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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Spandex mindset

The bike crowd posted an interview yesterday with Paul Higgins, the aggressive cyclist who inspired Tri-Met bus driver Dan Christiansen to write his infamous "Kill this bicyclist!" blog post. After reading the interview, I can see what made Dan as mad as he was. Some highlights (censorship mine):

On traffic signals: "Neither do I recall pulling any other stunts on my way to work, though I may have blown through a light. (I always at least slow down and look and listen. I don't believe that traffic control devices are responsible for my safety on the road, it is my ability to identify and respond to threats and danger that keep me safe.)"

On his riding style: "When making my way through heavy traffic I'm big, aggressive, and loud. I get quite an attitude much of the time. Don't get me wrong, I love riding. I get a thrill out of it. I like knowing that I reached my destination by burning calories instead of gas. I like that my legs and a** are f***ing statuesque."

Higgins later adds: "My goal in life is to just be a good dude, I won't achieve that if I ride like an a**hole. My solution is rational, compassionate response to the people I share the road with, rather than a knee-jerk, fear-based reaction to people I perceive as threats." But from the tone of his comments, it's clear that his idea of being "a good dude," and most other people's, are far apart and will likely never converge.

Comments (31)

Lately, I have been observing a lot more riders deciding to insert themselves into my lane (where there are no bike lanes) on the right side while I am stopped at a signal or sign. If it's a stop sign, they tend to blow through it just because. I've adopted a new strategy of being too close to the curb on the right for that kind of intrusion. Yesterday, the cyclist noted this and pulled up to my left in a left turn only lane. Except, of course, she went forward when the light changed. Bikers and entitlement seem to be redundant.

I have to wonder what these people do for a living with the attitudes they have towards others. I have had more than one encounter with rude and obnoxious riders. And yes I used to ride but medical issues made me give it up.

This is the type that I call a "bike anarchist". It's adolescent, testosterone-fueled recklessness. The attitude is that "I don't have to follow any rules. I'm so agile, smart, right, and immortal that I can look out for myself and not have to consider that I might not actually be able to avoid hitting the disabled, elderly pedestrian who has the right of way. What right of way? I don't have to wear a helmet, have lights on my bike at night, or slow down for anyone. That's for other people". I see more and more of this attitude in Portland as some cyclists try to take over the sidewalks, speed through the neighborhood at night without lights, some peds who don't happen to be able-bodied 20-somethings become fearful about crossing the street, etc. It can ruin cycling for the rest of us. I cringed yesterday as I saw a brave blind man, with the right of way, crossing the street in front of a reckless cyclist. Of course, the attitude of some drivers is part of the problem too. Meanwhile, we have a long way to go to work out ways for peds, cars, and cyclists to get along and share the road, with appropriate road design, laws, licensing of bike riders (the bike anarchists will be outraged at that one), education, and enforcement for everyone - including pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists.

And there are the forces of nature we call Karma and Darwin.

And there are the forces of nature we call Karma and Darwin.

And gravity!

Sam Adams should have a beer summit with these two, as Obama had with Henry Louis Gates and that cop.

That's kind of joking, kind of serious. Neither of these guys seems like a BAD guy, but both of them, particularly the cyclist, seem very set in their ways. I think the cyclist is completely in the wrong here, but I've seen many bus drivers act just as entitled out of the road. It wouldn't hurt to have them act as representatives of their particular communities and sit down to hear what the other "side" has to say.

I read the interview and while the biker certainly did show some bravado (blowing through a light IS not an option if you're obeying traffic laws), I think he showed he also is rethinking the way he rides in light of what happened. He also seemed to understand the TriMet bus driver was blowing off steam on his blog and accepted that.

No, I'm not a biker. I'm a driver.

My favorite trick for the bicyclists that blow red lights on main thoroughfares is to honk at them as they pass. Most of the time it really startles them as they must be somewhat apprehensive about doing it. In any case I get a kick out of watching them flinch. Try it sometime.

As for bus drivers, last night I was on Vermont on a section where there are no bike lanes headed for Hillsdale. Bus decides to overtake bike in his lane by crossing the center line into my lane so I have to be impeded and slow way down. Thanks. Apparently that TriMeth driver doesn't care about right of ways and failure to keep right.

the things you see (and hear) when you don't have a gun!

Also...tonnage usually wins

By virtue of sheer numbers of cyclists in this town, odds are good you will come across arrogant, misguided riders like Higgins. If you are looking for someone to be mad at (and the streets are filled with those kinds of drivers), well, he's the new poster child in the failing effort to foster good rider/driver relations. He didn't deserve the press.

BTW, I used to ride regularly, until I got run over by a car.


I'm very glad that his legs and butt are so statuesque. His head, though, is so far up that statuesque butt that he's a walking Klein bottle.

He also said " I'm on the look out for Dan. I want to shake his hand and tell him I'm sorry about the trouble I've caused him." I certainly don't agree with all of his riding philosophy; but as to being "big and aggressive" when riding, to me, it translates into being visible and engaged, which is a good driving attitude for anyone regardless of the number of wheels and source of locomotion. I'm with Allan on this one.
Where's the love Jack?

Read the entire interview with Paul Higgins. The selected portions above need to be read in context with his other comments before making assumptions about his charachter.

And LucsAdvo -- I do not understand why having to slow down in a car is such a travesty. Knowing Vermont, you had to either stop at a light at either 45th, Olesen, or Capital Hwy anyway so you effectively lost no time.

Travis - I was doing a bit under the speed limit already when I had to come to less than half the speed limit so as not to hit the TriMeth bus that was taking up half of my lane. How do you know that I would have not the light at 30th and a number of subsequent lights if I had not had to yeild my legal right of way. I am constantly dealing with drivers (not usually buses) being in my lane to pass bikes. Why don't tell me why vehicles cannot stay in their legal lanes per the ORS driving rules and be inconvenienced by the bikes? Why should they disobey the laws and inconvenience others? Or are you one of the "I'm entitled to ignore the law" biker types?

"I was doing a bit under the speed limit already..."

Since none of us were there to witness this this event, there really can't be any definite judgment made about THIS event. But I can tell you that your comment hints a a condition that is not often addressed in the bike/car discussion. That is, If I am behind a bike doing 15 mph uphill on a street designated 30 mph, do you really think I should be obligated to remain behind the bike, which is in fact NOT IN COMPLIANCE with the designated speed for the road? I wonder if you and many, many others understand that the posted speed represents not just a MAXIMUM, but also a guideline for the AVERAGE speed limit. You are not in compliance with the law when you are moving too slowly for the designated speed and inconveniencing others. Sorry - That's just the way it works.
And since nine times out of then there are shoulders on the road, why can't the bike move over to the shoulder to allow vehicles to pass?. You know, like responsible truckers and large RVs do on our highways?

Where there is no safe shoulder or bike lane, and no posted prohibition of non motorized vehicles, bikes are legal if operating as far to the right as reasonable given road conditions. To my knowledge there is no minimum legal speed under such circumstances. My understanding is the posted speed limit is considered the maximum reasonable speed under ideal conditions, but as drivers we have an obligation to drive at a lesser reasonable speed if conditions warrant a slower pace. If a bike is doing 15, and you can't pass it in a reasonably safe manner for the cyclist or for oncoming traffic, then you need to wait until you can. But, when cycling, I do pull over into a driveway or wayside to allow cars to pass if my speed and the road configuration causes a line up of cars behind me, just like I would do towing a trailer or boat behind a pick up truck. We just all need to exercise a little patience and compassion out there so we all get home to our families safely.

When I can go for ten blocks without being put at risk by reckless overly-entitled cyclists your "where's the love" might have a chance. The other day I went ten blocks and had to panic respond to eight reckless cycling stunts by six different cyclists. Where's their love, eh?

The jumping on and off the sidewalk at speed into and out of traffic by whim is the worst. I guess they expect drivers to have 360 degree vision at all times as well as brakes that stop in 4 feet regardless of speed. Nope, don't love them. Won't love them 'til they quit requiring me to panic respond and start practicing good sportsmanship and quit encouraging other cyclists to believe that good sportsmanship is for losers.

You want love, give love!

I have noticed more and more cyclists riding in the center of the the lane, on Burnside and 47th.

Not over to the side, but in the center of the lane with a couple of cars behind them.

I don't get it. Why go out of your way to be a pain?

At the same intersection, I saw a cyclist, on his sacred fixed gear ride, make a left turn by a Hummer H2, sitting at the light.
The bike rider extended a rude gesture to the driver as he sat at the light.

I get that some bike types view themselves as martyrs and some see themselves as saving the world from the morons who insist on driving, but does that extend to being really arrogant pri__s?

When did rude behavior become a virtue?

Lil'stink... I've never had to dodge cars when walking on sidewalks... bikes on the other hand think they own any g.d. surface that their tires will spin on...

I think this here applies perfectly to all cycling arguments:

"The heavier vessel always has the right-of-way. There is no explicit directive in maritime regulations or law for the the Law of Gross Tonnage other than it is common sense that giving way and being alive is usually better than forcing one's right-of-way and being dead."

I am reticent to elaborate further on my personal views other than to suggest cyclists in their anarchist zeal are creating the 'cyclist/deer' analogy as a result of THEIR actions.

As a driver that must interact with cyclists and a part-time cyclist myself, this offends me. Hence, cyclists are responsible for the 'us vs. them' mentality on both sides...
not vice-versa.

This is my last word on the failure to keep right nonsense for the entitlement kiddies -

2(c) states "A person is not required to drive on the right side of the roadway by this section under any of the following circumstances:
(c)When an obstruction or condition exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway, provided that a driver doing so shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within a distance as to constitute an immediate hazard."

And the bus did not yeild right of way to my vehicle traveling in the proper direction. And I see it all the time with cars on Vermont and other SW roads with small shoulders. Oncoming passing bike comes in to my lane and I have to yield to avoid hitting the entitled, "me first" crowd. Of course, I could just get a beater and that would stop a lot of bad behavior.

I have to agree with Roy. I live right on 47th off of Burnside and have to deal with the idiots riding down the middle of the lane practically every time I go anywhere.

Also, last night while I was walking to the bus, a group of us were nearly taken out by 2 cyclists who apparently thought it would be funny to ride right through the middle of us full speed while we crossed the street with the light. I know there are responsible and polite cyclists in the area but as far as I can tell they are seen about as often as Bigfoot.

The problem is no one remembers the sane cyclists, just like you don't remember the normal drivers you pass by everyday on the road. The only ones you remember are the ones who pull bonehead moves. As someone who considers myself a sane rider, and supports modest bicycle registration fees and bicycle license plates, I hope you all remember we are out there too, and, by far, the majority. You just don't notice us because we are generally obeying the law, riding responsibly, and watching out for ourselves, pedestrians and the cars we share the road with.

Retread of the same arguments. Committed drivers hate cyclists and go out of their way to obstruct, impede and endanger cyclists, themselves and all drivers as a result of prior slights by cyclists. Committed cyclists hate drivers and go out of their way to "own the road," effectively obstructing, impeding and endangering drivers, themselves and all cyclists. The cycle repeats, rationality is lost. All drivers now assume all cyclists are arrogant aggressives purposely blocking lanes while all cyclists now assume all drivers are literally just waiting for their chance to splatter the cyclist. Yoda was right: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Perhaps both sides need to take that first half-step back ... all road users, regardless of form, need to be conscious (and conscientious) of all other road users. While I believe the likelihood of this happening is nearly zero, hope remains.

Chris, I believe every word you say is sincere and I agree with you.

I think the problem exists because of the special cases made for bicyclists in general thanks to our mayor and city council. Not too long ago most cyclists on the road were respected and respectful. A wave of the hand indicated "I see you," or,"Thanks for slowing down until you are safe to pass." But since special consideration has been/is being given to any form of transportation except the automobile, I think there is some resentment in the 95+(?) percent of us that drive. Because many, many cyclists, etc. feel they have the "right" to be considered an equal to the driver, but they reject the "responsibility" that accompanies it. Like that unruly student in class that holds the whole group back, but has to get all the attention, because he has a right to be himself.

I go out of my way to ensure the safety of cyclists, and it's probably resulted in safer driving habits for me. But I have never had a moving violation in my several decades of driving. I will stop at a red light at night when there is no traffic, because I consciously choose to obey the rule, silly as it may seem, because if I don't set a precedent for myself, I'm unlikely to repeat the behavior. Unfortunately, many bikers seem to consider themselves in a special class where following the rules of the roads are arbitrary. And this mindset is reinforced by the kids at city hall who are more concerned with being hip (or appearing to be hip) than they are with the individual's safety.

I don't hate, and I don't think the vast majority of us hate. We just believe in rights and responsibilities for all.

Actually Drew, I do remember the sane riders for the simple reason it is rare to find one. I live along Skyline and it's one big PITA to drive that road due to all the rude/stupid/entitled cyclist going down that road.

Question for you cyclist on this blog. Last year I started running across cyclist that would stop to rest in the middle of the road. What in the world is up with this supreme bit of stupidity?

What a jerk. I ride a bike a lot and for the most part try to obey the rules of the road. I am also respectful of automobile drivers for the simple reason I don't want all bike riders thought of as morons like this clown (and cars are bigger).


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
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