You’re A Loser You Idiot Cyclist

30 07 2010

Slate has an article up “Dude, wheres your car- How not having a car became Hollywood shorthand for loser”

Being that I just saw this movie, and thought it quite horrible, this article just adds to that feeling. While the author lightly touches on the feeling of the general populace toward alternatives to motor vehicles:

We could attribute it to the simple fact of the film industry’s base in Los Angeles, a place whose residents—film directors and otherwise—can hardly imagine life without a car.

And includes a sociologists take:

Or perhaps it’s the wider society that has trouble conceiving of life outside the omnipresent sphere of what sociologist John Urry calls “automobility,” one tenet of which is “the dominant culture that organizes and legitimates socialities across different genders, classes, ages and so on; that sustains major discourses of what constitutes the good life and what is necessary for an appropriate citizenship of mobility; and that provides potent literary and artistic images and symbols.”

He doesn’t discuss the real reason behind these attitudes; the “car culture” that the oil industry has ingrained into the mainstream way of life in the states. Cities are planned around the car, with little regard to other methods of transport. It is not in the interest of big business to change the status quo, and have people drive less and ride bikes more. I have to blame the cycling industry as well, they have not made bikes feel accessible to the everyday person. The elitist attitude runs rampant through cycling, and pushes people who otherwise may choose to ride away. Someday bikes may be portrayed as “cool” by Hollywood, but I’m not holding my breath for it happening anytime soon.


Bexley Passes Hemlet Law for Children

29 07 2010

“Anyone who lets a child bike in Bexley without a helmet now could face a $25 fine.

The Bexley City Council passed an ordinance last night similar to Columbus’ helmet regulations, although the Bexley law applies only to children younger than 16. It will go into effect in 30days.

The Columbus law, which applies to riders younger than 18, took effect last summer, but no one has been fined in its first year. Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman had opposed the law, saying it would require too much time and money to enforce.

Bexley Councilman Jed Morison said that even if no one is cited, such a law sends a message that parents should make sure that children are taking safety precautions.

Morison and his wife sponsor a bike-helmet coloring contest every year. He said he sees, as the superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the damage that brain injuries can do.

Having a law encourages residents to self-enforce, he said. For example, a family friend might see a child without a helmet and gently remind the parents that it’s against the law.

Councilman Richard Sharp supports helmet use, but he said several residents have told him a new law is excessive.

“More and more people are seeing the benefit of a helmet,” he said. “But parents should teach kids responsibility, not the government.”

He said having officers approach children could frighten youngsters and sour community relations with police.

Councilman Matt Lampke said he voted for the law because residents wanted it.

But he said it was a personal matter as well. When Lampke was 15, he recalled, his younger brother flew over the handlebars of a bike and landed on his head when another child’s bike ran into his.

“He was in a coma for days,” Lampke said. “Coming out of it, he had to learn to read and write all over again. It isn’t always death, but these things can be life-changing.”

Back then, wearing a helmet would have been considered odd, Lampke said. Today, it’s more socially acceptable.

If families worry about spending money on helmets, Lampke pointed out that several insurance companies will give clients vouchers to help them buy bike helmets.”

I’m also interested here that the City of Columbus law that was enacted hasn’t been enforced. I don’t want to start a helmet vs. no helmet debate, because I don’t care, but whats the point?

“Bexley Councilman Jed Morison said that even if no one is cited, such a law sends a message that parents should make sure that children are taking safety precautions.”

To me it sends the message that they arent interested in safety, they are interested in red tape, bureaucrac, and grandstanding for political gains. Wearing a helmet does not equate to safe riding, as we all know, you see plenty of muppets wearing helmets riding like idiots, on and off the sidewalk, passing between cars queued at a light, riding on the wrong side of the road, and on and on. If the city really wanted to make things safer for kids, or anyone riding a bike they would educate drivers and cyclists about operating safely in the road, lower speed limits, install traffic calming, sharrows, bike lanes, bike zones at lights, etc…advocating the notion that wearing a helmet somehow instantly makes you safer is irresponsible at best.

Anthony Patrick Settles Court Case Vs. Police!

20 07 2010

On August 19, 2008, bicyclist Anthony Patrick, of Huntington, West Virginia, was tasered and assaulted by Lawrence County, Ohio Deputy Charles Hammonds and Chesapeake Police Department Dennis Gibson.  Patrick who is an experienced cyclist was riding with another person when Deputy Hammonds told them to get off the road.  Patrick told Hammonds he had as much right to be on the road as the deputy or anyone else as prescribed by Ohio law.  The situation deteriorated after that and ended with Patrick being tasered, arrested, and charged with so called “crimes”  invented by the officers including “Riding a Bicycle on the Roadway,” resisting arrest, failing to obey a lawful order and various other fabrications and falsehoods.

On July 1, 2010 in the United States Federal District Courthouse in Cincinnati after several hours of negotiations, a settlement was reached.  While the settlement figure is confidential, Tony Patrick was very pleased with the outcome and feels justice was done.

Read the full story of the assault on a cyclist by police here.

And here is a link to a written by a cyclist/police officer.

Douchebag Cyclist

20 07 2010

Today, riding south on high st. from worthington. I got past lane and the construction was making for some awful traffic so i turned down woodruff and then left on college. when i got to the stop sign at college and 12th there were a few cars backed up so i was about the 4th back from the sign. as i waited for the cars to advance a guy on a road bike went fairly quickly past me on the left, passing the cars and running the sign and turned left up 12th toward high, I waited my turn, turned left on 12th and made my way to high where the light was green. i turned right, and saw the cyclist who had ran the sign a little ways down high, i was riding my mountain bike so i really had to sprint to catch him and i finally did at king ave. just as the light changed from yellow to red. we came to a stop behind a cota bus and just as i shouted “hey” he pushed himself up on the sidewalk, through a group of pedestrians and rode past the bus and then back onto the street again once he was past it. the light was still red and he was halfway out in the intersection waiting for a car to pass through, then he carried on through the (red) light. traffic started moving again, i passed the bus and again caught him at 5th. as i came to a stop next to him (as he actually had to stop for the cross traffic) I noticed he was wearing white ear bud ipod type headphones. I yelled “you have to stop at all the lights and signs just like the cars do, its people like you that give us a bad name as cyclists” he said “uh-huh” I carried on “nothing is going to change in this city if people like you ride like that, its why cars and pedestrians hate us, plus you arent that fast anyway, i caught you easly on this crappy bike” the light changed and we started pedaling, I easily dropped him, and the next few lights were green, at goodale and high the light was red and I stopped, he rode by, running the light, i caught up with him again at vine, stopped and got my phone out to take this rather distanced picture:

he was wearing a liquigas/fizik kit and hes doing them a huge disservice. he had a messenger type bag over his shoulder and a dark red helmet on. also, hes not very fast despite the team kit, as i caught back up with him as he ran light after light even though i stopped. if you know this douchebag please educate him on how not to be a total idiot, hes going to get hurt really badly one day. This picture was taken at 5:13 pm monday july 19th.

The Fear of Cycling

2 11 2009

Written by Dave Horton of Lancaster, England. A sociologist by training, and currently working at Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, on an interdisciplinary project concerning walking and cycling, and the capacity of these most sustainable modes of mobility to re-make cities and towns fit for the twenty-first century.

“Most obviously this fear relates to anxieties about being in close and unprotected proximity to speeding cars, it’s to do with a fear of crashes, injury and death. But fear of cycling is also more complex than this. People on bikes move through public space in a much more open, less mediated way than people in cars. That’s one of the pleasures of cycling, but it also potentially heightens feelings of existential vulnerability. Some people also undoubtedly fear looking inept on a bike, fear working their bodies in public, fear harassment or violence from strangers. Cities are full of fear, which is partly why and partly because people move in cars. ”

Read the rest of the article!


Bicycle Wins Race vs. Car, Motorcycle, even Helicopter!

30 09 2009


Being the business hub of South America and one of the largest cities in the world has its bitter side: São Paulo has been drowning in a sea of automobiles (6 million and counting) for quite some time, and the future doesn’t show any signs of improvement. Insufficient buses and subway lines, together with private vehicles mostly with single occupants, compose a scenario of daily chaos, with frequently over 80kms (50mi) of traffic jams in the main avenues.

This car-centric urban transport model is showing signs of exhaustion. The average São Paulo inhabitant spends almost three hours a day stuck in traffic jams. That’s about 15 hours a week – or almost 2 working days. Apart from the economic and psychological damages, let alone the carbon footprint, this situation is a true hindrance for the city’s development and for the well-being of the people who live in it.

It was in this scenario that the São Paulo Intermodal Challenge was held. The challenge was simple: to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible – during rush hour – using the mode of transportation of your choice. The goal was to raise awareness regarding a number of alternatives to cars, and to promote the World Carless Day, by proving that avoiding traffic – and its consequences – might just be a matter of choice.

The means of transportation chosen ranged from cars, bikes, motorbikes, and a helicopter to buses, metro, their own feet and even a wheelchair. Contrary to all forecasts, a biker won the challenge, with a total time of 22 minutes – more than 10 minutes faster than the person on the helicopter, who spent a total of 33 minutes and 30 seconds between going to the heliport, waiting for takeoff clearance, flying and landing.
The car came way behind, with a total time of 1:22– slower than the runner, who took 1:06, the bus (1:11) and just 10 minutes faster than the person who chose to walk the whole path (1:32).

To move beyond the car paradigm is a necessity, one that gains an even greater importance due to São Paulo’s size and economic relevance. The Intermodal Challenge may not present any real solution to the problem, but at least it brings some attention towards a fundamental question that is urban mobility and how it impacts the ecosystem we live in every way.

Contributed by Mauricio Soares