[*BCM*] Cambridge po-po sighting

turtle turtle at zworg.com
Mon Oct 18 13:41:39 EDT 2004

Boston Critical Mass <list at bostoncriticalmass.org> wrote:
> Let me just add that I find that when I ride aggressively and stake out
> my position on the road --  all the while making sure I'm aware of
> what's going on around me, of course --  I find that drivers give me
> more respect.

I think that there may be a slight misunderstanding here.  By
"aggressive" what specifically do you mean?  You may be using the term
to describe what many of us "Street Smarts" (a bike driving handbook by
local bike guru John Allen) cyclists would merely term normal,
responsible bike driving.  We don't consider riding in the appropriate
area of the road (wherever is the safest, legal position for your
direction of travel) to be aggressive - no more so than any other
vehicle operator would.  Being in the middle of a substandard lane
(usually less than 12 feet wide, depending on the surrounding lanes),
is completely legal and, more importantly, the safest place to be when
going straight.  Also, riding a healthy 4 feet way from other vehicles,
especially parked cars (i.e. avoiding the door zone), is not at all
aggressive, as that is where all vehicles are expected to drive.  Many
cyclists (some, who grea up to be motorists) were taught to "ride like
a rat", hugging the curb and swerving around parked cars to "stay ot of
the cars' ways".  These unfortunate folks erroneously think that driving
a bike like a car is aggressive, but it's not, it is legal, safe, and
completely appropriate.  (Note that there are some weird laws around
that do contradict this, but as Tom and Paul pointed out, traditionally
traffic laws applied to all vehicles equally, and that was before the
advent of the car!)

On the other hand, driving aggressively would indicate knowingly
violating laws, intentionally annoying others, or trying to
"manipulate" others into doing what you want through potentially unsafe
actions.  You can take an "aggressive driving" quiz to see if you


And if you get angry at me posting an aggressive driving quiz, then you
might want to avoid the road altogether, for everyone's health! :-) 
(And, yes, this is a AAA link, which at least shows that they are
paying some attention to the road rage problem.)

By the way, it doesn't matter if you are operating a car or a bike, the
general idea of aggressive driving is the same.  My husband, as some of
you may know, was recently charged with what amounts to "road rage". 
He's a cyclist, and he whacked an SUV with his hand and yelled at the
driver (after she carelessly, but unintentionally, hit him with her
SUV).  The police, court system, and media weren't the slightest bit
hesitant to call his outburst "road rage" and assigned him an anger
management class as part of his sentence.  Trust me, you don't want to
be aggressive when you are on the road.  It does nobody any good.  But
driving defensively - acting like you BELONG by taking the space you
need, respecting the laws and other road users, and being aware of what
is going on around you - is exactly what's going to keep everyone safe
and fairly happy.

And happiness is what it's all about isn't it?  Don't you want more

Yay for happiness!

Occasionally happy, though today it might be a bit of an effort...

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