Saturday, July 4, 2009

Right, Dead Right, and Being Dead to Rights

"You can ride your bike on the road, and you can be right, but you may be dead right."

Sound familiar? Google "bicycle, dead right" and you get 9,000 hits. It must sound profound to those who say it, but what does it mean?

In context, the idea is that while you have the right to do a thing, it is foolish to assert your right because of the perilous nature of doing so.

In every case I can think of, the one trying to discourage the assertion of one's rights had a vested interest in its deferral. In that way, it is simply a veiled threat by a coward too timid to reveal the dark thoughts of his heart.

I find it interesting, since we are talking about rights, who has rights on our public streets. The right to operate a motor vehicle on the public way is a contingent right, which can be thought of as a privilege. One is granted the right to steer one's automobile on a public street if one meets many requirements. You must be of certain age, physically sound, have financial means in case of mishap, and posses a license provided by the state. This permission to operate in the public way can be removed with due process.

Bicycle operators, on the other hand, have no requirements at all! Based on ancient notions of free travel on the public way under one's own power, this is one of the natural liberties of free men. (Sadly, this liberty has been encroached upon by the city of Anna and the state of Texas.)

So those with conditional rights want to bully others for their own convenience from exercising their natural rights. I dislike bullies.

If cyclists take the bait, and cower in fear, deferring their rights to keep the peace, what good are they? Is an unexercised right a right at all?

I do have the right to take the lane. I know it because I do it.

Exercising my rights is keeping them from becoming dead rights.


  1. Wow... you actually think about things I say, don't ya?

  2. Told ya he's mellowed, though I suspect Rantwick, being an observant sort, will notice the nationality of those gravestones & kick up his own paranoia a notch...


  3. Capitulation is a vote for oppression.

  4. I have changed a sentence in my post. I wrote; "Is an exercised right a right at all?"

    This does not properly mean what I meant to say. I have changed the sentence to read: "Is an unexercised right a right at all?"

    I may have to fire my proof-reader.

  5. You know what, it was such a familiar image that I didn't even notice that those were Canadian gravestones, likely in France somewhere... Steve A is the observant sort. My paranoia is at it's regular low level.

  6. Let me try a wild guess; Bramshott village, Hampshire. From the lighting, let's try taken sometime last summer. Speculating further, I'd say some of them died during training during the War to End All Wars in 1918, and some died of the flu, shortly thereafter.

    This is the Internet, one can find out most anything about anyone or anything, given suitable search technique.

    My Grandfather fought in the same war, prior to emigrating to Canada afterwards. I miss him, nearly 37 years after his passing. Last time I saw him alive, I rode my bike to visit...

  7. I vote for the Canadian military cemetary at Horten, NL. I spent 16 years of my life as an infantry officer in The Royal Regiment of Canada, a Toronto militia regiment. I was there when I was in NL, as The Royal Regiment fought nearby, and its dead from those battles are buried there.

    Note: I'm posting as anonymous because I'm having difficuly loggin in, but it's Kevin Love.

  8. I'm glad you visited, Mr. Love.

    I will post any comment that has "rated G" language and content. I have not yet needed to reject a single one.

    Even I do not know the origin of that photo or its subject. I swiped it off the net. I was not as curious about it as SteveA, but I shall be more careful in the future.

    Steve has a most interesting blog:

    He even gives away free stuff! But you will have to put up with a lot of colored arrows over there. You've been warned!

  9. My next arrow post will have all arrows strictly in basic black!

  10. Seeing the picture toward the end of this post, I was reminded of one of my commuting routes... basically the last one I posted on my blog.... where I ride down a very lightly traveled, bike-friendly bike lane (sometimes they are good you know), that comes to within a half mile of my office. But that last half mile is on a very, very busy street.

    Today I went all VC and took the right lane. I watched in my rear view mirror as motor vehicles pulled out to pass me. The last one to pass me before the driveway to my office was one of my office mates; sits right over the cubicle wall from me. He gave me plenty of room on the road, and didn't say a word about it in the office. I think that's a good thing; he's accepted my cycling as normal enough to not comment about it, even when we encounter each other on the road.

    Not really related to the post content, but that last picture reminded me of that pass.