By on September 10, 2015

hespelt

In the end, they caught him, sitting on his bike, near a Billy Joel concert that he was probably listening to ironically, identifiable by his ridiculous handlebar mustache. And now the (grand) jury is in on Ian Hespelt: three felony charges and associated misdemeanors. So what did he do? Only this: he rode the wrong way in traffic with a group of cyclists, falsified an impact with a Zipcar being driven legally by a woman of indeterminate age but definitely diminutive size, attempted to hold her against her will with the assistance of other cyclists, then assaulted her with a U-lock as she drove away.

As a cyclist who has been struck five times by vehicles, once hard enough to snap my neck and leg and require the replacement of every red blood cell in my body, I have long struggled to understand the behavior of “Critical Mass” activists, even as I have nodded in sympathy at their frustration with “cagers” who often feel empowered to menace or attack cyclists simply for existing in their vicinity. I consider the car/bike dynamic in American society to be a massive indictment of human nature; given the advantage of safety and security over the two-wheelers around them, the average driver reacts by turning into a cross between the Emperor Commodus as portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix and Judge Dredd.

Oh well. Let’s watch the video, and then I’ll tell you the reason that my favorite blogger would give you for this mook’s behavior.


Hear the rhyme of the ancient Hipster
Hear him squeal as he stops one of three
Fantastizes a blow from the Impreza guest
Stay here and listen to the nightmares of P.C.
And the cyclists cheer on as the car passes by
Hit by a U-lock and the hipster screams his tale

The actual incident displayed in the video has been Monday-morning-quarterbacked everywhere from the San Francisco newspapers to Jalopnik, but it’s safe to say that not even the hardest-core of bikers-rights types genuinely approves of what Mr. Hespelt has done. This isn’t one of these situations where everybody views the video through their chosen political blinders and comes out mumbling platitudes. Ninety-five percent of the people who comment on it think Hespelt is an idiot and should be charged with something. I am with the ninety-five percent on this.

At this point, I’d like to invite you to read a very long article on another website. The article is called I’m Building A Rape Tunnel and it’s worth your time. However, if you are short on time, here’s the important part as it relates to Mr. Hespelt:

There are no special insights available about the nature of anger; but the nature of rage is well described. If you’re willing to agree that the above sentiments are rage — the irrational, out of proportion blinding hate that anyone else observing it thinks is pretty nutty — then there’s plenty to learn from it.

First, the rage comes because [the subject of the article] is weaker than us. When we feel safe, when we’re not afraid (of him), we’re free to explode in rage. (That’s why there’s road rage and not elevator rage.)

In every horror movie I have ever watched, no one, neither characters nor audience, hated the killer. They’re too afraid to hate. In fact, sometimes they side with the killer — think of an audience of teen boys laughing at the funny/horrifying way the victim was butchered. (And, in reverse: only when they start to hate, when they feel the rage, do they become powerful enough to kill the killer.)

…All rage comes from a narcissistic injury.

…When you find yourself hating someone (who did not directly hurt you) with blinding rage, know for certain that it is not the person you hate at all, but rather something about them that threatens your identity. Find that thing. This single piece of advice can turn your life around, I guarantee it.

What you see Ian Hespelt demonstrating in that video is rage. Narcissistic rage. He’s raging because he’s finally found someone weaker than he is. I mean — look at him. I doubt he could win a fight against the average twelve-year-old kid from rural Ohio. When he swings the U-lock, he looks like a drag queen swishing a purse around for comedic effect. There is no way Mr. Hespelt has ever been anything in his life besides a coward, a victim, a loser. This is a guy who wears a T-shirt protesting some minor and bizarre aspect of the Post Office’s business plan. I have no idea whether he is gay or straight but if he’s straight I’m willing to bet that he’s what they call an incel, or “involuntarily celibate”. Those members of the B&B who are men and who like men are free to offer their opinions on how Mr. Hespelt appeals to them. I don’t know a gay dude who would give him a toss and I know more than a few gay dudes.

As an individual, this guy’s a weakling. As a cyclist, he’s doubly so, even in cycling-friendly San Francisco. He’s probably been the target of a hundred acts of aggression, most of them completely unintentional, from soccer moms in Lexus SUVs and harried executives in S-Classes and other random motorists. He’s maybe been “doored”, although in my experience that is almost always an accident and it’s almost always avoidable if you have your eyes up. He’s had cars turn in front of him, back out of garages in front of him, brake-check him when he rides in the middle of the lane.

He’s angry. I don’t blame him. I have enough car-related scars on my body to convincingly impersonate a Desert Storm veteran at the Indianapolis 500. (That is, um, another story.) I hate cars when I’m not in one. I’ve ridden a motorcycle to work every weekday since July 15 or thereabouts and I’ve been shoved out of my lane a half-dozen times and I’ve had to move to avoid late-brakers and it’s just a general mess, you know? Would it kill the cagers to pay attention to those of us who haven’t decided to drag four thousand pounds or more of stamped steel to work and back?

But it’s easy for me to feel contempt at his cowardice. He and his friends don’t target some NorCal farmer in his F-250. They select a small woman in a Zipcar and they proceed to attack her as if she’d done something wrong. One man screams at her, “Put it in Park! You’re not going anywhere!” like he’s a cop taking control of a criminal. Let me tell you something: I’m forty-three years old and I’m about half as tough as I was as a teenager, which wasn’t that tough, but if I find a video of you and your friends surrounding a car and telling my girlfriend, or the mother of my child, to put the car in Park because they aren’t going anywhere then you had better prepare to be beaten to within an inch of your life. If my kid is in the car, then you should think about estate planning, because that’s kidnapping and most sensible women would see it as a prelude to gang rape. The woman in the Zipcar doesn’t know that you can only achieve an erection in the presence of a buttplug and your fully-functional Twilight Sparkle pony plushie. She thinks you’re gonna rape her.

So of course she is going to drive away. And that’s when your rage really kicks in. Because it’s the night of Critical Mass, that One Night Where Bikers Rule The Roads, the night for you to have revenge against those who have wronged you, but like it or not she is still in a four thousand pound cage and she can still just drive away. She can drive over your stupid little bicycle if you put in in her way. You are still just as weak and ineffectual as you’ve always been.

So you, a thirty-eight-year-old grown man, commence to attempting a beating of a small woman with a two-pound U-lock. That’s who you’ve become. You are the lowest of the low. You’re the biggest coward in America. Not even the pro athletes who drop their women with a right-left combo for mouthing off have a U-lock in their hands when they do it. America hates you, Ian Hespelt. With good reason.

And we could leave it at that, except for the following: he wasn’t really alone. He wasn’t the only person who was yelling at the helpless woman. He wasn’t the only person attempting to intimidate someone for no reason. He was just the ringleader of this particular group of goons. And he is far from alone in the way he thinks about the issue of car-bike dynamics.

If you’re a cyclist in this country, you are less safe because of what Ian Hespelt did. Because of his actions, some drivers will be even quicker to strike you and drive off. Because of his actions, someone, somewhere, is going to respond to a dispute between a cyclist and driver with deadly force. Because of his actions, the cold war between the various users of the American road just became a little hotter.

So, Ian, speaking personally as a former professional BMX racer, former bike shop owner, and someone who has commuted to an actual job on an actual bicycle far more often than you ever have or ever will, I hope they lock you up and throw away the key. But if they don’t, you should consider leaving your bicycle, and your U-lock, just where you left it, forever. Better yet, hit the road and don’t look back. As your friend Billy Joel would say, “When will you realize / Vienna waits for you?”

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156 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Rage Against The Zipcar...”


  • avatar
    carrya1911

    The dude LAID HIS BIKE on the bumper of the car.

    This is why people hate cyclists.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      The bicycle is the trifling conveyance of a child.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        C’mon zamoti with your “bicycle is the trifling conveyance of a child” spew. Seriously? Say that to a bar full of guys watching the Tour de France and see how it plays out.
        Now if I just knew where such a bar existed I’d totally hang there.

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          If I did go such a place and utter my beliefs, though I might make myself a tad unpopular it would not invalidate the truth of what I say.
          On that note I think I’d rather watch paint dry than watch a bicycle race on TV.

  • avatar
    Jason Lombard

    As a 15-year veteran of the bike industry, former non-professional bike racer, and someone who’s given up road cycling after moving to the D.C. Metro (which is truly the worst place to ride a road bike), I hope they lock this guy up and throw away the key. You nailed it, Jack. We’re all worse off (drivers and cyclists) for this guy’s actions.

    • 0 avatar
      awagliar

      I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that the DC Metro area is the worst place for a lot of things, commuting via bicycle and motorcycle among them. But if you’re still jonesing for a ride, check out the Potomac Pedalers (http://www.potomacpedalers.org/). While I can’t guarantee that all riders on all rides are devoid of this sort of Critical Masshole behavior, I haven’t personally witnessed it on any group rides in the last decade or so. The website has a collection of cue sheets for the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve (dodging more squirrels than cars), as well as some of the roads less traveled in the western VA suburbs (and beyond).

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      When I pulled up DC on Google maps there seem to be a lot of bike lanes and trails (click on Menu, then Bicycling). Compared to most cities in the Southeast you are fortunate. Cycling on the public roads in my adopted home of metro Charlotte can easily get you wounded or killed. A lot of growth, plus winding country roads now crowded with distracted drivers is not a good environment for biking.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    Just as with the New York Range Rover incident, the woman in the car has a legitimate self defense claim once the cyclists become aggressive and seek to illegally detain her.

    Citizens arrest doesn’t exist at all in some states and isn’t as broad as people think even where it does exist.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I don’t understand why legally bikes aren’t supposed to be on the sidewalk. The laws which allow them to operate in the roads are from a time when there were more horses and carriages than cars. Now 2 ton machines are driving at pretty fast speeds and are not compatible with bicycles.

    The irony is, that these psycho cyclists would not want to be on a sidewalk with pedestrians, because they would have to slow down all the time for pedestrians. The same way they cause a half mile backup by riding 2 wide on a 2 lane road with no passing.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree 100%.

      Bicycles should no longer be classified as vehicles. It is dangerous enough trying to have Mirages co-exist with 18 wheelers.

      And in Ontario where we are allowed to make a right hand turn on a red light, it is almost inevitable that at some point in a slog through central Toronto, after you have signaled and allowed the pedestrians to cross the street and started your legal right hand turn that some bike courier will try racing along the curb on your passenger side creating a very dangerous situation.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        Arthur, where I live the bike lanes stop being solid white lines near intersections and become dashed lines, usually with additional green paint to indicate that the right-turn area is a shared space between cars and bikes. If a cyclist wants to continue going straight he or she must pass the turning car on its left and has no right of way.

        There is one intersection on my daily route that does not follow this convention, but the bike lane stays a solid white line all the way to crosswalk to indicate this.

        It’s unfortunate that Toronto hasn’t put in the thought or effort to make cars and bikes coexist. Here in Chicago the transportation department has bought into it and the difference is noticeable. I bike to and from work every day that the weather cooperates and encounter zero problems with cars. The only annoyances I have are when drivers use the bike lanes as standing zones, but when that happens I move out to the center of the driving lane for that short time I need to be there. I’ve never had so much as a a driver honk at me for that because it’s temporary and it’s completely obvious it is some other driver’s fault.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      In situations like what you described, the problem is not with cycling on the roads vs. cycling on the sidewalks.

      A 2-lane no-passing road with cars driving “pretty fast speeds” and also having a sidewalk that you want cyclists on is poorly designed and poorly constructed if there is no room for a cyclist.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have the solution: license plate, registration, bike liability insurance to travel on state roads. Done. They want to share the road, they pay like everyone else. Outside of the most hardcore biker you will see those numbers drop real quick.

      Did you know in PA you must title and register an ATV but are forbidden from driving them on state roads in all but a few circumstances? Oh but people propelled by their own legs who have no chance of complying with the speed limit, oh you guys are cool.

      http://www.marienville-fire.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ATVBrochure.pdf?iframe=true&width=750&height=550

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        +1000, 28

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Are you assuming that cyclists do not also own cars and pay taxes? If that’s the case, then those cyclists that do own cars should get a refund when they choose to ride their bicycles instead, since this saves a lot of wear and tear on the road infrastructure.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This isn’t about taxation, its about treating all on road vehicles the same.

        • 0 avatar
          djsyndrome

          “since this saves a lot of wear and tear on the road infrastructure.”

          In some intersections in downtown Seattle, Bicyclists get their own lanes and turning lights that stop all other traffic, usually for up to 20 seconds. No other traffic can proceed during this time, even pedestrians (which, at a glance, seem to outnumber bikes 100-to-1 or more).

          I’d argue this contributes to the wear and tear, or at the very least the (already insane) traffic and travel times.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Are you assuming that cyclists do not also own cars and pay taxes? If that’s the case, then those cyclists that do own cars should get a refund when they choose to ride their bicycles instead, since this saves a lot of wear and tear on the road infrastructure.”

          I guess someone who can’t drive a car should get a tax break too.

          Sorry, that logic is nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            “I guess someone who can’t drive a car should get a tax break too.”

            On car-specific taxes like license and registration? You bet. They shouldn’t have to pay them at all.

            Some people (usually but not always conservatives) think that the answer to every problem is a new tax. You kids walk to school? Charge them a sidewalk tax! You ride your bike to work? You should pay a bicycle tax! People disagree with you on the internet? There ought to be a tax for that! People are fat? Charge a soda tax!

            I find the premise of that argument silly, as you can tell.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Some people (usually but not always conservatives) think that the answer to every problem is a new tax.”

            Wait, what? CONSERVATIVES are the ones pushing new taxes? Have you gone mad, sir?

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            S2K Chris,

            In my experience, people who self-identify as conservatives are the ones who think that new, very specific taxes are logical solutions to problems. It makes no sense, but there you go. In their defense, those new taxes never apply to them (because they don’t ride bikes, in this case).

            Case in point: bicycles are sharing the road with SUVs. The cliché liberal solution is “we need to build more bike lanes,” and the conservative solution is “there should be a bike tax.”

            I find both ends of the political spectrum funny, but I’m not predisposed to identifying myself with a cartoon animal.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          They don’t pay gas taxes.

      • 0 avatar
        Wacko

        you should run for president. If I was american I would vote for you.
        I agree 100%
        Share the roads, well then we share the costs. Here in canada we must title/register our atvs, snowmobiles…. and all of them are forbidden to drive on the roads. We are only permitted to cross the roads.

        For me Bicycles are the worst on the highways, they are often over the white lines, completely in the road, where the average speed is 55 mph, co we have to almost stop since we can’t always cross lanes.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        More bike riders means less traffic, less wear and tear on roads, less pollution. Everyone wins. Bike riders get to bike, car drivers get more open road. Your “solution” makes no sense in the real world, sorry.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          It makes perfect sense unless laws should be changed to put all of the onus of risk and injury on the bike riders as it should be. Evidently you were unaware that other motorized forms of transportation are not permitted on road but somehow non-motorized forms are permitted. How the frack does that make any sense?

      • 0 avatar
        mchan1

        “I have the solution: license plate, registration, bike liability insurance to travel on state roads. Done. They want to share the road, they pay like everyone else.”

        Agree absolutely!

        Not all drivers or cyclists are bad just the ones that we hear about in the media.

        There are wacko cyclists that “DEMAND EQUAL” treatment from Everyone to cyclists! Come up to New England >:(

        Many roadways/streets are just NOT made for cycling esp. in many older parts of the country like New England where the roads are more narrow!

        Cyclists should Work With instead of Work Against the public and drivers!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Cyclists should Work With instead of Work Against the public and drivers”

          Just a symptom of the world gone mad we currently occupy. The fair thing is to regulate it.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        I don’t agree with you on most things 28-Cars, but you hit the nail on the head.

        If you are going to operate a vehicle (Car, bike, tractor, or GODDAMN FUCKING SCOOTER) on a public road, you should have it registered and be compelled to have insurance if your state requires it.

        And for the love of fucking all things holy, Police in areas where cyclist traffic is heavier should be ticketing them more aggressively, not less.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thanks. Even a broken clock like me is right twice a day.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Actually, I changed my mind. Requiring registration on bikes is going to do minimal good in a tiny percentage of situations, and add another reason for cops to harass people in all other situations. I don’t trust governments to handle a bike registration program in an efficient, reasonable, effective, inexpensive manner. F*** ’em. It’s way too “papers please” for me.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “another reason for cops to harass people in all other situations.”

            I too am not a fan of gov’t, but this line of thinking is needlessly paranoid. Ultimately everyone needs to be held to the same standard on public roads.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Because they’re simply better than everyone else.

      Ann Arbor has its own cult of bicycle, where these morons think in a pack they’re going to teach the world what they can’t get their liberal city government to enact.

      I recall sitting at a traffic light on Huron Parkway when these goons descended and charged right through the intersection, causing all cars to slam on the brakes, as they fanned out to try to mob it all, with their “bike rights” streamers.

      Nobody will miss them. They are the enemies of civilization. Be on the sidewalk and co-exist with pedestrians, or be on the roads and co-exist with the cars. The Schwinn is not a license to exist outside of orderly civilization.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        This seems typical in college towns. In Boulder, they have bike lanes on the public streets, and if the nose of your car extends even a inch into them, some asshole will bash your hood. One did that to me and left a nice little dent.

        Last I checked you can’t simply damage someone else’s property because you don’t like how they’re driving.

        License these folks to ride on public streets, and that kind of nonsense will stop.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I lived in Ann Arbor for 4 years, and the pedestrians who resent the ICE to the point of intentionally darting out in front of moving ones can be more of a hazard than any bicyclist.

        Ann Arbor is the Midwest’s Berkeley in its own mind.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        As a fellow ann arbor citizen, I have to agree. The one problem with putting bikes on the sidewalks is that then these yahoos essentially become speeding pedestrians. With pedestrians having the right of way at cross walks, the zone a driver must be aware of when making turns become vastly larger. I almost took a biker out the other day turning into a neighborhood because he was absolutely flying on a downhill straight. I caught him in my periphery at the last second and stomped the brakes. Of course he had no intention of slowing or giving any regard to cars with signals on.

        My other issue is the bikers that switch from road-going vehicle to sidewalk pedestrian depending which is more convenient to them. They stay in the street until they approach cars at a 4-way stop then hop up on the sidewalk to pass the line and use the cross walk. Cars turning have very little chance of seeing that coming, short of anticipating every biker doing so (smart, yes, but unrealistic).

        I like bikes and would love to use one for commuting at times, but the inherent dangers and lack of infrastructure designed for bikes and cars means I likely will never. There needs to be a lot of change in how roads are designed and how laws are enforced before biking makes sense in America.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I almost killed a biker the other day because he ran a stop sign. Luckily for him, I was paying attention. He also yelled at me.

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          The other problem with sidewalks is that they tend to be poorly constructed and rarely repaired. Sidewalks will tear up a good road bike pretty quickly, so I can’t really blame cyclists for not wanting to ride on them.

          That said, they really need to obey traffic laws if they’re going to be on the road. Stop signs aren’t supposed to be optional.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Years ago, when biking was on sidewalks in NYC and Philly was mostly bike messengers, they had a habit of heading straight at a pedestrian at a high rate of speed, trying to intimidate them into opening up a path for them.

          Usually, the pedestrian would hastily jump aside. But I had learned a martial arts technique where it is possible to cause someone who is charging you to lose their balance and fall without touching them.

          Of course, I felt compelled to jump aside when one of these sidewalk terrorists charged at me, being careful to let my trailing arm drag behind me as if from inertia. This left my hand and forearm directly in the path of his face, causing him to slam on his brakes and freak out.

          Yet he got zero sympathy from onlookers, many of whom were smirking at him.

          I simply played the naive pedestrian who was barely able to get out of his way at the last minute.

          I suspect he knew he had been snookered, but there was nothing he could do about it. His only options were to either suffer the indignity of having had to yield to a pedestrian, or he could have tried to attack me unprovoked, in the presence of two dozen witnesses.

          He said more than a few X-rated comments, but I managed not to laugh out loud.

          Eventually, the police caught on and began issuing citations for this kind of reckless biking, but in the early days, back in around the eighties, it was SOP for bike messengers to routinely run pedestrians out of any sidewalk path they wanted, occupied by pedestrians or not.

          In case any one is curious, it was an aikido move, though I have also seen it taught and done by tai chi instructors.

          To visualize it, leap sideways, letting your arms trail…they will tend to rise up and out from your side if you leave them relaxed. Right where you want them to be for a split second, before you let them fall to your side next to your new position.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The sidewalk and crosswalk are the only places I’ve had many close calls with taking out bicyclists. Always with them riding against the flow of traffic. But it should stay illegal, even if they’re riding with the flow.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “The same way they cause a half mile backup by riding 2 wide on a 2 lane road with no passing.”

      Yeah, and we should also ban loaded semis, and backhoes, and garbage trucks, and school buses, and farm tractors. And traffic jams, because those are even more likely to slow you down. And construction, the law should clearly state that new roads have to appear all at once and never need fixing. That solves everything.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        @heavy handle- Don’t be dense, there’s a difference there, and you know it. Tractors, trucks, and the like block traffic out of necessity. Bikes are vastly more maneuverable and able to travel a shoulder. They are also limited to around 20mph, depending on the rider and road. Many bikers that block traffic are doing so to be blatantly inconsiderate to drivers for reasons Mr. Baruth outlined above.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Exactly…and how do all the uber-healthy food joints that riders like to frequent get all their stuff? On trucks, that’s how. I haven’t seen a convoy of ten-speeds loaded with food pulling up to Trader Joe’s yet.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I contend that if it takes you 20 minutes to go around a cyclist, you probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place.

          You are allowed to go over a yellow line to pass a slow-moving vehicle. It’s nobody’s problem but your own if it takes 30 seconds to find a break in the oncoming traffic.

          Do you think there should be legislation when you miss an elevator, or when the guy before you at the drive-through has a complex order? I think they should legislate Corollas off the Interstate (they’re always merging too slow and cutting-off trucks), but that won’t happen either.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “Do you think there should be legislation when… the guy before you at the drive-through has a complex order?”

            fuck yes

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        >he same way they cause a half mile backup by riding 2 wide on a 2 lane road with no passing.”

        Yeah, and we should also ban loaded semis, and backhoes, and garbage trucks, and school buses, and farm tractors. And traffic jams, because those are even more likely to slow you down. And construction, the law should clearly state that new roads have to appear all at once and never need fixing. That solves everything.<

        Is that you, Hespelt?

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Ooooh! Another angry bicyclist weighs in.

        The situations you named are mostly unavoidable.

        Deliberately riding two abreast to block cars from passing is a deliberate and unnecessary act of aggression, and those doing so should not be surprised to be treated in turn with aggressive thoughts and/or actions.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Bikes are banned from the sidewalk for good reason. As a runner, it’s really annoying to have some a-hole in a bike whizz up 2mm from me. Quite often I’m wearing headphones while running on a sidewalk and not really paying attention. That is the purpose of a sidewalk.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I don’t understand why legally bikes aren’t supposed to be on the sidewalk.”

      As a pedestrian, I vote nay.

    • 0 avatar

      A horse and buggy can kill a cyclist as easily as a car can. I’m sure if you look at newspapers from before the turn of the 20th century, you’ll find many injury and fatal accidents to cyclists encountering horses or horse drawn vehicles.

      It’s not that “psycho cyclists” like myself don’t want to be on a sidewalk with pedestrians, as a parent and grandparent, I don’t want older cyclists on the sidewalk. A 150 lb adult going 15 mph can do a lot of damage to a child stepping out in front of them.

      I’ve called out cyclists that I thought were riding unsafely or in a way that would piss off motorists, so it’s not like there aren’t jerks on two wheels, but the “half mile backup by riding 2 wide” complaints tend to be exaggerations. In my experience the vast majority of serious cyclists stay close to the curb unless there’s a reason, like making a left turn at a light, when you want to be in a lane. They also ride in pace lines, not two abreast.

      I’m willing to bet that the

    • 0 avatar

      A horse and buggy can kill a cyclist as easily as a car can. I’m sure if you look at newspapers from before the turn of the 20th century, you’ll find many injury and fatal accidents to cyclists encountering horses or horse drawn vehicles.

      It’s not that “psycho cyclists” like myself don’t want to be on a sidewalk with pedestrians, as a parent and grandparent, I don’t want older cyclists on the sidewalk. A 150 lb adult going 15 mph can do a lot of damage to a child stepping out in front of them.

      I’ve called out cyclists that I thought were riding unsafely or in a way that would upset motorists, so it’s not like there aren’t jerks on two wheels, but the “half mile backup by riding 2 wide” complaints tend to be exaggerations. In my experience the vast majority of serious cyclists stay close to the curb unless there’s a reason, like making a left turn at a light, when you want to be in a lane. They also ride in pace lines, not two abreast.

    • 0 avatar

      @MBella
      I’ve ridden a bicycle from Seattle to Boston, and I commuted by bicycle in Washington, DC for nearly 20 years, about 2/5ths on DC’s bicycle path network, and 3/5s on the roadways. I have roughly 70k lifetime miles. These days, however, I mostly drive, and my car, not my bicycle, is my favorite possession.

      Bicycles aren’t supposed to be on the sidewalk for a bunch of reasons. For one thing, you have old people and kids walking at about 2mph, and cyclists may be doing 20mph. It would be very dangerous for walkers. For another, if cyclists had to stay on sidewalks, they’d have a problem at every intersection, where cars would’t be anticipating them (because they’re on the sidewalks!) and intersection-related crashes would skyrocket.

      Cycling is a legitimate mode of transportation, and every bicycle on the road means less car traffic. Most cyclists are not a problem for cars (I know, because I drive in places like Cambridge, where there are a lot of cyclists).

      There are occasional exceptions, such as the one you describe in your last sentence, and cyclists who ride at night in dark clothes with no lighting.

      My own philosophy of cycling is to make things as easy as possible for the cars around me, much of which comes down to courtesy.

      These nutcases in the video do not represent the vast majority of cyclists, however, and they deserve to get the book thrown at them.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Amen to that, David. In fact, riding on the numerous bike paths in metro DC, especially the Capital Crescent trail, illustrates the problem of mixing bikers, walkers, runners, in-line skaters and trikers. The Cap Crescent has a 15 mph speed limit to avoid having bikers take out a few unsuspecting pedestrians, although some hotshots in road bikes routinely violate that. They also don’t sound a bell or warning when approaching someone from behind, as they should. Bikes can do fine on city streets if everyone behaves himself and uses common sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “Cycling is a legitimate mode of transportation, and every bicycle on the road means less car traffic. Most cyclists are not a problem for cars (I know, because I drive in places like Cambridge, where there are a lot of cyclists).”

        That’s true in the city, where I’m thankful every day to not live, but in the rest of the country nearly all of the bicyclists on the road are there because they’ve mistaken it for a gym. Those people aren’t reducing car traffic whatsoever.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Who knew Yosemite Sam’s son had such anger issues?

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Cyclist here. Been riding and racing for over 25 years. I hate this and stay clear of this shit at every chance. I leave group rides that take on a “mob” mentality. Fortunately in my experience most of the cyclists I ride/race with behave.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    If he tried this stunt on a dedicated bicycle path, I’ll bet he would end up with U-lock shaped bruises.

    Normally it’s easy to dismiss just one bad apple. But in this case, the entire group was riding the wrong way. Some even defended his actions! Seems they aren’t interested in sharing the road as much as they want it all to themselves.

    I hope the Zipcar has a dashcam. What a moron.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Pack mentality is real even if the pack is a bunch of beta-male losers.

      These kinds of antics rely on the person being targeted being cooperative and nonviolent. Sooner or later this gaggle of douchebags is going to run across someone who isn’t cooperative and who has no reservations about the use of violence.

      Just as with the Range Rover incident in NY, if somebody with purpose is behind that wheel then they will smear dead cyclists all over the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Critical Mass carry such large chips on their shoulders that it’s surprising that they don’t fall off of their bikes.

      They think of themselves as activists, but they’re just a bunch of loud jerks — blasting music is part of their routine — who want all of the benefits of riding on the streets but without any of the traffic laws being applied to them. They’re a nuisance.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        This:

        “who want all of the benefits of riding on the streets but without any of the traffic laws being applied to them. They’re a nuisance.”

        As someone who has cycled to work since his teens, this behaviour rankles me to the point of rage at times. I obey the rules of the road whether on my bicycle or in a motorized vehicle, but some cyclists seem to believe that the roads exist only for their benefit and that they shouldn’t have to yield to cars or pedestrians whatsoever. On and off the sidewalks where it suits them, sliding along the curb along stopped traffic, blasting through intersections – the bad cyclists enrage motorists to the detriment of legitimate rule obeying cyclists.

        I have engaged in a couple of dust-ups with really egregiously rude motorists who have endangered my safety because face it, some people are just assholes, but the ones on bikes make it even more dangerous for cyclists because now they’ve angered more asshole motorists.

        This guy, and other “Critical Mass(holes)” cyclists like him, have turned up even more heat on us now.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “The woman in the Zipcar doesn’t know that you can only achieve an erection in the presence of a buttplug and your fully-functional Twilight Sparkle pony plushie.”

    Clopper alert!

    And to think that my brand new keyboard hadn’t had any coffee spit into it before that line…

    And on a serious note…yeah, this cementhead gives bike riders a bad name. But then again, honestly, I see bike riders giving themselves a bad name pretty consistently around here. Way too many simply don’t follow the rules of the road. My favorite story: a few years ago, I was going north on a road with a 50 mph speed limit. I had the green light. A bicyclist came into the intersection going west, and blew right through the red. I almost wrecked my car avoiding him. And then he told ME to f**k myself. Really?

    Licensing riders – or giving moving violations to riders who already have driver’s licenses – would put a stop to a LOT of this kind of nonsense. You want to use public roads? Follow the rules.

    And don’t be a clopper…ever.

  • avatar
    heycarp

    I ride + 5000 miles/yr here in Dayton Oh. area.
    We are blessed with about 400 miles of contiguous bikepaths.
    Yet we still have idiots (usually old guys like me ) riding / hogging busy congested streets when there are sidewalks , bikepaths , plat streets , etc. that go the same place they are travelling to.
    To ride a bike safely you must be physically segregated from cars.
    Best place to do this is on sidewalks. There are 10 bikers for every pedestrian in this area. Still need to defer to walkers.
    Still have a 100psi pneumatic cyl. mounted to my city bike with tubing attached to valve/airhorn assemblyy. 120db gets some idiot motorist’s
    attention . Even whille they are yakking on their cell.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    Mr. Hespelt is fortunate he committed his attack in CA instead of TX or parts of the deep South. Things could have gone very, very differently for him.

    I think the video would have been far more entertaining if Ian had pulled this stunt on Jack’s NorCal farmer in his F250.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I do hope they actually enforce laws in the PRK and don’t allow this dickweed plead to probation.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I figure he’s out on bail now and the charges will be dropped when the news cycle moves on. He’s a poster boy for San Francisco.

      edit: Apparently he hasn’t raised bail, but I still suspect he’ll be sentenced to anger management and conflict mitigation instead of hard time.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Many responsible and thoughtful cyclists put in a lot of time working with city and regional authorities to develop solutions that work for both cycles and autos.

    Then some idiot like this comes along and pisses people off and undoes a lot of work. Super.

  • avatar
    ajla

    That video epitomizes places like San Fransisco, Portland, Asheville, and Brooklyn.

    All it was missing was someone spending $5000/month for a 200 square foot closet. And the zipcar needed to be a Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’ve decided Cadillac really needs a zipcar compatible, lifestyle product, as that’s where their current management deeply desires to take the brand:

      “It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s a Cadillac?

      Don’t worry , New Yorkers, the city is not being attacked by a fleet of luxury cars. That vehicle zooming over the west side of Manhattan on Wednesday evening is actually part of a marketing stunt introducing Cadillac’s new XT5 luxury crossover.

      The XT5 — the first in a new series of Cadillac crossovers — was scheduled to be airlifted over an event space at Canoe Studios on Manhattan’s lower West Side beginning around 8:30 p.m, giving invited guests — including fashion journalists — a first glimpse of the vehicle.*** It’s part of an unorthodox launch plan that includes a partnership with up-and-coming fashion design firm Public School, which is creating a collection of designs that Cadillac says will be inspired by the crossover.
      Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus said the goal is to gain the attention of fashionistas, rather than cater to car buffs, auto journalists and other petrolheads. Because in his view, younger customers are less interested in the technical details of cars, and don’t read car magazines as often as they used to. But “they are very interested in fashion. They are very interested in design,” he said.”***

      Obligatory bloated whale carcass XT5: http://i.imgur.com/y2AnxLi.png

  • avatar
    Akrontires

    The cherry on top is that Macklemore is playing in the background. Perfect soundtrack.

    I´m a cyclist and I lived in San Francisco and I never understood the Critical Mass group. They were a bunch of angry losers as far as I was concerned.

    I was in a cab once on a critical Mass night and the guy got the worse case of road rage I have ever seen. I was honestly concerned he was going to run the group down down that it would have been entire undeserved.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    This guys is an idiot, but I’ve honestly had far more negative interactions with cyclists as a pedestrian versus a driver. As a pedestrian if I step out in a controlled intersection (via stop sign or traffic light) I can reasonably expect any and all traffic to stop an obey the traffic control devices. I can’t count the number of times I’ve nearly been clipped by bikes that blow stop signs and red lights; ignoring the pedestrian right of way. In my car they’re mostly fine except for the occasional lane splitting douche. There’s a special place in hell for them. IMO if cyclists on the road behave like cars (no lane splitting, stop at traffic controls, etc) there’s little issue. Most of the problems come from such unpredictable behavior.

    I 100% support licensing bikes for on-road use.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    more like “critical ass”. the hipster version of wilding.

    im a motor, scooter and bicyclist, and behavior like this is one reason i never want to join a “group ride”.

    blowing off stop signs and wrong way riding? they might as well steal some quads and supermotos and do it east coast style

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Several thoughts on this, Jack.

    First of all, this idiot coward has been allowed to become what he is from years of legal and societal enabling.
    Bicycle riders have been allowed think and even force fed the notion of road rights and superiority.
    From the very beginning, the of calling bicycles “vehicles” and allowed to run with REAL vehicles,has made this situation.

    This is a result of the anti-auto, modern man is bad self humiliation of the modern moralist.

    Second, “(That’s why there’s road rage and not elevator rage.)”. Wow! Thanks! And the very reason there is ranting and raging on the Internet! The safety that comes from behind a monitor screen and the ability to scratch eyes out and stab safely from afar is the very same thing.

    Next…”Find that thing. This single piece of advice can turn your life around, I guarantee it.” Wow…asking this of the average monkey is a waste of breath. You might as well ask him to sit and meditate for 30 minutes. You would get the usual sarcastic snickering and snorting. Asking this idiot to look for the “thought” and ask where did it come from and where does it go is asking for his lock swung against your head in anger. I know this from first hand experience in my own family. The kids and wife have stopped chuckling when dad goes outside to meditate these days…but nobody has asked yet to learn how.
    I call that progress.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    “Ian Hespelt, 39, remains in jail in lieu of $145,000 bail.”
    – San Francisco Chronicle

    Enjoy your new friends, Ian. Bet they love that mustache.

  • avatar
    turf3

    I am a long term cyclist and in a good year put several thousand miles in. However, I won’t ride with groups anymore (I don’t see activist groups around here, but there are lots of spandex roadies), because they just flat will not obey traffic laws. I cannot understand why cyclists run red lights and I cannot understand why they don’t get tickets for doing so.

    As far as the management of cycles in traffic, there’s room for debate and disagreement there; I think cyclists at 15-20 mph on sidewalks is a spectacularly bad idea, but there may be locations where it could work; bike paths and lanes can solve some problems but create others, which may be of equal proportion; “Effective Cycling” techniques work well in many situations but tend not to work out so well on the two lane highly crowned shoulderless roads that make up so much of the network here in New England. Personally I use a modified Effective Cycling approach: using a whole lane where there’s room for motors to go around me, but hugging the right when there’s not; always traveling with the flow of traffic, so when I enter an intersection or equivalent I am where motorists expect to see something coming at them; turn left from the left turn lane, then clear the intersection and get back over to the right; never blow a red light; etc. Most of this is what any slow moving vehicle would do – think of a small tractor, or think of what you would do if you were flat-towing a disabled vehicle with a rope.

    I personally believe that the road to respect and good treatment by motorists is not through segregation, nor is it through making an ass of yourself. I believe it’s through behaving like you are just another normal responsible member of society, obeying traffic regulations, behaving in such a way that everyone else on the road knows what you are and what to expect from you. The more cyclists behave irrationally, the more the pedestrians and motorists will expect all of us to behave irrationally, and the less credibility we will have.

    By the way, I also drive a lot, pay gas taxes, pay US and state income taxes, and property taxes on my motor vehicles, as do the majority of cyclists. So I do claim standing in the question of who has a right to use the roads I am helping pay for.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      i agree.
      the rule of law is the real path to cohabitation.
      sidewalk bicycling only moves the issue from bicyclist and vehicles to bicyclist and pedestrians…the same issues will be there.
      There has to be law and rule enforcement and common sense if there is to be respect.
      Lack of respect comes the arrogance and disrespect of the law.
      The amount of cyclist disobeying laws and flaunting their imagined superiority results in this.
      Well…this works only as well as the inherent ugliness of humans towards others that are different still sticks up its ugly head now n then. I don’t care how much you enforce the laws…some people will just hate.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Blocking this woman and preventing her from leaving is called false imprisonment. It’s a felony. As long as he was outside her car and she was inside with the windows up and the doors locked, she was physically safe. When he broke the window with his lock, that changed. A reasonable person would have concluded that she was in real danger of serious injury or death. That is legal justification for self defense using lethal force. Since this was San Francisco, the chances were small that she would shoot him. However, she would have been justified in flooring her accelerator pedal to escape even if that meant running over him. This butt hole should be grateful he is in jail instead of a coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      Heck yeah. I spent 20 years as an urban biker before we decamped to the ‘burbs and even so, the minute that first guy stopped me and leaned his bike against my car I would have rolled right over it.

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    For all those screaming WHY CAN’T CYCLISTS JUST OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD OMGWTHBBQ !!11! – as always happens – I’d like to make the following few points:

    – Bicycles are not the same as cars. Expecting cyclists to obey laws designed for cars is dumb, and as with most dumb laws they are widely ignored.

    – If you’ve never attempted to commute / ride through an urban or suburban area via bike, you probably should do so before forming an opinion on this topic.

    – Cycling is, by and large, a net positive from a public health / pollution / traffic / urban planning standpoint and should be encouraged.

    – Google the “Idaho Stop”. If more places would implement the kind of laws that make sense for cyclists it would be easier to communicate and enforce those laws, so the police can go after the real idiots as opposed to making every cyclist a criminal. (You didn’t stop for that 4 way stop with nobody around OMG!)

    – The “Cyclists don’t pay taxes!” trope is stupid, and if you use it you’re stupid. I have 3 bikes. I also have 7 (!) licensed motor vehicles. Most cyclists also have cars, though not to the nutty extent I do.

    • 0 avatar
      AlfaRomasochist

      And like everyone with two brain cells to rub together I think handlebar moustache guy is a complete moron and deserves everything he has coming to him.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Sorry, if a bike is ridden on a public street, then as far as I’m concerned, it follows the same rules everyone else has to, and I don’t see the health benefits of biking as a counterweight here. That’s the same logic as saying that cars with more safety equipment should be able to ignore the speed limit. No sale.

      • 0 avatar
        AlfaRomasochist

        OK, well, you’ve convinced me. My 220 lb bike + rider combo with a top speed of 20-ish is exactly the same as a 2 ton car that will do triple digits and should be subject to all the same laws that govern a car.

        By that same logic you should be happy to follow the same laws that govern 40 ton fully loaded semi-trucks. 45 MPH through the mountains, mandatory weigh ins, always carry tire chains between September and May, stuff like that. Cool?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m more for regulation than anything as I espoused above but here’s a simple thought: if you can’t keep up with the pace of traffic you are not permitted on that road. Looks like you’ll be relegated to the local 15mph roads where it will be safer for you and others.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @AlfaRomasochist

          “By that same logic you should be happy to follow the same laws that govern 40 ton fully loaded semi-trucks. 45 MPH through the mountains, mandatory weigh ins, always carry tire chains between September and May, stuff like that. Cool?”

          I have no problem with dealing with slower traffic. That’s not my argument at all. My argument is that if a conveyance uses the road, it has to follow the law. Road laws account for things like loaded trucks, farm implements, and the like.

          But I can guarantee you this: the minute a semi driver starts doing the same stuff I routinely see bicyclists doing – no lane discipline, failure to signal, failure to yield right-of-way, blowing through stop signs or red lights, etc – that driver faces consequences.

          So, yes, even though we have to make exceptions for things like slow moving traffic, and live with it, there’s no excuse for simply ignoring traffic laws the way I see bicyclists doing on a routine basis.

          If you use the roads, yes, other drivers have to put up with you if you’re slow moving, but you obey the basic traffic laws. Period.

          • 0 avatar
            AlfaRomasochist

            My point – there are different laws for different types of vehicles on the road already, because it makes sense.

            Having different laws for bikes vs cars would make at least as much sense as having different laws for semis and cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t see I-always-have-the-right-of-way-and-don’t-have-to-yield-to-anyone ever becoming part of the Vehicle Code. Nor should it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This comment thread will make me angry if I participate in it, so I’ll just let AlfaRomasochist speak for me. Everything in both of his comments is exactly correct.

      My perspective here is as someone who has lived in big cities for my entire life, and participated in big-city traffic as a regular bike commuter, a car driver, and a professional transit bus driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The law-doesn’t-apply-to-me attitude is exactly why these clowns need to be regulated and barred from certain roads.

      Bikes are fine, but the attitude problem of many of the riders in the US isn’t. The Dutch manage to make this work, but Americans can’t help but screw it up.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      @alfaromasochist- oh boy….
      1- the tax/ licensing argument- I have to reissue every vehicle I intend to use on the road. Just because a biker has no motor, it should not be excluded. If you want to argue taxes for the lack of using gas, fine. But there should be a license just as there is for cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles. It’s about accountability/ responsibility and identification to authority.

      2- the bikes aren’t cars, they shouldn’t have the same rules argument- I can’t think of a bigger reason to have bikes obey the same rules cars do. Not every driver owns a bike, so you expect drivers to learn their own laws as well as biker laws? That’s ridiculous. As pointed out above, predictability is key to keeping everyone on the road safe. If a driver doesn’t know what to expect from a biker, you are going to have misunderstandings, accidents, and confrontations. If a bike wants to be on the road, it needs to obey the same rules, period.

      And the running of lights and signs with no one to wetness clearly isn’t the problem here. I doubt anyone has a real problem with that. The problem is running lights and signs with other traffic present.

      3- the “net benefit to society” argument- absolutely, encourage more biking. But then there needs to be mandatory licensing and training just as there is for cars. Teach people how to behave and design roads for it and there is no reason not to have more bikers. The problem is that there are more bikers out there who cause issues, intentionally or not, than there are who can peacefully coexist with cars on the road.

      4- if you don’t ride a bigger then you can’t comment on it argument- that’s just stupid. You can get all the experience you need to have a valid opinion just by driving a car around bikers. Some bikers are great and don’t cause issues and try to not effect traffic negatively. Most are not so great. People need to be educated b before being allowed to use the roads, regardless of their vehicle of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Idaho stop doesn’t require cars to learn any new rules. Bikes still have to yield to any cross traffic they would have to yield to under existing law.

        If you had ever commuted by bike, you’d understand the reason for it. It takes a lot of effort to get yourself from a stop to 10 or 12 mph when cycling up a 3% grade. Now imagine that you have to do that 10 times to travel half a mile through the city, because there is a red light at every block. And that it’s 4 in the morning and there’s no traffic anywhere. I faced this exact situation when I was a bike commuter and worked late nights.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        @myself… Autocorrect typos like crazy. Bigger= bike..

      • 0 avatar
        AlfaRomasochist

        I didn’t say you can’t comment if you haven’t ridden a bike. I said you probably should try it before forming an opinion. Otherwise you’ve only directly experienced one side of the debate and can’t really relate to the other side. Having empathy and balance is helpful and worthwhile.

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          If people are rational about it, they don’t need to bike to know what the issues are. The problem is that many bikers expect cars to accommodate the issues of biking. Expect cars to be courteous, as all humans ought to be towards each other, but the shortcomings of your translation are on you. If you have a car that gets crappy gas mileage and it’s effecting you, get a more efficient vehicle. If you’re biking a route that doesn’t make sense for bikes, ie a lot of lights and intersections or narrow fast roads, perhaps consider another route or means of transportation.

          I like bikes and would like to use them more often, but the problem is our country doors a poor job of accommodating them with regulation and infrastructure.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’m perfectly emphathetic to bicyclists that follow the law. I have no empathy for those who don’t (or drivers, for that matter). And the latter description is apt for far too many bicyclists.

          That’s why you encounter anger from drivers…they are stuck following the rules but bicyclists aren’t. Now, being empathetic, how should the drivers feel?

  • avatar
    ReSa

    Time for The Netherlands to chime in :)

    Basically there are two important things and one interesting legality that make for a safer place for both bikers and cars:

    1. Driving school should spend energy in teaching how to deal with cyclists in traffic: Traffic regulations, but also in practice.

    2. Unfortunately, practice makes perfect. If you encounter 1 cyclist per commute, or even per week, no chance of you as a driver ever anticipating on its behaviour.
    We have a 6th sense and an extra eye for cyclists, simply because they’re everywhere…

    3. In Holland, bikes and pedestrians are seen as ‘vulnerable participants in traffic’, which means that in case of an accident, the car’s driver is ALWAYS liable for the damages, unless he can prove he did what was necessary to prevent an accident.

    The last one is pretty effective, I can tell you.

    Plus, it’s like Jack said: only after you’ve driven a bicycle in traffic, you will know how to anticipate on bikes in traffic.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Cyclists can ride 3 wide on narrow twisty mountain roads, but it’s illegal to walk along the berm of an interstate?

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Is that PCH101 in the picture?

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    Lot of emotion and cycle-bashing in this thread. The guy is an idiot but seems like some drivers here need some perspective too.

    A cyclist has a right to be on the road too. Not just the right, but the exact same right as you do in your car. You’re one human being, so is a cyclist. Ok?

    In terms of law-breaking cyclists, next time a cyclist rolls through a stop sign or, god forbid, a red light, just chill out. Your level of effort in accelerating is the incremental in addition to the weight of your foot to press the gas. His level of effort involves accelerating the mass of his bike and himself. Yes we want exercise, but we also optimize our efforts just like you do in your daily lives.

    Because of the above, I think the Idaho stop (which allows cyclists to legally roll through stop signs and stop then proceed at red lights) is a great thing. Not for cyclists who will do that anyway but for drivers who just get so red with anger at the cyclist who just wants to keep going…

    Finally if you’re driving and catching up to a cyclist, just slow the hell down for a few seconds until it is safe to go around with a wide berth. Your few seconds is not worth taking the life of another human being, even if god forbid he’s intruding into your space.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      not completely.
      you are asking a lot.

      i everything isn’t created equal.
      not all roads are nor should be open to cyclist…I don’t care how good they are to the earth.
      and here is where the insanity comes up.
      for instance, at night and in heavy traffic areas…cycles should not be allowed. they are not equal.
      to think otherwise is again calling for the disturbance of the force.
      it simply will not work…regardless of imagination and wishful thought.
      reality is reality and to hope/wish otherwise will result in just more and more of the same.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Not just the right, but the exact same right as you do in your car. You’re one human being, so is a cyclist. Ok?”

      Equating human rights to cycling is a bit of a stretch.

      Oh and also did you know driving is a privilege which can be taken away and not a right?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “A cyclist has a right to be on the road too. Not just the right, but the exact same right as you do in your car. You’re one human being, so is a cyclist. Ok?”

      OK, but with rights come responsibilities. And when drivers – who have no choice but to follow traffic rules or lose their licenses – see cyclists behaving lawlessly in traffic, with no apparent consequences, then what you get is resentment. That’s what’s behind the “cycle bashing” you are talking about.

      And, no, drivers don’t have to simply ignore cyclists who are behaving dangerously, recklessly or lawlessly any more than they have to ignore other drivers. They have every right to expect that the law will deal with these morons. Problem, is, that doesn’t happen. And, thus, the aforementioned resentment and anger.

      Sorry, if cyclists want to be on the street with cars, then they follow the law. No excuses.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Not just the right, but the exact same right as you do in your car.”

      Good point. Now act like a driver, and try to obey a stop sign every once in awhile.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        They won’t. Even if they get hit by a car while running one, they’ll blame the car.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          There isn’t much research on the subject, but I suspect that one reason that highway fatality rates are lower in northern Europe than they are in the US and elsewhere is because that group of Europeans is more likely to obey the rules. I would guess that you have a higher proportion of road users here who are trying to take right of way that they don’t have, and good things can’t come from that.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Couple of thoughts from a guy who rides a bike about 50 miles a year, mostly to and from a couple parks within a mile of his house on surface streets pulling a kid trailer:

    -The whole “make cyclists pay to use the roads” is basically stupid. Even the fattest man in the world riding my old 50lb Huffy White Heat puts about zero appreciable wear on the road. Cyclist probably utilize, what, 5% of the average road? 2%? 1%? It’s immaterial and it doesn’t matter. Us motorists sound bitter and silly when we demand it.

    -That said, the registration thing is not a terrible idea, in that it gives some some way to identify a biker beyond “the dweeby guy with giant calves and tiny arms in the spandex”.

    -But then that might compel me to plate and “register” my bike which currently is ridden, again, about 2 suburban blocks to a park, which seems needless and arbitrary and burdensome. How to solve this, I don’t know.

    -Finally, bikers are right with the ‘share the road’ thing, but the other half of that is that it’s on them to not unduly burden motorists. You have the right to not have cars swerve at you, to bully you, to have them pass at a safe distance, etc. You DO NOT have the right to inconvenience them any more than necessary. Ride single file on the shoulder and I will do everything I can, including slow down and wait for a safe opportunity, to pass you with a wide margin. Ride 2-3+ abreast, run stop signs in front of me, ride in the middle of the lane on a 45mph road at 15mph, etc, and you’re acting like an idiot, unnecessarily inconveniencing drivers, and making all of us MUCH less sympathetic to your cause.

    Whenever I’m on the road, whether it’s by car, bike, on foot, whatever, it’s with the idea that I need to minimize my impact on others as much as possible. Others should adopt that as much as humanly possible.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      @s2k Chris – this times infinity.

      “Whenever I’m on the road, whether it’s by car, bike, on foot, whatever, it’s with the idea that I need to minimize my impact on others as much as possible. Others should adopt that as much as humanly possible.”

      That had been my creed for driving since I got my license. It’s not the world’s job to put up with me being a self centered moron. I try to anticipate where I need to be, what I need to do, and how to do so without effecting others on the road. This should be one of the first things taught to all drivers and users of the road. The road is there for everyone to use, don’t be the knob screwing things up for everyone else.

      And that’s a big problem with many bikers. They have a right to the road, they know it irritates drivers, so they end up flaunting it. And that causes ill will.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’ll buy in to the “Bikes have just as much right to the road as cars” thing when I see over 50% of road bicyclists actually stopping for stop signs and staying at red lights until they turn green. (And stop riding two-abreast, blocking the lane, when approached from behind.)

  • avatar
    Lemmy-powered

    Cyclists are some of the angriest people you’ll meet in North American urban environments. I love my Urbanite bike, but I’ve been so much more relaxed since I finally hung it up and switched to transit for the daily grind.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    I think there is a certain amount of irony to the vitriol directed towards this Ian guy within Jack’s article and the comments. As pointed out by Jack, Ian is basically an angry dude waiting for an opportunity to vent- in this case the opportunity to vent was provided by a totally minor traffic infraction (which in itself is debatable) performed by a small woman when he’s surrounded by sympathetic bikers. Similarly, Jack and the folks in this thread are angry about cyclists, hipsters, lefties, whatever, and this dude’s mistake gives them the perfect chance to vent to other sympathetic ears.

    Just like the dude’s actions were over the top, Jack’s editorial and the comments here are as well. This guy is very likely an angry loser (he’s 38 and works at Trader Joes or some grocery store, and lives in expensive ass SF), who made a very big mistake. I’m sure he regrets it. In my mind, once he serves his time, he has repented for his actions. Lots of people do extremely stupid things when put in the wrong situation, and I don’t think hitting a car with a U-lock qualifies as a life ending mistake.

    There is absolutely no need to rip on this guy by speculate about his sexuality. Just like Ian’s actions speak to his deep seeded anger, this editorial speaks to Jack’s anger towards hipster dufuses. Same goes for all the negative comments about bikers.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    In cities where there is heavy bike use, I’m all for some sort of registration with a menial fee. If you don’t want to pay that fee, you don’t get to ride on the street. Simple as that.

    Those registration fees aren’t just to replace broken asphalt from heavy cars, they pay for all sorts of infrastructure that cyclists (are supposed to) use like stop lights, stop signs, bike lanes, sidewalks, etc.

    Also, I just want there to be some sort of identification for these drivers where they can be held accountable.

    I love the cyclist creed of “we have the same rights as motorists, but shouldn’t pay a penny for the roads and don’t get mad if we completely ignore all traffic laws because we’re saving the planet” mantra.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I give you infinite points for improvised filk on Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    (And Jesus, Bike Entitlement annoys me.

    Not “demanding that people on cars not try to murder bicyclists”; that I get.

    But the belief that being on two pedal-powered wheels makes you superior *and* frees you from obeying the rules of the road.

    Like the guy who – memorably – cut diagonally across my lane in front of me, *oncoming*, and then gave me a glare like *I* had somehow done something wrong by driving in a straight line and steady speed in my lane.)

  • avatar
    doublechili

    This incident was an easy one. The bicyclist was obviously looking for a fight and intentionally instigated contact. Recently I witnessed another easy one: a couple of motorcyclists going at least 30mph above the prevailing (70mph) traffic on a toll highway, and zig-zagging through traffic and even riding the dividing line between vehicles in a tunnel (to boot).

    But the vast majority of the issues are not so clear cut. I almost never bike on public roads, but I live in a suburban area just outside a national park and encounter bikes on a daily basis when driving. I’ve learned (key word) to do the right thing around bikes even if it means, for example, catching grief from the cars behind me when I wait for an appropriate passing opportunity.

    My unscientific take is that in the 2-wheel/4-wheel relationship there’s a limited % in both categories at either end of the spectrum that either: really know and do the right thing; or, wantonly do the wrong thing. The majority in the middle either: don’t know the right thing; or, are just trying to get where they’re going and are maybe being a little selfish. But even the relatively blameless group in the middle can kill you/get killed.

  • avatar

    Avid bicyclist and motorist here, truth is we need more bike lanes and biking infrastructure in North America for reasons already listed in this thread.
    And with any group there’s always some narcissistic jack offs (like Hespelt) who think they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
    Pressure groups like critical mass do not help the cause, because it reinforces to the “war on the car” crowd) this is what all cyclists do.
    That’s crap.
    Not every motorist is a hothead in a steel cage and not every bicyclist is a car hating eco nut intent on killing the car and making us live off wind power.
    Ignore these pricks, they are a tiny minority.
    And riding on the sidewalk is no solution and far more dangerous, to pedestrian’s, motorists and cyclists.

  • avatar

    Critical Massholes.

    I doubt very many of them commute on a bike. They get together once a month to virtue signal their moral rectitude and annoy motorists while feeling superior.

    Understand that your typical lycra-wearing roadie is not likely to show up at a Critical Mass ride. Critical Massholes make fun of our bike specific clothes and our expensive titanium frames.

    Cycling credentials: Stopped keeping track at 40,000 miles. Commuted on a bike ~20 miles a day, 7 months a year, for many years. Still use my Litespeed for transportation sometimes and ride recreationally. I’ve been hit by cars three times and have metal in my leg to prove it.

    Addendum on hipsters: The sun has not seen my upper lip since puberty and I’ve had a full beard most of my adult life. I’ve also worn hats, including fedoras for years and currently own three fedoras. I like old technology so I’ll occasionally wear my late father’s Hamilton automatic watch. The tuner in my stereo has vacuum tubes. When I had a job that required me to shave, I experimented with soap and a brush, using my grandfather’s Old Spice shaving mug.

    That being said, I wish some of these hipsters would learn how to trim their beards.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      Ronnie, there’s a difference between the hipster aesthetic and the hipster attitude. People usually have issues with the hipster attitude, not aesthetic. The aesthetic thing is just a sense of style/ fashion, no different than preppy or grunge or whatever. The hipster attitude (not all who have the look have the attitude, but it seems all who have the attitude do have the look) is the problem, and guys like this biker ruin any decent aspect of hipsters with their ironic superiority complexes.

      And yeah, I assume that the main point of critical mass is to assert their right to the road as obnoxiously as possible, regardless of whatever it started out as.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      For a second there, Ronnie, I thought you were criticizing us residents of Massachusetts!

      • 0 avatar
        afedaken

        Was on Martha’s Vinyard and around Hyannis a few weeks ago. Gotta say, much of the driving reputation y’all get up there is undeserved. The drivers on the island and back on the mainland were far more polite than I had expected as a Cyclist!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Admittedly, I haven’t cycled as regular transportation in years, as my lifestyle just hasn’t allowed for it. But on two motorized wheels, I’m far less defensive and territorial, without a steel cage around me. I try and give potential threats a wide berth because, right or wrong, it’s not worth the risk.

    So, when in doubt, always assume the person behind the wheel of a Zipcar is completely inexperienced at driving. These guys would do well to learn that.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I’ll step in here as someone who’s had a driver’s license since 1966, has been bicycle commuting since 1969 (I’m talking adult transportation, not a kid playing in the neighborhood), and a motorcycle endorsement since 1976. All three forms of transportation have been in pretty constant use in the intervening years.

    1. If you honestly believe that a bicycle belongs on the sidewalk, turn in your driver’s license. You have no stinking business whatsoever driving a car, because you’re too self-centered in your two ton cage to really care what’s out there around you. I can only speak certainly for Virginia and Pennsylvania (where I’ve done my daily commuting) but I’m pretty certain that in every state’s motor vehicle laws a bicycle is under the same rights and restrictions as any ICE powered vehicle.

    2. And yes, I’ve heard all the screaming about cyclists doing anything from shading the laws to outright ignoring them. Fine, if you want to bitch about cyclists, then lets see you hit the brake EVERY time the traffic light goes from green to yellow, no matter how close you are to entering the intersection, just like the motor vehicle code expect. Not speeding up to beat the red. And lets see you come to a dead stop at a stop sign EVERY time, even if its 0200 and there’s no traffic for blocks. Just like the motor vehicle code expects. I learned long ago that all those complaining drivers are just as sloppy when it comes to rules of the road as a cyclist. The only difference is that they’re a little more subtle about it, as a cop will happily pull a licensed driver over for an infraction, when they’ll probably let it slide if a driver’s license is probably not involved. (I’ve always figured this is much of the basis for car driver’s hatred of cyclists – they can get away with a lot more. And of course American equality means, “If I can’t get away with it, neither can you.”)

    3. In all these years, when out on two wheels (of whatever kind), I’ve learned to assume that the pilot of any four wheeled vehicle is a blind, self-centered idiot until proven otherwise. And if they’re driven nothing but more-than-two-wheels all their driving life, the odds of them being an uncaring idiot goes up greatly. Probably by a factor of ten.

    4. Yes, that idiot in the video needs incarcerated. For starters. He’s the kind of guy that the more self-centered car drivers want to believe everyone is as soon as they throw their leg over the frame of a bicycle. We’ve got enough problems with texters, traffic light runners, etc., without having our own torpedo us.

    4. Finally, having read the comments above, I’d love more than anything to have the power to make every individual here, at the proverbial snap of the fingers, lose their licenses and all available ICE powered vehicles for the remainder of September – and are issued a bicycle as their sole means of individual transport for that period of time. I’d enjoy hearing the attitudes on 1 October. Hint: If you’ve never commuted in traffic, you don’t have the slightest clue of what you’re talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      Syke- you’re doing a good job getting “cagers” to dismiss you add just like all the other obnoxious bikers out there. Coming up with terms to belittle the other group only lends to the us-vs-them mentality. Wanting to inflict pain on all the commenters just makes you look angry at all the car drivers. Are distracted drivers irritating? Yeah. They suck. So do drivers that run lights and stop signs. You point out that drivers are mad they can’t get away with everything a biker can, but then you get mad that drivers roll signs and lights and expect to break the same laws on a bike?

      If a biker wants to run lights and signs in the middle of the night when there’s no traffic, go for it. I would too. I won’t ever do it in a car though, cuz cops hide and don’t forgive drivers. I expect bikers to follow the right of way in traffic though. I don’t care if you have to work a little harder to pedal up top speed again after a stop. You got on a bike, deal with the inefficiencies of it. That’s the attitude that pisses drivers off. Bikers want every to accommodate their choices above everything else. If bikers respect the right of way, take their turn when they have it, and stop expecting special treatment on the road, a lot of the issues would clear up.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    This guy (and his fellow riders) are the bicycle equivalent of diesel owners who insist on “rolling coal”. Yeah, it pisses off everyone around them, and it is illegal. But nobody’s going to tell them how to live their life.
    Typical 10 year old mind in an adult body.

  • avatar
    jimble

    If you’re equating being a drag queen with being a coward then you obviously haven’t met many drag queens.

    Anyway, I don’t care what else he did, he should be locked up for life for sporting that mustache.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      “If you’re equating being a drag queen with being a coward then you obviously haven’t met many drag queens. ”

      Well, the one on “Banshee” was pretty tough, I’ll give you that.

  • avatar
    readallover

    I am sick of the cyclist-martyrdom attitude on the roads. No, you are not morally superior to the rest of us. I heard only silence after a cyclist killed a pedestrian in Vancouver. I heard them complain when VPD started writing tickets for violations (it`s discrimination!!!!). Follow the rules and you won`t have the problems.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Roads are for cars. Bike trails are for bikes. Hiking trails are for hikes. Horse trails are for horses. Life is simple.

    • 0 avatar
      Balto

      If there was a bike trail directly from my house to work then I might agree with you, but as long as I find it unnecessary to drive my car 1 mile to work I will be riding my bicycle on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I’ve never seen a bike trail that excluded walkers, runners or in-line skaters, although I recall seeing a trail along the beach in Santa Monica that had a bike only lane, separating them from the walkers. My experience is that, when things get crowded, mixing bikers, runners, walkers an in-line skaters can lead to problems. Bike trails are fine for “Sunday riders” who want to go 10-15 mph, but if you’re “bookin’ it” doing 20, 25, 30 or more being on a “bike trail” is dangerous to everyone else. That’s what roads are for.

      And I would note that bikes are NOT allowed on Interstate highways.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “Roads are for cars. Bike trails are for bikes. Hiking trails are for hikes. Horse trails are for horses. Life is simple.”

      Evidently you’ve never heard of a shared-use trail or MUP (Multi Use Path).

      As an avid MTBer I’ve ridden numerous trails designated as shared by all of the above (except cars of course). The posted protocol is usually, equestrians yield to hikers, and MTBers yield to EVERYONE else.

      Life is rarely simple.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Militant bicyclists. Doesn’t get more Frisco than that.

    Oh, wait. I suppose you could have militant HOMOSEXUAL bicyclists, of course.

    That’d be the Frisco Trifecta, right there.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me happier than watching one of Cambridge, MA finest pulling over a bike for blasting through Central Square’s red lights. Makes me freakin day!

    It’s really quite simple. Follow the rules of the road, same as I have too. If everyone is rowing in the same direction it makes this oh so much easier.

  • avatar
    technivore

    The amount of internet rage being directed at bicyclists in this here thread is really shocking.

    I don’t have all the bike commuting cred that some others in here have, but I’ve been a full time, year round bike commuter for a couple years now in the Chicago area and I have yet to have any run-ins with motorists (in my experience in fact, pedestrians are far more likely to cause me problems than cars, because they treat bike lanes as an extension of the sidewalk and don’t even look before stepping into them).

    My attitude is close to what Syke said: I simply assume that all the cars around me are trying to kill me all the time.

    My eyes are always up, scanning for cars who don’t see me, watching lights and stop signs, and trying to make myself as predictable as possible. Because if I don’t, cars can kill me while I might, on my best day, scratch their paint.

    I’m not out to annoy anyone, or slow you down if you’re in a car, and I certainly am not going to whiz through a stop sign if you are stopped in your car and it’s your turn to go (unless you clearly have waved me through — believe it or not this happens, as not all motorists have such an us-vs-them attitude towards bicyclists). My goal is simply to get myself to where I’m going in one piece and hopefully enjoy my ride along the way.

    I have to say though, it’s really a shame knowing that even doing what I’m doing, there are people in this thread who somehow think I shouldn’t be using the road on my bike (because they might have to slow down and/or pay attention, I guess?), or that I’m somehow acting entitled and elitist just by riding a bike.

    (And for the record the guy in the video is obviously an idiot who deserves jail time, and is no more representative of most bikers than a driver who purposefully runs bikers off the road is of most drivers.)

    • 0 avatar
      mfennell

      ” I certainly am not going to whiz through a stop sign if you are stopped in your car and it’s your turn to go (unless you clearly have waved me through — believe it or not this happens, as not all motorists have such an us-vs-them attitude towards bicyclists)”

      Yes, all Internet commentators hate cyclists but the general public is, in my experience, much more tolerant. In addition to waving me on, people often move over in the lane at stop lights to facilitate me moving up. I can’t recall the last time I experienced any outright hostility.

  • avatar
    Balto

    Lots of interesting comments on either side of the spectrum here. I’ve got about 10,000 road miles as a cyclist, including Coast to Coast fully loaded at age 13. I have noticed a lot of hostility towards bicycles in my time on the road, both during urban commuting and long distance rural riding. I’ve been told by a gentleman in a rural diner in Nebraska that he would happily run over a cyclist if he felt they had wronged him in any way, and I am currently yelled at to “get on the sidewalk” at least twice a month during my daily commute in the city, once so aggressively that the woman yelling came within inches of rear ending the car stopped at a red light in front of her because she was too busy yelling out of her passenger side window. I fully believe that cyclists and motorists can coexist, but as stated both should respect each other’s capabilities and the laws of the road. That being said, if I’m riding through a sleepy residential neighborhood and no one is on the road, I’m blowing a stop sign on my bike. The amount of effort it takes to stop and then start again is too much to do it for an otherwise empty street.

    Just out of curiosity, I have a question for the people who suggest licensing, registration, and traffic citations for cyclists: If we were to have plates and licenses, would we then get similar privileges to the ones that cars have? Could we occupy a full lane? If so I’d be all for it, but if not I don’t know what I’d be paying for.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @Balto

      I have seen the occupy full lane behavior on a road not two miles from here. I’m not sure what the legality is and I would say it is not a common sight, but yes it has happened. Personally in a registration situation I wouldn’t mind as long as the cyclist could maintain or near maintain the speed limit if they were going to ride in the center of the lane. The other thing I would like to see is something like no fault insurance for cyclists. I can’t remember what my lawyer told me years ago exactly, but the jist of it was generally the driver is considered at fault when in fact this will never always be true.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Reading The Last Psychiatrist blog is very interesting. The influence on this and other articles rather striking–you guys drinking buddies or something?

    This one was particularly interesting: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2014/01/randi_zuckerberg.html#more

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