Thursday, August 04, 2005

Spotlight on Bicycles vs. Cars

If you live in the Seattle area, you probably heard or read a story in the news the last few days about the "ghost cycles." For those of you that don't know, these are a bunch of decrepit bicycles that have been painted white and chained to signs and poles in various locations around the city. The purpose of the ghost cycles is to "raise awareness for everyone regarding bicyclists on the streets of Seattle." [] In that respect, they appear to have succeeded, and I congratulate them.

Ghost Cycle #25However, this post is not so much about the ghost cycles themselves as it is about some discussion on the topic that I heard on talk radio in the last few days. While not everyone rides a bicycle, nearly everyone drives a car, so there was no shortage of people with opinions (is there ever?) when the hosts asked for calls on the matter. Many people called to weigh in on whether car drivers or bicycle riders* were the primary source of the problem when it comes to bicycles being hit.

Of course, the calls were incredibly predictable. Car drivers called in to talk about how "arrogant" cyclists are, and of course they're the source of the problem. Cyclists called in to talk about how oblivious car drivers are, and of course they're the source of the problem. What a shock. Considering that I not only drive a car, but I also enjoy a nice bicycle ride, I believe that I can offer the closest thing to a neutral position that is available out there. Not only that, but I happen to be an equal mock-ortunity blogger.

With that in mind, I would like to point out that both the car drivers and the bicycle riders that called into the talk radio shows to gab about this issue missed the real root cause of the problem. The source of the problem is of course that both car drivers and bicycle riders are people, and a large number of people tend to be self-centered, arrogant, inconsiderate, oblivious jerks no matter where they are—car or bicycle. Putting jerks into cars or on bicycles causes a similar problem to when jerks get on the Internet. That is to say that when jerks are interacting with others in this thing we call real life, they tend to somewhat suppress their self-centered actions so they can properly function in a collective society. However, when jerks are "alone" and "anonymous," but still interacting with other people (such as in cars/bicycles or on the Internet), the true nastiness comes out.

Unfortunately that's just the way it is, and the only thing that is going to solve the issue of bicycle/car altercations is if jerks are somehow eliminated and/or start being nice to others. Which isn't too likely since there isn't anything (obvious) in it for the jerk when they're nice to others.

*What's the deal with that, anyway? You don't drive a car, and ride a bicycle. It's the other way around.

P.S. (This post has been edited slightly from when it was first posted. Shortly after posting I realized that it cast a bit too broad of a net. Not all people are jerks. But there are a lot of them out there.)

image sourceCategories: News, Local, Serious


Anonymous Mered said...

So, so insightful.

7:08 PM, August 06, 2005  

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