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Re: [OT] A significant negative impact on Linux's popularity?

On Sun, Jul 15, 2007 at 04:09:41PM -0700, David Brodbeck wrote:
> On Jul 14, 2007, at 7:43 PM, Paul Johnson wrote:
>> I've yet to collide with another cyclist who was following the rules.
> I have to say that, as a driver, it's the unpredictability of cyclists I 
> find distressing.  They swerve suddenly into traffic, ride indiscriminately 
> on either side of the road (or sometimes swerve back and forth between 
> them), run stoplights, and come at you at high speed on crosswalks.  If 
> they'd either follow the rules for cars

in most jurisdictions I've been in, bikes are required to follow the
rules for cars. The problem with that is that *many* car drivers do
not respect those rules with regards to bicycles. A bicycle legally
owns the entire lane they are riding in (in many areas where I've
ridden) but cars refuse to respect that and either force their way
through in a space that they may not fit into or make a dangerous
passing maneuver straddling both lanes. Both of these maneuvers are
illegal and very dangerous . Likewise, cyclist get the same turn rotation at stop signs,
are expected to yield when turning left etc etc etc. It is routine for
cars to ignore these rules for bicyclists forcing cyclists, by sheer
force of mass and speed to yield their legal right-of-way to avoid an

Having spent *many* long days on the road as a professional cyclist, I
can attest (anecdotally of course) that this is true. Cyclists are
expected by motorists to obey the rules of the road, but are not given
the return courtesy by motorists. So, the alternative for a strong
experienced cyclist is to take control of the situation... using the
delay between light changes to get through an intersection; splitting
lanes between stopped cars to get to the front of the pack at a stop
light (a statistically safer place to be AIUI); utilising sidewalks
and crosswalks; to maintain forward momentum when appropriate; or to
get out of a messy traffic situation. 

Don't get me wrong, there are many irresponsible cyclists who act this
way in disregard for the safety of others and themselves, but there
are likewise many responsible and safe cyclists who behave this way
because it can be safer. that of course requires an alert, strong,
skilled rider. 

> I'd at least have an idea what they were going to do and could act 
> accordingly.

many motorists, when they know what the cyclist is going to do, will
use that knowledge to improve their own position on the road at the
expense of the cyclist. Its true. Its happened to me repeatedly. Its
happened to my friends repeatedly.

> The only cyclist I've ever come close to hitting is a guy who blew through 
> a stop sign doing at least 15 mph, on the crosswalk.  There were hedges on 
> both sides of the street, blocking my view of the sidewalk, and I didn't 
> see him until he was just about on top of me.  If I'd pulled forward 
> another foot he would have collided with my fender.

And the cyclist would have deserved it. If there were hedges blocking
your view then they were blocking his view as well and that was a
dumb move on his part. But that was just one (I'm sure of many)
incident where you were aware of the cyclist. There are many many many
incidents where a cyclist is forced to make a defensive or even panic
maneuver where the motorist doesn't even know what happened. They
didn't see the cyclist (weren't looking!) and are not aware that the
cyclist just saved his own butt from the motorists irresponsible

> I'm sure I'd have been 
> the one who got blamed, too, since I was driving a car and he was a 
> defenseless cyclist.  

maybe, but probably not. A cyclist in the crosswalk is breaking the
law and I've seen cyclists get ticketed for all kinds of moving
violations (riding on the sidewalk, in the crosswalk, running lights
and stop signs. i even had a friend get a speeding ticket on his bike
-- true story). That said, if you'd rolled forward another foot, then
you'd have entered a crosswalk without stopping at the stop line that
is generally placed *before* the crosswalk, which means you'd have
rolled the stop sign -- also a violation. just sayin' it.

> Somehow cars have gotten saddled with the 
> responsibility of watching out for cyclists, while they apparently don't 
> have to follow any rules whatsoever.

Cars are indeed saddled with teh responsibility of watching for
cyclists, just as they are saddled with the responsibility of watching
for motorcyclists, other cars, pedestrians, dogs, etc. It is the
responsibility of everyone who uses the motorways to watch for
*everyone* else who uses them. It is unfortunate that so many
motorists don't actually watch for cyclists and give them the space and
respect they are entitled to. If that were the case, then perhaps many
cyclists wouldn't feel the need to ignore many of the laws for their
own safety. 

phew. that was a lot. look. I'm not promoting scofflawrey (is that a
word?). But I am trying to point out, having been on both sides of the
situation for a long time, that cyclists are running scared a lot of
the time. The reason they are running scared is because if they don't
then they're meat. plain and simple. One effective method of dealing
with that situation is to be aggressive and to be aware that following
the law will not always cover your ass. Motorists are in an iron
suit. Cyclists are in a meat suit. Big difference. If I can get
through an intersection and onto clear open road where I'm visible and
in control of my situation then I will do it, even if it means running
a red light. that doesn't mean I blow through a light without looking
or without awareness of motorists, but it does mean that you as a
motorist may be frustrated by having to wait for a red light while I
roll through it. If you as a motorist were willing to respect my lane,
allow me to occupy it without honking, revving your engine, without
throwing crap and yelling at me, then I might be more willing to wait
for that red light because then I'd know  that you respected my right
to be on the road and would not run me down so you could answer your
cell phone. 

I've said my piece and will now let this thread die. None of the
"you"'s were directed at anyone specifically.


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