Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A short cycling safety video

I came across this California League Cycling Instructor's bicycle safety video via Philadelphia Bicycle News.

I had to smile at this quote:

“It's duly noted that these are very skilled, faster cyclists interacting with relatively polite Southern California motorists traveling at moderate speeds.”

I’m not sure about Southern California motorists being more polite than in any other state; they have been known to shoot at each other on the freeway on occasions. It’s been a few years since I lived in So.Cal, maybe the threat of gunfire has improved their manners.

Anyway, I digress. I think this short video is excellent and packs a lot of useful information in a few minutes. There was not much here that I didn’t already know, however, just the visual image of cyclists having some control over other road users around them made me feel good.

I realize the video has been edited to serve its purpose, but nowhere do I see the flow of traffic being hindered. The cyclists come across as polite but assertive, and viewers should note that had they just blown through red lights and stop signs, all credibility would have quickly disappeared.

There is a big difference between assertiveness and arrogance. Assertiveness is taking the lane after signaling and making your intentions clear. Arrogance is cutting in front of people, running lights and stop signs, and not only breaking the rules of the road, but breaking the rules of decent human behavior.


Anonymous said...

Now if we can get that video in SPANISH!

Jim N said...

Do automobile drivers lose all credibility because they universally flout speed limits? I'm all for civil disobedience, but I think this is misguided.

Dave Moulton said...

Jim N,

The fact that motorists break the law on a regular basis does not excuse cyclists from doing the same.

The number one argument used against cyclists is that we run red lights and stop signs. If every cyclist stopped these two infractions we would deprive those who voice an opinion against us, this argument.

No individual can change the behavior of others, only change their own behavior. As this is a bike blog read by cyclists it is counter productive for me to point the finger at motorists and say, “Look how bad these guys are.”

If you are running red lights and stop signs on a regular basis, you might want to consider that it is you that is misguided and not me. Who is doing the greater service to the cycling cause? Me by advocating upholding of the law, or you by breaking it?

Dave M

Anonymous said...

Mixed signals: Yes cyclists get respect when they act like they belong. However, Brian enters the left lane two streets (ie. blocks) before needing to enter the left turn pocket lane. I suppose "belonging" often requires dominance.

Anonymous said...

"Well stated!"
Should an auto, bus or truck operator break traffic laws they are typically victorious when interacting with a cyclist.
Often 'DEAD RIGHT' as regards the cyclist ...

Jim N said...

Dave, my point was not to rationalize my behavior, but to point out that, to put it one way, all road users follow only a subset of laws, yet drivers (and pedestrians) don't suffer this loss of credibility you refer to.

For me to feel morally obligated to obey what I see as useless laws, I'd have to believe that by doing so I'd benefit someone, perhaps by making it safer for my fellow bicyclists. I find that's a bit of a leap.

There's a question here, though. Why are people on bicycles not seen as legitimate? You seem to feel it's about credibility. I feel it's simply volume, or (lower case) critical mass, that will make us join the status quo.

Cyclists, even ones running red lights, have more respect in northern Europe because everyone rides one, or has in the past, or their parents did, etc.

Colville-Andersen said...

That video is the work of the 'Vehics'. The Vehicular Cyclists are the Flat Earth Society of the cycling world.

Strange, outdated beliefs with little science to back them up.

I thought it was satire when I first saw it.