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#1 johnfwd

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 06:11 AM

As a cyclist I know how potentially hazardous getting out on the streets can be and I try to be as careful as possible.  But how could anyone but the dangerous truck driver have avoided this tragedy, as described in the article below.. . 

 

http://www.cyclingwe...cyclists-232638



#2 Big Frog II

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 09:04 AM

I use to bike all over town and loved it.  Two things made me give it up, flat tires and people not paying attention driving on the roads.  Now with the addition of cell phones the people not paying attention part is much, much worse.



#3 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 10:22 AM

As most of you know, I was hit by a car in January and I nearly died.  I haven't ridden since, but I have been looking at my bicycle kind of wanting to get out again.  I'm still debating on whether I should, but I do need more exercise than just walking.



#4 BlueMound

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 02:44 PM

John
I never knew you were hit by a car !!!
Where did this happen ?

#5 John T Roberts

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 05:19 PM

This happened on January 17th on Riverfront Drive right in front of the Woodshed.  I had been riding on the Trinity Trails with friends and we parted ways at the Clearfork Main Street Bridge to go home and I got off of the trail at Rogers to take a break.  A car was turning into the parking lot and T-boned me.  I broke my hip and my left arm just below the shoulder.  I had complications that nearly did me in.  I was at Harris Hospital for roughly 9 weeks and then at HealthSouth for another two weeks of rehabilitation. I returned home on April 1st.  I'm still in outpatient therapy for my shoulder and I'm working about 30 hours per week.



#6 NSFW

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 08:26 AM

I check in on the site on occasion to hear about my hometown and must have missed the news about your wreck. Good to hear you're alive and doing better.

Adrian


#7 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 12:57 PM

Thank you, NSFW.  I'm slowly recovering. 



#8 Doohickie

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 10:41 PM

I had a little mishap on Sunday.  No hospital visit or anything, but I went over the handlebars and landed hard on my shoulder.  I thought I must of done major damage, but instead of just planting my shoulder I managed to roll over as I hit.  Shoulder's sore but feels intact.

 

13912494_1036155963099960_19404738643976

 

The bike's gonna need some work.


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#9 Austin55

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 11:59 PM

Oooph, that stings. Glad it wasn't worse!

#10 johnfwd

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:16 AM

Whew!  Colorful looking bruise but fortunately for you not a serious injury.  Care to elaborate on the accident?  Reason I ask is that I think you can go over the handlebars if you have to use the jarring front brake suddenly. 



#11 Now in Denton

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 01:13 PM

Sorry for your accidents. But runners have to watch for cyclist. Most will call out they are coming. But not all. Remember that runner who was killed by a cyclist on the Katy Trail in Dallas ?



#12 Doohickie

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:00 PM

I was riding down a residential street.  There was a tar patch in the street and I steered to go around it.  About that time, I noticed a woman walking her dogs, one of which was a Basset Hound with big, floppy ears.  The ears distracted me for a moment, just long enough for me to fail to recognize there as a hole right next to the patched area.  The handlebars were jarred out of my hands and over I went.


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#13 Doohickie

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 08:41 PM

I thought you might enjoy a view of the gigantic hole that took me down.  So I took a picture of it.

 

13895139_1040231219359101_71389417121319

 

...but they patched it this week (the smaller round patch next to the big one).  Apparently the woman who saw me fall must have called the city and told them I almost died there.

 

 

I really escaped a serious wreck.  I've already started riding again- almost 100 miles this weekend.


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#14 johnfwd

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 01:23 PM

These "potholes" are treacherous for bicycle riders, especially at night.  I wouldn't be a hundred percent confident in your headlight, either.



#15 Doohickie

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 02:17 PM

I think I would have picked it up better with a light shining on it, to be honest.  I ride at night more than in daylight and a good headlight really shows the bumps in the road.


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#16 Dismuke

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 01:28 PM

I am glad to see that this important topic has been raised.

 

Biking is wonderful.   But let's just state the obvious: cars and bikes don't mix well together. In an argument between a car and a bike the car will win.  And, of course, that doesn't even count the 18 wheelers that are on the roads as well.

 

My concern is that some quarters in recent years have been promoting bicycles not just for recreational use but as a means of daily commuting as being somehow trendy, hip or, even worse, as some sort of moral virtue.

 

This is insanity.  First off, if you ever find yourself doing something on grounds that it is trendy or hip you need to seriously pause and reflect.  You ought to live life according to your values, not everybody else's and seek out people who share your values rather than conforming to the values of others.  Don't be a sheep.  (Besides, that which is trendy or hip today is destined to eventually become commonplace and mainstream or out of date and decidedly un-hip)

 

A bicycle in traffic is not a toy - and it is something that could get one seriously injured or even killed.  Riding a bike in traffic is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

 

Now, I am not at all against people using a bike as their means of transportation.  What I am saying is that, before one does so, one needs to have the necessary knowledge and skill and be fully aware of all the potential dangers and risks involved.  For some people, a bike is the only viable transportation option they have in order to get to work or school to build a better life for themselves.  In such a case it might be a risk that is worth taking in the same way that certain professions have occupational hazards.  And one deals with such risk the same way one deals with occupational risk - by being knowledgeable, trained and taking all safety precautions. For others it is a matter of preference.  For those people it would be highly irresponsible not to give serious thought to the potential risks as well as a very hard and cold self-evaluation of one's skills and capabilities.

 

This is especially true in an age of texting while driving and other examples of distracted driving.

 

What happened with John earlier this year is certainly something that ought to give people pause.  John is not some clueless, inexperienced newbie. He is knowledgeable and has many years of hard core experience under his belt. The risks are real.

 

Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a big push to encourage members of the general public to forego their cars and use bikes as their form of daily transportation - even in cities such as Fort Worth and Dallas where doing so can be treacherous.  The campaigns are very heavy on promoting the benefits of riding the bike but don't discuss the hazards and only give limited lip service to safety.

 

A good example of this is Dallas which repealed its ordinance requiring bike helmets so that its bike sharing/rental program would become more viable. Now, I personally don't think that such an ordinance should have ever been allowed to exist in the first place.  The government has no business telling grown adults that they must wear a helmet or else be thrown in jail if they refuse to pay the fine.  I agree that wearing such a helmet is probably very wise - but, in the end, it is your decision to make and your responsibility to make it.  So I applaud the ordinance going away.  But observe the reason behind the ordinance going away:  it wasn't abolished on grounds that it violated individual rights.  The only reason it came up as a matter for discussion with the Dallas City Counsel in the first place was on the premise that getting more people to ride bicycles outweighs the safety considerations that were behind the ordinance.

 

The last thing we need is more bicycles mixed in with automobile traffic as a result of some activist Utopian publicity campaign to encourage random members of the general public who lack the training, skill and aptitude to start riding bikes.  It is like hang gliding or ultra-light aircraft. They are perfectly wonderful activities so long as one is responsible, takes them seriously and gets adequate training and practice.  But nobody in their right mind would encourage random people to just start doing it with limited skill and preparation.  Yet, in the name of activist driven agendas and Utopian visions, people are encouraged to go to bicycle rental stations at various points in Fort Worth and other cities and go out in traffic very often with less preparation and training to drive a bike safely than people receive to drive an automobile safely - despite the fact that the people who drive the bikes are the ones at a higher level of risk.  Riding a bike to get somewhere does not make one morally superior to those who drive a car to do so.

 

Next time somebody tries to guilt-trip you into riding a bike because automobiles consume gasoline and resources, consider this:  the most precious,finite and non-renewable resource you will ever encounter is your life and the hours and minutes and seconds that it is made up of.  Your life and your safety is far more important than somebody else's desire for the few hundred  dozen or so barrels of crude oil you burn up driving your car each year to remain buried deep underground.  (And, likewise,  if driving to and from work in a car saves you precious, irreplaceable hours, minutes and seconds over a bike or transit, then that portion of your life that is given back to you is more important that somebody else's vision and desire for whatever amount of crude oil is saved to remain underground). 

 

Your life and your safety ought to always be paramount at all times.  Life involves risks - we take risks whenever we step out the door.  I eat lots of fresh produce.   But, with fresh produce, there is always a risk of foodborne illness and some people assert that there are risks associated with some of the agricultural practices that make it possible for such fresh produce to be readily available to me and to fit into my budget.   But the nutritional and enjoyment benefits that fresh produce offers far outweighs those risks - so apart from washing my stuff extra well, I don't worry much about it.  If riding a bike in traffic is your only viable means of transportation,to work or school then it might very well be worth the risk - you just need to know what those risks are and prepare yourself for them as best as possible.  If you ride out of preference and you are aware of the risks and have made an honest assessment of your skills, knowledge and aptitude then you are the only person in the world who can determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks.  Those who think automobiles are the unholy the work of the devil and have an activist agenda to outlaw them probably ought to be riding a bike as much as possible out of intellectual consistency - but, here, too, they need to know what they are doing and make sure they have the necessary skills.

 

Your life and your safety is more important than somebody else's activist driven agenda or Utopian visions.


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#17 Dismuke

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 03:20 PM


Next time somebody tries to guilt-trip you into riding a bike because automobiles consume gasoline and resources, consider this:  the most precious,finite and non-renewable resource you will ever encounter is your life and the hours and minutes and seconds that it is made up of.  Your life and your safety is far more important than somebody else's desire for the few hundred  dozen or so barrels of crude oil you burn up driving your car each year to remain buried deep underground.  (And, likewise,  if driving to and from work in a car saves you precious, irreplaceable hours, minutes and seconds over a bike or transit, then that portion of your life that is given back to you is more important that somebody else's vision and desire for whatever amount of crude oil is saved to remain underground). 

 

 

 

Just a clarification and a somewhat geeky elaboration on what I wrote above.

 

First, I initially confused in my mind gallons of gasoline consumed each year with barrel of crude from which the gasoline is obtained.  I corrected that and left what I originally wrote with a strike through.

 

But, even with my correction, the amount of oil saved by biking is overstated.  According to a quick google search, a barrel of crude yields 42 gallons of gasoline.  Thus, to consume a dozen barrels of crude, one would have to go through 504 gallons of gasoline each year.   Assuming a smallish car that gets 30 miles to a gallon you would have to drive 15,120 miles to consume a dozen barrels of crude.  Divide that by 52 weeks and 5 work days per week that results in 58 miles driven per workday to burn a dozen barrels of crude or the equivalent of a 29 mile one-way commute.

 

I doubt that a bike is even an option for the vast majority of people who need to drive 29 miles one way to work. I would assume that most people who commute to work or school with a bike travel less than 5 miles each way.  For the sake of my math, let's assume the longer end of the spectrum and assume travel 5 miles each way or 10 miles per day by bike verses a car.  Assuming a 30 mile per gallon car, riding a bike instead of a car saves a gallon of gas every three days.  Let's say that gasoline skyrockets back up to $4 per gallon. Even at that high price, that is only a savings of $1.33 per day - far less than it would cost you to purchase a 20 ounce bottle of soda at a convenience store.  That 10 mile round trip commute for 5 working days per week over 52 weeks is 2,600 miles.   Assuming a car with 30 miles per gallon riding a bike saves 86 gallons of gas per year or just over two barrels of crude oil per year.

 

So we are not talking about keeping anywhere close to a dozen barrels of crude buried deep in the ground - only about two barrels.   And the amount of money saved on gas is minimal - at current prices it is less than 66 cents per day (though, of course, there are other very substantial costs of owning a car beyond gasoline that one would not have if one used a bike as one's exclusive form of transportation which need to be considered and might very well be a valid deciding factor for some people).

 

Anyhow, all of this only underscores my overall point.  Your life and your safety are worth FAR more than a couple barrels (or even a couple thousand barrels) of oil.   If you are dire and desperate enough to need to save the cost of gasoline necessary to drive ten miles per day you can probably find the money by just giving up a couple of beverages a day in favor of tap water.   If you WANT to ride your bike instead of driving and have taken all the necessary precautions, that's wonderful.  Your doing so might make a difference for the better in YOUR world - and that's a good thing.   But in the context of the wider world in general the difference is worse than minimal. Out of the 7 billion barrels of oil that the US alone consumes each yer, risking your safety or even just your convenience in order for just two of those barrels to remain buried deep underground is bizarre and absurd.  There are a lot of wonderful personal benefits that one can obtain from riding a bike and that's a great thing - but one's doing so does not make one morally superior nor does it somehow make the world a better place.


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#18 johnfwd

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 08:16 AM

Much food for thought.  I agree that riding a bicycle in automobile traffic is a risky venture on account of the obvious hazards.  I admit to riding my bike more as a job commuter rather than a recreationalist.  But I would NEVER have decided to commute to my downtown office from my home in southwest Fort Worth had it not been for the very convenient Trinity Trails.  I do it knowingly risking the hazards of ingress and egress points that do force me to compete with motor vehicles. Credit the wisdom of Fort Worth decision makers who created the Trinity Trails for both bikers and pedestrians.  We need more such bicycle highways! 



#19 Doohickie

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 08:21 PM

I am glad to see that this important topic has been raised.

 

Biking is wonderful.   But let's just state the obvious: cars and bikes don't mix well together. In an argument between a car and a bike the car will win.  And, of course, that doesn't even count the 18 wheelers that are on the roads as well.

 

My concern is that some quarters in recent years have been promoting bicycles not just for recreational use but as a means of daily commuting as being somehow trendy, hip or, even worse, as some sort of moral virtue.

 

This is insanity.  First off, if you ever find yourself doing something on grounds that it is trendy or hip you need to seriously pause and reflect.  You ought to live life according to your values, not everybody else's and seek out people who share your values rather than conforming to the values of others.  Don't be a sheep.  (Besides, that which is trendy or hip today is destined to eventually become commonplace and mainstream or out of date and decidedly un-hip)

 

A bicycle in traffic is not a toy - and it is something that could get one seriously injured or even killed.  Riding a bike in traffic is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

 

Now, I am not at all against people using a bike as their means of transportation.  What I am saying is that, before one does so, one needs to have the necessary knowledge and skill and be fully aware of all the potential dangers and risks involved.  For some people, a bike is the only viable transportation option they have in order to get to work or school to build a better life for themselves.  In such a case it might be a risk that is worth taking in the same way that certain professions have occupational hazards.  And one deals with such risk the same way one deals with occupational risk - by being knowledgeable, trained and taking all safety precautions. For others it is a matter of preference.  For those people it would be highly irresponsible not to give serious thought to the potential risks as well as a very hard and cold self-evaluation of one's skills and capabilities.

 

This is especially true in an age of texting while driving and other examples of distracted driving.

 

What happened with John earlier this year is certainly something that ought to give people pause.  John is not some clueless, inexperienced newbie. He is knowledgeable and has many years of hard core experience under his belt. The risks are real.

 

Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a big push to encourage members of the general public to forego their cars and use bikes as their form of daily transportation - even in cities such as Fort Worth and Dallas where doing so can be treacherous.  The campaigns are very heavy on promoting the benefits of riding the bike but don't discuss the hazards and only give limited lip service to safety.

 

A good example of this is Dallas which repealed its ordinance requiring bike helmets so that its bike sharing/rental program would become more viable. Now, I personally don't think that such an ordinance should have ever been allowed to exist in the first place.  The government has no business telling grown adults that they must wear a helmet or else be thrown in jail if they refuse to pay the fine.  I agree that wearing such a helmet is probably very wise - but, in the end, it is your decision to make and your responsibility to make it.  So I applaud the ordinance going away.  But observe the reason behind the ordinance going away:  it wasn't abolished on grounds that it violated individual rights.  The only reason it came up as a matter for discussion with the Dallas City Counsel in the first place was on the premise that getting more people to ride bicycles outweighs the safety considerations that were behind the ordinance.

 

The last thing we need is more bicycles mixed in with automobile traffic as a result of some activist Utopian publicity campaign to encourage random members of the general public who lack the training, skill and aptitude to start riding bikes.  It is like hang gliding or ultra-light aircraft. They are perfectly wonderful activities so long as one is responsible, takes them seriously and gets adequate training and practice.  But nobody in their right mind would encourage random people to just start doing it with limited skill and preparation.  Yet, in the name of activist driven agendas and Utopian visions, people are encouraged to go to bicycle rental stations at various points in Fort Worth and other cities and go out in traffic very often with less preparation and training to drive a bike safely than people receive to drive an automobile safely - despite the fact that the people who drive the bikes are the ones at a higher level of risk.  Riding a bike to get somewhere does not make one morally superior to those who drive a car to do so.

 

Next time somebody tries to guilt-trip you into riding a bike because automobiles consume gasoline and resources, consider this:  the most precious,finite and non-renewable resource you will ever encounter is your life and the hours and minutes and seconds that it is made up of.  Your life and your safety is far more important than somebody else's desire for the few hundred  dozen or so barrels of crude oil you burn up driving your car each year to remain buried deep underground.  (And, likewise,  if driving to and from work in a car saves you precious, irreplaceable hours, minutes and seconds over a bike or transit, then that portion of your life that is given back to you is more important that somebody else's vision and desire for whatever amount of crude oil is saved to remain underground). 

 

Your life and your safety ought to always be paramount at all times.  Life involves risks - we take risks whenever we step out the door.  I eat lots of fresh produce.   But, with fresh produce, there is always a risk of foodborne illness and some people assert that there are risks associated with some of the agricultural practices that make it possible for such fresh produce to be readily available to me and to fit into my budget.   But the nutritional and enjoyment benefits that fresh produce offers far outweighs those risks - so apart from washing my stuff extra well, I don't worry much about it.  If riding a bike in traffic is your only viable means of transportation,to work or school then it might very well be worth the risk - you just need to know what those risks are and prepare yourself for them as best as possible.  If you ride out of preference and you are aware of the risks and have made an honest assessment of your skills, knowledge and aptitude then you are the only person in the world who can determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks.  Those who think automobiles are the unholy the work of the devil and have an activist agenda to outlaw them probably ought to be riding a bike as much as possible out of intellectual consistency - but, here, too, they need to know what they are doing and make sure they have the necessary skills.

 

Your life and your safety is more important than somebody else's activist driven agenda or Utopian visions.

 

What a sanctimonious load of fossil-fueled tripe.


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#20 Dismuke

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:32 PM

 

What a sanctimonious load of fossil-fueled tripe.

 

 

 

If you disagree with the opinions that I have expressed, it is your prerogative to do so. 

 

If you wish to refute my opinions by making substantive arguments based on facts and logic attempting to demonstrate how my point of view is wrong or your point of view is correct - well, that's what discussions and discussion forums are for.

 

The above is not an argument for or against anything.  It is nothing more than an empty assertion - an unsupported assertion that has no more cognitive substance than the empty insults that one hears bantered about in any schoolyard.


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#21 Doohickie

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 09:40 AM

Sez you!
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#22 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 10:32 AM

Please, let's keep this civil.



#23 Doohickie

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 11:33 AM

(It was a joke.)
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#24 dangr.dave

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 12:10 PM

I recommend the dispute be settled by a bike race around the world.



#25 JBB

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 12:59 PM

That's quite a morally virtuous way to settle this.



#26 Doohickie

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 08:50 PM

 

 

What a sanctimonious load of fossil-fueled tripe.

 

 

 

If you disagree with the opinions that I have expressed, it is your prerogative to do so. 

 

If you wish to refute my opinions by making substantive arguments based on facts and logic attempting to demonstrate how my point of view is wrong or your point of view is correct - well, that's what discussions and discussion forums are for.

 

The above is not an argument for or against anything.  It is nothing more than an empty assertion - an unsupported assertion that has no more cognitive substance than the empty insults that one hears bantered about in any schoolyard.

 

I'm not going to go through your wordy post point by point, and in retrospect, sanctimonious isn't perhaps the best word to use (although I still think it's appropriate).  The word I should have used though is "presumptuous."  You presume in your post a lot about why people ride.  For some people, a very small percentage in my experience, the whole "save the earth" thing is a motivation.  But if you asked me why I ride, I'd cite two primary reasons:  It's a pretty good form of exercise, and it's fun.

 

Very few people ride primarily because it's "hip or trendy," and for those who do ride for those reasons, they won't last.  That may help inspire someone to start, but if there isn't more to it, they simply won't be motivated to continue, because for as effortless as pictures like this make it look,

 

f1452f2061048283310356609dfb145b.jpg

 

biking, even in a city as flat as Fort Worth, involves a fair amount of work.

 

Your post is a classic straw-man argument, where you presume to know what motivates people to ride, then you attack those motivations, for example, "This is insanity."

 

Then you talk about the dangers of riding in traffic, as if we are idiots unable to comprehend the dangers.  For those of us out there, trust me:  We are well aware of the risks.

 

As far as the situation with John's collision earlier this year:  such collisions happen every day.  In this case, a bicycle was involved.  But every day people driving carelessly cause collisions, and it's very poor form to blame the victim.  How about blaming the guy who didn't look before pulling out into traffic?

 

And while you not like mixing more bicycles with automobile traffic, the fact of the matter is that in most states including Texas, bicycles are vehicles with the same legal footing as motor vehicles. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but I'm not about abandon the roads bicycle-wise just to make you happy.

 

Does that give you a feel why I called your post sanctimonious tripe?


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#27 Dismuke

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 08:33 AM

Doohickie -

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond by being specific about your concerns with my posting.  That gives me something that I can respond to and address.

 

I encourage you to go back and reread my posting.  You have read into it things that I did not intend to say and don't believe that I actually said.

 

I have nothing at all against bike riding - in fact, I stated at the beginning of my second paragraph that I think biking is wonderful.  I also went so far as to explicitly state that I don't have a problem with using bicycles as a form of transportation so long as people are responsible about it, which includes knowing and preparing for the various risks involved.

 

I am not sure how I could have stated the above more explicitly than I did.

 

I was in no way attacking bike riding but rather those who actively encourage random people who do not have the skills, knowledge or experience to start riding bicycles in traffic as a means of supporting a wider ideological agenda.  My point is that the reader's life and safety is more important than somebody else's Utopian fantasies or being perceived as trendy and hip.

 

I most certainly was not accusing all bike riders of being interested in the past time out of a desire to be trendy or hip. Lots of people have been riding bikes long before it came to be viewed as trendy.  There are many valid reasons why people ride bikes including the most important one - that it brings them enjoyment.  But being perceived as trendy or hip is not a valid reason to do anything.   There's nothing wrong with checking out a trendy restaurant or trendy nightclub or something like that out of curiosity.  But a person should strive to discover, pursue and be true to their own values and not other people's values.  The fact that something happens to be popular or trendy at the moment should have no bearing one way or another on whether or not you count it among your values.

 

You state that bikes are on the same legal footing on the road as motor vehicles. That is certainly correct.  But that legal standing counts for jack squat in the eyes of the laws of physics.  Cars are vastly larger, faster and hundreds of times heavier than bicycles.   And cars, particularly newer cars, often have "blind spots" that can obscure the visibility of a nearby bicycle.  Plus a certain percentage of the motor vehicles on the road have people behind the wheel who are inattentive and, in some cases, downright irresponsible.  So while that legal footing might help when it comes to settling insurance claims or determining liability in a court of law, it is utterly useless and totally irrelevant to the people in the emergency room who fight to save an injured biker's life.

 

Also - I most certainly was NOT attempting to "blame the victim."   The whole point of my posting was to provide food for thought to prevent people from becoming victims in the first place.  Again, whether one is at fault or is a victim is irrelevant to the doctors who have to repair one's injuries.

 

There are right reasons to take up bike riding and there are wrong reasons for doing so.  My point was to attack the wrong reasons and I explicitly stated that I had no problem at all with people riding bikes for the right reasons.

 

I suppose that one could say that any person of legal age weak and gullible enough to jump unprepared into an activity that involves physical risks and dangers through marketing campaigns and vapid appeals to trendiness and popularity ought to know better and it is their job to be responsible.  That is certainly true.  On the other hand, there are a lot of people, especially young people, who go through a great deal of struggle in order to find themselves.  Often such people will seek to take a shortcut and attempt to fill the painful void in their life by swallowing and seeking to conform to other people's values.  Such people are easy targets for marketing hype and promoters of various sorts of ideological agendas.   Hopefully, as such people grow older and get more life experience, they grow out of it and begin to discover themselves.  I have nothing at all against biking.  My beef is with those who promote biking as part of a wider ideological agenda and who regard people's conformance to that agenda as more important than their physical safety and well being.


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#28 hannerhan

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 01:40 PM

I don't bike on streets for the same reason I don't ride a motorcycle: the odds are material that some idiot in a car is going to run me over, regardless of how careful I try to be.

 

I ride on the Trinity Trails at least once a week, but there is basically nothing that will convince me to ride on streets/roads.  As the father of 3 young kids, I just feel like I can't afford to take that risk at this point in my life.  If I'm going to get hit by an SUV, I'd rather be behind the wheel of my own SUV.  :swg:



#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 08:18 PM

I never thought that I would be hit by a car, because I have always been very careful, but it happened.  I probably could afford to take the risk because I am single and my family is dwindling.  Right now, I'm only riding on the Trinity Trails, but that is what I was doing when I was hit.  I had pulled off the trail to take a restroom and a break to eat a snack and get something to drink besides water. 



#30 Volare

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 09:21 PM

...  My beef is with those who promote biking as part of a wider ideological agenda and who regard people's conformance to that agenda as more important than their physical safety and well being.

 

Can you give an example of this promotion of biking "as part of a wider ideological agenda?"

 

Because for the life of me I can't figure out what on earth you are taking about. You mentioned this about 5 times in this post, I just copied the last one.



#31 Dismuke

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 11:45 PM

 


Can you give an example of this promotion of biking "as part of a wider ideological agenda?"

 

 

 

 

Sure.  Examples abound.  Just do a google search using terms such as biking and sustainability, biking and the environment, etc.  It is part and parcel of all the various environmental and/or anti-automobile and/or anti-fossil fuel movements.

 

Here is an example I found among the top results of a google search I just performed: 

 

http://www.mnn.com/g...-transportation

 

Now, among the reasons given at that link for using bicycles as transportation are certain things that are definite benefits of biking in general - such as the health benefits.  But those can be obtained by recreational biking on bike trails.  And it is certainly true that a bike can provide mobility for those who cannot afford or who are not legally allowed to drive a car.   But observe that among the reasons given is gasoline savings (which I addressed in my initial postings) as well as a smaller so-called "manufacturing footprint," pollution and reducing the need for parking spaces.  And, most importantly, observe there is absolutely NO mention at all in the article about the very real hazards involved in riding a bicycle in traffic.  I have a very hard time imagining that the author of that article is somehow unaware of those hazards - yet he is encouraging people to risk their safety in the name saving a minuscule quantity of gasoline, saving wear and tear on roads and preventing a a parking space from having to come into existence. 

 

All I can say is if somebody is willing to sacrifice their physical safety and perhaps their very life, I would hope that they would do it in the name of something more lofty than that.

 

Of course, there are all sorts of kooks that say all sorts of crazy things.  The specific thing that brought the issue into my awareness and began raising red flags was when the bike sharing program came to the area.  This is another example and one that I mentioned in my initial posting.

 

I am sure that there are probably people who use such programs who know what they are doing and have the knowledge, skills and experience to responsibly ride a bike in traffic.  But most people who have such a level of experience probably already have their own bikes - and probably nicer bikes than the ones available in the share programs. 

 

The primary point of these bike sharing programs is to specifically encourage more people to use bikes as a means of transportation - not as a means of recreation or exercise.  Observe that they are not located in parks or access points along Fort Worth's wonderful Trinity Trails system.  They are located in parts of town where the only way one can use such bikes is to take them on the street and into traffic. There are no warnings I have ever seen cautioning would be renters about the hazards involved and the need for a certain level of aptitude, skill and practice.  I recall at one time there was a sign with a few valid but inadequate safety tips - and the last time I walked by one of the rental stands I was not able to spot the sign again.

 

One of the most common sense rules of riding a bike - particularly for a novice - is to wear a helmet.  But there are no helmets available to rent with the bicycles.  And since most people don't walk about town wearing or carrying a bicycle helmet I think it is very safe to speculate that most of the people who rent those bikes are not wearing a helmet when they do so.  Indeed, as I mentioned in my initial posting, in Dallas they actually abolished that city's helmet ordinance so as to encourage more people to use the bike sharing program.

 

Here in Fort Worth the bike rental program is part of a wider program which lists as one of its goals a desire to "triple the number of bicycle commuters."   Why?  Why is that somehow a good thing?  If somebody has a specific need or desire to commute to work - that is all fine and good.  But given the laws of physics and the mismatch and danger of mixing bikes and motor vehicles, why on earth would this be something the city would wish to go out of its way to encourage?

 

Now, the same site also lists among its goals "decrease bicyclist related crashes by 10 percent" which, in one of the .pdf files on the site, is further elaborated on on with the statement that the goal is to reduce the rate of crashes by 10 percent.

 

So their goal is to increase the number of bicycle commuters by 300 percent while reducing the rate of crashes by 10 percent.  Just do the math and that translates into a net increase in the number of bicycle crashes.   Given the physical vulnerability and disadvantages a bicyclist is at in such a crash, this is something the city wishes to encourage?   And, as for the safety goal, the plan is to use Fort Worth Police Department tracking statistics to determine a baseline rate of bike related crashes and then reduce that rate by 10 percent by the year 2020.   Exactly how they plan to do that and why they think such a percentage of decrease is realistic is not something I was able to find when I first looked at the material some while back and when I skimmed through it again this evening.

 

I think this is irresponsible.  The message that the city needs to be sending is not of encouraging more people to start riding bikes in traffic.  The message needs to be that IF you choose to ride a bicycle in traffic, you need to be very skilled, have the necessary mental and physical aptitude (which not everybody has) and be highly aware of the risks.   Encouraging people to engage in risky behavior and making it easier for them to do so without adequately educating them on the dangers - I think that is just rotten.  A person's life and safety is far more important than somebody else's bizarre goal to "triple the number of bicycle commuters."


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#32 johnfwd

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:14 AM

Beg to differ (re...foregoing post) regarding the locations of the bike sharing lots.  They are located along the Trinity Trails (west side) between downtown and southwest Fort Worth.  At least one is in Forest Park adjacent to the Trails just north of the bridges.  There's one located along the Trails all the way down at Edwards Ranch near the new bicycle shop/café building.  There's a bike sharing lot even further southwest along the Trails at the water cooler spot just past that little bridge near all those apartment buildings.

 

And these bikes are meant for recreation, too, because I've observed families on them going slowly through the park, enjoying the scenery on a pleasant sunny day.



#33 dangr.dave

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 07:22 AM

I rode the b-cycles around town for a year or so due to the logistics of losing my parking space at work.  A quick couple of thoughts come to mind:

 

-Riding a bike around the city was a lot harder than driving around in an air-conditioned car.  I don't think most people who bike are going to do so to "be hip" or because some marketing scheme duped them and sold them an ideological bill of goods.  People who bike most likely do so because it is something that they want to do or because it is something that they have to do.  People who bike regularly do so because they are committed to it.  If there is something more convenient and the person isn't committed, they'll choose the easier thing.  It sucks and it's not "hip" to show up to work a bit sweaty, so if you do it you probably have a valid rationale.

 

-I personally don't see anything wrong with the city encouraging people to bike.  It may be an alternative that works for someone and the only ones that will take up the offer are the ones who will be committed to either getting healthy or saving a few bucks on gas and parking every day (which was my motivation).  Also, for people who live and work in a small area, it probably makes more sense to hop on a bike than get in a car and look for parking.  Part of the city's narrative is that the biking stations can be a part of one's commute, like helping those who ride the TRE into town get to somewhere in a city a little more quickly and efficiently.

 

-The more biking you have in a city, the more people become accustomed to it and aware of bikers.  The more biking you have, the more bike lanes start showing up, which drivers start to notice.  I know not to go 60 mph down Magnolia because I've become aware that there will be a skinny-jeaned hipster, struggling to bend his knees in his jeans, biking down the road (I'm more aware).  Biking puts bikes on the radar and raises awareness, which probably makes it much safer. 

 

-Biking in downtown Fort Worth is probably about the safest place to bike, in terms of the amount of traffic that we have.  I've recently been to Austin and San Antonio and they have massive amounts of traffic in their downtowns; comparatively speaking, our downtown is vacant.  Today, you can practically bike straight down Main Street, from the Convention Center to the Courthouse and never encounter one moving car going in the same or the opposite direction (only the cross streets).  So, if you've gotta start somewhere to get that confidence, starting here isn't so bad.

 

-Speaking of starting, everyone has to start somewhere.  The previous narratives seem to indicate that you have to be at a certain level of proficiency in order to get out there on the road.  You'll never get that proficiency if you don't just start.  Starting is the first step.  If it works for a particular person, they'll stay at it and get better and more familiar with traffic patterns and anticipating what cars will do; if it doesn't work for that person, then they go back to doing whatever they were doing before.  But, even those people who go back to whatever they were doing before walk away with a better appreciation for bikes on the road.  I don't really bike much downtown anymore, but I certainly, after having been in the bike seat, notice bikers more and try to give them a bit of room, etc.

 

-The city probably, as was mentioned, could do a better job of educating people (b-cycle biking 101 day?), but there are actually a lot of ways to get educated.  There are lots of group rides around town, which I've never attended; these group rides can be a great opportunity to meet others who bike...and I'm sure they would talk the ear off of anyone who was trying to figure out the pros and cons of biking and whether it is something that they really want to commit to.  The group rides can also help you gain confidence, know what the best streets are for riding on, and allow you to experience what it feels like to be passed by a car or to have a car honk at you, etc, which can work wonders in building up that empathy that you can then show when you are behind the wheel.  And, if I can be honest, even if the city offered something like biking 101, most people wouldn't probably attend because "it would take too much time" or "be too hot" (like a 'you can lead a horse to water' type thing)...the city can only do so much.  If you care to learn, you'll probably read up on the Internet or talk with someone with experience and/or just get out there and ride with a friend.

 

I didn't have the time to better organize my thoughts, but figured I'd throw 'em out there for what they are worth...



#34 hannerhan

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:24 AM

Beg to differ (re...foregoing post) regarding the locations of the bike sharing lots.  They are located along the Trinity Trails (west side) between downtown and southwest Fort Worth.  At least one is in Forest Park adjacent to the Trails just north of the bridges.  There's one located along the Trails all the way down at Edwards Ranch near the new bicycle shop/café building.  There's a bike sharing lot even further southwest along the Trails at the water cooler spot just past that little bridge near all those apartment buildings.

 

And these bikes are meant for recreation, too, because I've observed families on them going slowly through the park, enjoying the scenery on a pleasant sunny day.

 

Ditto.  The bike sharing folks have talked multiple times in their reports about the pleasant surprise that has been the recreational rider, and the system appears to be gearing itself more toward that demographic with every station that opens.



#35 Dismuke

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:48 AM


 

-I personally don't see anything wrong with the city encouraging people to bike.

 

 

You make a lot of excellent points - especially the point about how the physical work, the heat, sweat, inconveniences and hopefully the dangers that people see once they are in traffic will weed out those who attempt to ride in traffic based on an ideological lark.  That is a good thing.   It is a lot easier (and safer) to recite slogans, wear buttons and ribbons and that sort of thing.

 

Based on everything you wrote, you are the type of biker I have zero problem with being on the road.  You have educated yourself about all of the important factors involved and about which routes are safest, etc.  But that doesn't change the fact that every time you get on the road you are exposing yourself to a greater degree of physical risk than if you used other methods of transportation.  The only person in the world who can decide whether the rewards in your case are worth the risks is yourself.  It is certainly not my place to second guess your decision.  But my point is this:  I would NEVER encourage even someone like you who knows what they are doing to ride a bike in traffic.  The only encouragement I would provide to a person such as you would be to please, please think it through very carefully and think about the people in your life and ask yourself if it worth it. 

 

And as for someone who is not particularly skilled or has zero to limited experience, I actively discourage such a person from riding in traffic.  For such a person to do so is nothing short of idiotic.  If a person with limited experience thinks that this might be something he or she would be interested in then. as you mention, everybody has to start somewhere.  That somewhere is not in traffic.   Such people need to first get skilled on the trails and they need to take training courses and perhaps the sort of group rides you mention.  And when they do start getting familiar with riding in traffic they need to do it gradually starting on safer roads and progressing up from there.  They do not need to start out by immediately commuting to work if the route one must take is dangerous.


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#36 Dismuke

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:51 AM

Beg to differ (re...foregoing post) regarding the locations of the bike sharing lots.  They are located along the Trinity Trails (west side) between downtown and southwest Fort Worth.  At least one is in Forest Park adjacent to the Trails just north of the bridges.  There's one located along the Trails all the way down at Edwards Ranch near the new bicycle shop/café building.  There's a bike sharing lot even further southwest along the Trails at the water cooler spot just past that little bridge near all those apartment buildings.

 

And these bikes are meant for recreation, too, because I've observed families on them going slowly through the park, enjoying the scenery on a pleasant sunny day.

 

I wasn't aware of those locations.  The ones I am familiar with are all some distance from the trails - for example Will Rogers.   I don't have any particular problems at all with the ones located by the trails.  And if people use them to ride the trails and it exposes them to recreational bike riding and they end up getting more exercise as a result of it, that is a good thing. Most people would benefit from extra exercise.

 

There's nothing in the world wrong with bikes.  Being in close physical proximity to speeding traffic and idiot drivers is a different matter.


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#37 johnfwd

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 10:09 AM

Right!  I got a bicycle, you got a bicycle, all God's children got a bicycle!  Halleluiah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Just joking!)



#38 Doohickie

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:07 PM

I still get a sense from Dismuke of "victim blaming."  People shouldn't ride bikes in traffic because a car might hit them.  How about looking at it the other way around and say cars shouldn't it bikes and not blame the bike for simply being there?
 

There are lots of group rides around town, which I've never attended; these group rides can be a great opportunity to meet others who bike...and I'm sure they would talk the ear off of anyone who was trying to figure out the pros and cons of biking and whether it is something that they really want to commit to.  The group rides can also help you gain confidence, know what the best streets are for riding on, and allow you to experience what it feels like to be passed by a car or to have a car honk at you, etc, which can work wonders in building up that empathy that you can then show when you are behind the wheel.


I have ridden, and do ride, with a few different groups regularly.  One thing that happens in Fort Worth that is unique in my opinion is that there are lots of small group rides (i.e., about 50 riders or fewer).  In other cities, there are rides that have thousands of cyclists that build animosity between cyclists and drivers.  This is quite rare in Fort Worth.  If traffic stops for a bicycle group, motor traffic hardly ever waits more than one extra cycle of the light.

 

And those group rides often split further.  For instance, one of my cycling friends from Night Riders who worked in the Federal Building downtown started a group called Club Fed that gets together every other Friday.  They typically have fewer than 10 riders, but they do a pretty good job of some of that "education" people need for riding on the streets.  There's also a family riding group that encourages parents and kids riding together.  There's the Bicycle Betties - a women's only group.

 

Many of these groups are highly inclusive (except for the Betties I guess), and they are more than cycling groups; they tend to be very social and people make connections through these different groups.  Why do we post on Fortwortharchitecture?  We share a common interest, but there's also a social aspect.  Cycling is similar in that respect.


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#39 Dismuke

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 08:53 PM

I still get a sense from Dismuke of "victim blaming."  People shouldn't ride bikes in traffic because a car might hit them.  How about looking at it the other way around and say cars shouldn't it bikes and not blame the bike for simply being there?

 

 

 

I have already responded to this once.  So, for the second time: I am not "blaming the victim."  I am providing reality-based, common sense arguments for preventing people from becoming victims in the first place.

 

Sure, I could "say" that cars shouldn't hit bikes and that people who drive cars ought to be more careful and look where they are going.  And exactly what is that going to accomplish?  Is my "saying" it going to somehow make it true - and that, by my mere act of saying it, motorists are going to suddenly be more responsible and no longer hit bicyclists?

 

Gee - if I only had such powers.

 

I know! Let's rent a stadium and gather together 5,000 people to say it.  We could all stand in a huge circle, hold hands and sing "Kumbaya."  And then we could all come to unanimous agreement and say very loudly and all at once that motorists ought to look where they are going, refrain from driving while drunk or fatigued, refrain from texting while driving and slow down whenever they are in the vicinity of a bicyclist. 

 

Do you think that is going to result in all motorists being somehow magically transformed and, from that point forward, they will be more responsible and more careful around bicyclists?   If your answer is "yes" - then what sort of Utopian fantasy are you living in?

 

Magical thinking might be useful when one is concocting children's bedtime stories.  But applying such thinking in real-world instances can lead to disastrous consequences - especially if there are a couple of tons of metal speeding towards one at 45 miles per hour.

 

The fact that people ought to behave a certain way does not mean that they actually do.    This simple fact ought to be so obvious that I shouldn't have to point it out.  But clearly there is a need for me to do so.

 

If you are on the road in traffic - whether you are on a bike, behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or are a pedestrian attempting to cross a street - one of your absolute top priorities and responsibilities of the moment is to be on constant alert for others who are not looking where they are going, who are not following the traffic laws and who are behaving in a potentially dangerous manner.  The fact that other people ought to be more responsible is utterly irrelevant.   The reality is that people aren't always responsible -  and if you are in traffic your very life might depend on the degree that you are aware of that fact and have prepared yourself for it.

 

Whenever someone takes a class on how to properly drive an automobile, such as class is almost universally referred to as a defensive driving class.   The focus in such a class is not on how it is other drivers' responsibility to behave safely and look out for you.  The emphasis of such a course is on how it is your responsibility to prepare yourself for the eventuality of encountering a situation where somebody else is not driving in a manner they ought to be driving.  Do you regard a defensive driving class as an example of "blaming the victim?"  After all, if you have the legal right of way it is the other drivers' responsibility to avoid hitting you.

 

If you choose to drive a bike in traffic with a chip on your shoulder and your mind focused on how it is the motorists' responsibility to look out for you rather than acknowledging and preparing yourself for the fact that there are motorists out there who are irresponsible to the point of criminality -  well, that's certainly your perogative.  It is your life to risk and throw away.  Perhaps your loved ones will take comfort in knowing how overjoyed you would be if you could somehow know that the legal liability was officially assigned to the reckless motorist who did you in.  My guess, however, is that they would much rather have you here alive and in one piece.  But if that is your mindset - please don't attempt to pass it on to others.  Some crazy fool might actually believe it and act on it.  Such a person might be a fool - but I would much rather that they be a live fool than a dead fool.


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#40 Doohickie

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 05:08 AM

Is using bold and italics

If you choose to drive a bike in traffic with a chip on your shoulder


There you go again with your straw-man presumptions.
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#41 renamerusk

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 07:10 PM

 

I think this is irresponsible.  The message that the city needs to be sending is not of encouraging more people to start riding bikes in traffic.  The message needs to be that IF you choose to ride a bicycle in traffic, you need to be very skilled, have the necessary mental and physical aptitude (which not everybody has) and be highly aware of the risks.   Encouraging people to engage in risky behavior and making it easier for them to do so without adequately educating them on the dangers - I think that is just rotten.  A person's life and safety is far more important than somebody else's bizarre goal to "triple the number of bicycle commuters."

 

 There seems to be a disconnect here.  The message that the state needs to send is to discourage the practice of granting universal privilege to drive as if it is a right.  From what I have observed, a significant percentage of drivers should never be granted the privilege to drive. 

 

An equal or greater number of drivers do not have the necessary mental and physical aptitude to drive; and now due to technology (cell phones, cabin distractions) drivers are even more distracted and have become even more dangerous on the roads; and this , by the way, does not began to open the discussion of DUI and the cases of serial DUI. 

 

The road ways can be made safer for all - pedestrians, bikers and yes automobiles when and if the state takes seriously its responsibility to deter distracted drivers.  Zero Tolerance!



#42 Volare

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 09:27 PM

...  The message that the city needs to be sending is not of encouraging more people to start riding bikes in traffic.  The message needs to be that IF you choose to ride a bicycle in traffic, you need to be very skilled, have the necessary mental and physical aptitude (which not everybody has) and be highly aware of the risks.   

 

 

Just like "the city" does for automobile drivers, right?



#43 Dismuke

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 09:56 PM

 

...  The message that the city needs to be sending is not of encouraging more people to start riding bikes in traffic.  The message needs to be that IF you choose to ride a bicycle in traffic, you need to be very skilled, have the necessary mental and physical aptitude (which not everybody has) and be highly aware of the risks.   

 

 

Just like "the city" does for automobile drivers, right?

 

 

To legally drive an automobile one is required (by the state, not the city) to be of a certain age, to have passed a written exam, an eye test and an in-person, in-car basic competency test. There are also restrictions that are imposed - for example, in my case, I am required to wear corrective lenses while driving. So, yes, the message I spoke of is sent to automobile drivers - though, again, by the state and not the city. 

 

There are no such requirements along those lines at all for bicycle drivers.  And I don't believe that there should be such legal requirements for bicycle drivers.  I am merely pointing out that that message is being sent to automobile drivers by public officials and in far stronger terms than it is being sent out to bicycle drivers. 

 

(And it should be a stronger message being sent to motor vehicle drivers given the potential for irresponsible drivers to cause catastrophic danger and damage to others.  Given the laws of physics, irresponsible bike riders are mostly a danger to themselves).


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#44 Dismuke

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 10:10 PM

Is using bold and italics

If you choose to drive a bike in traffic with a chip on your shoulder


There you go again with your straw-man presumptions.

 

 

 

I would recommend consulting any decent primer on rhetoric to discover the exact meaning of the straw man argument.

 

My statement (which I quote here in its full and proper context):

 

"If you choose to drive a bike in traffic with a chip on your shoulder and your mind focused on how it is the motorists' responsibility to look out for you rather than acknowledging and preparing yourself for the fact that there are motorists out there who are irresponsible to the point of criminality - well, that's certainly your perogative."

 

is not an example of a straw man argument.  It is, in fact, an example of a real-world implementation of the mindset that was expressed as follows:

 

"I still get a sense from Dismuke of "victim blaming." People shouldn't ride bikes in traffic because a car might hit them. How about looking at it the other way around and say cars shouldn't it bikes and not blame the bike for simply being there?"

 

 

And yes, having a negative reaction over the suggestion that one should assume the responsibility of proactively taking prudent, common-sense precautions to ensure one's own physical safety on grounds that it somehow constitutes "victim blaming" does indeed imply a certain level of having a chip on one's shoulder.

 

Sometimes people have a chip on their shoulder and are not even aware of it.  That has happened to me before. Just some food for thought - something to perhaps reflect on and examine.


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#45 Dismuke

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 10:28 PM

 

 There seems to be a disconnect here.  The message that the state needs to send is to discourage the practice of granting universal privilege to drive as if it is a right.  From what I have observed, a significant percentage of drivers should never be granted the privilege to drive. 

 

An equal or greater number of drivers do not have the necessary mental and physical aptitude to drive; and now due to technology (cell phones, cabin distractions) drivers are even more distracted and have become even more dangerous on the roads; and this , by the way, does not began to open the discussion of DUI and the cases of serial DUI. 

 

The road ways can be made safer for all - pedestrians, bikers and yes automobiles when and if the state takes seriously its responsibility to deter distracted drivers.  Zero Tolerance!

 

 

The problem is one cannot regulate away stupidity - just as having more cops on the street or building more jails is not going to stop people from committing horrible crimes. At best all it can do is reduce percentages - and a lower rate of accidents and crime is certainly a good thing.  But, at the end of the day, we will never eliminate the need to take prudent precautions to protect ourselves from people who are stupid, unsafe or downright evil. (And, at the same time, we can't let the fact that such things exist keep us from enjoying and living our lives - which is why I don't have a problem with people riding bikes in traffic if they understand the risks and have prepared themselves for them as best one can).

 

And, even if we were to somehow get rid of all unfit drivers and eliminate unsafe behaviors, that still leaves all of the incidents that are the result of simple human error.  There's a reason why collisions are usually referred to as "accidents."   So the road is always going to be a potentially dangerous place.  What makes it an especially dangerous place for bicyclists is the laws of physics.


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#46 dangr.dave

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 08:07 AM

I don't want to stir the pot on this sensitive issue, but I feel compelled, after reading the many posts on this topic, to ask one simple question: wouldn't hipsters more effectively be able to bend their legs while peddling bikes if they just bought bike shorts or yoga pants with a skinny jean print or pattern on them?


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#47 renamerusk

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 09:12 AM

 

So the road is always going to be a potentially dangerous place.  What makes it an especially dangerous place for bicyclists is the laws of physics.

 

  Of course, you are correct with regards to the laws of physics. 

 

It is also correct to adhere to the laws of roads which give cyclist a right to be in the road.  Motorists must learn, expect and respect that cyclists are going to be sharing roads more and more in the future, not less. 

 

The roads do not always have to remain a dangerous place. I expect that there is a technological solution that shall come along to make the blending of motorists and cyclists safer as the numbers of cyclists grow. Perhaps an exponential increase in signs and other means of reminders should be implemented to make motorists more aware of bicycles. 

 

I think it is a mistake to cede the roads to motorists.  Such a mistake give cars a false sense of permanent entitlement over anything but another car. 

 

The truth is that everyone has the right to use the public roads.



#48 Doohickie

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 10:56 AM

I don't want to stir the pot on this sensitive issue, but I feel compelled, after reading the many posts on this topic, to ask one simple question: wouldn't hipsters more effectively be able to bend their legs while peddling bikes if they just bought bike shorts or yoga pants with a skinny jean print or pattern on them?

 

Although there is the occasional exception, this is by and large an over-hyped stereotype.

 

 

 

(Yes, I realize you're trying to be funny.)


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#49 Dismuke

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 10:57 AM

 

I think it is a mistake to cede the roads to motorists.  Such a mistake give cars a false sense of permanent entitlement over anything but another car. 

 

The truth is that everyone has the right to use the public roads.

 

 

I am not sure that there is any need for even being concerned about anybody needing to cede anything. 

 

Bicycles have. as you point out,  a legal right to be on most roads (they are properly forbidden on some roads such as freeways) in the exact same way that the horse and buggies that one sees in areas where there are Amish settlements have a right to be on the road.   If anything, recognition of the rights of bicyclists to be on the road has been on the uptick in recent years - for example, the installation of bike lanes and Google Maps providing bike routes.

 

My only real concern in this area is one of safety.  People who are not trained, skilled or prepared for driving in traffic should not attempt to do so until they acquire such skills and preparation.   And to encourage such people to ride in traffic is highly irresponsible and could result in someone getting seriously hurt or worse.

 

At the most fundamental level, I think the biggest problem is a certain commonplace mindset among the general population that are not avid bikers that thinks of a bicycle as being a benign toy.   And, if you stop and think about it, this mindset has long and deep roots.   It is almost a rite of passage in suburbia - a child starts out riding a tricycle and, as he or she gets older, graduates to a bicycle with training wheels and, from there, to a child-sized bicycle when the child is still in elementary school.  That is how most people in the USA are exposed to bicycles - they are something that is part of childhood fun and recreation and not so much a grown-up world utilitarian object.

 

My own particular childhood gave me a first hand exposure to a very different perspective.  My mother is British and did not learn how to drive until she was about 33 years old.  While growing up in England and spending her early adult years in Europe she got around exclusively by walking, transit and, yes, sometimes by bicycle.   One can do that over there. (My English grandparents lived into their 90s and never owned nor had any need to own an automobile). 

 

And the culture clash between England and the USA when she came over was much greater than it would be for someone today.  The decades immediately following World War II were extremely difficult ones for the UK and many aspects of daily life in parts of the country remained in a sort of time warp compared to life in the USA. 

 

For example, my mother never saw a supermarket until she was an adult - people still had to buy meat, bread, fish and produce in separate standalone markets. People in her town lived in row houses and their "back yards" were fenced in squares of pavement about the size of a small patio and contained a shed for coal and separate building with a Victorian era type of flush toilet that was powered by recycled waste water from the kitchen sink.  My grandparents' house was more luxurious than many others in that it had a permanent bathtub with water heated by a back boiler from the kitchen coal stove.  Other houses had to use portable bathtubs with water heated by kettles and it was considered bad form on one night of the week (Saturday, if I recall what she told me correctly) to call on people as it was assumed that the family would be busy taking their baths.  People in her part of England lived like that well into the 1960s when things gradually began to modernize. (And that made for an interesting childhood for me as, like many other children of immigrants, I was exposed to different cultural perspectives at home and at school - something I now consider to have been an advantage as it taught me that so-called "conventional wisdom" is not sacrosanct. and that other perspectives are possible).

 

As a  new driver who only learned relatively late in life, my mother was, understandably a cautious driver - it took a few years after she started driving to feel confident enough to begin driving on the freeway.  One of the things I remember that stressed her out to no end was driving through residential neighborhoods when kids were playing near the street.   Sometimes the kids would suddenly dart out into the street - often on a bicycle - without looking.  I vividly remember a few instances where, despite the fact that she drove slowly, she had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting a kid. 

 

This was something that really frustrated her.  And I remember a common rant of hers was about the unsafe manner in which American kids used their bicycles.  A bike is not a toy but rather a form of transportation she would say.  She decried American parents for not teaching their children how to use a bike safely and responsibly. She stated that bicycles are required to follow the same traffic laws that cars are which includes using (hand) signals when making a turn.  She would state that if a child behaved in a similar manner on a bicycle when she was growing up it would have received an immediate scolding from any nearby adult - and the post 1960s American taboo against scolding other people's children was also foreign to her.

 

This was all part of her wider culture shock at what she felt was the irresponsible and lax way that American parents raised their kids.  She was appalled at how parents would commonly give in to their children's tantrums and she strongly disapproved the degree to which American parents allowed their children to consume so many sweets, sodas and junk food.  Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg's speech writers could have just taken her rants from that era on the subject and have saved themselves a lot of work.  In our house such things were served only as an occasional treat or on special occasions.

 

I remember myself thinking at the time whenever she would go on about such matters "yeah - but in America things are different."  Years later, as an adult, I realize, however, that she was spot-on right - both on the account of the bikes and on American dietary habits.   On the other hand - in defense of the era's suburbanite Texans -  at that time in suburban Texas there was very little basis for people to think of bicycles in terms of being a serious form of transportation.  A bike is pretty much useless as a practical transportation option in the sprawl of suburbia.  And the notion of somebody in that era wanting to live in an urban area, let alone ride a bike in one, would have been regarded as odd and downright radical.   People who could afford to do so were fleeing the center cities which were largely becoming run down and properties were being converted to low rent uses or just empty lots.   And the reason the children my mother grew up with were instilled with such healthy eating habits was because sweets, when they were even available, were expensive as war time sugar rationing in the UK was not lifted until 1953.  In that time and place, healthy food and cheap food tended to be one and the same.  In the USA the exact opposite was and is true - thus eating healthy requires much more conscious intent.

 

Anyhow, I think the suburban mindset in our culture of a bike as a childhood toy associated with fun and recreation is a problem in the context of what we have been discussing and it is potentially dangerous if that is the only exposure one has had to riding a bike and one suddenly decides to start using one on dangerous and busy city streets.

 

Just because one has the skill and ability to make a bicycle go from point A to point B does not mean that the person is prepared to ride in city traffic.  Riding a bike through the streets of a sleepy suburban neighborhood is not the same as riding in city traffic.  If people think that it is and they decide to venture out in city traffic, they are putting themselves at needless and dangerous risk  - and it is irresponsible to encourage such people to do so.  And the safety tips on the baskets of the rent-a-bikes hardy constitutes serious training.

 

If you are not a very skilled or capable automobile driver, you will NOT be a good candidate for riding a bike in traffic.  If you frequently catch yourself mentally drifting while driving a car you will NOT be a good candidate for riding a bike as the need for sustained focus is greater and the built in margin for error is much less.

 

It is no different than if some group went around encouraging the general public to just run out and buy a handgun and the city came up with some sort of multi year plan to make it easier for people to do so.  Yes, there are people for whom it makes sense to own a hand gun for personal protection.  Yes, it might be wise to encourage certain individuals facing particular circumstances (for example, a deranged, violent and vengeful ex) to get a gun to protect themselves and their families. But even here it would be highly irresponsible to encourage a person to do so if part and parcel of "getting a gun" does not include learning how to safely use, handle and store it.  And there are some people one should NOT properly encourage to buy a gun - people who have anger management issues, people who are careless in pretty much everything else they do, etc.

 

Just as there is more to owning a gun than point, aim and fire there is more to riding a bike in traffic than just getting on the thing and peddling. And just as it is a bad idea for some people to own a gun, it is also a bad idea for some people to ride a bike in traffic.

 

If some sort of gun advocacy group decides that it would be beneficial for there to be more gun owners on grounds that having more people in their ranks will give themselves greater political clout when it comes to gun related issues or on grounds of some sort of wider ideological agenda - that still wouldn't make it any less irresponsible for them to go out and just encourage as many people as possible to go out and buy a gun.

 

I can understand why environmental and certain bicycle related activist groups would like to see more bikes on the road.  More people riding bikes will give them greater political lobbying power and people who have ideological agendas have every right in the world to promote and push those agendas. But none of that excuses encouraging people who are not safely prepared to ride bicycles in city traffic to just go out and do so.   The ends do not justify the means.


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#50 johnfwd

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 05:24 AM

Yesterday afternoon I made the mistake of taking Channel 5's word for it that we'd have only have a 20 percent chance of rain.  Rode my bike to the office downtown.  Left the office around 1:30 riding southwest along the Trails.  Some two miles north of the Southwest Boulevard bridge the skies opened up with a drenching downpour that lasted a half-hour, I guess.  Had to wait out the storm, taking cover under the bridges near the Forest Park Medical Center.  Not a terrible hazard, of course, but getting soaked during a speedy bike ride may be fun for kids...






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