Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Road Rage' Case Highlights Cyclist Vs. Driver Tension

NPR’s story from last night about a pessimist from the hive mind lashing out at a cyclist.

'Road Rage' Case Highlights Cyclist Vs. Driver Tension

Another clip from an ABC news affiliate.

Road rage is indeed a component of the pessimist.

Let’s allow the audio and the salient information on the link to speak for itself. The clip does however allude to the line of thought shared by the hive mind:

"When you pull up alongside them and ask them to stay out of your way, they yell at you," he said. "They're extremely provocative, they're asking for trouble, and this is not the worst case that's going to happen. Someone's going to get killed, and to be frank with you, the residents aren't going to feel too bad about it."

Given the opportunity, pessimists are also muckrakers. A few cyclists creating trouble mean all cyclists are troublesome, right?

The piece continues to the perspective of another cyclist who talks of reckless cyclists that put in him jeopardy as “…the driver you tick off is the one who's going to run me off the road."

Evidence of the hive mind and its psychokinetic power over the cyclist.

I also deal with other cyclists that are rude and reckless; there is no doubt that this needs to be addressed. “Sharing the road” has other connotations than just the perspective of the cyclist. But if a cyclist breaks the laws of the road, then the people that are put in place to protect those laws should be the only ones enforcing them, which are the police, not the motorist.

I’ve received speeding tickets and other traffic violations as a motorist, but sometimes I get away with rolling a stop sign or whatever. The same can be said for other cyclists. Why motorists feel the need to police other cyclists I think goes back to the idea that they are having more fun and they’re also getting away with it.

To focus on safety, the linked NPR page has 5 steps toward better safety for a cyclist, but I would like to expand on them:

1. Lights: invest in 2 lights for the rear and at least one for the front. Cheap lights are cheap for a reason. If you buy a cheap light for the front, use 2. Talk to the people in the bike shop about where to clamp certain styles and brands of lights on the front, and which ones stay in place when clamped. Rear lights need to be visible and blinking. There are excellent products available that clamp to the seat post and others that connect to your helmet, bag, coat, belt, or the seat stay.
2. TLC: first, get educated on the language of the bike, Intown Bicycle in Atlanta has good section on their site about terms and “how-to’s”.
Next keep your bike clean by wiping the frame down regularly and keeping your chain clean. One rule for bikes is if there is any noise, rattle, squeak or other, something is wrong. Bikes should virtually be silent. Brakes should not squeal and nothing should feel “loose”.
3. Keep your eyes peeled: slow down in tight areas where cars are parked on the right; watch for car doors. When crossing intersections or outlets that have traffic entering from the right, make eye contact with the driver. Make sure that they see you noticing them. Also try to glance at the wheels to see if they are inching forward. Oncoming traffic looking to turn in front of you, just expect them to cut you off. They’re trying to get ahead. Some slow for you and let the cyclist pass but it’s safer to assume that they are about to cut you off. If they don’t cut you off, well that’s a better surprise than the alternative.

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