It’s All Lance Armstrong’s Fault…

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There is an outfit called “Critical Mass” that seems determined to make motorists hate cyclists even more than many already do – if such a thing is possible.

Like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it started out with a not-bad idea. In the case of Critical Mass, the idea being to try to get drivers to be more aware of – and considerate toward – riders.

No problem there.

But just like MADD, Critical Mass didn’t stop there. It went from “share the road” to take over the roads – literally. Critical Mass organizes (you guessed it) mass ride events, where dozens, hundreds (or even thousands) of cyclists pour onto a road, their numbers making it physically impossible for cars to pass them. This is deliberate policy – the point of the exercise. To inocnvenience cars. Or rather, to make cars defer to cycles. The radical wing of Critical Mass sees this as its main mission. They hate cars in principle (the movement began in places like left-as-you-can-get San Franciso and Portland, Oregon) and use their swarming tactics to literally push cars off the streets or at the very least, make it extremely unpleasant to drive anywhere near the Critical Mass massing.

They also use a tactic called “corking,” in which a few riders will deliberately blocks side streets so that the swarm of riders can blow right through red lights. Cars that have the green light – and the legal right of way – are prevented from entering the intersection.

And this is where they cross the line from reasonable to dickhead in a single bound, becoming in their own way precisely that which they claim to be fighting.

Reasonable riders expect drivers to not run them over and kill them. To be paying attention to the road and give bicycles space, just like they would (hopefully) not ride inches from the bumper of the car ahead of them or try to run another car off the road. Reasonable drivers have no problem with such requests, either. Most drivers do their best to conduct themselves civilly toward bicycle riders as much as they do other drivers.

But that’s not where it ends, of course.

Some cyclists aren’t content with reasonable. They want to own the road, not share it. They demand the “right” (as they see it) to ride on almost any road, even when the road in question is obviously not appropriate for bicycle riding (more on this below). And they demand that cars defer to them. The Critical Mass people, for example, will descend on a road with a speed limit/average traffic flow that’s higher – often a lot higher – than pedal power can achieve or maintain. And expect – no, force – the drivers to stare complacently at their neon yellow Spandex-clad asses (often, they’ll ride in packs, side by side – which is usually illegal) as they gimp along at 20 MPH less than the limit, sometimes for miles on end – not giving a damn about the cars stuck behind them. Enjoying the power they have to make cars piddle along behind them.

Let’s cut through the crap and make some reasonable rules that reasonable people ought to be able to agree on:

* On any given road, if a bicycle cannot keep up with traffic the cyclist should defer to traffic by moving right to allow traffic to get by.

This used to simple common courtesy understood and practiced by almost everyone. But thanks to decades of tacit approval of left-lane hogging cars, many cyclists now have the same attitude toward traffic piling up behind them that Clovers “doing the speed limit” (and usually, a few MPH less than that) have.

Cyclists arguably have an even greater obligation to yield to faster-moving traffic as they’re usually not out there doing necessary work (such as a tractor or heavy truck) and because it’s so much easier for a bicycle to just move over. They’re small, light and highly maneuverable. Deliberately preventing cars from passing by refusing to yield is probably the single biggest reason why drivers and cyclists are becoming as antagonistically inclined toward one another as North vs. South once were. The whole situation could be diffused if cyclists would not adamantly refuse (just like their Cloverish cousins in cars) to acknowledge that other people are trying to get somewhere – and would like to get by. Why not let them?

* Not all roads are suitable for bicycles.

Narrow, windy – and hilly – country roads with no shoulder, for example. Some cyclists insist on taking such roads, anyhow – even though they create hazardous conditions for themselves and everyone else by doing so. It is not safe (let alone polite) to take your bike on a road where it’s difficult or outright unsafe for faster-moving cars to pass you – and where (because there’s no shoulder) you, the biker, have no safe place to pull off to let them pass. If cars can’t pass safely and you can’t safely pull off to let them pass, you’re a dick for expecting them to gimp along at your 12 MPH pace as you chuff up that incline ahead.

Bottom line: Cyclists do not have the same right to the road as drivers – or shouldn’t have, anyhow. For openers, they aren’t paying to use the roads because bicycles don’t use gas and it’s taxes on fuel that (mostly) pay to build/maintain the roads. That alone ought to give cars priority. Cyclists also do not have to buy expensive insurance – even though they are just as capable of causing an accident as a car or motorcycle. Bicycles don’t have to be state safety inspected, either – another hassle of driving they get to avoid. (Not that I want them to – I don’t think either insurance or “safety” inspections should be mandatory cars either. Just making a point.)

But the most important point is that in general roads are designed for motor vehicles. Conveyances capable of keeping up with traffic. The rule should be, if you can’ t keep up with traffic, take a back seat to traffic.

Bikes should be able to use the roads – where it’s safe and reasonable for them to do so – and when they aren’t creating a dangerous roadblock/forcing people to choose between crawling along at the bike’s pace or attempting a potentially dangerous pass to escape Spandex Hell.

The problem is, they often do just that – which is why so many drivers see red when they see Spandex up ahead.






Throw it in the Woods?


  1. A “related articles” list broght me back here after about a year and a half, and in a lot of ways I don’t feel much different. I have been convinced that bicycles do technically have a right to use roads that take general-tax funding, but knowing that has not made me any more interested in actually riding a bicycle on the road, nor any friendlier towards those who are.

    When I first came here I was angry and not very articulate about the whole thing. I guess I figured that “stop blocking my gutter hook when you’re not even there” would go over better on a freakin’ CAR FORUM than it apparently does. But since then I’ve thought this over a lot, argued a lot, tried to understand a little better what the bicycle mentality actually is. And the conclusion I’ve come to is that this article, itself, is still dead on.

    Eric, in a post about electric cars a few weeks ago, unintentionally dropped the perfect analogy for voluntary non-drivers. They are like the “special” child of the road, whose “specialness” must never be acknowledged, let alone seen as inconvenient, regardless of the extra responsibility placed on the non-“special”. Nonmotorized road users are like that. Even on car forums, it seems, it is taboo to acknowledge, let alone object to, the burden of extra responsibility they place on other road users. The difference is, the “special” child didn’t have a choice about what happened to him and is worthy of pity and compassion, whereas the guy who owns multiple cars but still road rides for fun absolutely does have a choice.

    And a burden of extra responsibility is exactly what I object to. I’m no safety maven; I literally would not care if someone wanted to ride a lawn tractor on the road – as long as it was souped-up enough to maintain a decent cruising speed for the road they were riding it on. But when you take to the road in a vehicle (or lack thereof, for pedestrians) which has a maximum short-burst speed of less – often significantly less – than the posted limit, you’re not hurting yourself, you’re putting yourself in a position to GET hurt by SOMEONE ELSE, who will then have to carry you on their conscience for the rest of their life, or just plain go to jail if they were over the speed limit/shoulder line. You are passive-aggressively forcing people to drive in a way that suits you even when you’re not actually there to need it.

    See, the “bicycle mentality”, as exemplified by many people on car forums (like this one!), isn’t just “I have a right!” It’s “I have a right, and everyone else is stupid and/or selfish.” Recreational nonmotorized road users believe, on a fundamental level, that their rights automatically redefine courtesy, selfishness, common sense, and even reality itself in their favor. A 2011 response to this article encapsulated this perfectly, if unintentionally: “if roads are designed for cars only, then that’s bad design”. You can think so if you want, but guess what – that just so happens to be the way it is, and for the vast majority of roads it’s not likely to change anytime soon. Again, the overall attitude is that cyclists’ rights come before reality. “It’s not my fault I have a right” is sadly a common excuse for choosing to walk and ride in places where non-cars don’t really work anymore.

    Some cyclists try to ride on the shoulder when they can, others ride just barely in the lane by default (you know who you are). They say they want wider shoulders so they can have more space. As a spirited driver, I find wide shoulders annoying, but that’s not the main problem; the main problem is what they do when a road doesn’t have their desired mile-wide shoulders. In their mind, the solution is never to avoid riding on unsuitable roads, it’s ALWAYS to demand more consideration from drivers and call them selfish if they balk. If the shoulder is wide, then ride on it, if the shoulder is narrowish, then ride on it but very close to the line, if the shoulder is narrow or there isn’t one then just ride towards the right side of the lane, if the lane is barely a car-width wide in the first place then too bad. Again: bicycles come first and everyone else can just do whatever they must to accommodate – or pre-accommodate, as the case may be. And this is not the desperate plea of someone who would love to drive but has DUIs or no money – this is from people who have multiple functional automobiles but choose willingly to ride a bicycle on the road anway. One cyclist on this forum has even stated that he would happily ride the Nurburgring Nordschleife “if the tolls were lower”. That was literally intended to be a strawman when I brought it up, but I guess you don’t need strawmen when the person you’re arguing with decides to become the strawman!

    It gets even worse when bike paths are brought up. Apparently, they “don’t exist” because they are overrun by or actually intended for pedestrians. You would think that these paths would get just as much of their funding from “general taxes” as roads do, if not more, which would give pedestrians just as much right to be there as bicyclists have to be on the road, but no, because there’s a sign that says “BIKE PATH”, pedestrians treating it as their own is WRONG and it should be for bicycles first! And if it’s not, then it doesn’t exist at all!

    Wait, so you mean all it should take to de-bicycle a mountain pass is a sign that says “CAR ROAD”? Hold on, I think I have enough scrap lumber and Krylon to make this happen! But no, to certain people on this forum, that probably sounds like the most fascist idea ever, even though it’s not that far off the logic they apply to “bike paths”. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is as mine as I feel like it needs to be.

    You would think that the selfish, passive-aggressive nature of these thought patterns would be plainly obvious, but no, their rights permanently absolve them of any selfishness or coercion as long as they teeeeeeeeechnically leave a car-width of raw space between themselves and the center line (when and where they feel safe doing so, of course).

    And because I want that space for speed and fun rather than for a long/wide load or some other “legitimate” need (a distinction that the cyclists themselves vehemently reject when someone applies it to them), the Bicycle Brigade feels empowered to stand up and lecture and moralize about taxes and rights and people who can’t afford cars and “outdriving your sightlines” and “what about _____” and so on and so forth until the end of time. I’m automatically the most selfish, reckless idiot who has ever defiled the road, I just want to go 80 in a school zone, I don’t care about their rights, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But in the end, it’s all just covering over the simple fact that the cyclists think they are the most important thing on any road they feel like riding on, and the road along with everyone’s driving should revolve around them forever.

    The fact that there are so many people out there who think this way is disheartening enough, but the fact that so many of them still seem to consider themselves car enthusiasts just beggars belief. You’ve got these people who are totally fine with outright street racing in a vacuum, but when you tell them that reviving street racing would require them to give up their precious BICYCLE, (or at least exercise some common sense WRT when and where they ride it), then they’re enraged. Their rights entitle them to as much of the road as they feel like they need and you’re a reckless fascist who needs to “build your own roads”. It’s like, they love cars in the abstract, but then they also think they aren’t impinging on anyone as long as someone can still plonk an automatic transmission into D and navigate indifferently at a sedate speed. If you want to be that way, I guess that’s your right, but there’s a few things I don’t ever want to hear from you if that’s going to be the case:

    First, I don’t ever want to hear you ask why young people aren’t interested in cars anymore. I’m a young person interested in cars, and all I hear is how selfish I am for not wanting to do the car hobby YOUR way.

    Second, I don’t want to hear you ask why drivers don’t like cyclists; your own belief that the whole world should run on your bicycle-centric definition of politeness is to blame – and nothing else.

    Third, I don’t want to hear you bray about not needing as much safety buffer as drivers think you do. You may have the nerves to keep riding steady while enormous metal objects whiz by at a speed you could never hope to reach, but most people just don’t feel like messing around with that level of proximity when they know that one mistake by either party will end with you dead and them in prison.

    Fourth, and finally, I don’t ever want to see you trading old war stories from back when car culture was hot. You are a large part of the reason those sorts of crazy, wonderful things can’t happen anymore, whether you think you are or not.

    One final note: whatever earthly thing you desire most, you will rationalize and justify, at nearly any cost. So when I complain on a car forum about bicycles ruining the best driving roads, and someone’s first response is to bust out the moral indignation and the “it’s not my fault I have a right”, then there really is no conclusion I can come to other than that they are actually a bicycle enthusiast with, at best, a very passing interest in cars. They obviously do not care if real car culture ever comes back and probably do not want it to ever come back, because they’re having too much fun riding their bike all over its grave. Call me a gatekeeper if you want, I just call ’em like I see ’em.

    tl;dr Yes, you teeeeeeeeechnically have a right to “not drive” on roads which take general-tax funding, but let’s not pretend that actually doing so (when you can choose not to) is not highly passive-aggressive or intensely destructive to car-enthusiast culture.

  2. VERY late replay but: I’m glad you mentioned the bicyclists who ride on narrow, twisty backroads as that is also one of my pet peeves. I have one difference with you on that; if I got access to the levers of power, you’d be seeing big “BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS PROHIBITED” signs going up on such roads within the week, for selfish, driver-centric reasons I admit. See, on roads like that, bicycles don’t have to ride in packs to “take over” the road, specifically because of their vulnerability. Much like houses being built on the same kinds of roads, it only takes a few to completely ruin things. Once they start showing up, drivers always have to drive in a way that assumes there might be one hiding around the next blind corner – i.e. slowly and boringly. Same goes with the shoulder hikers who frequently invade the same roads. Maybe it’s only because I’ve watched too many cartoons and played too many video games, but I feel like I should be able to get greedy with the shoulders and ditches on those kinds of roads without having to worry about running over a bicyclist.

    Even from a fully rational perspective, though, bicycles really don’t work anywhere as transportation. If you put them on the road, they get in the way. If you put them on the sidewalk, they run over pedestrians. If you give them their own dedicated facilities, they ignore them and ride on the shoulder anyway. If you give them their own designated spaces for recreational riding, they ignore them and ride on the backroads anyway. Slow, tiring, extremely vulnerable to elevation changes and impact damage, can’t carry passengers unless you get a specially-built tandem model which then becomes dependent on that passenger. Not with your mightiest try could you possibly design a transportation device so poorly suited to actual transportation, and yet so beloved by theorycrafter types.

    You raised another interesting point when you mentioned that the law hasn’t really caught up with the backroad pleasure riders because the whole phenomenon is so new. That’s another part of my beef with them… I see road bicycling in general as an invasive phenomenon introduced from above by “the powers that be”. Yes, there are people who can’t afford cars, but they’re not the focus of my beef. They’re doing the best they can, and bicycling is, at least, preferable to walking.

    If you try to say any of this to someone who isn’t a frothing-at-the-mouth single-minded car enthusiast, you’re likely to hear something about how the roads are “multi-modal” or are made to be used by everyone, or just about how “intense driving” is illegal while bicycling isn’t. But then, that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? Cars are about the only “hobbyable” form of land transportation I can think of whose practitioners don’t really have anywhere they can go to just cut loose without the pomp and circumstance (and cost, and time commitment) of a full-on Event. Yes, we have racetracks, but it’s just not the same. Access is expensive and tightly controlled, both the scenery and the road itself are blatantly artificial, and the only real time and place for “holistically tuned” cars (i.e. hot-rodded daily drivers) is at track days which are frequently quite crowded.

  3. Cyclists have as much right as any other road users to use any road. People should have respect for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and treat them as they would, say, a horse and rider on the road. Give them a wide berth and be very patient. This article is just written by a real prick. Maybe if more Yanks got on their bikes instead of driving everywhere they wouldn’t be a country full of morbidly obese morons. Anyone who agrees with the article should try two wheels instead of four for a while – you’ll soon change your tune when you realise what a bunch of inconsiderate divots a lot of drivers are…

  4. I live in the country and use a carbon frame road bicycle equipped with a cyclocomputer for exercise. The generally good blacktop and light traffic here are favorable for that purpose. A rails to trails runs through part of the county but I don’t use it. The trail is too far away and the biting bugs and gravel surface are hard to tolerate for more than a few minutes. 120 PSI tires are not a good choice for rough surfaces. Mostly I ride the white line on county roads to distance myself as much as possible from traffic in my lane. So far there have been no problems and drivers have been courteous.

    Body hugging apparel made for cycling may look funny but it’s a lot more practical and comfortable than street clothing if you do much riding. Reduced wind resistance and enhanced sweat evaporation are two of its biggest attributes but it also is better at conserving or shedding heat depending on which kind is used for different weather conditions. Since one is relying on his own muscles and energy to move, anything that can make the going easier is a plus. In a nutshell, one can go farther and faster with less effort. Skiers use similar clothing for much the same reasons. One doesn’t have to look like a glowing neon sign either. Flat black is available.

  5. you self-centered drivers are so heavily government subsidized that your navel gazing selfishness is astounding.

    Go to Europe and pay the true price of gas. You know how many billions get spent on freeways? The hidden costs of pollution and car accidents? …and you gripe about few new bike lanes? Spare me your “victim” BS.

    Cars are great for hauling stuff and going far. They do not entitle you to be a dangerous prick.

    PS. paved roads were originally designed for bicycles. If it weren’t for turn of the century bike activists wanting paved surfaces, cars wouldnt have had so much pavement right away.

    And if “roads are designed for cars” only, then that’s bad design

    • The “true price of gas”?

      How is it “true” when 70 percent of the cost is taxes? Oh, I know – you think the tax compensates for the “social costs” (or “externalities”) of using gas. Well, that’s a political judgment, not a factual or economic one.

      US roads are built and paid for almost entirely via motor fuels excise taxes,which are much lower than the confiscatory taxes imposed on Europeans. The object of those high taxes, of course, is to discourage average people from owning and driving personal cars and herd them like cattle into puuuuublic transportation – the statist European Cloverites ‘ favorite thing. We can argue pros and cons of that, but it’s ultimately a political difference of opinion. It’s got nothing to do with the “true” price of fuel.

    • The “true price of fuel” this argument is about as relevant as “you bicyclists don’t pay for the roads”. It just isn’t true. The highway funds on the state and federal level are constant targets of raiding. Why? Because they there’s EXCESS money there. All but the most local roads are paid for with driving related taxes. And it’s not like neighborhood streets wouldn’t be there if there weren’t cars.

      I had to go through (but luckily was not stopped) another “safety” checkpoint on friday night. Most of these are federally funded with gas tax money… there’s so much money there some of it is diverted into these police state activities.

      • I am not sure of that and have been tempted to test it. And if this were still any sort of reasonable society I would.

        There’s a favorite spot for a checkpoint that is less than a block off from one my typical biking routes. It is because of my bicycling I know multiple ways around this checkpoint. Some night when it is operating I may just go for a ride and instead of going straight at the light I could turn left directly into the checkpoint. But every interaction with a cop can turn fatal so I prefer not interact with them.

        It seems from episodes of cops that people bicycling at night are favorite targets of cops. The behavior all by itself is considered suspicious. The closest I’ve come to testing it seemed to prove out TV. But the cop couldn’t find me after he made a U-turn.

        • What state do you live in?

          We only have check points here at the beginning of the month to get inspection stickers and registration. And of course the random sobriety check points.

          I’m in the mountains of Virgina about 60 miles west of Washington D.C.

          • I’m in C(r)ook County, Illinois. The r is silent 😉
            In the chicago area checkpoints are set up pretty much randomly, usually on friday or saturday nights and on summer holiday weekends. There are very few checkpoints from oct to march when the weather is often poor. I think they do a few for new years eve and that’s about it.

  6. I’m a cyclist. I love to ride. I love the freedom, the challenge and the fitness.

    I ride alone, because I do not like to ride two and three abreast across the road like many cyclists like to do. I don’t ride in packs.

    I ride during the week on roads that aren’t heavily traveled by folks trying to get home from work. I ride early on the weekends when folks are sleeping in.

    I ride as close to the right as possible, expecting my courtesy to be reciprocated by drivers passing.

    I understand the frustration that drivers have with cyclists. I’m a driver too. I get behind jerks that ride two abreast with cars streaming behind. I get caught going to work on shoulder-less roads with idiots cycling. I get behind packs that won’t get over and stop riding abreast. Those are arrogant cyclists.

    But drivers are unbelievably distracted and impatient. I only ride where and when I feel like I have the best chance to survive my ride.

    For the most part drivers are courteous. I follow the rules and try not to be a menace. I have few problems.

    The problem is, if I’m not perfect on the road I pay for it with my life. If a driver isn’t perfect, I pay for it with my life. It doesn’t matter if a driver is right or I am wrong, or I am right and the driver is wrong, when it comes to sharing the road, the cyclist always, always, always loses. Always.

    • Amen – me too.

      I also apply the same rules when on my motorcycle. I’ve had people turn into my lane without looking, almost kill me blowing through a red that was red before they even got to the intersection – etc.

      For both cyclists and riders the rule is: Assume every driver on the road is trying to kill you. Always think ahead. Where can you go if you have to make an emergency maneuver? Whar’s behind me? Coming up alongside? Etc.

  7. This video is crazy and sad at same time.

    Crazy part is one or more bicycles riding on the freeway between the cars and 18-wheelers. I would not be surprised if they get into an accident.

    Sad part is that they are making better time than most of the other vehicles.

    • I’ve often been stuck in traffic and thinking I should have just biked.

      One place I worked it didn’t matter time wise if I biked or drove. One guy I worked with would drive in one day and bike home, bike in the next day and drive home. His commute was about 30 miles. Time wise it was about the same for him either way. And he didn’t use the expressway with the bicycle..

  8. There is a bike path or bike lane along my commute to work, so I do sometimes ride. Yes, we all know that bicycles have the same road rights as cars, but you’re right. Bicyclists should not become clovers in spandex. Roads are designed for cars, and bicyclists should respect that primary intent. Another option would be to petition for bicycle rights to sidewalks. Many cities restrict bikes to the streets only, while their sidewalks are generally vacant for blocks on end.

    Also, PLEASE teach your kids that the street is not the playground, or the skate park, or the BMX track. I’ve seen several kids ride out from between cars without checking traffic, and I’ve had a couple close calls from teenagers swerving into traffic like they own the place, too.

  9. Eric,

    The Portland you mentioned in your article today is in Oregon, not Washington. Yes, Portland is south of the Columbia River, on the Oregon side.

    I used to commuter by bicycle for two years, rain or shine, (mostly rain) back in the late 1970s. I was in my mid twenties at the time. I tried to keep up with traffic, so that I would not annoy motorists. I learned to wear yellow rain gear to make myself visible, and I used a headlight. A motorist reminded me of the lack of a headlight when he almost ran into me. I had to admit that he was right, I was invisible. I learned to ride on lightly traveled side streets that had stop signs in my favor. I might have had legal right of way, but I always remembered that a car would “win” in any collision. I learned to be very careful. There is a way to be reasonably assertive while not making an ass out of ones self.

    During the past few years, the bicyclists here have gained so many rights that they act like arrogant pricks. They insist on being on the major streets, poking along in the middle of the lane at half of the speed limit.

    Pedestrians are even worse. In this state, if it looks like a pedestrian MIGHT want to cross the street, traffic in either direction had better stop, or it is a 400 dollar fine. What ever happened to the concept of waiting for a gap in traffic or walking a block to the nearest red light during rush hour? Well, the Clovers won.

    • Indeed. Cloverism is like the invasion of a non-native species (think, Cane Toad) that utterly transforms the previous landscape, never for the better. The Clover mindset has, to a great extent become the American mindset, unfortunately. When I was a kid – 1970s – Cloverism was still openly mocked. It was synonymous with bed-wetting and cry-babyism; such people were thought of as girlish busybodies. I noticed the change beginning in the ’80s, when what a friend of mine calls “mom” culture began to become a major cultural force. Remember those “Baby on Board” stickers? It was the first sign of the End Times….

    • JvG the clover theory on cross streets or cross walks is that morotists should not be driving 45 mph in a 30 zone so that they are not able to stop for the bike or pedestrian that has the right of way and the bike rider or pedestrian does not have to run at full speed across an intersection because a driver is flying down the road well over the speed limit with a cell phone in their hand.

      It does not matter if a bike rider or pedestrian picks a slower road with less traffic. The libertarian flying down the road with the get the hell out of my way attitude makes it unsafe on all roads.

      • Clover,

        I was referring to common sense. If a pedestrian wants to cross the street, it is a good idea to wait until it is safe to do so. Granted, a small percentage exceed the speed limit by the margin you stated. Most drivers are reasonably careful. Cloverism is the assumption that since the law is on the side of the pedestrian or bicyclist, the cars had better look out for them.

        I live in a mixed neighborhood. Some darker people like to dress in dark colors. On a dark, rainy night, they are truly invisible. There used to be an auto safety commercial circa 1970. Someone was moving broken auto glass with his foot. The sound track said “He was right, dead right”. The laws of physics trump legislation when push comes to shove.

        By the way. Eric originaly called your type of mindset Cloverism. You chose to call your self Clover. My comments are aimed at Erics original coinage of the phrase, not at your self. However, if the shoe fits…..

    • JvG you miss what I am all about. I am not for more regulations or contol. We should not need any if we did not have the libertarian saying I am better than you, I can do whatever the hell I want to do, I could care less about if it kills or injures others. The libertarian says it is all about me. F-ck everyone else.

      • Except for “safety check” roadblocks. And mandatory “buckle-up” laws. And use of radar traps to catch “speeders.” And mandatory insurance. And mandatory vehicle inspections… and government fuel efficiency regulations… and taxes on property to make ownership impossible (and give guuuvernment control over the property and the person who is given the legal fiction of “ownership”)… but other than that and a few hundred other forms of control/regulation, Clover’s really against regulation and control.

      • Yes Eric I am for laws that meke it better for me and everyone else. We do not have mandatory inspections here so I can not speak on the subjuct of what your state does. That is why we have state laws. We can make changes for where we live that makes sense.

        Mandatory insurance or proof of being able to pay liabilites sure the hell helps me and millions of others. Before we had mandatory insurance there was not anyone that bought insurance if they made under the average income. When they got into accidents they would just say sorry, it is your problem to fix my mistakes. You think that is a good thing?

        I believe that public education is a good thing. You come up with something better then I am all for it. You say that people should pay for their own schooling. Personally I believe everyone should have the ability to go to school so that their only other job option is not selling drugs and being in gangs.

        Fuel efficiency standards? I guess the government has the ability forecast and the statistics that say that if we stuck with cars getting 13 mpg then that would be a bad thing. Gas lines. Yes people eventually make changes after they sit in gas lines or pay 10 bucks a gallon but it then takes years to retire those brand new 13 mpg cars. In the mean time park it. If we would be getting that 13 mpg we were getting 40 years ago then gas would be 10 bucks a gallon right now.

        • “Yes Eric I am for laws that meke it better for me and everyone else”

          What about when what you consider as “good” is not something others consider as “good?”

          Also, where would it stop? Or would it stop? Maybe the government should be there to wipe our asses too! That would makes things better! Wouldn’t it?

        • Poor ol’ Clover can’t get his head screwed on straight. One minute he’s against “control” and “regulation,” the next he’s all for it… so long as it “mekes it better for me and everyone else…” as Clover sees it, of course. Which is what makes him the Clover that he is!

          PS: “I believe that public education is a good thing. ” Clearly, given the high quality of your posts.

          • Not that I would wish for one moment to confuse the issue but where I live, Public Schools are private, think Eton, Gordonstoun, Harrow, Charterhouse, Merchant Taylor, Rugby etc., etc..


          • Wait a minute, weren’t you demanding in this very post that cyclists be removed from certain roads? That’s just as much a demand for “control” and “regulation” as clover’s. You even justified it on the spurious “safety” mentality that is identical to the one used to establish arbitrary school zone speed limits.

            • I think I said something slightly different; that some roads are inappropriate for bicycles and that common sense and consideration (not laws/controls) should prevail. As examples, roads with little (or no) shoulder and/or where traffic is flowing significantly faster than bikes can keep up with.

              Is it not just as obnoxious for a bicyclist to hold up traffic as it is when a left lane hogging (or slow-moving) Clover does the same?

              I would not personally ride a bicycle on such roads because of all the inept/addled drivers out there. But I would not make it illegal. However, I do think it ought to be illegal for a cyclist to impede the flow of traffic; to fail to yield, etc.

              How ’bout that?

          • Expecting that it’s the duty of another road user to yield to faster traffic is just as arbitrary as expecting that no one pass at all. You’re still demanding that others take action to suit to your personal preference as to how the public road is to be used. If you expect that cyclists obey the same traffic laws as cars (e.g. not pass on the right or split lanes when cars are backed up and slowing cycle traffic), you can’t also claim that they should defer to motorized traffic on roads that were not built wide enough for motorists to pass at high speed.

            There are all kinds of vehicles on the roads. Garbage trucks and UPS package cars operate on these same roads. Depending on your location, there may also be farm equipment or horse drawn carriages. You pass all of them the same way – start looking for your opportunity before you’re immediately behind them, move left, and complete your pass. It is not a rquirement that a slow logging truck pull off the road so it’s more convenient for you to pass, you pass when you’re sure there’s no oncoming traffic; there’s no difference when you pass a cyclist.

            • Oh come on! If you are impeding the flow of traffic then you’re a dick if you don’t yield/move over – car or bicycle or whatever.

              There’s nothing arbitrary about it.

              If you are walking up a narrow flight of stairs in a public place with others coming up behind you, do you slow/pause to ponder the paintings on the wall? Of course you don’t.

              Same principle applies on the roads.

              A car Clover “doing the speed limit” in the left lane of a highway posted 65 who refuses to move over and let faster-moving traffic get by is bad enough. But some Spandex-clad dick who thinks he’s Lance Armstrong piddling along at 17 in a 45 who won’t pull off, despite the half dozen cars stuck behind him, is much worse.

              Bicycles are not “equal road users” because they are not capable of using all roads equally. I’m not talking legalisms. I’m talking functional reality. And common sense. A Moped driver – or whatever else – that can’t go faster than 35 using roads with speed limits significantly higher is also a dick if he doesn’t pull off/over when other vehicles stack up behind him.

              It’s dickhead behavior that ends up with “their oughtta be a law,” which is why dickhead behavior is the true enemy of liberty, ultimately.

              If the cyclist can’t maintain a speed that’s equivalent to the speed of other vehicles, then the cyclist should be considerate and let faster-moving traffic get by. If the road is too narrow to permit faster-moving traffic to pass safely or the cyclist to move off to the shoulder, then that road is not suitable for bicycles.

              The insistence of some cyclists that they have the right to use any/every road may be legally correct (unfortunately) but their refusal to use common sense and exercise common courtesy generates a lot of hate toward them that didn’t use to exist before the whole wanna be Lance Armstrong thing took off.

          • You’re still assuming your conclusion – that there’s a “correct” minimum speed for all users of the road. Which is no better than assuming that there’s a correct maximum speed for operating on the road. If a tractor-trailer is heading down a 2-lane road at 80mph, a motorist in an SUV going 50 is not expected to drive into an adjacent field so the 18-wheeler can pass without slowing.

            The responsibility for passing safely falls on the following vehicle, just as it’s the responsibility of a following vehicle not to rear-end a vehicle in front. That’s there’s no shoulder doesn’t mean that cyclists should not be on it, it means that you have to exhibit some conideration for others.

            Since you like analogies, expecting that others have to move off the road is like the fat dude who sits down at a park bench and expects the people already sitting on it to squeeze into the corners to make room for him.

            For someone who claims to be a libertarian at the top of the page, your attitude is far less John Locke or Thomas Jefferson than it is Marie Antoinette expecting the peasants to fling themselves out of the way of her gilded carriage. Or perhaps Lizzy Grubman to use a more recent name. Since you seem to be such a fan of name-calling, perhaps we should term your motoring attitude, “Grubman-ism”

            • It’s a question of courtesy as much as safety. If a car driver or bicyclist is creating a logjam by operating well below the normal flow of traffic and passing is problematic because of inadequate/absent shoulders, blind curves, etc. then the slow-mover ought to move over.

              Is that asking too much? Really?

              As far as Libertarian principles: A cyclist who refuses to yield is using force to impose his rate of travel on others. You argue the reverse – that the cars and so on who expect the cyclist to defer to them are trying to force the cyclist to conform to their pace, etc. But it’s not the same thing because the obligation to yield falls on the vehicle creating the logjam, not the traffic just trying to get where it’s going.

              You and I know that some cyclists (like the Critical Mass crowd) are insolent dicks who are out there trying to make a point – just like the insolent dicks who plant in the left lane, refusing to move over, because “they’re doing the speed limit.”

              Car or bike, yielding to faster-moving traffic is an essential – and basic – courtesy that needs to be restored.

          • Eric, a single bicyclist does not create a “logjam” in traffic. A bicyclist is 18 inches wide and riding where the right most tread of the right tires would be for any driver who is driving just right of the center of a lane. He cannot physically block traffic.

            Who blocks the traffic? The incompetent motorist who because he does not pay attention, does not think ahead, and/or is so lazy that it is an inconvenience for him to adjust his lane location three feet to into just the left. That’s who blocks the traffic. That DRIVER.

            The only times I’ve ever had to slow to a bicyclist’s speed is when I’ve been behind such a driver. I’ve been the bicyclist with one of these incompetents behind me… it’s not fun. I don’t know any bicyclist who likes this. But the other option is the ditch. These drivers are difficult to convince to pass… but they are also angering the other drivers… and those other drivers will not take it out on the idiot, they will take it out on the bicyclist.

            The bicyclist isn’t imposing his speed on anyone. Anyone who can’t put a typical passenger vehicle through a 9 foot wide space with a painted line on the left and three foot buffer on the right should not be driving.

            Critical mass is in urban areas. They simply aren’t relevant to country 45-65mph two lane roads. Critical mass is politics. Taking them as all cyclists is harmful group think.

            As I commented earlier, this is about mentality. Far too many people see bicycles as toys instead of vehicles in the USA. This emotionally colors the interaction. When someone goes out on the road with a moped, farm tractor, garbage truck*, or other underpowered motor vehicle the problems just vanish even though these often much more difficult to pass.

            *I have out accelerated garbage trucks, concrete trucks, semis, riceboy cars, and other examples of motorized traffic when bicycling. I’ve biked in the right lane at the same speed as they were going in the left. Guess who drivers angry with? although the reference vehicle helped more than hurt overall.

            • “Eric, a single bicyclist does not create a “logjam” in traffic. “

              Well, I guess your experiences are different from mine! In my area, which is very rural, most of the roads are windy country roads with many blind curves, often no shoulder to speak of. These roads are typically posted 45 MPH, a speed which few, if any, bikes can maintain or come close to maintaining – especially on hills.

              Coming up on a cyclist, you’re often forced to first reduce your speed significantly because there’s simply not enough room to continue at the pace your were driving and make a safe pass. (Yes, the bike is narrow. So is a motorcycle. In fact, a guy on a standard/naked/sport bike is about the same width as a guy on a bicycle. Neither is easy to just whizz past without either straddling the double yellow to give enough of a margin – or crowding the rider.)

              Many cyclists ride erratically, too. They shift side to side as they pump the pedals, especially on hills. The latter sometimes can’t be helped and has nothing to do with rider skill. It’s not like a motorcycle, which has an engine that delivers steady power, keeping the bike traveling in a predictable straight line. The bicycle shifts left, then right, with each stroke of the pedal and this further decreases the amount of safe passing space. Most people don’t want to risk hitting the cyclist because unlike a car to car (or even car to bike) impact, a a car striking a bicycle even at a low speed can lead to catastrophic injury for the cyclist.

              So, you wait for an opportunity – when there’s no car coming the opposite direction so you know that if you need to you can give the bike rider more space – and you make your move. If the road is busy, this gets more difficult and once one car gets stuck behind the bike, others will quickly pile up behind that car. Soon, you’ve got your rolling roadblock. If you haven’t seen this, I’d be surprised!

              There are also often groups of cyclists, aggravating the situation.

              You say anyone who can’t safely pass is an inept driver. I disagree, obviously.

              I’ve been writing/covering motorist/road/safety stuff for a long time and the major factor causing problems, in terms of creating dangerous driving conditions, is speed variance – one vehicle (whatever type of vehicle that may be) operating at a much lower (or faster) speed than other traffic. Such a vehicle interrupts the normal. smooth flow of traffic (if it’s a slow-mover) and sets up the conditions that lead to abrupt movements by other vehicles, which is what increases the danger for all on that road. Now, some vehicles can’t help traveling at a lower speed than traffic. But that’s when the next-most-important rule of good driving (or riding) comes into play: Lane discipline, or yielding to faster-moving traffic. Most everyone (who isn’t a Clover) understands that if they are traveling below the speed of other traffic, they should try to stay right/yield and allow the faster-moving traffic to pass (irrespective of the speed limit, by the way).

              My beef with some cyclists is that they want it both ways. They demand to use any road they want to and they demand to be regarded as having the same rights as car drivers. But they sometimes also refuse to abide the same rules that most (non-Clover) drivers abide by, including yielding to faster-moving traffic.

              Some riders can be just as insolent as Clovers in cars.

              The situation would defuse if all road users agreed to yield to faster-moving traffic.

          • I keep addressing the same things over and over again. If you have to reduce speed because the roads are so horribly under designed such that the lane is well under 12 feet wide and the sight lines are so horrible why are you blaming the bicyclist instead of the road builder (government)?

            If the road is so horribly designed you can’t plan out a pass of a bicycle what do you do when there is a broken down car or truck stopped on the road? If the sight lines are so bad and the road so narrow, breaking down is probably going to lead to getting smashed into. Why are there such crappy roads in this nation in the 21st century? Where did all the tax money go?

            Do these “very rural roads” have an alternative route? Perhaps they do and it’s an interstate. Which should the bicyclist choose to ride?

            I’ve addressed the left-right shift before. If this is a problem for someone to pass, the motorist is brush passing. This shift is just a few inches at most. Passing with a proper gap makes it an irrelevant complaint.

            Those who can’t pass are inept or the road is horribly designed. Neither is the bicyclist’s fault and neither is reason for the bicyclist to dive into the ditch or stay home. If the roads are so horrible deal with the source of that problem, not your fellow road users who have to deal with the road as it is. That’s what government wants you to do, look at your fellow subjects and blame them instead of the true problem, the state.

            Look at what you’re doing. You’re calling for heavy handed regulation and limiting of bicycling because you blame them for conditions caused by the road builder, the government. Rewarding government with more power and money for it’s incompetence, a classic of american society.

            I’ve been following the same issues for a long time as well, I just don’t get paid to write about them. I have read countless sections of vehicle codes, studies, legislation, etc and so forth in the past fifteen years. However, I am one of those people who enjoy both cars and bicycles. Because of this I don’t have this group based dislike or hate of the other. You paint all bicyclists as being a single group. That’s like lumping you in with clovers, elderly drivers, truckers, and many more. A vehicular bicyclist such as my self has pretty much nothing in common with lightless wrong way riding adult on child’s dirt bike coming home from his shift as a busboy.

            Bicyclists are riding on the right side of the right tire track. When I ride I look down and the right edge of my handlebars run along the white edge line. I want EIGHTEEN INCHES of pavement and to be passed safely with a THREE FOOT gap. That’s it. Shoulder to finger tip is three feet. that means don’t clip me should I signal a left turn/lane change.

            Where is it you expect the bicyclist to go on the this shoulderless road? Do you expect him to take a header off into the ditch at 20mph? Would you like him to roll to a stop in front of you and then step off the road? When was the last time you saw a motorist do that for you? Any motorist that you caught up to. Coming to a stop on the pavement, dismounting and then leaving the roadway is the only thing he can do without risking injury if the road is half as bad as you describe.

            Now I’ve gone over to the very edge of two lane roads so incompetent drivers could have an easier time passing. The result is that these drivers severely brush pass me and then I have NOWHERE TO GO but to crash into the ditch. I nearly got sucked under a box by being nice like that. I was able to pull away but had nowhere to go but into the gravel. I fell into the gravel the bike landed on the far side of the ditch a few yards down the road. All in FULL VIEW of a cop. Who claimed he wasn’t watching.

            I turn my head and see a GM f-body.. I don’t know if you’re the upstanding car guy or the kind of dickheads I’ve encountered driving f-body cars before. I learned my lesson the hard way not to give up that space, about NINE INCHES, for anyone.

            What is so objectionable about the riding described in the PA bicycle manual?


            • I feel the same way! And I think we’re never gonna see eye to eye on this, so we’re gonna have to agree to disagree on this one.

              But, just to be clear: I don’t support heavy-handed regulations/prohibitions. I would like cyclists to use common sense – and exercise common courtesy. Some roads aren’t suitable for bikes and cars to coexist as equals. Roads where motorized traffic speed is faster than cycle traffic can maintain (so – generally – anything faster than 35 MPH)… where the roads are not designed to accommodate one vehicle (a car) passing another “vehicle” (a bike) in the same lane, at speed, without having to slow and wait for a break in oncoming traffic, etc.

              I would not ride a cycle on such roads myself, purely for selfish reasons (I don’t want to be struck/killed by a car) and I’d prefer that other cycle riders choose more suitable roads (especially given that most cycle riding – especially Spandex-wearing Tour de Francing – is recreational/pleasure riding, not work-related and so it’s in a different class than, say, a dump truck trying to get to the job site).

              And most of all, I’d really like all slower-moving traffic to yield to faster-moving traffic. That should be enforced by the safety Nazis. If there’s no room for a bike to pull over to leave enough of comfortable margin for the passing car without the cyclist also risking a crash into the ditch, then that road is by definition not suitable for bicycles. (Same thing applies to timid/fearful drivers who operate their vehicles 20 MPH slower than the pace of traffic; they really shouldn’t be on the road – or at least, that road. Mopeds aren’t suitable for highway use – and bicycles aren’ suitable on some secondary roads….) If a cyclist on a given road finds that cars are stacking up behind him, then that is a clue the road’s not a good road for cyclists.

              I would not jog on such roads, either – yet I often see people who do – and I always think to myself: That dude is going to get killed someday.

              If – if ! – we had better roads, with wider lanes than is typical as well as adequate shoulders on both sides – and if
              the competence level of the average driver were higher (so that most drivers could competently pass cyclists rather than bunching up behind them, sometimes creating a conga line a dozen cars long – then I’d be fine with bikes on those roads; joggers, too.

              But that’s not the situation out there and (my opinion) bike riders should take that into account and act in accordance with their limitations, the limitations of their equipment, the condition of the roads and the reality of the driving pool out there.

          • I ride with my wheels about 9 inches inside the white edge line. This gives about 12-15″ of run out space. The line is ~2.5″ wide and there is a couple inches of pavement on the outside of it. If that isn’t the definition of keeping right and yielding to faster traffic I don’t know what is.

            Bicyclists don’t want drivers hovering behind them, but at the same time riding with no margin is foolish. There is no way to know what sort of driver is coming up from behind. Far too many either through incompetence or malice will act to punt a bicyclist off the road if he rides on the edge. Nobody drives without margin and to expect a bicyclist to do it is unreasonable.

            Saying bicyclists self enforce themselves off the road isn’t really better than having the state do it. Bicycling is just the one thing I refuse to give up because of government and social pressure. It’s where I draw a non-negotiable line of my freedom.

            On pleasure vs. purpose be very careful what you wish for. The environmentalist and safety control freaks have been trying to ban pre-1980 vehicles for about 20 years now. The nannies have been trying to get rid of motorcycling. Bicycling would serve to be the way to get the camel’s nose under the tent.

            Bicyclists and motorcyclists are largely in the same camp against the cloverite nanny state. Helmet laws are the first thing to come to mind. Then the unskilled motorist apprehension of driving on the same roads with them… When one falls I suspect the other won’t be far behind.

          • How would you feel if someone suggested that motorcyclists stay off of some roads because drivers of automobiles are uncomfortable with motorcyclists being there and then cite irresponsible riding of some groups and individuals as reasoning?

            • Brent, motorcycles can keep up with traffic – any traffic, on any road. Bicycles can’t.

              That’s why.

              If a motorcyclist is dawdling along at well below the speed limit/flow of traffic and thus blocking other cars – then he’s a dick, too, If he doesn’t pull off/over and yield to the faster-moving traffic.

              There are few, if any, bicycle riders that can maintain 45 MPH road speeds, even on flat roads (let alone hilly 45 MPH roads). Thus, bicycles on such roads can’t help obstructing the flow of traffic. I know you believe cars should just pass; that drivers who don’t pass are inept. But the secondary roads in my area and other parts of the country often have little room room to spare for passing without crowding the bike, especially when the bike is moving side to side (as I see often) or there are several bikes, and there’s no (or inadequate) shoulder. Not all cyclists are disciplined/skilled like you, either. Some ride two feet to the left of the white line/edge of the road – making a pass very difficult if traffic is coming the other way, even for a skilled driver.

              The bottom line here is that speed variance is a real/legitimate traffic safety issue; any vehicle that can’t keep up with the normal flow of traffic and won’t pull off yield to allow faster-moving traffic to get by (as tractors/front-end loaders usually will do) is a problem. Some bicyclists refuse to concede that not every road is a bicycle-suitable road, even when it’s clear or ought to be clear that some roads at least are not bike-appropriate.

              In my area there’s a a winding country road with a 1,500 foot elevation gain over about 5 miles that Tour de Francer types descend on constantly during the summer. This road has no shoulders, numerous blind curves and lanes that are narrow to start with. The speed limit is 45 but the bikes can’t go much faster than 20 on most sections because of the steepness of the road. There’s no place for the bikes to pull off to the side (rock cliffs on the right, steep drop to the left) and no margin for the cars to get by without going at least partially across the double yellow into the other lane. This is a prime example of a road that is not a road for bicycles, yet the Spandex Clovers just have to use it anyhow, despite the clear hazard and hassle to everyone they are creating.

          • I’ve biked countless thousands of miles and experienced all sorts of terrain in several states and the one thing I can safely say is that it is not about keeping up. It’s primarily about discomfort of the timid drivers and bicyclists showing submission to the more aggressive ones.

            Motorcyclists do make a lot of timid drivers uncomfortable. I’m certain that motorcyclists have some degree of difficulty with motorcyclist harassment and then there are all those ‘rides’ they go on which are like parades where drivers are forced to wait for them. They usually get a permission slip from the government so that makes it okay I suppose but don’t count on four-wheelers not being upset by it. Bicyclists often get a permission slips for rides too, but that doesn’t change driver attitudes any..

            In the urban or residential environment, when I am biking the speed limit some drivers still harass me. I’m doing 25 in a 25 they’ll do 40 swing around me and slam on the brakes at the stop sign just yards ahead. The best way to send a driver into frothing road rage? Pull into the left lane and pass them.

            One road around here is a two lane, 30mph SL There’s an S curve in it. I can take it faster on my bicycle than most drivers can in their vehicles. One evening I am about to enter the curve at 25mph give or take, well past where most drivers have already slowed to 20-25mph. Audi SUV driver guns it from behind me to pass me before the curve hits.. well over the speed limit. He passes and enters the curve way to fast to be comfortable in top heavy vehicle.. Then he nails the brakes to BELOW my speed and I’m right on his bumper doing about 20mph… I say ‘GO’ no reaction.. he’s blocking me… We get through the curve and he turns off… then all of sudden he’s rocketing at me from behind… he brush passes me and then slams on the brakes to a stop and starts yelling at me about how I shouldn’t be on the road or some other typical nonsense.

            Another road.. 25mph residential. I’m doing 25mph. Driver behind me isn’t passing me because I’m doing the speed limit. Driver behind her starts laying on the horn.

            These people don’t care about speed… it’s about submission. Their attitude is that bicycles aren’t traffic and don’t belong on the road or that road.

            If your roads are crap, deal with the crap roads instead of blaming other people who use them. What are you going to do if a cement truck breaks down on one of these roads? It’s a very old ruling class trick to have people to blame each other for a government caused problem.

            Maui is a much different part of the US and it has a lot of miles of substandard roads. But I didn’t experience any bicyclist hate while I was there. People didn’t blame bicyclists for being on the road to Hana, just that the road was substandard and obsolete.

            If you have your own local ‘road to Hana’ is it wise for bicyclists to attempt it? Perhaps not… but the problem isn’t bicyclists it’s the crap roads and crap drivers. Tourists on the road to Hana are the biggest fear.

            It comes down to attitude. If someone thinks bicyclists shouldn’t be somewhere and aren’t traffic… just toys in his way… it will be a problem… that’s what makes the cement truck not a problem… it’s just attitude. Attitude looking for excuses. The problem with that is someone with a different attitude may go after something you enjoy, in the name of safety of course.

            • Isn’t it the obligation of slower-moving traffic to yield to faster-moving traffic? I’m not talking “the law” here. I’m talking civility and common sense.

              Also, the speed variance issue. If your vehicle is not capable of maintaining a speed that’s at least close to the speed of other traffic, then your vehicle is creating a hassle for others – and very likely a hazard. If it is unavoidable (as in the case of a cement truck struggling up a grade, say) then there’s still the obligation of common courtesy to other drivers to try to let them get by when it’s feasible to pull over/move off to the right. If it’s avoidable – as in the case of most of the riding-for-fun Tour de Francers out there – common courtesy/civility should prod the cyclist to avoid creating the hassle/hazardous situation in the first place.

              I know you believe that it’s the drivers’ obligation to just pass the bikes and if they can’t pass, they’re inept and we should place the blame on their ineptitude, etc. But on a road where a cyclist is incapable of keeping pace with traffic it is the cyclist that is forcing others to make passing attempts (in the same lane which leaves little margin, even when the cycle rider is riding close to the edge and inadequate margin when he’s not – which is often – or moving side-to-side – which is also a common thing) that would not otherwise be necessary. Hence it is the cyclist’s obligation – in terms of civility and common sense – to not be a dick and either not use that road, or defer to the traffic trying to get where it’s going. For a cyclist to refuse to acknowledge that he’s causing a bottleneck and then aggravate the situation by refusing to pull off/over is dickhead behavior.

              And it’s such dickheaded behavior that pits driver against cyclist – and leads to “there ought to be a law.”

              Keep in mind, also, that the whole Tour De France Spandex thing is a relatively new thing; “the law” hasn’t caught up with the problem of packs of these Tour de Francers impeding the flow of traffic on roads they have no business being on.

              If they’d self-police and either picks roads that have enough room for slow-moving cyclists and much faster moving traffic to coexist without conflict – or move over when they see a car behind them that clearly would like to get by but can’t because there’s not adequate space, there’s not enough view of oncoming traffic – whatever. Just move over instead of obnoxiously continuing on at 20 less than the traffic flow and basically giving the finger to everyone stuck behind them.

          • I ask the same question I did before. How is riding with the tires NINE INCHES from the edge line not keeping right except to pass, not yielding to faster traffic? Any more “yielding” is not being on the road.

            Speed variance? I’ve been on the autobahn with 2CVs on the same road. Keep right except to pass, passer must behave properly. I’ve asked before, what is it you expect the bicyclist to do when nine inches from the edge isn’t yielding enough of the pavement? Hit the gravel at 20-30mph and take a significant risk of falling and being hurt? Perhaps even landing on the road and being run over? Roll to a safe stop on the pavement and then dismount and carry his bike off the road?

            You keep bringing up this side to side thing. As I stated before it’s a matter of inches. The average american driver wanders in the lane more than that. See, the tires are holding a straight line. the pivot is from the contact patch. If it were more than a few inches the rider would fall or the pedal/crank would contact the pavement. If the difference between extreme left and center is the passing margin that’s way too close.

            The bicyclist riding nine inches from the edge line is not causing a bottle neck, the first driver is. I’ve ridden the same roads over and over again and usually people pass without problem but then I get one of these drivers who won’t. He just sits there two feet behind me… I can’t get the idiot to pass.. the jam up starts… I used to endanger myself and teeter on the edge of the paved surface so the moron would go by… only to have one of the drivers he trapped get pissed and try to run me off the road entirely if the moron didn’t do it himself out if inability to drive.

            I stated much earlier I am not discussing “packs”. As I stated earlier I refuse to participate in group rides because they are a rolling social event, like the motorcyclist rides where cross streets are closed off and the road they are on jammed up until the whole ‘parade’ as moved through.

            What I am arguing for is largely captured here:

            I am not going to let drivers dictate what roads I should not be on. Leave it up to some of them and 25mph residential street out front wouldn’t even be allowed. Anyway this is at an impasse, I believe I’m done finding new ways to express the same things.

        • Explain to me night vision and a plate scanner are bad things? If those help find the criminals and can help in determining is someone is not dangerous then what harm is that? Explain it to me why more safety advances are bad things for the cops and the innocent?

          • You’re 100% right! We should all live in transparent walled homes with ID cards that can be read by a scanner without being removed from our pockets. That would be awesome actually. I mean for those of us who have nothing to hide..

          • You actually need that explained to you?

            Ok it’s pretty clear you don’t have an issue being transparent to the government or having the government treat you as a prisoner, livestock, a child, or property so I’ll try a different way.

            One day you go for a drive. A police cruiser with a new fangled scanner reads your plate. Someone back in data entry has made a mistake or perhaps you have a plate of a series the programmer didn’t consider. In either case your vehicle is flagged as that of a wanted criminal or as stolen.

            Never mind the make, model, and color are all different.. the cop is just doing his job and pulls you over and you spend the next four days in jail trying to get this identity problem sorted out and once out you have to pay towing and storage on your car which was damaged in the towing process and had some major parts stolen from it while in the yard.

            It’s only until the vast numbers of people such as yourself (Clover) encounter the bad end of the state fairly regular that you’ll start reconsidering.

            It will probably take a few events because true believers always want to write off one or two events as a bad cop, a simple mistake, or some random event rather than an indication of nature of a system of power where an individual doesn’t matter.

        • BrentP, Do you want the police to go away and let criminals run, reckless drivers have their way, drunks run wild, gangs walking our streets with guns in hand ready to blow you away unless you give them everything? All this and hundreds of other things just because you say there may be a bad cop that abuses his athourity against some so called innocent victum as you call them?

          Think about it.

          • Clover, it seems you are not able to grasp that respect for such things as due process and probable cause – basic tenets of a free society – does not entail “letting criminals run wild,” as you so hysterically put it.

            Like most fear-peddling (and power-lusting) authoritarian-minded people, you trot out an endless litany of bogeymen to justify your equally endless impositions on liberty.

            America functioned quite nicely when police had to have an actual, specific reason to detain/interrogate/search an individual; when the rules by which the system operated were not stacked against the individual and in favor of the cops.

            You’ve never taken the time to consider that the defining hallmark of a police state is arbitrary authority imposed on individuals. To you, all that matters is some one-dimensional “greater good” – such as “getting dangerous drunks off the road” – just as in other totalitarian states there is always some generalized “good” used to justify the oppression of individuals. You don’t grasp that once that door is opened, once the principle of arbitrary authority is accepted – then you have set in motion a machine whose end product is always tyranny. At first, it may be just minor tyranny – and yes, some momentary “good” may be done along the way. But it does not – it cannot – stop there. You don’t believe it because (among other things) you’re clearly not very familiar with the history of nations. If you were, you’d have noticed the recurrent pattern, down through the ages. That pattern is a function of human nature – which is the same today as it was 200 or 2,000 years ago. And human nature is flawed. People make bad decisions, even evil decisions. Since government is just people (dressed up with euphemisms and pomp) government is just as flawed, just as capable of making bad – even evil – decisions. One person trying to lord it over his fellow man is bad, but the bad is magnified many times over when that person wields the power of organized force (government). This is why it is essential to limit government; to confine its actions to the specific actions of each individual. Giving it blanket authority over everyone in the name of some generalized, non-specific “cause” is an invitation to oppression. Individual acts can be defined – and consequences limited to the individual responsible. You upend this, endorsing a Jihad that will never end because that possibility (e.g., there might be a drunk driver out there… there might be a “terrorist” about to board an airplane) is open-ended, limitless. It’s got no end point. Which means, the government’s power over us has no end point.

            Unfortunately, the government schools have done their work and left you ignorant, unable to think in broad, conceptual terms – and suffused with a reflexive veneration of government as a force for good rather than an understanding of what government is – and what it always does – when not kept in check and made to respect individual human liberty.

            • Yes Eric there might be drunk drivers out there. It is estimated over a third of accidents are caused by drunk drivers. What is your plan to cut that back? Oh, you have no plan! Let them all go because it might slow you down a little. Tell me how your right to not be slowed down is more important than someone else not being able to live or be injured for life? Tell me that.

              Yes there are terrorists out there. Thousands in the world. Since you say we can not get them all let them all do what they like?

              I have the right to board a plane with a certain amount of safety. Is that more important than searching you for guns or bombs? The people say that they do not want guns or bombs on planes. What is your soluction? Oh, no solution!

              You do not want to have a safety stop because they might search your car or your person. Tell me, when was the last time you were searched or anyone that you know? Never for me. Never for anyone I know. We do not eliminate things just because you say something might happen. It is very possible you will cause a crash some day. Do we stop you from driving because there is a far greater chance of you causing an accident and killing someone than there is for someone being searched at a safety stop with no just cause.

              • Well, Clover, we could also undoubtedly reduce, say, domestic violence by giving cops authority to conduct random spot checks of homes – any home, for any reason. Just like random stop and checks on the highway.

                Oh, wait, they just approved that (probable-cause-less home invasions by cops) in Illinois…. Cloverism is spreading!

                Bottom line, you’re either incredibly naive, a fool – or simply an authoritarian. I’m not sure which and ultimately, the reasons why don’t matter. What matters is you have no problem whatever with treating everyone as though they had in fact done something when there’s no evidence at all to even suggest they might have done anything. That’s what a random roadside check is. That’s what making every person who wants to fly submit to being groped or scanned just like an incoming felony suspect is.

                You are indifferent to (no, filled with contempt toward) concepts such as probable cause and due process – without which a free society becomes a police state governed by arbitrary force.

                To you, all that matters is “getting tough” on… whatever it is. It’s not sufficient that cops look for signs/evidence that someone may have done something or be planning to (and pursue it accordingly). No, everyone must be treated as guilty until proved otherwise. That is loathsome enough all by itself. Worse, though, is your childish trust of government. Your watery-eyed conviction that if the government does it, it must be right. That whatever the government does is, in fact, right – because it’s the government doing it.

                It’s pitiful. And even more so that millions of other Clovers are out there, just like you.

                Submit. Obey. It’s all for our own good…

                • Nice Eric. You should be a politician. You answer no questions. You just come back with your made up statements and agenda. Anwser the questions.

                  • Clover, I’ve answered this already at least several times. But, once more:

                    If a cop sees a car being driven erratically then he has probable cause to investigate further. I don’t have any problem with that; indeed, I want the cops to go after anyone who seems to be having a problem controlling their car – for whatever reason. But you want cops to stop people en masse and at random, for no reason whatsoever (as far as their having given any reason to suspect they may have done something) just to “screen” or “check” for anyone who might be drunk (or whatever).

                    All you see is the the chance to get a drunk off the road; you’re blind to the utter absence of probable cause – which used to be a bedrock of American law before we morphed into a Cloverite police state.

                    What you don’t understand at all is that once you start allowing exceptions to legal protections such as the individual’s (former) right to be left in peace until he actually gave a reason to suspect he may have committed some crime, you have established the foundation of a limitless, lawless tyranny. All that’s necessary now is to point to some generic, potential “threat” – whether it’s drunk drivers or terrorists – and that justifies whatever heavy-handed tactic the government decrees “appropriate.”

                    This is how we’ve come to live in a country where six-year-old kids trying to get on a plane with their parents are having their genitals touched by government agents; a country where motorists must no submit to the same “your papers, please” random stops/inspections as we used to read about Soviet proles enduring; a country where it is now legal for the government to literally snatch you off the street without so much as charging you with a specific crime, hold you indefinitely, torture you if it wants to – merely by decided that you are a “terrorist” (just the assertion; no specific charges to back that up, let alone conviction in a court of law).

                    All because of badge-lickin’ Clovers like you.

                    • “a country where it is now legal for the government to literally snatch you off the street without so much as charging you with a specific crime, hold you indefinitely, torture you if it wants to”

                      Yeah, I would like to order this one please!

                    • Thanks for posting my image on the site Eric! Hopefully this will give me the publicity I need to finally get a woman.. -fingers crossed ‘o’/

                      Oh yeah, thanks for putting up with and even replying to my completely ignorant/borderline retarded comments and opinions!


                      Always chewy but sometimes crunchy,


          • Clover, read this and try, if you can, to see things from another perspective:

            By Chuck Baldwin

            So many of the words and warnings delivered by America’s Founding Fathers are appropriate for today. Consider this sage counsel from America’s first and greatest President, George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” I was reminded of these words when I read the following report out of the State of Indiana.

            “Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court [ISC] ruled Thursday [May 12, 2011] that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

            “In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer’s entry.”

            Justice Robert Rucker and Justice Brent Dickson dissented from the ruling, saying the court’s decision violates the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

            “In my view the majority sweeps with far too broad a brush by essentially telling Indiana citizens that government agents may now enter their homes illegally-that is, without the necessity of a warrant, consent or exigent circumstances,” Rucker said.

            The NW Indiana Times also reported, “This is the second major Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week involving police entry into a home.

            “On Tuesday, the court said police serving a warrant may enter a home without knocking if officers decide circumstances justify it. Prior to that ruling, police serving a warrant would have to obtain a judge’s permission to enter without knocking.”

            Shortly after the ISC decision, Newton County Sheriff Donald Hartman, Sr. said he believes the ruling makes house-to-house searches possible. According to a report at, Sheriff Hartman “made it clear that he would use random house to house searches if he believed it was necessary.”

            The report also correctly notes that it was years of illegal searches and seizures and seizures of the American colonists (along with the attempt to seize the colonists’ firearms) that led our forebears to resist the British government with force on April 19, 1775, at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge which ignited America’s War for Independence.

            It may be helpful at this point to rehearse the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

            With this ruling, the ISC effectively told the citizens of the State of Indiana that the Fourth Amendment is null and void in their State. And Sheriff Donald Hartman has effectively said that he will treat the citizens of Newton County in much the same way that King George treated America’s colonists–or the way Stalin’s or Mao’s police treated the enslaved subjects of the former Soviet Union and Communist China.

            And what is also disturbing is the way government, at every level, seems unwilling to police itself.

            The reason the US Constitution limited the jurisdiction and authority of the federal government and left states with their own jurisdiction and (broader) authority was to serve as a check and balance against the tyrannical tendencies of the central government. Today, however, acts of tyranny seem to be taking place as frequently on the State and local levels as it is at the federal level. This story out of the Hoosier State is only the latest example.

            Does anyone find it more than interesting (and even paradoxical) that while the US military is being used more and more as international policemen, local and State law enforcement personnel are often being used more and more like military troops (and taking on the appearance, procedures, and tactics of military troops)?

            Traditionally, it was never the role of local and State law enforcement personnel to act like soldiers. Police officers have no “enemy” to seek out and destroy. Their job is to protect, not punish. The citizens of their State, county, or city are not the enemy.

            I recently had a well-meaning police lieutenant tell me that his primary concern was that his officers were protected. That is all well and good, and I certainly understand his concern for his officers. However, when a man or woman puts on the uniform of a police officer (or sheriff’s deputy), he or she is saying that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to make sure that the citizens of their community stay protected. The “us versus them” attitude of many police officers today is very harmful to the principles of freedom and liberty.

            In the above-mentioned story, it was the judiciary branch of the Indiana State government that was unwilling to hold the executive branch of the Indiana State government accountable to the principles of liberty and constitutional government. Once again, we see that government cannot be trusted to police itself.

            If the State of Indiana had constitutionalist sheriffs (and surely there must be a few of them), they would have immediately renounced the ISC decision, and made it clear that they would never allow their deputies to operate in the tyrannical manner approved by the court’s dastardly decision. The same should have been true for Indiana’s police chiefs. Was there such a response? If there was, the media ignored it.

            Furthermore, Indiana’s governor should have immediately renounced the ISC’s decision and issued an executive order forbidding State and local law enforcement personnel from complying with this unconstitutional decision. Again, if he did this, we didn’t hear about it, did we?

            The propensity of government is not only to build and strengthen itself, but also to protect itself. This is true at every level of government. It is up to “We the People” to hold our civil magistrates accountable to constitutional government. And this is most efficiently done at the State level.

            The citizens of Indiana can put a stop to this nonsense if they are of a mind to do so. They should rise as one in opposition to the court’s opinion; they should rise as one in demanding the resignations of the three justices who affirmed this draconian decision; they should rise as one in demanding the resignation of Newton County Sheriff Donald Hartman (and any other sheriff who expressed similar views); they should rise as one in demanding that the Indiana governor publicly repudiate this opinion and that he sign an EO countering it; and they should rise as one in making sure that every elected official in Indiana knows that the people of the Hoosier State will not sit back and allow their liberties to be trampled on in such an egregious fashion.

            As I have said in past columns, liberty will be won or lost at the State level. All this talk about “saving America” is just that: talk. If we are serious about protecting and preserving our liberties, we will work to ensure that our individual State is the vanguard of freedom–not the instrument of its demise. If we cannot convince our State and local governments to protect our liberties, we are dreaming if we think we are going to convince Washington, D.C., to do the same.

            The decision of the Indiana Supreme Court and the public statements of Sheriff Donald Hartman prove that George Washington was spot-on: government is a “fearful master.”

            Freedom-loving Hoosiers need to stand up NOW!

            • Funny how that whole article went on and on and said nothing about what the court ruling was over. How the hell could that happen? The court ruling was over a domestic violence situation. The police feared that the husband or boyfriend was putting the lady in danger. The police were called to the location because there was a major disterbance witnessed outside. The man then pulled the woman into the house. When the police went to the door the man shouted out that they were not needed. Are police to wait for a day or two for someone to come out of the house to talk to them or him if that is all that is left? When the policeman entered the house fearing for the well being of the lady the man attacked the policeman. What do you think he was doing to the lady?

              You can tell that someone is trying to hide something when they leave out important facts.

              • Clover, are you this dim? Really? I try hard not to make such comments, but in your case it’s a necessary description. The facts of the case are not the issue – the binding legal ruling that applies to future police conduct is. The court ruled that cops can legally enter any home, for any reason – and the homeowner has no legal right to refuse/resist. In other words, probable cause is no longer a legal requirement in IL. The court has granted what amounts to carte blanche to cops to decide for themselves whether there’s a “reason” to force entry into someone’s home. That “reason” amounts to the cop’s personal whim as distinct from some objective probable cause of the sort that in former times would have been necessary to secure a warrant or stand up in court as the basis for a search.

                It is a grant of enormous, arbitrary authority to cops. And you love it, because you think cops are never corrupt, never abuse their authority but rather are always Doing Right and protecting us from evildoers. To you, if a homeowner home watching TV one night hears a knock at his door and sees a cop on his doorstep and doesn’t want to answer/talk to the cop why, he must have something to hide! Just like the motorist who doesn’t want to have his travel interrupted and be interrogated for no reason must be hiding something if he makes a U-turn to avoid a “safety checkpoint.” Or the traveler who objects to having his or her crotch touched by a TSA cretin in order to board an airplane.

                Why would anyone object to being arbitrarily and randomly stopped or questioned or searched by a cop? The cop is just trying to catch criminals! To protect us!

                In a word, any person who objects to random, probable-cause-free searches/stops is by definition suspect in your Cloverite mind. Human dignity means nothing to you. Probable cause? Can’t have that. Criminals might escape! To you, it’s better to “catch” everyone and establish innocence after the fact.

                The (former) right to be left in peace to go about your business unless you – specifically you – have given some reason for the cops to suspect you may have committed or be about to commit a crime – out the window.

                Yours is the mindset of tyranny. It makes me physically sick.

          • Clover, I am going to share you the lesson I had learned by the fifth grade. It is a simple lesson. The institutions of government will not protect you. Worse than that, they will often see you, the victim of aggression as the problem.

            The reason we have relative order is because the great bulk of people want it that way. If 10% (probably way less) of the population were to decide to go wild tomorrow morning there is nothing that the government could do about it short of carpet bombing or nuking cities to stop it.

            My problems while bicycling I blame on the mis-education from the government and underlying anger of constructs of political rule. Bicyclists and motorists actually get along pretty well without the interferences of the state making our lives needlessly frustrating and designing sub-par roadways.

            As to all the bogeymen you mention I will tell you the same thing I tell all those bent towards authoritarianism: There is NOTHING stopping them right now. Nothing stops people but themselves. That is why the state seeks to institutionalize us at an early age, it needs to create an illusion that it is required for civilization when it is really a de-civilizing force.

            • Clover is on the other side of the fence; he’s a convinced statist. There can be no reconciliation with his kind. Ultimately, either the Cloverite worldview or our worldview will prevail. You either respect individual rights – and base your morality on individual rights – or you (like Clover) don’t and think only in terms of the group, with government (and those who control it and work for it) the embodiment of the vox populi.

              It is a division of human thought as old as humanity; certainly as old as organized society. It was the line of demarcation that set colonial against Tory; North vs. South a generation later…

              And the time is fast approaching for another decisive conflict between Us and Them (the Clovers).

              Maybe this time, we’ll win.

  10. In DC they are busily converting roads from 2 lanes, to one lane and a bike fairy lane. WTF??? I pay for the roads, both with gas taxes and overpriced car registration. So, I think it is time to push for some new legislation (did I just say that??) Time for bikes to have paid road license and display a little license plate, and it should have to be lit up at night, just like my cars. I think a fee about one quarter of auto registration (annually of course)would be about right. Then I think that offissa Not So Friendly could spend a little time extracting some revenue from them until they start to obey the very same rules of the road that they claim ownership of. Oh yeah,mandatory helmets too. And required use of some form of turn signal….Bike Fairies want to play with the big kids on the roads, they should expect some of the same level of regulation that the rest of us have to face.

    • As a bicyclist and motorist I hate bike lanes and bike paths anywhere there are intersections. The solution to this problem is wide curb lanes, they give enough legal roadway space, drivers too inattentive and unskilled to pass a bicyclist in a normal width lane can get by, and no conflicts at intersections. The thing is that nobody is looking for technical, an engineering solution. They want a political one and that means victory by forcing the other into submission.

      Bicycling is such a interesting topic of transportation and politics for me because it shows that many people, even those that consider themselves libertarians are more than willing to use the state against those they don’t like and that “speed kills” freaks are ultimately nothing more than control freaks who think everyone should be like them.

      For drivers mandatory insurance, registration, and other tracking and corporatist policies are a scam. Yet, all that libertarianism goes out the window when suddenly it is discovered that these statist costs and burdens could be put on to bicyclists to discourage the use of bicycles.

      Insurance to cover bicycling? Registration and road taxes? Mandatory helmet laws? When I read this, I hear nothing but a love of the state. A love of being able to use the state’s monopoly on legal violence to shape society, to tell others how to live. All libertarian aims of individualism and getting along are tossed out the window in an instant. Which is ultimately why libertarian society is unachievable. It all goes “tea party” in a hurry. Classic liberal freedom and liberty one minute, totalitarian control freak the next.

      When people think that “fair” is spreading the statist theft and control, guess who wins? Not you the motorist against the bicyclists… not group A over group B. The state wins. The state always wins these contests. It walks away with more money and more power each time.

      On registration… I once calculated for the state I lived in what a fair registration fee for my bicycles would be compared to my cars. I believed I used vehicle weight and/or horsepower as such fees are commonly decided upon. It came out to be a few cents each, less than a stamp.

      Besides bringing out the hidden statist in many libertarians the speed kills clovers amongst us suddenly turn into people who have to get somewhere. And they just don’t want bicyclists to keep right except to pass, they want bicyclists removed from the roadway. (I use the Illinois legal definition of the term roadway, which is the road from white edge line to white edge line)

      As to playing “with the big kids”, in 1997 I became a full time vehicular bicyclist. I use the roads, I signal every move. I do everything to the letter of the vehicle code including taking my spot in the queues at lights and stop signs. The result? I went from having daily near misses with nobody angry at me for using sidewalks, shoulders, darting through red signals when clear, etc and so forth to having drivers going out of their way to be hostile towards me. Including drivers going out of their way to be hostile towards me, where I wasn’t in their way until they decided to change lanes for no practical reason or to drive on the wrong side of the road. This “obey the law” thing motorists trot out has nothing to do with obeying the vehicle code in my experience. It’s about power over others. It’s about bullying.

      Turn signals? My favorite was when I was signaling a left turn and this driver brush passes me on my left just as I started to turn. I yell at him asking if he knows what a left turn signal means, he replies that I ‘just stuck’ my arm out. I’ve had to learn to POINT with the hand signals because drivers don’t understand the hand turn signals. Lights? I have a bright halogen head lamp (bright enough that people who are paying attention thought a silent motorcycle or one eyed car was coming towards them). I also have multiple tail lamps. Many of those poor drivers out there simply are lucky to see anything smaller than Ford Taurus.

      I’ve addressed more of this in a pending U-rant post.

      • AMEN! Completely agree.

        Using registration as a method of reducing bicycle use is not a Libertarian method as plain good sense should tell you.

        It costs more to register, and title a bicycle than it takes in. Of course, when bicyclists get some BENEFIT from it bicyclists will be clamoring to be registered, titled, and taxed. Fat chance of that happening soon.

        Lets require a pedestrian helmet and registration, so that pedestrians can go about their business on the public streetz!

      • Well, in some aspects you are correct. Ina perfect world, I wish no Government on anyone. The reality is however, in DC, where I live, roads financed entirely by road use taxes levied on Cars and Trucks, are having lanes reduced causing an already unbearable traffic situation to just get worse. This AM, I waited through 3 LOOOONG cycles of a light, sitting in the one car lane that remains. Before, it was 2 lanes of traffic, and parking forbidden at a decent distance to the cross street. Left turners didn’t clog the intersection for everyone else, and traffic flowed well. Now, there is one slightly wider lane, and a bike lane. So all traffic is confined to the single lane to accomodadte Bike Fairies that were not even there. This is happening all over the fricken city. Meanwhile I have to make the adoidence manuver to miss the asshat bike fairy, running the red light (illegal according to the rules of the road)Chatting merrily away on his smell phone (also illegal to talk on smell phone while driving in DC) totally oblivious to the car with headlights on with the green light!!! I see very very few bike faries that even attempt to observe the rules of the road that constrain the rest of the road users. Splitting lanes, running lights, whatever. I sometimes commute through Rock Creek Park. Nice drive, fairly low speed limit, one lane in each direction. Oh, did I mention there IS an existing bike path that parellels it?? Most cyclists ride well to the right, single file and so on. Cars pass, life goes on. But then there are the spandex covered bike fairies riding 2 or 3 abrest, on a twisty road with very poor sightlines… I think that it is not unreasonable to expect the cyclists to observe the same rules of the road that the rest of us have to. And since my city government is giving them equal sataus on the already overcrowded streets, it is only fair that they share some of the costs.(I realize that some do as car owners as well, but in this city at least, some don’t) If you want equality, then be all the way equal.

        • In my experience the way to tick off most drivers who use terms such as “bike fairy” is to follow the rules of the road to the letter. I’ve had drivers resort to violence because I took my place in the queue at the light. Because I passed them on the left when they drove too slow, because I dared hold on to the rightmost 18 inches of the roadway, and so on. I’ve seen people on bicycles, POBs, run red lights and worse and the same drivers who found my vehicular riding objectionable very accepting of a red light running, wrong way sidewalk rider. I’ve had cops object to my safe and legal riding and demand I ride illegally and/or unsafely.

          Two and three abreast: please check your state’s vehicle code. Illinois vehicle code actually allows two abreast riding last I read it. Not that I would do that, but one of the things that hostile drivers have shown me is that they have their own made up vehicle code they think I should be following rather than the one written into the law. This goes for cops as well.

          As to laws and regulations. Demanding them on to bicyclists or thinking of bicyclists as a monolithic political group is exactly what government wants. Government is the winner of these political conflicts no matter which group gets their favor in any particular battle.

          I don’t want bike lanes. I don’t want glorified sidewalks either. Wide curb lanes would be nice but aren’t a requirement IMO. Why should I be subject to further government intrusion into my life because those like yourself want “revenge” for losing a political battle to groups I don’t even care for?

          The government wants people in groups that battle each other politically because it blinds people to what the government is doing and ultimately increases the power of government.

          • Just speaking for myself here…

            Bicycles in urban/city-type (and some suburban) situations where it’s mostly stop and go or the traffic doesn’t generally run faster than 30 MPH integrate very smoothly with vehicular (motorized) traffic. The riders can – usually – do whatever the cars can do, so there are no issues with a bike creating a rolling roadblock, for instance. I can’t understand anyone who has a problem with sharing the road in such cases, provided both the cyclists and the drivers obey the same rules of etiquette and common sense, such as not blowing through lights and stop signs, using signals, not crowding/tailgating, etc.

            As road speeds get higher – or the road becomes more rural, with inadequate or nonexistent shoulders – then cyclists begin to become a hazard, especially when they’re riding in packs or there are a lot of them out at the same time. It’s annoying, for example, to be on a road with a 45 MPH or faster limit (and most people running 50-ish or more) and roll up behind a bike struggling to maintain 20 (or even 10, if it’s on a hill). A good driver should be able to pass without difficulty except that bikes are often not predictable. As the rider pumps his legs, the bike sometimes goes left-right, left-right. It’s not like a motorcycle that’s more stable due to the fact that it’s powered by an engine, not a human. I’ve had bikes suddenly shift toward the inside of the lane just as I’m abreast and trying to pass; it’s unnerving. If the road is narrow and another car is coming the opposite way, there are no good choices. Swerve to the right to avoid an oncoming collision with the other car – and possible strike the cyclist. Or swerve left and pray the other car will swerve to his right enough to avoid hitting you. A Clover would say just be patient and don’t risk the potentially unsafe pass. But why should a driver on a road with a speed limit of say 45 mph have to defer to a cyclist – very likely out for just exercise or personal enjoyment – who is doing 10 or 20 mph? How is this any different from justifying left-lane-hogging Cloverism?

            I’ve ridden bicycles and my sense of things was that unless I could keep up with traffic, it was my obligation to defer to traffic. Does that seem reasonable or am I off my gourd on this deal?

          • I covered groups of people blocking the road already, I don’t like it, and more than two abreast is usually not legal anyway. I don’t go on group rides or centuries or anything of the sort because I don’t like the clumping. You think it’s aggravating in car… try passing a slow clump with a bicycle.. scrub off speed then hard acceleration to pass.. then repeat for the next clump… for at least 25 of your 75-100mile ride. From here on I am discussing single riders.

            The left-right motion you complain about is from two things. The first is due to a rider attempting to hug the edge of pavement. This makes dodging road hazards much more frequent and requires moving left around each one because there is space to go right. The rider is trying to stay out of the way which is less safe than just riding in the proper location to the left. The second from hard pumping is a matter of inches. If a driver properly gave three feet, even if it was from the bicycle rider’s rightmost location the rider is at the very worst going to reduce that to about two and half feet. The lateral movements of bicyclists are much smaller than those of motorists. Sure perhaps there is an occasional error, but a three foot spacing makes all but a vanishing few nothing more than a close call.

   ridden bicycles and my sense of things was that unless I could keep up with traffic, it was my obligation to defer to traffic. Does that seem reasonable or am I off my gourd on this deal?

            Bicycles _ARE_ traffic. It’s a philosophical difference in thinking. When a bicycle is thought of as a toy instead of a vehicle with more limited performance then aggravation sits in. I bike many of the same roads I drive. On the slower ones I often drive them at the same speeds I bike. When I bike there are drivers who will take considerable risks to pass and some get angry that I am there. I will drive the same speed and I don’t get so much as tailgated. When I think of what these drivers have said to me, the angry ones see bicycles as toys that don’t belong on the road.

            Another factor that leads me to this conclusion is that I used to ride in what I call ‘stay out of the way of cars’ mode. The problem is that mode is that it is more likely to result in a collision because to stay out of the way involves operating outside the roadway where people do not expect vehicles to be. Sidewalk (including sidewalks called bike paths) riding at 10-30mph results in near misses with drivers who are not paying very close attention. Not once has one of those drivers gotten angry with me. Riding on the road with no other traffic in visual range and I can very well encounter a driver that’s angry because I’m there. Why? Toys don’t belong on the road is where they are coming from.

            There is nothing special about higher speed roads. I have ridden and driven many shoulderless two lane roads in my life and I simply don’t have all these problem passing bicyclists. Part of my advantage I suppose is that I have biked most of the roads I encounter bicyclists on. I know the pavement, I know the conditions from their POV. For the other roads I can guess it pretty close. I view and treat bicyclists as traffic so long as they play by the rules of traffic, and that’s why I probably don’t have trouble even on 45-55mph two lane roads… I simply pass them and going on with my day.

            Now gutter passers… they tick me off.

      • Thanks, Brent. It’s heartening to see a pricipled libertarian take these shallow “freedom for me, but not for thee” libertines to task.

        Also, this notion that gas taxes pay for the highways is utter crap. Road spending is only 51% funded by gas taxes and tolls – roads get $600 billion from property and other general taxes that all road users pay.

  11. I found myself in the midst of a Critical Mess ride a few years ago, simply gassed the Honda (CB400), and left them to it.

    Bicyclists invented paved roads, not car drivers (You could look it up).

    I will admit that Critical Mass is a deliberate pain in the backside if you’ll admit they OFTEN have cause. When did you last see a story about a bicycle rider causing a motorist to be injured/killed, by riding too slow?

    And downtown, traffic is already congested, More Bicycles Fewer Cars, ought to be appreciated for the lack of congestion it brings to narrow city streets.

    • I don’t think we disagree; I was trying to make a reasonable argument that bikes and cars can coexist. But I’m ready to debate anyone who thinks it’s reasonable for a bike to ride on a road with a speed limit/traffic flow significantly faster than a bike can maintain (including hills) where passing is dangerous to all concerned because of drop-offs/no shoulder, etc.

      And let’s face it: Those Tour de France Spandex get-ups are just gay.

      • I agree that biking is dangerous on hills. When you have cars passing other vehicles on hills, the bike riders have no chance when the car flys over the hill at them.

        • Some roads are not safe for bicycles.
          (small/no shoulder, limited sight lines, pot holes, debris, high amounts of traffic)

          When I ride on the road, I try to keep to the right and clearly signal my intentions to those behind me.

          When I go longer distances I try to plan my route so I travel where it is safer for me.
          Pink Floyd had this bit of wisdom for riding on the road.

          Get out of the road if you want to grow old. — Pink Floyd (Sheep)

      • Cars shouldn’t be passing on hills anyway, that is defensive driving 101. And a high speed limit shouldn’t be the determining factor for where bikes should be. I live close to a Federal Parkway that has a speed limit of 50mph. It is a PARKway with no shoulder and lots of signs designating it is a bike route. In this case, the road is for recreation, not commerce. So actually, a car trying to use it as a shortcut to work is in the wrong.

        • Passing or not passing should IMO be done only if you can see far enough ahead to safely make your pass.

          I have driven some cars that I would never be able to safely pass in most cases.

          If you are referring about the Natchez Trace Parkway, then motorists should give enough room to any bicyclists that are sharing the road with them. (Actually they should give enough room on any road.)

          In general, a bicyclist would be safer if they traveled on roads with less traffic and adequate shoulders.
          When there are no shoulders available bicyclists and motorists need to be considerate to each other. Bicyclists should stay to the side of the road and be predictable in their riding. Motorists should drive as if the bicyclist is an idiot and give room when they pass/drive around them.

  12. yea, nailed it as usual. I have learned to hate bicyclists on the road, and I ride myself casually about 3 times a week. But when I ride I go to a park or special paths or in a residential neighborhood. In my area those spandex goof balls like to ride several abreast on rural roads with 55 MPH speed limits and no place to pass and no shoulder for them to move to (not that they would anyway). I seriously do not understand someone who would want to risk their lives on the judgement of the idiots they give drivers licenses to nowadays?

    Not far from me a “local activist” was able to convince the county to reduce a 4 lane major surface street to one lane each way with a little used left turn in the middle plus two bicycle lanes on the side. He sold it as a “green” idea, which the ‘tards that occupy govt. positions are always mesmerized by. He’s the only one in the area that cares about riding a bike on that street, so once every couple of week he gets to saunter by on his bike while the people that actually have to go somewhere fight the traffic jam caused by the reduction in lanes. Local businesses are livid but who cares about them? It’s more important to open the street to alternative transpertation that will never be used.

    Of course with our current govt policy and the price of gas going so high we may all be reduced to pedalling to work someday.

    • Thanks! Your point about not wanting to ride amongst the Clovers is one I amen, big-time. The Spandex Legions are so determined to make their point that they’re willing to risk being killed to make it. Not me; no thanks!


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