There should be a name for the phenomenon of a satirical, ironic or trolling community turning into the real deal, by aggregating people taking the issue seriously.
This seems to be a repeating pattern.
In this case, it seems to be slightly more complex but still it begs the question if by keeping posting fake news or stories, you start believing them, consciously or unconsciously.
"Any community that gets its laughs by pretending to be idiots will eventually be flooded by actual idiots who mistakenly believe that they're in good company"
"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article."
Since, in the long term, there is always less people in on the joke than new followers, you are guaranteed that the community is going to be taken over in the end.
"Ironic shitposting is still shitposting"
Edit: Ok, I stand corrected. After checking it turns out the HN post is probably the source. It's just I saw it posted in its original form on 4chan most often.
And I think that, even simply being exposed to the rhetoric will distord your view. Back when the alt-right was appearing on the Internet, I wanted to engage with the other side to get their story. The more I read and argued, and the more close-minded I found myself to become. I put a stop to it.
Deconstructing your interlocutor's arguments forces you to think in the same binary logic, take the same intellectual shortcuts. I absolutely think that reading radicalized thesis will radicalize the reader.
I've wondered if this is how pizzagate got started. When I first read about it, I thought it was hilarious. It was mind boggling to learn that people were serious about it. To me, the theory seemed to be purposely constructed to be ultra ridiculous.
The lesson here is, don’t create joke or troll communities unless you’d be comfortable with them turning very real.
And plenty of Russian trolls.
edit: from https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-controlled-opposition
Goes for a lot of other things too.
Cycling seems to be a really inflammatory subject for online discussion, and I've never really been sure why; it seems like a kind of identity politics.
There are a ton of cyclists who just don't give a shit. They'll blast past you at intersections, cutting into other lanes, they'll swerve directly in front of you and brake, they'll jump on the sidewalk, they'll completely ignore pedestrian-only zones, they'll randomly cut to the left or right of turning cars, the list goes on. Some people bike in completely irrational and unpredictable ways.
Often I'll pass someone (I'm a reasonably fit and speedy commuter on a good bike), only for them to place themselves right in front of me at the next red light, and then take forever to get up to speed, so I have slooooowly get up to speed behind them and then pass again. Repeat ad infinitum. Most of the time, the slowpokes are on their phones (hand-held, obviously) and/or swerve all over the place, putting everyone in danger. Or they ride two abreast while chatting, completely blocking the bike lane and ignoring people ringing their bells behind them.
It really pains me to see people act like that, because it completely sours the relationship between different types of traffic, casting a bad light on the rest of us. Sometimes it seems like they're deliberately out to piss off drivers, which is not a healthy long-term strategy.
That was a bit of a detour, but my point is that the problem exists on both sides. There are definitely both asshole cyclists and asshole drivers. On the cyclist side, I think part of the problem is that a lot of people don't really know the traffic laws, or they don't think they apply to cyclists.
This is certainly not meant to downplay the shitty actions of many drivers, I've seen some absolutely horrendously irresponsible driving here as well.
As for why it's such an inflammatory subject, that's simply the case for any discussion involving cars. If you read car forums, people are very quick to go flying off the handle, and there are usually some pretty extremist and very vocal members. Car culture is very opinionated and to a lot of car people, their cars are direct extensions of their personalities and egos. Cyclists challenge their "rightful ownership of the roads", and are therefore an enemy.
* Most US roads are not bicycle ready. They weren't designed to have mixed vehicles, they weren't built for it, and they don't do it well.
* Cyclists have been given a right to be on these roads, which can't safely handle them, by legislation.
* Having them there does impede traffic that the road WAS designed for.
* The US culture has devolved lately into a "my rights" based one.
* Both the car drivers who have historical precedent with "rights to be there" and the cyclists with the newfound legislative "right to be there" willfully fail to recognize the rights of the other.
* Both sets of drivers blame the other for the lack of adherence to safety and traffic laws. Both are correct.
Compare to London where the streets were designed for neither automobiles nor bicycles. In London there’s a culture of acknowledgement that we all have to make do with the available space. So pedestrians spill into the street, cars occasionally have to go up onto the pavement (aka. Sidewalk) and bicycles achieving critical mass happens naturally during peak times. London is 10 times as congested as SF and yet everyone is 10 times as calm.
It’s amazing to me the success the auto lobby had in America a century ago to create a culture where the default is that everyone should be able to drive super fast and have parking available in every square inch of developed land, and anyone who uses anyone who uses any other form of transportation is an uncivilized pleb deserving of second rate accommodations at best.
Which, of course, is completely irrelevant complaint regardless of ones views on filtering. There's this notion that a driver is entitled to both their place on the road and some sort of ill-defined spot in a queue that isn't there.
If anything, it is the more recent (and sensible) restriction of cycle use on certain major roads that is "newfound".
This is true, but many of the roads in my hometown that people insist were "built for cars" predate the automobile, which is just to say that they can be (and have been) changed to support whatever we want them to support.
So, inevitably, we end up in an inherently acrimonious situation: Everyone smaller than you is treated as nothing but an obstacle to be avoided, and everyone bigger than you is understood as a threat to your safety, and everyone about your same size is regarded as that asshole who just cut you off, or that asshole who needs to speed up and quit holding up traffic, etc.
We've become such misanthropists when it comes to transportation that it's even common for people to aver that they don't like using public transportation because they don't like how it brings them into regular social contact with people they don't know, and nobody thinks that attitude the least bit strange.
It's really quite odd, when you step back and look at it. Sad, too.
Cognitive dissonance and how we respond to it is the main topic of the first episode of Sean Carroll's new podcast Mindscape. I found it very interesting.
* Motor vehicles have been given a right to be on these roads, which can't safely handle them, by legislation.
The roads where I live now are a lot more orderly, but cyclists get a free pass in a lot of ways. You’ll get a ticket for passing within 5 feet of a cyclist, so you better hope they’re a fast cyclist when you get stuck behind one. I also see them run reds frequently and ride across pedestrian crossings. For a group that makes up about 1% of commuters, they manage to make a disproportionate nuisance of themselves. I’m not an anti-cycling nut, but it’s not hard to see where the frustration comes from.
There is lots of hatred on both sides. Drivers see cyclist running a red light and generalize about those criminal cyclists.
Cyclists take an idea like Critical Mass that was originally supposed to be a demonstration, a traffic-political statement, and don‘t even care about traffic policy anymore, but openly talk about how to disrupt car traffic the most so those „carholes“ get the traffic jam they deserve. It‘s just fun to them, a bit of trolling.
I don‘t see the relationship improve, unless many more „common“ people use the bike. Then they would have much more understanding for the other side when driving a car, and the bike extremists would vanish in the mass as statistical noise.
Injuring pedestrians doesn‘t give you legitimacy, either.
You simply illustrate the extremist biker that will achieve nothing but more hatred from all other participants in traffic.
That‘s why I‘m hoping for more „casual“ bikers who don‘t see the war on the street as their focal point of life.
From my perspective in Copenhagen -- one of the foremost cycling cities in the world -- I think this is happening because policies are increasingly being enacted to favor cyclists and public transit. A lot of road improvements have favored bicycle lanes, often by decreasing the number of lanes available for cars, or by making a lot of streets one-way only for cars.
Some car drivers see these as direct attacks on their chosen mode of transportation, or even their lifestyle as a whole.
I see this as a necessary evil. You cannot improve conditions for one type of transport beyond a certain point, without also making conditions worse for other types of transport. Cycling, walking and public transit go very well hand-in-hand, but personal car traffic doesn't really mesh that well with anything other than car traffic.
So for high-density living, car traffic must necessarily be down-prioritized in favor of higher-density and less polluting traffic, namely cycling and public transit, both of which work best in cities. Roads and parking lots simply take up way too much space that could be used for parks, homes, shopping streets and people instead.
Conversely, it is hard to make public transit work efficiently in rural areas, and cycling 10-15km between towns for social activities (in all kinds of weather) is not acceptable to most people. Electric bicycles mitigate this somewhat, but in most less densely populated areas, cars still make a lot of sense for most people.
I'm a city person, so I favor cycling and public transit, and I would love to see the center of Copenhagen completely closed off to personal car traffic, only allowing delivery drivers and other professionals with a legitimate need to drive through the city center. I don't condone violent activism or similar methods, nor do I condone breaking traffic laws through methods like Critical Mass and the like. The "critical mass" I want is simply for there to be so many cyclists in traffic that they cannot be ignored or marginalized.
I would also never try to ban cars in other less-densely populated places, because that's simply not realistic. At least not yet, not without some major revolution in living conditions or public transit feasibility.
At some point, we have to realize just how ridiculously wasteful personal car traffic really is, and do something major to disrupt it. I don't think self-driving cars are the answer.
I'm pretty much neutral: I'm a licensed driver, and I've cycled to work in the past, but right now I don't have a bike or a car.
I saw a discussion on a local forum recently where cyclists and motorists just refused to accept that both camps use their vehicles as transportation. Drivers acted like cyclists were just silly kids, despite some being eligible for Social Security, and cyclists acted like drivers were robber barons having their chauffeurs mow down poor people.
On a side-note: cyclist in Berlin are very annoying they park their bike in front of you at EVERY traffic light and are then exceedingly slow to get moving again.
Now that I think about it, it might just be that the attitude changes with the introduction of cycling lanes to keep cars and bikes separated
In my experience, in an urban environment, it doesn't matter how fast you get moving again, there's another traffic light right ahead
One change I'd really love to see implemented is moving the traffic light pole to the near corner (as opposed to the far corner or suspended in the middle). This encourages drivers not to creep into the intersections because they wouldn't be able to see the light.
If you lived in country A and were planning a holiday in country B, then yes I'd spend a bit of time googling their laws. But on a 2 week "coast to coast" road trip travelling through a dozen countries? I probably wouldn't bother.
However, if I knew nothing about the UK "bike box" and was driving as a guest, something tells me it would be blindingly obvious what it was for. No? I mean, it's a symbol a bike surrounded by thick white lines. https://goo.gl/maps/zz1TvLM6fcv
"A transverse marking consisting of a continuous line across one or more traffic lanes shall mark the line behind which drivers are required by
the sign B, 2, "STOP", referred to in Article 10, paragraph 3, of this Convention, to stop. Such a marking may also be used to show the line be
hind which drivers may be required to stop by a light signal"
I mean, bikes accelerate much slower. So what realistically happens is that bikes weasel through cars and the right curb to the front, distribute themselves over the whole width of the lane. And when they get green they... have to go over to the right side again (single-file!) and are being overtaken (usually with little room) by all the cars.
I‘ve just read the article you linked, and the HGV aspect is a good one. But in my home town, those bike boxes aren‘t on streets with real goods traffic, but on residential streets.
I happen to live in an area with wide (car width+ shoulders) so most of the time I'm there. However, there are a handful of left turns I make that result in me being in the vehicle left-turn lane at the signal lights. When the green arrow shows I'm lights-out sprinting through the intersection so I'm not holding up vehicle traffic. Cyclists can actually accelerate much faster than vehicles over the first couple of seconds and it's only 5 seconds or less through an intersection.
Having said that, my sprint power from a dead stop is from 6 - 15 watts / kg, depending on my motivation level. If someone is coming away from a dead stop at a lower power-to-weight ratio they should probably not be in the road since they will unnecessarily hold up traffic.
I ride a hard-tail mountain bike I converted for commuting with some more appropriate city tires. I am no triathlete, but I know enough to shift into the right starting gear before I stop and to sit with one pedal up in a position that allows a good power stroke to get rolling again. I am often first across a large intersection when the light changes, although a few drag-racing cars may catch up (against the general trend in which drivers seem more distracted and slower to respond to light changes these days).
I see younger, healthier riders who wobble all over the intersection like a little kid learning to ride. They have their bikes in the wrong gear or have a bike with fixed gearing. They fumble around trying to get both feet on the pedals before they even have enough forward movement to balance. And, some ride bikes that seem to be configured in the worst possible way for balance and efficiency, with bad geometry, seats and handlebars in the wrong place, or absurdly heavy materials...
This is caused by traffic laws seeing everything in the road as being similar to a car, which is counter-productive, forcing slower traffic such as bikes to cross lanes for left turns.
It is much more sensible and safer for cyclists to do hook turns, instead of using the vehicle left turn lanes.
How do you measure this on a bicycle? I know you can do that on a stationary rower (I was exceedingly happy when I could hold > 1 hp for 30 seconds) - do you measure on gym stationary bikes?
As a German, I say: you hang around with the "wrong" cyclists and motorists to perceive the strong polarization. I know people of the more militant kind from both sides.
Let me tell you: these cyclists typically know the exact subtle details of the road traffic regulations (Straßenverkehrsordnung) much better than most motorists (who had to do an exam about this topic to get their driving license). This is also very necessary, since lots of motorists feel so much entitled and do not actually know the laws. In this case only knowing the law exactly helps and if discussions are futile (they often are), the only thing that you can do is to file a criminal charge against the motorist.
To give my private opinion (after having heard lots of arguments from both sides): The fact that there exist obligatory driving licences is a lot at fault for all these escalations. Their mere existence leads to a lot of the entitlement of the motorists ("I had to take the driving exam and learn a lot about traffic laws before, while the cyclists did not. So the motorists feel 'more entitled to know what is right and wrong in traffic'").
In the UK, 90% of the cyclists are older men in the latest lycra racing gear on //edit//road bikes. In Brugges, people just get on a regular bike with a basket on the front wearing their normal clothes.
(Don't confuse "track bikes" and "road bikes"...)
The important difference is that track bikes do not have brakes. Most bikes on the road do.
*Yes - there are people cycling on the road using bikes without brakes. However, that's not 90% - it's a small minority. Cycling on the road in the UK without two braking systems (e.g. front brake, rear brake) is illegal, and unusual. Regardless, anyone cycling without a front brake is an idiot.
Combine that with the number of conflict surfaces such as pedestrians walking in biking lanes, car drivers failing to properly look for incoming cyclists, cyclists speeding and more frequently breaking traffic law and order than others (my anecdata).
I understand the frustration that exists in all groups.
For example, I might see several instances of individual cyclists running red lights and generalise that to "all cyclists run red lights". Or see several instances of individual motorists "dooring" cyclists and generalise that to "all motorists are dangerously inconsiderate".
It's probably easy to go from that generalisation to an overt dislike of the other group. Therefore, I try to force myself to attribute bad behaviour to the individual rather than any groups they might be a member of.
I agree that a statistically significant subset of drivers cause problems (and a statistically significant subset of cyclists, too), but the vast majority of individual drivers (and cyclists) are safe and do not deserve to be grouped in with the the problem-causers.
Also, you're proposing a false equivalence. When drivers cause problems, other people (pedestrians, cyclists, other drivers) die. When cyclists cause problems, they're usually the only ones that get hurt. The urgency of the two problems is dramatically different.
Perhaps this is somewhat like what the other commenter insoeaking about.
I can't find it right now but there was some research done in the UK recently that showed the opposite was the case.
Once the first car is stopped, the others have no choice. All cyclists reaching the crossing can pass on red if they choose, so the comparison needs to take that into account.
Finding a fair way to count these things is really difficult.
I said in another comment that I think it's really difficult to find a fair way to count. I meant that. I didn't mean "it's difficult to count such that I look like an angel and make that counting mode look fair".
Should bikes yield to pedestrians? Yes, absolutely. Is that equivalent to drivers speeding, swerving, texting, road-raging, etc? Not in the slightest.
Yes, chances are slim you‘re killing a pedestrian. Chances are very real you severely hurt and injure him. Ask the pedestrian how much fun that is.
Those casual dismissals are evil, IMO.
Add to that the attitude that I just read again on Twitter unrelatedly, that pedestrians shouldn‘t blame bicyclists endangering them on pedestrian lanes, because it‘s ultimately the cars‘ fault.
Bicyclists most vocal about traffic issues often don‘t care about weaker participants in traffic when they are not the weaker ones.
The main danger in it is drivers becoming angry (totally irrationally) and reckless.
I find it strange that cyclists love to discuss things as if bad outcomes to themselves didn‘t matter as long as they are the ones responsible. That‘s no way to sensibly talk about traffic safety.
A car jumping the light leaves no room for another car; a cyclist doing it leaves more than enough room.
Yes, if they're busting through a pedestrian crossing with pedestrians on, or going on to a narrow junction, etc.. then you're in to dangers similar to "not indicating" (something that puts me in danger as a pedestrian every day).
A cyclist hitting a car, it's extraordinarily unlikely to kill anyone including themselves. The contrary is not so. That's why cyclists don't worry as much about the possibility of hurting others on the roads. Of course interactions with pedestrians are bad all round, but much worse physically for cyclists than for vehicle drivers.
There are imbalances, ignoring them doesn't make anyone safer.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-bike-st... (I've seen other sources, but this is the first one I found first just now)
Because people in this thread claim that it's virtually impossible for a cyclist to get killed when crashing into a car. Only a car crashing into a cyclist could possibly kill the latter.
And that's nonsense.
No idea what he was thinking - the police car did set off in pursuit.
Emotionally seeing someone running a red light or making up their own lane has a higher impact than someone speeding in a car lane. I think it has to do with cultural acceptance.
Cyclists (the less considerate ones) can be unpredictable and frustrating for cars - I appreciate that. But "Get off the roads!" is only a very small part of the issue. Respect, training, and consequences commensurate with the level of damage inflictable by cars is something very absent from US driving culture (especially where I live in the relatively rural northwest). Cyclists whether on the road, bike paths, sidewalks, etc. kill and seriously injure people with negligible frequency compared to cars per mile.
Is there not an equivalent "compulsory single file for motor vehicles" petition?
I can envisage that first triptych that shows the bicycles spilling into the car lanes, in reverse ... ie the roughly equally-capable fast-moving cars should be in the single lane, with bikes, pedestrians and other road users free to maneuver and accommodate one-another across multiple lanes.
Yes. In suburbs and rural areas "think of the children" types routinely get all their friends (usually stay at home parents and retirees) to complain to the town that a particular instance of dotted yellow line is inappropriate. Probably about half the time it backfires (e.g. they get a bunch of 4-way stops or speed bumps to slow down traffic through their snowflake neighborhood which results in them listening to every motorcycle accelerate off of every one of those stops or every landscaping trailer make a racket going over the bumps).
Facebook, and the like have exposed more people than ever before to online trolling. It is very possible that the result might be a world where people tend to think for themselves.
Would be nice, but I don't think that's realistic. Look at the past few millenia of religion in human civilization and it becomes increasingly clear that humans are not just vulnerable to, but seem to be actively courting, brainwashing. It's the default state. And religion and brainwashing have plenty of expressions in the tech world, and science, too. Most people just aren't critical thinkers.
The closest we've come to filling those needs with intellectualism has both manifested itself as pseudo-intellectualism and an almost religious take on Enlightenment era philosophy.
Stop pretending that you're seeing these cyclists performing an Idaho stop during busy traffic. You know full well they're paying attention a whole hell of a lot more than you considering their life is on the line. You may not see us looking both ways, because it only takes about 15 degrees of head movement to allow our eyes to capture the full peripheral to check for oncoming traffic and it's a hell of a lot more convenient for the drivers behind us to have some distance between us.
The only reason this is a big deal is because humans are barely different from monkeys on an emotional level and can't rational handle the concept of there being a different legal context for a bike vs. a motor vehicle.
In the province I live in, there is no "Idaho stop". Rules are unambiguous: if you are on the road, whatever you are driving, you STOP at the stop sign. No guessing "do I/they do Idaho stop or not".
There are differing levels of enforcement in different places, but I've made thousands, possibly tens of thousands of infractions on my bike in 35 years of commuting, sometimes right in front of the police, and I've never had a ticket. Is a rule really a rule if it isn't enforced?
If I say everyone needs to wear clown shoes to work on Wednesdays, is that a rule? It doesn't mean jack-shit because I can't enforce it.
Drivers are held more carefully to the rules of the road, but given that they're ensconced in a protective metal shell, they have a lot more leeway with the law of the jungle. With cyclists it's the other way around.
The same as with Idaho stop, it does not matter. Looking at something that approaches the intersection, do I have to think what that is? What if it is a bicycle with electric assist? Moped? Scooter? Is it electric? Is it with ICE? Something in between the moped and the bike? Where do I draw the line? That is way more thinking than just following the rules of all-way stop/or main road/yield.
> There are differing levels of enforcement in different places, but I've made thousands, possibly tens of thousands of infractions on my bike in 35 years of commuting, sometimes right in front of the police, and I've never had a ticket. Is a rule really a rule if it isn't enforced?
Rules are there for your benefit, not police's.
> Drivers have to obey the rules of the road. Cyclists only have to obey the law of the jungle.
This quote right there pretty much explains why there is so much anger towards cyclists
It really doesn't matter how cyclists behave, the anger will still be there, because cyclists are part of the wrong tribe, their presence on the roads in any capacity is viewed as a violation of the natural moral order.
When I'm cycling, whether or not I'm obeying the rules has little material effect on a driver's ability to get from A to B, I'm courteous, but their blood pressure still goes up. My advice to them is to see a doctor and get it fixed.
When, and by who?
A compounding factor is that while rules for cars are more or less standard throughout the 50 states, rules for bikes are a complete mess. For example, in Massachusetts, a bike can ride in the left lane (I mean, you should probably have a good reason but it's 100% legal) where as in some other states, bikes have a mandated max distance from the right hand curb. How can anyone know what is actually allowed?
And a solution to the disjoint sets of laws is that states are very different. Super urban areas necessarily need different laws than very rural areas. Even regional snow fall amounts is a factor as bike lanes basically disappear in the winter.
FWIW, as a cyclist I would love to see Idaho stop legislated. As a driver, I do not follow stop rules blindly. If approaching all-way stop a see a cyclist (or anyone) close enough to the intersection without any signs of the slowdown, of course I will let them cross first. But even with the Idaho stop legislated many cyclists misunderstand it. For example, Idaho stop means treating stop sign as a yield sign, which means if you can safely cross the intersection without impeding anyone else (e.g. if there is no one else around or they are far enough from the intersection), you do not have to stop. It does not mean "I don't have to stop and have priority over cars no matter what".
That is exactly the point of making something the law instead of informal rule - there should be no ambiguity.
More seriously, I think the Idaho stop is a good idea. Cyclists won't stop unless they really have to for reasons fairly obvious to anyone who has ever biked on streets. No need to make that behavior illegal. But it will require a bit of an education campaign. And we already have a ton of things that require mass education: zipper merges, yield the left lane to passers, and so much else.
Should NYS allow bikes to make right turns on red too while we're at it?
The same is true of bicyclists who do the same.
I have never driven a car in my life (age 35 currently) despite growing up in a very rural area. Now I live in a city and bike everywhere and NEVER run a stop sign. The behavior of both drivers and bicyclists is embarrassing.
Yes, this is true.
Meh, it really depends on the type of stop and conditions.
Regardless of the number of wheels one's preferred mode of transportation has I'm not gonna complain about people doing rolling stops at 4-way stops where there's good visibility and the traffic conditions are such that there's no possibility of misinterpreting who's turn it is or at a right turn that would be a yield instead of a stop were there not a left turn option.
I disagree. A stop sign is a stop sign. Otherwise the sign would say use-your-judgment-and-decide-what-to-do.
Huge numbers of stop signs are found in North America, but they're not so common elsewhere. In Europe, most smaller junctions in residential areas will have a "yield" sign, or no sign at all. Busier ones might have a mini-roundabout (give way to the left).
In the UK, installing a stop sign requires the permission of the central government. This is to keep the sign special — if you see one, there really is some risky road layout that means you can't see safely until you're stopped at the sign. There was only one example anywhere near where I grew up: next to an junction by an ancient castle where parts of the building overhung the road, meaning large vehicles might be on the wrong side of the road to pass by.
If a car is travelling at 35 mph and you're traveling at 25 mph, then the relative speed of the car is 10 mph.
If a car is travelling at 35 mph and you're travelling at 10 mph, then the relative speed of the car is 25 mph, which is going to hurt a hell of a lot more than being hit by a car travelling 10 mph relative to you.
I don't mean to pick on you personally! It's a systemic failure of the community to keep its hivemind.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17731908 and marked it off-topic.
I’ve had cyclists plow through zebra crossings (crosswalks where stopping is mandatory) at full speed just inches away from me. Or blow through red lights for them that are green walk signals for pedestrians.
It seems to me to be precisely the opposite. It is extremely common to see cyclists have a full 4-5 foot shoulder to ride on, but they always choose to ride as close to vehicular traffic as possible. Sometimes even on the white line. By doing so, they endanger everybody, and the only explanation for this behavior is entitlement.
So, cyclists, please change my mind: when you have a wide shoulder to occupy, and you choose to ride so close to the left of it that your handlebars are in serious danger of being clipped by vehicular traffic, why? Why not the middle of the shoulder, or, god forbid, the right side of it?
edit: thanks for the enlightening replies.
I'll try to ride as far right as possible, especially on a busy street. But those other dangers are quite real, especially once you've picked up a bit of speed. In the areas I ride, cars can't really go much faster than bikes anyway (except they accelerate faster). So the relative speed of a car in motion is less than all the stationary stuff on the right that can hurt me. My city has a lot of cyclists and bike-friendly roads, so drivers are relatively alert and used to slowing down for cyclists. As a driver, the only time I find cyclists annoying is when they ride on the roads without shoulders or bike lanes and take a whole lane.
Cyclists need much more road width than you might intuitively expect, because we're less able to safely ride over debris or potholes. An obstacle that you would barely notice in a car could cause a cyclist to crash. The shoulder is often littered with debris, because the wheels of vehicles tend to sweep debris out to the edge of their usual track; the shoulder doesn't benefit from this sweeping action.
We know that we might need to swerve unexpectedly for reasons that aren't obvious to following traffic, so we want to make sure that we have sufficient space to swerve away from traffic rather than towards it. Riding well to the left gives the cyclist more control over their distance from passing traffic, because they maintain a buffer of safety that they can use if an inattentive or aggressive driver passes dangerously close.
Some cyclists might take this principle to an extreme, but the opposite is usually true - timid and inexperienced cyclists tend to ride right in the gutter rather than staking out a survival zone, severely limiting their options if they need to avoid a hazard or a vehicle is passing dangerously close.
On narrower roads without a shoulder, safe cyclists will take a variety of road positions based on the conditions; the reasons aren't always obvious to following drivers. We always keep at least four feet away from parked cars, because of the risk that someone unexpectedly opens their door in our path. Hitting a door is often fatal, because the top edge of the door is at around head height to a cyclist. We might tuck in to the right to maintain a safe distance when being passed, but we might also move out to the left of the lane to indicate to motorists that it would be unsafe to squeeze past us in the same lane on that section of road. Riding in the tracks followed by car wheels is usually safer, because those parts of the road are swept clean of debris and less likely to be contaminated with spilled oil or diesel.
Cyclists are not idiots. They are the product of roads that severely punish those that don't attend to drains, grates, glass and metal trash from car accidents strewn liberally in the margin of the road. They make tires called 'gator skins' for a reason.
Go ahead and ride in the gutter, do it tomorrow. And see if that bike makes it a mile, much less all the way to work.
As someone who drives frequently and cycles everyday through London to work (and loves both activities) the perspective ive always shared is that cycling makes you see the worst in all other forms of transport. CYcling to to work there are days where I hate pedestrians, hate drivers and days where i definitely hate other cyclists. I've nearly struck careless pedestrians who were jaywalking looking at their phone and ive been struck by a car at a junction where i had right of way (and thankfully lived to tell the tale).
There are assholes in all camps, but I suspect its amplified dpeending on which activity youre engaged in
If you're an avid road cyclist like me, there's a big changes you've done all these things more than once:
- Crossed a red light.
- Ride on the road while there's a cycling lane next to it.
- Cut corners.
- Ride a bit to fast in busy area's (maybe to keep your Strava average high)
- Pass an normal cyclist a bit to close.
Without some evidence, the discussion just degenerates into the usual cyclists vs. car drivers argument.
(Complaining about car drivers being unsafe but then constantly running red lights themselves.)
I do agree that cyclists should follow rules. But the magnitutde of danger caused by rule breaking is massively lower and that should be acknowledged. A dangerous driver is committing a worse crime than a careless cyclist.
Also, cyclists are not some homogeneous group. The person complaining about dangerous drivers is not neccessarily the person going through a red light.
Rubbish. Having cyclists stop at red lights when people are crossing the road does not restrict their freedom "to an unacceptable degree". And even though I'm not likely to be killed by a cyclist running into me, I'd still much rather that they didn't.
I say this as someone who doesn't have a driving license, so I'm not "pro car". I'm just anti getting whomped out of nowhere by a bike.
Now don't get me wrong, it's frustrating, but I'm also a cyclist. I appreciate Oxford's bike-friendliness. I cycle more than I drive. In fact, I've encountered more of the 3-abreast problem when I'm riding - groups having a chat at a slow speed while I'm trying to get to work. I stop at lights for my own safety while others completely ignore them. I never ride without a helmet. And when I'm on the road, I try to keep as close to the kerb as I can without hitting drains.
It's frustrating, for sure, but the internet breeds hatred from frustration. There's a nice little graphic showing it as a distillation process. Facebook is phenomenally bad at this, by design, since it groups and sorts these kinds of people together. This DFROC group has one advantage though - it could be turned into a private group and then this pool of cess would never need to leak out to the rest of the internet. So long as it stays there, this hatred can continue to fester without hurting anyone, but as we know by now, it always leaks back into real life. The minority may give the majority a bad name, but the boiling hatred from these echo chambers eventually convinces somebody that their feelings are justified and go do something they will regret.
The internet is not a healthy place, but it does have its distant basis in facts.
So if a cyclist runs a red light and nearly knocks me over, it's not the cyclist causing that, even if they could easily have just stopped at the light?
Sounds like it's the light that's causing it, given how much you're focusing on the light in your comments. Take the light out of the picture (which probably requires taking cars off of that road) and what would happen?
You seemed to imply that safety at intersections between cyclists and pedestrians needed or was helped by traffic lights. I don't think that's true.
> Regardless, it's pretty eccentric to suggest that traffic lights are responsible for collisions caused by people who ignore them. However safe a particular intersection currently is, removing traffic lights from it will make it less safe than that.
There's an increasingly mainstream view that just the opposite is true, see e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/04/remova...
Safety is helped in London, in the real world, when people don't run red lights. You seemed to be saying that this wouldn't be the case if there were no cars, which is totally irrelevant.
>There's an increasingly mainstream view that just the opposite is true
Try crossing a busy road which doesn't have any lights. I have one of those on my walk back from work, and it's by far the most dangerous crossing.
Maybe. If stricter enforcement of red lights leads to fewer people cycling, it might lead to more deaths overall.
> You seemed to be saying that this wouldn't be the case if there were no cars, which is totally irrelevant.
You asked about who or what was "causing" the issue.
> Try crossing a busy road which doesn't have any lights. I have one of those on my walk back from work, and it's by far the most dangerous crossing.
It's dangerous if cars are driving fast. Other changes (e.g. narrower streets, speed limits) can make it very safe. Look at the article's example: crossing Exhibition Road, without lights, feels safer than light-based crossings IME.
I did not call for stricter enforcement. Cyclists could choose to stop running red lights without any changes in the law or how it is enforced.
>You asked about who or what was "causing" the issue.
You seem in effect to be saying that we can’t blame cyclists for running red lights here in the real world because you can imagine some kind of cycletopia where lights wouldn’t necessary. If a cyclist runs a red light and consequently crashes into me while I'm crossing the road, the cause of that accident is, obviously, the cyclist and not the light. Removing the light isn't going to make bikes any easier to see, or cyclists any more careful. (Those of a careful disposition wouldn't be running red lights at pedestrian crossings in the first place.)
Cyclists are free to argue for different traffic regulations and infrastructure, but in the mean time, they should follow the rules and stop endangering others.
True, but that would carry a similar risk of leading them to cycle less.
> After all, the accident would have happened just the same if the light wasn't there.
Disagree; you would likely have acted differently if the light wasn't there. If you were right, we'd see cyclists colliding with pedestrians at no-motor-traffic junctions all the time, since none of them have lights. But we don't.
>you would likely have acted differently if the light wasn't there.
I don't act differently when there are no lights, since I know that most cyclists ignore the lights anyway!
>If you were right, we'd see cyclists colliding with pedestrians at no-motor-traffic junctions all the time, since none of them have lights. But we don't.
Cyclists are harder to see when there are cars on the road, so that's an irrelevant comparison.
In any case, cyclists do collide with pedestrians in the absence of motor vehicles. The canal tow paths in London are particularly bad for this, for example:
Then it sounds like cyclists ignoring the lights aren't putting you in any real danger, and that "cyclists choosing to stop running red lights" as you suggest would do you very little good.
> In any case, cyclists do collide with pedestrians in the absence of motor vehicles.
They do, occasionally. But notice how no-one in that article even mentions the possibility of introducing traffic lights, because they're so obviously not a solution to anything.
That is simply a non sequitur.
>"cyclists choosing to stop running red lights" as you suggest would do you very little good.
It would stop them frequently nearly crashing into me, which would certainly be good from my perspective.
>But notice how no-one in that article even mentions the possibility of introducing traffic lights
Erm, because it wouldn't be possible to add traffic lights on a canal tow path. The point is that ignoring traffic lights is dangerous, not that traffic lights should be put everywhere.
I don't advocate crashing into pedestrians. But the best way to avoid crashing into pedestrians is to pay attention to pedestrians, not to lights.
> Erm, because it wouldn't be possible to add traffic lights on a canal tow path. The point is that ignoring traffic lights is dangerous
None of your articles seems to think that traffic lights are helpful.
FWIW cyclists are allowed to ride 2 abreast in the UK (occupying the full lane), the correct procedure as with any slow moving traffic in front of you is to be patient and wait for a safe place to pass.
A cyclist riding close to the kerb increases danger, you invite cars to pass at higher speed and you leave no margin for error then - one wiggle and you're toast.
More generally we should design urban communities so that things like pedestrian crossings are not even neccessary.
I don't know... cars stay on the road where I live. Cyclists will happily ride on the pavement and justify it with 'the road's too dangerous to cycle on'. They seem to consciously be happy with endangering people more vulnerable than themselves in order to keep themselves safe... which is what they criticise car drivers with.
I'm more concerned in practice about my three-year old daughter being hit by a cyclist on the pavement, than by a car on the road.
The dream for cyclists is a dedicated lane with clear separation from the road. This is almost utopia atm.
The city seems happy with endangering people. Parents seems happy with endangering babies there. No one has ever been charged with endangering of children, and I have never seen anyone stopping a parent with a stroller and telling them that they are endangering their child by walking on a bike road. If anything I also see an increase of strollers during the time when the road is full of ice. The order in which the city clear out snow and ice is roads > bike roads > pavement, and parents with strollers do not want to walk in snow. Given the alternative most seems to pick the bike road.
Other fun participants I have seen on exclusive bike roads is 4-5 year olds learning to bike with training wheels. Just like with strollers I always give them a bit extra distance when passing them, which might explain why there has been zero deaths or injuries from bike hitting strollers or young children even through those are common sights on bike roads. If one wonder the cause of that I think one just need to check the average speed of bikes in a city and the reaction and braking speed.
I am sure if a parent would take a stroller and walk on the road against car traffic then social service would have a very strong opinion about it. That would actually be unsafe behavior and traffic records support in every way that bikes are safe and cars are not. Being more concerned about a three-year old being hit by a cyclist on the pavement than by a car on the road is flying against statistics, and I would say actual behavior. Would you honestly say that your reaction to a parent walking with a stroller on a bike road would be identical to a parent walking with a stroller against car traffic on the road?
A lot of tensions and unnecessary fear would be resolved if we just applied common sense and speed limits to roads. Have pavement and most bike roads like today but put a speed limit to that of a running person (around 15km/h (9mph)). At those speed and lower there is no safety concerns and tolerance between cyclists and pedestrians should be encourage. Then we have fast bike lanes with a max speed of 30km/h (18mph) and city car roads with the more common 40km/h (24mph) and 50km/h (31mph), both which pedestrian use should be discouraged because of the danger from increased reaction, braking and stopping time. If two roads of different speed cross then the lower speed limit should be used and who ever is faster should yield, and if accidents still happens then traffic lights, speed bumps, cameras and other methods to reduce speed should be applied.
By focusing on reaction, braking and stopping time you get a fairly decent prediction model of accident rates. This is what our assessment about what is dangerous should be based on.
That sounds bad. I would not do that and would not support any cyclist who did. It's not something I see happening where I live.
> I'm more concerned in practice about my three-year old daughter being hit by a cyclist on the pavement, than by a car on the road.
Have you looked at the statistics for how often those things actually happen, and how bad the consequences are when they do?
A bike can do a lot of damage and harm once it goes beyond walking speed and even at walking speed it can be quite dangerous.
I get that not every cyclists runs the red lights but those that do are a clear danger to traffic safety.
I am not suggesting that bad behaviour should be legal. Merely that it is not morally comparable to dangerous driving.
They often aren't severe, more so police are able to remove extremely intoxicated people from a public location.
The difference is that pedestrian and cyclists don't weigh tons but can still severely endanger others and themselves.
Why a driving ban rather than a walking ban? Doesn't the same logic suggest giving cyclists a driving ban rather than a cycling ban?
You don't get a cyclist ban, to my knowledge, since it isn't licensed. This is mostly about deriving how responsible you are with a car from how responsible you behave in traffic when you're not a car.
The road is supposed to be used responsibly, driving or cycling drunk shows you don't care about that. Everyone here uses Taxi, public transport or friends for transport if drunk.
The pedestrian absolutely notices whether they were hit by a tonne of metal going 40mph or 20kg going at 20mph. Regulation should be proportionate to how much risk you impose on others. Given how many more people get killed by car drivers than by cyclists, we should be looking to make driving tests much stricter before we even begin to worry about regulating cycling.
I've met plenty of people that do not use the internet have irrational hatred for cyclists in the UK.
It seems like it's a car culture thing. And whenever a driver sees a cyclist doing something wrong it confirms the idea to them.
Regardless of whether there's any merit to it.
To my knowledge, speed and braking distance is the biggest factor for accident rates and injuries. The average bike speed in a flat city was last time I checked around 12km/h (7mph), which has a very short braking distance. Unsurprising the accident rate of bike hitting pedestrians is extremely rare for a flat city, where the top listed accident rate for bikers here in Sweden is 1) person falling off the bike with no other person involved, 2) car hitting bike in a crossing where the car is running a speed usually above the speed limit.
A typical car driving at 50km/h (30mph) has a reaction distance of 21m, braking distance of 14m and total stopping distance of 35m. This is why efforts to reduce high accident rates for crossing involving cars is done by reducing the speed through speed bumps, cameras that publicly display the speed, and additional traffic lights. In the cases where those efforts are not enough there is usually talk about separating the traffic since the lowest speed limit is 30km/h and that still produce a risky braking distance for highly trafficked crossings.
A motorist runs a red light, it's one stupid motorist. A pedestrian crosses a road dangerously, it's one stupid pedestrian. A cyclist runs a red light, it's all cyclists. I have no idea how that works.