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I have a dream....

I've had this idea for a while and want to see what traction might be gained as an idea within the cycling community. Would it be feasible to promote a meeting of non cyclist(s) (drivers) and every day commuters with cyclist(s) and staff of the City (I.E: Mayor Peduto's staff who manage the bicycle development within the city) and members of organization(s) such as Bike Pittsburgh to hold vocal equality on pros and cons of the expansion of cycling in the city and essentially all sides complaint(s)? I think this, in a non insult hurling, fist shaking, chair throwing grandstanding manner, would be an effective expansion on mere poll numbers to see what everyone's thought(s) and feeling(s) are on cycling in Pittsburgh. The only way to expose a nerve is by digging, essentially. I have no doubt argument and name calling would arise but that's the point. I don't believe a lot of people realize the severity of the hatred on all sides and yes; I would say hateed. People rant to one another and do so on forums such as this which is good but open dialogue, sometimes, is the only way to get anywhere and as quoted: "The best relationship(s) are developed out of conflict.". The meeting of the two main sides (cyclists and motorists) would at least put the problem(s) and / or complaint(s) on the table and open discussion to even inform and / or educate people (on both sides). Questions like: "Why don't all of you ride the sidewalk?" and respons(es) such as: "because, unless otherwise designated a "sharewalk", we are not allowed on most sidewalks by law." aside from the fact that as determined by State legislation; We are, by law, allowed on the road with vehicles. A lot of people assume that we have option(s) like that and yes; technically we do but notvwithout it's own inherint dificulties (some sidewalks end, sometimes we HAVE to be on the road as I stated and ultimately; We are allowed any way.). It would be great if the discussion could be clean but exposing the anger on both sides might help work through it is all I'm saying. Cyclists on one side filing claims like mine for illegal parking in a bike lane which is, as most will admit, a "low priority" is what really angers me. There are ways for cyclists to improve the relationship between "us" and motorists as well but it won't be achieved through tolerance alone. That is called compromise and currently; There is none. Communication is the key and I make this point as I hear the same ranting(s) from people who are not cyclist(s) all the time and they are not changing, I hate to say. A cab driver, for instance, became heated when he realized I was a cyclist in discussion while driving me anywhere and really "let loose" about the bicycle lane (now years old) on Penn Ave.. The point of that is; That is an opinion they have held firm on for years and they are one of many who feel that way. The angriest people's opinion(s) are the ones most worth changing or at least developing. A lot of motorists dislike "our lifestyle" as they hate the worst examples of "us", in most cases (people riding at night on a flat black bicycle with no lights, no reflectors, no reflective clothing and no helmet weaving in and out of vehicles and running red lights). They also believe most of us to be smug Apple geniuses riding around for the satisfaction of our own awesomeness and who live to purposefully slow down traffic which usn't the case 9 times out of 10. There are people who ride out of neccessity and I feel most people neglect to agknowledge that. The first question people ask me is why I ride and secondly how far each day. Their eyes grow huge in their head with disbelief when I say I cycle all year round and that I don't own a vehicle. It's assumption(s) like that I am referencing. There are issues on both sides and I thank any one for reading my diatribe regarding such action(s). I encourage any one to let loose as I feel it frees a lot of unwanted stress. I personally feel Mayor Peduto made the first step in developing a cycle-centric community. I feel it is only half accomplished, though. A meeting such as this would open a channel of dialogue as stated (all while maintaining a sensible ADULT atmosphere) and understanding could be reached not segregation of one side against the other and a lot of "wish in one hand....". This would also help determine which roads would be most realistic to develop in the future as such bicycle lanes as on 6th Ave. and Penn Ave. are treated as parking lanes among other things which is a result if defiance, mostly and perhaps there are other roads, which by a vote, could be developed instead thus simplifying cost if rider analysis. This is nlt to say motorists who are nkt cyclists would determine where cyclists are allowed but at least better determine which area(s) motorists would / will still react most aggressively and hold the most protest of. Tgere has to be a comprimise and I think that is where a lot of this aggression gas stemmed from. Most of the roads I like to cycle most and feel most comfortable on aren't even designated bike lane or bike route areas for instance. That data is not known because it is never queried. It really behooves me to think of the aggression displayed by either side when, ironically, a lot of cyclists drive vehicles. It's not as if we are of different species. People should realize all people, cyclists and motorists alike are still pedestrians. / End rant
2016-01-15 22:51:55
an additional "P.S" to this: I expressed all that ^ as I have been noticing tension among all commuters the worst I've seen it in years in Pittsburgh and we're bot even out of Winter, officially. This is just an "out-reach" of sorts and hopefully retains some encouragement for others to do the same.
2016-01-15 22:57:44 my opinion, there are better uses of time than calling a meeting that is A) specifically defined as "us versus them" and B) has no impact on anyone not in attendance. A meeting like this would attract people with passionately held views, but, as described, there is little practical benefit. I'd suggest that increased attendance at existing public planning meetings would hold more value; not only would there still be the opportunity for public rebuttal of "yinz don't belong in the road", but there would be greater cyclist representation when options are being discussed and decisions being made. That said, I applaud you for wanting to reach out and do something to improve matters.
2016-01-16 15:50:16
There are things that can be done locally, and things that by their nature have to be done in Harrisburg. We have the local beat covered reasonably well, but I have no contacts with statewide organizations. I know they exist, but their footprint here is vague at best. If you want to be of help, find out who they are, and be the local voice here, them to us, us to them. Meanwhile, various points of yours have merit, and have been discussed at length over the years here on this board. (Homework: Read every one of the 50K posts and 322K comments in the last 10-ish years.) Welcome to the conversation, and I look forward to many more productive discussions in the future.
2016-01-16 16:47:56
You make a great suggestion, @Raven50. Well thought out and detailed. I think it runs into the same problems that change faces in Occidental societies: do "we" manage the change through the Political, or the Legal, or the Courts? (Assuming that Religion and Money are off the table) It's tough for the Mayor's staff to agree to facilitate a meeting between Cyclists and Drivers - because who comes out to that meeting? People with a seriously-felt grievance. What politician wants to stand between two mobs when the best-defined outcome is "understanding", and the politician needs everybody's votes in 2 years? So that's bikes and cars, racists and minorities, renters and landlords, people who benefit from the Now and people who want/need Change. I don't know the answer. It seems like what's happening now is some persuasion (like the BikePgh cyclist ad's), some forcing (like the Peduto administration placing bike lanes in the face of resistence), some/ not-much policing, and some dying/suffering/yelling. It would be awesome to skip the dying/suffering/yelling. It would also be awesome to have better data on usage/collisions/injuries. I don't know how to do that.
2016-01-16 18:19:40
@Raven50 : I would also say, your use of an "I have a dream" headline on MLK's anniversary is something I could do without. It's the internet, people have opinions.
2016-01-16 18:24:15
The high level questions I would ask (and not expect answers for, but just to get things rolling): * What changes need to be made to make cycling suck less? * How do we get more women and people of color on bikes? It still seems that the typical cyclist is a 25-50 year-old white guy. * How do we get motorists to understand that those numbers on the signs denote the maximum speed, not the minimum? * How do we get drivers to understand that cyclists may use the full lane, anytime they deem it necessary? * How do we get cyclists to use the full lane, not hug parked cars, even on multi-lane streets? Most of these are not changing laws but changing perceptions. I think that is harder, but longer lasting.
2016-01-17 14:54:38
Stu, you and I disagree on the claim that a cyclist can use the full lane whenever they deem it necessary. I don't think it's a good idea to start a conversation with drivers assuming that's settled law.
2016-01-17 15:10:25
I defer to you on the disagreement. You're the one who's had to face down a cop. But I still assert that it is the case, and I'll take it to court if I have to. To me, the law is pretty clear, and I'm not worried about ignorant drivers. For purposes of this thread, though, I think it's worth reiterating for raven50's benefit my own dream that we institute passing a written test every driver's license renewal, challenging particularly on new laws and dealing with cyclists and other road users. From ignorant police chiefs to PennDOT engineers, every one of them drives, and would have to pass the same test every four years. Since a rising tide lifts all boats, eventually everyone would have signed their name to knowing a smidge more about traffic law than they do now.
2016-01-17 18:16:24
I did not intend for the reference to be: "us vs them" as I statated rather ambiguously; The intention is to diffuse the principal theory that it is "us vs them" through open dialogue (I.E: How did we "get here" meaning where we are in news report(s) of cyclists harrassed and even times assaulted(. That's all. A lot of people really don't dislike cyclists and act as they do as a result if environmental influence (Their friends and family think that way so it MUST be how everyone thinks.). That kind of mentality is only ever interupted when people present things in a serious light. Law makers would not have to be involved. That was merely a suggestion. It would be an affirmation of the people to hold a meeting like that. People who do not cycle attend the cycling meetings to voice their opinion(s) often times aggressively and I feel that is because they feel they don't have a voice and not just because the bike lanes were not put up to a residential vote prior to installation. Cyclists do things wrong as well and this thread is an excellant example of when cyclists disagree and how solution(s) can be developed from those argument(s). I worry the decline of respect of things like the bike lane(s) downtown (illegal parking mainly among other thing(s) like vehicles jokingly destroying the pylon barriers) will continue steadily and all the effort(s) being made will largely be for not. I'm not a pessimist, in reality the opposite. I am just voicing my attention toward the disorginization of the cycling network being developed in the city of Pittsburgh. I was not titling the thread with any animous toward or in reference to Martin Luther King Jr. and I did not realize it was the anniversary of such a figure. I hold tremendous respect for such a figure and expect any one would. I don't know if that is what you didn't care for but I assure you; It is just a thread title meant with the lightest if sarcastic nuance in stark contrast to the fruitless battle of earningvrespect among non cyclists. That's all. My Father lived with a sect of the Black Panthers while homeless in Washington D.C and developed dark brain matter, muscular atrophy and lost 12 teeth as a result of protesting for all human rights specifically those of African Americans so I really have nothing else to say outside of that. This was all an idea and I appreciate the feedback. I hope more people do attend the current meeting(s) but as long as the threads keep piling up ans frustration grows to no relief; It will take individuals not delegated masses to act accordingly in organizing respectful intellectual congress to further develop the local conciousness. It certainly should not take some of the unfortunate abuses mamy deal with and there are ways of acting proactively in enforcing laws rather than chasing sirens. I agree with Stu in regards to a lot of what is discussed. The retesting every certain amount of years was actually something which was discussed at a local (city AND SUBURB) and State level along with retesting sensior citizen(s) when I was a child andcwent nowhere. It was mentioned in local news and remained on a shelf after, I'm assuming, people screamed on answering machines until they got their way. My Grandfather, for example, handed my Mother his license and asked her to cut it up as he felt unfit to drive at a certain age. That is a mentality which rarely exists. We need people to realize the limits to things and explain those limits equally to both sides. Progress will be of glaciel pace if all we have is infrastructure without regulation. One can not exist or stand without the other. This is doubly important when you are speaking of people's lives and rites. Any way; No harm was meant in what I originally proposed or said. I would merely like a future where people are deooling less over what us being done in other area(s), often with less money, than what is being done right here in Pittsburgh.
2016-01-17 23:31:04
I want to apologize as well for the gramatical error(s) ommited in my previous post. I am typing on an iPhone and the key size(s) unfortunately are respective to if canaries had fingers.
2016-01-17 23:36:05