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Threatened by bike lanes? They should feel threatened by politicians that undermine the democratic process by offering jobs to opponents, use tax dollars to lease $2000/month SUVs, spend campaign contributions paying down their six-figure credit-card debt, give jobs with ridiculous salaries to their family, etc., etc., etc. Bad old days, just as predicted.

Here's what we know: this guy pulled up to/passed a cyclist approaching a stop-light. He justified it by saying the cyclist should've been in the right-turn lane. That the cyclist wasn't, but the driver was still chose to pass him in the same lane is proof of wrongdoing--not the excuse he seems to think it is.

Then, at the next light, when the cyclist was "taking the lane", he passed the cyclist again only this time--as the driver admits--the cyclist was even closer toward the center of the lane, but the driver claims he had his left tires "all the way over to the white line." Of course, this means he had almost no clearance whatsoever.

Bottom line, the second time he passed the cyclist, he gave him even less room than the first, and essentially blamed the cyclist on not "getting the f*ck out of the way." Obviously, this is because the cyclist was trying to hit the drivers car; what other explanation could there be?

So I'm sure the driver thinks he was the victim here; after all, he did everything right, it was only the cyclist who was putting himself in a position where the driver had no choice but to pass him *twice* with inches to spare.

It's a bit like one of those self-absorbed fucknozzles you see in Whole Foods who ram you in the knee with their cart and run over your toe because, you know what, I was pretty sure there was enough room to get by, and anyway, you were the rude one because you should've seen me coming and just stepped back an inch or two.

When someone does that to me, I give them a dirty look, and probably say, "Well, excuse me!" If they did it again, I'd probably grab their cart and tell them in no uncertain terms to be more careful. And if they took off their jacket, and started purposefully striding towards me with their fists up, I'd do my best to pick 'em up and stuff them in their cart. At which time, they'd go home and write a blog post about how mean and angry folks are at the supermarket.

Which is exactly what happened here.

At least the author is making some progress to coming to grips, and owning his negligent behavior.

Apparently the cyclist who confronted Berner is on another forum discussing that incident. Anyone have a link? It would be nice to hear his side of the story.

Oh, my. I love my bike lanes, too, but if you think bike lanes are a civil rights issue, please loosen your helmet straps, because you're cutting off blood flow to your brain. Maybe over on Emancipation Day, you could get a bit of perspective on these causes.

killerv, an "I respectfully disagree" would suffice, especially since you can't be bothered to explain WHY you don't think complete streets are a civil rights issue.

From Wikipedia "Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression."

I think building roads, just for cars, does not ensure one's ability to participate in civil life without discrimination (since owning a car is not a civil responsibility). Is it a civil right on equal par with interracial marriage, equal access to schools or voting rights? No. But a civil rights issue nonetheless.

I posted comments in the original thread, so they're probably still there. It's not particularly helpful at this point to restate my side, other than to say things probably appeared very differently to Mr. Berner from his vantage point inside a car. And I'm ashamed of having participated in a brawl on the side of the road that in hindsight could have been avoided. People get killed that way, and not always bad guys (and Keith is really not a bad guy).

I just wanted the episode to be over, and in that vein I was not wild about the new blogpost this morning. It was written before he and I talked and cleared the air, but still . . .

The good thing that came out of his post today is that every comment that is anti-bike helps Keith realize what we're up against.

Although I really wished he'd stop saying I staged an accident. I'm freaking 47 years old with 3 kids and a $2,000 bike. I've got better things to do with my life, like not endangering it needlessly.

Krickey7--

I don't think you're a bad guy either.

I decided, when we talked over the weekend, that there was no point in trying to force each other to accept the other's perception of exactly what happened. I don't need to "win" the he-said-she-said aspect of this and I doubt you do either. Nor does either of us stand to gain by trying to force the other to "lose" by giving up his perception.

The bottom line is that neither of us was perfect and neither of us ultimately intended harm to the other.

--Keith

Oh yes, every hostile comment that comes on -- on both sides -- shows me what we're all up against. There is no equivalence of danger when a car and bike interact, but there is an equivalence of anger, hostility, and idiocy on both sides. Believe me, the comments that are supportive of me, but unfairly go after cyclists, bring me no joy.

--Keith

Berner certainly doesn't come across as a bad guy, and the impression he gives is not one of someone who looks to start brawls on the side of the road. I'm not saying he wasn't at fault (intentional or not) for inciting the exchange, but with regards to who escalated it, I think its pretty clear.

I'm just going to have to stop reading the Post for a couple of days. No offense, it's just stressing me out to relive this again and again. I don't know how you can do it.
I hope you didn't mind my comments to the Post.

I think there's an important lesson to consider from how we got to this point:

As I said before, I know Keith Berner. I know he's on the right (er, left) side of environmental issues, economic issues, human rights issues, social issues, and on and on down the line - and he's a really smart guy who cares deeply about people and other living creatures.

And he's saying he doesn't (didn't) know what to expect when he sees someone riding a bike on the road. He doesn't (didn't) know that a person on a bike with 1" wide tires and 24" wide handlebars needs an car-free space about 8' wide to feel comfortable. He doesn't (didn't) know that DC and MD require motorists to give a 3-foot buffer, yet (in DC anyway) cyclists are allowed pass on the right or left of a stopped vehicle, even in the same lane, without regard for the 3-foot buffer.

So a smart guy who cares didn't know the key safety practices cyclists rely on, which means our educational efforts haven't succeeded yet.

Similar to what I said at the Post, drivers frequently break the laws they find inconvenient even when they know all about them. We really can't expect people to know the laws governing operation of their cars without initiating an educational campaign.

In Keith's case maybe we're 35 years too late, but every day there are new people on the roads, and if we don't make sure we're telling them what to expect of cyclists then our troubles will only get worse.

"The cycling community is very tight-knit, hypersensitive to insult or incursion, resistant to giving benefit-of-the-doubt to drivers, and so intensely ideological as to be unable to separate friends from enemies: if you are in a car, you’re bad; if you’re on a bike, you’re good."

Right. Either that or the reason no one believes your story is that it just doesn't pass the laugh test.

" Believe me, the comments that are supportive of me, but unfairly go after cyclists, bring me no joy."

I don't see any that are actually supportive of you, just anti-cyclist.

Thanks for this, Dave. The one piece I would add to the call for better educational efforts, is to try to provide that education in a way that doesn't make the other person feel stupid. (This is a lesson those of us in IT need to keep in mind when dealing with "end users.") Finally, if a car comes too close to you, take care of your own safety first and worry about education second and try -- hard as it might be -- to deliver that piece without anger. I know it must be hard to do, but it could help prevent escalation.

--Keith

Keith, what's tiresome is that this incident was entirely of your own making and could have been entirely prevented by you, yet you seem determined to turn it into a teachable moment for everyone but yourself. Please, stop lecturing us on how all cyclists need to change.

Contrarian--

Entirely of my own making?! Entirely preventable by me alone?! Teachable moment for everyone by myself?

You have willfully chosen to ignore just about everything I've written about this, including all my mea culpas and acknowledgments of MY OWN learning.

I call on all the other cyclists here to shout down the ad hominem bullshit being propagated by this goon. You don't have to buy everything I've written, but to deny that I'm trying to do something positive -- and to go after me so personally at this point -- is beyond the pale.

--Keith

PS. Contrarian: if you insist on keeping the fight raging, please publish your name and contact info for all to see. If you don't have such courage of your convictions, then please shut up.

Ooops -- fat fingers: ". . .everyone BUT myself..."

PS. Contrarian -- I see that you have tried to post another nastygram on my site. You are hereby banned from ever posting there again. Why don't you go and beat up on some kids or kittens or something?

Keith, if you've got a mea culpa on your blog, I don't see it. You don't really ever say that you're sorry or you apologize. [You do acknowledge, in the update, that you and the cyclist "acknowledged mistakes and apologized for them" but that isn't quite the same]. You admit ignorance of the law and give it as an explanation, but there is no "I really feel bad about not knowing the law." You present it as not being your fault. Maybe an apology isn't needed, but it isn't really there.

While you don't apologize, you do take time to write some pretty mean things about cyclists which I've pointed out elsewhere. You also accuse the cyclist of staging the crash (instead of saying "it appeared to me at the time that he staged the crash" you state it as a fact. And it is very much in dispute right now, but you won't allow the cyclist to add to the debate that it is in dispute, which has you controlling the narrative in a deceptive way). And then you ask us to join you in ending the war. "Hey, why don't all of you hypersensitive, intensely idealogical and unreasonable people who stage crashes join me over here for a cup of tea? ....What, was it something I said?"


Which you follow up with a request that we ALL get along and ALL try harder, which I sort of read as "look, this isn't anyone's fault. We're all to blame, aren't we?" But we aren't. You're the one who's primarily to blame. While I agree that we can all do more to make the road safer. Cyclists control about 0.001% of this and drivers the rest.

That you further cast yourself as the victim a little bit - is jarring.

This may not be the message you're going for, but it is how it looks to an outsider. Maybe this is all still too raw for you, and you're having trouble taking the emotion out - of not just the confrontation, but the negative response you received when perhaps you expected more support - I don't know. But when I read your follow-up post, I have to say I was disappointed with the tone.

Careful Wash, that kind of talk will get you Banned For Life.

For those wondering where the "bike-nazi" talk is coming from, on Keith's blog Oboe made a long and thoughtful post. Keith responded "The fact that you — long after I have conceded my mistakes — continue to attack me does no honor to any spirit of reconciliation, healing, or learning." I responded -- I'm paraphrasing here, Keith deleted my posting -- that Oboe wasn't attacking the mistakes that were conceded -- if any, like Wash I don't see any -- but rather the ones that Keith still refuses to own up to.

I must say that I'm shocked, just shocked, that a man who loses it -- calls people "goons" and "nazis," deletes posts, bans people "for life" from his blog -- when someone disagrees with him on the Internet would also be a man who would get into a physical altercation with a cyclist who he thought was taking up too much of the roadway. But what do I know, I'm just a brainwashed cyclist.

@Keith

For your future reference:

http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/

While this is from Florida and covers some perhaps Florida specific laws, it is a pretty good primer. You say you are a sometimes cyclist. It seems you have some homework to get caught up on being a safe driver and bike rider. The world changes and keeping up requires education and periodic re-training. Peace.

Signing off: This is the last time I will visit this site. Those wishing to beat to continue beating the crap out of me will have to do so without my participation. Of course, I welcome constructive dialogue with anyone who wishes it: lefthandview@kberner.us.

--Keith

@twk

Thanks so much for posting the very informative website. The video does a great job of showing why/should cyclists ride in the middle of the lane. I encourage all cyclists to view it.

It's a shame Keith does not appear to have watched it since I think he could have learned a lot from it.

Overall though, I think the dialogue between road users (ped, bike, car) would be better served by recognizing that one group isn't better/worse than the other. It's the POOR INFRASTRUCTURE in this country/area. At the end of the day, each user group has its own unique demands/safety issues; therefore, peds/bikes/cars should be segregated completely.

Once people stop pointing fingers at each other and start pointing fingers at the infrastructure, then all three groups will start hounding their public officials to put build segregated routes for everyone. We really can work together to build a better DC.

There is no equivalence of danger when a car and bike interact, but there is an equivalence of anger, hostility, and idiocy on both sides.

Sounds like Berner is actually getting closer to the mark, here. Now, if he could just manage to make that final step and realize *why* there's a lot of fucking anger on the part of area cyclists. And how it's fundamentally different from the anger *drivers* feel, right?

I do have to say, the fact that Berner (who seems like a decent human being) appears to take legitimate and rational criticism as an OUTRAGEOUS PERSONAL ATTACK tends to make me think he might have some anger issues.

I mean, sheesh, @contrarian wrote:

Keith, what's tiresome is that this incident was entirely of your own making and could have been entirely prevented by you, yet you seem determined to turn it into a teachable moment for everyone but yourself. Please, stop lecturing us on how all cyclists need to change.

...and Berner nearly wet his pants with OUTRAGE!!1!

It tends to give more weight to the theory that he was pissed off by a bike in "his lane", then further pissed off when called out over his bullying behavior. And now he's ping-ponging back and forth between embarrassment at losing his shit, and anger at being publicly called out.

"I must hurry back to my comic book store, where I dispense the insults rather than absorb them."
-- Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons, Seaason 4 Episode 3

@Contrarian:

Now, even in death, I ban you!!!

I'm checking out, too. Most of Berner's critiques about the current attitude of the cycling community are pretty accurate. Too much hate and irrationality on this blog.

@asuka:

Yawn.

@asuka, will you instead stay and teach us about love?

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