11 February 2008

The Question Of Cars And Bikes

The question of car/bicycle or bicycle/car safety has come up quite often in the past. It’s actually come up recently for that matter. This weekend Fatty posted Both Sides Of The Windshield, a flashback and follow-up to a previous post called An Open Letter To The Passenger In The Green SUV Who Screamed As He Went By Yesterday. Also, there was a recent How To Avoid The Bummer Life post called Excuse Me While I Get Up On This Thing, that in combination got me digging around for other posts on the subject. Reading further posts on said, as of yet unmentioned, subject got me wanting to take up a soapbox of my own. Those of you who truly know me well know this might prove both difficult and interesting, but I will be keeping politics out of this post, no use for that here.
After reading Fatty’s blog, I thought about how some cyclists might exasperate (to say the least) some drivers. I’ve noticed the guy who blows in between cars, only to blow through a red light and just disregard all semblance of law. I know as a cyclist I’ve seen it and thought, “because of crap like that, I’m getting flicked off on this Saturday’s ride.” I even took it a step further by bringing to mind the following question, one that I’ve been asking myself for a while now:
Is Critical Mass doing more harm than good for cyclists and the sport as a whole.
Now, I’ll give you this; Critical Mass has virtually nothing to do with the sport side and everything to do with the commuting side, but isn’t this logic kind of warped? I mean, CM seems like it’s truly a case of people trying to prove whose proverbial stick is biggest, if you get my meaning. It doesn’t seem like they are really making a difference, unless you call pissing people off and perpetuating road rage making a difference, and I don’t know that it’s the difference I’d want to tie myself to. I will admit, I think the point they're trying to make is a good one, I just think they're going about it all wrong.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as no doubt I’ll probably get some good and bad, but please keep an open mind and try and keep it at least PG13.


Bluenoser said...

Well Phun,

I've only seen one CM ride and it looked like a bunch of art school kids puttin' it in the face of the man. Didn't seem to me to be doing any good for getting motorists to be aware of you as a cyclist. If you think that pissing them off will get you noticed for the common good well forget it. It just gets us all painted by the same brush, and art students like paint and brushes.

My concern is that the motoring public seem to believe that the streets and roads belong to them. Motorists forget that the bicycle has been on the streets, roads and lanes of North America since about the 1860's. I think that was a few years before the car. If I remember correctly, if you drove a car someone had to walk in front of you and warn the public that you (Motorist) were using the public thoughfare.

Public, somewhere as their got to be more cars the word public went by the wayside.

Are not they still our roads? Cannot we still walk, ride or whatever on our public roads and streets.

That's my rant. Oh, and tractors. You can do whatever you want on a road if you are driving a tractor.

Cycling Phun said...

I guess Im not surprised that people are sometimes idiots. It seems like at least once a year we have a guy cream an Amish Buggy (oh, did I mention we have one of the hugest Amish populations in my general area). Drivers will be drivers? Yes I do agree, we need a successful advocacy program to get cars to realize we have just as much right to be on our roads that we pay taxes on as they do. I just think that to be successful we need to find common ground. We need to make them understand without sounding like we're attacking them. Understand that we are going home to families, and not just a bike on the road.