Bicyclists Behaving Badly

My experience with bicyclists in the middle of car traffic in Los Angeles is that they are horrible young men, and they feel no accountability to traffic law and common decency.

Steve Sailer writes: “But as bicyclists have become ever more the Establishment’s pets, their own behavior seems to be getting worse, such as running redlights. Cyclists often argue that they shouldn’t have to obey stoplights because accelerating is tiring for them, so they don’t bother with single most basic traffic law: stop on red. Of course, this makes them a menace to pedestrians, but pedestrians aren’t the fair-haired boys like cyclists.”

“Dedicated bike lanes with right of way so cyclists don’t have to cross intersections that cars are usuing are absolutely wonderful, especially in a scenic location, such as the 18 miles of Chicago lakefront bikepath, which I rode hundreds of times.”

COMMENTS:

* This is one of my pet peeves on the road. Cyclists seem to obey no law, but whatever suits their own convenience. Just today I saw a cyclist ride between two columns of car traffic while the cars were stopped on red. The cyclist then entered the intersection while still on red. As the light turned green and traffic began to flow both ways, suddenly he turned sharply left, making both the left lane of the same side traffic and the opposite traffic slam on the brakes and nearly causing a huge pile up.

This is not the first time I saw something like that. In another similar instance a couple of of weeks back, a cyclist was pulling a similar stunt and was hit very slightly by the opposing traffic. The cyclist stopped dead in the track, got off, and started to bang on the hood and the windshield of the stopped minivan, seemingly terrifying the woman driving that vehicle. When the rest of us started to get out of our cars to stop this lunatic, he got back on his bike and furiously pedaled away.

The woman got out to examine the damage to her car, and I saw that she had little kids inside. It was one of a very few times I wanted to give chase on the road and dole out a savage beating.

And I thought that driving cars made people feel stupidly invincible. Cyclists… ugh.

* It depends on how much work is done to add bike lanes. It’s hard to add that infrastructure. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam the separation between the bike lanes and car lane is more complete, often with a little raised divider, it’s hard to stray from one to another. It’s certainly not the same experience as in other places where bike lanes are hastily painted in onto the side of existing roads where there often isn’t space and bike lanes get chronically blocked.

If you ride a bike in Copenhagen and Amsterdam you never have to pay much attention to anything but other bikes, there are traffic lights just for bikes. It’s not stressful or potentially dangerous, it’s pleasant and fun; 99% of people don’t even wear helmets.

* In several decades and several hundred thousand miles of driving, I have logged exactly one accident. My car was parked, the key was out of the ignition, and after checking traffic behind me, I started to get out. The door instantly jumped off its hinges and a bent bicycle and a groaning man in cyclist kit mysteriously appeared on the ground several feet down the road.

It was night and the cyclist was pedaling along with traffic without a light, so he was invisible in the glare of the headlights he was amidst … until he hit my door edge-on.

The cops surveyed the situation and said they wouldn’t charge me even though it was technically illegal in that town to exit one’s vehicle on the driver’s side (which law they admitted no one obeyed).

I drove home with one hand while holding the bent door in place with the other.

* In countries where cycling is actually a common means of commuting, such as The Netherlands and China, cyclists obey the law. Enforcement works. Start ticketing cyclists for violations and they’ll do it here, too.

The problem here is that progressives treat them as a special class above such petty concerns as traffic laws. This is a shame, because it has made cycling primarily the domain of aggressive young men instead of a practical means of transportation for the masses.

* Dedicated bike lanes are desirable precisely because they keep cyclists off the sidewalks. In theory, bikes should be able to safely merge into regular automobile traffic and cars will accommodate, but in practice, too many people behind the wheel are playing with their cellphones or just plain drive like maniacs. I wouldn’t begrudge cyclists riding on the sidewalk for their own safety, except that most cyclists who approach me from behind don’t bother to ring a bell or shout a warning until they’re practically on top of me, and I have to essentially leap out of the way. I ride a bike occasionally, and find the most practical option for busy, gnarly intersections is just to dismount, walk it through the pedestrian crosswalks, and hop back on a little further down the road.

* I can’t help but think every bicyclist I see must have a death wish.

“The best thing you can do for the safely of cyclists is to separate them from cars in dedicated bike lanes. Not just stripes on the street that no one pays any attention to, but physically separated lanes. This is also safer for pedestrians because you know to look for bikes when crossing those lanes.

Cars and bikes are natural enemies – when I ‘m on a bike I hate drivers and when I’m driving I hate bicyclists, so the best thing to do is to keep the enemies apart.

Keep in mind though that in any car/bike conflict the car usually wins – you get a scratch on your car, the biker goes to the hospital (if he lives).

* My sister got off of the bus. Thing was, the bus stopped right next to a bike lane, and pedestrians have to cross the bike lane before reaching the sidewalk.

My sister is a 95 pound vegan and a cyclist rammed into her. She got knocked out and it shattered her clavicle.

If people want to ride their bikes around for recreation in the park, that’s great. But cycling is a horrendous form of transportation, unsafe for car drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

People should establish a form of public transportation for SWPLs. Uber is filling that niche better than anything else right now.

* Bicycles are the perfect Left Wing Smug machines – passively aggressive in how the biker shifts the burden for his or her own safety to the vehicular traffic on any given street or road and incandescently obnoxious in impairing the flow of traffic according to the rider’s whims according to no rule or law.

Bicycle riders seem to take great pleasure in holding motorists hostage at 10-15 MPH. I’m sure in an urban environment many have had the experience of the bicycle rider in front of the flow of traffic slowing down at least one lane to his leisurely pace, and then you get to a red light and think “I’ll just blow by him when it turns green” only to find that he violates the red signal and winds up in front of you by the time the light turns green – over and over again.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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