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May 7th, 2007


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08:05 am - HEY AWESOME
1. The Great Gatsby is a story about a circus clown who falls in love with a one-armed stenographer and, after getting married on a Graaf Zeppelin, must team up to fight Bolsheviks on Easter Island.

2. It's perfectly legal and totally okay to, when you ride a bike down College Avenue, zip right between a double line of cars stopped at the Store 24 light and heydily hoidily zoom through the red light into the middle of Davis Square.

3. Curt Schilling is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

One of those statements is true. One. Though I'd sure pony up money for that first story.

I watched the incident in #2 happen this morning. At the risk of stuffing this little feller here full of straw and waving him around angrily, I wonder if Mr. Wonder Biker is the same type of fellow who complains that cars don't treat bicyclists with respect. Would we have seen an angry, indignant post in davis_square today had he clipped himself on someone's side view mirror or been cussed at by a driver in the line? Or would this guy, who's already shown he doesn't give a tinker's damn, have taken a header and then picked himself up, brushed himself off and started all over again?

But facts is facts, and if you're on a bike you obey the same traffic laws as a driver.

I'm growing increasingly curious about observing these idiot riders as there is a bicycle coming my way and, honestly, I grew up in towns with hills and almost-paved roads with wide shoulders and an infrequent number of automobiles coming by. This kind of urban riding annoys and unnerves me, and I want to enjoy nice happy fun ride time, but I don't want to be lumped into the same category as Tommy Trafficlight there to whom the rules of the road apparently don't apply. Also, I have a severe and distinct phobia of side view mirrors.

Luckily we do have a nice system of rail trails around which I believe I'll be enjoying now that the weather's nicer.

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:rosalux
Date:May 7th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
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It's probably safer than it looks, at least right up to the sailing through red lights part.

But you also can totally obey traffic laws on your bike, and be just fine. I don't run reds (okay, that's not true - on back streets I will stop and look for traffic and then go, if I'm not hauling the kid.) or split lanes and biking is still cheaper, faster, and more fun than a car or the bus. You'll get over the side view mirror thing - the space between a car and a bike looks a LOT wider from the bike's side.

And lots of urban riders crash all the time, and just get back up. The problems come when the cars think you should get out of the way when you *are* following traffic rules.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
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Unfortunately I believe this is a vicious circle. Jackass biker rides unsafely and pisses off a car driver, who then decides "Hey, who's got the bigger conveyance here?" and proceeds to treat all bikers like Jackass Biker -- and then these bikers, treated as Guilty Without Proving Otherwise, decide "Hey, we have the right of way too" and proceed to piss off more drivers, who proceed to piss off more bikers, and the next thing you know, Critical Mass is blocking all the Charles River bridges and winning absolutely no fans at all.

But I guess I'm not about to start my odyssey by purposefully taking the busiest streets in Boscamberville. Gotta start small and work yer way up. I figure the trepidation will subside eventually and I'll make it over to the Emerald Necklace by mid-2009.

Heh. I just realized that without local context, "Emerald Necklace" sounds like a location in an MMORPG or something.
From:lno
Date:May 8th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
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You say "Emerald Necklace", I think pearl necklace, and then I segue right to porn in the Emerald City with the Wizard of Oz.

THANKS A LOT.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 7th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
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I've been #2, but I stop long enough to look for pedestrians first.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
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See, I'm glad you check for pedestrians, but I can't reconcile blowing through a red. A red light is a red light and red means STOP and I was taught long ago that if I'm riding the bike, then I follow the traffic rules as if I was driving a car. If I'm walking the bike, then I follow the rules as if I was a pedestrian. Watching someone whiz through a red light makes me cringe, especially if they're whizzing through that red light into the giant morass of turns and headons that is Davis Square, and I don't want to suffer Guilt By Association by riding around.
[User Picture]
From:marphod
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
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The only time I go through reds on my bike is when I'm not heavy enough to trigger automatic lights. Technically, if you wait long enough, they'll change on their own (every 2-3 minutes, in case the senser is broken, IIRC), but that gets really tedious light after light.

[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Once I've stopped and checked there there are no pedestrians waiting to cross my path, I don't see much point in remaining stopped. Bicycles are small and easily maneuverable and fit into lots of places where cars don't.
[User Picture]
From:androidqueen
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
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Would you say the same thing if a car stopped at a red and then kept going because there was no traffic?
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
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yes, actually. I think most red lights could be safely changed to blinking red.
[User Picture]
From:androidqueen
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
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"Most red lights could be safely changed to blinking red" is not the same as saying "running a red light which could safely be changed to a blinking red" is okay. There's a lot to be said for predictable traffic patterns.
[User Picture]
From:rosalux
Date:May 7th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
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You mean you never cross the street against the light?

Seriously, blowing lights is stupid, it'll get you killed or cause an accident (just like it does when people blow them in cars). Rolling stops are different - the only reason more bikers do it than cars is because bikes are less likely to get a ticket. I mean, at stop signs you see cars not really stopping all the time, because it feels less illegal. But it's not. And everybody jaywalks part of the time. And at least around here, the law says you stop for pedestrians at ANY CORNER but nobody ever follows that. Street rules are more about common habits than the law.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
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The guy didn't even slow down, that was the part that unnerved me. He maintained cruising speed and just went right through. There's actually two red light lines on that section of College Avenue (the first red light is created so that the MBTA buses may turn from their Bus-Only lane by the Davis Square station) and he rode right thru them both.

I'd feel much better if street rules dealt with common sense more than common habit.
[User Picture]
From:giantfightbot
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Stumptown is a big biking town, so we get a lot of this kind of crap as well.

If I did half the shit in my car that I've seen on bikes, such as driving the wrong way down a one-way road, I'd have my license revoked.

Sheer physics says that a person on a bike is far more likely to come out the worse for wear in any accident with a car. The traffic laws ensure that we behave in a predictable manner with other cars and reduce the possibility of collision. So why people ignore both of these for some sort of freedom is a mystery to me. Freedom to be intensive care, perhaps.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
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I mean, dude, consider the odds!

Look at all the empty space around us at any given time.

Now what are the odds that your bike and someone else's car would attempt to occupy the same space at the same time?

Why, surely they're infinitesimal! Let's whiz on through! Whoopee! I'm an X-Wing Fighter today!
[User Picture]
From:resk
Date:May 7th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Ann Arbor is a busy, hilly city completely controlled by pedestrians. Skate boarding has been outlawed in certain downtown areas (due to public property "damage" issues), and bikes must follow the same laws as cars.

I once worked at a hotel and was out front when a woman riding down the sidewalk bumped into a car coming out of an alley. She demanded that the police be called at once. She was not happy to find out that she was at fault and was lucky to get off with no ticket.
[User Picture]
From:androidqueen
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
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I almost never run red lights. When I do, it's because I'm not metallic enough to trigger the sensors or because it's 2AM, and I am dead tired, not that that excuses it.

That said, I'm pretty sure splitting the lane is allowed, though I'm not positive. And, while bikers tend to be more obvious about it (that is, they run the red when the light has been red for a while), I'm not actually convinced that more red lights are run by bikers than by drivers in this town.

It's still stupid. And i *hate* it when I get passed at a red light, only to pass that biker before the next red, where they pass me again, etc etc etc
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
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I don't think there's anything against going between the row of cars like that, but it was strange to watch because I thought he was fully going to stop in the middle and that sounded even stranger.

Stopping, looking, proceeding at least show common sense. Flying out into traffic shows you live life on the edge, baby, you're a rebel and you're doin it for the kicks!



ps your avatar mentioned hanging out sometime and I think that's an absolutely swell idea only I cannot find a working contact info
[User Picture]
From:mybadhairlife
Date:May 7th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
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Pedant-girl checking in to point out that most highway traffic codes do prohibit lane splitting by any type of vehicle - even a people-powered one.

- someone who has to hang out in boring traffic court sometimes, but it's okay because I get paid for it.
[User Picture]
From:tablesaw
Date:May 8th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
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I was under the impression that California was the only, or one of the only, places in the U.S. to allow it.
[User Picture]
From:hamshovel
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
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*re-reads The Great Gatsby*

*is confused*
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 7th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
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Have you gotten to the part where the aliens land yet? That's where the book really picks up.
[User Picture]
From:hamshovel
Date:May 7th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
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*does not grok*
[User Picture]
From:luckimunki
Date:May 7th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
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The Great Gatsby is a story about a circus clown who falls in love with a one-armed stenographer and, after getting married on a Graaf Zeppelin, must team up to fight Bolsheviks on Easter Island.

You know, I've read The Great Gatsby. Recently, even. Yet, I'm not sure I could, with all intellectual honesty, tell you that the above description is not entirely correct.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 8th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)

I demand

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...that you define what the sam hell a "tinker's damn" actually means. A successful and satisfying explanation may lead me to actually register for Livejournal, tho don't hold your breath.

pete

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