Cyclists’ Rights and how not to get there

Not all cyclists are out to impose their will on everyone else. I ride as a I drive: defensively, not offensively. I understand the limitations of riding a bicycle in fast-moving traffic. If riders truly want to “share” the road, then they have to acknowledge that they are a different type of vehicle. Things may change in the future as far as access for bikes (bike lanes, more bike paths, even bike traffic lights as I understand they have in Amsterdam) but for now the reality is we’re not there yet. Taking the vigilante attitude of Critical Mass is not helping. The incident last night in Seattle makes me almost more afraid of bicyclists on the road than cars. Read down through the comments if you think CM is having any sort of positive effect on anyone, anywhere. I’m afraid this is going to devolve into another situation like the 1989 “wilding” incident involving the Central Park jogger. Now, instead of roving bands of disenfranchised youth, the CM supporters are going to become the enemy and the object of fear.

If Critical Mass wants to lead the charge for cyclists’ rights, they need to take a more reasoned approach to it, instead of this ‘in your face’ belligerence.

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About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo.com, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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9 Responses to Cyclists’ Rights and how not to get there

  1. justwilliams says:

    Beautifully written and says it all.

  2. Digital Dame says:

    Thanks, J. Is there any sort of equivalent to (or association in league with) Critical Mass in your area?

  3. justwilliams says:

    I don’t know of any and I cannot see sensible cyclists here supporting such offensive behaviour. As you say, it is not the way to go.

  4. velochick says:

    There are bad apples everywhere unfortunately. I am a Critical Masser but I don’t believe in that and I have been on one and there has been no trouble whatsoever. We have police there too and I wonder where the police were? They are supposed to be there in case there is any danger of fracas.

    Hence our one went very well. Motorists do this kind of thing a lot more than cyclists.

  5. Digital Dame says:

    Hiya Velo,

    Thanks for coming by and your comment. It seems to have been only a handful of the cyclists involved in this, but I’m not sure saying motorists do it more is an acceptable defense for breaking someone’s car window with a U-lock. Blocking the streets with no permits or planned route announced in advance seems counterproductive to me. It’s going to anger and annoy more people than not, rather than gain sympathy and support for cyclists. In the time you’ve been a part of CM, have you seen anything productive achieved from these rides?

    I’m not defending the driver at all, he seems to have lost control of himself as well. It sounded like the Seattle PD was nowhere around. I bet that will change on any future CM rides.

  6. metaljaybird says:

    I think the point of the CM is to bring awareness to others, both who drive and fellow cyclists.

    I plan on riding next month with my local CM, which was started despite the local mayor’s negative attitude towards bicyclists.

    This being said, if you are riding or driving, you have to respect each other and obey the law. The law is here to prevent barbarianism.

  7. Digital Dame says:

    I thought CM sounded like a great thing when I first heard about it. ‘Cause we all know there are plenty of motorists out there (like your mayor) who feel cyclists have no right to be on the road at all.

    Unfortunately, we know how public perception works: One bad incident will mark us all as anarchists. I think the onus is on cyclists to be scrupulously correct right now (not that there’s ever a time when it’s ok to run red lights). Maybe CM is just attracting a certain number of people whose motives are other than raising awareness and visibility of cyclists’ rights.

  8. Les says:

    Hooligans are everywhere. Too bad some of them get on bicycles and ruin what I think is a good event. The opposite is what happened in NYC earlier last Friday: http://www.cyclemania.ca/2008/07/cycling-new-york-city-critical-mass-ride/
    I have watched the video numerous times and cannot believe what happened!

    BTW, well-written post Maureen

  9. Digital Dame says:

    Thanks, Les.

    I saw that video, and gasped out loud when I saw that cop hit the biker. And then with breathtaking gall tried to say the biker ran into the cop??? I really wonder what the criteria is for becoming a cop these days.

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