Go Speed Racer

OK, whenever I write a post like this, this song goes through my song:

“Arguing with white dudes on the Internet.”

Which, as a white guy, it’s like looking in a mirror and making scary faces.

Anyway, I have been thinking of the Quislings in our midst who claim want more cyclist then they do everything in their power to discourage people.

I recall this quote:

“Retain and expand the ability of bicyclists to act and be treated as drivers with equal rights and responsibilities on roads.”

Suddenly, it all came together.

Instead of being so permissive, _I_ should want to ban things, too.

Unlike some of my cycling colleagues, I am NOT in favor of wiping out homeless people, and forcing everyone to ride single file in the middle of the lane while wearing Lycra with ears open and heads covered like the cyclists form of hijab.

No, I’m going to call for a ban on things that I personally don’t like. Once I started thinking in the Let’s Ban Shit Mindset, I realized how much fun it could be. Also, realizing that I banning things is even more fun when you do it in groups, I realized that I had to come up with some logical arguments that were congruent with contemporary intellectual climate.

Thus, I feel that if cyclist believe in the above quote, they would join me in a call for a ban on using our city streets for cycling racing.

Racing cyclists are the useful idiots of the cycling community because they are the first thing in motorist’s minds when they think of cyclists.

If a cycling commuter wonders why a motorist sees red when he sees you, it is because of the racers.

The presence of so many racers in San Diego makes people believe that cycling is just for recreation. Thus cycling looks trivial to a motorist who has to drive pets to the vet and children to school.

The thought that some cyclists could be going to important, adult, and well-paying jobs on our bicycles, and that, we, too, might be in a hurry because we are late, is absent from the average San Diego motorist’s mind.

Despite our marginal worth, the average San Diego driver is kind to us which just goes to show how accommodating people are here.

However, as cyclists, I think we should love the motorists back.

One way we could both show respect and to cultivate it from motorists is to not speed and to not wear Lycra or any other kind of racing gear. We would like to avoid off the impression that we are a douche bags who are only using the the streets to exercise while taking the lane from IMPORTANT PEOPLE.

After all, here’s how motorists sees the average cyclist:

This is the only explanation on why people see a harmless, humble, two wheeled vehicle as the “biggest threat to safe streets.” Also, it is the main reason that the anti-cycling facebook page has 32,000 followers.

How to reverse this trend?

I think that we should police ourselves and get the racers off the road and onto bicycle racing tracks. Most importantly, however, is that we need to stop the notion that cycling is just for sport.

Image a world where most people cycled to the grocery store. Occasionally, you’d see people motoring around, full speed, in race cars with NASCAR stickers in the windows, helmets on their heads, and auto-racing suits on their torsos.

While you are plodding along on your bicycle at a speed that makes it feel OK for children to run in front of your bicycle (because you can stop in time), other people are racing along like they are in the Dayton 500.

In this world, are going to see motorists as a danger that must be stopped.

In fact, you are going to conclude that this sport is inherently dangerous only suited for expert athletes.

And when proper infrastructure is build, you will come to the wrong conclusion.

For example, here’s a video which shows how safe cycling is in a cyclo-track in DC. Most cyclists are riding nicely just like most motorists have an OK time on the freeway. It’s not perfect, there’s always cause for complaint with the traffic and imperfect drivers, but come on, a eight mile per hour collision between two bicycles isn’t the biggest danger our civilization is facing.

In fact, the video brought tears to my eyes because my own capital city was growing up, become a more mature and civilized place.

Despite, this, the video was presented in the most negative light as propaganda against cycling. If I didn’t know any better, this would have looked like Copenhagen where nearly everyone rides their bicycles. Compare to the patronizing tone, and the dinky turnout that racing advocates have plagued us with.

Also, it is clear that the commuter is unfamiliar with more dense urban design. This design does have more frequent stops and slower commute speeds. However, since things are closer trip TIMES are often shorter and this is the goal of good planning. Often the uninformed feel that faster speeds lead to shorter trip times, but this is rarely the case from a design standpoint.

Thus, as cyclists, we must pressure people to stop wearing Lycra, stop riding racing bicycles on the street that are impractical for carrying things, and to ride at safe speeds at all times. You can keep on riding on sidewalks, salmoning, and weaving as long as you do so respectfully. 🙂

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