impressed. Not. Antisocial much?

Mykeru
01-13-2011, 09:57 AM
If you feel the need for ad hominem comments or even just plain slurs in the future I invite you to message me directly.

I know you didn't realize there was going to be a quiz, but just out of academic interest, as someone with a degree in Analytic Philosophy who has studied sentential logic and formal and informal fallacies: Do you even know what "ad hominem" means? Can you explain it? I ask only because 99% of stupid people think it means "name-calling".

I'll even give you a hint: The reason why "ad hominem" (properly defined) is fallacious is because it's related to a couple of fallacies of relevance, the Red Herring and The Genetic Fallacy.

The joy of being me, of course, is that I can call people names all day long and not actually commit ad hominem.

Mykeru
01-13-2011, 10:00 AM
Wow. Im impressed. Not.

If you said something after that, I didn't bother reading it.

Let me ask though: What's it like being stunningly unoriginal? Does it hurt? Does it bother you? Or is it like one of the forms of dementia where you are completely unaware of your cognitive deficits?

Riley Casey
01-13-2011, 10:08 AM
OK, this game appears to have found the bottom of the hill. Thanks for playing.

CCrew
01-13-2011, 10:12 AM
OK, this game appears to have found the bottom of the hill. Thanks for playing.

Every board attracts crackpots. We found ours.

Mykeru
01-13-2011, 10:18 AM
OK, this game appears to have found the bottom of the hill. Thanks for playing.

In other words, you're saying "I have no idea what ad hominem is, I frequently use terms I don't understand and I can't be taught"


Every board attracts crackpots. We found ours.

I asked for a definition of "ad hominem", you don't get any credit for giving an example of it.

Gersemalina
01-13-2011, 11:04 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with you about this intersection and I am sorry to hear about your experience. I used to cross at 17th and Constitution, but ultimately stopped because the cars are extremely aggressive at this light. I started crossing Constitution at the crosswalk between 15th and 17th. It may take a few minutes longer, but I have found it a MUCH safer and more pleasant cycling experience.