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Monday
Feb112019

A cyclist must be passed

The late and great George Carlin said:

"If I am driving at a given speed, anyone who passes me is a Maniac, and anyone driving slower than me is a Moron."

The only reason this is funny is because it is the truth, a trait in human nature that we can all relate.

I recall the day I observed a guy on an old beat up moped. The engine was screaming, black smoke billowed from the exhaust, and he was driving at about 20 mph in the center of the lane on a busy main street.

There was no doubt from the sound of the engine, that this was the top speed this aging two wheeled clunker was capable of.

Cars were just following along behind him in a slow procession, no one was honking at him. Traffic was backed up at least a mile, and drivers positioned six cars back or more were oblivious to the cause of the hold up anyway.

They were all just calmly following this guy on a moped, and I wondered, what if that were a cyclist riding down the center of the lane at 20 mph. There would be a medley of car horns blowing, people would be screaming abuse from their open car windows.

Human nature would kick in, a cyclist is someone who must be passed. It doesn't matter if the cyclist is doing close to 25 mph in a 25 mph speed zone.

It doesn't matter if the cyclist is doing 50 mph, plus, down a winding mountain pass. Where it is not safe for a car to travel at above fifty, a cyclist must be passed.

On the other hand, put a motor on the bicycle, electric or gasoline, just as long as it doesn’t have pedals, and it has some magical calming effect on following drivers.

The actual speed at which the moped or scooter is traveling has no bearing on the situation. Human nature and human behavior is indeed strange.

 

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Reader Comments (3)

Yup. Same with a farm tractor. For whatever reason, people will do the stupidest, most ignorant moves to get by a cyclist. And then turn and cut them off

February 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteveP

A timely post Dave. Just on the weekend, another cyclist was hit and killed on a highway outside Canberra, Australia. The road has a huge shoulder that's at least 2 metres wide, hundreds of cyclist ride it safely every week. The driver has been charged with dangerous and negligent driving causing death - word is he deliberately swerved towards the rider. Yet social media has blamed the cyclist for 'riding on a highway', along with all the other usual BS (should be registered, ride the bike path, play in traffic - expect to be hit, what about the poor truck-driver and his family). In the end it's just another 'accident', to be ignored and quickly forgotten as the media cycle rolls on.

Just because a person travels on a self-propelled vehicle in Australia they are considered lower than dogsh!t by other road users, and this attitude is amplified and repeated ad-nauseam by the media operating in click-bait mode. It's useless trying to explain that the cyclist is a person and it could have been a motorcyclist, a person changing a tyre on the side of the road...doesn't matter, the physics of a bike v truck collision means that it's the cyclist's fault and if they get hit and killed it's their own bloody fault because they ride on the road.

So yes, a timely post but unfortunately one that could be repeated every week. Maybe when we have driverless vehicles which operate without human input, maybe then the maliciousness might fade.

RIP Aaron Couchman.

February 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony

:-) great post, Dave! as always ;-)

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMircea Andrei Ghinea

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