They drive among us…

Help keep the Corgi in kibble this holiday season.

If you don’t give, the angry anti-bike cranks win.

My apologies for no Morning Links today.

Attending a Wednesday night meeting meant putting off my meds in order to remain at least semi-functional until I got home. Which inevitably means paying the price later.

And I am.

So instead, let me leave you with this piece from the Tolucan Times, in which a self described former Disney Exec takes a break from telling the kids to get off his lawn, and goes on a rather remarkable rant against “nasty, radical bike Nazis.”

No, really.

It’s people like this we share the roads with, in case you wondered what the impatient, angry driver who just buzzed you or laid on his horn was thinking.

Feel free to offer your comments. I’d offer my own thoughts, but the meds are finally kicking in, and I’m going to go curl up in a ball for awhile.

Can’t wait to see part two next week.

War on cars (Part I)

BY GREG CROSBY ON DECEMBER 4, 2015

We’ve had the war on poverty, the war on drugs and the war on women. Politicians and their marketing consultants for purely selfish political interests have invented every single one of these “wars.” None of these so-called “wars” can ever be won because they are bogus.

The poverty and drug “wars” have had billions in federal funds poured into slogans, ad campaigns and bureaucratic committees and programs for decades.

The “war on women” is totally made up, invented by the Democrats as a way of rallying their base by vilifying Republicans as the party who hate women and want to keep them down.

But we have a new political “war” quietly going on across our country and this one is for real. I call it the “war on cars.” This war is being waged by a coalition of liberal opportunistic politicians and radical environmentalists. To borrow the Obama phrase, they want to “fundamentally transform the United States” from a car-centric nation to a country dependent on public transportation, bicycles and walking.

The difference between those other bogus political wars and this one is that this is one they are winning.

After having returned from a three-week road trip all over California I can honestly say that our highways and streets are being taken over by bicyclists (not sweet little families happily jingling their bicycle bells as they peddle their Schwinns around the Leave It to Beaver neighborhood, I’m talking nasty, radical bike Nazis). These bicyclists with major attitudes and an elite sense of entitlement purposely ride two and three abreast and do anything they can to frustrate motorists, like riding in the middle of a lane on a mountain road where there’s no place to go around them.

Everywhere we drove we encountered these selfish bicycle jackasses in their spandex outfits and European-style alien helmets.  They look like giant skinny mantis insects on wheels. We drove on all kinds of roads and it seemed no matter where we went, we would run into them (not literally, but sometimes it came close). They were on country roads, narrow high mountain roads, city streets, and get this—ON STATE HIGHWAYS. That’s right; California Highway 101 is now open to bicyclists.

I’m not taking about some quiet parts of sleepy little coast Highway 1 along the beach, (although the bike people are there too). No, I’m referring to a major four-lane each way, 80 mile an hour, truck route freeway. Highway 101 is a major, congested freeway and now the idiots that run the state of California are allowing bicycles on it.

They are not simply “letting” this happen, they ENCOURAGE it.

The official road signs are posted all along our highways and city streets now: “SHARE THE ROAD.” Some have images of bicycles and pedestrians on them.  Other signs demand that autos “SHARE THE LANE” because now bike riders have as much right to use ALL LANES in the streets as do the cars and trucks.

The California Bicycle Coalition website says: “Bicyclists can ride wherever they want if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic. If traveling slower than the speed of traffic, they can still position themselves wherever in the lane is necessary for safety. The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as safely practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21202.”

You can see there is lots of wiggle room for the bike riders.  While it is true that the California law states “bicycles may not be ridden on freeways and expressways,” they’ve added a loophole.  The law goes on to state, “where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities.” So when the state has posted signs that say, “SHARE THE ROAD” on these busy highways, it sends the message that it’s okay for bikes to use them.

More on this next week.

It gets better.

Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.

Thanks to Mike Kim and Todd Munson for the links.

21 comments

  1. I didn’t even know what to do with that one when I read it. Interestingly enough, he opens one of his other posts like this:

    “For better or worse I’m a very logical, analytical kind of guy. I don’t have to like everything, but if I can see the logic behind a thing, if I can understand it, even though it might not be my cup of tea, then I can come to terms with it. I need things to make sense to me. I can accept almost anything as long as I can grasp the logic of it. ”

    I don’t think he’s applied that criteria here.

    Also from that post:

    “You can write to him at [email protected] or directly at [email protected].”

  2. War on cars (Part I)

    I also feel like curling up in a little ball after reading that diatribe. Although I prefer my bike, I am also a car driver, and his assertion that “…our highways and streets are being taken over by bicyclists…” is ridiculous at best and viscous in reality.

    I am not anti-car. I just want our streets to safely accommodate all sorts of travelers, whether they are on foot or on a bike or in a car. The problem is that bikes and pedestrians have been marginalized for so long that now they are put in harm’s way by design.

    Unfortunately, I cannot offer an alternative to Crosby’s rant within the Tolucan Times, because unlike more impressive publications, they do not allow comments.

  3. Mike Kaiser says:

    Hello Ted,

    Thank you for bringing this article to our attention. Here is the comment that I left on the ‘Tolucan Times’ Facebook page:

    “What fascinated me most about the article “War on Cars” is that the comment section was closed. Seems like the Tolucan Times does not want to hear opposing opinion to this irrational line of reasoning. Second to that was the phrase by the author:

    “To borrow the Obama phrase, they want to “fundamentally transform the United States” from a car-centric nation to a country dependent on public transportation, bicycles and walking.”

    Perhaps Mr. Crosby should open his eyes to the reality around the nation in large cities. The traffic situation in LA is not getting any better. Why not take the opportunity to invest in a sustainable/environmentally friendly transportation system that might help reduce the congestion we see on the freeways?

    Additionally, investing in the health of our citizens by encouraging “active modes” of transportation is not a bad idea — seeing how the health of our nation is not doing well with obesity rates on the rise. By the way, how is Mr. Crosby’s health? Maybe he too could use some time either walking or on a bicycle instead of elevating his stress levels by driving and writing nonsense on the pages of the Tolucan Times?”

    This guy is crazy — enough said. Hope you feel better soon Ted.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

  4. CiclaValley says:

    I stopped reading before I even got to the bike parts.

  5. Nik says:

    I wish I could say something like “wow!” or “holy Sh**!” or some other expression of surprise but I really can’t… I’ve encountered so many mean-spirited, aggressive, and completely self-entitled motorists on my rides that this kind of attitude no longer comes as a shock. And here’s the really funny thing: I’m a total car-nut! I drive a sporty car (always at or below the speed limit — especially on city streets), have had numerous track days, go to car shows, and just plain love them. Even before I took up bicycle riding as an adult, I’ve never had problems co-existing with bike riders. Here’s my take on motorists who claim they are being impeded by bikes and worry that they might be involved in a crash because of them: You aren’t a very skilled driver and you should probably not be behind the wheel!

    • Peter says:

      Here’s my take on motorists who claim they are being impeded by bikes and worry that they might be involved in a crash because of them: You aren’t a very skilled driver and you should probably not be behind the wheel!

      Reminds me of the old bit: “70% of people thing they are ‘above average’ drivers, which means that at least 20% of them are wrong.”

  6. War on People says:

    When people say there’s a war on cars, some people have responded saying things like “If there’s a war on cars, cars are winning and people are losing. They dominate the streets and drivers have killed thousands of people.”

  7. JD says:

    Fortunately the printed opinion of this man could be used against him in court if or when he decides to act out on his bottled up aggression towards a hapless cyclist. We really do not need another ticking time bomb behind the wheel of a vehicle adding fuel to the fire of street terrorism. I pray that he’ll seek and heed some wise counsel before someone gets hurt or killed.

  8. J Williams says:

    I actually appreciate these confessionals. The honesty tends to resonate with me more so than the usual “I enjoy riding my bike on weekends but …” diatribes which are basically the same thing with some guile added in because they realize they don’t want to look like a complete psycho. It is better to know thy enemy etc.

    All of us (especially the every day commuters) realize that we are hated. Little old ladies, clergy, black, white, old, young. They all hate us and they don’t even try to hide it out there on the streets.

    Just look at some of the empathy tests they have conducted with people behind the wheel. Pretty much everyone becomes a raving sociopath while driving.

    I do notice that people with bike racks on their cars tend to treat me better but that’s not always the case either …

    Feel better Ted.

    • bikinginla says:

      I’ve been run off the road more than once by drivers with a bike rack on their cars; I always wonder if they’re the ones who say they’re too afraid to ride on the streets and drive their bikes to the bike path.

      And thank you.

  9. Paul N. says:

    Ha! That’s some funky “journalism” right there. I have read enough of these sensationalized articles to realize it is clearly a slow news week. You, Sir, win my much coveted “tool bag of the week” award. Nothing to see here….move along….move along.

  10. Linda C. says:

    I sent this letter to the Tolucan Times.

    Dear Mr. Crosby:

    I ride a bike, not with the express purpose of frustrating you, but to get to work, or the store, or to a hiking trail. This means I am not another vehicle in your way, taking up another parking space at your destination, and spewing toxic chemicals into the air. Perhaps if you took a moment to realize that, you would ease up off the accelerator and enjoy the scenery on your drive instead of raising your blood pressure over a few minutes (literally!) of driving a bit slower than you’d like.

  11. This is what stochastic terrorism looks like when it is aimed at you. And the fact that “stochastic” is a word that is in my browser’s spell checker is even sadder than the existence of the person who wrote that article.

  12. Bill says:

    With an aging population bike riding doesn’t seem like the best idea. Unless you own stock in hip parts.

    • bikinginla says:

      And yet, I see bike riders in their 70s and 80s on a daily basis.

      Look at it this way. The best way to ensure you age and become feeble is to stop engaging in physical activity. The best way to fight that is to do just the opposite by engaging in low impact physical activities.

      Bicycling is one of the best of those activities, with it’s ability to maintain physical strength and mental acuity, while fighting heart disease, obesity, diabetes and a host of other age-related ailments. In fact, bike riders of any age are usually healthier than their contemporaries.

      So rather than no being the best idea, providing older bike riders with safe places to ride is one of the best investments we can make in public health.

  13. R says:

    http://tolucantimes.info/letters/editor-the-following-is-correspondence-from-our-readers-in-reference-to-greg-crosbys-columns-titled-war-on-cars-parts-i-iii-dated-december-2nd-9th-and-15th/
    (EDITOR: The following is correspondence from our readers in reference to Greg Crosby’s columns titled “War on cars, Parts I-III,” dated December 2nd, 9th and 15th.)
    0
    By Staff on January 2, 2016 Letters & Opinions

    Greg Crosby’s column “War on Cars Part 1” is a one-sided, paranoid rant against people who ride bicycles that ignores the realities of climate change and multi-mode transportation.

    There are many authors more eloquent than me who would be glad to offer a more balanced viewpoint. Crosby’s rant occupied valuable space in your publication and on your website, and a counterpoint deserves some space, too.

    What’s the best way for to submit an article that looks at transportation issues from another viewpoint?

    – Mike Wilkinson

    I’m not surprised that the comments to Greg Crosby’s article, “War on Cars” has comments closed.

    Are bicycle riders the last remaining unprotected minority?

    First, Mr. Crosby describes how bicyclists should behave as “sweet little families happily jingling their bicycle bells” and then condemns many of them as uppity, with “major attitudes and an elite sense of entitlement.” Does he really think that some people are wrong to follow the California Vehicle Code? He then calls them “jackasses in their spandex outfits and European-style alien helmets.” I thought this country was long past the time when it was acceptable to deride people for their manner of dress or foreign appearance. And just what was Mr. Crosby trying to accomplish by saying, “They (cyclists) look like giant skinny mantis insects.” I think you should publish a full figure photo of him, so we might comment on his physique and see what insect, or animal he might remind us of.

    To allow such uninformed and biased comments in your publication is irresponsible and a disservice to your readers.

    – Patrick Pascal, Los Angeles

    This is in response to Greg Crosby’s chip on his shoulder regarding cyclists: Really? A war on cars because you see a few cyclists on the road?

    Just to clear a few things up since Greg’s perspective is incredibly one sided:

    Cyclists aren’t ANTI-CAR. I, a cyclist, have TWO cars! Gasp! However we are definitely for a cleaner and better future, for healthy lifestyles, and SAFETY. When I see cyclists on the road, I give them room when passing if I can. In cases where it’s a bit narrow, I USE MY BRAKES to slow down, then pass when it’s safe to do so. For some reason, people like Greg don’t seem to understand that concept. With that said, is he fit to drive a motor vehicle?
    If bike lanes are available, cyclists will use them. If they are not, it’s actually SAFER to be closer to the center of the lane so driver’s like Greg don’t sideswipe us. He himself said it regarding hitting cyclists with his vehicle, “…sometimes it came close.” Also keep in mind that we may have to use the full lane due to road hazards. Near the intersection of Riverside and Olive, there are some major potholes on the shoulder which forces me to ride towards the center of the lane for a bit. I am avoiding a road hazard, Greg. Almost all drivers who are paying attention can see that and are courteous. Why aren’t you?
    As mentioned above, I have TWO cars but I also ride my bike. For short commutes, I ride my bike over to friend’s houses or to run errands around town. Would you rather that I drive instead and add to the already horrendous traffic in the LA area? Greg, please try to see things from a bigger picture.
    Regarding cyclists riding on highways like the 101. Get your facts straight and stop skewing things. Yes, there are some highways that have large shoulders that cyclists are allowed to ride on. No, cyclists will not be in the CAR lane on highways. That’s just stupid, Greg. There are some highways that allow this for short stretches, some that don’t. The ones that don’t usually say “non motorized vehicles prohibited.” I stay off of those. I try to avoid highways in general but depending on my destination, I do not have a choice. It’s not a difficult thing to understand, Greg.
    Calling me a “…nasty radical bike Nazi…selfish bicycle jackass with European style alien helmets looking like giant mantis insects…” Really?

    All we are asking for is to share the road and for drivers to be safe. Most drivers are fine with that except for drivers like Greg. From reading this incredibly one-sided, hate-filled drivel, it’s VERY obvious that GREG is the nasty, radical, selfish, Nazi jackass.

    See you on the road, Greg.

    – Mike K., Toluca Lake

    Dear Mr. Crosby: I ride a bike, not with the express purpose of frustrating you, but to get to work, or the store, or to a hiking trail. This means I am not another vehicle in your way, taking up another parking space at your destination, and spewing toxic chemicals into the air. Perhaps if you took a moment to realize that, you would ease up off the accelerator and enjoy the scenery on your drive instead of raising your blood pressure over a few minutes (literally!) of driving a bit slower than you’d like.

    – Linda Coburn

    If this was satire, Greg Crosby’s “War on cars” piece in the Tolucan was Dorothy Parker-level brilliance. Sadly, it appears to be intended as serious.

    The ignorance and mean-spiritedness of this article is profound. I don’t expect high literary purpose from the Tolucan but this drivel was beyond the pale.

    – Daniel Nasatir

    You allow Mr. Crosby to write a three part article on some mythical war on cars yet you do not allow comments to point out the many, many fallacies in his argument. Such as: it is not about cars. It is about people’s safety. And when a car passes me with less than three feet I have a very good chance of dying. Why can’t he ensure he gives me three feet? Seems to me there’s a war on cyclists and pedestrians. Oh, and today’s body count: one child pedestrian killed by a truck on Figueroa this morning; no drivers killed by bikes. Who is winning in this Crosby war?

    – Matthew M. Robertson, Los Angeles

    I am wondering if this article by Greg Crosby is supposed to be serious or some kind of a joke? A war on cars? Really? Degrading cyclists because they wear a helmet and spandex? Accusing cycling advocates of socialist agendas and promoting war on cars for being in favor of a healthy environmental friendly low cost form of transportation? What the heck is Greg’s problem? This Greg guy is outraged that cyclists would expect to share the road with cars? Pedestrians and bike were using the road before cars were even invented.

    – Bernie Parmer
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