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Bicycling vs. Driving

Summary:
There’s North and South, liberals and conservatives; Star Trek people and Star Wars people . . . but few divides are greater than that which exists between drivers and cyclists. The etiology of the thing is interesting. It bugs some drivers that cyclists have the gall (as the drivers see it) to ride on roads which they – the drivers – consider their own or at least, not suitable for bicycles, because they aren’t able to keep up with the flow of traffic and thus slow down the flow of traffic. This is certainly true. Bikes sometimes can’t keep up with the flow of traffic. It is equally true that slow-moving RVs, garbage trucks and commercial vehicles slow/impede the flow of traffic as much as a cyclist struggling to keep up – and

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There’s North and South, liberals and conservatives; Star Trek people and Star Wars people . . . but few divides are greater than that which exists between drivers and cyclists.

The etiology of the thing is interesting.

It bugs some drivers that cyclists have the gall (as the drivers see it) to ride on roads which they – the drivers – consider their own or at least, not suitable for bicycles, because they aren’t able to keep up with the flow of traffic and thus slow down the flow of traffic.

This is certainly true. Bikes sometimes can’t keep up with the flow of traffic.

It is equally true that slow-moving RVs, garbage trucks and commercial vehicles slow/impede the flow of traffic as much as a cyclist struggling to keep up – and an RV or garbage truck is harder to get around.

No one seriously argues that RVs and other slow-movers stay off the main roads because they’re slow and hard to get around. A cyclist’s claim to use the public of right of way (which isn’t a racetrack) is just as legitimate as the RV driver’s.

But that right to use the public right of way was much less frequently exercised by cyclists until relatively recently – and therein lies the source of the current rub.

I’m old enough to remember the ’70s and ’80s – and during those decades (also probably the ’60s and ’50s, which was before my time) pretty much only kids and teenagers who couldn’t drive yet rode bicycles and did so usually in neighborhoods, on side streets/trails and so on. I was among them. We rode to get to the arcade to goof off, to our friends’ houses and to (and from) school/practice.

We didn’t ride for sport/exercise.

We stayed off the main roads. Until we were old enough to drive. And then we largely gave up bicycling.

Very few adults rode bicycles in those days and so the main roads were default for motorized traffic. In theory, anyone could ride a bike on them. But almost no one did.

It’s just how it was. This coincided with the height of Car Culture. Perhaps not coincidentally.

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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