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Media frenzy

Our local paper and TV media are on a wank over motorist-cyclist road rage stories. The cyclist on the hood of the car story is covered in these two places... the first being a discussion with the cyclist, the second being the original story about the incident and the arrest of the driver.

http://bikeportland.org/2008/07/15/words-of-wisdom-from-the-guy-on-the-windshield/

http://bikeportland.org/2008/07/14/arrest-made-in-new-road-rage-incident/

This story follows one earlier in the week about another road rage incident in which a cyclist driving his car told a guy on his bike the running red lights was bad form. That degenerated into the cyclist attacking the driver's car and threatening the driver, who was by then out of his car. The editors of the local paper later explained that the front page, above-the-fold, super-sized headline was justified as a type of "man bites dog" story. The effect seems to have inflamed whatever simmering tension there was between motorists and the increasing numbers of cyclists on the road here.

Basically, the local media are playing up the level of conflict between drivers & cyclists. The effect is that drivers with even minimal frustration in dealing with cyclists are giving vent to every rant that comes to mind.
 

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Man, Madison is looking more and more like a biking paradise- sure, we've got 6 months of wretched winter, but our hipsters aren't dukeing it out with the local drivers, either.

I really hate seeing stuff like this- you just know that it won't end until someone is dead.

This stuff has been on my mind the last couple days- trying to figure it out. What is it about bikes vs cars that's so volatile?

This morning as I was driving my daughter to daycare, I pulled onto the highway/main road but I was accelerating pretty slow (shifted into 5th instead of 3rd). A Semi came up behind me a lot faster than I had expected, but instead of rolling down his window and flipping me off or honking or running me off the road, he just slowed down and we both rolled down to the light, no problem.

Figure that Semi outweighed my little car about as much as the average car outweighs my bike.

So, it's not just about size...
 

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Portland Thoughts

PDXMark nailed it - lots of media hype. I share the same roads as Mark and think the media hype needs to be turned down so a more thoughtful discussion can take place.

It’s my opinion that the 80/20 rule applies here. 80% of the cyclist and motorist do a great job sharing the road. The other 20 % of cyclist and motorist need a good public lashing or group hug - whatever works to make it better. We simply don’t need the “media”, including local blogs, to sourer a generally tolerant respectful environment.
 

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filtersweep said:
I thought the video looked staged, and there are far too few details to convince me otherwise--- at this point.
Not a very funny joke for the driver if it was staged: Millican has been arrested on one count each of Attempted Assault in the Second Degree (felony), DUII, Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree and Reckless Driving (all misdemeanors).

Here's the link to his jail booking info:

http://www.mcso.us/PAID/BookingDetail.aspx?ID=03SJn2ZUmClHMvA3ZvZ1cw==
 

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I've been pondering it a lot too. It comes up in here pretty regularly, whether it's pictures and video, or someone posting that they got PO'd and spit on someone's car. Within a day an article in the Boston Globe had over 300 responses, duking out whether or not cyclists were psychotic anarchists or had a legitimate right to the road...

After a while, it starts to sound like Chris Rock's routine about Black people versus Ni... well, you know the word. So many of us just trying to go about our day and not bother people. And the 10-20% of cyclists give the rest of us such a bad reputation as law dismissing anti-christ figures who should be run off the road or just flat run over.

And it's a growing problem. The minority get the majority of the motorists pissed off, so they hate the rest of us, so more of us get put on the defensive, and we're even more likely, sooner or later, to respond in a way that is hard to back up when you're not wearing a ton and a half of steel.

Another Chris Rock quote... "Who's more racist... black people or white people. Black People! 'Cause black people hate black people too!"

One guy, apparently an upstanding local bike mechanic, who happened to be driving, gets assaulted by a (drunken) cyclist for pointing out that the cyclist was giving other cyclists a bad name. Come on!

How does this get settled?

Can it be?

And it's just going to get worse. Some folks, like the poor girl in DC that just died, are new to urban cycling, and make typical, nervous, newbie mistakes. Some of them are clearly illegal, but it feels a little aggressive to go after a newbie who's just trying to stay safe. (Versus the idiot college kids riding the wrong way in the bike lane, not holding onto the bars, talking on their call phone, in traffic... those guys I think should be put into shackles so they have to walk for a while.)

Someone who's used to driving and took up cycle commuting because of the cost of fuel is naturally more nervous, and more likely to ride like they were 12 again, because that's the last time they really rode anywhere, and they really don't feel that safe on the road. Sure their tactics are illegal, and understandable because of where they're coming from... but those people are a growing demographic, and they really don't know any better. They end up looking inexperienced or reckless, and get yelled at or hit on their way to work, but get blamed by motorists. Hell, even the Mayor of Boston got hit when he tried to take up commuting to work.

So, as the roads begin to fill with new cyclists who aren't experienced, and a growing number of motorists who are frustrated on many levels, how do we fix this?

That's my question. We have a defined problem. What's next, how do we get something organized to address this? On any level?
 

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uber-stupid said:
So, as the roads begin to fill with new cyclists who aren't experienced, and a growing number of motorists who are frustrated on many levels, how do we fix this?

That's my question. We have a defined problem. What's next, how do we get something organized to address this? On any level?
As much as I hate to admit it, part of treating cyclists like they belong on the road means writing tickets for cyclists who blow lights or break the law.

Right now, drivers see us get away with stuff that would make them lose their license. That's frustrating.

So, figure out a few problem intersections. Post a couple cops. Write tickets for drivers and for riders. See what happens.

Or, maybe there's just a weed shortage in Portland and all the hipsters are getting edgy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Many red lights are bad for people and the enviroment. They fustrate drivers and cause vehicles to stand still while emmitting toxins. It's bad enough cars emit toxins when they're moving. To have them sit still for no reason when there's nobody or no vehicles coming in the other directions is a crime against humanity and the planet.

I say run the red whenever you can do it safely, whether on a bike or in a car.
 

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TomBrooklyn said:
Many red lights are bad for people and the enviroment. They fustrate drivers and cause vehicles to stand still while emmitting toxins. It's bad enough cars emit toxins when they're moving. To have them sit still for no reason when there's nobody or no vehicles coming in the other directions is a crime against humanity and the planet.

I say run the red whenever you can do it safely, whether on a bike or in a car.
Good luck with that. :rolleyes:
 

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TomBrooklyn said:
Many red lights are bad for people and the enviroment. They fustrate drivers and cause vehicles to stand still while emmitting toxins. It's bad enough cars emit toxins when they're moving. To have them sit still for no reason when there's nobody or no vehicles coming in the other directions is a crime against humanity and the planet.

I say run the red whenever you can do it safely, whether on a bike or in a car.

Give one more reason for motorists to be able to judge for themselves how they feel like behaving on the road? Maybe it's environmentally... something... but in terms of road safety, turning every red light into a yield sign sounds like a horrible idea, and will result in more crimes against humanity than just idling engines. Better to start thinning the herd, and shoot every other car, if we're really so worried about what they're emitting. There are more cars than parking spaces in a few cities already.

So, fight vehicular overpopulation... next time you're on a ride, bring a big F'ing gun, or some caltrops, and take out the old, the slow, and the sickly cars that are out and about. They're just taking up space, and would be better used as scrap metal to make more guns, to shoot more cars.

Yeah.

Sure.
 

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Sure--- just like no motorist ever rolls through a stop sign or speeds.

The real issue is that motorists use their vehicles as a bully pulpit-- whether road raging against their fellow motorists, or against the lowest on the totem pole: cyclists.

No matter what- the roads are clogged with other motorized traffic--- not cyclists.

buck-50 said:
As much as I hate to admit it, part of treating cyclists like they belong on the road means writing tickets for cyclists who blow lights or break the law.

Right now, drivers see us get away with stuff that would make them lose their license. That's frustrating.

So, figure out a few problem intersections. Post a couple cops. Write tickets for drivers and for riders. See what happens.

Or, maybe there's just a weed shortage in Portland and all the hipsters are getting edgy.
 

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filtersweep said:
Sure--- just like no motorist ever rolls through a stop sign or speeds.

The real issue is that motorists use their vehicles as a bully pulpit-- whether road raging against their fellow motorists, or against the lowest on the totem pole: cyclists.

No matter what- the roads are clogged with other motorized traffic--- not cyclists.
Not to be a d!ck, but let's face it, a lot of cyclists use their bikes as a bully pulpit as well.

Just because some cars roll through stop signs doesn't make it OK for cyclists. And, having been ticketed for doing so in my car, I can tell you, I'm a lot more careful now.

Cyclists need to follow the rules. Drivers need to follow the rules.
 

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On a personal level, I completely agree with you--- however, cyclists could all ride like perfect citizens, and they would still be hated, for even sharing the same roads. It is just an empty excuse--- and no cyclist deserves the level of disrespect of being deliberately harrassed or assaulted by a vehicle. And simply saying the cyclists or drivers need to follow the rules doesn't mean anything. People will drive or ride they way they want. In a perfect world, there would be no car "accidents."

buck-50 said:
Not to be a d!ck, but let's face it, a lot of cyclists use their bikes as a bully pulpit as well.

Just because some cars roll through stop signs doesn't make it OK for cyclists. And, having been ticketed for doing so in my car, I can tell you, I'm a lot more careful now.

Cyclists need to follow the rules. Drivers need to follow the rules.
 

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I watched the video, and I gotta ask...How come that guy just happened to be standing there with his video camera already turned on and focused on an apparently quiet street where there was nothing else happening? Interesting question, no?

Don't forget to give me extra points for the run-on sentence.
 

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Looks like the verdict is in. 45 days for "unlawful use of a weapon, attempted second degree assault and driving under the influence."

I don't get the "attempted" assault part. So ramming a cyclist onto your hood isn't actual assault, or did he politely ask him to get on his car so he could drive around and try to kill him?
 
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