Monday, June 29, 2009

Inane Comments in a Newspaper




I know I shouldn't, but I do anyway.

When a automobile/bicycle collision is reported, I am interested in many aspects of it. What happened, where was the cyclist in the road, why was there a collision? Was there a bike lane, was the cyclist in compliance with the traffic laws? Further though, I am interested in the attitudes, watching for bias by the reporter and the police.

Then, like the fool I am, I click through to the comments. It is mostly always the same. The roads are for cars, it's too dangerous, cars pay for the roads, yadda yadda yadda! And then there is some kid trying to work people up and making hateful threats and the like. I always find that stuff. It never seems to be insightful. Sigh. I just can't help myself.

So today I read about a tragedy in California, and as usual there was a very poor report. I found some gems in the comments that I want to share with you.

Posted by Natalie Bianco, a resident of San Ramon:

I was in the mist of this accident about 2 min behind, I live off of Camino Tassajara on Highland...these accidents are happening to often and the bicyclist need to stop riding on the dangerous roads...there is no room for bike lanes, let alone even wide enough for cars to drive on!!!

I myself have almost had several accidents because the bicyclist take over the road and cars have to slow to dangerous limits while vehicles from other direction on blind turns cannot see the cars or bicycles!!

The bicyclist ride very wide in the roads sometimes taking over the whole lane, with no courtesy to the cars (there is not pull out areas for cars to be able to pass).

These roads have become major commute roads because of the traffic on the 580/680 freeways. I am very sad for the bicyclist but equally as sad for the driver of the car. Bicyclist on Camino Tassajara and many of the other two lane roads are very dangerous let alone on a blind curve at 5:10pm commute time.


Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood:

I agree that we should exercise care for cyclists.

I don't agree that we should be expected to drive behind them on a regular road.

It's not always about being selfish or wanting to go "fast". If you have to drive well below the speed limit you create a hazard and besides, it's not fair to have to go extremely slowly on a road or street built for cars.

How would you feel if you were driving on a road with a speed limit of 45 mph and a car in front of you was going at 10 or so mph. I think most of us would go crazy.


Here is what I'm thinking when I read these comments:

I was in the mist of this accident about 2 min behind, I live off of Camino Tassajara on Highland...these accidents are happening to often and the bicyclist need to stop riding on the dangerous roads...there is no room for bike lanes, let alone even wide enough for cars to drive on!!! It is the cyclist's fault because automobile drivers are too incompetent to avoid slow vehicles in their path? The travel lanes are so narrow that they are barely wide enough for a car to fit in, let alone share the lane with another vehicle side-by-side!

I myself have almost had several accidents because the bicyclist take over the road and cars have to slow to dangerous limits while vehicles from other direction on blind turns cannot see the cars or bicycles!! I am stupid enough to attempt passing slow vehicles on blind curves and hills.

The bicyclist ride very wide in the roads sometimes taking over the whole lane, with no courtesy to the cars (there is not pull out areas for cars to be able to pass). Cyclists occupy the lane just like automobiles do.

These roads have become major commute roads because of the traffic on the 580/680 freeways. I am very sad for the bicyclist but equally as sad for the driver of the car. Bicyclist on Camino Tassajara and many of the other two lane roads are very dangerous let alone on a blind curve at 5:10pm commute time. Motorists cannot be expected to avoid running into slow vehicles? The only possible solution would be to get rid of cyclists? If you wish to avoid being delayed by bicycle traffic, you are free to drive your automobile on a different route where bicycles are not allowed. For example, the I-580 or the I-680. Sadly for you, you will be delayed by traffic on either route. Cry me a river.

I agree that we should exercise care for cyclists.

I don't agree that we should be expected to drive behind them on a regular road. What is it about “public” in public road that you don't understand?

It's not always about being selfish or wanting to go "fast". Yes it is. If you have to drive well below the speed limit you create a hazard. Translation: Operators of automobiles are too incompetent to avoid running into slower traffic ahead of them. And besides, it's not fair to have to go extremely slowly on a road or street built for cars. It is an absolutely fair allocation of limited public space! Right of way is distributed on a first come, first use basis. Do you really propose that ROW be determined by one's speed? It is true that public streets are built for automobiles, but they are also built for all of the public to travel on in many different modes: Bicycles, horse drawn carriages, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, pedestrians, and more!

How would you feel if you were driving on a road with a speed limit of 45 mph and a car in front of you was going at 10 or so mph. I think most of us would go crazy. While the designated speed limit is posted at 45 MPH, traffic has made the actual speed limit 10 MPH. Why is a traffic delay produced by a bicycle any different than the traffic delay produced by automobiles? (Say over there on the I-580.) Next time, don't pause at home to drink that second cup of coffee and you will be ahead of that pesky cyclist and queued up behind some other traffic instead. Perhaps you should abandon your expectation that you should always proceed at or near the posted speed limit! It is the vast gulf between your expectations and real world traffic that is driving you crazy.

I feel better now. I just had to get that out of my system.

4 comments:

  1. I don't read newspaper comments it only makes me feel despair for the human race.

    But I sure love your thought stream! Makes the ignorance easier to bear when I can laugh at it.

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  2. Newspaper comments = hate fuel. I have got to believe that most sensible, moderate people don't bother with them, precisely because the level of discourse is demeaning to all who participate.

    Like you, I occasionally cannot look away, but I always wish that I had.

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  3. I have the same addiction to such articles, and their comments. I'm reassured by noting that comments on any political story falls even lower in quality of discourse.

    In most cases, I don't read much past the point where I find out the cyclist was a salmon, or a DUI, or shot through a stop sign and right across (almost) a major arterial.

    Your post reminds me - at Fort Worth Alliance late last week, there was a truck broken down on Heritage Parkway as I rode in to work. The driver wasn't inside. It was there all day and was still there when I rode home. Nobody had run into it, and I'll bet no one felt compelled to honk at it, or complain about how slow it was going either. On the other hand, nobody complained about it running stop signs either.

    ReplyDelete