Fifty years ago there was a small event that took place just in front of the Lincoln Memorial when a few folks showed up to demand equality. Now on the horizon is Ayo Kimathi. He in essence represents the face of Urban Cycling after the Boub Case. Kimathi is a racist. He is also an African-American. And yes I know that there are whites who are also racist.
But before in your tiny little mind things devolve any further let me state once and for all that I do not like racists regardless of color. I do not like cyclists whose only thought of automobiles is that they should be dumped in the biggest sinkhole possible and covered over. That attittude from cyclists is as offensive to me as racism. And yes I know that there are motorists who think similar ugly thoughts about cyclists. Yes we live in a world where rather than finding the High Road it seems easier to claim that we are no worse than the other guy. That way lies madness.
A Response to a Poster
I was appalled at the response of a cyclists on the ChainLink Forum during a recent discussion of the Idaho Stop Law. I made a poster with his quote:
Lynette Chiang wrote back on Facebook with this comment:
Lynette Chiang The guy’s a selfish fool – a friend of mine was run down by a cyclist while walking on an unpopulated trail. He sustained severe and lifelong injuries. And I’m a cyclist.
My response to her was:
Eric Vann Unfortunately he is not alone in being both arrogant and feeling entitled. I see this attitude so frequently that it makes me cringe. I am still trying to understand what happened between the Boub Case and now? When did we go from wanting parity with automobiles to demanding that they not clutter up our roads and that pedestrians get out of our way?
I believe that forums like the ChainLink and the people whose mindset they reflect are broken:
We are showing increasing signs of aggressive dislike of automobiles and even pedestrians. They appear to be either the source of fear and loathing (automobiles) or impediments to our forward progress when they walk in front of us in Zebra Crosswalk when we are riding Protected Bike Lanes.
We Cyclists Need An ‘Attitude Adjustment’
We have gone from being caring empathetic individuals who simply want justice and equality to holding monthly meetings that would make Ayo Kimathi feel right at home. I am of course speaking of the Critical Mass Rides. These are the rides that we no longer acknowledge as protests and instead use to show passive-aggressive behavior by riding headlong into oncoming car traffic in a fashion that would make a committed ‘salmoner‘ blush. Why if we hate the practice of ‘salmoning‘ do we demonstrate it on such rides?
Our latest move towards road superiority is an attempt to get the Idaho Stop Law made universal. But as the League of American Bicyclists points it can only be practiced if it only applies to cyclists. We know this and will not talk about it openly because it is a bad way to start off negotiations. But everywhere you look there are cyclists clamoring for some ‘special‘ for their class of transportation rider while being hostile in many cases to the others.
I have read Facebook accounts written by erstwhile bicycle advocates who when forced to take mass transit endure the indignity of it all with rude comments about the people who take such conveyances. And it would not be possible to repeat some of the things written about motorists and cars in general by cyclists. Hitler would be proud of their sentiments.
I can understand being fed up with things in the past, but at some point you really do need to let go. Yet we are locked into a series of ugly confrontations with anyone who is willing to tell us that ‘enough is enough‘. That we are not free to only memorialize the deaths of women cyclists hit by trucks making right-hand turns, but are also required to honor the deaths of pedestrians we manage to cut-down in the crosswalk while trying to better our score in a GPS competition. Have we lost our collective cyclist minds?
When Did Everyone Else Become An After-Thought?
We have entered that strange period of time when a cyclist who runs into the side of a turning automobile is said in StreetsBlog to have been hit by that automobile (and not the other way around). We have entered a strange period of time when a fellow Chicagoan who also writes for StreetsBlog castigates the article of a Chicago Tribune writer who questions the policies of our BikeShare system known as Divvy. The irony is that a few weeks later (in an article of his own) he asks essentially the same questions but does not acknowledge the fact.
I think that the idea of confrontation with others has taken on very dark overtones. I want this to stop. We have managed to become a world in which a baseball franchise on the north side of Chicago offers to build a parking lot across the street from their stadium gets strong push-back from the locals who do not want more car traffic. But when someone does not wish to have a Divvy station on the corner outside their condominium we label them NIMBYs and say all manner of negative things about them. From where I stand both are NIMBYs. But the rule of thumb today is never admit your shortcomings winning the argument in the press is all there is to life.
We Need To ‘Grow Up’
Our Bicycle Advocacy Groups have decided to embrace this negativity that brings in cash because it helps to motivate cyclists to give money. But before long it will be evident that this may have been a bad strategy. Eventually the tide will turn and if we are smart we will understand why we have burned so many bridges that we have no point of retreat.