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What Does ‘Vision Zero’ Mean To You?

In the past several weeks at least weeks we cyclists have lost some of our own and managed to kill some others ourselves. And about the most than anyone in the Urban Cycling Community can manage to offer up is an observation that at least we kill fewer people than do motorists!

Really? That is the justification we offer for continuing this charade of a lifestyle that only Nero could appreciate?

But never mind we have managed in one short week to discover that the most recent victim who had been ‘brain dread‘ has since been taken off of life support.

The cyclist who managed to run her down offered this to the rest of the world:

“I am deeply, deeply saddened about the accidental collision that I had with Ms. Jill Tarlov last week and her subsequent passing,” said Marshall, 31, in a statement released by his attorney. “Please know that this was an unavoidable accident.

Witnesses said Marshall was speeding down West Drive and tried to swerve around Tarlov, rather than brake just moments before he careened into Tarlov on his $4,000 Jamis Eclipse bike.

Tarlov, who had been out shopping for a birthday gift for her daughter, had just stepped off the curb at a traffic light at West 63rd Street when she was struck.

Cops still haven’t determined who had the light or just how fast Marshall was going.

But he told cops he was traveling about 8 or 9 mph at the time of impact, sources said.

“I extend my deepest sympathies to Mr. Wittman and his entire family. Since the day of the accident, I and my family have been in constant prayer for her and her family. This is the deepest of pain. It is the deepest of tragedies,” Marshall said.

Doctors told police that Tarlov “looked like she was hit by a car,” sources said.

Where Does One Go To Seek A Redress Of These Grievances?

Society is going to demand that ‘a pound of flesh‘ is extracted from this young man. It will probably end in the same way as the trial in San Francisco a scant year or so ago. The circumstances were almost identical. A cyclist is attempting to best his time on Strava and ends up killing an unsuspecting pedestrian in the crosswalk.

But most Urban Cyclists are likely to wish that it had been treated like the death of a pedestrian here in the Chicagoland Area:

or even something like the treatment that the killing of Irving Schachter is likely to warrant:

Anything more than patting a cyclist on the head and telling them ‘there, there‘ is unlikely to sit well with Urban Cyclists who are already amassing to distance themselves from young man in Central Park who managed to hit and kill the wife of a prominent CBS executive.

When you read this sort of thing you can see that the Urban Cycling Movement is anticipating to have to ‘circle its wagons’:

Reply by Jim Reho 17 hours ago
Now that more info has come out, it appears that the cyclist involved in this accident was the kind of biker who everyone loves to hate — including other bikers. He was an obsessive speed freak weenie who spent a lot of his time trying to ride up to 35 miles an hour through high-traffic areas of New York City. He was veering in and out of lanes illegally right up to the moment of impact. Instead of stopping, he just yelled “Move! or “Get out of the way!” at his victim. Very revealing. It was more important for him to keep moving fast than to look out for the safety of others. It’s sad how some people turn the essentially joyful activity of biking into some grotesque reflection of their own neuroses, insecurities and frustrations.

What We May Have Here Is Our Own Ferguson, MO

But I am thinking that this sort of attempt to throw this guy ‘under the bus‘ will not wash. There are literally years of thread posts available everywhere including the Chicago ChainLink Forum which reporters and lawyers will be poring over.

The folks at Strava are going to come under close scrutiny. After all their product is the one common thread in both this recent death in Central Park and that of the Asian businessman in the Castro District of San Francisco. At the very least somebody in the DAs office is going to be seeking higher office someday and ‘setting a precedent‘ is going to help.

But if you think the Urban Cycling Movement is sitting on its hands, you would be wrong. They have moved on to yet another pressing issue, shoaling:

Reply by Shawn Evans 4 hours ago

Shoaling Fish

Shoaling Fish

The anti-‘shoaler’ crowd is just upset that there’s someone out there that doesn’t think like them! (Gasp!)
As someone else wrote, it’s a victimless crime, and everyone ‘shoaled’ gets to their destination at the same time they would if they weren’t ‘shoaled’.

The term doesn’t even make any sense. A shoal is a school of fish, all swimming together (which is why it also means large group, or crowd). So a shoaler should be someone who is part of the group. But in this context it means the opposite.

I think the reason for their umbrage is that the anti-shoaler is mad that someone doesn’t conform to their groupthink notion that all bike riders are part of their merry (although here, not so merry) band of ‘cyclists’ who go on ‘group rides’ and do other ‘cyclist’ things that prove they’re all part of the same ‘bike nation’ and follow all of the ‘rules’ that they make up for their ‘group’ but which have nothing to do with legal biking laws or even human behavior.

Well, get over it. People are individuals.

I looked up ‘shoaling’ when I was accused of it one day.

I usually avoid bike lanes because I don’t need some a-hole passing right by me way too close on the left (and right). They pass closer than cars. But I wanted to eat something I couldn’t get near home, so I went downtown and took Wells St. There were very few bikers in the bike lane, so all seemed fine. Some female ‘cyclist’ passed me, no problem, then got stopped at the light at Grand. I stopped to the right of her, did not pass, waited at the light the same as her, but she just HAD to tell me that what I was doing “was considered ‘shoaling’, and it’s rude”. I was too puzzled to respond. What the f was she talking about? I researched it, and realized she expected me to sit my ass behind her (as if I was part of her ‘group’). Yeah, right. Check the laws, sis. It’s perfectly legal for bikes to be two abreast in the bike lane. And whoever gets out of the gate faster at the green goes first. It’s pretty simple. But no. I was guilty of the ‘crime’ of violating her dumbass notion of the ‘rules’, though I hurt no one.

I suppose the next time this happens I can make fun of the absurdity of the whole thing. Maybe I’ll start biking in circles and say “Shoaling? I’m a school of fish? Don’t fish swim in circles?”

Or maybe I’ll pop a wheelie and say “Shoal? I’m a school of fish? Can fish do this?”

Reply by notoriousDUG 4 hours ago
I love it when people have no idea what they are talking about express outrage at a concept they don’t understand….

The thing that upsets people about shoaling is not simply the act of passing somebody while they wait for the light; I’m not sure anyone gets upset by that alone.

Shoaling is offensive when it is done repeatedly, by the same person, light after light. There are people out there who will edge around you at a stop light or stop sign only to become a moving road block you need to pass before the next stop light.

Then they once again edge past you and force you to pass them again over and over again… It is annoying to have a slower rider continually pass you at lights only to force you swing into traffic to pass them when moving.

If you find yourself being passes over and over again by the same person between lights just let them in front of you at the next light, it’s the polite thing to do.

Reply by Shawn Evans 3 hours ago
The person who accused me of ‘shoaling’ didn’t understand the concept. So why did they say it? It’s the whole mindset of these ‘cyclists’ that I’m making fun of.

This ‘trick‘ here is to stay as unfocused on the underlying structural problems with the Urban Cycling Movement as possible. Like the police in Missouri you can hope to ‘buy some time‘ by deflecting criticism that is likely to come from those who are Bike-Haters.

So for the next few weeks you will read from cyclists who have been flagrant stop sign ignorers or red light running idiots that they have now ‘Come to Jesus‘. Everyone in their bike club or their small circle of alcohol-consuming buddies knows the real truth. But that is OK. What is important is to begin the process of peeling yourself away from the herd long enough to not be tainted with the stink of ‘getting caught‘ or being ‘called out‘.

The Real Problem With Urban Cycling Is That Its ‘Collective Narrative’ Has Failed

We have been positioning ourselves as the Saviors of Humanity. We have learned to ride naked to save the rest of humanity from over-reliance on oil consumption. At least that was the line we fed to the media who came sniffing around wondering ‘why everyones junk was hanging out‘?

Well that line won’t work anymore. And just imagine how reporters will look at the Ride of Silence going forward. Will we really tell them with a straight face that we are all about ‘safety‘. Will anyone continue to buy our bullshit regarding just how bad motorists really are?

Will they instead keep wondering how people of compassion decide to use the lowly bicycle to ‘mow down pedestrians‘ and then claim that it was an ‘unavoidable accident‘ that ‘unfolded at 8-to-9 miles per hour’? Will anyone in the press corps start asking how much damage a car might inflict at those speeds? And will they ‘put two and two together‘ and go and get the facts from the 15 MPH faction that wants to provide a safe speed for use around children? Will our collective narrative suddenly fall apart?

Will anyone remember to dig up the video of Randy Cohen proudly taking us for a ride in Central Park of all places and notice that he runs stop signs there right on camera? And will they be astute enough to see how hypocritical this bastard is when he tries to shame a person of foreign descent for ‘salmoning‘ in the bike lane?

Urban Cyclist "Idaho Stop" Two-Step Variation

Urban Cyclist “Idaho Stop” Two-Step Variation

Will our protestations that we need an ‘Idaho Stop Law‘ to accompany our ‘Idaho Two Step‘ continue to work on the gullible in the press corps?

I certainly hope that the press corps is on to us. That they ask the same hard questions as they did of the police in Ferguson, MO. Enough is enough!

We need to fess up to the bankrupt notions that we have been asking people to back with their tax dollars so that a few (less than one percent of the total commuting population) millenials and their aging cohorts who were a bit late for the Hippie Era but hoped to resolve that problem on the backs of a younger generation.

We cannot keep hiding behind names that imply that we are all about Active Transportation Options. We as a group do not like pedestrians and they return the favor. Anyone dumb enough to not poll the pedestrians of New York and Chicago to get their sense of what cyclist think of them is not doing their job.

Will someone both to ask the widow of Mr. Gruskin what she thinks about the climate of navel gazing that we have perfected while lying through our teeth?

If they do not they will miss out on the real history of the situation in big cities where cyclists are as likely to slice through a standing line of pedestrians as dismount and walk through their crosswalks alongside them. We are far more adept at ‘amber gambling‘ and attacking the empty spaces in crosswalks than we are at honoring the state laws that prohibit us from preventing pedestrians to cross safely.

We even have threads in which we exhibit our disgust with the law on our forums. And that speaks volumes about our relative comfort with denying others the same privileges that we demand for ourselves. We draw up t-shirts and ballyhoo ‘the 3-Foot Passing Rule‘ and then mow down a few more pedestrians in the crosswalk and smile at the irony. And if we are made uncomfortable we simply nod knowingly to one another than the reporter or the blog writer is question is obviously a Bike-Hater.

Well, this time all of that bullshit may not wash with the motoring public. And it most certainly will not with the folks who walk those crosswalks that we like to part as if they were the Red Sea as we dash along Milwaukee Avenue or even Dearborn PBL in stark fear of losing our precious forward momentum.