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Thread: Afternoon reflections from the WOD

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    Default Afternoon reflections from the WOD

    After some months as a running commuter rather than as a bicycle commuter (while recovering from a crash), Im back on my bike. Its been mostly great, but Id forgotten the extent of the vitriol that bicycle riders face from drivers in our area. Todays example:

    Riding eastbound on the WOD through Falls Church (on those amazing bike trails) after grocery shopping at Tysons Center, I witnessed a man on a bike carefully crossing one of the streets that run perpendicular to the trail. As he was crossing (westbound), a large SUV drove up and suddenly sped at him as if attempting to kill him. He rushed out of the way, clearly shaken and surprised by what had just happened. The driver (who was from my same demographic sector) stopped her vehicle in the middle of the intersection, put down her window, and commented to the effect that any outcome would be the bicycle riders own fault because bikes have a stop sign and cars do not.

    I piped up, surprisingly politely, Maam, you are driving a Suburban and at which point she flew into a rage and cut me off: Shut up, you f-cking bitch!!
    Why are you so nasty? I asked, and then she floored the accelerator and was out of there. Im kicking myself that I did not photograph her.

    These sorts of interactions happen all too often, either purposefully or recklessly, as with the two children hit on bikes in Arlington in the past two weeks. And yet our counties so often choose to prioritize those traveling in 6000-pound weapons, like by installing stop signs only for those on foot or bike, or by insisting we use beg buttons to cross a street. Instead of protecting those traveling by foot or bike, such planning decisions are helping sick drivers like this one feel even more justified when putting our lives in danger.

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    I used to think that maybe through education and outreach we could change things so we didn't have roads entirely oriented around moving cars through an area. Now I've seen that we can't even get people to wear masks during a pandemic without that turning into a ridiculous political culture war, and have no hope for improvements in something as controversial as human-oriented infrastructure in my lifetime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels&wings View Post
    After some months as a running commuter rather than as a bicycle commuter (while recovering from a crash), Im back on my bike. Its been mostly great, but Id forgotten the extent of the vitriol that bicycle riders face from drivers in our area. Todays example:

    Riding eastbound on the WOD through Falls Church (on those amazing bike trails) after grocery shopping at Tysons Center, I witnessed a man on a bike carefully crossing one of the streets that run perpendicular to the trail. As he was crossing (westbound), a large SUV drove up and suddenly sped at him as if attempting to kill him. He rushed out of the way, clearly shaken and surprised by what had just happened. The driver (who was from my same demographic sector) stopped her vehicle in the middle of the intersection, put down her window, and commented to the effect that any outcome would be the bicycle riders own fault because bikes have a stop sign and cars do not.

    I piped up, surprisingly politely, Maam, you are driving a Suburban and at which point she flew into a rage and cut me off: Shut up, you f-cking bitch!!
    Why are you so nasty? I asked, and then she floored the accelerator and was out of there. Im kicking myself that I did not photograph her.

    These sorts of interactions happen all too often, either purposefully or recklessly, as with the two children hit on bikes in Arlington in the past two weeks. And yet our counties so often choose to prioritize those traveling in 6000-pound weapons, like by installing stop signs only for those on foot or bike, or by insisting we use beg buttons to cross a street. Instead of protecting those traveling by foot or bike, such planning decisions are helping sick drivers like this one feel even more justified when putting our lives in danger.

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    Maybe some political leaders might be able to encourage the local police departments to do more that an two afternoons twice a year enforcement effort. I'd expect it would be somewhat like fishing in a stocked pond. Ideally it would include citations and fines but I suppose queuing up the violators for a half hour or so and giving them a warning might have some effect. Maybe the timeout would have some value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I used to think that maybe through education and outreach we could change things so we didn't have roads entirely oriented around moving cars through an area. Now I've seen that we can't even get people to wear masks during a pandemic without that turning into a ridiculous political culture war, and have no hope for improvements in something as controversial as human-oriented infrastructure in my lifetime.

    When I first rode to work in DC (intermodally, from Annandale) in 2013, DC infra was far more lacking than it is now. While DC has a long way to go (as shown by the collision record) there is a lot more really good bike infra - and it's getting better as we speak.

    The suburbs are harder with a different mix of constituencies - I am more hopeful about Alexandria, after this week's Council election - but we will see what happens in future. Of course there are even greater obstacles in suburbs further out. But I have not lost hope in progress, even if it is so much slower and more uneven than we would like.

    "It is not your job to complete the work, but neither are you free to refrain from it"
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 11-04-2021 at 11:13 AM. Reason: than - then

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbb View Post
    Maybe some political leaders might be able to encourage the local police departments to do more that an two afternoons twice a year enforcement effort. I'd expect it would be somewhat like fishing in a stocked pond. Ideally it would include citations and fines but I suppose queuing up the violators for a half hour or so and giving them a warning might have some effect. Maybe the timeout would have some value.
    I mean, sure, if you want them to hand out tickets to cyclists for not stopping at the trail stop signs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels&wings View Post
    After some months as a running commuter rather than as a bicycle commuter (while recovering from a crash), I’m back on my bike. It’s been mostly great, but I’d forgotten the extent of the vitriol that bicycle riders face from drivers in our area. Today’s example:

    Riding eastbound on the WOD through Falls Church (on those amazing bike trails) after grocery shopping at Tysons Center, I witnessed a man on a bike carefully crossing one of the streets that run perpendicular to the trail. As he was crossing (westbound), a large SUV drove up and suddenly sped at him as if attempting to kill him. He rushed out of the way, clearly shaken and surprised by what had just happened. The driver (who was from my same demographic sector) stopped her vehicle in the middle of the intersection, put down her window, and commented to the effect that any outcome would be the bicycle rider’s own fault because bikes have a stop sign and cars do not.

    I piped up, surprisingly politely, “Ma’am, you are driving a Suburban and…” at which point she flew into a rage and cut me off: “Shut up, you f-cking bitch!!”
    “Why are you so nasty?” I asked, and then she floored the accelerator and was out of there. I’m kicking myself that I did not photograph her.

    These sorts of interactions happen all too often, either purposefully or recklessly, as with the two children hit on bikes in Arlington in the past two weeks. And yet our counties so often choose to prioritize those traveling in 6000-pound weapons, like by installing stop signs only for those on foot or bike, or by insisting we use beg buttons to cross a street. Instead of protecting those traveling by foot or bike, such planning decisions are helping sick drivers like this one feel even more justified when putting our lives in danger.
    I wonder, would SUV-woman rear-end a car stopped to allow trail users to cross, or just go screeching around it in the oncoming lane?

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    The road crossings of the nearby W&OD frustrate me. In many places bikes have stop signs while the cars do not, which means we should stop for them. Still, many drivers will stop for trail traffic - but since one can never be sure what drivers will do, if I see cars approaching a crossing I will stop at even if they appear to be stopping, which leads to this "After you", "No, after you", "No, after you" kind of standoff. Sometimes a car in one direction or one lane will stop for me but I still won't go because I'm not sure what other vehicles hurtling towards me from the other direction, or in the adjacent lane, or both, will do. Then, just when I see the second car giving enough indication of stopping that I feel confident entering the intersection, the first one will give up on waiting for me and will start to roll.

    I almost like it better in the western section of the trail, where I find that cars don't stop for trail users unless they have stop signs - at least there's no ambiguity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    The road crossings of the nearby W&OD frustrate me. In many places bikes have stop signs while the cars do not, which means we should stop for them. Still, many drivers will stop for trail traffic - but since one can never be sure what drivers will do, if I see cars approaching a crossing I will stop at even if they appear to be stopping, which leads to this "After you", "No, after you", "No, after you" kind of standoff. Sometimes a car in one direction or one lane will stop for me but I still won't go because I'm not sure what other vehicles hurtling towards me from the other direction, or in the adjacent lane, or both, will do. Then, just when I see the second car giving enough indication of stopping that I feel confident entering the intersection, the first one will give up on waiting for me and will start to roll.

    I almost like it better in the western section of the trail, where I find that cars don't stop for trail users unless they have stop signs - at least there's no ambiguity.
    It's better than the fairfax county parkway trail where there are no stop signs for trail users, cars don't stop for peds/cyclists in a crosswalk with a walk signal, and the cars are often overtaking at high speed so you can't even see them coming. Also note that most of the stop signs on the W&OD are unenforceable, and are just there to make things more confusing and less safe.

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