[*BCM*] (no subject)
Rachel Elizabeth Dillon
red at mit.edu
Tue Aug 29 10:53:22 EDT 2006
On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 10:06:20AM -0400, Lee Peters wrote:
> Did anyone hear the interview with the Mass Bike commander in chief on WBUR?
No, do you have a link or a summary?
> Or read this?
The tone he chooses isn't going to convince any cyclists, even those who
might be sympathetic to his ideas. I think that drivers get upset that
they have to pay a whole lot of money just in order to use the roads and
own their cars, let alone actually paying for gas. And there are a lot of
additional taxes levied on drivers in order to pay for the upkeep of roads.
I expect that cars put way more wear and tear on roads than cyclists do.
The idea of putting some money into the infrastructure that you use makes
sense, but I always figured that the existing state and local taxes that
one pays cover that small amount of wear and tear on the roads. I mean,
pedestrians don't have to pay a sidewalk tax...
> If they begin charging excise tax to bikers for the roads, we can really get militant.
I would certainly be terribly upset about this unless we got something
very, very nice in return.
> On last week's ride, we made an illegal left turn at Beacon and Harvard. A pedestrian admonished us for ruining it for all bikers. Is that statement a gross acknowledgement of stereotyping?
People stereotype --- we make judgements about others based on our
existing knowledge. This isn't pretty, but I don't have enough room in
my head for six billion other people as detailed individuals --- I don't
even have room for the few thousand I might pass by in a given day. On
the road, you also have to make snap judgements about safety, and I do
this based on stereotyping --- I'm more nervous around different types
of cars, I behave more cautiously around some pedestrians than others, &c.
I'm sure drivers do the same thing --- and, on the rare occasions that
I have to drive in the city, I do too. I expect bikers who look one way
to run red lights, I expect bikers who look another way to veer wildly
into the road, whatever. I can imagine that, if you hadn't been on the
other side of the equation, you might see biker after biker doing things
you thought where dangerous, asinine, or just irritating, and end up
feeling like they all did that, even though they don't. You notice the
things that bother you more.
Interestingly, when I'm driving, I don't really care about bikers running
red lights --- more power to them. When I'm walking, though, I get upset
when people blow through red lights in front of me, or won't stop at
crosswalks. I actually yelled at one guy recently for blasting through
a red light and almost hitting me --- at night, no lights, &c. Someone
very dear to me actually got _hit_ in a crosswalk a couple of months
ago, and while I may not be proud of this attitude, I am damn certain
that the words "embarassment to all cyclists" would have come out of my
mouth had I been there. (...Among others.)
I don't think there's an easy answer to this conflict, but I do think that
one biker or especially Critical Mass which, while we all know it doesn't
represent any one person's attitude and is a thing all its own, blah
blah blah, is in the minds of a lot of people a or even the biker voice.
And so while this person's comment doesn't seem very productive, I can see
where it might come from.
OK, I'll stop now. :)
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