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Lifestyle column: ‘Those arrogant bikers,’ and why I’m one too

Posted by on December 4th, 2013 at 10:23 am

lifestyle columnist Catherine Hastie
Lifestyle columnist Cathy Hastie.

Cathy Hastie is BikePortland’s lifestyle columnist … even when she says things we wouldn’t all agree with.

Some people say that bikers are an arrogant group. I am the first to admit that I am a card-carrying member. Portland has its coffee snobs and its beer snobs, and me — I’m a transportation snob.

I ride my bike past rows of motionless overheating cars with my nose in the air, flaunting my obviously better commuting choice. I crow to my officemates about how little I spend on gas and how I never pay for parking. My ego precedes me as I fill the elevator at the office with my bulky two-wheeler. I take advantage of the ambiguity bicycles are afforded in respect to sidewalks, driveways, streets and bike lanes. If I can ride on it safely, I will.

I am also the first to recognize how lucky I am. I have a well-paying job that allows me to live close to work. I am able-bodied. I live in a city that can afford to build amenities to make biking safe and pleasant. It is a privilege not to drive.

But, alas, there are some ignominious people who have forgotten this. Their self-absorbed, self-righteous behavior makes me look like a junior member of the Arrogance League. They weave through downtown traffic, handless and shirtless. They hover jerkily in clumsy track stands, inches from geriatric pedestrians in crosswalks. Their impatient posture appears to sneer, “What’s wrong with you? Pick up that walker and get a move on so I don’t have to put my foot down.” They are rudest of all to other bikers, passing on the right and cutting in front of the line at four-way stops. They thumb their noses at moderation, common courtesy and traffic signals.

This is a special class of bicycle rider. Arrogance imbues the way they ignore the flashing yield light on the tail end of TriMet buses; buses that each carry 40 workers to their jobs. Add it up: there is no way that a single bike rider’s time is more valuable, even if he were a lawyer. Some squeeze through the small gap next to the hulking behemoths, testing fate and stretching their luck — because they can.

“Perhaps they think that, because they are saving the environment at lightning speed, the world owes them the sweet spot on the road and the head start at every intersection, ahead of all ‘competitors.’”

Perhaps they think that, because they are saving the environment at lightning speed, the world owes them the sweet spot on the road and the head start at every intersection, ahead of all “competitors.” Occasionally, an especially egregious hedonist can be heard yelling livid profanities at drivers, seeming to enjoy himself in the process. Erratic, frequently unlawful behavior on the road looks almost as if it is meant to startle and piss-off drivers. Is it a game? Is it a challenge?

Arrogance even permeates cycling fashion. Expensive bike gear and “members only” attire boasts, “I am an athlete doing some serious training here! Don’t get in my way!” People blow thousands on equipment as if to say, “Who cares about starving children in Africa? I need to shave 12 seconds off my time.”

I must say, though, that the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet. He is announcing to the world that he is too skilled to allow himself to be hit by a car. Obviously, when a semi-truck overturns in the adjacent lane, or a chain reaction fender-bender causes the car behind him to suddenly lunge forward, he will sprout wings and fly. Helmetless people are among those seen “flying” through red lights too…

Arrogance is a sense of superiority and self-importance. Some people who ride demonstrate their arrogance by making life miserable for the rest of us. But even mild-mannered, middle-aged pacifists like me are pretentious bigheads when it comes to riding our bikes. My transportation choice IS healthier, quieter, smaller, cleaner, funner – better! Arrogance is knowing that, without a doubt, my way is the best way. And sometimes, I am right.

Editor’s note: This is Cathy’s perspective and, after much discussion, we’re publishing it because she’s a smart, thoughtful member of the community and it reflects what she (and we assume lots of other people) think.

Update 11:30 pm: Cathy has responded in the comments to some of her critics.

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Comments
  • Blake December 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

    “the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet.” = “Other people get killed in crashes (caused by cars or bumps in the road), not me.” (this is the attitude of teenagers, not normal adults)

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    • jeff December 4, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Most folks simply dont’ realize how little it takes to send you flying to the pavement and how it’s often not a decision, but a gear failure, a terrain feature you don’t plan for or see, etc.

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      • Blake December 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm

        Yup, happened to me 6 years ago, was wearing helmet. 2 nights in the hospital and a huge appreciation for what a helmet does to save your ass (head) you when least expect to need it.

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        • Chainwhipped December 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm

          Yup . . . unless it doesn’t. We all know way too many dead cyclists who were wearing helmets when they died. Turn on your lights, ride on the right side of the road, stay the hell off the sidewalk, and live longer.

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  • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Bikes are the new skateboards…

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  • Chris I December 4, 2013 at 10:39 am

    This is comment bait.

    Damn. You got me.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Ha! But seriously, since conversation is part of the whole point of BikePortland, I wouldn’t call this bait. I’d call it a meal (or hopefully an appetizer).

      In my opinion, this site is (among other things) a place for people to share what they think about bikes, and read what other people think about them. Neither Jonathan or I would have written this column, but that’s the whole point of having Cathy on the team. We didn’t publish this to provoke. We did it because these ideas are worth talking about.

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      • Adam H. December 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

        I disagree that these are worth talking about. This article is just repeating all the stereotypes that people who ride bikes are frequently labeled with by mainstream media. This article does nothing to further progress towards safer ways to ride a bike, nor will encourage productive discussion. I’d expect better from this site.

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        • JRB December 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm

          I have a hard time understanding all the offense taken at the article, which I think was written by the author with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. I read the article as an attempt to amuse by poking a little fun at the stereotypes of the arrogant cyclist that we all likely perpetuate to some degree. Does everything on BikePortland have to have some higher purpose than humor?

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          • Bill Walters December 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

            Clues toward humor are scant in the article. One such clue is often self-deprecation, however sly — but the opposite seems to dominate in this piece.

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            • jd December 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

              another such clue is that the article is actually amusing

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm

          Adam, I appreciate and respect your perspective (and those of the many folks here who agree) but disagree that these ideas aren’t worth sharing. Here’s why I think that: As she’s stated in earlier columns, Cathy is a bike-lover who’s barely driven a car to work in decades and regularly gets around with a bicycle. She’s also (if you happen to meet her) a disarmingly honest and upbeat person, curious about ideas different from her own and unusually self-aware. And until she wrote this piece and we talked about it, I don’t think Cathy had thought deeply about most of these issues from your perspective or from mine.

          If Cathy doesn’t already agree with you or I, who will?

          I don’t think the problem is that Cathy is dumb or unobservant, because I know she’s not. I think the problem is that your perspectives and mine are, unfortunately, held by a pretty small minority of people in the United States. Without forthright discussion of this and efforts to understand the perspectives and causes of this, it will never, ever change.

          The point here isn’t to change Cathy’s mind personally; she can and should continue to say what she thinks (and if she’s comfortable weighing in here in the comments, I hope she will). And Cathy’s enjoyment of bikes doesn’t mean that anyone’s wrong to disagree with a bunch of the things she says (and obviously I and Jonathan and lots of people here do disagree with a bunch of things she says). Similarly, our own enjoyment of bikes doesn’t mean that we’re right. What it means is that there’s a huge gulf of misunderstanding and poor communication that, in my opinion, isn’t improved if we were to create a sort of internet terrarium where differences of opinion on these things don’t exist.

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          • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm

            What it means is that there’s a huge gulf of misunderstanding and poor communication that, in my opinion, isn’t improved if we were to create a sort of internet terrarium where differences of opinion on these things don’t exist.

            I agree with that. This is part of why I am so disappointed with this article. I don’t see that it is successful in improving the “poor communication” just because it raises the issues. I am completely at a loss to why you (et. al.) think repeatedly telling various types of cyclists and all cyclists in general that we are a bunch of arrogant jerks and every deviation of our riding behavior, our gear, and our opinion from Cathy’s own moderate ideal is a sign of our selfishness and arrogance is could possibly lead to any improvement in communication.

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            • JRB December 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm

              Paul in the ‘couve:

              “telling various types of cyclists and all cyclists in general that we are a bunch of arrogant jerks and every deviation of our riding behavior, our gear, and our opinion from Cathy’s own moderate ideal is a sign of our selfishness and arrogance is could possibly lead to any improvement in communication.”

              Paul, maybe I am just being thick, but I don’t think Cathy’s criticisms were in earnest. I think she was just pointing out the grain of truth that lies at the base of the stereotype of the arrogant cyclist. I can’t speak for everybody, but I have to admit, while I try to keep in it check, to a little bit of smugness about the moral superiority of my chosen mode of travel. Again, while I try to contain such base impulses, I have also not been above judging other cyclists as being arrogant or rude because they ride differently than me.

              I think Cathy would agree with most of us that the stereotype is way overblown, particularly in mainstream media, but she is also, not so subtly pointing out many of us exhibit arrogance to some degree on some occasions and are also not above finding it in others. I read the piece as a humorous attempt to inspire reflection on our own motivations and behavior while at the same time pointing out the ridiculousness of the stereotype used by bike haters to justify their vitriol.

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          • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

            IDK if she hasn’t thought about them before. Let’s look at her last few columns… in her tallying the numbers column, she digs on people wearing lycra twice, the second time she really lays into them. is she kidding every time? how many more times before i’m allowed to take offense? in this same column, she posts two pictures of individuals. the one she calls smartly dressed is not wearing a helmet, the dude she is calling out as being a “pro-biker wannabe” is… so now i’m confused… who’s arrogant here?

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          • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

            In full sarcasm mode, gosh, has BikePortland finally come around to agree with Amanda Fritz that bicyclists need to police themselves?

            Seriously, every point Hastie made has been covered and hashed out many times over many years on BikePortland. The easy, obvious issues already have widespread concensus (and, in some cases, well argued dissent) and the divisive issues have legitimate arguments on more than one side. Just what is Hastie adding to the dialogue that’s going to in any way enlighten those discussions or otherwise lead to peace and harmony on the streets of Portland?

            I certainly understand why you and Jonathan hesitated to post that piece. What I don’t understand is why you overrode your hesitations.

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        • wsbob December 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

          “…This article is just repeating all the stereotypes that people who ride bikes are frequently labeled with by mainstream media. …” Adam H

          Negatively stereotyping, in general…people that drive, seems to be one of the favorite practices of many people posting comments to bikeportland stories. When the tables are turned, in the form of a bikeportland lifestyle column, criticizing ways some people bike, the stereotyping doesn’t seem to be received so well. In other words: ‘they can dish it out, but they can’t take it’.

          It’s very common in comments to bikeportland stories, for people to effectively deny that anyone riding a bike can do anything wrong…or if they do concede that ‘yes, sometimes cyclists do things wrong.’…it’s somehow justified by the actions of people driving, the people it would seem they generally deplore.

          There’s lots wrong with the way many people ride as they use the roads, in Portland and elsewhere. People that aren’t prepared to be more actively self-critical of their riding practices, in positive ways, with the objective of improving them so as to be safer, more effective road users, are not helping to promote significant increases in biking as practical transportation.

          Cathy Hastie’s lifestyle column is interesting to me. The writing style is kind of quaint, humorous. Plenty of good, constructive points made in it for people not trying their best to misconstrue it as invasion into a bikeportland they seem to think should be their personal, protected womb.

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          • Scott December 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

            ” Plenty of good, constructive points made in it…” – wsbob

            Can you elaborate on which points you think are good and constructive to an active transportation conversation that is the basis for this blog?

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      • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

        If I was served this as a meal, I would ask for a refund, and demand to speak with the Chef.

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      • Justin December 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

        Perhaps a meal of salt or red pepper flakes.

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      • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

        Sorry – this article is a very clear low point in the BikePortland continuum. Props for working hard, taking chances and trying. Keep up the good work, but please – don’t publish more of this. In fact, just pull this article before the world outside of the BP multi-time-a-day readers notice it.

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        • Todd Hudson December 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          I can’t wait for BikeSnobNYC’s take on this “lifestyle piece”!

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          • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

            see below down thread… I think we’ll be seeing this one brought up frequently for the next few months…

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            • Todd Hudson December 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

              Awesome. This article was the equivalent of saying his name five times.

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    • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Why not have a WebTrends style blog post asking:
      “Should CARS have to pay road tax?”

      Think of all the O traffic that would be funneled here! A page view is a page view. If we got all the angry O commenters here the post comment count could top 1,000!

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      • Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        For the record, BikePortland doesn’t sell ads based on pageviews and it’s not our agenda to inflate them at the expense of actual interestingness or quality. Traffic is sometimes an indicator of quality, but not always, and it’s not the way we work as a business or as a media outlet.

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        • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

          Thank you for your reply.
          I accept what you say as true.

          In the absence of that disclaimer this type of article specifically written to inflame opinions and readers would seem to be tailor made to increase advertising revenue; it could reasonably be argued that this sort of article serves no other purpose.

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  • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

    This is exactly the kind of articles we do not need about cycling.
    I mean really, I am sorry you published it…

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    • wsbob December 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

      And what exactly, about it do you object? It appears Ms Hastie put a fair bit of thought into writing her guest article. The least bikeportland readers should be able to expect from people commenting in response to it, are thoughtful, constructive answers with some substance to them, rather than a simple pc remark.

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      • Scott December 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

        “It appears Ms Hastie put a fair bit of thought into writing her guest article.” – wsbob

        I disagree completely. This is a diatribe. Something spewed forth. Thought is not included. Only emotion based on her perception of her own superiority is used to caste shame and fault at those she finds different or other.

        Absolute crap.

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      • Ciaran December 4, 2013 at 11:54 am

        Constructive criticism:

        Cathy,

        Please refine and clarify your thesis. Is you point that we are all arrogant in our own way? That there is a line between acceptable and unacceptable amounts of arrogance? If so, where is that line? More importantly, what do you suggest should be done? Should we all mimic your level of arrogance? To what end?

        I think you present some worthwhile ideas to explore. But as written this “lifestyle” column/editorial muddies the waters, fails to have a clear point, and, as a result, appears to just repeat various stereotypes without a meaningful purpose.

        I have to agree with the others who have said they expect and hope for better in the future.

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    • 9watts December 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Similar but different.
      http://bikeportland.org/2011/05/16/reader-comment-opposition-to-urban-cycling-is-class-based-52930

      Personally I think looking at misunderstandings about bicycling, resentment of others who bike through the lens of social class, paying special attention to MIDDLE CLASS anxieties about status, is more interesting.

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  • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 10:47 am

    “Cathy Hastie is BikePortland’s lifestyle columnist … event when she says things we wouldn’t all agree with.”

    Lifestyle? So, that old saw about “people riding bikes” got thrown out with the trash? Now, because I’ve occasionally enjoyed riding a bike for the past 50+ years, and because I think they’re a tool towards a good end, I’m suddenly a subject of fashion whims, bad science and apologists? Are we all bicyclists in a closed community?

    You can (and normally do) do better, BikePortland.

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  • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 10:47 am

    “… shirtless…”
    This would be more of a patriarchal repression / male privilege issue.

    But as I repeat from a long stolen quote “the problem with nude beaches is quality control”; be careful what you ask for.

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    • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      next time I’m weaving through traffic with no hands I’ll be sure to wear a shirt so that nobody thinks I’m arrogant…

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  • Joe December 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I have to disagree with this article sorry…. I ride alot and think downtown car and ped traffic is far worse….oh and we can’t lable ppl
    drivers are already pissed!

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  • Ciaran December 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Cathy,

    I was with you most of the way until the helmet point. Choosing to not to wear a helmet is not inherently arrogant. Sure, If you happen to be racing, or mountain biking or aggressively weaving through traffic, then not wearing a helmet may be arrogant. But if you ride a moderate speed, on quiet greenways, or along waterfront park, there’s nothing arrogant about skipping the helmet.

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    • Todd Hudson December 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Let’s try that with seat belts!

      “But if you drive a moderate speed, on quiet streets, or down Naito Parkway, there’s nothing arrogant about skipping the seat belt.”

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      • Adam H. December 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

        Cars are inherently dangerous. Bikes are not.

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        • Hillsons December 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

          Cars are not dangerous, people operating cars at high speeds are dangerous. If I were to idle my car around an empty pasture at a crawl, I could scarcely find a way to injure myself, save for being hit by a meteorite. And then, my seatbelt isn’t going to help me now is it.

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          • Adam H. December 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

            A car is far easier to operate in a manner than endangers both the user and others around them.

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            • MaxD December 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

              Adam,
              Cars have a lot of safety features and a steel cage. It is their ability to operate at high speed that makes them dangerous. Bikes are inherently dangerous: they require balance, enable high speed and have very few safety features. It is easy for even experienced cyclists to take a fall due to tracks, leaves, gravel, broken axel/flat tire, missing a curb, etc. Unexpected stuff can easily happen on a bike, and while a helmet will not do much to protect you if a semi overturns on to you, it will protect from head injury from the most common bike crashes.

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              • Adam H. December 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

                Let me restate: cars are far more dangerous to people not in the car, than bikes are to people not on the bike.

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                • MaxD December 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

                  Adam,
                  I agree that cars are the most dangerous things on the road for everyone else on the road (including other car drivers) People on bikes typically only get hurt by cars, poor conditions, or hurt themselves. Helmets can help protect the rider when the unexpected happens

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              • Dweendaddy December 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

                If cars were so safe, and bikes so dangerous, and if wearing a bike helmet significantly decreased your likelihood of head injury, it would be easy to prove, yet the data are so mixed about this!
                I say: walk, bike or drive for transport without a helmet. They are not that dangerous, but bad things can happen while walking (4000 deaths a year), biking (600 deaths a year) or driving (35,000 deaths per year). Some of the deaths and head injuries from walking, biking or driving could be prevented by wearing a helmet, but we just can’t bother every time we walk, bike or drive for transportation! All three should be common and fairly safe.
                Now,
                If you go over 35 mph, consider a helmet.
                If you ride in the drops, consider a helmet.
                If you race, consider a helmet.
                If you are on a the same road as cars going over 35 mph, consider a helmet.

                But for NORMAL, every day walking, biking and driving, I am not convinced that helmets are necessary.

                I sometimes wear one in the conditions listed above,

                Edwin

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                • dr2chase December 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

                  If you’re driving, you’re already wearing a car, why not wear a helmet too? You can’t complain that it makes your head sweaty like someone who’s actually using their legs, and cars are a major source of serious head injuries (about half!), and head injuries are a major source of death while driving.

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                • Zen Punk December 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm

                  I agree in general, although I’ve gotta say I think your 35mph threshold is pretty damn high. A fall at 15 mph will probably hurt real bad, especially if you hit your head. A fall at 25 mph can result in serious injury.

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              • Terry D December 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

                In my case, due to my poor depth perception and my inherent clumsiness while walking…I tend to trip a lot and bump into things like poles and walls…..Bicycling is by far the safest form of transportation. I do not trust my driving anymore.

                That stated, I still wear a helmet riding. There have been two falls in 25 years that if I would have NOT been wearing one I would have been brain splattered all over the pavement. In one case it would have been NO fault of my own…poor infrastructure on Barbur… but I digress. Instead, I had a sore neck and back for a few days.

                Life is all about risk taking…some are worth taking, others are not.

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            • Hillsons December 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm

              Only because it’s socially acceptable to do so.

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          • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

            Rephrase it as “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and see how it flies. If you want no gun control that society needs Star Trek TNG or better mental health care; if you can’t prevent people from being “wacko” then the mere presence of firearms is dangerous.

            So too with cars: IF everyone was trained to NASCAR & Formula 1 levels of driving skill AND no one ever became distracted THEN cars would not be dangerous. Because there is no formal training, barely any standard and imperfect humans everywhere with access to cars autos are by default dangerous.

            An open can of gasoline and a campfire are both negligible risks apart, doomed to firey failure together. This is our automotive ecosystem: an imbalanced equation programmed to be unsafe st any speed.

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            • gutterbunnybikes December 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm

              Don’t kid yourself, of all the things man kind has invented, hands down the most dangerous and destructive device we have ever invented is the internal combustion engine.

              Not a single man made thing before or after it has caused so much damage in it’s use, manufacture, maintience, or supportive infrastucture to people or the environment…..ever. And it’s only getting worse since we’re well past peek oil.

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              • q`Tzal December 5, 2013 at 1:32 am

                Gunpowder
                Absolute Laissez Faire Capitalism (the concept that greed is our friend, just stop worrying and let the corporate interests do anything they want)
                Planned obsolescence (the intentional design of products to fail when equal manufacturing resources could make the product function for orders of magnitude longer)
                Militant fundamentalism (ideological, religious, political, economic, others) and its push to nearly every war in the history books.

                These are all things with a higher body count than the automobile.
                Besides, I wasn’t saying that autos are harmless, only that they are capable of not being dangerous.
                The problem with automobiles is the self created environment they exist within :
                () too many for the available square footage needed to store and operate causing bad interactions
                () most drivers are unskilled at their task
                () many drivers are incapable of keeping their attention focused on the task of driving
                () a gutted and neglected public transit infrastructure that insures that of a person can commit driving infractions but still drive because there is no reasonable alternative.

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          • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

            “Cars are not dangerous”

            kind of like how a road isn’t dangerous? one like Barbur Blvd?

            a car could at any time malfunction and easily kill other people…

            a bike could at any time malfunction and possibly hurt somebody…

            I say that anything that’s in most public spaces, easily malfunctions, and those malfunctions easily and often result in death is inherently dangerous…

            there just aren’t enough safety devices to make cars safe when something goes wrong… yes, it’s usually driver error, so probably the self-driving cars will be much safer…

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            • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm

              Cars are only dangerous when operated badly, or at all. A car with no operator is immobile and very safe.
              Barbur Blvd. is only dangerous when cars are operated badly.
              A Barbur Blvd. with no cars, is safe.
              In fact with cars operated properly, it is still safe.

              So neither cars, nor Barbur Blvd. themselves are directly dangerous.
              It is the actions of the operators that are….

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              • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

                I acknowledge that this is getting into semantics, but I honestly think it (what I am about to type) is worthwhile.

                “Cars are only dangerous when operated badly” No, cars are always a DANGER anytime they are moving at a speed great than a horse and buggy. Roads with cars on them are dangerous places. Obviously. Standing in the middle of Barbur or 82nd or Sandy is dangerous precisely because that is where cars are moving at speed. Standing isn’t dangerous. Standing on a smooth paved surface of a roadway isn’t dangerous. Moving cars are dangerous. It doesn’t matter if they are operated properly. Sure they are less dangerous is operated properly and more dangerous if operated carelessly. However, they are also inherently dangerous.

                Now my use of standing is deliberately provocative, and in the middle of the road also, but … Walking on the sidewalk or crossing the street both involve necessarily being in close proximity and often in front of moving cars which is inherently dangerous because of the cars are for no other reason.

                As far as safe operation from the perspective of a vulnerable road use it just doesn’t matter that SOME cars may be under safe operation because 1) there will always be some unsafe driving 2) There is no way to predict which cars in which place at which times won’t be operated safely

                Thus walking along, crossing or just being near any road with car traffic is dangerous. The more traffic and the higher the speeds, the more danger.

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                • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

                  Paul,
                  You missed my point.
                  The car is not causing the danger. The person putting their foot on the accelerator and hand on steering wheel is. Car not dangerous without driver. ‘Cause car can’t go without driver. So driver at fault not car.
                  A bicycle is not dangerous by itself, but a bicycle operator can make it dangerous.This applies to so many items we use.

                  It is in how things are worded, especially when fingers are being pointed.

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                • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

                  Sorry Dabby, I did indeed miss your point. I’m mulling it over a bit. I can see your point, and maybe agree with it but am not there yet.

                  Would you say a loaded gun is dangerous? I’m guessing given above you would say no. Am I right? A gun sitting on the table just laying there isn’t dangerous. It’s only become dangerous when someone picks it up. And even then it really only dangerous is someone hold it in there hand and points it at you. I can buy that to a degree. maybe.

                  But clearly there is a difference between my chess piece, my bicycle, a gun and a car. I suppose it is possible to hurt oneself or other with a chess piece (choking hazard maybe) but if a chess piece sitting on the table next to a gun I say the gun is a hazard – is dangerous. The chess piece is not. Yes, the danger of the gun, as long as it is sitting there is only potential, it isin’t actualized, but it is an object that has great destructive power. It is hazardous to anyone who handles it without knowledge and practice of how to handle a gun safely.

                  Maybe from a strictly philosophical point of view you are correct.

                  From a practical standpoint I feel comfortable saying guns are dangerous. Similarly, cars are dangerous. Even sitting parked, a car is a dangerous object. Just like a loaded gun. Just sitting there in the driveway.

                  BTW my younger sister was hit and severely injured as a child when a parked car rolled down a sloped driveway with no one operating it. I will admit however that that example is about as extreme as the examples of how a bicycle can be dangerous.

                  Thanks for the discussion.

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              • spare_wheel December 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm

                And it’s a mistake to look at other cyclists through the filter of your own ability and risk-aversion level. When I whip by people in a bike lane going 30 in the river of traffic I am not only having a blast but am cycling in a manner that is demonstrably safe. (~150K of miles without causing a single accident or injury.)

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        • Tim T. December 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

          Tell that to my wife, who needed a full bridge put in her mouth after getting hit by an errant cyclist. As a newcomer to this site, I’m noticing some serious hyper-sensitivity to Cathy’s editorial. I feel like her viewpoint is a valid one, and written quite charmingly. The ‘truth’ doesn’t exist in ‘opinion pieces’- there’s no need to be caustic.

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          • dr2chase December 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm

            Tell that to me, who spent a week in the hospital after getting hit by an errant car decades ago. Tell that one of my thesis advisors years ago, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver.

            The fundamental problem with criticism of cyclists in this country is that it utterly fails the “compared-to-what” test. Cyclists are claimed to bne rude/arrogant/errant/inconsiderate, yet for all these alleged faults, almost harmless in practice. Compare to drivers — kill thousands, noisy, tax-subsidized. “Polite” people don’t kill thousands of pedestrians per year. And drivers are a majority — if drivers felt that there was a problem with killing thousands of pedestrians per year, we live in a democracy, they could vote for change. They don’t. Instead we get laws that marginalize formerly legal behavior, like “jaywalking” for the greater convenience of cars.

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      • Pete December 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

        This is the way it used to be. When I was growing up seatbelts were optional and rarely worn. When states tried to make them mandatory, the laws were repealed repeatedly by voters (3x in MA), and the general public believed the government was trying to take away our freedom to choose. It wasn’t until the federal government – under pressure from insurance lobbies – threatened to withhold highway improvement funding to states without a mandatory seatbelt law… now all 50 states require them.

        The overall safety that a seatbelt provides hasn’t changed much, but the public’s perception of them being ‘necessary’ to operate a car safely has.

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        • lavie.lama December 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

          New Hampshire law still allows unbuckled drivers actually.

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          • Pete December 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm

            Ah, the live free or die state… I stand corrected! They don’t require helmets for motorcyclists either (like a few other states), if I’m not mistaken. Thanks!

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      • 9watts December 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

        + seatbelts protect you from yourself/your own vehicle.
        + a helmet–as we see in the Netherlands where they have seatbelts but for the most part manage without helmets–is a defensive device meant to protect you from a transportation culture that doesn’t understand how to interact safely with people on bikes.

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        • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm

          Seatbelts protect other occupants in the vehicle from hitting each other and they keep the driver behind the controls where she has a chance of avoiding (more) collision(s).

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          • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

            “Seatbelts protect other occupants in the vehicle from hitting each other ”

            tell that to the kids in the back seat…

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        • Terry D December 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

          If I would not have been wearing a helmet while riding the “clear bike lane” on Barbur ten years back I would be dead now. A tree limb had fallen over the side barrier and was leaning over the bike lane at head height. I was riding home from work at 11 pm and did not see it in the dark until it knocked me off my bike at 25 MPH….then I landed on the pavement in the travel lane…..30 seconds later a car came around the curve. I had just enough time to think “get out of the street” before he hit me.

          If I would not have been wearing a helmet I would have been knocked out completely and brain splattered. Not my fault…you can blame the narrow bike lanes or the tree limb, but the point remains. I am here because of a helmet…hence, I always wear one even if it has only saved me once in 30 years of riding. It was a pain though when I had a Mohawk and I wanted to put my hair up.

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      • Ciaran December 4, 2013 at 11:47 am

        Two things:

        First “moderate speeds” on a bicycle are far lower than what is considered a “moderate speed” in a car. If you drove a car at a maximum of 10-15 mph, I think there would be very little need for seatbelts.

        Second, Naito parkway IS NOT the car-equivalent of the waterfront park multi-use path for bicycles.

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      • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        “Let’s try that with seat belts!”

        ok, I’m on it!

        “But if you ride a moderate speed, on quiet greenways, or along waterfront park, there’s nothing arrogant about skipping the seatbelt.”

        that was easy…

        seems that there’s still no reason for me to wear my helmet OR my seat belt while riding my bike…

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    • Erinne December 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      +1

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  • Good Old Jer December 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Good article bikeportland.com! And to all you haters, sometimes its tough to look in the mirror. You just might not like what you see.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I wondered if criticizing a single article on BikePortland made me a “hater” so I looked in the mirror. I didn’t see a bicyclist. I didn’t see a motorist. I didn’t see a pedestrian. I saw someone who does hold opinions as well as someone who tries to consider many facets of reality, but I didn’t see any exaggeration of my importance or abilities. It was easy to do and I’m fine with what I saw.

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  • Brian Davis December 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Wow, this reads more like an Oregonian opinion piece than a BikePortland piece. We’ve got the usual run-of-the-mill stereotypes about fixie riders, people riding pricey bikes with kits, etc. Throw in some digs about signal compliance (which recent PSU research has shown is likely a made-up problem) and a dose of helmet-shaming, and this column is truly worthy of the “O.”

    To be clear, I don’t consider myself any better than anyone else because of my transportation choices, nor do I consider myself any worse because of the gear I do or don’t choose to wear. Indeed, the whole notion of an “interested but concerned” population that has guided Portland’s bicycle planning for the last decade-plus suggests that there are a great number of people who would love to make the same choices Cathy and I do but cannot for some reason or another. Let’s figure out how to get them to do so in lieu of patting ourselves on the back for beating them to it.

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    • timo December 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      I really take issue with folks who read this as a blanket indictment of cyclists. She’s not saying “(All) Bikers do this behavior and are bad;” she’s saying “(Some) Bikers do this behavior, and it’s selfish and inconsiderate.” Is there a reason we should not acknowledge that some people traveling by bike are inconsiderate, and should we not tell them to knock it off?

      I agree with the basic premise here 100% – no matter how you travel, don’t be a jerk. Don’t cut-off the bus because you think your 5 seconds is more important than those 40 other peoples’; don’t terrorize pedestrians by acting like you’re about to run over them; act predictably on the road.

      I take exception with the helmet prescription, even though I wear one (except in Manhattan), but I see that as a separate topic. And I welcome Brian’s call for an “adult conversation” (thoughtful, subtle, nuanced) – perhaps at a BP.org meetup?

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      • davemess December 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

        Can some explain to me what is selfish and inconsiderate of doing a track stand at a light, or passing stopped cars at a light on the right (which the law gives me right to do legally)?

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        • Nathan December 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

          To the columnist, this appears arrogant.

          The list of things that appear arrogant include:
          Weaving through traffic, handless and shirtless;
          trackstanding in front of people with walking assisting apparatuses;
          passing on the right while cutting in line at intersections;
          disrespect for traffic signals;
          seeming to ignore Trimet yield signs;
          squeezing by buses;
          yelling at drivers;
          unlawful behavior;
          expensive bike gear;
          helmetlessness.

          I suspect there was some hyperbole used by the author to liven up an otherwise boring rant, so maybe one can look past some of the more ridiculous seeming flourishes.

          Still, the flow of this piece was poor. The listing of “bad” behavior goes nowhere, then a concluding paragraph is tacked on to say something about the author’s thinking they are right. Of course, you think you’re right. You just spent 6 mini-paragraphs calling out where you think some “other” person is wrong.

          The essay is self-indulgent and was not enjoyable to read due to content (just a list of stereo types with strong language, which doesn’t impress me) and the lack of cohesion or purpose.

          Better title: Stereotypical jerks are jerks and I am right. Here are a few hundred words wasted in saying such.

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          • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            “…Better title: Stereotypical jerks are jerks and I am right. Here are a few hundred words wasted in saying such.” Nathan

            Well, Nathan…you did at least try a little to offer some substantial criticism of the column, even if you couldn’t resist bringing a whiny putdown into it. Waiting for your guest column. Perhaps you can better than she.

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      • spare_wheel December 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        many of the behaviors criticized are not illegal and are not necessarily harmful or unsafe.

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  • spencer December 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    off base and inflammatory

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  • Todd Hudson December 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Because responding to what other people think about us is of critical importance!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) December 4, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Todd, who’s the “us” here? Who’s the “other”?

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      • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

        I agree that Todd’s comment is opaque but what’s clear to me in both his comment and this article is that “us” is The Bicyclist Community…you know, the one that Jonathan has always preached does not exist.

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        • Todd Hudson December 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          The “other people” are those that rant about people on bikes. “Arrogant” is one of the things with which they commonly label us.

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  • Brandon Van Buskirk December 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I don’t feel arrogant toward people who drive cars. I do feel some animosity toward drivers who make self serving choices that put pedestrians and people who ride bikes in danger. I don’t wear a helmet because I don’t want to live in a world where I should have to. Furthermore, a helmet is not going to help when a semi truck overturns.

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    • VTRC December 4, 2013 at 11:15 am

      I ended up in two bike/bike crashes in July. And in both cases the other person wasn’t wearing a helmet and bled a lot from what could have been a minor crash. Things happen and most things you can bump in the city are hard.

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      • Dave December 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

        …and I’ve been in a bike/bike crash where I wasn’t wearing a helmet, got rear-ended by someone who was, and they were the one who ended up bloodied, dazed and disoriented, I just had scrapes on my knuckles. There are more factors involved than just the helmet.

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        • VTRC December 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

          Yep! There are lots of factors.

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      • dr2chase December 7, 2013 at 5:40 am

        Oh, I’ve had that happen to me, too! I was running up some old basement stairs once without a helmet, someone stepped in front of the opening right at the top just as I was about to emerge, I stopped hard and popped up on my toes and smacked the top of my head into the ceiling. Blood everywhere. Should’ve been wearing a helmet. Another time, I flopped down into a couch with a wall-mounted bookshelf it, whacked my head into a corner of the bookshelf, and blood everywhere. Should’ve been wearing a helmet then, too.

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  • Joe December 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

    haters? really?

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  • Mindful Cyclist December 4, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Ooooohhhh, the helmet debate!!!!

    Anyone want to guess how many comments the post has by 5 pm? I am going to guess 89.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

      >100 but it’s too easy to rig

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    • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      “89 comments
      Latest: 1:33 PM by Bill Walters”

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      • Mindful Cyclist December 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        Yep, I was way off!

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  • Adam H. December 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Okay.

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  • Allan December 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I disagree with 99% of what is written here. However bikes are neat. Go bikes

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  • mikeybikey December 4, 2013 at 11:27 am

    As King of Arrogance, I expect all of my helmeted subjects to pay tribute. Those little chocolate coins with the gold wrappers will do.

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  • Dave December 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

    This article is 99% ignorant stereotypes and surface assumptions about different types of people.

    Well done.

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  • ScottG December 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for having the courage to post this, I think it’s thoughtful and there’s a lot of truth and insight in it. There’s nothing wrong with being pro-bike while acknowledging/confronting problems in our community. I think it also shows a healthy degree of humility to acknowledge one’s own arrogance and privilege.

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    • davemess December 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      See the “problem” with this piece is that many of the “problems” that she sheds light on are not really “problems”, but more just things she doesn’t like/understand/appreciate. Most of them are subjective (even things that are legally allowed!).

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    • Chris I December 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      The biggest problem in our community: over 30,000 people killed every year by cars. Everything else is small potatoes, including everything mentioned in this piece.

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  • Goretex Guy December 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I’m special and I can do what I want. When I’m driving I’ll speed and blow stop signs because I can, and complain about cyclists and walkers who do the same thing. When I’m commuting on my bike I’ll blow stop signs and complain about cars and pedestrians who do the same. When I’m walking I’ll cross in the middle of the block and ignore red lights, but I’ll complain about those cyclists and drivers who do the same. Only I get to do that stuff, because I’m special. Everyone else has to obey the law.

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  • BikeSnobNYC December 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Cathy,

    You know what I find arrogant? People who feel superior because they wear little plastic hats with stickers that say “I love my brain” on them when they ride to Whole Foods. I appreciate the victim-blaming though. It’s a reminder that, despite superficial appearances, Portland is in fact very much a part of America.

    –BSNYC

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    • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you BikeSnob!

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    • Chris I December 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Hey, hey… we prefer New Seasons here.

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    • JRB December 5, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Given the 54 “likes” I suppose it’s heresy to question the Bike Snob, but can anyone please point me to the part of the article where the author engages in victim blaming?

      Bike Snob, you know what I find ridiculous, people who assume they can characterize an entire city based on one bike blog article and associated comments.

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      • Scott December 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

        Re-read the article, if you can not see it, re-learn how to read.

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        • JRB December 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

          Thank you for proving the author’s point about arrogance. Instead of being a jerk about it why don’t you simply answer my question? If it is so blindingly obvious, it shouldn’t take any longer to cut and past the relevant portion than it took to write your insult.

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          • Scott December 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

            Cutting and pasting the article would have been excessive. Re-read it. Since you took it as an insult, I apologize, but everything you need is in the article.

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            • JRB December 5, 2013 at 11:48 am

              I didn’t “take” anything as an insult. Telling me that I need to learn how to read again because I am incapable of seeing what you think is obvious is an insult. If you want to offer a real apology, I would be happy to accept, but I don’t really care. All I would ask is that consider refraining from insults the next time you disagree with another poster.

              As far the whole article being an exercise in victim blaming, that’s not an answer. There is nothing in the article in which she says, suggests, implies or even hints cyclists deserve to be hit because they are arrogant. I imagine you have seen many examples of real victim blaming related to injured or killed cyclists in the comments section of our local paper.

              I suppose some might see her comments regarding helmets as victim blaming, but I think that’s an overreach. She doesn’t say people deserve to get hit because they are not wearing a helmet, just that she thinks people are arrogant to think they will never be hit so don’t need a helmet. I think that it’s ridiculous to assume that’s why people don’t wear helmets, but it’s not an exercise in victim blaming.

              On a different note, I find the Bike Snob, who makes his living writing snarky, opinionated things about bicycling, and cheesesteaks apparently, hypocritical when he devotes a substantial portion of his blog today to criticizing someone else expressing an opinion about bicycling

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              • Scott December 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm

                She implies that if a truck overturns, there will be a difference if you are wearing a helmet or not.

                If a truck falls over on you, you are the victim and it will not matter one bit if you are wearing a helmet or not.

                Simmer down JRB. We are on a blog here, not friends drinking coffee together. The internet is not a place to take offense. I don’t know you from Adam. If I used an obtuse point to illustrate a mistake I saw in your logic, it was to encourage you to see that mistake, or disprove my logic. It was not to insult a collection of ones and zeros with a screen name attached to them.

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  • sigh. December 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I don’t have anything terribly constructive to say, I’m just annoyed by this opinion piece. On the one hand, I’m annoyed that she apparently rides on the sidewalk. On the other hand, I’m sore that she’s bashing my gear and bringing starving children into the conversation???? (SERIOUSLY?!). My bike booties may have been expensive, but they totally saved my feet this morning in the 21 degrees and I’ve had them for 2 years and counting. We all get annoyed with other cyclists, cars, pedestrians, people in general, but it generally doesn’t change anything to write a self-righteous opinion piece about it. It just annoys people.

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  • Pete December 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Here’s another “lifestyle column” I recently came across:
    http://castrovalley.patch.com/groups/ken-martins-blog/p/bp–blog-enough-with-defending-bicycle-riders-the-worb06fc1ccb9

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  • Oliver December 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Was sure loving my thermal fleece and (particularly the) wind stopper this morning. Even the stupid high vis shoe covers felt like a minor miracle. However, the frost on the ground made it difficult to maintain any pretense of ‘serious training’.

    ;-)

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  • Dwayne Dibbly December 4, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I can’t wait for the Oregonian to pick up on this. I don’t expect them to understand nuance or intelligent discussion.

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    • q`Tzal December 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      :-P Is any of this nuance or intelligent discussion? ;-)

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  • pdxpaul December 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Great piece, love it! And I love the stir it’s created. Keep up the great work!

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  • Granpa December 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Get off of my lawn!

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    • Opus the Poet December 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      OK I chuckled a bit at this one.

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  • Pink Bike December 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    The article and some of the comments made for interesting reading. That said, just because I have fancy bike clothes does not mean I do not care about kids starving in Africa and wearing cheap clothing will not automatically give them food.

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    • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      “wearing cheap clothing will not automatically give them food.”

      but it might give them a job making more cheap clothing…

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  • GlowBoy December 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Well, damn right we’re self-righteous. Our lives are endangered every single day by bad drivers and by bad roads that don’t allow for safe cycling. It’s a daily battle out there.

    Anyone who wonders why we sometimes get a little militant has no clue what we have to deal with all the time.

    When people accost me about (mostly other) cyclists’ behavior or how the roads allegedly now favor bikes over cars, I tell them to try riding to work and doing their other daily business just ONE DAY A MONTH – for one year, so they’ve tried it every month of the year – before whining at me. That usually shuts them the hell up.

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  • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I admire people that don’t wear helmets because they’re not living their lives in fear…

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    • Terry D December 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I don’t live my life in fear. I know that ten years ago I would have been brain splattered….or bankrupt at least since I was uninsured at the time. I do not knock anyone who does not wear a helmet, but saying that those who do “live in fear” is very NOT true.

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  • GlowBoy December 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    “People blow thousands on equipment as if to say, “Who cares about starving children in Africa? I need to shave 12 seconds off my time.””

    Is this somehow worse — or even as bad — as someone who blows tens of thousands on an SUV or luxury car with air-conditioned leather seats so they can shave 12 seconds off their commute in comfort?

    This and much of the other behavior described in the article is no better or worse among drivers or the public at large than it is among cyclists. Widespread belief to the contrary can be chalked up to availability and confirmation biases combined with xenophobia. In any group of people you’re going to have a certain percentage of self-centered, reckless assholes. That’s not “cyclist arrogance”, it’s the human condition.

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    • Spiffy December 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      wait, cyclists are human? somebody inform O’live!

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  • fasterthanme December 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I never understand why people get upset when I don’t wear a helmet. I’m glad she brought this up because this towards the top of the standard litany of bike grievances i hear from folks who are adamantly anti bicycle.

    The only thing I can think of is auto liability. These folks aren’t thinking about potential brain damage, or loss of life, they’re only thinking “if I hit and hurt this person, what’s it going to cost me”.

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    • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      This statement sometimes helps to shut them up.

      “Keep your ideals off of my head!”

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  • Bill Walters December 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Thoughtful? No, hackneyed — which is nearly the opposite. Not least because it seems to endorse old bigotry that “ignominious people” and arrogance itself are somehow specific to bikes and not rather evenly distributed among all modes. This really does drag BP down to the O’s level, which is sad to see.

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  • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Arrogance even permeates cycling fashion. Expensive bike gear and “members only” attire boasts, “I am an athlete doing some serious training here! Don’t get in my way!” People blow thousands on equipment as if to say, “Who cares about starving children in Africa? I need to shave 12 seconds off my time.”

    I think I figured out why this lifestyle column needs tweaking… statements like the above run counter to what I would expect a cycling lifestyle columnist to think about bike gear.

    I WANT my lifestyle columnist to be a gear nerd.

    I WANT my lifestyle columnist to know that Castelli and Rapha’s US based headquarters are here in Portland and that people riding around town in their gear provides local jobs.

    I WANT my lifestyle columnist to be able to spend a day at the Lumberyard and a day at PIR and not just write about how weird everything seems… (MT Bikers wear baggy pants, but road racers wear lycra… How crazy is that? Bikers sure are an odd bunch!)

    I WANT my cycling lifestyle columnist to not write like he or she is seeing everything for the first time.

    you know those columns where they stop somebody on the street and ask about their clothes and where they got them and how much they paid? Do that…

    You know those slideshows of pro’s bikes at races and all the cool doodads they add? Do that with average bikers downtown, or some working class racers…

    You may learn a thing or two about the lifestyle of the average reader of this blog. you may also learn a thing or two about the things you, so far, have shown disdain for. you may learn that somebody’s lycra kit has been put together after a few years of hunting down bargains or getting a jersey for raising money for charity, not all bought off the rack brand new at once…

    You may learn that a racer’s frame was won at a raffle, and they have been using it to get some consistent top 10 placings.

    There’s stories out there… go find them.

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  • spare_wheel December 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    While this is misguided and unfunny satire, it still merits a response:

    “They weave through downtown traffic, handless and shirtless.”

    Riding no-handed is a terrific way to develop balancing skills which can make a difference in an emergency.

    “They hover jerkily in clumsy track stands, inches from geriatric pedestrians in crosswalks.”
    A track stand is a fine way to develop balancing skills which can make a difference in an emergency. Moreover, as long as the cyclist has not entered the crosswalk this behavior is perfectly legal. Perhaps the author is simply jealous of others’ track-standing/sitting skills.

    ‘Their impatient posture appears to sneer, “What’s wrong with you? Pick up that walker and get a move on so I don’t have to put my foot down.” ‘
    Or…maybe…just maybe…it’s actually safer and more convenient to trackstand/sit (especially when one uses clipless pedals).

    They are rudest of all to other bikers, passing on the right and cutting in front of the line at four-way stops.
    Oregon vehicle statutes specifically allow cyclists to pass vehicles (including bikes) on the right. If you do not agree with the law then you are welcome to attempt to change it. Fat chance.

    They thumb their noses at moderation, common courtesy and traffic signals.
    It is sometimes courteous and safe to violate traffic signals. Why should motorists wait for more nimble bike traffic that can quickly and efficiently clear a lumbering jam of motorized vehicles? Why should cyclists sit in an intersection waiting for traffic to accumulate when they can quickly and safely clear an open traffic-less intersection?

    “Occasionally, an especially egregious hedonist can be heard yelling livid profanities at drivers, seeming to enjoy himself in the process.”
    Oh…the inhumanity of livid profanities!

    “Erratic, frequently unlawful behavior on the road looks almost as if it is meant to startle and piss-off drivers. Is it a game? Is it a challenge?”
    It’s a challenge and a game. Some would even call it a war. Unfortunately, it’s one where almost all the casualties (human, animal, and environmental) are on one side.

    “Expensive bike gear and “members only” attire boasts,”
    The idea of saving thousands of dollars a year in ,b>both motorvehicle and gym expenses is doubly outrageous!

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    • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      You hit it on the head there.

      “misguided and unfunny satire”.

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      • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm

        Wait, I do think it is funny to imagine cyclists spending a bunch of money on, then wearing, “Members Only” jackets to ride around town.

        But she certainly was not referring to 80′s Member’s Only Jackets, so it quickly is not funny again.

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  • Dave December 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Ok, here is some more constructive commentary…

    “It’s a privilege not to drive…”
    I’m pretty sure this is backwards. Despite our intentional ignorance of this issue, even the Oregon driver’s manual says it is a privilege TO drive, and that this privilege can be taken away (though that rarely, if ever, happens on any permanent basis).

    It is a *choice* not to drive. It is a heavier choice not to own a car (for those who *can* actually afford to own one), but still a choice. This is a choice that anyone can technically make (except of course, as I said, those who can’t afford to own a car in the first place). Depending on your own personal circumstances, you may have a better or worse set of options in this choice, but it is a choice.

    I can also see how the majority of people would see not owning a car, not as a privilege, but as a severe handicap. Because in Portland, in some ways it really is. Our public transit is spotty at best, and our bicycle accommodations are nearly non-existent, in the overall scheme of things. If you get outside about the SE/NE 50′s, you start running into areas with no sidewalks, and just over Marquam Hill in SW you have the same issue.

    Sure, you save money, and you can more easily skip traffic, but in a city that is 90% suburbs (granted, old suburbs, but suburbs nonetheless), there is a notable hit in convenience and feeling of safety unless you are able to and decide to make very specific decisions about where/how to live.

    ————————–

    So, both people who wear few clothes (shirtless), and people who wear expensive clothes (expensive bike gear) are arrogant? What if the person is wearing a tailored 3-piece suit? That could be at least as expensive as a high-vis suit, potentially quite a bit more. Is that arrogant? Did you ever think that maybe someone who has $2,000 to blow on bike gear might also have another $2,000 to give to charity?

    Also, you seem to be awfully concerned with peoples’ money…

    —————————

    I’m not even going to get into the helmet issue, except to say that the statement “the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet” is spoken like a true captive with Stockholm Syndrome.

    —————————

    “Helmetless people are among those seen flying through red lights, too…”

    As are people driving cars, people in sunglasses, people with shoes on, people with *blue eyes* (god forbid), and people wearing helmets!

    Incidentally, helmetless people are also among those who generally obey rules (as are people driving cars, people in sunglasses, people with shoes on, people with blue eyes, and people wearing helmets), and they’re swarming all over the sidewalks too. You see them in cafes having normal conversations and you see them at desks in important offices.

    —————————-

    This article… I just don’t get it.

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    • Art Fuldodger December 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Well said. Thanks, Dave.

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  • Pizza Face December 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Why are people so concerned with what I do? When I die, if I die. Ill be dead! Its ok, going happen to all of us. Enjoy your ride! Don’t concern yourself with over opinionated people.

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  • Pizza Face December 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    And step up the stories please.

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  • David E December 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I used to visit this site at least once a day…. This reinforces why I stopped.

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  • Paul in the 'couve December 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Mike, Jonathan, and Cathy,

    I made a pretty negative comment above and it is incumbent on me to provide some constructive criticism rather than just a harsh expression of my opinion.

    I think this piece really fails to live up to the kind of quality journalism that Bike Portland tries to provide. I think the biggest issue is that this particular piece ends up as an undefined genre somewhere between Lifestyle and Opinion. Lifestyle implies that we shouldn’t expect it to be a rigorous news article. It is acceptable for lifestyle columns to be fluffy and frivolous, humorous and entertaining, and not be rigorous with facts and logic . However, this lifestyle column dives in to a number of serious controversies both between and within various groups. It really reads much more as an opinion piece. Simply put Cathy expresses strong opinions about several controversial topics, while broadly and indiscriminately disparaging other cyclists as arrogant, self-righteous, and ignominious. Apparently this is supposed to be justified because Cathy admits at the start that she is herself arrogant. Thus it is acceptable to skewer everyone else’s perceived arrogance? Besides it’s just a “Lifestyle” piece, don’t take it so seriously.

    Yet, the approach is totally stereo-typical, and largely repeats the same tropes we hear over and over again in anti-cycling (allegedly serious) opinion columns that are sloppy journalism in the Oregonian and other newspapers both prominent institutions like the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal and tabloids.

    The result is just a muddle. The column is not funny, light or “in good spirit.” At the same time it does not add anything to the discussion of the issues raised, and instead mainly speculates on the great selfishness all those inferior cyclists.

    Don’t give up. Try again.

    Sincerely

    Paul (you know who I am) in the ‘Couve

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  • Alex Reed December 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I like Cathie’s other work, but not this article.

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  • Justin December 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    So, because I can afford the right equipment to bike with, such as waterproof gear (jacket, bag, boot covers, etc.), quality lights and a cyclocomputer, instead of using pen-sized barely visible lights and wearing 8,000 layers of clothing in an attempt to stay warm or dry, that makes me arrogant?

    And, because I want to pass you, due to the fact you and I will NEVER bike at the same speed, that also makes me arrogant?

    Get a clue Cathy! Reading this column is five minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Thank God for the comments section.

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  • colton December 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    My bike attire certainly doesn’t *smell* fancy!

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  • Alexis December 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    This piece has no redeeming value that I can see; it neither informs nor inspires (except for inspiring ire toward itself). It’s merely a rehash of all the worst stereotypes that people who don’t ride have about people who do, with an added dose of self-righteousness toward other riders making different choices from the writer.

    Bike Snob took down this lazy, biased way of thinking about riding behavior recently in his excellent and much-shared post Shafted Again (http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/11/shafted-again.html), which profoundly changed my approach to coexisting with other riders whose behavior I feel is unsafe or believe is illegal. The idea that anyone riding should be spending a lot of effort telling another rider how to behave, when all of us are struggling with much larger forces in a system that is not designed to keep us safe or make our travel convenient, is, I realized, absurd.* I used to think I was accomplishing something, at least, by disapproving of people riding in ways that I consider unsafe. Understanding that by doing so I was spending my energy on something that ultimately causes very few problems, and that I was contributing to the impression that such behavior is common and problematic while diverting my own and others’ focus from the serious systemic issues at play, made me realize that it’s at best pointless and at worst seriously counterproductive. Apparently this author hasn’t gotten there, and if this post has any value at all, maybe that’s it: for the responses to help at least one more person move past that common and Stockholm syndrome-esque misconception.

    Based on my experience with BikePortland, I believe that it shares the belief I’ve just articulated: that there are serious systemic issues that have to be addressed to make bicycling safe, and that those issues deserve our focus and attention. This column stands for exactly the opposite of that belief, and for that reason I don’t think it’s appropriate material for this site. But if it’s not to be removed as likely to cause more harm than good, I at least hope that the responses may have the small but salutary effect of changing the writer’s mind.

    *I exempt sincere, systematic efforts at education from this statement; those are trying to remedy the genuine problem of people not being aware of the best ways to ride.

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  • younggods December 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Calling bikers without helmets the “kings of arrogance” is more arrogant than the bikers without helmets. Cathie Hastie comes across as a sad, old, worrying, miserable lady. Please don’t let her guest article again.

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  • Glenn December 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Cathy,

    I applaud you for your courage and candor in writing your article. I commute daily from Clark County to my job at PDX. Although I live in a semi-rural area with scenic routes, on weekends I really enjoy riding into Portland for its great infrastructure, interesting sights and people, and wonderful old neighborhoods. I have observed many of the attitudes and behaviors you describe. I try to be safe, considerate to others, and somewhat of an ambassador on my bike, as a counter-response to the negative attitude that many motorists have toward cyclists (in many cases, I suspect that that attitude did not just self-create, while in other cases there are people who are just born jerks). As I was reading your piece, I would have hoped that it would give cause for self-reflection for some, but I just knew it would elicit a flood of aggrieved protests. On the other hand, if you toss a rock into a flock of geese, you know who you hit ’cause he’s gonna holler.

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    • Alan 1.0 December 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I don’t think that riding a bike makes me a member of a flock.

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    • Dabby December 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      If you toss a rock into a flock of Geese, you aren’t doing it to hear who is gonna holler…
      You are doing it to try to hurt as many Gesse as possible with the least effort.

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  • obo December 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    GlowBoy
    Our lives are endangered every single day by bad drivers and by bad roads

    signed, pedestrians, bus riders, safe drivers, and everybody else who uses any public transportation infrastructure

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  • Syzlak December 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I fail to see what’s arrogant about not wearing a helmet. I ride at 12mph, obeying all traffic laws, and never wear a helmet. How am I arrogant? Are Dutch people arrogant for not wearing helmets?

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  • Dave December 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Is no one going to say it? “Funner” is not a word.

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  • Lucas Freeman December 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I enjoyed the piece but for two of the last three paragraphs. Of those, if you’d cut two and kept the final, I don’t think the story would have suffered; might have been stronger even and not engendered all the silliness.

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  • TOM December 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    when I made an honest comment, it got moderated off into the either. So I’ll go the opposite way.

    Great, insightful article, Cathy , one of the best ever to appear on BP.org

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  • JRB December 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Paul in the ‘couve

    telling various types of cyclists and all cyclists in general that we are a bunch of arrogant jerks and every deviation of our riding behavior, our gear, and our opinion from Cathy’s own moderate ideal is a sign of our selfishness and arrogance is could possibly lead to any improvement in communication.
    Recommended 4

    Paul, maybe I am just being thick, but I don’t think Cathy’s criticisms were in earnest. I think she was just pointing out the grain of truth that lies at the base of the stereotype of the arrogant cyclist. I can’t speak for everybody, but I have to admit, while I try to keep in it check, to a little bit of smugness about the moral superiority of my chosen mode of travel. Again, while I try to contain such base impulses, I have also not been above judging other cyclists as being arrogant or rude because they ride differently than me.

    I think Cathy would agree with most of us that the stereotype is way overblown, particularly in mainstream media, but she is also, not so subtly pointing out many of us exhibit arrogance to some degree on some occasions and are also not above finding it in others. I read the piece as a humorous attempt to inspire reflection on our own motivations and behavior while at the same time pointing out the ridiculousness of the stereotype used by bike haters to justify their vitriol.

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    • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      So the point is to make me feel guilty? not really what I want in a lifestyle column.

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      • JRB December 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        I think the fact that it is a lifestyle column has little to do with your reaction, nor did I suggest the point was to make anyone feel guilty. I suggested that the article was intended to get people to think. Whether it makes anyone feel guilty is that individual’s choice.

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        • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

          really? because your comment sounds like a confession at an abstinence-only seminar.

          “I can’t speak for everybody, but I have to admit, while I try to keep in it check, to a little bit of smugness about the moral superiority of my chosen mode of travel. Again, while I try to contain such base impulses, I have also not been above judging other cyclists as being arrogant or rude because they ride differently than me.”

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  • JRB December 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I am really curious why you are so offended by this article that you feel you need to insult me because I have a different take on it on you. If nothing she or I said applies to you, why do you care so much? Why do you think admitting to my own arrogance is an attempt to “make” you feel guilty?

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    • ChamoisKreme December 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      It very much applies to me. if she saw me riding down the street, she would have pre-conceived notions about me that are false. Notions that she has repeated in another column. You don’t think she is being earnest, but Jonathan implies otherwise on Twitter. and that’s just the thing, if you can’t tell if it was sarcastic or not, it probably wasn’t.

      I care because if somebody was reading this blog for the first time, say somebody that is thinking of visiting Portland, they would think to themselves “Portland bike riders sound like jerks”, when really, the author is just trying to be sensational… or something…

      I’m making fun of you because you really shouldn’t be having all these thoughts about arrogance, but the author has made you ask, “Geez, am I arrogant too? maybe just a little…” that is unfair to you.

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      • JRB December 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        She may have very well meant every word she said and my interpretation is wrong, but even accepting that as true, I still don’t share the outrage many have expressed. If someone doesn’t think they ride arrogantly, why should they care about what me, you, or Cathy Hastie thinks.

        I used to be one of those folks who got annoyed at other people who did stupid things on bikes because I thought it reflected badly on me and other people who ride bikes. I was persuaded to a different point of view, mostly from reading comments on BikePortland, that anybody who thinks they know something about me just because somebody who pissed them off also rides a bike is not someone whose opinion matters to me. The same for anyone who is going to form an opinion on bicyclists in Portland by reading one article.

        The author hasn’t made me do anything. Without any prompting I do think about how I can be a more considerate road user, whether I am on a bike, behind the wheel or on foot, in much the same way that I sometimes think about how I can be a better spouse, parent, citizen etc. That I think I can be better doesn’t mean I think I am bad. Nothing I expressed here were thoughts I never had prior to reading the piece.

        I have to head off to work. If you respond and I don’t, it’s not because I don’t care about what you have to say. I hope you stay warm and enjoy your next ride.

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  • pruss2ny December 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    i think goretex guy “got it” when he paraphrased : i’m special and get to do whatever i want, OTHER people have to follow the law. she highlights her own shortcuts, which are allowable, but then tears into other people who dare take other shortcuts.

    this was lightweight doodling posed as a non-conscious admission of guilt in that most heinous of crimes: biker on biker.
    not sure how it broke down in comments into argument on whether or not stationary cars in the middle of a field are safe or not (trick question, the field is gmo corn) or whether wearing a helmet is safe or not (there is no argument, its simply not safe biking w/o a helmet in the streets…the only argument is whether it should be personal choice to do so)

    i drive.
    i get hacked off at some bike behavior in the roadway
    i lurk on this site (and especially the comments) b/c it actually is helpful in pointing out to me where “the other side” is coming from. its a really helpful forum in that regard, for someone who doesn’t bike.
    but i do see some humor in how i read the article (as bikers ripping bikers), and how the comments have played out (as bikers ripping bikers, and the author, a biker)

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  • jyl December 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    On this site, when you dare point out antisocial, illegal, or negligent behavior by cyclists, you get your head bitten off. That censorship is the real message of all these comments.

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  • Granpa December 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    “lifestyle” reporting might serve the blog well if it dove into the sub-cultures, got to know people and reported on who they are, what they do, how they fit into the mosaic of Portland, and how they don’t fit. We have all these sub groups who don’t know the others, and because the others are not like us they are less than us for being different, or so stereotypes would allow us to believe. Fred vs. Lance, Hipster vs. Shift, commuter vs newbie, etc. etc. Lots of us do indeed incorporate cycling into our lifestyles, but how many of us fold other cycling lifestyles into our lives. How about some lifestyle JOURNALISM. the opportunity will present itself to be clever and funny when reality is the subject. Try it.

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  • AG December 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    as I said about an earlier column of Cathies, ick.

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  • Charley December 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I think this was fun to read. Keep at it, Cathy!

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  • Hart Noecker December 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    “I must say, though, that the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet. He is announcing to the world that he is too skilled to allow himself to be hit by a car”

    You’re absolutely right I am.

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  • cathyhastie December 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Hello BikePortland Readers,

    In reading the comments, I see a lot of angry-sounding words. I am not surprised – the article was meant to be edgy (lucky for you, my editor took out my reference to little dicks). But perhaps I left you all wondering: 1) “Who the hell is she?” and, 2) “What the hell is she trying to say?”

    Here are your answers:

    1) I am an enthusiastic, unpaid writer who happens to bike. I love the low-car lifestyle and all of the great opportunities Portland offers to live it. In my opinions, I draw from my personal experiences, am beholden to no one, and do not strive to be an advocate, a leader or a mover and shaker in the biking world. I just write about what I love; and in this article, the behaviors that make what I love less pleasant.

    2) My message?

    A) We are all arrogant in some way. Some of us in ways that make it unpleasant for others, unfortunately.

    B) I don’t like rude behavior. I don’t like it when a person cuts in line at the grocery store. Do you? Similarly, I don’t like it when a biker comes from behind me at a four-way-stop and passes me and the other 4 vehicles who have waited patiently for our turns. If a person behaves in a non-rude way, but, for example, passes me on the right (be careful, that is the direction I spit when I have a cold), I don’t mind at all. Skilled track standers are great; the unskilled ones that threaten to fall on peds as they cross nearby are, well, kind of rude. Practice a few feet further back please.

    C) I find expensive lifestyles somewhat distasteful. It’s a childhood hangup I know, but I can’t escape it. Call me a tightwad, but any vehicle or hobby that costs more than $6,000 (yes, including cars) makes me wonder – is that really necessary?

    D) I know there is a heated debate about the benefit to a cyclist of wearing a helmet. I hate helmets. I would much rather feel my hair flying in the wind. But in the off-chance that my helmet on my head might save my husband and my children from a lifetime of feeding me through a tube and changing my diapers as I stare blankly at the wall, I will wear one – for them.

    E) As for riding without hands or shirt, I do both, just not downtown in heavy traffic – I don’t want my boss to see my titties. Everything in moderation!

    So there you have it, for anyone who cares… I know many of you don’t, and that’s OK. Really. I don’t write to gain approval, although it is nice for BIkePortland if you want to read the stuff they post. It’s not my job to worry about what people think of my opinions – they too are just opinions. But if we want to be heard, it is our job to speak up! (I hope that cyclist who almost mowed me down as I biked up SE Clinton Street heard this!) Comment Away!

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    • Mike December 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Quoting Cathy:

      “I find expensive lifestyles somewhat distasteful. It’s a childhood hangup I know, but I can’t escape it. Call me a tightwad, but any vehicle or hobby that costs more than $6,000 (yes, including cars) makes me wonder – is that really necessary?”

      Well… since the editors have cleared you (and by extension, us) to be “edgy” and to chronicle the things that “make what (we) love less pleasant”, then YES, I think it is necessary, even desirable. And YES, you are a tightwad.

      So there you have it, if you care… I know you don’t, and that’s OK. Really. I don’t write to gain approval, although it is nice for BIkePortland if folks stop to think about our “discussion”. It’s not my job to worry about what people think of my opinions – they too are just opinions. But if we want to be heard, it is our job to speak up!

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    • wsbob December 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Cathy…nice work. You seem to have a thick skin…good for expressing provocative ideas that need airing amongst people that would rather not consider such ideas…and thick hair…when it’s long, not so good for wearing bike helmets.

      On arrogance displayed by road users, on bikes, in motor vehicles, etc.: I suppose all people have the potential to be arrogant, though many generally manage to keep that reasonably in check, whatever it is they do.

      The failure or unwillingness on the part of certain road users, to keep their arrogance reasonably in check, is I think what has become a big bone of contention amongst road users…particularly amongst the majority road users that use the road with motor vehicles, with regards to arrogant road users of the vulnerable sort, that…tah-dah!…ride bikes with varying degrees of arrogance and disdain for most any road users but themselves.

      Not every person riding a bike on the road, behaves like an arrogant jerk, and I didn’t gather from your column that you intended anything of the sort. Yet notice the number of bikeportland readers commenting here, that seem to have automatically jumped to the conclusion, without any particular support for it, that this was exactly what you were implying.

      That suggests something seriously missing in their thinking and attitudes, rather than yours.

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      • Scott December 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

        “…without any particular support for it…” – wsbob

        Surely you are not going to comment on people commenting without supporting their points without supporting your point. Are you wsbob? Why is your assumption about her intention any more valid than anyone else’s?

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        • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

          “…Why is your assumption about her intention any more valid than anyone else’s?…” Scott

          I’ve implied no such thing. Re-read her column. You and anyone else, are entitled to draw any conclusion from it you choose, and it seems you have.

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          • Scott December 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

            You responded to a small piece of my comment, as you often do, in an attempt to dodge the question. You stated that people were making comments unsupported by anything other than their opinion and I asked you why your comment was not supported by anything other than your opinion. Why is your comment not supported by anything but your opinion?

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          • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

            “…Surely you are not going to comment on people commenting without supporting their points without supporting your point. …” Scott

            Maybe you understand what you wrote there. I sure don’t, except that it’s kind of funny reading, like Jabberwocky, so I suppose you can count that as some kind of a win. Congratulations!

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            • Scott December 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

              “I sure don’t [understand],…” – wsbob

              Case closed.

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    • pengo December 5, 2013 at 12:59 am

      ProTip: the surest way to produce a piece of writing devoid of “edge” is to attempt to be “edgy”. Referencing “little dicks”, for example, is not “edgy”. Provocation for its own sake is usually boring. I’d probably recommend focusing instead on producing writing that doesn’t lead everyone to wonder “What the hell is she trying to say?”. You may not care what anyone thinks (being a member of the edgy set and all), but coherent writing shouldn’t fall victim to that indifference.

      Also, regarding cycling clothing: Do you not understand what it’s for? Do you just think it looks funny? Are you not aware that a lot of it can be acquired fairly inexpensively? One could buy a pretty impressive amount of gear and not come anywhere near your arbitrary (and somewhat exorbitant considering what we’re talking about here) $6000 threshold for appropriate hobby spending. Maybe you just like to dump on activity appropriate attire (can we also find you down at the bouldering gym snarking at everyone’s stupid little shoes?) but your continued preoccupation is strange coming from a “cycling lifestyle columnist”.

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      • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

        “…
        Provocation for its own sake is usually boring. …” pengo

        For you, apparently not in this case though, because here you’ve gone ahead and written something in response that really is boring. Next time, try to write something that has a little more to offer than anxious sarcasm.

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        • Scott December 5, 2013 at 10:30 am

          “…because here you’ve gone ahead and written something in response that really is boring.” – wsbob

          Some of the old pot calling the kettle black, eh wsbob?

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          • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

            Oh, you must be bored by what I write, but not so bored you can’t resist responding to what I write. Thanks!

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            • Scott December 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm

              Not bored by it, but it was boring to read.

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              • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

                Yet here you are, avidly following what I write. I’m sorry that boredom is all you’re getting out it, but if that’s so, enjoy your boredom!

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                • Scott December 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

                  Don’t flatter yourself wsbob, I am responding to responses in a comment thread. “Avidly” is certainly not a word I would use to describe my feelings at reading your comments.

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        • pengo December 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm

          Will do, Bob. I cooked up a more anodyne version just for you:

          “Your words lead me to believe that while there was a point you were trying to get across, style was prioritized over substance and that point became lost. This often happens when there’s a self-conscious desire to be provocative. You seem to have acknowledged that your piece failed on a basic level, and this may be a large part of the reason for that. You can be clear and coherent while still being ‘beholden to no one’.

          You also appear to hold some very basic misconceptions regarding the utility of athletic attire and your attempt to clarify accomplished the opposite. You cite financial reasons, but don’t seem to know what anything costs. Some of it is expensive, a great deal of it is not. You further don’t seem to understand that most cycling clothing serves a purpose above and beyond broadcasting athletic prowess to the world. Given your acknowledged well paying job, it’s possible that you live a much more expensive lifestyle than somebody who owns a lot more cycling gear than you do. It’s troubling that this needs to be pointed out to someone attempting to be a cycling lifestyle columnist.”

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          • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm

            pengo…better. Not very good, but better. Thanks for the effort!

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            • pengo December 6, 2013 at 12:06 am

              Anytime, champ!

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    • Dweendaddy December 5, 2013 at 6:06 am

      You are crazy to respond to any of these comments.

      As for the helmets, yes, wearing one may (the data are unclear, but it seems to make sense) reduce the chance of you getting a head injury in an accident, which is why they are required in bike and car racing. If you wear one while biking, you should consider wearing one while driving, “in the off-chance that my helmet on my head might save my husband and my children from a lifetime of feeding me through a tube and changing my diapers as I stare blankly at the wall.”

      I love the fury that your column brought about here in virtual Portlandia.

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    • VTRC December 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

      The passing on the right at a 4 way stop has bothered me for a while, but this actually prompted me to go look it up.

      http://www.stc-law.com/bicycle_archive19apr06.html

      It’s perfectly legal and working as intended.

      It frustrates me to see people do it in situations where cars and bikes will pass back and forth over and over. But I guess all I can do as a driver or rider is do it well and safely and hope people learn from the example.

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      • davemess December 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        I consider it one of the perks of being on a bike. I am narrow and don’t take up much road, therefore I can go to the front of the light or stop sign line. I don’t feel bad for cars, they’ll just pass me later down the road because they have a faster max speed than I do. There are pluses and minuses to riding a bike. Not having to wait in long car lines and traffic jams is definitely one of the big pluses. Does that make me arrogant? Not in the least. I’m following the law, and I don’t doubt that pretty much any person stuck in their car would do the same thing if on a bike.

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    • Scott December 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Being sexist is not edgy. It’s boring and backwards.

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    • Kirk December 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Regarding Comment D – bingo! And I sure hope you use that same logic when you get off of your bike and decide to keep that helmet on, as we obviously know all too well that there are great risks when being exposed to cars and just life events in general – when walking on the sidewalk (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/students-hurt-out-of-control-car-queens-article-1.1453331), being inside buildings that are near the street (http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/23550181/2013/09/27/1-killed-after-car-crashes-into-gilbert-spa), going up stairs (http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/03/stairs-are-dangerous-wear-helmet.html). Sometimes I even wear mine to bed, knowing that I could fall several feet and end up with irreversible brain damage (http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/10259200.Man_died_after_falling_out_of_bed_at_Basildon_Hospital/). If you don’t follow that logic, then I guess you must just be arrogant. Not my words.

      But seriously, this is such a frustrating label to have to deal with – sometimes I wear a helmet, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the situation, and if you are a type of person that is going to bike more and drive less primarily because you have a protective shell on your head – then by all means strap that helmet on and get out there on your bike! THAT is what I love seeing, and to me that person is absolutely gorgeous! Talk about a beautiful lifestyle :)

      However, please don’t label others as arrogant for their own personal choices that have absolutely no effect on you. Otherwise it’ll be that much tougher to be able to advance our region’s transportation system to become safer for the community as a whole, such as the Netherlands – who by the way are brimfull with a bunch of arrogant people, apparently (http://www.streetfilms.org/groningen-the-worlds-cycling-city/). Ugh, gross. Yeah, let’s not be like them. Let us instead talk about what other people should dress like so we can all be a uniform ‘bicycle community’ without any individual character. That’ll attract the new ‘interested but concerned’ riders in no time!

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    • spare_wheel December 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

      “Call me a tightwad, but any vehicle or hobby that costs more than $6,000 (yes, including cars) makes me wonder – is that really necessary?”

      I’ve been car-free or car light for decades, I’m vegan, I’ve voluntarily limited my spending to $15K/year for many years, I take energy efficiency to extremes, I share 700 square feet out of choice (not poverty), I avoid jet travel, and I give thousands a year to non-religious and non-governmental NGOs.

      Nevertheless, these choices do not give me the right to piss all over people who eat meat, spend/consume more than I, live in a 1st world inner SE mcmansion, or jet off on vacays. And even if I wanted to criticize these behaviors I’m smart enough to realize that you don’t get much traction by being a judgey hypocrtical @#$%&.

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      • Paul in the 'couve December 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        Thank you! All around. Nice comment.

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    • Jeff M December 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      “I find expensive lifestyles somewhat distasteful.”

      If people don’t adhere to your concept of budgetary constraints, then *they* are the arrogant ones?

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    • 007 December 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Those who ride without hands especially annoy me when they are holding up traffic in the bike lane as we pedal to work. I also do not like following them b.c. I do not want to hit the pavement if they crash in front of me.

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  • NG December 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I love the article and wholeheartedly agree. I am an avid road/mt biker and bike commuter into my downtown clinic and can relate to many of her points. The reckless hipster/fixie contingent riding through downtown helmet-less and poorly illuminated with no regard for traffic laws does nothing to further our cause as cyclists in Portland. Almost daily I find I am defending my choice to ride to people who refer to me as “one of those arrogant cyclists who runs stop signs/lights.” No, I am a law-abiding cyclist with 2 600 lumen headlights, 3 taillights and reflective clothing who has a wife who worries about me commuting through downtown on my bike. As I said, great article with very many valuable points and funny as well.

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  • NG December 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    In response to Sylzak’s comment re: Dutch not wearing helmets, perhaps that is because their infrastructure and judicial system actually supports alternative modes of transportation such as cycling and walking. They have elevated cycle paths, narrow streets designed to curtail speeders in addition to a legal system that actually punishes motorists when they hit walkers/cyclists.

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  • MJ Franck December 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I am not a biker. I admire those who have the physical ability and the dedication to be. But please, bikers, please step back and acknowledge that a lot of people, most of them not bikers, have wonderful and unique talents and toils to contribute to this planet. You are not special. You just happen to have a talent that others don’t have. Maybe you’re not so good at singing opera or climbing mountains or teaching first-graders to read or finding a cure for AIDS. It’s not a contest. We all just do the best we can on the good days.

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    • spare_wheel December 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

      “the best we can [do]” is poisoning and destroying our shared environment.

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    • Chris I December 5, 2013 at 8:18 am

      I think about 90%+ people have the “physical ability” to ride a bike. It’s more of a question of how much time they choose to set aside to ride a bike. Especially with e-bikes now, pretty much anyone can ride. Stop making excuses.

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      • davemess December 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        My thought exactly. Riding a bike doesn’t require some special talent that only a select few inherited through the genetic lottery. I mean, the vast majority of 8 year olds can pick it up pretty quickly.

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        • Alan 1.0 December 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

          So what? Maybe MJ Franck is one who doesn’t fit that 90% bracket. Maybe MJ could ride a trike or a handcycle or something, but then again, maybe not. Do you disagree with MJ’s basic point?

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          • Dimitrios December 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm

            I don’t agree with her point. Yippee. She’s comparing the level of skill or uniqueness of skill required to ride a bike to “singing opera or climbing mountains or teaching first-graders to read or finding a cure for AIDS”.

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            • Dimitrios December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

              Not sure how MJ Frank became a “she”. My subjective subconscious took over. Apologies.

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            • Alan 1.0 December 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

              I take MJ’s point to be that many people have valuable qualities and skills, and I agree. I don’t care for the whole arrogant bicyclist prejudice but I take MJ’s post in that context of Hastie’s article. I don’t think MJ meant those things you quote as equivalent skills to riding a bike, just examples of alternative achievements of worth.

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  • Joe Adamski December 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Seven blind men of Hindustan ( written over 100 years ago, no bias intended) stumbled upon an elephant and each had a different understanding and experience http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Blindmen_and_the_Elephant
    much like our shared experience with cycling. To excoriate Ms Hastie because her experience is not like yours misses that point. It is what we say it is. She simply chose to speak out about her experience.

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  • gracie December 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Oh for heaven’s sake, lighten up, haters!

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  • Kathy December 4, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    The message I got from this article is that all bicyclists are arrogant and that some levels or forms of bike arrogance are okay and others are not. I reject this message. I see all kinds of people riding bicycles for all kinds of purposes, making all kinds of choices. But I don’t presume to know that any of them are arrogant.

    A few months ago, my children–the parents of my grandchildren–prevailed upon me to wear my bike helmet, after I was hit by an unlicensed driver driving a car that he did not own. I did hit my helmet-free head on the pavement when I went down and suffered a MINOR head injury. So I now wear my helmet under duress (spelled with sticker-letters on my helmet). But on those hot, humid, hazy days last summer, sometimes I removed my helmet and took my chances with possible head trauma over certain heat stroke were I to keep the helmet on. Sometimes, when I’m in certain neighborhoods or on certain streets, or on our city’s half mile of protected bike lane, I ride without the helmet.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate December 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    An article seemingly custom built to stoke the fires on Bike Portland. I’m not arrogant, I just want to get to work and back home in one piece. Very hard to be arrogant on my bicycle when I can so easily be taken out by the flick of a steering wheel.

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  • Mike H December 4, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I thought I was reading an article in The Oregonian for a second.

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  • V$ December 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Preach!!!

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  • Erin December 5, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I often don’t wear a helmet while riding. It’s not because of arrogance, but because I don’t wish to perpetuate a culture of fear. When I wear a helmet, I send a message to others that cycling is dangerous. That fear might preclude some from ever trying out cycling. It is my desire that everyone give active transportation a try when possible; helmets simply do not work toward that end.

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    • Todd Hudson December 5, 2013 at 8:13 am

      “Should this read “underlying health conditions”? I’m ok with either, but I thought we used the term underlying health conditions…”
      Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman!

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    • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

      “…When I wear a helmet, I send a message to others that cycling is dangerous. …” Erin

      Then take that expression of fear off your face when you’re riding, because it’s certainly not use of bike helmets that’s conveying a message that cycling is dangerous. Upon those using them, bike helmets convey a sense of good judgment and responsibility taken.

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      • 9watts December 5, 2013 at 10:18 am

        “because it’s certainly not use of bike helmets that’s conveying a message that cycling is dangerous.”

        have you considered that to some people (those who drive, walk, take showers without helmets, to name just a few) it is possible to draw the conclusion that somehow biking is uniquely dangerous because of all those activities it is the only one where helmets are mandated, considered necessary, etc.?

        all those activities’ dangers fall on a scale, yet no one is seriously proposing that people who engage in them wear helmets.

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      • Scott December 5, 2013 at 10:59 am

        “Then take that expression of fear off your face when you’re riding…” – wsbob

        Do you know Erin? This seems like an unsupported presumption that is not based in reality.

        “…bike helmets convey a sense of good judgment and responsibility taken.” – wsbob

        Also, completely unsupported and based solely on what you think.

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        • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 11:38 am

          Erin is probably a nice enough girl, but she provided the support for my gently chiding response, by making a direct statement that when she’s wearing a bike helmet, she’s sending a message that biking is dangerous:

          “…When I wear a helmet, I send a message to others that cycling is dangerous. …”

          She didn’t say it was the helmet that was sending the message. She said it was herself that was sending the message.

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          • Scott December 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

            “Erin is probably a nice enough girl,…” – wsbob

            “Erin”‘s statement is gender neutral. Why have you decided that the poster is female? Am I missing something?

            “She said it was herself that was sending the message.” – wsbob

            By wearing a helmet, not because of a facial expression.

            “you can get busy and go find the majority support you seem to think exists for the contrary opinion, if that’s what you think you need.” – wsbob

            I know plenty of people that ride without helmets on both motorcycles and bicycles. If this is opinion only, based on personal perception, you will need to present data supporting your assertion of majority support for helmets.

            Recommended Thumb up 6

        • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

          Sorry, didn’t respond to your second claim:

          “…”…bike helmets convey a sense of good judgment and responsibility taken.” – wsbob

          Also, completely unsupported and based solely on what you think.” Scott

          Not based solely on what I think, but also upon what many thousands of people in our area, in Oregon, and millions of people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, also think. But you don’t have to take my word for it…you can get busy and go find the majority support you seem to think exists for the contrary opinion, if that’s what you think you need.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Kirk December 5, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Why you gotta be so arrogant – thinking of the overall safety of a community before your own personal safety? ;)

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  • J_R December 5, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I enjoyed the article/opinion piece. Some of you commenters take things far too seriously.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • q`Tzal December 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Perhaps if this “article” was hosted on The Onion we might be taking it less seriously. It wasn’t; it was on Bikeportland.org which as far as I know has a ZERO story track record satirical drivel. Our comments are filled with excrement and diamonds, stand-up and diatribes, on a daily basis but the site posted articles show the skill and craftsmanship that journalism school teaches.
      That seems to be missing here.

      If Bikeportland.org is going to start posting Onion-like satire we could stand to be warned first if the website is switching formats from news to entertainment.

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  • bobcycle December 5, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I ride quite a bit, and don’t run into many arrogant cyclists. There are a few but they are the minority and hardly worth commenting about. Thinking of all the cyclists out there that do so much good would have made an interesting write for your lifestyle columnist. I read a bit as well and lately am troubled by those arrogant authors who throw their opinions around willy nilly with no care as to how it effects others.

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  • Oregon Mamacita December 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

    “My transportation choice IS healthier, quieter, smaller, cleaner, funner – better! Arrogance is knowing that, without a doubt, my way is the best way. And sometimes, I am right.”

    Gee Cathie, what the heck were you thinking by writing lines like that?
    In a previous article, you claimed that the new light rail bridge was “a bridge for me.” This article is the very picture of liberal white privilege.
    I too have had lucky breaks in life, but try not to gloat, and I try to be sensitive to the folks who had less luck and must struggle more.

    Many people contribute to society in different ways.
    This elevation of biking to a great civic virtue is… just sad.

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    • Bill Walters December 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Given this, the lifestyle vs. opinion dilemma and the author’s own response comment: Maybe Hastie just needs to be recast in somewhat the style of Howard Beale.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Joe December 5, 2013 at 8:44 am

    hahahah to funny

    Dabby
    Wait, I do think it is funny to imagine cyclists spending a bunch of money on, then wearing, “Members Only” jackets to ride around town.
    But she certainly was not referring to 80′s Member’s Only Jackets, so it quickly is not funny again.
    Recommended 6

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  • Joe December 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

    can you move over so I can hang my bike please.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Dave December 5, 2013 at 8:55 am

    For those of you making a case for why you wear helmets, I hope you see that your very reasonable commenting is diametrically opposed to the statement “the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet”. Nobody is saying you shouldn’t wear a helmet, or that you are irrational for wearing one, but the statement “the king of arrogance is the biker without a helmet” is just so beyond crazy that I don’t even know where to start.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • Zoe December 5, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Judging from the outcry, I think a little bit of self-reflection in the community might be in order. Cathy’s comments have more than a bit of hyperbole (not my style), but for the most part, I was with her until the helmet comment. I disagree with her on that point, as I think that’s a personal choice [and I think our bike infrastructure should be made safer and should be separated, so that we don't need helmets a la Denmark (where I used to live) or the Netherlands.]

    I think there’s a demographic/generational element at work in her column and the responses that no one’s really picked up on. I’m an older female and an occasional cycling commuter who otherwise takes transit. One of the reasons I did not enjoy my cycling commute that much (on the Eastbank Esplanade and downtown) was the cyclists on the Esplanade (usually in logo-covered clothing) who would not yield when their direction was blocked and instead would come straight at me, forcing me to brake suddenly. Or those who would pass me unsafely (too close, on the right, no heads’ up.)

    If cyclists obey the laws and treat those of us who are outside your (overwhelmingly young and/or male) demographic like we belong on the road with you, maybe some may not be so apt to call you arrogant. (And if you don’t like the laws, then work to change them – I’ll be right along side you!) Plus, we know you’re faster than us and you’ll pass us – that’s not the point! — it’s how you demonstrate your prowess. If you’re faster, be the big person and pass safely, being considerate of the slower/older/younger. On an aside, I think cycling should be made/viewed as a “normal” part of life for everyone, as in Northern Europe, and should not be a “culture” in and of itself. One of the downsides of promoting cycling as a culture is that those outside it may be more quick to associate [bad] individual behavior with the collective. I would argue that a culture of arrogance is one that the cycling community (which I’m part of) does not want to be associated with. This should be a wake-up call to that effect (that one of our own is calling us on the carpet) rather than an opportunity to squelch other perspectives that differ from the majority’s.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • spare_wheel December 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      “If cyclists obey the laws and treat those of us who are outside your (overwhelmingly young and/or male) demographic…”

      *ageist
      *sexist
      *authoritarian

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  • JonathanR December 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Amen, Cathy. Most of us follow the rules; the few arrogant idiots give the rest of us an undeserved bad reputation.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • davemess December 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      See you misread the piece. Cathy thinks that MOST of us are the arrogant ones.

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  • Clarence December 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Okay, what is wrong with shirtless?

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • q`Tzal December 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      We don’t look near as sexy as we think we do. Too many look nauseating.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • 007 December 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      fat hairy blubber

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  • Erik December 5, 2013 at 10:10 am

    this article does nothing to move “urban cycling” forward, in any way.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Jonathan Gordon December 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Call me a tightwad, but any vehicle or hobby that costs more than $6,000 (yes, including cars) makes me wonder – is that really necessary?

    I sometimes do things that aren’t necessary but sure are fun!

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  • Ciaran December 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

    After more reflection, I think this “article” really just suffers from two basic problems:

    (1) Miscategorization. This is an opinion piece and should have been labeled as such. It is not a lifestyle column.

    (2) Lack of Clarity. Effective opinion pieces should never leave you guessing as to what the author’s point is. Here, Cathy comments and admits that her writing left people wondering “What is she trying to say?” That’s a failure. Even once Cathy attempts to clairfy what it is she is trying to say, she has a laudry list of four points, some more developed than others.

    Next time, Cathy, pick one: Write a piece about why you wear a helmet. Write a piece about “rude” behavior by people on bikes. Write a piece about “expensive lifestyles”. Write a piece about riding without a shirt. Or write a piece about riding with no hands.

    But what you wrote (and what BikePortland chose to publish as a column rather than as an opinion piece) is just a jumbled mess of ideas. Instead of provoking informed debate about your opinions in any sort of ordered way, you lost credibility, muddle the issues, and instead of intelligent discussion, we get 170+ comments that are criticisms of you, rather than discussion of the issues.

    Do better next time.

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    • JonathanR December 5, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Cathy:
      Next time, please write as simplistically and dumbed-down as possible, so that Ciaran can follow it without really having to think.

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      • Ciaran December 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

        JonathanR
        Cathy:
        Next time, please write as simplistically and dumbed-down as possible, so that Ciaran can follow it without really having to think.
        Recommended 1

        It’s always best to use the simplest language capable of accurately communicating your ideas.

        Cathy’s writing fails to communicate her ideas. As a result, readers have had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it is Cathy was trying to say, rather than thinking about what they think of her ideas. Ineffective communication–as exemplified by Cathy’s column–does not serve the author or the reader well.

        I love writing that makes me think…about the author’s actual ideas. But I despise writing that forces me to think about the writer’s lack of skill.

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  • wsbob December 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

    “…Thinking of all the cyclists out there that do so much good would have made an interesting write for your lifestyle columnist. …” bobcycle

    Fine, except it seems that about 90 percent of what bikeportland publishes is that type of thing. Not enough focus is directed towards acknowledging and changing the behavior of people on their bikes in traffic, that are mucking up efforts to bring biking about as a more common, practical means of transportation.

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  • Clarence Eckerson December 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Ciaran, just don’t write a piece about riding without a shirt. It will make me mad. And then I’ll cry.

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    • Ciaran December 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      I don’t plan to. But if a “lifestyle” columnist wanted to write about riding without a shirt in the context, say, of WNBR or of exploring the injustice of society prescribing different acceptable levels of public nudity for each gender, that *could* make for an interesting read.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Joe December 5, 2013 at 10:48 am

    bicycle rights :)

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  • ChamoisKreme December 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    and then BikePortland got Bike Snob NYC’d…. good to see he included my points about local industry…

    http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/12/inside-450-nearly-identical-and.html

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  • Mike December 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Methinks after 200+ comments that Fonzie is starting to line up his water skis…

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Alan 1.0 December 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      That happened on December 4th, 2013 at 10:23 am.

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  • Tom December 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    It APPEARS that some confused mod doesn’t like my posts on this subject. I submit posts that go immediately to “awaiting moderation” ..then they “go away” .
    This is interesting as my posts are much milder than many that are published. weird.

    Are potential posts scanned by NAME, IP address or key word scanned ? Are certain posters tagged to be approved before posting ?
    What is BP so scared of ?

    I’ll be amazed if this goes through and is still up tomorrow.

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    • q`Tzal December 6, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Yes on all.

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  • gutterbunnybikes December 5, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Cathy Hastie —Andy Kaufman would be proud…(I think— just like most of Andy Kaufmans stunts).

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  • TOM December 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    q`Tzal
    Yes on all.

    I posted this afternoon on the Cold Weather thread that C.H.’s ears must be warm , and it did post. But then a couple of minutes later it was gone.

    I **think** that JM is a stand up guy and wouldn’t do this CS editing/deleting , but dunno ??

    Posting on other subjects go thru fine.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • q`Tzal December 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Despite repeated requests over the years Bikeportland steadfastly adheres to a policy of treating the comment moderation system as an evil Pandora’s Box that never is to be touched.
      Even when asked directly for any indication of what consistently will get a comment rejected JM & friends keep silent. It would seem they enjoy the ambiguity.

      We know that if a you get a comment removed it seems to put you on a mandatory screening list for some period of time, like a day or so. So too for some profanity and some innocuous keywords. If you are a consistent agitator of the staff or tr011 the comments in a particularly big0ted manner you can get on long term list that automatically drops your comments in moderation hell.

      But nothing is solid because they won’t explain anything on the topic ever.

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    • q`Tzal December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Also it seems to key in on names of past offenders, possibly to avoid a fl@m3 war.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kristi Finney-Dunn December 7, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I wish I were as “thick-skinned” as Cathy. I wish I felt like I had any protective skin at all right now. If I were smart, I’d probably wait till morning to write anything. But instead, I’m going to admit that one small paragraph has me feeling protective of my dead son and victimized all over again. “Was he wearing a helmet?” was the first question of most media when Dustin was killed by an underage, drunk, hit-and-run driver who slammed into two people in the bike lane. He wasn’t, so many people voiced that he “kind of asked for it.” Two years later I feel like I’m hearing the same thing again. But I admit, I’m still tremendously sensitive after suffering the worst devastation of my life. I’m angry about it still, too. And I am happy that Dustin was riding just as he wanted to in his last moments of life before being killed by an injury no helmet could minimize: whiplash. (But please wear a helmet, it CAN help in some cases, like with the other rider who was “clipped”).

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  • Duncan December 7, 2013 at 7:06 am

    wow I guess that means that The Netherlands is a country filled with arrogant cyclists?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • mike December 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a lil’.

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  • 007 December 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Arrogance is ignorance matured.

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  • TJ December 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    This city has many types of cyclist. I salute the all-weather commuters, value the camaraderie of our club rides, cheer for our local racers, applaud our weekend fitness warriors, join in on the adventures, and appreciate the sanity freak-bikes bring to our culture. Sure, some styles are faster, seemingly more reckless, and less clothed than other, but let’s not compare cycling on the whole to cars by way of transportation. There’s room on our streets to play via bike (with appropriate caution and respect). There’s no room for arrogance. A lifestyle voice of cyclists in this city should not be the pretentious, middle-aged, close-in, well-to-do job, liberal commuter…, unless he or she can recognize the value and necessity of all lifestyles supported by bikes. This includes the desperate and the free-wheeling. Cathy’s reckless piece deserves a proper, complete response. Maybe there were some good points, but they were lost in Cathy’s misunderstanding, blanket disrespect of anyone who doesn’t use a 35lb sled to commute three miles to work, and opinionated contradictions: “the ambiguity bicycles are afforded in respect to sidewalks, driveways, streets and bike lanes. If I can ride on it safely, I will”. -Your safe isn’t everyone’s safe.

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