UPDATED : Strangely Legalistic Urban Cyclists…


Background Readings


Question: Why do urban cyclists find it unethical to ride in the opposite direction in a bike lane (i.e. salmoning) but ethical to run red lights and stop signs? The essential difference in these two “unlawful acts” acts is that salmoning is a nuisance to other cyclists. Running red lights and stop signs usually only pisses off motorists.

I guess this takes the true measure of the cyclists’ platitude, “Share The Road“. Methinks the only response to this seeming inconsistency is to pronounce it illegal but ethical and blame that escapist fantasy on Randy Cohen, that should even things up a bit.

You can follow the silly season of reasoning by our usual ChainLink crowd as you wade through the manure thread titled: Riding Against Traffic.

This is almost like being a fly on the wall when the Vatican meets to discuss which Pro-Life positions they will take at a news conference on the following day after having decided to send pedophile priests to a different parish rather than kick them out of the priesthood.

As you read this next response think High Priest:

Reply by Joe Schmoe 14 hours ago

  1. It’s illegal
  2. You’re no safer
  3. You’re putting law-abiding cyclists at risk who are riding with traffic, and then have to go around you.
  4. How are you going to “anticipate” who’s going to run you over?  And riding on the sidewalk is illegal anyways.
  5. Feeling safe and being safe are 2 totally different things.
  6. Ride in the street, with traffic, or don’t ride.

Or here’s one of the prophets speaking to the People of God:

Reply by notoriousDUG 14 hours ago

Don’t be a moron.

You are not safer due to the fact that you are now entering intersections from the opposite position people are looking as well as the higher closing speed. If people pay so little attention that they don’t see you as they are over taking you do you think they are more or less likely to see you when the time it takes to close the distance between you lessens?

You are also forcing all of the people who ride as they are supposed to either into the door zone or out into traffic which, in itself, is kind of a jerk move.

And then you have the theologian who is attempting to explain God’s purpose in having you ride in the right direction:

Reply by dan brown 14 hours ago

(I really hope this thread doesn’t disintegrate…but here goes)

Well….it may ‘feel a little safer’ (I kind of agree) but it’s not right.
It puts an oncoming cyclist (who is obeying the law) in a very awkward
position when you appoach and pass them. Who veers out into traffic ?
what if you both do that at the same time ?

OK..I’ll stop here because I can sense that many others will chime in on this


Next one of the your priests who is tiring of the pontification by the older ones whispers an aside to his acolyte:

Reply by Davo 13 hours ago

Should we anticipate the thread about riding at night without lights or will blowing through traffic signals/stop signs come next? I’d like to know where all the salmoning is occurring. It doesn’t seem that prevalent on N Damen where I normally ride.

And as always the Original Poster’s (OP) faith is called into question. This OP must certainly be one of those complaining priests who keeps asking aloud why we tolerate pedophilia on the children we fought to save from abortion. So the papal goon squad leader pronounces him a heretic (i.e. troll):

Reply by BruceBikes 13 hours ago

If a troll sh!ts in the woods and no one is around to smell it, does it still have an odor?

There are murmurs around the room and knowing nods from the other priests following this pronouncement. But the ranking priest in their midst offers an explanation as to why some priests are child molesters and others (like himself) has been able to avoid such sinful behavior:

Reply by Tony Adams 13 hours ago

Salmoning is more prevalent in lower income neighborhoods. That has been my observation anyway. I see a lot of it on the south side, especially in places such as Pilsen and Englewood. I pretty much never see it in Lincoln Park.

A roar of applause erupts from the largely Tea Party sympathetic crowd. Hosannas float upward as we have finally gotten a chance to explain the existence of this vile sin in our midst. It is those priests from darker countries that are the problem. “Thanks be to God, for bringing us this knowledge!” And around the room can be heard “Amen”, except the one chubby priest sitting at a microphone (whose oxycontin addiction is known but not discussed) who merely says “Ditto”.

Actually a more sane and supportable explanation is this:

Reply by Bill Savage 23 hours ago

I’ve noticed that most Salmoners are older men, often but not always African-American or Latino. I’ve been told that Back In The Day, when urban cycling was less common, riding against traffic was the norm. That said, I react to salmoners depending on demographics: anyone young enough to know better, I stay in my lane and make them swerve out into traffic (or, occasionally, cut into the cars-parked lane); if it’s an older guy (key details: no helmet, no gloves, often rickety old bike) I take the lane so they can continue in their wrong wrong-ways. As for salmoning myself, it’s situational: the occasional half-block on a one-way when there’s no auto traffic, sure, but in general I’ll go around several blocks of one-ways to avoid unsafe riding.

This is of course true, at least if my memory serves. I could probably dig around for a copy of my Boy Scout manual and the merit badge pamphlet for cycling from the 1960s and document this as fact. But certainly I grew up being taught to do this for all the reasons people thought at that time made sense.

There is not a dry eye in the room. Then Martin Luther stands to his feet and says:

Reply by in it to win it 9 hours ago

Please, let us all ride against traffic and/or on the sidewalks!

I also believe we should all ride through buildings and in hallways; it is faster, right?
Maybe we ride down the aisles of the trains and buses…now we’re getting somewhere…

At this the members of the Spanish Inquisition rise and take him kicking and screaming from the room to that dark hell hole of a cell where a confession of demon possession will be extracted from him or his tongue. Either is sufficient.

Thus endeth the lesson for today…

(Note: Given the aversion to Vehicular Cycling that is so rampant among Urban nut cases Cyclists it almost hurts to tell them that Salmoning is featured sin in the book of Saint Forester, yea verily.)