Monday, August 20, 2007

Cyclists attacked

Two cyclists were apparently allegedly attacked by a driver in our part of town here in bike friendly Portland, OR. Now I'm sure that most people consider this kind of road rage just as disgusting as I do, but apparently there is a vocal minority of morons who think it's justified. Just scroll down to some of the comments in that article and prepare to be shocked.

The Futility of Car Kicking. Supposedly, one of the cyclist kicked the car (although the cyclist denies it) and so the driver ran him over and then hit another cyclist (who wasn't riding with the first). For one thing, I have trouble believing that the cyclist kicked the car. Try kicking something on a bike sometime. Your knees are pointed in the wrong direction for it, and how the heck can you keep your balance on the bike after kicking an object with the momentum of an SUV? In any case, I don't think kicking a car is a capital offense. Also, the cyclist denies it. Also, the other cyclist had nothing to do with it.

Be careful out there. For my fellow cyclists (and drivers) out there, you gotta keep your cool. Remember, you're sharing the road with people like this:

  • "The biker that kicked the car deserved what he got."
  • "Maybe next time a biker will think twice about spitting, slapping or kicking a car. (I don't have trouble taking any drivers word that a biker kicked their car, I see it going on all the time.)"
  • "Are YOU one of those charming folks with the sleeve tats and the Che Guevara shirt who just LOVES to flip off the motorists and bang your messenger bag-cum-oversized-purse against the windows of their cars? ... Or are you one of the junior Tour De France-ers with the name-branded aerodynamic unitard and pointy-tailed helmet, all clicking derailleurs and toeclips?"
  • "How could this be!! He should have backed up and run them over again!"

    Those are quotes from the above-mentioned news article on the topic. Anger breeds anger. Violence breeds violence. Ride and drive peacefully :)

    Who is Who? Why is it that so many people have so much trouble understanding that a stereotype about a group of people doesn't have anything to do with a particular person in that group? "Cyclists run red lights all the time," is something I often hear and read. I've even seen it happen. What the heck does that have to do with me? Absolutely nothing; that wasn't me. What does that have to do with the guy that supposedly kicked the car? Nothing; that wasn't him. What does that have to do with some poster on Nothing; it was a different person entirely.

    Why is that so hard to understand?

    Calm Down. Portland isn't a very big city. You can bike from one side of downtown to the other in about maybe a little more than 5 minutes. You can even drive it in less than 10 minutes! ;) Why does anyone rush around in such a hurry? How much time can you really save by driving fast or talking on the phone while driving? We'd all be better off to set our alarm clocks to 6:28 instead of 6:30 Just relax and leave a little early for your appointment. Most drivers in Portland are amazingly polite to cyclists, pedestrians, and each-other. I really appreciate it.

    Some Statistics. In the US, more than 43,000 people were killed in cars or by cars in 2005. In Oregon alone, there were 488 fatal car crashes and only 11 cyclists killed. Of those Oregon car crashes, if I'm reading the numbers right, over 300 of them were with something other than another car; that is, hitting an object or overturning your car. Driving is horribly, horribly dangerous. Is it more dangerous than cycling? I don't really know; it would be nice to read a neutral treatment on the topic, but I know for sure that it's healthier, more fun, less dangerous to those around me, and I think it's less dangerous for me.

    Some Perspective. Of course, The News is mostly bad. There are so many people out there biking, having a nice time, and being happy.
    Read more about it on the bike portland forums.
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