[*BCM*] The movement AGAINST cyclists
turtle at zworg.com
Mon Jun 5 11:26:03 EDT 2006
Boston Critical Mass <list at bostoncriticalmass.org> wrote:
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> Hi! I'm going to engage you (and anyone else) in discussion on this topic,
> and I'm going to assume you don't mind since you entered into discussion
> about it on a large public mailing list.
Absolutely. Though I understand that there are a surprising number of
people who are afraid of other people's thoughts! I like thoughts, of
all sorts. Interesting things, thoughts are...
> Your second point here, about respect, is very good, but I would argue
> that if 60% of cyclists are running red lights (number pulled from an
> arbitrary statistic in the article, but it doesn't seem too off-base
> =66rom my experience), running red lights is reality; the law doesn't=20
> define what is real or what is safe, it defines what is legal.
True. But the original comment by Jon was specifically referring to
"right of way" which is ultimately a legal determination. Rights can
only be given, not taken. The reality is that right of way, in the US
at least, is generally given on an "everyone gets a turn" basis, rather
than on a hierarchical basis (using size as the determination). AND the
reality is that many people don't observe traffic laws. Both statements
> This is absolutely true. But in today's society, lobbying for legislation
> and behavior changes is often a full-time job and requires more effort than
> many people have to put in. What, then, for those of us (well, I'm being=20
> dishonest here by putting myself in this group, honestly) without the=20
> resources to do these things?
Everyone has the resources to do these things! It's just a matter of
making it a priority in your life. I used to have a pretty cushy (yet
ironic) job as a production coordinator in the automotive book
publishing business. But then I decided that making a positive
difference in the world was more important to me than living a cushy
life. So I decided to become a teacher and an artist and an activist.
Everyone else has the same opportinities as I had.
Plus, you can easily change the world without lobbying, by simply
changing the message that you communicate on a daily basis. What you
buy, how you act, what you wear, and what you say all have an impact on
society. Sure, it may seem small, but the more you "speak" your
message, the more people will hear it. Most large social movements
succeeded not because of lobbyists, but because of normal, average
people like all of us.
Or, you could really go all out and run for political office like
Cambridge's Craig Kelly did. He's a normal guy like the rest of us who
bikes around the city and things he's got some good ideas. He managed
to convince enough people of this and was elected to the Cambridge City
Council. If he can do it, anyone can. See for yourself:
> No, but our kids should be exposed to and prepared for reality, which right
> now includes a lot of cyclists running red lights. I agree with your point=
> overall, which is the attempt to change reality by encouraging cyclists
> to stop running red lights.=20
Yep. My policy is: Don't BLAME the victim, but let them know the
dangers so that they can do their best to AVOID being victimized.
> There are many potential solutions; yours is probably the most reasonable
> (as compared to "burn all cars," "bike paths everywhere," "separate laws
> for cyclists," &c.) though I'm personally not convinced it's as safe or
> as efficient as the way people bike now.
The thing that convinced me was the statistic that in something like 90%
of car/bike crashes in the US, someone was violating at least one law
(traffic or equipment). Right of way doesn't work if we're not all
working under the same system. So, in my experience, it's not quite as
important WHICH system we have, as it is that we all agree to use the
I think that the current laws can certainly use some study to see if
they can't be improved. And I even consider that a hierarchical form
of right of way might be as safe and efficient as the current "everyone
gets a turn" form. But in the meantime, I'm gonna respect the law and
encourage everyone else to as well, simply because it appears to be
dangerous not to.
> I appreciate the time you took to write this, though, and the thought
> you've obviously put into it (and I agree with you in many places).
"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we
seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must
pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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