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You're being a bit unfair to O'Neill. He also analogized the driver to a dimwitted 19th century pro-slavery Congressman.

legal smeagal bicyclists are out of hand in this area. I drive on Macarthur blvd where the state spent a boat load of money to build a bike track along the road and NONE of the bicyclers ever use it. a waste of money yes a crime it should be. I would have to say to others who are as peeved about this kind of thing as I am is Buy some thumb tacks they are cheap and they will fix the problem over time. Eventually those who refuse to use the bike tracks will all be too busy fixing flats to be riding their bikes in the way

My kevlar lined tires eat thumb tacks for breakfast.

As for your other points. Do you even know how much money Maryland spent on the sidepath? It was hardly a boatload.

I feel like I need another Common Response to this one. The reason cyclists don't use it is that the sidepath is not as safe as the road (due to pedestrians, opposite direction users, poor surface and occasional cross streets). The evidence is pretty strong that riding on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic is about twice as dangerous as riding with traffic. So using the trail to go NW means doubling your risk. As a result if you're going to ride on the path and stay safe you need to ride much slower. Some cyclists are no more interested in riding slow than drivers are in driving slow.

Finally, you do realize that cyclists have a legal right to use the road, right? The road is even being improved in the hopes of making it better for cyclists. What you're saying is that the rights of cyclists should be superseded by the desire of a handful of selfish drivers. You're advocating a crime (reckless endangerment) to prevent someone else from legally exercising their rights.

Which all brings me to my main question: what in God's name is wrong with you?

@craven: There is no bike lane on MacArthur, only a multi-use path that repeatedly crosses the road.

Cyclists use the travel lane on MacArthur blvd because it is the safest option along that route.


Hah! The thumb tacks will get pushed to the side by drivers pretty quickly. Moreover, they'll make the edges unusable such that the safe cyclist will ride in the middle of the lane.

legal smeagal motorists are out of hand in this area. I ride on Macarthur blvd where the Park Service spent a boat load of money to build a parkway along the road and NONE of the drivers ever use it. a waste of money yes a crime it should be. I would have to say to others who are as peeved about this kind of thing as I am is Buy some caltrops they are cheap and they will fix the problem over time. Eventually those who refuse to use the parkway will all be too busy fixing radiators to be driving their cars in the way

@craven
I'm on Macarthur blvd too, and I see a ditch next to the roadway with cars in it all the time. What a waste. Do you know how much money the state spent on building the ditch capable of holding the water off the road? Drivers are ruining it by talking and texting with their phones while driving and running into it. We should just fill it in so the water sits on the roadway and causes these drivers to hydroplane and go out of control, removing themselves and the cars, from the roadway entirely. Onion Problem solved.

Craven,

The path on the side of MacArthur Boulevard is fine for joggers, pedestrians and slower cyclists. Getting some of the slower cyclists off the road is good for drivers like you and me. It makes our trips on MacArthur very marginally faster. It also encourages more people to bike, which means fewer cars, which means less traffic, which means, on average, you get where you are going a little faster in your car.

Unfortunately, the path is not great for cyclists traveling at higher speeds. The path is in crappy shape with potholes, leaves, sticks and rocks. Plus high speed cyclists pose a danger to pedestrians, joggers, slower cyclists and themselves on such a small path.

Cyclists may slow you down once in a while on MacArthur Boulevard, but how much do they really slow you down? Seriously?? Most of the time you pass right past them with no delay. If they were in a car you probably could not immediately pass them. Most of the time they don't impact you at all, other than the air they don't pollute, the gas they don't buy and the parking space they don't grab before you.

The biggest delay related to cyclists on MacArthur is when a car does not overtake a cyclist causing a rolling back-up. This is not the fault of the cyclist. This is the fault of a car driver who does not pass a cyclist.

Craven, writing threats on a cycling blog about throwing tacks on road is silly and immature. Its also dangerous and could cause a serious injury. Calm down, take a deep breath and if you are really upset about Maryland wasting money on road projects I recommend you start with the Inter County Connector.

I understand all too well the self preservation mantra that 'cars are out to get you' that any bike commuter must chant on their ride around the city. It's quite another thing to come across so overt and shameless an assertion of the "might makes right" point of view of a driver such as this O'Neill character. The joke about the Senator and congressman is amusing but it seems clear that the writer has miscast himself in that reference. Very few of us are bike only road users and yet I have to hope that very few drivers are in fact the sort of scoundrels that his comments paint him as. After getting over the blood boiling moment that reading this occasioned it comes to mind that Mr. O'Neill might really benefit from six months or so without the use of his car - just to give him some perspective.

Above all else people who drive machinery weighing well over 1000 lbs with motors over 100 horsepower MUST act with the knowledge that they have ALL the advantages over muscle powered riders and pedestrians.

Ok, since everyone's responding to the craven troll with candidates for a boilerplate response, I'll cross-post this from GGW:

Here's what I don't understand. We hear over and over and over again that bikers must *always* defer to irrational motorists. After all, you can be right, but dead!

But what we do know from traffic "accident" statistics, is that a motorist intentionally hitting a cyclist, even in a fit of pique, is an *incredibly* rare event. So rare that when it happens, it's national news. The stories I hear of a cyclist being run-down by a driver here and in other outlets inevitably come from Florida or California, or some other far-flung date-line.

But inevitably you hear the argument when these things are discussed that cyclists must cede ground in every situation, because you "can't argue with 8000 lbs of metal." So in the spirit of that mindset, I'd like to offer the following:

I walk my dog every day. And when I do, I like to take up the whole sidewalk. I find it less constricting, and it relaxes me. So I'd like to let the rest of you out there walking, you're going to need to get the Hell out of my way. I'm not threatening you, I'm just saying, dogs attack people all the time. That's just a fact of life. And sure, if my dog attacks you, well, you might be in the right, but that's not going to sew your leg back together. Again, not a threat; just pointing out the inexorable laws of physics. Oh, sure, some will say that the chances of getting mauled by a dog while walking down the street are pretty slim, but let me tell you, you read about it all the time. In fact, it happened just a few months ago in someplace in California. Why take chances?

And next time you're waiting in a long line to use an ATM, and someone just steps in front of everyone, I certainly hope no one says a peep. After all, the queue-jumping cretin may well be a psychopathic murderer, just waiting for a justification to kill again. Why take the chance? Happens all the time.

Ok, I'll stop beating a dead horse, but no, I won't be tripping over myself to make way for some red-faced idiot laying on the horn of his car. He can take a deep breath and work on his "disappointment muscles" as they're fond of saying in the day-care industry.

At the risk of Teabagger parody, I'll suggest sometimes you have to make the decision to live like a human being.

@oboe: The obvious question is: Do you occasionally pull over to let traffic pass, and if so, what effect--if any--does irrational horn-hinking have on the frequency with which you do so.

I'd like to think that the horn honking has no effect in these cases, but it probably does. (My most recent case was going up the hill on 4-lane Good Luck Road and blocking a car in the right lane who got himself boxed in behind me for about 2 minutes as everybody else passed me using the other lane. I usually would move over to the sidewalk (which at the time I thought was illegal) about half way up the hill, but his honking made me forget so I accidentally made him wait longer.)

I will say however that while driving I have been deliberately rear-ended by a pickup truck on New York Avenue after a minute of horn honking, in a case where everyone was queued up for a 2-1 merge in the left lane and I declined to pass 50 cars to squeeze in later.

@Jim

I'd like to think that the horn honking has no effect in these cases, but it probably does.

I think you're right, but my impression is that it has the same effect of any rude and boorish behavior: half the folks exposed to it move out of the way, while thinking "How rude!", while the other half dig in their heels.

I think I'm pretty representative (don't we all?) and I rarely block traffic to make a point. In fact, if there's any way to reasonably accommodate drivers by moving over, or stopping, or whatever, I do it. Whether someone's honking or not has only a marginal effect on my behavior--usually to make me less responsive.

I will say however that while driving I have been deliberately rear-ended by a pickup truck on New York Avenue after a minute of horn honking, in a case where everyone was queued up for a 2-1 merge in the left lane and I declined to pass 50 cars to squeeze in later.

Sounds like you were in a car, is that correct? I think even the drivers with the poorest impulse control understand the stakes are higher when giving a fellow driver a tap than a cyclist. Still, that's pretty toxic behavior.

When I was in college, a few friends and I were going to a football game and traffic was backed up. My roommate was driving, and at one point he inexplicably and intentionally tapped the car in front of him and said "come on!" as if that car could go somewhere. No one had cut him off or done anything rude or dangerous. We all freaked out and immediately asked him was wrong and he really didn't seem to know. I think he was as surprised as us. He was just frustrated. He was a normally even-tempered guy and it was the first time I'd ever really seen the irrational behavior that road rage can cause.

Weird psychology for sure.

On getting out of the way of cars: For many years, when stopped at a red light in a combined straight/right turn lane, I would pick up my bike and scoot to the left to let a car+driver waiting behind me to turn right get past me on the right and make the turn. Lately, I've stopped doing that. I figure it's a red light, we're stopped, and if it were a car that was stopped ahead of the guy wanting to turn right, he would just have to wait for the green light, so why should I make a special effort to accommodate him? I can't really explain why I've changed my policy on this other than to say that I'm tired of deferring to car drivers on everything. Is this rude?

NeilB, I still move over most of the time (depending on the countdown clock). But I won't move over when honked at. And certainly not when there is a "no right turn on red" sign.

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