« Throwing CaBi's inventory numbers out of whack | Main | WABA's Testimony for Today's Senate Committeee Hearing on Vehicular Homicide in Maryland »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Looks like he already deleted the responding comment. I'm so glad he's sympathetic to all of us who want him to stop breaking the law.

This is really sad from the start. He expected a cyclist to illegally use the turn lane to go straight just for his (the drivers) convenience? No wonder so many cyclist run lights. With his outright disregard for the law I can’t take the rest of his article without thinking he has possibly twisted the truth to save face.
As a cyclist who also stops at lights and stop signs I have to agree that drivers don’t like it but this points to the real issue of the selfishness of some people unwilling to share public roads, trails and other amenities with all user groups.

I often think that people abuse the concept of freedom as the right to take away other people’s freedoms.

Icommuted on River Road for 7 years and have changed my route to completely avoid it. This adds 2 miles each way, but I've had these type of encounters more times that I care to count.

...who is a cyclist himself he notes, the equivalent of "some of my best friends are black"...

I have to say, this stuff drives me crazy. I subscribe to the twitter feed of one of the producers of the District Cycling podcast (@followadam), and generally like his stuff. But a week or so ago, he tweeted this:


...which is basically a guy on a bike riding on a four-lane road. With friends like this....

I saw that and didn't post it because it didn't seem like news, but it made me angry too.

Reading the cyclist's POV it's interesting. I had a similar experience two weeks ago. After a car attempted to run me off the road three times I approached his driver's window to show him a picture of my son and tell him not to use his car as a weapon (I was pissed, no doubt). His response was to call 911 and say he had a maniac at his window. I yelled in the phone and begged the police to come to the scene. At which point the driver drove off. The similarity is this: as soon as the cyclist called the driver's bluff and agreed involve the police, the driver (knowing he's wrong), takes off. Funny thing is that the drivers don't know that the police will take their side 9 times out of ten, so it's really the cyclist who out-bluffs the driver.

These posts always make me think I should have a camera recording my commute.

(Disclaimer: I know Keith Berner fairly well...)

There are a few people in this world who can, at every turn, hew to the only legitimate high ground in any situation - but I've never met any of them in person. And I know I'm not one myself.

However, I've met plenty of people who believe they are so virtuous. It is for them that study of the Dunning-Kruger effect could be a turning point, could be a new beginning. Sadly, the essence of the effect is that the people who need most to understand it will never consider it.

In situations like this - which look no different from everyday riding - there is no possible correct action and no unimpeachable decision. It is exactly this scenario that has led me to wear a video camera on every ride, and exactly this outcome that leads me to react to every infraction by asking myself:

"Can I wait around for the police to arrive at a leisurely pace and assume I'm the perpetrator, or should I just clip another corner off my hope for humanity and let the bastard drive off smugly while I hope a train demolishes them soon and the engineer responds by saying 'He deserved it for driving over my tracks'."


Well said. Based on Berner's snapshot analysis (i.e. "He was itching for a fight and is clearly used to being an aggressor, while playing the victim.") I suggested Keith B look up "fundamental attribution error". (Dunning-Kruger would be a good supplement.)

It's the ignorance of basic road rules (on the part of motorists), coupled with this idea that a cyclist (who is simply doing the bare minimum to keep himself safe) has some sort of massive chip on his shoulder that causes most of this friction.

I'm sure Berner was operating in good faith. I'm also sure he pulled up the cyclist at the second light at a speed and distance that Berner considered appropriate--say 12" clearance at 10-15 mph.

Maybe he was just being careless. But there's a good chance he fudged on the clearance to "teach the arrogant cyclist a lesson." You see drivers do this all the time: in a perversion of the "share the road" spirit, they feel they need to take back the lane to show that arrogant, entitled cyclist that they won't be pushed around by bullies on 20 lb bikes.

This just illustrates the catch-22 that cyclists find themsleves in. Obey the law and get abused. Break the law and get abused.

While I was not there, and do not know either person, the cyclist's behavior is consistent with someone who feels threatened by a car. Motorists just do not seem to get that this threat is real, not just part of some victim complex.

Regarding followadam's tweet, he says "Idiot cyclist [sic] like this guy are the reason I get hit by cars...."

Shouldn't someone suggest to followadam that the reason he gets hit by cars is that he _doesn't_ behave like the cyclist in the photo? Sounds like followadam maybe is a gutterbunny who tempts motorists into passing too closely. (I don't know, because I don't follow him. I'd reply but I don't tweet and don't have a Twitter account.)

This incident seems to validate one of the objections to the three-foot passing law: that it would make cyclists get all uppity.


Heh. Sure. Kind of like the Emancipation Proclamation made blacks get all uppity. There's always some arrogant guy with a chip on his shoulder waiting to take advantage of equal protection under the law.

The point of the three foot rule is that when a driver kills me, he by definition broke the three foot law and maybe my family can win a settlement case. Without the three foot law, I'm just worm food.

@Contrarian: Who objected to the three-foot passing law based on cyclists becomming uppity?

These posts always make me think I should have a camera recording my commute.

Totally. But it would also illustrate some interesting cyclist behavior. Like the guy who blew past me the other day while I was waiting at a 4-way stop, into the path of on oncoming motor vehicle with the right-of-way. (The poor woman in the car stopped, fortunately, and graciously waved me through as well.) It moments like this that remind me that the "scofflaw cyclist" is *not* a myth.

Hmm...I wonder...if the cyclist had earlier stopped and waited for a red light to turn green before proceeding, and Berner saw that most responsible and respectful (to motorists) civic behavior, would Berner have been moved by admiration to give the cyclist the lane (and the minimum space) with a proud smile on his face and changed his own behavior to be more respectful of and vigilant toward cyclists going forward?

Yeah, no. I know. NFW. Once again, a motorist disrespecting a cyclist who is obeying the law puts the lie to that oft-repeated silly bit of dreck that claims that when cyclists respect motorists by obeying motor laws, we will earn their respect.

I felt compelled to respond on his blog. I think I showed the requisite amount of tact and restraint.

He seems to have acknowledged on his blog that he had not previously understood all of the rules of the road concerning bicycles. Maybe we should try to get him to focus on why it is that drivers (and many cyclists) have not been taught all the rules.

I'm the cyclist. The whole experience was shocking, to put it mildly. Then to read Mr. Berner's Post Blog made it officially surreal.

I can't quite say there is no ill will toward Mr. Berner--he's said some pretty harsh and uncalled-for things about me. I'm not totally blameless, though. I made a bad tactical choice by moving out while trying to get ahead and get the lane for the next light, and I could have backed down even after being shoved. Nobody feels good about that kind of thing--not after seeing the absolutely stricken look on his wife's face.

I'm willing to accept a lack of malice on Mr. Berner's part, although it's hard to reconcile that with the second incident. And perhaps from his perspective inside the car, the collision looked very different, and not serious.

I just wanted to get home in one piece, or, failing that, to let the proper authorities straighten it out. It's not really about being on a crusade for cyclists' rights--just this one cyclist's right to be unmolested on the city streets.

My takeaway from this is how much perceptions get distorted by such a thin layer of glass and metal.

I'm sorry I hadn't noticed this conversation when it first happened. Anyway, I encourage all of you to take a look at the numerous comments I've received on my blog site and my responses them. I just posted a new piece that summarizes the lessons I've learned and offers a chance for direct dialogue: http://tiny.cc/iv0j9

--Keith Berner - lefthandview@kberner.us

PS. Since my identity is self-published and there are so many references to me by name, I think it would be appropriate for at least some of you to tell me who you are. Note that even though I know Krickey7's identity, because he wrote to me from his work email address, I have assiduously avoided naming him and still won't.

PPS. Nice to see ou Dave S -- sorry it had to be in this context.

I'd rather discuss it here where my comments aren't censored by one of the participants.

I welcome Mr. Berner's dialogue. No harm ever came from talking.

And I'd ask him to take down the latest post on his site. It's not helping things, really, for either of us. It's two competing stories we have going. You believe in yours, and I (and most others) believe in mine. But personally, I'm kind of tired of the drama.

Keith, if you ever want to talk, I'm in the phone book. As you say, you know who I am.


Take a look at my site. The only comments I didn't post were those from Krickey, for the reasons I stated there, and from one other person, who was merely reposting Krickey's comments from elsewhere. Every other comment I have received I have approved, uncensored, period. Just because you don't approve of me and my point of view doesn't mean that you can make stuff up.



Last night (and without reading your comment here first), I revised my latest post to tone it down and make it less confrontational with you, personally. But I won't remove the whole post - I stand by what I've written there.


I'll check it out. For future reference in continuing a dialogue with other cyclists, I would suggest you not tar them with the bad acts of the messengers. That's directly akin to implying all Italians are like the Mafia. The messengers are a completely separate group of people who happen to ride bikes, and those in the commuting and recreational riding community will tune you out if you suggest there's a single cycling community that shares the blame for them.

Thanks for the insight re messengers, Krickey. I get why the rest of you wouldn't want to be associated with you. But -- the problem for all of you is that the general public doesn't draw a distinction. This is another area where we ought to be working together to educate the public.


Ooops -- in my last post, I meant "assosciated with THEM" (not "you"). Sorry.

I just spoke with Krickey. Here's the conclusion I added to my latest blog post on my website:

Update – 4/9, 9:45am: In his posts on a cycling website, I started to see some introspection on the part of the cyclist and he invited me to call him. So I did. We both acknowledged mistakes and apologized for them. I am proud we got to this constructive point.

As far as I’m concerned, this affair is closed. I’m going to be much more cognizant of how I’m driving around cyclists from now on. And I hope the cycling community, at large, will try to understand that not all drivers are against them. That’s the bottom line here: both “sides” need to endeavor to put themselves in the shoes of the other. Cyclists need to realize that the guidance in cycling safety guides (e.g., “take the lane”) is not something most drivers are aware of. Drivers need to understand that coming too close to a bike — no matter how inadvertent — is not an “inconvenience for he cyclist, but rather a matter of life and death.

I wish safe riding to the man I had a fight with a week ago and safe driving to myself.

PS. I still wish I could find the heroic woman who intervened to stop the fight. I would so much like to thank her. If you have any idea who she might be, please send her my way.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader