I've just read Dave Moulton's latest post about Critical Mass, about how the demonstration has lost whatever effectiveness it might have had. After all, lots of cities are trying sincerely to make cycling safer and more convenient.
He is dicouraged by the excesses of the CM participants. He's afraid those excesses will "get someone killed."
When I write about the car wars or Dave Moulton does, we are not reaching the folks who are creating problems for the rest of us. We are preaching to the choir, as the saying goes, damning Corporate America in a roomful of leftists. We get a big hand from our audience, but we won't change anyone's mind.
My old motorcycle friend JT, who has jumped into bicycling eyeball-deep, is stunned when he sees the scofflaw antics of some cyclists. I'm sure you've been startled just the same.
Tamar says that every day as she rides to work she sees cyclists riding the wrong way on one-way streets. In Denver, there's a quiet, safe street, perhaps marked "bike route," one block away.
I see cyclists on the bike path, entering tight, blind corners, drinking water, one hand on the bar by the stem. They're unable to steer or brake if someone appears suddenly on their side of the path.
You've seen as many examples of adolescent carelessness as I have.
Who knows where these pedalers think they got license to ignore traffic laws and courtesy, but they do ignore both. And they're defensive and likely to flare up when reminded that, well, there are laws and ways civilized people behave.
They only care about how civilized people behave so they can do it the other way.
Those folks don't read Dave Moulton's blog or mine. Much as we resist generalizing about them, the inescapable truth is: they are pissing in the pool.
Dave Moulton is afraid of a backlash against cyclists nationwide, open season on us. We know we aren't the ones doing the things that upset drivers, but folks who look like us do them every day. I think they relish doing those things and would do them even if doing the right thing was easier.
If they bristle at criticism or helpful suggestions about their riding, and if they don't read Dave's blog or mine or ever hear a view contrary to their own, how are we going to open their eyes?
If I run into my neighbor on the elevator, I have to be careful not to get him started. I'm the only bike rider he knows, I'm sure, and he cuts me some slack. But he hates cyclists. He and millions of other Americans. So many of us act in a hateful manner.
What do I say to my neighbor? Do I say, dude, chill, it's only a few. It's that bad-attitude minority that is making the rest of us look bad.
If I say that, am I telling the truth? Is it a minority? Or has the bicycle become a symbol of rebellious, don't give a damn, in-your-faceness? What did the bicycle do to deserve such a bunch of losers aboard? What did we do to deserve them? How long do these people's movements last?