Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lost! Oh Where Oh Where Has My Bike Lane Gone?

It seems like it was here this morning but now it's gone!

Part-time bike lanes confuse me. For one thing, I think if cars can park in them, I don't have to ride in them. Also note the pickup in the top photo demonstrating how door zone avoidance is done. 

It's a very predictable phenomenon! At 6pm: POOF!!

I read this article in the AZ Republic about the state bicycle safety plan, and it's a fairly interesting read with a useful quiz embedded about bicycle rules that I'm confident most road users would not pass. I applaud the plan and submitted my input which is now part of the public record and might have had some microscopic effect on the process. But I mention the article in this context because of the swarm of evil in the comments section. What a load of ignorance, rage, anger, and Internet ill will, all following a story about a plan to decrease bicycle fatalities. I'm at peace with the reality that the Internet often seems to bring out the inner beast in people. It does. People lash out in comments. I'm over it. Really. But I am concerned that beneath or behind all that falsehood and misunderstanding and ill will in the comments of that article, which is about decreasing bicyclist fatalities I remind you, is some sort of deadly malice that would still be present in the minds of those commenters when they're behind the wheel of their automobiles. No, "concerned" is not the right word: I recognize that there is a certain amount of deadly malice out there directed toward bicycle riders. 

My stance toward that: demonstrating to someone with that level of bile pumping through their hearts that their emotions are misplaced, misdirected, incorrect, out of sync with traffic laws, and in many cases simply wrong, is often unlikely to change their feelings. Something has inculcated them with a hate virus. They say, "bikes don't belong on the streets!" and you show them that the law actually spells out the ways that bicycles actually do belong on the streets, yet they are not moved. I doubt that much logic or reasoning would sway the driver willing to do what the driver did in the video that veesee posted. Regarding drivers like that, I am left hoping that they are few and far between, hoping that I don't encounter too many out there. My preferred strategy when coming across them is avoidance, separation, disconnection, escape. Break off the encounter and get far far away. Their way of being is a dead end in itself.

I believe that late at night, it will magically reappear, so I can use it again in the morning.

Fortunately, the vast majority of motorists are not like that vocal, violent few. Most of them are just as concerned about not running into people and things as the rest of us. Almost all the motorists I ride in the vicinity of on my explorations around Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe do not hang out their windows shouting obscenities at me. Or, as the editing software on the comment form on the article puts it when someone types in an obscenity, "(inappropriate term)". My brain just got an upgrade to its editing software. Next time someone leans out the window to yell an obscenity at me, which is extremely rare, once a year kind of rare but not never, my new upgraded mental editing software is going to convert it to "(inappropriate term)" Ha, "(inappropriate term)" back at you, you "(inappropriate term)". Here, have a sad little monkey award. (inappropriate term)

(inappropriate term)


  1. It seems like there is so much hatred out there these days for anyone who is at all different. Political, racial, even class difference become excuses for dialog to break down into incoherent ranting. It is truly disturbing, and I don't know how to start to bridge these divides.

    Well actually I do know how to bridge them in biking terms- coax people onto bikes and they will love them, but that's not a solution to the other intolerance. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes has gotten forgotten as we all become little partisans yelling down the opposition. sigh.

  2. i haven't encountered this kind of thing on bike bike yet; however, i look at the way people treat other people in other cars and the hatred and rage and me-firstness and i wonder if it's something about being inside a car that triggers this.

  3. The internet makes people so angry. I always remind myself to never read the comments because it will always kill my faith in humanity but then, like a rubbernecker at a train wreck, I always do. It is a disease, I tell you. An internet disease.

    Props on "inappropriate item". "Dirty word" is an alternate solution, should that one wear thin. I do, perhaps erroneously, believe that as a female cyclist in Texas I garner a touch more civility than my male counterparts but that shouldn't be the case. We should all respect each other: male or female, bike or car.

  4. I am fortunate to live in Tucson, because the "share the road" issue with cyclists and cars seems to be improving every year. Lots of more bikes out there and very few instances of conflict.

    In my hood, there is major reconstruction going on, so mike bike path is gone for the forseeable future (and no bike lanes exist yet). So, I have to take a longer route. In the long run, bike lanes are increasing, which is a great thing.

  5. You'd be proud of me. I avoided "inappropriate item" this morning in front of all those school kids and also eschewed actual violence.

  6. Hey, how ya doin' ya (inappropriate comment). Oh, the comment sections, the comment sections. I try to look away, but often plunge in and feel my own bile rise. You are absolutely right about trying to engage... it has usually just frustrated me further.

  7. cycler, well put, so many negative interactions in our cities boil down to impatience, intolerance, and prejudice. Even just at the level of budgeting emotional energy this does not seem like a sustainable pattern.

    johhnytrashbike I've witnessed people changing personality toward the impulsive and angry just by getting into a car, sure. Also when sending an email or writing a comment on the internet.

    veesee, I also hear and read the opposite, that female riders may be harassed more often or more readily. I'm a larger male and that may lead to less harassment, not sure about that, but I think if someone rides like an (inappropriate term) they are more likely to get similar treatment back, over time.

    Big Clyde, it's a core tenant of this blog that your positive outlook on cycling in Tucson will reflect back on you and reinforce itself. In perusing a few Tucson-based bike blogs of course I come across the occasional road grief incident there, too. I mentioned in a previous post that bike-friendly cities require city-friendly cyclists, and that true friends make allowances for each other's mistakes. Tucson's trolley tracks do not appear to be very cycle-friendly, for example. Yet there are ways to compensate for them when riding, and I'm constantly interested on what cyclists in Tucson have to say about them.

    Steve, way to go, you old (inappropriate term). The next question: what would you have done if you noticed that the cyclist was about to run the stop and plow into a group of kids crossing?

    RANTWICK, comments often appear to me to be outlet for other physical or psychological pain people may be feeling for whatever reason, be it stomach ache, heartache, backache, etc. It seems to be some kind of natural and even accepted practice to spread the ache by spouting off. I seek out blogs, which represent a tiny minority on the net, in which the commenters understand that everyone has aches to manage, and the world would be a better place if commenters would endeavor to find a more effective way to manage their own aches rather than spouting off in ill-informed and ill-mannered words on public forums. Given the megatonnage of bile out there, though, this would appear to be a minority position without great public support.


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