LGRAB Safety Tip #1

Witnessed this morning on my way to work while waiting at a red light:

  • Guy zips by on fixed gear; screeches to halt in front of crosswalk.
  • Performs track stand, showing off bike tattoos on each calf.
  • While our light is still red, inexplicably jets into intersection of busy 4-lane road.
  • Makes it across one lane before coming thiiiiis close to being creamed.
  • Slams on brakes inches from car.
  • Driver going through intersection with green slams on brakes.
  • I stare in horrified shock.
  • Bike guy throws middle finger high in air in indignation.
  • I am even more horrified.
  • Every driver and pedestrian who witnessed the scene now hates bicyclists.
  • Five seconds later, light turns green and I continue on my merry way to work.

LGRAB safety tip #1: before riding, remove head from arse.

LGRAB safety tip #2: stop at red lights.

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42 thoughts on “LGRAB Safety Tip #1

  1. Zweiradler says:

    #1 is the best tip ever. I can’t understand why someone would choose to ride that brainlessly.

    Nico

  2. Keith says:

    LGRAB Safety Tip #1 also applies to driving, walking, writing, and life in general.

  3. Karen says:

    Wonder how how bike guy behaves when he is a car guy? Yikes! Maybe bicyclists should be required to have a license . . .

    • Simply Bike says:

      Ha! Although so not funny, your bike tip #1 really cracked me up!

      In all seriousness though, this sounds horrible! I keep reading about cyclists acting like that but I haven’t yet been a first eye witness to it, and I just can’t imagine people doing that! How hard is it to obey traffic laws and function within the rules of the road?

      Most days, when I stop at a crossing and wait for my turn to go, most drivers see me, wave me on, and even smile when making eye contact. I’m sure that’s all part of living in a small town, but it is really nice to feel like my presence is appreciated and not contested. I, in turn, then want to give cycling a good name by showing that I know how to use the road and have every right to be there (and not being a reckless presence).

      Dottie, just keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully with time, there will be less fools with their heads up their arse riding around town. S.

      • dukiebiddle says:

        People do that in at least medium sized cities all the time too, and it drives me nuts. I appreciate the sentiment, but 70% of the time I can’t see through their windshield and I’m not sure if they’re waving me through or warning me that a pterodactyl is swooping down from behind me. If you have the right of way, please take the right of way. I’m a vehicle. There are rules in place that define our responsibilities, I’m familiar with these rules and I intend to use them.

      • Dave says:

        Yeah, people do that in Portland as well, and also, while I appreciate they are usually just being nice, it does sometimes kind of complicate the situation, especially if I’ve just stopped to let them go, and then they wave me on, and I have to then start up again in a hurry, which is difficult, and often doesn’t go as quickly as they expected (because I can’t just tap the gas pedal and go).

        Still, I try to always be respectful when this happens, since I realize they were just trying to be nice.

        • dukiebiddle says:

          They always seem to wave me through just a split second after I put my foot down. Grrr. Gee, thanks, but it’s kind of too late to be helpful now.

          • neighbourtease says:

            I always get waved through right when I put my foot down, too. And them I’m kind of embarrassed that I can’t get going more quickly when they’re all looking at me with an aura of grand beneficence.

            The worst is getting waved through by a dude who then hits on you or follows you because he did something “nice” for you.

            • Dave says:

              Oh man, I’m glad I’ve never had *that* problem (being hit on/followed). And I’m sorry you have :-/

            • dukiebiddle says:

              Yeah, that sounds sucky/creepy. I have been trapped behind a delivery truck where the driver was slowed down to cyclist pace and practically hitting me in the bike lane because they were hitting on the cyclist in front of me.

            • Dottie says:

              That’s totally creepy. I also feel so pressured to get going quickly and it’s always a struggle because my timing’s thrown off. I end up looking like a weak newbie, mashing on the pedals.

          • ridon says:

            that’s the same reason i hate getting waved through also! i’m never sure if they’re just going to floor it while i’m trying to get my momentum back. also the glare from the windshield makes it hard to see if they are waving and i don’t particularly like to wave either since that would mean riding one-handed.

          • Vee says:

            I love hearing that you all find this annoying. I do too. Especially if I have stopped in the cargo bike- it’s really hard to start up quickly with that one. At least the three wheels allows me to use one hand to wave while I am slowly gaining speed. But on a two wheeler I always feel more frantic than the calm I was feeling with I touched down to wait my turn. When on foot I refuse to budge.

  4. jamison brosseau says:

    the tattoos are not relevant, please do not discriminate.

    • Dottie says:

      My intent is not to discriminate. The tattoos are relevant because this guy loves bicycling enough to get bikes tattoos – he is therefore obviously not a newbie and yet rides in a ridiculous manner. That, to me, is interesting enough to mention.

      • dukiebiddle says:

        Funny, I was thinking “Hey, what’s wrong with trackstanding?” :) Not to the point of thinking it was discriminatory or anything, mind you.

    • Jon says:

      I kind of agree. I loved this post except for that fact. Even if you didn’t mean it negatively, it was sure put out there alongside a full list of negatives, and treated negatively..”showing off”. The last thing the world needs is another person making incorrect assumptions about those on a bike, OR those with tattoos..

  5. jamison brosseau says:

    i doubt all the drivers that witnessed said event hate cycling. i ride a bike, and i drive, i see crazy things all the time and am not so unreasonable to make absolute assumptions about driver or cyclists or pedestrians. chill out please.

  6. Dave says:

    I agree, tip #1 IS the best one. If only sense was really common…

  7. anna says:

    Scary situation. But got tip :).

  8. I believe in stopping on red, tattoos or not.

  9. Doug says:

    At least he HAD brakes. Many fixie riders don’t even have brakes.

    Brainless none the less.

    • Janice in GA says:

      That was the first thing I thought too, right after “Who deliberately endangers themselves and other like that?”

      I was just impressed he had brakes.

  10. Amy says:

    Rule #1 definitely makes a good Before One Leaves the House rule. Make it part of the daily routine. Right before brushing our teeth. :)

    I always stop for lights, gives the drivers behind me an opportunity to admire my tattoo. At least, that’s what like to imagine anyway. :)

  11. Stephen says:

    I have to agree with Dottie on the tats. They say “I’m a BICYCLIST,” but his actions say “Rules are not for ME-I’m SPECIAL, PRECIOUS even!”

    As someone who works with government trying to increase bicycle use and facilities, I cringe every time I see one of these self-absorbed hipsters blow through a red light, and they are all too common (and identifiable by their appearance and choice of bicycles). Their actions not only endanger themselves, but they make my job harder, and it’s the citizens who want more transportation options who lose out. It results in the public works engineer who says, “Why should I build a sidewalk or a controlled crossing when no one will use them (properly)? Why should we design streets for bicyclists when they won’t observe the same rules everyone else is supposed to follow?” Progress instantly becomes regress.

    (And lest we pick on only them, yes, the weekend warriors often do the same thing.)

    Is this the end game of the pursuit of happiness? Tatted anarchy?

    • Jon says:

      Yet I have tattoos and ride, and I stop at stoplights. I even rode a *gasp* fixed gear bike at one point. Sure, there are people like yourself that may make assumptions, but how about we work at bringing the bigger picture? You can’t make assumptions about somebody just because of their bike or their appearance – which is what Dottie has done here.

      Just yesterday I saw someone cut clear across a lane of traffic without even looking over their shoulder for oncoming traffic. The car approaching them had to slam on the brakes. Guess how many tattoos they had?

      • Dottie says:

        I sincerely apologize for offending you. I did not make any assumptions in this post, though. The person I described actually ran the red light.

        I did not conclude that everyone with tattoos runs red lights or that everyone who runs red lights has tattoos, nor did I mean to imply as much. My best friend Melissa has a tattoo and rides safely, for example. If her tattoo were of a bicycle, I definitely would have mentioned it in her profile, because that would be awesome.

        • Jon says:

          Got it – thanks for clearing it up. No harm :) and I still love the blog of course. It’s definitely inspiring.

          • Traci says:

            I didn’t take this post as Dottie making an assumption at all – she described a biker who rode through a red light, endangering himself and others in the process. The only thing I assumed from the post is that the guy was a complete arse for then having the nerve to flip off the driver who had the right of way! I honestly didn’t even think about the fact that he had tattoos or the type of bike, etc.

      • dukiebiddle says:

        I’m going to take a bit of middle-of-the-road position between you and Steve on this. When I see someone displaying ink I don’t presume that they’re a scofflaw or a bad person; but I do make all kinds of other presumptions based on the presence of ink, where the ink is displayed and what the ink is of. Tear tattoos under the eye make me think one thing. Cursive names tattoos on necks make me think another, as do swastikas. Bonsai tree sleeves around the shoulder makes me think another thing. “MS-13″ across the forehead makes me think another. And of course a tribal pattern across the small of a woman’s back makes me snicker. When you are openly displaying ink you’re inviting people to make presumptions. That sort of goes with the territory. Ink is no different than clothing in that regard. It isn’t Dottie’s fault that this guy was displaying ink while being a big jerk. He’s the one making people with ink look bad, as well as fixie riders, as well as all riders in general. As a fellow cyclist, Dottie is upset that he is making her, and all cyclists, look bad. The issue is with him, not with the human animal making associations. Whether she expresses it or not, all the other pedestrians and drivers who saw the guy’s actions are going to make the same associations as her.

  12. neighbourtease says:

    Yikes!

    I feel sorry for all the skilled and even just competent fixed gear riders I know and see because the unskilled ones are so often out of control and really give the genre a bad name it mostly doesn’t deserve.

    Scary scary. The last person I saw run a light in a scary way was a girl in a dress on a brand new Public mixte. She flipped off a van driver who honked at her–clearly to warn her, he was not being a jerk at all. He screeched to a halt, threw up his hands at me (waiting at the light) and I mouthed I’m sorry as he drove through his green light. He smiled and moved on. I run lights in a few situations (right on red, country intersections w no people at all etc) but reckless doesn’t interest me.

  13. Stephen says:

    Visible ink is intended to make a statement. That’s its purpose in America. We all have our costumes, even those who purport not to have one. (I used to work in show biz–it’s all a statement of some kind.)

    No one’s assuming tats = bad bike rider, but it’s fair to say that tats = “non-conformist,” at least in the mind of the tattee. I’d rather too that not mean “To hell with stop signs and red lights,” but as Dottie aptly points out, when you are stomping on the brakes to avoid turning someone with visible tats into a hood ornament, it’s quite easy to make a very quick association. That’s just life.

    Disclaimer: I’m old enough to remember when tats were exclusive to sailors and criminals. Frankly, they still freak me out, and yes, this is a hot-button issue for most people above the age of, say, 35. And furthermore, hipsters after a certain point can to be a bit annoying to that same demographic. Reminds us of our spent youth, I guess…

  14. katie says:

    Very true Dottie! I’ve been thinking about converting my bike to a fixie, but decided not to for this very reason – I might be tempted to run red lights/stop signs just because I don’t want to put my feet down.

  15. [...] LGRAB Safety Tip #1 : Let’s Go Ride a Bike – life on two wheels … [...]

  16. Safety tip #1 is the best cycling tip of all time. That needs to be a t-shirt. Or, in your case, a sundress with a witty saying. Kudos.

    Jason
    RocBike.com

  17. Tinker says:

    Good advice, and all kinds of bicyclists would thank him for following it, or at least he needs to ride a couple more feet forward.

  18. Lucas says:

    “To Punk-Rock Fixter, the road is a battleground.
    To Punk-Rock Fixter, the cars are society.
    To Punk-Rock Fixter, he is raging against societies conventions.
    Punk-Rock Fixter is too cool for brakes.
    Punk-Rock Fixter will not play by your (traffic) rules.
    No one can stop Punk-Rock Fixter…”

    …except for that bus that had the green and you blew the light.

    Seriously… how hard is it to STOP at a stoplight? every morning I have people on all manner of bike (not just Punk-Rock Fixters) who blow through a red as I am waiting at it. Sad state of affairs.

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