What Cycling Advocacy Isn’t

Background Reading


Your Beliefs Do Not Make You A Better Person Your Behavior Does

Your Beliefs Do Not Make You A Better Person Your Behavior Does


Once again the urge to ‘poke the bear‘ is being satisfied.

Hatefulness In Cycling

Hatefulness In Cycling

We appear to spend oodles of energy trying to make ourselves feel better about ourselves by sticking the motorists in the eye for whatever sins they have committed or for the price of gasoline.

I do not need to wake up to petty stuff from cyclists. Save that sort of stuff for the time after we have figured out how to build better protected intersections on streets that contain automobile parking.

Right now trying to figure out how to battle bus drivers would be better spent, trying to figure out why bus lanes and bike lanes on our city streets are essentially overlaying one another.

You really cannot drive a bus and pick up passengers right now without having a conflict between cyclists in the far right lane and the need for buses to move to the curb to pick up passengers. And instead of treating this problem like adults we devolve into factionalism and waste precious energies trying to figure out a problem that is bigger than the participants.

It is what happens when a city lays down ‘sharrows‘ alongside parked cars and in so doing create a situation in which cyclists who are ignorant of the concept of the ‘Door Zone‘ get creamed when a door opens. Instead of finding ways to actually fix this problem, both the cyclists and their lawyers go into overdrive trying to figure out who to sue. This does not solve the problem. This is stupid. But it keeps ambulance chasers financially solvent and the prospect of getting a lot of money from an insurance company appeals to an awful lot of cyclists.

We Need A More Global Understanding Of Bicycle Infrastructure

If you get time take a look (use the search function) at the videos on Protected Intersections to get a better idea of the manner in which the Dutch are attacking problems that intersections cause. Rather than blaming motorists, they are actually identifying the problems that poor street design cause and eliminating the problem with easy to follow intersection designs.

Most of what we have been building here in the United States takes a good deal of ‘trial and error‘ to use successfully. But their designs are seemingly effortless to use. We need to know what they are doing, emulate the heck out of it and get on with our lives. We do not need countless more months of Critical Mass Rides.

We know that people are dying. We know that the infrastructure design is crappy. What we are not hearing from cycling advocates and activists are better ways to  resolve the problems. Instead we are getting a steady diet of ‘hating on motorists‘. This approach is how segregationists in the South spent their time in the 1950s. We do not need more of the same in 2015 with respect to motorists by cyclists.

Singing kumbayah is not what I am proposing. I think there are design alternatives out there that could work on our streets. And frankly the more research I do, the clearer it becomes that wider streets offer a better chance of shoe-horning in all sorts of things that we need. In fact I would dare to claim that suburban streets are more likely to yield greater options in protected intersection designs than are narrow streets.

But we won’t get there is we keep trying to find ways to needle one another. There is plenty of evidence that there is room for improvement in behavior for everyone. But if we spend lots of precious time trying to engage in name-calling without ever getting to the point where we can identify the problems that plague our transportation system we all lose.

Using A Forum To Spew Venom

Stop doing that! The problem is not that both sides need to find better ways of spinning their humanity. What they need are better ways of identifying the problems in roadway design and good sound schemes for eliminating those deficiencies.

Instead mount verbal assaults on motorists as if that is somehow going to resolve the infrastructure problems. Nobody ever executed a ‘Right Hook‘ just because they were bored and wanted some excitement. The protected intersection design in Dutch Design tries to fix this problem.

But what is amazing is that the very first attempt at this design here in the USA is being done in Davis, CA. Why has it taken nearly 4 decades to get to this point? But there are many folks in the cycling community who would rather keep piling on with the motorist hatefulness because that is the simplistic, stupid thing to do and they have honed that particular skill.

We need to spend far less time trying to analyze why we do not get along with motorists and spend as many cyclists as possible to create protected intersection designs that are useful and will build on the work already done by Dutch Designers in the past.