[*BCM*] Cambridge po-po sighting
rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org
rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org
Wed Oct 13 17:08:54 EDT 2004
> > i disagree with the idea that more law enforcement of bicycles as if
> > they're cars is actually going to make anything safer for a cyclist. so
> > i'm riding in central square, and i run a red light. here's why it's
> > safer:
> > 1) i know what the cars that i'm cutting through are more likely to do.
> > i get a better view of them than cars beside me. they also get a better
> > view of me.
> I don't know what you mean by this one.
i can see at guess at what cross traffic better than cars that are
coming up beside me from behind. i've been hit by some idiot turning
right and not seeing me. if i run the light, i get out there and
visible. and it's not just a matter of riding in the center of the
lane. bike lanes aren't made for visibility. and i've seen drivers do
some irrational and unsafe shit when people ride in the middle of the
> > 2) i get a headstart on cars. this allows me to establish myself in the
> > lane rather than going "unnoticed" by the cars beside me.
> Running a red light isn't necessary for this. You should always
> position yourself as far into the lane as you need for safety. In a
> substandard lane (such as those an Mass Ave in Central) this means that
> you should be in the middle of the lane.
but i can get more of an established position than a car trying to race
me for a spot. cars are big. they weigh tons. i don't want to take my
chances. it's not like a car-car or bike-bike interaction, where a
little contact usually just means a cosmetic blemish at most. if a car
hits a cyclist, the cyclist is usually screwed.
> > 3) i can rider wider in the lane, and thus decrease my chance of getting
> > doored. even when there are bicycle lanes, it's usually tough cookies
> > for us cyclists.
> See above. Also NEVER move into the door zone. And again, running a
> red light has nothing to do with this.
a lot of times one is thrust into the door zone (see: bike lanes). and
i've had cars nudge me over by trying to pass me. and i've never ever
seen or heard of a cop doing anyting useful about that.
> Some of the consequences of running a red light include making other
> road users more annoyed and aggravated (and more likely to drive
> aggressively around bicyclists), hitting pedestrians or other
> bicyclists (it's happend to me), or getting hit by a truck and not
> being able to get their insurance to cover your medical and equipment
> replacement bills because it was your fault.
> I don't run red lights and I've never been hit because of my policy.
i've been hit 3 times, and never has it been because of red lights.
1) a car hit me turning without looking
2) a car swiped me passing me (because i was too far in the lane)
3) a guy doored me because he didn't look at oncoming traffic.
you're lucky you haven't been hit. but not running red lights isn't
going to keep it from happening.
> > fact of the matter is, it's two different worlds for cyclists and cars
> > on the road.
> The world is what you make of it! :-) I see it as the same world.
the world is not the same at all. if i hit a car full force, i might
dent it. if a car hits me full force, i'm dead. it's not a fair
playing field. it's very much too different worlds. and unless you
start riding a two ton bike with an engine and extra two wheels, i don't
see how you're going to make the worlds the same.
> > then do something to fix it,
> I do. I've volunteered for, worked for, donated money and services to
> sustainable transportation causes (especially MassBike, where I worked
> for two years) to try and establish bicycling as a socially and legally
> acceptable form of transportation (and not just the recreational,
> excercise machine that most people think of them as).
> What have you done?
point being: it's ridiculous to say that cyclists should have all the
burden of fixing these problems. shouldn't it be like the car companies
that got us into this mess? it's like saying that african-americans
should have to fix all the problems that have come out of slavery, etc.
i appreciate the work you've done to change laws via makkbike. it's
good. i hate dealing with government officials and honestly don't think
they'll really listen to us until we have critical numbers. so to do
that i participate in things like critical mass. i also get my friends
to ride bikes and help pass on some knowledge that i've learned. and
that includes selectively running lights.
> so i don't have to watch all of my friends
> > riding bicycles get hit. and so i won't get hit again myself."
> While I completely agree that it's dangerous out there on a bike, I've
> noticed two things:
> 1. It's not just bikers who get hit and harassed. Pretty much anyone at
> all is fair game. Whether you are on a bike, in a car, walking, or even
> trains (these days), people have no prejudice when it comes to putting
> you in danger.
but the danger of car-bike or car-pedestrian accidents is much more
deadly than car-car, car-train, etc. it needs to be looked at
differently, in my opinion.
> 2. The danger seems to stem mostly from the tendency for everyone to
> travel with little or no concern for anyone but themselves. It's like
> everyone is stuck in some bad video game. (The folks who make Grand
> Theft Auto could easily use Boston as one of their locations...)
i don't have much concern for drivers, because i'm not going to harm
them much if i hit them. i don't want them to be in accidents, but it's
hard enough for me to watch my own ass.
> I, do however, agree that enforcement should be the last resort, as
> opposed to one of the first. Without a serious effort to educate all
> road users (including bicyclists) of the laws and general safety
> information, you really can't expect people to know what to do.
> Something like 90% of car-bike crashes happen because someone is doing
> something wrong (and that something is usually illegal). I'm sure the
> figure for car-car or car-pedestrian crashes is similarly high.
> Imagine how safe, and pleasant the streets would be if everyone
> respected the laws and everyone else?
i hear what you're saying with this, but i feel like this is a
delusional utopian vision. this is boston. we're not going to wake up
to birds chirpping and everyone driving nicely tomorrow. there's a lot
of other shit in this city that needs to be addressed before that can
even become an idea worth considering (ie. economic stratification,
systemic racism, etc.). and i'm definitely doing work to stop those
things. but until then i'm going to ride however i'll stay safe. and
so far that means running red lights and riding aggressively.
> peace (on the roads) begins with you
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rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org
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