We Must Learn To Act As If We Are Operating Vehicles, Not Toys

Background Reading


This admonition goes out to both drivers and cyclists alike. A couple of entries this week in the Missed Connection thread drove home this point. Here are several of the salient entries:

Reply by igz 2 hours ago
to the idiot at des plaines and madison at about 630pm yesterdayyou ran a red light crossing des plaines at madison. cars were pulling off from the newly turned green and all had to stop to accommodate your self serving ass as you ride through the intersection with headphones as big as your dumb skull. were they obstructing your vision too? three of us were riding up in the bike lane, perfectly timing the light to not have to stop, but we did, for you. i knew that the two riders behind me wouldnt see you so they didnt understand why i was stopping at the green.

i yelled at you – needed to make sure you could hear me through those headphones. i yelled – pay attention, you fucking idiot, you almost got killed”. and i know that you heard me, because you turned your head at me, and swerved into the lane while doing it, and gave me the finger.

you are lucky i am not a violent person. but i can assure you very violent thoughts went through my head as i chased you down madison as you scurried away. youre not very good at climbing hills are you. didnt think i would catch up with you, did ya? many consideration went through my mind as to how i was going to correct your behavior. i starred at you as we rode side by side. you simply said “oh, hi”. very different attitude from your brazen finger extension before. at this point, all i did was tell you to grow the fuck up. i hope those moments that you clearly realize i sparred you from hurt you understood your fucktardery at that intersection and beyond.

i may not be the one to harm you, but if you dont correct your behavior and road etiquette, i do wish ill will upon you.
have a nice day.

Reply by Serge Lubomudrov 12 hours ago
This is why I don’t want to carry a weapon. Would be too tempting to cull the moron population, on idiot at a time 😉

Reply by David Altenburg 5 hours ago
You laid on the horn as you buzzed me on Palmer, just past the police station. When I caught up to you and asked you if you had a problem with bikes on the road, you stopped your giant SUV to tell me that you would “F—” me up. Your friend in the passenger seat was more level-headed when he said “just go, man” to you. You looked like you realized he was right when I read off your Illinois license plate number of “111 1649” because then you sped off, like the coward you are.

Reply by Jeff Schneider 32 minutes ago
I always make it a point to read out the license number, too. On one or two occasions, I’ve also followed them home. I am not a psycho and would never harass anybody, but I would like them to remember that the cyclist, with a license number, can find out everything about them, while they know basically nothing about the cyclist. I hope this will make them think twice about doing anything stupid.

Herein Lies The Problem

Being anonymous is a real problem in our society. It is probably what encourages some of the rather nasty verbal behavior you can witness just about any day on the ChainLink. If you think you can say something and do so without repercussion it makes you feel a false sense of security. If you are driving a car and have tinted windows or have yanked off your license plates or perhaps a set of stolen ones you feel secure in doing terrible things. The primary reason that cyclists act as they do (in running red lights, oblivious to everyone around them is because they are anonymous). Take away the anonymity and folks have to behave or pay a penalty.

Urban Cyclist "Idaho Stop" Two-Step Variation

Urban Cyclist “Idaho Stop” Two-Step Variation

I rode along Cermak Road this evening just before Oak Park Avenue and watched as a cyclist was trying to run a red light. He ended up having to carefully ride along the double yellow line before doubling back because while he was half-way through his illegal effort the light changed. So he was trapped with traffic traveling in both directions and him unable to execute a U-Turn. How stupid!

But as I tried edging past him I thought of the silliness that Randy Cohen offers as an explanation for why this sort of stupidity is ethical even if illegal. It is supposedly because only the cyclist has “skin in the game“. That is a bald-faced lie. Had I struck this guy (he was wobbling terribly because it did not want to unclip and he was not used to doing a track stand) as I passed, it would have been my responsibility to wait for the police to come and explain why I had just struck a cyclist from the rear while he was presumably just in front of me. In fact this is exactly the situation in which Bobby Cann died!

But in fact the cyclist was riding the double-yellow line and would only have ended up in front of me had he fallen to his right and landed sprawling in front of my vehicle (probably being run over in the process). How stupid for anyone to put himself and others into such a situation just so that he did not have to lose his momentum while cycling home? Again, all I can say is stupid!

We Need To Remove The Anonymity

A license plate much like that required on motorcycles and motor scooters is in order for cyclists. And we definitely need some training prior to the written test that should accompany the issuance of a license. In fact a cycling school much like those run for motorcycles is in order. You pass through that school and you can have your license and be allowed to ride streets just like any other adult.

I am more than tired of the silly behavior of Urban Cyclists who whine about the driving skills and behavior of drivers and then act like this when they get a chance. Sooner or later a cyclist and a motorist are going to get into an altercation on the streets that results in gun violence. Now that concealed carry is the law of the land, I feel confident that this sort of thing is certain to happen.