Pressure This – Bike Snob NYC

Pressure This – Bike Snob NYC


A number of days in the past I used to be utterly baffled by this tweet:

The grainy image, the lone man in enterprise apparel, the obvious lack of precise gridlock…

Then I received caught up on my TV watching and realized it was from the most recent episode of “Succession.”

I’m nonetheless unsure utilizing smarmy opportunist Greg to make bikes look good is a good alternative for an advocacy group, however it’s correct, and I’ll completely cop to being a smarmy opportunist myself. For instance, take into account this tweet:

As I discussed yesterday, advocates get very upset when somebody blocks the bike lane. Fairly often the road is that they’re “forcing you into site visitors:”

Sure, it’s annoying, it’s irritating, it’s infuriating, it’s doubtlessly harmful. On the identical time, in recent times I’ve grow to be more and more troubled by that oft-repeated phrase:

And what troubles me is that concept that any of those folks can “drive” you to do shit:

I imply sure, when you’re in movement and the motive force’s in movement and he steers his automobile into you, he can drive you to do every kind of issues, together with crash and die. However a driver sitting within the bike lane and choosing the crabs out of his pubes has no actual energy over you. Sure, you can not proceed alongside your required path, however the pube-picker isn’t “forcing” you into site visitors both. You possibly can select to enter site visitors, or you may cease, dismount, and stroll, or you may simply hop the curb and experience on the sidewalk, annoying the pedestrians in the identical method the motive force is annoying you. Granted, in that final situation a cop may then drive you to obtain a ticket, however you do all the time have the choice of…ahem, “schluffing:”

Although I’d think about technically they may ticket you for that, too. In some locations they could even take into account that “fancy using,” which might be unlawful in your jurisdiction:

If using fancy is against the law then I’m responsible as charged:

I notice that’s not what they imply by fancy using. My level is that you’ve got an infinite array of decisions such a scenario, with the only real exception of continuous straight forward.

My objection to the concept drivers “drive” you into site visitors is in no way to recommend it’s okay that they do it, or that we should always give up our bike lanes. Nonetheless, it’s to recommend that saying somebody is “forcing” you into site visitors is its personal act of give up. Not solely are you forfeiting management, however you’re additionally forfeiting your sanity. There’s all kinds of stuff town ought to tackle, however they’re not going to deal with any of it within the time it takes so that you can experience from your house to your vacation spot; in reality, they’re virtually actually not going to repair it in your lifetime. This leaves you with a alternative: get pleasure from every experience (aand by extension your life) as a lot as you probably can, or go forward and commerce that enjoyment for anger so that you get accountable any person else for the truth that you’re indignant. This nearly ensures you a lifetime of distress, as a result of whenever you assign duty to your feelings to another person you could be certain you’ll by no means be blissful once more.

In order onerous as it may be generally, once I see one thing just like the tweet I referenced above…

…I do my finest to not get mad at both the schmuck behind the wheel or the shmucks who work for town. (Please word I didn’t say I essentially succeed, however I do make a great religion effort.) As a substitute, I take the “security guidelines,” crumple it up, and toss it in a storm drain. Then I attempt to remind myself how lucky I’m to be on my bike on this scenario. Not like the motive force within the big unwieldy field, or the transit rider within the unweildy field another person is driving, I can do just about something I would like on this scenario. I’m largely proof against site visitors and delays, and it’s wonderful. I’ve no illusions that I’m in complete management once I’m using a bicycle, or that any variety of horrendous issues can’t occur to me, however I additionally respect that I’m in as a lot management because it’s potential to be on this metropolis on something that has wheels.

So embrace smarmy opportunism! Assuming you’re a fairly competent rider (an an necessary, oft-overlooked side of being a reliable rider is leaving on time, being affected person, and never being in a rush), the one actual mistake you may make right here is considering these traces on the road imply something. I’d say they’re merely recommendations, however that might be an insult to the act of suggesting issues to folks. No, the traces town attracts on the road are extra just like the tattoos folks get–most of the time they’re largely simply wishful considering. Town want to assume (and would love you to assume) it’s looking for folks on bikes in the identical method the particular person with the phrase “Braveness” in large gothic letters on his particular person want to assume (and would love you to assume) he’s in reality brave. I imply I’m not saying he’s and I’m not saying he’s not, however placing an excessive amount of inventory into these bike lanes is like anticipating the man with the phrase “Braveness” tattooed throughout his chest to save lots of you from a knife-wielding psychopath–after which blaming him for “forcing you into trusting him” when he as an alternative runs into the closest deli and cowers below the sneeze guard on the salad bar.*

*[Fact: no matter what the emergency, the best course of action is always to find a salad bar and cower under the sneeze guard.]

There’s a notion in terms of city biking that it’s worthwhile to be this or that–a crusading smuggie or a type of wacky Seventies porn star vehicular bike owner varieties:

Actually the truth (at the least right here in New York) is that it’s in all probability finest to be one thing that’s at the moment wildly out of vogue, and that’s a pragmatist. In biking phrases, I’d outline “pragmatist” as a smarmy opportunist who additionally yields to pedestrians. Use the bike amenities we’ve received however be ready to fend for your self at any second. Concern yourselves with what drivers do, not what they need to do. Sluggish the fuck down. (I’m not saying you must by no means run a pink gentle, however I’m saying you must by no means run a pink gentle in case your purpose for doing so is to save lots of time.)

And most significantly, keep in mind that no person can “drive” you into something.