Friday, May 04, 2012

May is goddamn bike month

OK, I've taken it and I've taken it and I can't take any more (no, not dick).  Did you know that May is bike month?  Did you? Did you know? Oh what, you live in a hole and you didn't know? Well it is and you know what the real message of May is bike month is?! It's fucking finger shaking and shaming and chastising of the small minority of people who actually ride bikes! 

That's right, instead of celebrating the joy and benefits of bike riding, everyone just uses it as a platform for the tired saw of what bike riders should not do.  As if bikes are the problem.  Hey, I drive far more than I bike, and this is really a false divide.   Most people who bike do both.  Did you know that Amsterdam has far lower levels of bike deaths and injuries? Do you know why?  No, it's not because they wear helmets (they don't) and it's not because they follow every single rule all the time (they bike fast and pretty wild-style).  It is partially because of good city design but mostly it's because drivers there look out for bikes.  There are a lot of bikes and drivers are used to looking out for them so they don't hit them.  Period. 

In this spirit here is my May is Bike Month list of driver chastising:

1) Stop speeding, especially on residential streets.  I have a traffic calming island right in front of my house and I see you roar and whip around it all the time.
2) Don't drive in the bike lane.  This includes turning the bike lane into a fake right turn lane where there is no turn lane.
3) Don't put shit in the bike lane, including but not limited to: branches, trash cans, leaves, broken tvs, dead bodies, etc.
4) Look out before you open your car door.  Always. You know where I am extra mindful to do this? Davis, because there are so many bikes.
5) Look carefully before you pull out, especially in herringbone parking.  Have you ever biked around this shit? It sucks.
6) Don't text or talk on your fucking phone.  Every time you pull a bonehead move this is usually going on.
7) Don't run red lights.  This also applies to 2 or 3 cars jumping the light at left turns.  That counts.
8) Stop being so full of rage all the time.
9) Don't yell shit at me.  This doesn't happen much, but sometimes.
10) Don't crowd me in my tiny bike lane.  I know things can be cramped, but sometimes you're just gonna have to follow me for a block or two to avoid hitting me.  Sorry.  Refer to rule #8.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the list of rules. I hope the ghost bike trend keeps up for as long as is needed. Note to the Jersey Shore 916 set: 1) We can't always ride in the sidewalk to allow you to use "your" street as recklessly as you want. And 2) Pedalling on the sidewalk is not only dangerous, and reserved for kids just starting to ride, it is both illegal and promotes hate between walkers and riders.

Ed H.

Caroline said...

AMEN to both y'all.

Anonymous said...

Good list. I saw a guy get doored yesterday. He got the corner of the door right in his throat. Nasty.

gbomb

Anonymous said...

All good points. Let me add
Use your fucking turn signal.
If you want to turn, and you want me to get out of your way use that shit. Sacramento hates to signal, its for pussies.

-Natalie.

beckler said...

I forgot that one.

I give up on the sidewalk thing. That is maybe a tiny minor problem, but it is brought up way too much. Refer to my above list. That is the problem. Even Rachel Leibrock, in her last column, where she lists all the bike infractions, reserves the right to ride on the sidewalk of some stretches of Freeport. You would be crazy not to, and there are no direct side routes to take.

beckler said...

I am not saying this to make anyone mad, but it will probably make multiple people mad. I should shut up.

Caroline said...

I just read her column and I am in general agreement with her points except for calling out people for going to brunch in their biking gear. Is it really that hard to grasp that people may get up on the weekend and bike long distances to an eating destination before biking more long distances? and that usually biking any distance over a couple miles often requires appropriate clothes?

signed,
portland chick who is going on a long ass bike ride tomorrow and hella gonna eat at a restaurant wearing stupid bike clothes.

Anonymous said...

Now that I drive I hate bikes. Out of my way nerds!

-miller

The Armeniac said...

Caroline, I think your last sentence is not exactly proper Sac grammar, it should read: "portland chick who is going on a long ass bike ride tomorrow and gonna eat at a restaurant wearing hella stupid bike clothes."

The Armeniac said...

Also Beks, this list should be handed to every driver at the DMV when they get their license. Good stuff:)

Caroline said...

I don't speak Sac, I was only a ship passing in the night.

p.s. Shouldn't Sac speak be "hecka stupid bike clothes"? I speak Bay Area, hence: hella.

The Armeniac said...

Touche! But I think you were a ship anchored in port!

DJ Rick said...

I only "hecka" in the name of this blog and in the lyrics of "U Got the Look" by Prince and Sheena Easton ("your body's hecka-slammin'").

captcha unscramble: let colored lash

It's time for Kunta's revenge, honky!
Couldn't make anything work with 'cholo' on this Cinco eve, sorry.

DJ Rick said...

I should say.....I only endorse "hecka" in those two contexts.

Darin said...

Great post. I almost got hit yesterday by someone turning right on the street I was riding on, then a few blocks later some driver totally lost his shit at a bicyclist who was crossing (riding) at a crosswalk and didn't quite make it across before the light changed, so he was in front of the driver. Dude floored it, then rolled down his window & started swearing about "just because you're on a bike, you still have to follow the rules!" Nuts.
Oh, on #2 on your list, when the bike lane divider turns into a dotted line, cars are supposed to move into it to turn. Stupid system, but it's safer that way - bikes go around the cars on the left.

Darin said...

Because we have to assume that drivers will sometimes be jerks, this is really good info on how not to get hit by cars: http://bicyclesafe.com/

Beth said...

This is not legal advice because I am way too lazy to look at the Vehicle Code for a blog comment, but I am pretty sure you are out of luck on the right turn thing. I mean, you can't pull your car to the right lane without making sure there isn't a bicycle there, but the reason the bike lane designator usually turns into a dotted line at intersections is that it is a shared lane at that point, intended to be used for cars turning right. Bicycles have a right to take the main traffic lane if they are going straight (and that is the safe thing to do most of the time).

Riding on sidewalks: yeah, sometimes it is the only safe thing to do, but you really need to go pedestrian speed if you do that. Not just for pedestrian safety but for your own -- drivers are not looking for something coming off the sidewalk at traffic speed (and since you are breaking the law you can't really demand that they do) and it is a really good way to get hit. Almost every bike + car accident I've witnessed downtown has been a bike coming off a sidewalk and getting nailed by a driver who really didn't have a chance to see them. (The exceptions have been a right hook, where a driver made a right turn without looking.)

I used to be almost a 100% pedestrian in midtown, then about 50% pedestrian, 50% bike, and now I'm about 50/50 driving and walking. My conclusion is that the jackhole who cuts diagonally across a busy intersection on a bike is the same douchebag who runs a red light in his giant truck, and the oblivious idiot who makes a right turn into you in the bike lane is the same oblivious idiot who makes a left turn from the bike lane without so much as signaling.

Anonymous said...

Sidewalk note: the sidewalks around the Capitol are totally okay for bicycling; it's legal. This is pretty much true for all the State sidewalks around State buildings downtown. The city code regarding riding on the sidewalks does not apply. People will still yell at you, of course, but CHP won't give you a second look. The interior sidewalks are off-limits, though.

Anonymous said...

Great list. We all need to get along so bikers need to act predictably (including making an attempt at stopping when you are supposed to) and drivers need to be aware that their 3K lb cars aren't the only thing on the road.

www.mayisbikemonth.com

Anonymous said...

sadly, with conviction, i will make sur the ghost bikes continue as we have more fallen riders...
mj

Caroline said...

Regarding bikes stopping, I favor treating stop signs as yields, which maintains cars' right of way but is more realistic for bike riding in residential neighborhoods. Stop lights are another matter altogether.

Anonymous said...

Good list! #2, however, is contrary to state law. Right-turning motorists are required to merge into the bike lane* before turning right. The aim here is to prevent cars from turning right from to the left of bicyclists and turning into the bicyclists.

Bicyclists should feel free to pass on the left those motorists that have legally moved right into a bike lane* in preparation for a right turn.

More at http://www.sfbike.org/?bikelane_right_turns

* Here, the term "bike lane" may need to be qualified because once the lines are dashed, as they usually are approaching intersections, it's arguably no longer truly a bike lane.

beckler said...

I'm not talking about cars turning right into the bike lane, I know that's legal. I'm talking about cars at four way stops who pretend there is a right turn lane at the four way stop. As in, there's already a car waiting at the stop sign and another car that wants to turn right creates a right turn lane there.

That's not legal, right? I've actually always wondered.

Caroline said...

regardless of whether it is legal or not, the bike should still have the proper right of way and not be abruptly cut off by a car...

Anonymous said...

Cars can move into the bike lane to turn if the bike lane lines are dashed, not solid. They can't legally move into it before then.

Beth said...

"That's not legal, right? I've actually always wondered."

Do you mean where there is no marked bike lane OR right turn lane? Actually I am 90% sure it is legal if the street is wide enough. I will look it up tomorrow if someone else doesn't know off-hand.

Anonymous said...

I think I know what you are asking. If you are the first car at a light when there no right hand turning lane you are the only one who can take a right. Any car after the first car who creeps over to take a right is breaking the law. I know this because I got a ticket for it and had to go to fucking comedy traffic school which was beyond not funny.

gbomb

DJ Rick said...

I just figured that so much failure would be permeating the air at comedy traffic school, it'd be so depressing that you'd hafta enroll in chocolate lovers traffic school immediately afterward.

beckler said...

Did you know there is a Kathy book called Shoes: Chocolate for the feet?

Ack!

Dick said...

Right on.

The kick-off talk on May is Bike Month was on bicycle safety. Not only is victim blaming morally repugnant, it doesn't work.

DJ Rick said...

Rode my bike to work today for the first time in ages. It was certainly a pleasant enough experience during the ride, but it kicked my ass far too much. How far have I let my fitness level fall? Yikes! Traffic was fine, even out here in the southland where some lady stopped to let us go in front of her. She had no stop sign. There wasn't even a crosswalk there.

Anonymous said...

Awesome Post!

I would like to reiterate #8 over, and over, and over, and over.

And, if I may, add two more:

11) Assume that I am a vehicle and will act predictably by following the rules of traffic, and I will assume the same of you. So, if you stop at a stop sign, and then I shortly thereafter stop at the other stop sign in the intersection with the thought that you have the right of way, do not wave me through. That makes me feel that you are treating me like a child, and it makes the whole fact that I actually stopped a waste of time. Plus, I will probably just scream at you to GO!

12) If you and I are headed in opposite directions on a two lane street, and you are in the turn lane wanting to turn into the direction through which I am riding -- STOP. Please do not slowly move forward while waiting for me to pass by as this makes me wonder if you see me or if you are going to run me over.