Bicycle Diaries: Bike friendly?

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Bike friendly?


Over at his blog, Dave Moulton describes POBs or Pedestrians on a Bike. It's not unlike the widespread stereotype of cagers. [They] behave like pedestrians. Most pedestrians don't follow too many rules; they wander around willy-nilly all over the place.

Dave then goes on to describe an irritating sub-group, the APOBs.
The “A” is for Anarchist, Arrogant, or Asshole, pick any one. They grew up as POBs, later bought expensive bikes and started hanging out and riding with cyclists. However, they never became true cyclists because they disregard the laws of the road, at all times.
I greatly appreciate his perspective. So much ink has been spilled on the malevolent cager that it's become a meaningless category (like calling every conservative a fascist or Nazi) but very little on the equally malevolent biker. This is unfortunate. With the growing popularity of utility biking, particularly on urban streets, I've seen increasing numbers of the kind of bikers Dave describes, even some talking on their cell-phones.

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Anonymous Epicycler2 said...

Thank you very much for highlighting Dave Moulton's blog entry. Frameworks to analyse problems can be very useful. As a person who is frequently a representative of cycling interests(and a rabid utility cyclist,another framework),I have been repeatedly asked why errant cyclists behave as they do and how can you modify their actions. How do you modify the actions of a POB whose first introduction to cycling was the purchase of a $75 bike at walmart when they arrived at university. I love your blog, I have been reading it since we met at the 3-speed tour(orange Falcon S5)

17/10/07 15:03  
Blogger Fritz said...

I like the influx of new cyclists on the road, even if most of them seem to be "POB's." We don't need a barrier for entry into the cycling elite.

For more on American bicycling as a folk activity, not something really perceived as being subject to normal traffic engineering or regulation, see "Listening to Bike Lanes."

Wheelman, you probably know Bob Matter, don't you? He's in the Chicago area. He's big on cycling as a "folk" activity.

17/10/07 17:13  
Blogger Da' Square Wheelman, said...

Thank you both. Epicycler2's comments echo my own concern that as bikes take over the streets we'll have to shift from bike advocacy to bike safety. I'm not sure that anyone is prepared for that.

& thank you Fritz for the folk activity concept. I'm going to read the paper over the weekend. Who doesn't know Mr. Recumbent? I've also run into Bob at Bikewinter events.

18/10/07 09:31  
Blogger iconoclaSSt said...

Agree with fritz on the barrier-to-entry deal. This labeling crap stinks of elitism. Anyone who pedals a bike IS a cyclist, in my book, and one more cyclist on the road is one less car and one more visible symbol.

And then there's this:

"As for traffic lights, most pedestrians don't even look to see if they are red or green, but rather look to see if there are any cars coming, and will cross with complete indifference to the color of the light."

That's called thinking for oneself. Which makes more sense, looking to see if traffic is approaching or relying on a light or signal to tell you it's safe, keeping in mind that motorists sometimes run red lights? I use the former when on foot AND when on a bike, and I'm happy to continue doing so. The problems I've run into are when pedestrians pay attention to the walk/don't walk signal, then step out blindly when it tells them to walk, regardless of whether a car or bike is approaching. Sure, they have the right of way, but that means little when your dead on the road.

But yes, cellphone talking, coffee drinking, etc. cyclists do represent safety issues. I've always maintained that when/if all these motorists with their bad habits "see the light" and become cyclists, they'll bring with them those same bad habits. Oh well...

18/10/07 13:38  
Blogger Da' Square Wheelman, said...

One person's elitism is another's keen social observation %) I give a lot of credence to Dave's categories for several reasons.

1. EVERYONE - including free-spirited bikers - use categories. That what we do as human beings to make sense of the incredible diversity of our world. That's why the bike community is a plural concept that ranges from utility bikers to professional racers.

2. Dave has the creds to make his keen social observations. He's been neck deep in bikes since before I was born. His experience is long and varied: everything from building to riding bikes.

3. Finally, my more limited experiences confirm his. I've long since stopped worrying about cagers. I'm not a speed freak. I stop at all lights, and most stop signs. So in ten years I've been doored thrice with little or no injury. On the other hand, I've had many more near death experiences from bikers who pass me on the left, cheat lights so that I have to pass them on the right thus putting me at risk merging into traffic, and wobble all over the road in front and to my side.

So, is it inexperience of newbies? If so, then we need to concentrate on educating folks how to avoid injury and possibly death.

But if it's merely and a I DON'T GIVE A FUCK FOR MY FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS kinda' attitude, I'm not sure what to do.

19/10/07 11:22  
Blogger iconoclaSSt said...

1. There's a big difference between using categories to differentiate versus using them to denigrate.

2. Not disparaging Dave's creds, but being neck-deep in bikes for x years doesn't necessarily give one profound insight into social phenomena.

3. I'm confident that, on balance, you have much more to fear from motorist than you do from other (irresponsible?) cyclists.

Given our limited resources, let's work on educating MOTORISTS first. After all, I come into contact with infinitely more vehicles each day than I do bicycles, and part of my commute is on a multi-use trail! And the stats (and common sense) point to cars as posing the deadliest and most common threat.

Just some thoughts. Be safe.

19/10/07 14:31  
Blogger Da' Square Wheelman, said...

I'm enjoying this and hear what you're saying ... BUT

1. I'll disparage anyone who disrespects my space enough to put me in danger, whether they're aware of it or not.

2. Certainly not everyone gets wiser with age but I believe Dave has.

3. Not being as wise as Dave, either from age or his experience, I still stand by my observations. I've been car free for a decade. I commute 5 day each week - some 19 miles total. I've biked on every continent except Latin America and Antarctica.

Finally, at least drivers have to take a test - regularly. Time will come when so will we.

Thanks for engaging.

19/10/07 22:37  
Blogger iconoclaSSt said...

"Finally, at least drivers have to take a test - regularly. Time will come when so will we."

Bikes--regardless of purpose or use--ultimately are about FUN and FREEDOM. Always have been, always will be. There's no epidemic of cycling-on-cycling accidents/deaths, so why ask for a "solution" to a problem that doesn't exist?

It blows my mind that so many in the cycling community are so ready to step right up and be regulated, registered, policed, watched, fined, and "corrected". Baffling! It not only suggests a complete lack of faith in people to take care of themselves and act responsibly, it is itself a form of irresponsibility--asking the state government to do something we should do ourselves. The 9-11 mentality is not only alive and well, it's metastisizing! So sad.

All right, signing out on this one. As I said, be safe.

23/10/07 09:12  
Blogger blog said...

In soCal: most bikers --- (and joggers, whom consumer the space away from bikers) --- are just Off-Duty car-drivers. Sharing their car-driving attitude, but via their bikes.

25/1/08 22:31  

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