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Main Category => Discussions - Public => Topic started by: Dennis Nedry on May 29, 2007, 05:20:25 am

Title: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: Dennis Nedry on May 29, 2007, 05:20:25 am
Does it work to directly confront people about things that they are doing to intrude upon your world?  I don't think so anymore.  It seems the world is shifting, and if somebody is treading upon you, the "new" way to deal with it may be to ignore it or to remove yourself from the situation.  In my opinion, our culture has become one of self centered rudeness.  

Some Examples:

1. Tailgating
2. loud yacking on cell phones in public places
3. competitive behavior
4. displays of wealth
5. aggressive behavior towards neighbors i.e doing what you want on your property regardless of the feelings of neighbors.
6. A minor example, yuppie bicycle riders riding in the road (when there is a path available)

In all of these cases, if you confront the individual committing the offense, you are met with either shock (what are you talking about?  I wasn't doing anything!), or you are met with outright aggression, i.e. physical threats.

Is it a new world out there, or am I jsut becoming a curmudgeon?
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: John Masterson on May 29, 2007, 05:37:09 am
Jim,

I have noticed many of these things as well. I was behind a guy on a bike, decked out in full racing stretch nylon, furiously pedaling along in front of me at all of 26mph and not moving over to the curb... until I honked at him.

I see tailgaters all the time acting like morons, zipping ahead  and latching onto the next car in front of them as soon as they can.

I called the police last week at 12:30am for the people who had a smoky fire going in one of those backyard portable, round "fireplaces"...the smoke was coming right into our bedroom making my slight asthma tighten up my chest and making my wife cough.  The police sent the Fire Department, who came Code Red with full siren and lights...why I don't know... but it got the neighbor's attention!

I do think society, at least urban society, is becoming more rude and selfish.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: codger on May 29, 2007, 06:08:39 am
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I do think society, at least urban society, is becoming more rude and selfish.


You might say that "the barbarians have won". You could also say that civility is dead. In both cases you'd be correct.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: DarkHumour on May 29, 2007, 06:19:55 am
Chicago has always seemed like a place to be ostentatious about your "wealth" or bling. ;)   It's weird though. People could live in a cardboard box while owning and driving a car far beyond their means.

I've joked that the way to hurt yuppies is to inconvenience them.  I get annoyed with people who don't think the rules apply to them.

I've kicked the fender of a Mercedes that gunned through an intersection from a full stop rather than wait for the pedestrians to cross. My foot went "crunch" and I had an xray done. (I was fine).  But my steel toed boots probably did some damage. I staggered away (to the gasps of the lady behind me) before the guy tried to sue me / shoot me / whatever.

Idiots used to park in my spot behind my apartment complex periodically.  I yelled at some woman to move her car. She told me to simply chose another spot. No! I pay over $1000 for that spot a year. (at the time) She then moved to another spot.  Only person that I've ever seen towed was *me* when my damn parking sticker fell off and into my trunk through my recently stolen car speakers' mounting hole.

I've also been in line at an ATM and the woman in front of me was taking a while and then answered a cell phone call.  This really irritated the guy behind me and he yelled at her about it.

All of this stuff seems to be a symptom of high pressure city living. What could explain this? Sociology. Psychology. Future shock.

I've pondered a bit more (after talking to a German guy at my hostel) how much of American culture is dominated and motivated by fear.  Who can profit from this uncertainty? Politicians? "The Media" ? Horror movies ? ;)

DarkHumour
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: codger on May 29, 2007, 06:35:34 am
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I've kicked the fender of a Mercedes that gunned through an intersection from a full stop rather than wait for the pedestrians to cross. My foot went "crunch" and I had an xray done. (I was fine). But my steel toed boots probably did some damage. I staggered away (to the gasps of the lady behind me) before the guy tried to sue me / shoot me / whatever.


You're not in California. As I recall, the pedestrian only has the right of way in Illinois if the signage says so. It's not universal. In Chicago, they'll run over you in a crosswalk. When kicking a Mercedes (latent hostility toward the wealthy?), be aware that a lot of them are driven by attorneys. Could become problematic for you.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: John Masterson on May 29, 2007, 06:36:25 am
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You might say that "the barbarians have won". You could also say that civility is dead. In both cases you'd be correct.


No, that's black-and-white, binary thinking. I don't think that it is 100% bad and completely rude in all interactions.

I just think it's worse than it used to be, and significantly so.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: TRexx on May 29, 2007, 06:46:15 am
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I've pondered a bit more (after talking to a German guy at my hostel) how much of American culture is dominated and motivated by fear. Who can profit from this uncertainty? Politicians? "The Media" ? Horror movies ? ;)  


People who sell "security".
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: DarkHumour on May 29, 2007, 06:58:04 am
It wasn't "lashing out at the rich." I was kicking a car of some a$$hole who nearly ran me over.  I happened to remember it was a Mercedes.  And yeah. I figured that nearly getting squished probably doesn't factor in to his property damage hence my hobbling away to the train.

This happened about 10 years ago... before I was "calmer". ;)

I've kicked one other car that was some bucket and the guy yelled at me about it.  I figure the next time I learn to "tuck and roll" or assume that the person driving has decided that injury or death of several people is worth getting a destination mere moments earlier.  

Actually I've *already* made that assumption.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: codger on May 29, 2007, 07:50:33 am
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assume that the person driving has decided that injury or death of several people is worth getting a destination mere moments earlier.

Actually I've *already* made that assumption.



Unfortunately, your assumption is valid. Common sense is less and less a part of the driver's mindset anymore. Add to this that the drivers are more distracted than ever (cell phone, GPS, DVDs, eating etc.), and it becomes clear that the streets are more dangerous than in the past.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: codger on May 29, 2007, 07:53:23 am
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Who can profit from this uncertainty?


M$, Norton AV, etc. :)
Title: Everyone is self rightous
Post by: The Gorn on May 29, 2007, 07:58:20 am
There is no semblance of social empathy at any level whatsoever. That is what has changed in society in the last 20 to 30 years.

In  general, everyone is fully justified, with no guilt or equivocation, in their own minds to do anything they want. The only real barrier (if any) is the law. The mentality of people on "The People's Court" or "Jerry Springer" is now a standard way of thinking in society.

This absolutist "everything for me" thinking is why (IMO) we have so many dumbassed laws. People cannot be expected to behave politely or reasonably.

I have absolutely no problem, for instance, with restaurants and businesses setting up smoking and no-smoking zones. But the standard practice in most urban states is to ban smoking in all commercial establishments.

You are describing a reaction to symptoms. I think you are correct. Confrontation has become a dangerous practice. These days, it's a direct precursor to a shooting or stabbing.
Title: Re: Everyone is self rightous
Post by: David Cressey on May 29, 2007, 08:37:42 am
I think "The People's Court"  (Judge Wapner)  was far more civil and far more credible than today's knockoffs, like Judge Judy.

Today, the judge acts like one of the barbarians.   Wapner at least tried to maintain some semblance of what a real court would do.


Title: Taking Ownership
Post by: Dennis Nedry on May 29, 2007, 08:38:57 am
Good points.  There is also another symtop I've noticed.  You see less people taking ownership of their bad behavior.   I'm talking "grownups" here.  Scary stuff sometimes.

My worldview is really messed up right now.  I have a series of "feuds" resulting directly from my standing up for my rights in the neighborhood, etc.  In retrospect, it would have been easier to have let the other parties walk all over me.

So the deal is essentially this.  The other person is going to do stuff to you.  You have two choices.  1) leave the scene  2) fight back and face a lot of wrath.  What is not on the table is for the other person to stop their bad behavior.
Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: Dennis Nedry on May 29, 2007, 08:42:50 am
Also, you never know if the person driving the vehicle just "doesn't care".  Maybe they are going through bad times, and have nothing to lose.  Or they are going through a divorce and don't give a sh!t what happens to them.  Got to stay out of their way so as not to become collatoral damage.
Title: Re: Taking Ownership
Post by: John Masterson on May 29, 2007, 10:07:51 am
Jim,

Regarding the neighbors. There are bullies in the world. Luckily I have not had to face this from neighbors yet. I am a peaceful guy; and as you see from the board, I try to understand the other person's point of view...as long as I think they are TRYING to be fair.

But when another person decides it's their way or war...well that's a tough situation, because there is no happy solution. Fighting is uncomfortable; being walked on is uncomfortable.

Too bad so many adults are still two-year-olds that don't understand mature give and take.
Title: Re: Taking Ownership
Post by: Dennis Nedry on May 29, 2007, 11:34:56 am
We live on a dead end street.  All the neighbors have been there 20 years plus.  We are the only new family on the block.  

We had some run-ins with their kids (they were pissing on our bushes, hanging out on our lake front, disrespecting my child, etc.)  I talked to their parents, and the whole group turned on us.  It is incredibly uncomfortable, and my wife and I want out.  We have a beautiful 1 acre lakefront property, only a few miles from the Loop, but we have to let it go because of the concerted effort to freeze us out.  We can't let our daughter out of our sight.  We paid the big bucks for the house, but the neighbors are a brutish clan that didn't pay much to get in 20 years ago.

My wife and I are now actively looking for a new home and looking in gated communities in the hopes that we can get away from the Lord Of The Flies mentality.
Title: Re: Taking Ownership
Post by: John Masterson on May 29, 2007, 12:01:24 pm
Jim,

That's awful. I can see the dynamic. They may resent your wealth and position. They're a cohesive group of the same lower "status", and they are banding to abuse the "outsiders" eh?

I feel bad for your situation.
Title: Re: Taking Ownership
Post by: codger on May 29, 2007, 12:05:35 pm
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My wife and I are now actively looking for a new home and looking in gated communities in the hopes that we can get away from the Lord Of The Flies mentality.


That's the ticket. We're in a community of 3+ acre lots and are also on a dead end street. Even with distances and privacy we have a guy who reminds me of Randy Quaid's character in "Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". A real bottom feeder who thinks he's out on a 500 acre farm. His place looks like crap, and he makes no attempt to fit in with the neighbors. He's been here almost ten years. It only takes one.

We don't gang up on him, but we probably should.
Title: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: SQLplus on May 29, 2007, 06:59:20 pm
>I was behind a guy on a bike, decked out in full racing stretch nylon, furiously pedaling along in front of me at all of 26mph and not moving over to the curb... until I honked at him.<

First of all, 26 mph on a bike is pretty impressive riding - 99.9% of the population couldn't do it to save their lives.  Second, if you had ever ridden a bike on the open road, you would know that the three feet nearest the curb is where all the road debris is - bike tires don't fare well on road trash.  And modern cars are very quiet, so he may not have heard you approaching.

>I called the police last week at 12:30am for the people who had a smoky fire going in one of those backyard portable, round "fireplaces"...the smoke was coming right into our bedroom making my slight asthma tighten up my chest and making my wife cough. The police sent the Fire Department, who came Code Red with full siren and lights...why I don't know... but it got the neighbor's attention!<

Did you talk to the neighbor before calling the cops, or did you go straight to "Code Red"?  I used to live next door to a dickhead who never called to tell me that my dog's barking was bothering him (his four dogs didn't bark, of course...), he just went straight to nasty notes left on my door and nasty phone messages.  No attempt at reasonable dialog.

Well?
Title: Owww, JM's balls got kicked right in the jimmy...
Post by: The Gorn on May 29, 2007, 07:34:46 pm
I think that interaction with people we don't know or deal with often who do something that conflicts with our well being is quite "lumpy" and asymmetric.

It can be really difficult to figure out what is an appropriate response to some situations.  

The reason JM called the fire department probably has to do with a desire to NOT confront. Many people, even if you ask nicely to stop doing something, will immediately take offense and/or laugh at you and/or will become your sworn enemy. I posit that if you asked a backyard cookout to stop smoking you out, only a minority (20% or less) would respect your request, and the balance would not do anything differently and/or would go very negative.

Title: Re: Owww, JM's balls got kicked right in the jimmy...
Post by: BrownsRBack on May 29, 2007, 08:38:06 pm
Actually just yesterday I nearly had my first fist fight in a loooong time.  My sons play whiffle ball in the street.  The "field" backs up to my neighbor's front yard.  We are in Coastal San Diego, and as Renter's have seemingly been pretty accepted in our nabe so this issue had nothing to do with the newcomer status (we have been here almost 2 years).  

Anyway my kids are 10 and 12, and apparently my neighbor said to them "if that ball comes in my garage, I am kicking someone's ass". Now mind you my kids have a reputation with the neighbors for being well-mannered and behaved, so they immediately left, and told me about it.  I sat there for a sec, suddenly became enraged, and took off for the neighbors house fully intending on calling him out for threatening my kids.  I am a peacemaker, not a bully, but I am 6'1, 260, overweight, but strong, and 38.  This guy is overweight, about 5-6 and close to 50. He is always rambling about how tough he is, and teaches his son (also tiny and overweight) to fight at school though he doesn't mess with my kids (wife is 5'10"), but then again my kids don't hang with kids who fight.

Anyway he sees me running over and meets me in the front to say he owes my kids an apology.  Apparently some problem with the wife was happening at the time, and he is an alcoholic (it was 12:00 in the afternoon memorial day), so something set him off.  I escorted him to the back yard where he apologized and explained why he was grumpy and that he really didn't care if they played whiffle ball, especially since his son sometimes joins in.  Today he ran up and apologized again.  

I for one am glad I confronted, because in most cases I NEVER confront, I prefer to keep peace.
Title: Re: Owww, JM's balls got kicked right in the jimmy...
Post by: codger on May 30, 2007, 02:37:16 am
Sounds like it worked out okay,

I empathize with you. I hate confrontations, and generally avoid shouting matches or fighting. I guess that most of us have a hot button that when pushed, drops our nice guy facade.

In my case, when I go through one of these red-faced sessions, my blood pressure and heart rate rise to alarming levels. While I have normal heart health, but can't help fearing having a heart attack when I go through one of these situations. Adreniline is powerful stuff.

Buried in many of us is a chilvarous white knight, who when offended, can become quite a warrior.
Title: Off Topic: He who confronts
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 02:48:26 am
There is an Arabic name that means "he who confronts".  The name is Saddam.

Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 02:53:01 am
I agree with you SQLplus.  "We" are all reasonable,  well balanced indivudals who respect other's rights and understand their desires.  Meanwhile "they" are all dickheads who leave nast messages, make smoke in the backyard,  ride their bicycles in the road,  and otherwise behave unreasonably.

It's just like all the other issues raised in this forum  (or practically any other forum).  It's the difference between "us" and "them".

Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 04:43:48 am
SQLPlus,

You tangled with the wrong guy this morning  >:        ....       ;)          

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First of all, 26 mph on a bike is pretty impressive riding - 99.9% of the population couldn't do it to save their lives.


And this is relevant to what, exactly?

Yeah, maybe he didn't hear me. So I beeped at him. But I've repeatedly come up behind guys (usually guys, about late 20s to mid thirties) who don't move over. I suspect they want exactly the same rights as cars, even when they cannot match the speed of the road. I've seen lines of cars behind these morons...putting their desire for status behind the needs of 5 or six drivers.

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Did you talk to the neighbor before calling the cops, or did you go straight to "Code Red"?


For the record, I just asked the police dispatcher to have someone talk to him. She decided to call the Fire Dept.

No, G0ddard has it right. I did NOT want him to know who had turned him in.

Just in case he was the type to take repeated guerrilla action against me or my family. He had already had these smoky fires 5 or six times before. That's a marker. The house is a low-cost rental, a shack set way back by the alley, and the guy's got two old junky vehicles out front. And before you say it: no, being poor doesn't make you a criminal or misfit; but criminals and misfits are very often poor...so there is a higher likelihood he could be trouble and have social "issues", I think. See the math/statistics?

The rest of the neighborhood is houses of 400 to 600k. People are friendly and decent.

Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: Dennis Nedry on May 30, 2007, 05:46:48 am
Good point.  I think most of us don't go to code read right away though.  With neighbors, it's usually a process over time.  A history get built.  There are repeated behaviours that cross over the line.  There are subtle interactions.

With the bikers, they are already at "Code Red".   They are saying "I've got my fruity spandex pants on, I am right in the road in front of your 2000 pound car, and I'm going to force you to go around me.  F.U., and if you say anything about you, I'm either going to flip you off or try to provoke a confrontaton".   There is not time to say "Please Mr. Bike, if I go around you, it will put me into oncoming traffic.  If I try to pass too close to you, you might get hit, and then we'll all be in a world of sh!t."
Title: In Texas, bicycles have the full right to the road!
Post by: David Randolph on May 30, 2007, 08:40:01 am
Title: Do you think that's reasonable?
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 08:54:02 am
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In Texas, bicycles have the full right to the road!


Do you think that's a reasonable thing?
Title: Notes on Bicycling and Right of Way
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 09:01:38 am
I have ridden a bike semi-seriously at least for over thirty years.

The vehicular codes in most areas mandate that a slow-moving vehicle that cannot reach the speed limit (typically a tractor or farm equipment, but in this context a bicycle) must pull over and let the faster vehicles overtake. In Ohio there is a number of blocked vehicles in back that should trigger the slow front vehicle to yield to everyone. (I think it's some number like 3 or 5 and it is a question that Ohio used on their driver's license tests years ago.)

The problem with bicycling is that as noted, there is lots of crap along the shoulder and the gutter in most streets, as well as things like sewer gratings that would drop a bike wheel. The point being that moving over to allow others to pass is a *highly* hazardous maneuver that could cause a fall, perhaps into the traffic lane. So moving over is impractical.

Then many motorists get impatient with bikers who ride dead in the center of the lane and block them from squeezing by. You tend to see highly experienced cyclists and club riders doing this. The newbies will try to "be nice" and allow everyone to pass. Well, drivers themselves being idiots and part of the slobbering proletariat, allowing drivers to squeeze by you exposes you to great risk of being clobbered by things such as outrigger right hand mirrors, etc. as well as poor judgement of some drivers who may misjudge the distance.

So most experienced riders will force the whole issue by not allowing anyone to pass in their lane by occupying the entire lane. This will force anyone who wishes to pass them to either find a whole other lane to pass, or to hit them from behind. The latter is unlikely when there are witnesses around.

Basically - standing your ground in the lane as a bicyclist is a matter of personal survival. It's not ego so much as it is poor design of most streets for the needs of cyclists.
Title: Re: Notes on Bicycling and Right of Way
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 09:09:22 am
G0ddard,

The whole argument you posit rests on there actually being life-threatening crap along the side of the lane.

When there is no such material, bikes should do the mature, reasonable thing and move over to let the line of cars pass.

And, would your argument hold for bikers who want to go 12 mph in a 30 mph zone? ...say, experienced bike club members who just want to rest for a few miles?
Title: Re: Notes on Bicycling and Right of Way
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 10:11:06 am
Between you and SQLplus, I can't figure out whether it's "us" mature sensible people on cars versus "those dickheads" on bikes,  who won't do the sensible, mature thing and move out of the way whenver a car pulls up behind them,  

or,

"us" hip bikers,  who are staying fit, lowering our carbon footprint, and making reasonable use of the roadway,  versus "those dickheads" who like to sneak up behind us in cars,  then blast their horns so we'll pull over into the trash lane.

Either way,  I'm convinced that "we" are in the right,  and "they" are in the wrong.  Isn't that always the way it is?

Yeah, right.

Title: Re: Notes on Bicycling and Right of Way
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 10:19:53 am
I am a bicyclist but not an overtly militant "reduce our carbon footprint" type nor am I overtly militant about cyclist's rights. I personally think that the present situation in the US is mediocre, at best, for use of bicycles, and the infrastructure poorly supports dual use of roads.

Having said that I am just pointing out that mixing the two modes will always produce some aggravation on someone's part.

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The whole argument you posit rests on there actually being life-threatening crap along the side of the lane.

When there is no such material, bikes should do the mature, reasonable thing and move over to let the line of cars pass.


Far, far easier said than done!

"Life threatening crap" includes sand from winter salting, pea gravel, and broken cement. Bike tires are skinny and it takes VERY little to throw a rider.

If a cyclist were to move over every time a motorist were inconvenienced he might as well walk, because he would not make more than 2-3 MPH because of constant dismounting and having to yield to traffic when inbound again.

Also, to reiterate my point: EVERY dismount and remount event as well as every pull off on the side of the road is an opportunity for an accident.

In this instance you need to do a better job of placing yourself in the other person's shoes and seeing just what the nature of the physical risks are. I know you're inherently a fair guy.

Now, because of everything I cited, plus your reaction (which is fairly common among motorists, really) I restrict my riding to paved off road cycling trails.
Title: Re: Notes on Bicycling and Right of Way
Post by: katyt on May 30, 2007, 10:41:16 am
The first year in Grad school, I was riding a bike on a street and got squeezed to a ditch by a big rusty car. Never rode on a street since. You want excise? Go to a bike trail, there are plenty of them in most major cities. For your safty, and for others. Like I answered in a quiz about right of way involve a train. "I don't care who has the right of way, but I am not going to argue with a train when I am in a car." Same goes with bike riders, for your own safty, and mine, get of of my way, PLEASE?!!!
Title: Bike rights
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 11:24:46 am
David,

Since we're all so selfishly self-righteous, and you apparently are not, please enlighten us on the solution.


I proposed that if bikes can't keep up with the traffic flow, they should move over if they can, since they are in the vast minority (1 in 500 vehicles passing by, maybe?)  and are obstructing traffic.

I was not failing to see the bike riders' opinion who won't move over. I just think it's a selfish one.


G0ddard,

They ARE obstructing traffic. One cannot deny that. I just don't agree that they are "blessed vehicles" that have the clear RIGHT to obstruct traffic simply because it slows them down too much to pull over all the time.
Title: Amish wagons, then
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 12:07:24 pm
I don't go as far as David goes in the judgement department. Some behaviors are just incredibly aggravating even if they are permitted by law. You're right to vent. But IMO there is little you, I or anyone can or should do about it.

As far as your analysis of the situation, what is still absent is your apparent recognition of the fact that pulling over in traffic is a hazardous maneuver for the cyclist. And bicyclists don't get gold stars for being overtly courteous. What they *do* get are fractures and contusions and traction, very often when they are bullied into attempting to be "polite".

There are bicyclists around that "melt" into traffic and don't block traffic that would fit your preferences. They are bike messengers, the cowboys of the cycling world. What they do instead is scare the ever loving sh*t out of pedestrians and motorists by squirting through any available cavity.

Bicycles are a permitted and completely legitimate form of vehicular traffic. Just as Amish wagons are. Both are a PITA when they have to mix with motorized traffic. Deny one, and you ought to deny the other. Amish aren't obliged to pull over and let motorists pass.

To do so would be to say "yes, I am stupid Amish riding in a horse drawn carriage and I am a second class citizen as a result so I need to pull over to let superior drivers of cars pass by me." But there is no such compulsion.

So why should bicyclists be second class citizens of the road? They are already grossly outmatched by the weight and power and speed of cars already. It sounds like you would legislate them out entirely.

You have touched on a really important issue of urban planning with your post. IMO, what makes bicycling unfeasible is poor physical design of roads combined with driver ignorance - most drivers are unaware that they SHOULD share the road with cyclists.

Because of these factors, bicyclists tend to be physically brave and intrepid and there aren't a lot of them around as a result.

Because there are so few serious cyclists, activities such as bike commuting are almost infeasible in most metropolitan areas.

And cycling cannot become popular enough to become a feasible form of transportation because it is genuinely scary due to the redneck tendency of planners in most parts of the US to not consider cyclists' needs. Because cycling is not popular, planners feel justified in excluding cycling from road design.

Perfect chicken and egg symptomology.
Title: Re: Amish wagons, then
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 12:35:08 pm
G0ddard,

Skaters should also not be allowed on roadways, even speed skaters.

Roads are no place for bicycles. Bikes should stick to bike paths, or designated bike lanes. It's simply too dangerous for bikes and other human-powered vehicles on roadways.

I agree it is dangerous to pull over if there is sand, or other debris that can cause the bike to crash. That's why they should not be on the roads.

It's basically a majority-rules issues. The vast majority of vehicles are cars, and bikes impede them.

Bicyclists should convince governments to spend money on dedicated bike lanes.

That's the reasonable answer.

And Amish wagons typically travel on the side of the roads when I've seen them in the country.
Title: Re: Amish wagons, then
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 01:15:11 pm
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It's basically a majority-rules issues. The vast majority of vehicles are cars, and bikes impede them.


In some european cities, like copenhagen,  bicycles outnumber cars.  Would the citizens of those cities be doing right to outlaw cars?

What if the price of gas reaches the tipping point, where it would be better for most people to ride a bike.  If you illegalize bike traffic,  we could be stuck all driving cars long after that has become a bad idea.

Balancing majority rule against minority rights is much more subtle than it first appears.

BTW,  I didn't only present the idea that motorists are dickheads.  I also presented the other side of the argument,  that the bikers are the dickheads.  The only thing I'm sure of is that we're right, and those other people are wrong.  

That seems to be the only invariant.

Title: Re: Amish wagons, then
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 01:18:08 pm
You're really sticking to your guns on this one.

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Roads are no place for bicycles.


Wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrong! Bzappp! :lol

www.swcp.com/~nmts/laws/UVCBicycles.htm (http://www.swcp.com/~nmts/laws/UVCBicycles.htm)

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11-1205.Position on roadway

(a) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

   1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

   2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

   3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.


So, it appears that you are indeed wrong. "Substandard width lane" as defined above is one that results in the condition that you describe, and this section clearly indicates that a bicyclist is permitted to own the lane.

The law is clearly anticipating that compelling the bicyclist to move over under all road conditions is unsafe to everyone involved, so the Uniform Vehicle Code indicates that the cyclist can ride defensively in this manner.

I do agree that depending upon the road, time of day, conditions, disgruntlement of drivers at certain times of the day, etc that doing so is quite foolhardy.

But don't complain to me, complain to your legislature.
Title: PS
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 01:20:59 pm
I do not endorse these actions nor do I practice them myself. Aggressive bicycling advocacy is for others, not me. I stick with the bike paths. Not because it's "right", I feel that I am wimping out, but because drivers are such knuckleheads.

But bicycling is a clear example, IMO of the majority bullying the minority.

What Cressey said, too.
Title: No hard feelings. Just debating.
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 01:47:59 pm
It's an issue that has ramifications and complexities, and I enjoy the debate.

Title: Re: No hard feelings. Just debating.
Post by: The Gorn on May 30, 2007, 01:53:17 pm
Same here, even though ... well, I won't add fuel to the fire. :lol
Title: Re: Amish wagons, then
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 03:39:05 pm
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There are bicyclists around that "melt" into traffic and don't block traffic that would fit your preferences. They are bike messengers, the cowboys of the cycling world. What they do instead is scare the ever loving sh*t out of pedestrians and motorists by squirting through any available cavity.


I think there was a contest a few years ago about who could deliver a package across town in New York the fastest.  And a cyclist messenger won!

Title: In Massachusetts, pedestrians have the right of way!
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 03:41:03 pm
Title: Perpendicularly; not parallel to traffic
Post by: John Masterson on May 30, 2007, 05:40:15 pm
Title: Nope; walkers on the side of the road.
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 07:16:30 pm
Of course, in urban situations there are sidewalks.  But in rural Massachusetts, where I live,  there are plenty of people who take long walks on the side of the road.  That's where I walk my dog, Rusty.

Historically,  walkers were supposed to walk against the traffic.  This is so they could see oncoming traffic.  For a while they changed the ordinance to have pedestrians walk in the same direction as the traffic.  This made no sense to me, so I ignored the rule.  Eventually,  they reversed the new ordinance.

If a motorist hits a pedestrian in this situation,  the motorist is "prima facie" presumed at fault.  That rule makes sense,  even though it too can be annoying.  

Title: Re: Do we confront anymore?
Post by: David Cressey on May 30, 2007, 07:32:32 pm
I never did answer the topic opener:

here's my take:

Don't confront tailgaters.  The risk of a road rage incident is too high.

Loud yakkers on cell phones:  yeah probably try once, to get the person to leave, if it's a public gathering.  But there's a risk.   I note that an altercation between a cell phone user and another patron at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's opening this year cause such a riot that the show had to stop for a while, until the police escorted both people out.  I feel bad for one of the persons escorted out.  

competitive behavior.  It depends on the time and the place.  Americans are competitive to the point where it's sociopathic.  In most situations,  it's best not to rise to the bait.  Let the guy go.  If he can't get a fight out of you,  he'll try somebody else.

Aggressive behavior towards neighbors.  I can't comment on those of you who live in urban settings.  All I can say is that I couldn't ask for nicer neighbors than the ones I have.  All I want from the rule makers in Boston is that they leave us alone.  We can work it out.  

I also can't comment much on Yuppie bikers.  Yuppies, for the most part, avoid my territory.  Most of the time,  bikers ride around in small packs,  and hold up the motorist for at most half a mile.  Few, if any, of them seem "aggressively asserting their rights".  Once in a blue moon,  you run into a pack of twenty or thirty bikers,  and this can be a problem.
I'm guessing that this is some kind of organized event, and I just put up with it when I run across it.

I'd be against putting in bike paths where I live.  I'd rather see the money spent on fixing potholes.  As near as Northampton  (home of Smith college),  bike paths might make sense in certain situations.

In sohrt,  I guess my solution to the problem of urban rudeness,  and other overcrowding problems,  has been to move "far from the madding crowd".  It negatively affected my income,  but it improved my life in just about every other way.

 

Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: SQLplus on May 30, 2007, 08:18:50 pm
Sorry, David, but the world isn't that black and white.  My neighbor really was a dickhead who "went Code Red" from the beginning.  He never made any effort to communicate his issues, he just went straight to nasty letters.  When I caught him person-to-person in the back yard and brought up the issue of his FOUR barking dogs, he seemed genuinely surprised - the idea had never crossed his mind that HIS dogs barked!  He had rights, I had responsibilities.  This seems to be the norm these days, sad to say.
Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: codger on May 31, 2007, 03:00:34 am
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He had rights, I had responsibilities. This seems to be the norm these days, sad to say.


This is exactly how we're expected to live in the society of victimization. (Victims have a monopoly on "rights".)
Title: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: John Masterson on May 31, 2007, 03:35:39 am
Walkers ambling down the middle of the road with 12 cars behind them?

Wouldn't be tolerated.
Title: Re: Do we go straight into Code Red now?
Post by: David Cressey on May 31, 2007, 04:04:36 am
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When I caught him person-to-person in the back yard and brought up the issue of his FOUR barking dogs, he seemed genuinely surprised -


It sounds like your world isn't as black and white as you've painted it.  From listening to your side of the story,  I'm convinced that there's another side to the story.    That's not painting a world in black and white.  Just the opposite.  You are painting the world in balck and white terms  (SQLPuls= good guy;  adversary=dickhead)  much more than I am.  And that's the point behind my posts from yesterday.

For every single issue that every person in this forum (including me)  raises, there is another side of the story.  We need to remember that,  before we get comfortable congratulating ourselves and each other for not being dickheads.

 



Title: Re: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: David Cressey on May 31, 2007, 04:07:57 am
Bikes and autos sharing a roadway present different problems than walkers and autos sharing a roadway.  

BTW,  if I started walking my dog over on the interstate,  you can bet the state cops would drag me in.  And there are signs prohibiting pedestrians (and bicycles,  among others)  at the on ramps.  

Hitchiking on the interstate is also prohibited,  but enforcement is spotty and selective (IMO).
Title: Re: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: John Masterson on May 31, 2007, 04:34:45 am
Re: Interstate example

David,

Yet bikers are asserting that they should be able to tool along down the middle of the only lane available, 30mph less than the typical speed of the road.

Again, skaters and bicycles should not be blocking the lane to automobiles. They need dedicated paths or lanes.

Title: Re: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: David Cressey on May 31, 2007, 07:44:38 am
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Yet bikers are asserting that they should be able to tool along down the middle of the only lane available, 30mph less than the typical speed of the road.


I haven't heard such assertions.

Quote
Quote:
Again, skaters and bicycles should not be blocking the lane to automobiles. They need dedicated paths or lanes.


Again, not where I live.  Maybe where you live.
Title: Re: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: John Masterson on May 31, 2007, 08:13:02 am
David,

Sounds like you haven;t been reading this thread close enough.

G0ddard's mild position is that bicyclists have the right, and by law, to ride in the middle of the lane, in order to avoid the sand and debris that is on the edge of the road.

And doing this on a 45mph road puts typical bike at 30mph under the traffic speeds.

As far as skaters...just another human-power vehicle, right?
Title: Re: Bikes at the side is fine, not in the middle of road
Post by: David Cressey on May 31, 2007, 11:40:30 am
That's not my reading of what GB wrote.  It sounds like his basic argument for why bikers hold an entire lane was based on survival,  rather that asserted rights.  That's how it reads to me.

The law that GB cited in fact says that bikers have to pull over.

GB,  can you clarify?
Title: Clarifying...
Post by: The Gorn on May 31, 2007, 01:32:01 pm
There are a number of aspects to this issue.

- What the law mandates and permits both for motor car drivers as well as non motorized vehicles.

- What is practical and safe as well as what is permissible given current traffic and weather conditions.

- What "most people" think is "reasonable".

- The opinions of a minority that may be correct but whom are obviously "aggrieved."

The model national Uniform Vehicle Code (which not all states follow but many do) reads as follows, and I will edit and emphasize the exact wording that has bearing on this matter:

Quote
Quote:
11-1205.Position on roadway
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

(snip)

   3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, (snip) or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.


I am saying (once again) that the law PERMITS bicyclists to own the lane if the lane is too narrow to permit passing by the car.

As to why bicyclists choose to do this, whether or not it is permitted, is indeed based upon survival more than it is assertion of abstract rights.

I wish someone such as JM who is passing judgement on bike riders would have the actual physical experience with riding such a vehicle to understand that what they believe is "correct" is actually dangerous to everyone.

The reason I take very, very strong exception to JM's stance on this is because in most jurisdictions, police as well as local populations do not consider bicycles "real" vehicles, so even though the law permits operation of bikes as stated above, the law is not enforced fairly or consistently. Cops tend to wink at motorists who run "inconvenient" bikes off the road and will treat cyclists like mentally retarded adults when they complain. This happens even when the traffic is minimal, simply because many drivers are walking/driving time bombs and borderline sociopaths who have a grudge with cyclists. Certain a$$hole cops will side with the driver because it's too much trouble to interpret the law and apply it fairly.

I'm also going to address  JM's continued reiteration that slower traffic tying up lanes that are posted for a higher speed limit is some kind of legal impropriety that must be addressed.

Speed limits are just that - LIMITS. They do NOT universally apply to all conditions, all the time. They indicate a maximum to which you MAY be ALLOWED to reach in your speed, if conditions permit. Speed limits, like driver's licenses, are not absolute entitlements.

Solid glare ice or snow on the road - are you still entitled to drive at the 50+ MPH limit? NO. Bike in front of you on windy one lane road? Tough.

My wife and I took a trip to an Amish area in Kentucky early this month. We saw many Amish buggys. They do not get off the road when traffic backs up in back of them. I am surmising that they don't HAVE to. Yes, they slowed us up. Big deal.

And, just repeating again, I am not in the middle of the fray on this issue. I keep to bike trails specifically because most drivers think like JM does about this issue and believe that bicyclists ought to be pressured off of the roads when inconvenient to them personally.
Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: John Masterson on June 01, 2007, 04:06:35 am
G0ddard,

I agree that the bike should not move over if there is dangerous debris. So, yes, I certainly see the bike rider's perspective.

There is not much debris on the roads where I am typically blocked near my home. Clearly the riders I complained about at the top of the thread just don't care about holding up other people..."they can just wait". That seems selfish to me (when there is no debris or danger), and basically summarizes my argument.
Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: David Cressey on June 01, 2007, 04:57:13 am
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Clearly the riders I complained about at the top of the thread just don't care


I understand why it's clear to you.  Why should it be clear to the rest of us?
Title: Its my body
Post by: David Randolph on June 01, 2007, 05:58:46 am
As someone who has impacted the road several times while riding a bicycle, I ride very defensively because it is MY body that will be hurt. (The last couple of times was because my dog did a sudden turn while I was letting her run beside the bike.)

So, I travel on side streets. I obey the traffic signals. I take bike paths when I can.

I see a lot of other bicyclists who do not obey traffic signals, who dash in front of other vehicles, etc. It bothers me because such behavior trains the car drivers to expect law breaking on the part of bicyclists.

It won't help me to assert my right to the road in a way that gravely harms me or kills me.
Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: John Masterson on June 01, 2007, 06:02:38 am
David,

Fair enough. The debris issue had not been raised at that point.
Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: The Gorn on June 01, 2007, 10:43:39 am
And are the lanes wide enough to allow passing of the bicycles by cars? Is there a smooth shoulder they can ride in? You are not indicating what the case is here.

It's not selfish (no more so than driving a car) if they are defensively riding in the lane because there is no room to be passed safely by cars. I agree that owing the lane is foolhardy if there is a reasonable alternative. A smooth shoulder is a reasonable alternative. Riding in a gutter than has storm sewer openings is not.

My consistent experience is that most drivers will attempt to pass cyclists unsafely, exposing the cyclist to being sideswiped.

I personally say "more power to these riders that are engaging in this behavior". Because perhaps one day the streets will be safe enough to commute by cycling. Not now, though, at least not in the US.

You know, the more you describe the cyclist's behavior there, the more that I suspect that the "people's republic of Minnesota" :)  has strong pro-cycling laws on the books that permit what they are doing.
Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: John Masterson on June 01, 2007, 10:59:26 am
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And are the lanes wide enough to allow passing of the bicycles by cars? Is there a smooth shoulder they can ride in? You are not indicating what the case is here.


Yes. The side of the road is clear,

And when I ride my bike on these roads, I am always amazed at how wide a berth the cars give me when they pass.

Back to my original comment: these guys I am talking about are macho, and jerks. You can come up with any alternative explanation that you like. But I am the one who sees them, and that's my judgment.

Title: Re: Clarifying...
Post by: The Gorn on June 01, 2007, 11:20:38 am
Ok. I see your point. In this instance you're right. (So am I, more generally... most motorists really *do* think that bicycles should be classified like roller blades, as non vehicular toys.)

I'd say that there is only one ethical thing to do, then.

Mount a DV camera on your car and film them. Try to get recognizable images of their faces. Then post the videos to Youtube so we can all ridicule them. :lol
Title: Et cetera
Post by: unix on June 01, 2007, 04:44:19 pm

Re: Bikes

I would think that since a person on a bike exposes himself to a far greater risk than a car driver, the car driver has a greater responsibility  to avoid an accident.

I am always very careful with bikers, and of course the wise ones don't move over. I don't blame them.  I pass them in the opposite lane if possible.

Re: Original topic

I've  seen some pure sociopathic rage lately. Not just on the roads.  Maybe  it's the economic pressure that's tearing the society apart. There is much suppressed anger and rage behind all this fake civility.



Title: Re: Et cetera
Post by: codger on June 02, 2007, 04:18:56 am
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rage behind all this fake civility.


"Fake civility"? Where do you see this? I'd happily settle for fake civility. or civility of any kind. I seldom see anything that would pass for civility anymore. Most people today are only a few steps above pirates and vikings, and are in a downward spiral.

If you doubt my assessment, just fly commercially and draw your own conclusions.
Title: Sorry to hear about your bad neighbors
Post by: ResortDBA on June 03, 2007, 07:11:09 pm
I was just commenting today how damn lucky I am. Daughter asked for an additional overnight tonight as she LOVES the neighborhood.  All the little girls get on their bikes and pedal up and down the sidewalk together and play out back on the trampoline and just scamper from house to house.  Its pretty much zone defense, there is usually one of us walking out front to check on them. I caught them going too far today and explained the risk.  I also installed a t.v. camera so I can watch them do sidewalk chalk while I build the deck out back or lift weights in basement.

I almost bought on another street, really glad I landed her.

Lucky.