Bikes vs. Cars: How to end the war before it starts

[Stop polarizing]

A local TV station recently ran a news segment on the notoriously tricky I-5 bike path. A bicyclist was interviewed. He sometimes has a rough commute, though overall he seemed fit and cheery and enjoyed his choice of transportation.

For some reason, the words “Bikes vs Cars” blared on the corner of the screen throughout the segment.

“Bikes vs Cars:” You hear it everywhere, though, particularly since the Randy Albright case against TriMet became public. One can question whether it’s anything more than a sound byte, but the idea certainly has galvanized media commentators and much of their audience, as we found during the 95.5 fiasco.

It’s partly a natural process of media trying to grasp an emerging subject, and partly a byproduct of the anger and fear felt on the roads every day by motorists and cyclists alike.

The idea that we’re angry, we’re organized, and we’re at war against cars is not entirely ludicrous –in fact, it is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, as media coverage of this “war” (alongside the sheer critical mass caused by the growing number of cyclists on the road and the prominence of organized “bike fun” and other events) causes more and more cyclists to search for resources, information, and community.

sharing the road

Colonial powers have long typecast oppressed populations as savage, lawless, aggressive, and naturally disorderly — a stereotype often internalized or even embraced by colonized people themselves — and thus justified use of genuinely brutal behavior in the name of education and control.

Not to overstate the comparison, but it often seems like nearly everyone—even die-hard cyclists—demands that bicyclists must be held equally accountable, if not fully responsible, for all traffic dangers and carnage. But the real threat to public safety is surely some combination of the over-use, high speed, and unsafe operation of motor vehicles, and the laws, culture, and planning that encourage this to continue. The few examples I’ve heard of actual dangers posed by cyclists are extremely tenuous. The rhetorical tack of blaming cyclists is predictable, but counterproductive.

We’re not at war. Yet. And as of yet, nobody’s at war with us. Quite the opposite — as our numbers grow and we become an expected presence on the road, crashes involving bikes decrease. But as we gain visibility, the threat of polarization looms.

We need to quickly rewrite the “Bikes vs Cars” dichotomy if we’re to avoid our daily commutes becoming like a violent video game of the same name. As cyclists, we will gain peace on the roads (and more fellow-cyclists) much more effectively if we refuse to use—and argue against—divisive language.

seen in Beaverton

In the popular imagination, bikes will always lose against cars because we’re smaller, lighter, and fewer in number. People use the same unsavory vocabulary to talk about car wrecks; in a crash with an SUV, a smaller car always “loses.” Let’s not be losers, ourselves.

We should emphasize unity, and deflect all attempts to categorize cyclists separately. Point out that we’re all pedestrians, even if we’re just walking from our car (or bike) to a store. I like to refer to people rather than machines. “Bicyclists vs motorists” takes the teeth out of any vision of conflict, particularly since so many people are both.

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Richard
Richard
16 years ago

OK Jonathan, I can’t resist. I have to make a few points.

1. Typecasting oppressed populations. It’s not just colonial powers that do that. It’s most majorities. It’s very easy, if you are in the majority, to believe that you are right, and everyone else is wrong. You see this type of behavior everywhere, and it forms the basis of modern US politics.
2. Cyclists (and everybody else) must be held accountable for obeying the rules of the road, not dangers or carnage. Cyclists should look out for dangers – if they want to live.
3. US society has started a period of transition when it comes to transport. In addition to oil prices, we have problems with gridlock, overweight / lack of exercise and environmental quality. The proportion of bikes, busses and other transport alternatives will increase. If you’re driving to work, you’re already late because of some traffic jam, than a cyclist holding you up is the last straw.
4. So, we need to work to make this transition as smooth as possible, without getting folks killed. This could be done in four ways.
– Ensure that everyone knows the rules of the road, and are encouraged to follow them. Those public service ads can help a lot here.
– Ensure that transportation infrastructure supports various modes of transport. It doesn’t do a good job now, since we’re had 50 years of development into a totally car centric culture.
– Provide incentives to folks to use alternative ways of getting around
– design cities / communities so that you don’t have to drive to get where you need to go.
5. Extreme behavior does not solve problems. It creates opposing camps that end up fighting a war, and not communicating. Take a look at middle east politics if you want an example of the effectiveness of extreme behavior on solving problems. For that matter, look at the fixie / brake debacle.

Michael
Michael
16 years ago

Converging transportation issues indicate that the future of how the streets are used will be different than how they are used today. Private vehicles will likely be smaller and fewer. Bikes, motorbikes, pedestrians, mass transit vehicles, etc. are likely to eventually eclipse the now pervasive private automobile.

Basic transportation is an essential element of the quality of life. How we plan now for it’s future, which clearly will include many bikes, is essential to an orderly transition and ultimate success. The world outside the US includes many models of transportation we should learn from. Some are outstanding, and some are horrible.

It is appropriate that our local media participate in the discussion. It is revealing how they choose to frame the issue, and we should use every opportunity to help steer them toward reason and consideration for the safety and civility of all.

Doug
Doug
16 years ago

“The few examples I’ve heard of actual dangers posed by cyclists are extremely tenuous. The rhetorical tack of blaming cyclists is predictable, but counterproductive.”

I am of the opinion that until we are willing to take responsibility for the dangers we pose when breaking the rules of the road (i.e. blowing lights and stop signs) we will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the general public.

Richard
Richard
16 years ago

As an example of dangers posed by cyclists (or more accurately, people on bikes), I encounter someone riding the wrong way in the bike lane at least once every two days. I have to move out into the traffic lane to avoid these folks. They’re riding the wrong way, and I get to take the risks. I usually have a few words, not that it does any good.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
16 years ago

Doug: Good point – I wholeheartedly concur. The unwillingness of some cyclists to obey basic traffic laws seems to be the source of motorists’ anger towards us.

Amsterdam is cited as a model for Portland to emulate, where cars and bikes co-exist peacefully. I have cycled in Amsterdam and for the most part, cyclists there follow the same laws that autos do. Lights on bikes are required and the law is strictly enforced. They do not run red lights. Many, many cyclists in Portland ignore those same laws that exist here.

Whether or not we like cars, we must recognize that they are a (major) part of the transportation picture. If we don’t all follow the same rules, the deaths, anger and frustration will only increase.

peder horner
16 years ago

Good blog post. I totally agree. It is imperative that cyclists maintain a high moral ground by obeying all traffic laws. Every day I see another cyclist blow through a stop sign or stoplight, fail to signal, or simply cut off cars when the car had the right-away.

Motorists remember these instances and will be less forgiving in the future when they encounter a cyclist. We must police outselves in this way – if we don’t, this will lead to increased policing by others.

I understand that judgement may be used where appropriate. For example, some stop-lights are motion-activated, and a cyclist often doesn’t “trip” the light. In cases like these, where no car is available to change the light direction, it’s probably ethically justified to stop and safely proceed through the light.

Gregg
Gregg
16 years ago

Richard in post 1: Just an FYI, Elly wrote this one, not Jonathon.

Richard
Richard
16 years ago

Opps.. I’m so used to Jonathon posting stuff that I didn’t think to check. Sorry Jonathon.

Nick
Nick
16 years ago

I have doubts about our ability to change the behavior of those cyclists who zip through stops, ignore red lights, pass on the left (then turn left on red), weave around slower cyclists without verbal warnings, etc.

Perhaps if a selfish cyclist hears every single other cyclist tell her/him to quit with the bike *ssholery, maybe it will make an impression.

My guess is that these cyclists will increasingly be in the minority if our numbers continue to grow. Very few people have the combination of strength, speed, and selfishness to pull these stunts. That should help.

I agree that if a motorist sees only a few of these cyclists doing their thing per week, it tends to color us all. We cannot escape it.

Elly
Elly
16 years ago

Truly aggressive, lawless cyclists are a tiny minority. As for the rest of people who blow through stop signs, go the wrong way, etc, heroic education efforts are underway, and more would be a good thing.

But my point here isn’t about how we should ride, but how we should think of ourselves as a community. Every time cyclists as a group are criticized, or this Bikes Vs Cars trope is used, we hear a huge number of cyclists’ voices in response distancing themselves from those “other,” “bad” cyclists, and talking about the need to make ourselves look good to drivers by obeying the laws to a tee. In other words, we believe this stereotype that most cyclists are reckless scofflaws (ourselves excepted, of course). And we feed it.

This attitude creates polarization within the bike community and doesn’t really address the issues at hand. Instead of looking for scapegoats at the margins of the cycling community, we need to address the major problems that make the roads dangerous for everyone, not just for us.

And we should reach out to reckless cyclists rather than demonizing them. Before I got involved in shift, I didn’t know how to ride safely, either. I rode badly, but not on purpose.

It would be useful to this end as well to think outside the box on stop signs. There’s more than just two ways to treat them.

Michael
Michael
16 years ago

Motor Machismo – This was an endlessly fascinating topic throughout a recent visit to Peru.

The users of the Peruvian roads/streets are many, ranging from humans on foot to trucks and buses. The rule, if there is one rule of the road there, is might begets right. Whatever else, the bigger user gets the full and unquestioned right of way. Humans give up all rights entirely to motorcycles, then to taxis, then to private cars, then to trucks, then buses. (Bicycles were nearly absent in the locales I visited.) Even with plenty of notice, no vehicle will so much as swerve if there is a human in their way. They will not even stop at stop signs to allow a human to cross. It is insane! My spouse was very narrowly missed by a bus that could have, should have, clearly seen her as she (mistakenly in Peru) entered a crosswalk in a manner that would be completely safe and legal here.

It is completely and utterly backwards from a rational order. On the road, larger vehicles crowd out smaller the same way. They cross lanes to turn, they run red lights and stop signs with abandon. Not even the immediate presence of police makes any difference. (It is getting that way here, too.) Somehow it seems to work, but it seems only by a the barest margin.

We saw the aftermath of a minor scrape outside our hotel window where the traffic criss crosses through a busy intersection without stopping and only sometimes slowing. The result was the two drivers were out of their cars screaming bloody murder at each other. It devolved into a pushing match and I expected fists, or even knives or guns were soon to appear, but they did not. The doorman at the hotel watched with mild interest. It seemed that is just how it goes here.

At home, here in Portland, we used to have a very civilized manner of driving with care and courtesy, years ago. It has edged a bit towards the chaotic manner that is seen in Peru in a very exaggerated form. Is that really the direction we want to go? I think that without some effort to curtail this entropic devolution then a gradual shift in this direction is inevitable. Yuck.

Bikeybunnygirl
Bikeybunnygirl
16 years ago

A very interesting and compelling editorial, Elly … but I wonder why the comments that follow break down into the same-old/same-old rhetoric of “nothing is going to change until bad bicyclists change their behavior.”

There’s got to be some decent way to cry “bullsh*t!” on that one. It’s long overdue. Last week I read a really encouraging article in the SF Chronicle about how San Francisco is getting ready to make some sweeping changes to city streets that will allow bike lanes to be marked on streets where they’ve never existed before. The story followed the traditional back-and-forth between “both” sides of the
issue, then it quoted someone (yawn, here we go again) about how the public might be more supportive of bicycles sharing the city streets if only cyclists didn’t have such a reputation of being rude, cutting off motorists. etc.

And all I could think of while reading that is — wait a minute, wasn’t it just two weeks ago that someone in an SUV went on a murderous rampage of running down pedestrians and cyclists all over the city because he was in a bad mood? And aren’t car accidents the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 38? And don’t people drive drunk ALL THE TIME and kill innocent people behind the wheel EVERY hour of every day all over the world?

Where is the “con” argument against making roads safer for cars where someone is quoted saying “If only car drivers weren’t so prone to going on killing rampages with their cars, maybe we voters would pass more laws that would making using the streets safer for everyone.”

Mind you, I agree through-and-through that cyclists should follow the rules much more than they do. But we can’t keep letting THAT be the focus of any and every conversation that is broached on the topic of how to improve safety for cyclists. So on a very pro-bike forum like this, cyclists are blaming other cyclists for not following the rules of the road … and Paris Hilton was just quoted all over the news stating that her recent arrest for DUI “was nothing.”

And the American public is all too willing to acccept BOTH of those scenarios. DUI is “nothing” but those gul-durn cyclists really need to watch themselves …

Help! It makes no sense! And people participating in local forums like this only seem to perpetuate the “if only bicyclists would …” myth. If that “if only” holds so much truth, why don’t we organize a local treaty of sorts. We bicyclists hereby swear we’ll ride on our best behavior for one full year, and — since everyone everywhere says if WE change, they’ll be more willing to help! — at the end of that year no one will ever drive drunk again, or go on a killing rampage with their car, or drag race down a wet street doing 80 in a 35 mph zone … or …

See? Moot point. There is no “if only we behaved better” … that’s not why bikes are disrespected on roads. Bikes are disrespected here because American culture in general respects obvious signs of wealth and “superiority” — and we all know that doesn’t cross over into the realms of “moral wealth” or physical/healthful superiority.

I know this rant won’t change anything, but please — just stop blaming bikes for everything that’s wrong with biking in Portland. It doesn’t add up.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
16 years ago

BikeBunnyGirl: I understand where you’re coming from. But, I guess I’m pretty pragmatic about this issue.

I am both a motorist and a cyclist, living in SE Portland. I am very conscious about looking out for cyclists and pedestrians. But I have had countless close calls with cyclists while driving in my car. These range from cyclists running stop signs and red lights, to riding at night with no lights, to riding the wrong way down one way streets. Each of these close calls makes me angry, because I know I’m doing all I can to be a responsible traveler. I should be able to expect the same from cyclists. I can only imagine the reaction by non-cycling motorists. Stories such as the recent one from Seattle where the cyclist knocked a pedestrian under a bus, killing her, only reinforce a negative image.

Motorists outnumber cyclists 95 to 5 (or so.) We are not on an equal footing with automobiles. We are a minority and as such, need to build credibility among the general motoring public. Until we do so, we’re going to be fighting a losing battle.

chris
chris
16 years ago

I don’t know…i’m with bikebunnygirl. all the good cycling behavior in the world is not what is going to make the streets safer for cyclists.

that said i think blowing stop signs (when unreasonable and unsafe), riding lightless and wrong way biking are a few things i wish folks would stop doing.

revphil
16 years ago

hellyea BBGrl, that is some hot bikelove posting!

The way this issue was broken down for me by the godfather of portland cycling, Fred Nemo.

And it went something like this:

It is among our greatest double standards, that a driver will harass a biker for safely breaking a law (eg treating a red light like a stop sign) and then drive 10 mph over the speed limit because “everyone else is”.

One action affects only the safety of the biker in question. If she makes it though the intersection without incident the result is she may have been able to escape some fumes from idling cars for a moment {one of my most treasured pleasures).

The other action results in frequent crashes and injury.

But for my part, I really don’t care if drivers are breaking speed limits on the Freeway. I trust I trust people to save themselves more than I trust cops.

Because a law that requires me to sit and breath toxic fumes “for my safety” is stupid, and people who cant deal with individual responsibility are stupid too.

revphil
16 years ago

Ele B, this is a brilliant essay. The media want this so bad… their ability to sell exciting news depends on this kind of hype.

Clearly being an organized and mobilized group will help us bully the media into better behavior. Jasun’s persistence helped make the 95.5 crew wary of painting a target on bikers. But I would like something that is more pro-active than nagging shock jocks when they step out of line.

We cant really expect much help with the mass media. Not until our adds pay their salaries. I suggest that we develop our 30 second spiel for drivers who are stuck in traffic and could either be pissed off at all the bikes or encouraged to join them by being talked to and made to see how the escaping the confines of an auto allow for true community building.

If you are hosting a ride consider having a flyer for the driver who asks what is going on. Take those 30 seconds to reach out, let them know how sexy bikes are.

mechanic Mark
mechanic Mark
16 years ago

I agree with Bikeybunnygirl and revphil; obeying traffic laws (which were written with cars in mind) won’t win us the respect we crave. The crux of the issue is that bikes are not cars and laws are made so that people won’t be forced to make decisions for themselves.

There are many obvious differences between a bicycle and a two-ton motor vehicle. One is self-powered and one is human powered. The fact that a driver can accelerate a couple of tons of steel with just a twitch of the ankle makes it easy to behave inappropriately. It fuels the ego to have “control” of that much power. A bike rider has to make a conscious and determined effort to go fast. A driver merely has to think about it to make it happen.

Operating a motor vehicle requires that the operator be licensed by the state and carry liability insurance. No such demands are placed on cyclists (nor should they be), because there is so much less liability. There’s a huge difference in the amount of damage possible between a twenty pound bike and a three thousand pound car.

If we didn’t have traffic laws, people would be forced to make many complicated decisions regarding what is safe and what isn’t, and they would have to accept responsibility for the consequences of these decisions. Most folks don’t want to do that, and some are just too stupid to be trusted. So we have traffic laws. Now you don’t have to decide for yourself. Just follow the letter of the law and whatever else happens, you’ll be spared responsibility. No messy decisions to make. Simple enough for even stupid people.

Doug
Doug
16 years ago

I knew it was a matter of time before people started making excuses about bikers breaking the law:

1) “…that said i think blowing stop signs (when unreasonable and unsafe)…”

2) “It is among our greatest double standards, that a driver will harass a biker for safely breaking a law (eg treating a red light like a stop sign) and then drive 10 mph over the speed limit because ‘everyone else is’.”

3) “…obeying traffic laws (which were written with cars in mind) won’t win us the respect we crave.”

1) Whether or not it seems unreasonable or unsafe, blowing stop signs and lights is against the law, as such the rules of the road should always be followed.

2) And in my opinion it is an equally great double-standard in the biking community that we expect motorists to follow every law to the letter while we break laws as we see fit because we feel we know what’s safe. When a motorist gets tagged for driving 10 miles over I know you think he deserves it, when a cyclist gets ticketed for blowing a traffic light what do you think?

3) Perhaps one reason why people are quick to blame cyclists in a collision is because they see them very visibly breaking the law regularly. I bike commute to work and I see cyclists blowing lights downtown and weaving in and out of traffic every day. Don’t think this doesn’t make an impression on people. It’s not simply about craving respect, it’s about being on the right side of the law 100% of the time. If I saw a car blow a light (even if there was nobody coming from any direction) I’d go ballistic. I hope you would too. Cyclists should be held to the same standard until such time as the law is changed.

peder horner
16 years ago

Revphil: Good points. I happened to be in in my car during rush hour a few weeks ago and began laughing hysterically as the radio announcer said, “This traffic report was brought to you by River City Bicycles.”

FANTASTIC! Kudos to the River City folks for creatively using some advert money.

pushkin
pushkin
16 years ago

How many collisions occur when the cyclist blows a light or splits a lane? I have never been in a crash due to splitting lanes or California-stopping. However, I was hit by a car who turned the wrong way down a one way street and hit by another who turned into the bike lane without looking in the rearview, plus countless buzzings when I rode close to the shoulder. As an aside, I think many of these buzzings occur b/c drivers put themselves in the center of the lane instead of their car, thereby straddling the shoulder line or getting ridiculously close to it, and they don’t realize they are doing it. If you drive you see it all the time on the freeway and the suburban streets.
So perception of cyclists is one thing when it comes to getting motorists on your side politically, but lacking on their part when it comes to safety of cyclists.
I will continue to break the law and flow through traffic because for the thousands of miles I ride each year it is safer than obeying the law and harboring the assumption that motorists will “respect” me for it.
BBgirl and revphil got it right. The few motorists who think we are dorks will continue to do so regardless of whether or not I tip-toe through the bike lane and genuflect at every stop sign.

Curt Dewees
Curt Dewees
16 years ago

Elly Blue, great piece, thanks for writing and posting it. I’m curious–did you send this piece to the news producers and/or the station manager at KATU, Channel 2 TV and let them know of your concerns? If so, what was their reaction? If not, maybe you should consider sending this to the TV folks and ask for their response. I’m curious as to how they would respond.

Thanks,

mechanic Mark
mechanic Mark
16 years ago

“If I saw a car blow a light (even if there was nobody coming from any direction) I’d go ballistic. I hope you would too. Cyclists should be held to the same standard until such time as the law is changed.”

If I see someone else break a traffic law, and it doesn’t inconvenience or endanger anyone, I let it go. It pains me to see drivers get all bent out of shape when a cyclist rolls a stop sign or a light. They get all “ballistic” (road rage, anyone?) even if the cyclist’s behavior doesn’t affect them.

Cyclists should not be held to the same standards because bikes are NOT cars.

Randy
Randy
16 years ago

I’d like to know who all these saintly cyclists are who make a full stop at every stop sign they encounter, because I know a lot of responsible cyclists, and none of them do this. Personally, I think they are either a bunch of hypocrites, or non-cycling trolls.

aaron hayes
aaron hayes
16 years ago

This is interesting debate!

The simple truth is we ALL break the letter of the law constantly in both cars and on bikes- be it speeding, cali stops, changing lanes w/o signaling, etc.

Its just that some violations are not so noticable(speeding on the fwy) and some are VERY noticable(blowing red lights at busy intersections)

SKiDmark
SKiDmark
16 years ago

Cars run lights at intersections too. I know this because my last motorcycle accident was a car running a light in front of me, sending me over the handlebars and across the hood of the car. I got to go for a nice little ride in an ambulance too.

Now, consider the reverse of the situation. A bicycle runs a light and hit a car. Who is going to the hospital, the cyclist or the person in the car? My guess is the person in the car won’t be hurt by the bicycle t-boning them.

Basically if a cyclist runs a light they are likely to be the only person endangered. If a car runs a light, they will likely endanger someone else.

Matt Picio
16 years ago

Mechanic Mark said:
“Cyclists should not be held to the same standards because bikes are NOT cars.”

Neither are trucks, scooters or motorcycles. They should be held to the same standards because they are *vehicles* and because they drive on roads.

I think they should still be held to the same standards, but that the penalties should reflect the dangers imposed by breaking the law (re: Jasun’s fines based on vehicle mass)

Randy – I am one of the “saintly cyclists”. I obey all the laws, except one: I do not stop for the stop sign at the railroad tracks on SE Umatilla.

Frankly, it doesn’t bother me that cyclists do crazy or illegal things. What does bother me is that drivers will judge ME based on what laws other cyclists choose to obey or ignore, and make their driving judgements accordingly. This endagers MY safety. There are 2 ways to deal with this – one is to get the cyclists to obey the law, the other is to get drivers to realize that some of us will obey the law and others won’t. I’ve chosen to encourage cyclists to obey the law because it’s easier for me to effect meaningful change in the cyclist community than in the motorist community.

Truth be told, I’d much rather that the DMV start a massive motorist education campaign, but I don’t have the time or the energy for that fight right now.

SKiDmark
SKiDmark
16 years ago

“Neither are trucks, scooters or motorcycles. They should be held to the same standards because they are *vehicles* and because they drive on roads.”

They have ENGINES. Even a motorscooter makes 5 HORSEpower. I bit more powerful than you or me on a bicycle.

Even the lightest motor vehicle ( a motorscooter) is still coming at you 200 lbs. heavier than someone on a bicycle. That has to cause more damage.

Matt Picio
16 years ago

We have engines, too – just at a much lower energy level. Cyclists generate between 0.2 and 1.5 horsepower depending on fitness level (there are exceptions to this rule, of course)

All vehicles are dangerous to pedestrians. The relevant factors that differentiate vehicles are:

1. Power
2. Velocity
3. Frontal Surface Area
4. Mass
5. Maneuverability

Either we write the laws to take these into account, or we write the laws to cover all vehicles, regardless of the above factors.

Personally, I prefer fewer laws – it makes them easier to remember. We already HAVE seperate laws for cyclists, and no one remembers THOSE either, unless they ride a bike or have a loved one who rides. Make the rules apply to every vehicle on the road, and then enforce them – on all vehicles and not just a subset. And Oregon needs a vehicular homicide law, with teeth. All vehicles are deadly to pedestrians, and we’re all pedestrians at some point during the day.

I understand your point, SKiDmark, and to a certain extent I agree – any vehicle that uses a non-human power source is going to be much more hazardous, and because of that there probably should be separate laws that deal with them. What I’m saying, though, is that bikes are vehicles and there should be a certain set of laws that apply to all vehicles on a road – traffic signs, traffic lights, and signalling. Hell, I’d love to see a set of bike turn signals so I wouldn’t have to use hand signals all the time.

It’s easy to point fingers at a 100HP car, but I’ve gone 42MPH downhill on a bike, and at that speed I can’t turn worth spit. At that speed, I’d probably kill a pedestrian just as easily with a bike as with a car. Whatever laws we write for a bike has to cover that situation as well as the 10MPH “cruise”.

SKiDmark
SKiDmark
16 years ago

The laws for bicycles are fine the way they are. I would like to see cell phone use while driving outlawed though.

Turn signals for bikes: the cars barely see you on your bicycle as it is, you think they are gonna see a little blinking light? Almost every motorcyclist I know still signals with their hand during the day, in addition to their turn signal blinking.

peder horner
16 years ago

Just don’t outlaw using mobile phones whilst biking.

SKiDmark
SKiDmark
16 years ago

I pull over to use my phone.

Matt Picio
16 years ago

Re: turn signals – I don’t know. They’d be nice for those situations where it’s dangerous for me to remove one hand from the handlebars. I know the law permits us to do that, but if I had a way to signal while keeping both hands in control of the bike, I would.

I’ve used a cellphone a couple of times while on the bike, but only on bikepaths. I still shouldn’t do it. I never wear headphones, and I wish others wouldn’t either, including and especially pedestrians – it’s really hard to audibly warn someone wearing headphones without scaring the crap out of them.

Elly
Elly
15 years ago

Here’s another example of media “road wars” rhetoric, this time from LA:

http://video.nbc4.tv/player/?id=60821