Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bike Girl Figures It Out

Bike Girl likes to keep an open mind, so she's been known to click over from time to time to see what sort of comments are being made about the recent Mandeville Canyon Incident. The most frequent complaint was that cyclists don’t obey the law and should therefore not be entitled to protection under it.

As a smug form of protest, Bike Girl has been obeying the law to the letter, both on her bike and when driving her car. She has noticed two things.

1. Obeying all traffic laws on her bicycle does not change the way drivers react to her, though it does give her a smug sense of self-righteousness.

2. Obeying all traffic laws in her car seems to make other car drivers even more frustrated with her than when she rides her bicycle.

While neither finding was surprising, when juxtaposed against the comments on the Mandeville Canyon incident, Finding Number 2 was slightly hilarious.

Bike Girl set out to quantify the phenomenon of law-breaking drivers by counting the number of drivers who turn without signaling, speed, and roll through red lights and stop signs. But in the middle of her extremely scientific survey, Bike Girl was astonished to see a fellow cyclist roll through a red light right in front of her.

The dangerous move did not do the Reckless Cyclist much good, because the smugly law-abiding Bike Girl was able to quickly catch up to her. When Bike Girl pointed out to the Reckless Cyclist's misdeed, she merely replied, "Oh well."

This took Bike Girl aback. This is a very similar response to one frequently given by Reckless Drivers! Bike Girl put her survey on hold to Ponder this. She rode home, smugly obeying all traffic laws, and put on her Pondering Cap.

Bike Girl decided the only way to find an explanation was through the use of Math. Bike Girl knows that according to the Transitive Property, if a = n, and b = n, then a = b. Therefore:

If Reckless Drivers = Jerks
And Reckless Cyclists = Jerks

Then Reckless Drivers are really the same as Reckless Cyclists!

This also implies that Jerks can either drive cars OR ride bikes!  Yet for some reason, cyclists are all characterized as Reckless, whereas all drivers are not. No one says, "We cannot improve infrastructure for drivers because they speed." Yet, there is hesitation by many drivers to accept the rights of cyclists

Even with her Pondering Cap on, Bike Girl cannot find any Math that explains this phenomenon.


gwadzilla said...

the cyclist must work to put themselves in the place which is most safe

the actions of the cyclist may appear to be reckless
while the are moving about in a way that makes sense

car drivers are idiots and assholes

if the streets were more safe
then people would not be riding their bikes on the sidewalk

control the car chaos

Bike Girl said...

Bike Girl agrees that cyclists must put themselves in the place which is most safe.

However, she is confused as to what Gawdzilla means about appearing reckless, while being safe. Obviously, some people believe taking the lane is reckless. I'd like to refer them to to read his post on Coexisting. But the cyclist about which I blogged could not possibly be safer running the red light than if she had stopped.

Some car drivers are idiots and/or assholes. But others are not. Bike Girl is sometimes a car driver and likes to think she is not an idiot or asshole.

If people rode their bikes on the street, more cars would realize that's where they belong and the streets would eventually become more safe.

KG said...

Hi bike girl! I only wish that your study could have been complete. I too have found that following the letter of the law doesn't really help anything, which is sad....
Regardless, I think your findings about the lack of objectivity (and the strange bias against cyclists) only make the problem worse.