Ethical Capital Cycling

November 23, 2014

While advocacy is not the same as a business, it can be useful to look at similarities between traditional business and cycling advocacy organizations to see ways in which advocates could be more effective.

Traditional businesses sell goods and services in actual marketplaces while cycling advocates sell ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

But it’s not just ideas. Traditional businesses and governments are not likely to implement every idea that’s out there even if it’s a good one. Like I said, in a previous post, one of the biggest barriers to effective advocacy is that decision makers have a hard time distinguishing between effective and innovative ideas and insane and bad policies.

This is one of many reasons why they find really stupid ideas such as bicycle licenses and mandatory helmet laws so compelling. Both ideas directly address real world problems.

So it’s not only that they want to make a world a better place that traditional businesses are likely to be influenced by cycling. After all, they are still out to worry about the bottom line.

Thus, we can conclude that when a normally profit driven business starts talking about innovative cycle tracks, we need to have some caution.

That’s why the follow phrases are not only unhelpful but down right toxic: “we need to take what we can get” and “we need to be grateful because they don’t have to do anything at all.”

Actually there are very good reasons why cycling advocates very well do not need to “take whatever they can get.” I can’t emphasis how much of a terrible idea this is. The second, is true. Yes, businesses don’t have to do anything for cycling at all. However, that attitude is revealing of their perception of being in a dominant position. A good advocate should note this power imbalance and ask herself, “what can I do to address this problem?”

Because it is a problem. If we are going to conduct an exchange there are two possible ways we can do it. In the first, one of us is in a dominant position. The second is between equal partners.

I’d argue that the cycling world is actually in the situation where cycling advocates are in the dominant position and due to inept leadership and chronic self-sabotage, they actually put themselves in the submissive position.


Before we address that we need to look at one other concept. In real world markets, contrary to popular belief, business people do NOT like competition. That’s because like normal people, business people like to make as much money as they comfortably can, and competition reduces their income.

Thus, the idea of the cartel was born. In a cartel, bussinesses get together to raise the price of a good. For example, OPEC seeks to stabilize the price of petroleum on a global market.

They do this by mandatory reduction in petroleum output.

If one country tries to defy OPEC by selling oil at a higher price, nobody would buy. There’s no need for OPEC to punish someone. But if everyone, secretly, sold all their oil at a lower price, this would depress the world market and every oil producing country would have less profits. This would undermine the entire oil market. Thus, violators need to be punished.

What does this all have to do with advocacy?

As alluded to above, instead of selling good and services, one thing that advocacy agencies sell is the feeling of being a moral person. When the agencies are actively helping people, this feeling is justified.

This feeling is not just important to donors, but it also can translate into real money for traditional businesses. This is why many businesses advertise how good they are in the bicycling community. There are bicycle friendly businesses and even cities such as NYC are trying to market themselves as being cycling friendly. This attracts intelligent young workers who come to their cities to produce real wealth.

But it’s not just enough, for some people, to claim to be cycling friendly, but we should have a third party agency which verifies this. Enter advocacy organizations. They provide the stamp of cycling friendly approval. This is their petrol.

OPEC countries are some of the most prosperous countries in the world and it’s not because they give away oil. Rather, they get as much profit as the market will reasonably bare.

For cycling advocacy agencies, their “profits” are in terms of money spent both by business and the government in the form cycling infrastructure. That’s it. No money spent, no profit.

If a government agencies puts out a PSA that asks us to “drive a bit safer” this is the equivalent of someone telling us to give money to the starving children of Saudi Arabia. Sure they’ll take this money, but you’re not going to get oil in return for an empty feel good message.

Think about all the times, when the advocacy organizations have sold us short. Think about how little infrastructure has been built. What the hell were our advocates doing? They were opening the oil taps and giving away our oil. Not their oil, but the oil that all of us, as cyclists, collectively own.

That’s bad. But the story gets much darker.

In advocacy, we also have organizations which could operate like cartels, but instead they act as a cartel in reverse.

What does this even mean? It means that in the example above, if a country were to charge too much for oil, the cartel would do nothing as the market would soon correct itself as people would only pay the market price for oil.

But what if the cartel actively sought to underprice oil? How could they do this? If collectively dropped the price of oil then more intelligent country could no longer make a profit.

This is exactly the situation for cycling today. When someone, a polititian or business, opens its mouths about cycling, the advocacy agencies fall all over themselves to sell their oil. They don’t ask how much they are getting in return and they don’t collectively hold out for more money. Actually they do the reverse and insist that everyone sell their oil for less. This is known as “working together” and “speaking with one voice.”

The people that do this are selling out their own community. Not only are they giving their communities oil away, but they are insisting that the rest of us, who are more intelligent, give our oil away. This results in a bankrupted system which is very, very poor. Right now the cycling mode share is in the single digits. It is as poor as it possibly can without being non-existent.

Now you know why.

Feedback on the Article Not by John Allen on the Behavrior Article

July 3, 2014

Jake was nice enough to leave some comments and I thought it would make a good post. And, yes, there are about 100 typos in my last article where I attribute to John what are really some quotes by some stranger who’s apparently now ghost writing John’s blog for him.

Let’s just realize I suck at names. It shouldn’t invalidate all my opinions for ever amen, but as the VCers code dictates: “any non-sequitor will be used as evidence we win.” My bad.

Quotes are from Jake.

“First, the study was a survey of opinions about whether people liked or felt safe in the sort of facilities installed. That didn’t show much more than earlier studies–uninformed people often prefer that which looks good on paper but isn’t really safer.”

Actually as you said the study didn’t address the actual safety. Thus, the notion that this is less safe is merely your opinion and is outside the scope of this study.

I find it odd that people are less safe in places where they are safe and visa versa. Since we are evolved to fit our environment, I consider it a design fail to make something really safe then create a feeling that normal humans find it unsafe. This poor design means that when humans act normally they will be in danger.

What a stupid setup. Why not design things so their natural inclinations are safer? This has been done in many places and is a cornerstone on my own preferences in design.

“My brother was one of those “I’d rather be thrown from the car in a wreck than be trapped by the seatbelt” people even though he’s mostly a reasonable sort of person. Education about the causes of injuries is the missing key to bicycle safety.”

No. There has been cycling education for years. It has failed.

“The second part was a very short period of observation showing no collisions and a few “minor conflicts.” That doesn’t tell us much more than we already knew.”

Again, the claim was that infrastructure creates “conflict points” which lead to collisions which lead to death. If you aren’t aware of this, you are new to the debate. This notion has been debunked by this study. It’s also the point of this study.

“Since collisions are rare (yes, rare, not because of low exposure, but because of how many collisions per mile traveled occur–just as rare if you double the exposure), seeing a collision in that short period of observation would have been quite surprising.”

Again, I don’t know if you agree with infrastructure or not but most of the VCers actually do think that collisions will be common in infrastructure and that it’s “impossible” or “impractical” to build safe infrastructure. If you think that infrastructure could be made safely, you’re welcome to the club.

“Therefore, NOT seeing a collision is hardly news.”

Again, not according to our local “take the lane” nuts. This goes completely in the face of what they have been saying for years.

“Contraflow sidewalk riding is far more dangerous than normal street riding, but in that short an observation period, you’d be unlikely to see a collision even on a sidewalk where contraflow riding is prevalent.”

I don’t agree with this. It’s too general of a statement. There are places where contraflow sidewalk riding is far safer than street riding. It depends on the context.

“Do you have another “point” of the study to examine for us? I hope you have a more coherent statement than “Deaths are also high as they are teh #1 killer of people.””

No. My point was to debunk the blog post on the study not to make any waves myself.

“Examining conflicts in the real world helps us to understand what makes or does not make a facility safer or less safe than normal vehicular operation in the absence of the facilities.”

I disagree. I think that conflicts are a scam.

1. There is no solid definition of a “conflict”. I feel that there are infinite potential “conflict points” that occur when you “take the lane” but only one when you edge ride. Vehicular cyclists disagree with this. Who’s right? Unless we have a clear understanding of what this word means, we don’t know.

2. Potential conflicts do not necessarily lead to collisions. In fact when we greatly increase the number of edge cyclists on facilities, we greatly expand potential conflicts and yet per capita serious injury and death decrease. Thus, there’s not a one to one correspondence between conflict and collision. Nor is there a one to one between collision and injuries.

Thus conflicts for predicting injury are meaningless. The prediction was that there would be many conflicts with this infrastructure, and that they would lead to collisions and injury. I know that you think that conflicts are rare, even in infrastructure, but you’re a rare breed.

“The study, as Dr. Kary notes, the study could be viewed as a preliminary step in gathering data necessary to have a better understanding of that. However, the study shows us very, very, little. Experts at People for Bikes should be well aware of that, but they are too busy with the push for facilities to concern themselves with finding out whether the facilities they push really are to the benefit of their intended users.”

How would you measure this? How many years of facilities do you need before you know they are safe?

I have read enough studies to determine that well designed facilities are several magnitude times safer than vehicular cycling on a high speed road. Hell, riding a bike in well designed facilities is safer than driving a car on a high speed road. Imagine millions of cyclists getting hit by cars without the protection of a steel cage. Such is the fate if we were really dumb enough to “take the lane” on high speed roads.

Look back to when we had 100% mixing it up with low speed traffic. There were more deaths back then even though the motorists were expecting and respecting cyclists, they were driving slower, and there were less people.

It’s funny because the argument against the misreading of this study is my same argument against the experience of a single cyclist. I don’t expect all cyclists who vehicular cycle to die, but if they did in mass numbers we’d see lots of preventable tragedies where people died for their foolish ideology.

Me on the John Allen on the Monsere and Dill Study

July 1, 2014

NOTE: John Allen did not write this post.

“To begin with a platitude: traffic accidents are rare events. The totals are large only because the overall volumes of exposure are huge.”

All ready this made no sense as it seemed contradictory. Something that happens a lot is not a rare event. The fact that there is a lot of exposure is meaningless when we choose to expose ourselves so much. It’s like saying lung cancer is rare because everyone smokes.

Um, no. We actually reduced the people smoking. Bicycle infrastructure is doing the exact same thing in cities which don’t have John Allen types to poke their noses into well designed projects. More people are cycling and safety is up.

“Therefore, if considering safety in terms of outcomes rather than the underlying mechanisms of operation, any facility, no matter how poorly designed, will appear safe if examined over a short period of time.”

Taken to the logical extreme this is true, but I don’t think that it’s true in terms of this study. This is especially true considering what outlandish claims that some of the more vitriolic VCers have made.

At this point, however, I’m severely doubting whether John Allen read the original study:

“The purpose of the video review was to analyze the actual behavior of bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers in order to determine how well each user type understands the design intent of the facility and how potential conflicts arise.”

The other two things the study did was a survey on _stated_ behavior. Finally, they got a bike count.

No where in the introduction was any talk of safety. Thus, John creates a false standard by which we are to evaluate this study.

I’m a bit shocked at how bad this supposed xpert (sic) is at reading. Plus since I was exposed to, for years, at VCers imaginary bullshit about “turning conflicts”, I would have thought that any VCer would want to get real world data on this subject. Alas, like a schoolboy who’s too afraid to make the moves, instead of the real thing, they are stuck with just their imaginations.

And they love their imaginations. From John:

“But collecting data over a long period of time has its disadvantages too: not just cost and delay, but also the averaging, and therefore blurring, of the effects of various changing causes and circumstances.”

So too much data is bad, too? That’s just plain nonsense. In the case of statistical analysis, more data is better. So John is wrong on this.

Why would he say something so silly?

“In response to these problems, engineers developed the methods of traffic conflict analysis.”

Ah, I see, because they won’t be able to put it through their bullshit.

You saw it here, folks, a vehicular cyclist coming out and saying that he prefers he mental models rather than real world data. He’s literally rhetorically turning his back on planet Earth in favor of one that fits his own imagination. I get what they mean by “biased” now. A study is biased if it explains something about the real world. I’d be totally stunned by this observation had I not had experience with these self appointed xperts for years.

“If there exists a suitable relationship between the former and the latter, then conflict analysis can be used to study road safety at reduced cost, with better timing, and even via simulation modelling of facilities that have been designed but not yet built.”

I guess. In my model, I have lots of people texting and generally not paying attention. I will predict that vehicles in the travel lane will have more collisions than those outside of it. The real world proves this obvious idea true.

“There is no such corresponding body of research for bicycles.”

Yes, there is, but it’s been done mainly in Europe. This is a totally asinine statement as I have reviewed a few European papers on this very blog.

He goes on at length of his theories on traffic modelling and I’m thinking WTF? He’s like the guy who goes on a date and spend the whole time talking about himself. We’re talking about a paper her. He finally winds up with:

“With these fundamental limitations in mind, obviously traffic conflict analysis is a promising method for investigating important aspects of bicycling safety.”

Who gives a shit? We have video data to analyze. I’m guessing this is argument ad boring.

“The work of Monsere et al. (2014), Lessons From The Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes In The U.S., should be considered a pilot project in this effort, although the authors themselves do not describe it as such.”

I’m confused because he said that traffic modeling is the way to go then he lauds this paper for traffic modeling which is the opposite of what this paper does as it actually collects real world data and analyzes it. I’m confused here.

“They did their video recording chiefly at intersections, six in these four cities in the summer and fall of 2013. This was then presumably while the users were still in a cautious or exploratory state, as they got used to the new facilities.”

Um, if this is so, why did you argue that they didn’t spend more time collecting data? There is only a short period of time that something is “new” to someone.

“As noted following the opening platitude, any facility, no matter how poorly designed, will appear safe if examined over a short enough period of time.”

As noted this isn’t the point of the study.

“(For comparison, the entire city and island of Montreal, with all its thousands of intersections, averages averages of late about five cyclist deaths and 25-50 police-recorded serious cycling injuries per year.)”

If cycling is so safe why are they constantly whining about unsafe riding? It seems that no matter how uneducated we are, cycling is safe.

“Further, as this was neither a before-after study nor a comparison with standard intersections, there is no way to know whether the numbers of observed conflicts, violations, or errant behaviours, were themselves high or low.”

This is a valid criticism. Go, John!

“As to the actual results from this pilot project, the much touted headline was that there were only six minor conflicts found, out of nearly 12,900 bicycle movements through intersections.”

Great! But not everyone is happy.

“Thus the authors give figures of 7574 turning motor vehicles, but only 1997 turning motor vehicles with bicycles present. The corresponding conflict rates (which they normalize by the products of bicycle and motor vehicle movements, not by the numbers of bicycle movements alone) they give for the individual intersections therefore vary by factors of approximately 3 to 10, depending on which figures are used.”

OK, so there are 30 minor conflicts. None of these result in a collision. I’m beginning to see why VCers are so obsessed with their “conflicts”. This lets them complain about safety problems even when no one is hurt. Aha! Another dirty VC trick revealed.

“Besides conflicts, there were numerous violations or other errant behaviours: e.g. 9-70% of bicycles and 7-52% of turning motor vehicles in the various intersection designs used the lanes incorrectly, 1-18% of turning motor vehicles in the various mixing zone designs turned from the wrong lane, 5-10% of motorists turned illegally on red arrows at intersections with bicycle-specific signals, and 7-23% of bicyclists disobeyed their signals.”

Wait, what? There are a lot of shitty motorists out there? News at 11. This is precisely why VC sucks. Again, to a normal person this should be intuitively obvious.

“Without any theory or model of how any of these occurrences or their frequencies relate to death, injury, or property damage, and without any before-after or non-sidepath comparison data— not to mention, with the very small numbers of observation hours— there are almost no safety implications, positive or negative.”

Yes, there are. Nobody got hurt. If that’s not an implication to you, I don’t know what is. God, stop stroking your model for one second and go outside.

“The only concrete result is that one of the local authorities apparently deemed the problem of motor vehicles turning from the wrong lane (18%), straddling lanes (another 17%), or entering the turn lane early (15%) to be so severe that they later removed the intersection treatment and replaced it with another design (at Fell and Baker in San Francisco).”

Yes! This is exactly how things are supposed to work. Now you are finally learning. This is precisely why we need to put in the “dangerous” infrastructure that VCers were fighting out there. So we can learn. Again, as John noted, nobody got hurt. But the intersection was fixed pronto. Remember this the next time some moron claims that we’ll be “stuck with bad design for years” or “we don’t know if it’s safe.” If you stop us from learning, as a local advocate tried to do, we’ll be ignorant forever. I guess that’s just fine because we always have these models to play with.

” The sociological surveys tell another story: one-third of all bicyclists surveyed said they had been involved in at least one near collision on the paths, while 2% experienced an actual collision. 23% had a near collision with turning cars, 1.8% an actual collision with turning cars; 19% a near collision with a pedestrian, and 0.4% an actual collision with a pedestrian.”

Again, nobody got hurt. Despite have tons of collisions and near collisions, this was still safe as John noted. The often made VC claim that any collision is deadly has been proven not only bunk, but it’s shown that harmless near collisions and collisions happen all the time. But John didn’t learn this, and he’ll continue to act as if a simple bump is as bad getting run down by a high speed car. This is a trick that is used to make cycling infrastructure seem unsafe when in fact it’s very safe.

” Even with better methods, conflicts are only one facet of the bicycling, and overall safety picture; while road designers and road users, whether bicyclists or motorists, have to consider more than just safety.”

No. You don’t get to play this card now. VCers have been talking exclusively about safety for years in order to kill projects. In many cases they even threatened to sue. When pointed out that there’s more to life than safety, such as comfort, they ignore these arguments. Now infrastructure is shown to be safe, safety is suddenly not an issue. This is another underhanded trick always used by VCers: moving goal posts.

It took a long time to suss out all the ways that VCers argue against infrastructure. There is only one rule that they follow: any argument will do as long as it makes infrastructure look bad. Even when it makes no sense and contradicts things they said earlier.

Many things were leaned both about facilities and how the strange mind of a vehicular cyclist in the wild operates.

We learned that many conflicts don’t result in as nearly as many injuries as VCers have predicted. We learned that a variety of infrastructural treatments can work equally well. As John noted, only one needed to be changed. This after years of being told that there were specific ways of doing things that were only found in the “Aashto Green Book”. This turned out to be false. We also learned that infrastructure can be experimented with and there will be little to no injury compared to their do nothing approach which, in Orlando, kills and maims people in record numbers. We learned that infrastructure can be changed very quickly if it does not work out despite being told that “we’ll be stuck with this for years.”

Finally, we learned that when reading a well designed study which answers one of their own burning question, VCers will fail to comprehend the study’s purpose and they will apply a standard that it does not aspire to. When it exceeds their own safety needs, they will denigrate it by asking for more data collected even when that will negatively affect the intent of the study. And finally, we learned that people pick up, in general, at no harm, new infrastructure much more rapidly than if we had to teach all these road users an expensive class to deal with the normal flow of texting traffic.

Vehicular Illogical

June 14, 2014

Here’s a characterization of some of the bizarre arguments that vehicular cyclists think that they can use to support their insane delusions.

1. Argument by assertion. This is probably the most common type. VC is safe. That’s it. We don’t have to prove it.

If pressed for proof that cycling on a high speed road is dangerous they will turn around and ask you for proof that it’s dangerous. DO NOT GIVE THEM PROOF. You are not their research assistant. You do not need to dig up studies and papers to prove common sense. Those who are making the extraordinary claims need to put forth extraordinary proof.

Usually they will fail to provide a single paper (because it does not exist). When pressed further they will send you a paper that either is only peripherally related to the topic or actually contradicts their claims. When this is pointed out they will not comprehend what you are saying. This shows how cultish vehicular cycling is.

2. Argument by anecdote. If pressed, a vehicular cyclist will talk about their centuries of experience riding a bicycle and they never had a close call. When told that the experience of a single person does not count for much they will argue a few things.

3. Argument by insult. Here they will call you ignorant or fearful as if insulting you will somehow convince you that their unsupported assertions which contradict common sense should be taken seriously.

4. Argument by nitpicking. When given proof that collisions at high speed are quite deadly for a cyclists and that collisions on roads are quite common they will label the data as “biased” as if 5 million Americans are showing up in hospitals to commit medical fraud just to debunk the superior claims of vehicular cyclists. Similarly without reading or comprehending studies, they will dismiss them as biased.

5. No true Scotsman. This logical fallacy is their ultimate go to.

Every time a vehicular cyclist suffers for his (and it’s always a he) religion by getting in a collision, the rest of the community is quick to turn on him. “He wasn’t doing it right.”

The idea is that VC riding magically makes you safe from collisions from cars. Thus, if you are in a collision, you couldn’t possibly be doing it right. It’s simply not possible that by operating your bicycle as a car, you sugjected yourself to the 5 million or so collisions that happen on the streets of the US. This is because, no true Scotsman, or a bicycle is not a car which means that despite placing your bicycle where cars are, you are somehow immune to collisions.

This claim will be made despite the fact that they were not at the scene of the collision and details are not forthcoming. Despite the lack of information they will come up with a fairy tale made of whole cloth which shows the series of mistakes that the cyclist must have made in order to get hit by a car.

It’s beyond their imagination that a normal person with normal reflexes behind the wheel of a high speed car while sexting, singing to their favorite songs and shaving they didn’t see the tiny blob of yellow which came out of nowhere as things do when one is traveling so fast. At this point, the cycling community gets up in arms about harsher rules for texting and so on which does not address the underlying issue that riding a bicycle can never be safe in high speed roads. The problem is not that the cyclist is not an expert but rather the cyclists seem to demand a super-human level of attention and reflexes from basically anyone who is over 16 and has a few thousand dollars to spare.

Cycling Infrastructure Should Not Be Subject to Public Approval

April 1, 2014

Public approval. It sounds fair. Should not local business owners, homeowners, and long term residents of a community have a say in how it is designed?

Of course.

However, but only to a point.

I have come to believe that one stealth way that the powers that be sabotage cycling infrastructure is by subjecting it to public approval.

Why is this so bad?

In order to answer this question, we need to go the Unbound source that we trust the most; Wikipedia.

I was doing some political research for my Dungeons and Dragons adventures, and I stumbled on an article on Ochlocracy or Mob Rule.

Is this just a scary word for democracy by elitists who are of a totalitarian, we know better, opinion.


From the source:

“The distinction between “good” and “bad” [government] was made according to whether the government form would act in the interest of the whole community (“good”) or the exclusive interests of a group or individual at the expense of justice (“bad”).”

I’d argue that the people who dominate local community meetings are, at times, self-serving. Certainly there are those of us in communities who are too terrified to ride bicycles but would like to. If we don’t accommodate these people, then we are putting the exclusive interests of the motoring community over all the rest.

How do we ensure that the motoring community doesn’t create situations where they happen to literally kill others (and each other) in the community?

“The threat of “mob rule” to a democracy is restrained by ensuring that the rule of law protects minorities or individuals against short-term demagoguery or moral panic.”

Demagoguery in the motoring community? Yes, it comes in the form of the calm and rational arguments that there is a conspiracy which is perpetrating Agenda 21 and its war on cars. It comes in the form of moral panic where cyclists are chastised for not “knowing how to share the road.”

While this talk is good in a back woods bar, it doesn’t make for sane, rational nor safe road conditions. At times, it’s easy for a few demagogues to derail a community meeting with chants of “Agenda 21” and “USA”. Making the process more “democratic” lets those who are not sympathetic to cycling and walking to do institutional violence against their own community members. And it’s sold as making the government more responsive to its community, but in fact, by not making all modes of transportation equally efficient, inexpensive, and accessible, it’s actually making the government less responsive to the community as a whole because there are always going to many members of the community who can not or do not wish to drive everywhere. Not only that, but the non-motoring community is often under-represented in these meetings for many reaons but one of them is because often the meetings are inaccessible to those who don’t have a car!

And yet, the its claimed that these meetings “represent the community”. What a joke.

As I stated earlier, from a moral perspective, all members of the community need to get around safely and easily and to say that “nobody bicycles” is to advocate for a “tyranny of the majority”.

A good and sane society protects all of its members and it rewards people for making sensible, economically prudent, and healthy choices.

Cycling infrastructure is the only means to give a large number of people their right to freedom of movement and even their right to life itself. These fundamental rights should not be give up to the mob to veto.

Inner Ape Cycling

March 20, 2014

I’m reading an excellent book called _The Inner Ape_.

In it, I found some parallels to cycling advocacy.

One of the them is more detail on how a young upstart chimp challenges the tribe’s alpha male. He doesn’t have to attack the alpha. Just refusing to bow and maintain the proper level of deference will often enrage the alpha male who will later single out the disrespectful upstart for violence.

Similarly, those who ride bicycles must defer to the all powerful transportation alpha, motoring, by paying them the proper level of kowtowing.

Thus, instead of doing what’s intelligent and sensible, and making motoring safer, those who oppose cycling LOVE cycling helmets as the panacea for all road danger. This is because donning a helmet, to a primitive part of the motorist’s brain, is kowtowing. As is wearing neon yellow.

This why “share the road” will NEVER work. There’s an unspoken, and too often spoken, notion that a motorist can kill a cyclist. Until we totally emasculate our normal human minds, the powerful will take advantage of the less powerful.

This also explains why many people have no idea why one would ever want to ride a bicycle. Why roll with the beta class transportation when you are a credit check and a monthly payment away from alpha status?

We can rise above animal instincts through logic and reason, but we must do so in the city planning stage and NOT while cruising through space at 50 MPH plus.

The punishment for not kowtowing, aka not wearing a helmet is the same for not kowtowing in the ape world: the threat of violence. The only difference is that for cyclist’s the threat of violence is veiled. We don’t want cyclists to die, they get hit by “accident”. But if you notice the readiness that anti-cyclists are quick to point out a cyclist’s potential risk, without consulting statistics first, you can see that the violence against cyclists isn’t to be mitigated, it’s to be relished. It needs to be a constant reminder.

We need to constantly hear the danger that cyclists are in because this way, we can keep the threat of violence alive.

I have seen this happen time and time again during debates where I’d flip the script, and I point out that most children die INSIDE cars.

The same people who are quick to protect my poor brain from a high speed car with a piece of Styrofoam are so disinterested at the thought of their own vulnerability, they completely ignore it. This is because the notion of safety is actually a masquerade of subtle threats to control cyclist’s behavior. To dominate. To keep the alpha mode in alpha place.

One who truly cares about safety, as I do, will focus on: triage (the biggest number of deaths need to be focused on first), statistics (bike haters don’t know and don’t care), good design (bike haters blather about “not invented here” nonsense). The jury is in the solutions have been found, but this will restrict motoring a little bit, and as I said above challenge the alpha. Taking away parking isn’t merely refusing to kowtow, but it’s a punch in the face to the motoring ape brain.

Like nearly every other American, I motor, too. But I realize that the only way to win the struggle is by aiming for the heart of the alpha transportation beast. And this means directly attacking the notion that all is well in motoring, We need to stop concealing from ourselves the massive direct carnage and the even less noticeable but more pervasive destruction of human health that is a result of our kowtowing to the motoring alpha.

Thus, to win, we must be able to make people uncomfortable, to put up with some bad feelings, to argue, and yes to “fight”.

Unlike anti-cyclists, who continually blame the victim in an attempt to terrorize the rest of cyclists to start motoring, only, cyclists fight by pointing out the hypocrisy of the government that has money to make the streets dangerous and to victim blame, but not to make cycling safe. We fight by publicizing the shameful amount of deaths that those who design the roads would rather brush under a rug. And we fight at the ballot box. All of this is democratic, civil, legal, compassionate, and moral unlike the underhanded and unethical (and potentially illegal) tactics that anti-cyclists use daily at our places of work, at parties, and on comment forums. How many times are we going to read that “roads are for cars”? This is alpha muscle flexing and yes, a subtle death threat.

The beta who bows and refuses to raise one’s voice and refuses to fight is the eternal beta. The advocate who act beta and urges “peace at any price” sabotage it for the rest of us; they are worse than do nothings; they are counter-advocates.

Put on a helmet. Wear neon. Share the road. (sic)

Lies That Anti-Cyclists Tell Us: Part I

March 5, 2014

For years, I have been trying to get anti-cyclists to speak up and tell us, the normal people of the world who hold rational and balanced views on cycling, what the anti-cycling fuss is? Why so much hate over a guy with a piece of metal between his legs?

All the reasons that anti-cyclists give for their opposition to cycling infrastructure turns out not to be true.

So what is it?

This post won’t answer this question, but it will go over a few lies that anti-cyclists tell us.

1. The biggest lie is that “I’m in favor of cycling, but…” Again, I can only speculate on why people say this.

My best guess is that they consider themselves nice people who don’t want to be called out on their bullshit.

The thing is that while they smile, they’ll stab you in the back with their anti-cycling daggers.

See the word “but” often negate what is said before it. If there’s a but, we don’t hear the first part.

Thus, if you say, “I’m in favor of cycling” the next bit you should say is that for real infrastructure experts to build the infrastructure. That’s it.


Is that what these “cycling lovers” do?

Hell no.

The proceed to take back all they gave us.

“I’m in favor of cycling, but I won’t give up a single parking space.”

“I’m in favor of cycling, but I won’t give up a single travel lane.”

“I’m in favor of cycling, but I listen while I tell a story that makes cyclists out to be criminals.”

“I’m in favor of cycling, but I don’t favor better legal protection.”

“I’m in favor of cycling, but I’d like them to register their bicycles and wear helmets.”

And so on.

Guess what?

This is lie number one. Those who oppose things that will make cycling safer, more convenient, or more comfortable are anti-cycling. Also, those who want to make cycling more difficult, more dangerous, more expensive or less convenient are also anti-cycling. This includes mandatory helmet laws, increased cycling ticketing, and even “education” which tells cyclists how to ride. (I’m looking at you Cycling Saavy/VC/LCI). This does NOT include education which helps someone who isn’t confident to ride such as the courses taught in SF because they are voluntary and they don’t use the existence of their classes to blame people for their deaths. (If he only took the lane). (sic)

Terrifying LA Times “Opinion” Piece aka an Anti-Cycling Hatched Job Cloaked as a PSA

February 26, 2014

Yesterday, I read what I thought was a piece of bizarre horror by someone with Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD):

Before I continue, I’d like to say that I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one. However, I can read and do simple pattern matching which is what we’re doing in this article. I choose to go the medical route as it’s the most objective and kindest. I do believe, however, that people who promote violent, dangerous, and borderline criminal behavior in print ought to be shamed for it. Or worse. I can only wish that the federal database of those who promote terroristic and other violent behavior has a place for those who promote violence against American citizens who sometimes ride bicycles.

It turned out, I might have been mistaken and it was actually an LA Times Opinion piece.,0,3954098.story?track=rss&

What is SPD?

“Individuals possessing sadistic personalities display recurrent cruel behavior and aggression.”

Why do I feel this way?

Let’s start with the title: “Some advice for cyclists: Being self-righteous can be dangerous”.

While it appears that this is a “warning” message or good advice, it’s actually a thinly vieled threat of violence when you realize why, exactly, the feeling of self-righteousness is dangerous.

I have been self-righteous, on and off, for decades, and I was never in any actual danger. I’m self-righteous right now. I’m waiting for something bad to happen.


Nothing bad happened to me.

From the article:

“In theory, I love the idea of a population that is fit and nonpolluting on its two- (or even three-) wheelers. When I encounter them whizzing down hiker-only trails, though, it takes a measure of self-control not to stick my walking staff through their spokes.”


I believe that this would qualify as “cruel” and “aggressive”.

It also makes me wonder if the author, Karin Klein, later “accidently” hits a cyclist, the article can be used as evidence of premeditation and criminal intent. She clearly expresses, in a public newspaper, the intent to maim or kill. Why this is OK, is really bizarre to me. It’s like people writing, freely, about wanting to hurt “those people” and everyone sits there like it’s OK.

More from the article:

“State law says drivers must take maneuvers to leave a safe space between their vehicles and bicycles, but it doesn’t specify what that space needs to be.”

For the three feet skeptics, still think that this law is ambiguous or confusing?

“The [Three Foot Passing] law strikes me as a little nuts.”

Um, as we have all ready figured out that Karin’s a SPD (or at least acts like one in print), this isn’t surprising at all. She seems to be totally devoid of any form of human compassion or even common sense.

“So should a whole line of cars slow down to 20 mph or so to leave 3 feet of space between them and a cyclist for miles on end?”

The answer is that the road is badly designed and ought to accommodate all vehicles. Until then, the motorists have a moral and perhaps legal responsibity to not hit anything. They should take any common sense means necessary to protect human lives. This simple notion is not only incomprehensible to Karin, but “nuts.”


“Sometimes even well-meaning motorists will make errors around bikes”

I disagree.

Karin had all ready confessed to having criminal intent to harm cyclists. She also all ready thought that normal safety precautions are “nuts.” Once you go down the rabbit hole of crazy, you don’t get to make mistakes. At this point, my first guess is assault just as she had fantasized about a few paragraphs up.

“And the driver might have been within the law.”

No. I’m pretty sure that deliberately running people over with one’s car is totally illegal. I’m not a lawyer or anything. At any rate, I’d have to say that it [running someone over] is immoral.

I really believe that Karin is a good person at heart and can be helped, but I don’t think that she should be writing any articles.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone runs over a cyclist then cites this article as proof that this is OK. Karin basically gave vehicular assault her stamp of approval. And the LA Times as well by printing this horrible article.

As a piece of fiction, I find the article to be delightful as I am a big fan of the horror genre especially when you find an everyday person go bezerk. Really cool.

As a work of journalism, this is not.

I suggest that the LA Times retract this article and print an apology. Out of all the articles I have read, the only one which was as bad was by Josh Board from the SD Reader. The Reader did retract the article, apologized, and shortly after Josh left [The Reader].

I suggest that Karin get some therapy and that the LA Times let her go and not print anything from her again until she goes on meds or something.

May you all, even Karin, be happy.

[Minor edits for grammar and comprehension were made.]

Absurd Hair Splitting Continues Part I

February 20, 2014

Here we go again.

LTRs, this is a total waste of time so you may safely skip.

First of all, I really would like Cycling Savvy to succeed. I really do hope that each United States city is a VC utopia with at least 30% of its citizens riding where they are “respected and expected”. I hope that everyone always obeys the laws. I hope that we solve global warming, that we stop being so selfish and greedy, and that they will make a season 9 of Entourage.

But let’s deal with reality.

Before going further, I have to say that I love and respect Ted Rogers and can only think good of him. He’s a bigger person than me which is why he allowed this post:

“On this site, Ted Rogers wrote: “A St. Louis cycling instructor claims that bike lanes are dangerous with no evidence to back it up.”

With lightning speed these words made their way to me (that instructor). I was indignant. I never said that bike lanes are dangerous. I said that riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic. I complained to Ted that he misquoted me.”

Note, the misdirection? The argument is over a crack in the sidewalk. Does it really matter if bike lanes are actually dangerous or _riding_ in bike lanes is dangerous as for normal people the two statements are equivalent. To say otherwise is an insult to Ted. Ted didn’t mean that if I stand next to a bike lane, the asphalt will rear up and eat me.

Note that we are far away from the original point which is that Karen didn’t have to prove her point!

We don’t see an evidence that _riding_ (emphasis mine) in a bike lane is dangerous.

Next statement:

“As I’m sure is true for all of your readers, I was heartbroken when I learned of the death last December of Milton Olin Jr., the entertainment industry executive who was struck and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on routine patrol. Milton Olin was riding in a bike lane on Mulholland Highway.”

Note the appeal to emotion?

The clock is ticking and we still have not seen the evidence that Ted had asked for.

“We need to recognize a simple fact about bike lanes. They tend to make the people in them irrelevant to other traffic. When you are not in the way, you are irrelevant. At low speed differentials, irrelevancy might be OK. But at high speed differentials, the slightest motorist error can be devastating.”

I can be, but how often?

Again, we have to know whether you’d be more likely to be killed by a car while in the travel lane than in the bicycle lane. This does not answer this question.

Also, notice the strange usage of the “irrelevant”? Emotional manipulation. Not stopping the flow of traffic makes you safer not irrelevant. We are talking about safety, but instead of answering a simple question with a peer reviewed study or ten they begin to repurpose the English language. Not a very efficient use of space and time…

“The last place a cyclist should be irrelevant is on a high-speed arterial road.”

Now that we have established a specious and emotionally driven use of the word, we begin to use it to bludgeon our opponents.

“On roads with good sight lines—typical of most arterial roads—cyclists who control their travel lanes are seen by motorists from 1,280 feet away. Cyclists who ride on the right edge of the road—where most bike lanes are—are not seen by motorists until they are very nearly on top of them—about 140 feet away.”

This is bullshit. Every motorist is different. They have different reaction times and abilities. There are many motorists on wide, high speed road that I do not see and they are in cars. If I can’t see a large car, how am I going to see a small cyclist?

So, behind the wheel of a car, this is totally false for me. I will not have the time to stop if someone gets in my way while traveling at 50 MPH.

I’m guessing they are going to tell me that they are now better experts on my vision than i am. Haha.

“Most of them, however, don’t believe us—until we take them out on the road and show them.”

How can you show me my own visual abilities? Climb inside my head and look out of my eyes?

When traveling at high speeds in a car, I can’t see small things, like bicycles, in front of me.

“I would rather give those motorists the opportunity to see me from a quarter-mile away, rather than 140 feet!”

Apples and oranges.

If you are in the travel lane, you are going to need every motorist to see you. Thus, you are going to be biased towards studies that show that motorists can see far ahead and dismiss people like me who tell you flat out that while eating and driving, I can barely pay attention to what’s in front of me.

I someone is in the bike lane, I just need to keep my car going straight and I don’t notice him! Whether I see the cyclist or not to protect him is IRRELEVANT. Haha. I used the word a different way.

“Being “in the way” works. Even the multi-tasking French fry eaters change lanes to pass.”

Except when they don’t. Ted had all ready said above that his experience is different. Instead of LISTENING to what the man says, we argue.

Also, note the clock is ticking away. Original question is long forgotten:

Is “riding in a bike lane is more dangerous than riding in the flow of traffic?”

Distraction disinformation campaign is a success.

But we keep plowing forward:

“Last fall one of my favorite arterial roads was put on a “road diet” and striped with bike lanes.”


[Picture truck blocking bike lane.]

“Does this bike lane look encouraging? People who are afraid to ride in traffic don’t want to ride here, either.”

Notice that this is a total distraction. First, they complain that bike lanes, I mean _riding_ in bike lanes, are dangerous. Then they complain that the bike lanes that they don’t ride in are always blocked. Who cares?

It’s like saying that I had chicken and when I go out to eat they are always out of chicken.

Next we start up the whole noise about the few times they rode in bike lanes and were almost killed.

By this time, anyone who was mildly curious about riding a bicycle, in a bike lane, from home to work has changed channels. Those who actually ride in bike lanes are shaking with anger due to lack of empathy from the VC POV as well as disbelief that someone can be so callous and stupid at the same time. Finally, the masses of VC DBs are shaking their head and doing that “um hum” noise like they’re in church.

OK, here’s some more:

“We cannot ignore the danger of getting “doored,” another terrible feature of many urban bike lanes. Keri Caffrey has done a brilliant job illustrating the reality of space in a typical bike lane.”

This is funny b/c of this quote from the other “co-founder”:

“Dooring is a relatively rare event in metro Orlando, as there are relatively few commercial arterials and collectors with parallel, on-street parking. Most of our area developed during the 70s, 80s and 90s when on-street parking was not considered to be a normal (let alone desirable) street function. I can only think of three doorings (that I’ve been made aware of) in my 27 years here. One in which I witnessed the aftermath (cyclist on the pavement, with fortunately minor injuries). Another reported to me by the victim (who did not report it to the police) that took place in a door-zone bike lane (also minor injuries). The third involved a passenger-side door opening into that same door-zone bike lane (which was reported to the police).”

So coming from Orlando this is a bit strange. One might suggest that they are over stating the risk of dooring to scare people to riding in the middle of the lane.

Using fear to get people to act and think like you want them to, hmmm, where did I see this before? 🙂

More nonsense:

“Traffic engineers would not dream of manufacturing conflict between two lanes of motor vehicle traffic by placing a right-turn lane to the left of a through lane. Why is this acceptable when one of the lanes is for bicyclists?”

There are many collisions between automobiles per year. I am not sure if a traffic engineer would admit to “manufacturing conflict” but, sigh, this emotional language is par for course for VCism.

“An engineer friend who is painfully aware of the quandary presented by bike lane design argues that municipalities have a responsibility to warn users of their unintended risks, much as the pharmaceutical industry already does regarding the potential side effects of their products.”

Yet more nonsense since the biggest killer for those under 34 years old are motor vehicles and we don’t (yet) see warning labels on them.

Also, a flawed analogy which implies that riding in a bicycle lane is actually as acceptable as taking medication from a drug company which is the opposite of the above thesis.

Also, after all this verbosity, I don’t see a link to a third party study which was the whole point of this article.

“When we are on roads with bike lanes, being aware of the “platoon effect” allows us to use the regular travel lane and ride happily along at our normal speeds. We typically cover a city block or two without having any motor traffic behind us. When a platoon approaches, we move over to the bike lane and go slow, very slow if it’s a door-zone bike lane. It takes only a few seconds for the platoon to pass.”

But I thought that they ignored bike lanes? Now they actually have a use for them. And also, if they are an expected part of traffic why are they ever leaving the safety of the high speed travel lane for the perils of a bicycle lane? This contradicts the whole thesis above.

“Because bicycling is very safe, accidents are rare, even in bike lanes.”

Hey, I agree! Probably because we have no agreed upon definition for “safe” but still, I do agree.

“But the next time you hear about a motorist hitting a cyclist, pay attention to the details. Where was the cyclist on the roadway? Was the cyclist on the right edge of the road?”

Probably because almost nobody “takes the lane” on a high speed road around here. Thus, it’s unlikely they were foolish enough to sit in the travel lane. This does not mean that the travel lane is safer but rather that statistically, if there’s something that almost nobody does then there would be unlikely for people do die doing so. My rabbit foot works the same way. Because nobody else replaced their helmet with a rodent’s foot, statistically it appears that rabbit feet are safer than helmets. Total nonsense.

“We who care about bicycling want more people to choose bicycling, especially for transportation.”

Awesome. Then we should build dedicated infrastructure.

“But how do we get there? Professor Andy Cline argues that we are making a grave mistake in our attempts to channelize and “segregate” cyclists from motorists. Indeed, as we are reframing U.S. roadways to accommodate bicycling, he warns that we must avoid “surrendering our streets.” This is what we are doing when we ask for cycletracks or special paint markings on the edge of the road.”

This cow left the barn long ago. We have seen examples of many people using sweet infrastructure, but I have not seen their goal working anywhere.

[Photo of douchy family deliberately blocking traffic just–well just because.]

The above photo will only irritate and anger those who motor but are sympathetic to cycling. But hey, they have the “right to the road” so let’s assert it.

I liked their “allowing people to pass” stuff above. From the photo it seems impossible for motorists to pass safely. But then again, what do I know. I am unlicensed in their cycling stuff and I have poor eyesight.

OK, I’m stopping here. There are about 40 more pages. I’ll deal with this another time.

Sustainable Safety Management

February 13, 2014

Click to access BerndFreibottArticle.pdf

“Nonetheless, for the next 100 to 150 years, it was considered an usually of not just inevitable collateral effect of any that accidents would happen and that people would be injured.”

We’re _still_ here when it comes to transportation planning.

Finally, we’re getting rid of the word “accident” from our lexicon for crashes. This is a great step forward.

It’s not just about words, but about how we think about safety.

“The objective was essentially this: something that has happened should never recur, and everything should be done to prevent accidents from repeating, to diminish the danger to which employees are exposed and to reduce the risk of operations.”

LTRs know that in San Diego at least, cyclists get killed in the same locations, over and over, through no fault of their own. In many of the deadly collisions there were warnings from the community that were totally ignored even after people are hit. Yet, these areas are “up to code” which is a meaningless phrase in terms of real world safety.

“Learning from real incidents and accidents is only a small part of what is needed. It is like chip-ping off little pieces from the top of an iceberg. It will have an effect, but the change will not be great.”

This the exact conclusion that I came to while reviewing crash data. That’s why I break out in hives when I see the notion of a counter-measure.

“The first challenge is to get a better understanding of what is happening in the company, what is the reality.”

For cycling this means looking at the whole transportation network and not thinking in terms of segmented lanes which start here and end there. Think of when you’re in a bike lane halfway to your destination and there’s a sign which says “Bike Lane Ends”. A holistic approach wouldn’t have any begin nor ending signs.