Are Our LCIs Listening? Who Do Cyclists Listen To?

Summary

The ChainLink has begun a new thread titled Biking Advice – Who Do You Listen To? :

Posted by KatieP on November 12, 2012

At times, we can be a stubborn group, us cyclists. I’ve been reflecting upon how we receive our cycling information and advice and have come up with the following ranking. What do you think? Who would you ACTUALLY listen to and make efforts to change your routine?

Mine My ranking (first draft) is:

  1. Close friends who bike
  2. Non-cyclist driver friends who have had bad experiences with cyclists
  3. ChainLink forum
  4. Bike shop
  5. Workshops led or coordinated by cycling friendly organizations
  6. Online tests or quizzes (test my knowledge and show off…)
  7. Books by cyclists
  8. Brochures from cycling friendly organizations

Non-factors:

  1. Media outlets
  2. Family (mine don’t bike. if they did, bump them up to #2)

I rated chainlink higher than bike shops b/c of the ease of access. Online quizzes may be just me due to my inexplicable love for online quizzes.

So What Is Crucial Here?

Active Transportation Alliance

Let us think about this in terms that are easier to understand. Let us suppose that this were a thread about, Religion. And let us imagine that we are the members (including clergy) of a religious organization whose membership has been waning over the past few years and suddenly someone begins this thread.

Now where on the scale of importance do we as an organization rest? Well I would suggest that we are in the lower half. We are the equivalent of a bicycle friendly organization. So why on Earth would we be that far down the list? If most of our parishioners had a question about the Eucharist or Adultery or Fornication or Voting Democrat would we not attend Confession and get things set aright?

Why then would anyone not ask a direct representative of a bicycle friendly organization, “what was up?” Well first off, I would think this listing is a bit skewed from reality. Most of the ChainLinkers are not only acquainted with bicycle friendly organizations but cry out to their leadership every time an article un-friendly to cycling gets published because they want the imprimatur of an official organization attached to any letter to the editor. And to be honest groups like the Active Transportation Alliance have memberships to the ChainLink Forum and are often monitoring the “goings on” there on a daily basis. So placing them after the halfway mark as a resource seems a bit skewed.

But what is clearly understandable from this ranking is that this is a “free for all” in terms of information and the degree of weight given to it by the listeners. The more closely tied to the information giver, the more likely it (the information) is to be believed. It explains in large measure why the general ChainLink responders sound so ignorant on issues that any good LCI could answer for them in a heart beat.

Do Cycling Advocacy Groups Have A Working Relationship With LCIs?

I am guess, no. That is to say at present the atmosphere surrounding the ChainLink community is one of distrust and downright derision where anything smacking of Vehicular Cycling is concerned. And let us face it if there are any gurus for the ChainLink crowd they probably reside overseas in Bicycle Heaven. And the prophets of that region do not like John Forester or anything associated with him.

Of course these knuckleheads (i.e. Scandinavians) are the direct descendants of the folks who brought us seat belts for automobiles. Yes, you read that aright, Seat Belts. Those things that everyone here has to wear now or be ticketed were spawned by the very folks who now disregard the need for Bicycle Helmets. How ironic is that? Maybe they are embarrassed that they have brought about the saving of countless lives on American highways and want to atone for that by delivering as many American cyclists to the emergency room with brain injuries as possible. But at least they would not have contributed to the notion that “cycling is dangerous”.

Now as to that do you personally consider driving dangerous? Does the fact that you have to strap on a seat belt (i.e. “Click It or Ticket”) a subliminal signal that you are about to do something dangerous? Have you considered the negative impact this might have on your children? Perhaps you are imprinting them with a mindset that will keep them from ever asking for the family car keys as they enter their teenage years. Instead perhaps they will instead go on dates with friends using their bicycle, where they can ride helmet-less in the near dark. How cool is that?

Just think, instead of having to wait up for them on prom night you could rest assured that while riding around town on your tandem in prom dresses and tuxedos (not a helmet to be seen) mixing it up with others in their graduating class at the local watering hole. Cool, fight? You gotta respect the fact that you did not brainwash them with that helmet crap.

Ok, enough fun with that. LCIs are about as useless to the ChainLink crowd as mammaries on a bovine male. But the Active Transportation Alliance folks are sorta cool because they support the current trend to have pretty green lanes created at taxpayer expense that are going to bring world peace, make our eye bright and our hair curly and entirely remove even the possibility of a right hook by a large truck while positioned in a bike box in Portland, right? Poppycock! Nope, not strong enough. Balderdash!

LCIs, Now Is Your Time

If the Catholic Church can have a “Welcome Home” project after years of allowing priests to maul our children, then why cannot a group of folks with some real training in how to cycling on streets not step forward and preach a bit of Vehicular Cycling to the masses? Who cares if the nose-ring crowd gets their tattoos in a kerfuffle? You have all the ammunition and the patron saints of these novices are a couple of thousand miles away. Why not go for it?

At least one of the “adults” on the forum gives you a segue into the discussion:

Reply by Bill Savage 45 minutes ago
I mostly listen to the voices in my head.
Seriously, I listen to friends who ride and writers I’ve learned to trust (John Greenfield, for instance). But listening to other bikers just because they bike is a dead-end: other bikers ride brakeless fixies, ride at night without lights, do all sorts of stupid things. Unless I know a biker’s habits and attitudes, I pay no attention to their advice.