Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I wanna kick him in the junk with my carbon footprint.

There is no smug like the smug you get as you come to a complete stop on your bicycle, groceries in the basket, and yell "Hey, there was a stop sign there, you polluter!" at the guy in the Smart ForTwo as he makes a left turn through the intersection with only the feeblest of attempts at a "rolling stop".

You'd have to become a Lifetime Patron Platinum Endowment Supporter of your local NPR station or invest in a Fair Trade sustainable organic hemp farm while going door-to-door collecting signatures for "Write-In Ralph Nader 2012" or something like that to feel more smug than I did just then.
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51 comments:

Joseph said...

Got a lot of the opposite problem here. Lots of cyclists think that the road signs don't apply unless you drive a car or ride a motorcycle. Seeing way too many of them flying through stops without even a courtesy slow-down is enough to get me wishing for a humongous semi, loaded with limestone, with a broken air line going, oh I don't know, 80mph to arrive at the intersection simultaneous to the dick cyclist.

Tam said...

Joseph,

Personally, if there are cars about, I tend to come to a stop and let them clear the intersection, even if I technically have the right-of-way. I just don't trust them to notice the cyclist.

(If there aren't cars around, I only do rolling stops myself on the bicycle, so I guess I shouldn't gripe too loud...)

Leatherwing said...

Some places actually use their brains and recognize that while cyclists need to behave in predictable ways (just like any other vehicle) they also are their own freaking engine. Those places allow bicycles to treat stop signs as yields. I'm OK with that, since on my bike I actually have better visibility than in my Blazer (I'm higher and have full 360, unobstructed).

og said...

You'd only soil your feet. That patchouli smell is impossible to get out of anything, and patchoili toejams are the WORST.

Grant Cunningham said...

A couple of years ago, right here, I predicted this would happen: that you would eventually succumb to the "progressive" blandishments of your two-wheeled, self-powered steed. I'm so psychic it's scary.

You might as well move to Portland, where you'll find many of your, umm, "persuasion". The only daily choice you'll need to make is whether you'll wear your tie-dye or your Che shirt to the local fair trade espresso stand.

Anonymous said...

I can usually do a legal stop -- my wheels do stop rolling for an instant -- and then proceed without unclipping or putting a foot down. It just takes bit of practice.

As a road cyclist, I get just as angry at the racer wannabes blasting through intersections without even slowing. That's just dumb and rude.

Anonymous said...

I realize that smug is the object of the exercise, but more emissions result from having to accelerate the mass from a complete dead stop, than if the vehicle is able to conserve energy by rolling. Less pollution, not more, you know.

Besides, the artistic type driving the Smart was probably also showing the hamsters some mercy with that rolling stop.

Mike James

Woodman said...

What ticks me off are the cycle gangs on back country roads.

Usually about 20-30 of them, hell maybe more, it's hard to count. They take up both lanes and average about 20 mph. I usually turn off down another road, because the areas where it's legal to pass they just spread out more, and there is always at least one tool weaving around like he's never been on a bike before.

And every single one of them wearing neon spandex.

Later in the day along the same route reversed they'll come back through, and the fall outs drag listlessly behind. So now I get to pass individual bikes trying to catch up with the mob who are going even slower, even more erratically.

armedlaughing said...

There's on on-going movement here to make the bicycle 'king of the road'.
I suspect the progressives won't be happy until we resemble Beijing - heavy pollution and millions of bicycles!
Out here in AZ, we call a rolling stop a 'California' stop. I understand in Iowa it's a 'Missouri' stop.
I ridden in Mexico - perhaps 'Mexican' stop is more appropriate?
:-P

Woodman said...

Oh, and a Toyota Camry gets better gas mileage than that "Smart"Car. And costs less.

pax said...

What do you expect from someone who drives a coal-powered automobile?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

"As a road cyclist, I get just as angry at the racer wannabes blasting through intersections without even slowing. That's just dumb and rude."

Visit 52nd and Grandview in Indy any Wednesday about 1800 when the bicycle club comes blasting through -- without any regard for the fact that it's rush hour and Grandview is usually kinda busy right then. It wouldn't be so bad but Grandview is two narrow lanes with no shoulder or bike lane. ("Share the road" my ass, Mayor Ballard.)

If I were a cop, I'd be sitting there waiting. Lots of citations just begging to be written.

Ritchie said...

A couple of year ago, a pro rider blew through an intersection against the light, broadsided a "cage" making a legal turn. My friends were at the same intersection, rendered immediate aid and kept the rider from bleeding out. She lost a leg and the cops wanted to impound my friends' car because the rider had bled on it.

mustanger said...

These mountain roads where I live... Inconsiderate cyclists in groups of every variation previously described... That's a whole lot of people recklessly endangering themselves among how many rolling violations. Failure to maintain lane, impeding the flow of traffic... what all else? I'd like to see a Georgia State Trooper, or the county mounties, get after 'em.

Bubblehead Les. said...

True story time. A couple of weeks ago, I was heading down the Interstate, and there was a Chevy Volt, sitting in the Fast Lane, doing 50 in a 65. Needless to say, those vehicles that had real engines were passing on the right, shaking their fists, Semis blasting their horns, etc. We come up on some Road Construction, and we are in a single lane for a few miles. The Construction Zone ends, the Volt stays in the Fast Lane doing 50. So some guy in an Older Beemer swings in front of him, and drops his speed down. The Volt Driver lets his Smugness override what few Brain Cells he has left, passed the Beemer on the right, swings back into the Fast Lane and floors it. So the Eco Freak is pulling away from the Pack, actually reaching towards 80+, when some Gas Guzzling Ford Crown Vic owned by the Ohio State Highway Patrol swings out and pulls him over.

Sometimes, there is Justice.

farmist said...

@armedlaughing,
in most of Missouri it's known as a "St Louis Stop"

maddmedic said...

Come visit this silly freakin town I live in. Is war between bicyclists and motorists...
I and my Dearest both love bicycling, but we take the most direct routes we can to get to bike trails.
Some of the bicyclists in this town do not understand any physics and the fact that cars mass well more then their little bicycle..SO when on my bike am in self preservation mode due to idiots pissin off motorists..like me..

rickn8or said...

Go Tam! It's not often you can heap Righteous Indignation onto Eco-Smugnitude.

And you're just the girl to do it.

Patrick said...

Love my bike; hate other riders. Especially the urban weekend ones in Neon tight pants that liken themselves traffic blockers on rural roads. A few get splattered every year for being dumb, and the locals...well, we don't seem to get too worked up over the city-person road kill. Hate to admit that, but we kinda see them like deer: eventually you'll hit one and it'll leave nasty Neon hot pant mess on everything.

I ride when I can. We have a small shack in a Gulf Coast state and my primary ride on the island is the bike. When I lived in LA, I took it everywhere - I usually got there faster than a car, anyway.

But even in LA, it got so bad that the local police would set up speed traps for bike riders. No kidding. The police would stalk off-road paths favored by runners and strollers and use radar guns on the cyclists, pulling them over and ticketing them for doing more than 5 MPH in designated zones. And they also nailed them for riding through stops and for riding in designated walk zones (usually a pier area).

Loved the irony.

Anonymous said...

I try to stay on side streets when I ride to avoid the cars doing 50 in a 35 with texting drivers.

Drang said...

Has Indy been infested yet with Critical Massholes?

Woodman said...

I read a while back that they are supposedly active in Indy, but I've never actually seen anything. I can't imagine that they are all that pervasive here.

Half the year is totally unsuitable for non-diehards to get out there and bike. I'd like to have the option of biking to work, but 15 miles along county roads and Fall Creek would have me dead by the end of the fall.

Ian Argent said...

"Oh, and a Toyota Camry gets better gas mileage than that "Smart"Car. And costs less."

Per EPA numbers found at fueleconomy.gov, the 2008 Smart Coupe is rated at 36 mpg combined, while the 2008 Camry is rated at 25 mpg combined. The 2012 Camry gets 28 mpg, while the 2012 smart maintains its 36 mpg rating.

The 2012 smart has an MSRP starting at $12,490, while the 2012 Camry has an MSRP starting at $22,055. I don't feel like trying to find the MSRP for the 2008 Camry, but the base smart for that year was just shy of $12,000, and maxed with all options at something like $25,000 or so, with leather seats and other luxury features.


If you want to claim you get better mileage out of a Camry, I get to use my wife's logged 40+ mpg.
Now, since the smart drinks 91 octane or better (I put in 93 because that's what we get here), you have to factor the prices for various grades of gas. The EPA site will do that for you, punch in your assumptions. Under the defaults the smart is still cheaper to operate on a per-gallon basis. The last time I looked, only the Yaris hatchback of the non-hybrid cars came close to the smart's per-gallon cost.

By all means, hate on drivers who blow the stop sign. But before hating on their car, check the stats.

og said...

Ian: You just admitted you drive a Smart.

Dude. Not at gunpoint would I actually drive one, let alone admit it. But that's your business. ;)

Smart: The Car that you Wear.

Ian Argent said...

They're fairly roomy inside, actually; plenty of headroom and legroom. And I've gotten myself, my wife, and luggage for a weekend in VT attending a wedding into it. Or a full cart of groceries. I wouldn't have one as an only car, but as a commuter box and errand runabout it's pretty decent.

Won't win any prizes for acceleration, but neither did my Ranger (RIP).

I just object to seeing the "expensive and not efficient" complaint. Hybrids beat it in economy, but nothing in it's price range (other than the Yaris) comes close.

staghounds said...

On most roads, bicycles were there before cars were.

JohninMd(help!) said...

Don't really care about the "smug" factor, but I don't trust a car that's taller than it is long. Tain't natural.

Ian Argent said...

@Staghounds [citation needed]. Paved roads were expanded out of the city core due to the automobile, and pre-automobile bicycles have poor off-road performance.
@JohninMd - it does lead to a rather pitchy ride. However, it is almost 40" longer than it is tall. Height is (barely) the smallest dimension at 60.7".
Given the way people tailgate me at 70+ mph, I suspect the smaller than normal width causes people to misjudge their following distance.

Ian Argent said...

Since this may be relevant to a few of you, a Bushmaster hard rifle case will not lay flat in the cargo compartment, however.

Anonymous said...

Dunno,

I'm willing to give bicycle riders a fair degree of slack when it comes to stop signs and the like (riding on the sidewalk).

In many places there are a LOT of stop signs in very low traffic areas and the places where there aren't stop signs everywhere are hideously dangerous for bicycles. Stopping 100% of the time in a bicycle is a huge pain derriere the 17 millionth time, and most stops unnecessary, bikes can see what's coming and approach usually so slowly that if anything else there they have plenty of time to really stop. ( I know it's not black letter law, but I'm not willing to hold people to that unless there are serious safety issues. Cars and trucks can't see anything and their drivers need to stop.)

Ditto sidewalks, so long as they are not harassing pedestrians, I'd prefer them up there to being in the road.

As to the weekend-packs, you have to realize that's self defense in many cases. If they didn't occupy and entire lane some of you guys would be whipping by them at 40-50+mph with about 6" to spare (if lucky) and the edge of the road is where much of the scary crap and holes are (not to a car, but to a bicycle).

Like it, or not, they are legally and safety-wise doing the right thing by occupying a lane a a group, they are effectively a large, long & slow vehicle on a road with no minimum speed limit. so relax and wait until it's safe to pass.

(That being said some of them are total jerks about allowing people to pass by being stretched out so that they are a huge nuisance, that's rude.)

Anonymous said...

For the ultimate in ironic reverse-smugness, there's gotta be a way to rig one o' those rocket stoves up to create a wood-burnin' bicycle...

And while we're mining the irony, Tam linked to my story about one the first Smarts, which I bought in '08 (and flipped on the fleabay for a 3K profit to a Lexus hybrid-driving 'lanta lawyer), to say she'd drive one if it could be "like this one"...whereupon she linked to a vid of a Smart rigged with a screamin' Huyabusa motor. Heh.

PB

Robert Langham said...

Tam for EPA Director.

The Freeholder said...

Tam, you are a bad girl. A very bad girl. :-)

Ian Argent said...

@PB: Good for you, and occasionally I look wistfully at videos of one of those smart Q-ships.

Brad K. said...

Did you ask the driver how many tons of coal were needed to make that vehicle, and how many barrels of oil were consumed transporting the vehicle to the dealer, and various materials and parts about the continent, getting it built?

Or how many tax dollars it will take to adequately sequester the various exotic materials used in the vehicle, most of them for longer than flaming nuclear waste?

Ian Argent said...

The smart car is sheathed in frozen hydrocarbons, to boot.

Anonymous said...

Ian, here ya go...

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/05/road-test-report.html

PB

Anonymous said...

Ian, here ya go...

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/05/road-test-report.html

PB

Anonymous said...

This one should come first, ian:

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/05/free-money.html

Sorry for the extra tap and the link Tam, but Ian seemed interested...







i

Anonymous said...

I saw an amazing flying cyclist last week. Dude ran a red light at about 15 MPH and if he looked either way I didn't see it. The opposite side of the cross street had two lanes of traffic, the near one was stopped, the curb lane wasn't. He got smacked pretty good, but he was sitting on the curb by the time the light changed.

Justthisguy said...

Heh. We Grumpy Old Bachelors ain't even a patch on you Grumpy Old Spinsters. For what it's worth, I do try to obey traffic laws when out on my bicycle, even signalling turns. I do admit to cheating a bit on stopsigns sometimes.

I believe the worst insult I yelled at a bad car-driver was something like "neurotypical damyankee golf trash!" I did not have to fight him; he just looked at me funny and drove away.

Ian Argent said...

Yeah, I saw those when Tam originally linked to them. Which reminds me, I could probably make a fair bit of money flea-baying my panels, since they're the yellow color that got dropped for the 2010 and later model year (due to "lack of demand"). Except that I don't like the current color set that much myself.
Also, if you run across a review that complains that Robbie the Robot shift hard/inappropriately, check the date of drive. They released a firmware patch in 2009 or so that made the computer much better at operating the transmission

Scott said...

I live in a small southern college town with too many foolish students and many ignorant police officers. I ride primarily for my health, as I cannot walk very well, due to knee problems and I see a lot of students riding on sidewalks or the wrong side of the road regularly. The police do not seem to mind. Our town has widened roads and built many bike lanes over the years, with grant money, which has probably saved a few ignorant cyclists lives, but obviously these cyclists do their best to antagonize the mostly ignorant drivers, mostly from outlying rural counties, who cannot yet figure out how to manage a round-about. Such is life in the Land-Mass State.

Anonymous said...

For everybody who dislikes Lycra shorts -- try going for a multi-hour ride in a pair of jeans, and then tell me how that seam intersection in the crotch feels....

But heck, I remember when bike shorts were wool -- with real leather liners that you had to grease.

Jim Dunmyer said...

FWIW: my VW Jetta TDI (Diesel) gets a consistent 45+ MPG. That said, I'd drive a Smart Car if necessary, I once had a Honda 600 Sedan, proving that I have no pride. :-)

When riding a bike on 2-lane roads, I found it helps to wobble just a bit. Makes the car drivers give you a bit of space instead of trying to tag you with their side-view mirror.

Ian Argent said...

So did my parent's 1982 Peugeot 504 Station wagon that they brought into the US from Morocco for tax reasons. Comparing diesel economy to gasoline economy is weighing the scales just a little.

(That Peugeot had a charming habit of leaving the alternator someplace on the DC beltway every so often; which, in a diesel, is not immediately noticeable. Eventually someone crossthreaded a mounting bolt and ended those shenanigans. I almost brought it to school with me in the nineties, on the grounds that good diesel was abundantly available in NJ at the time and noticeably cheaper than 87 Octane.)

Jerry said...

I gotta' butt heads with you on this one. It considers the safety of, not just you, butt those who follow you, on a bicycle. The car is bigger. Than even, oh hell, me. Even Zed gets the weight advantage.

Anonymous said...

Got a lot of the opposite problem here. Lots of cyclists think that the road signs don't apply unless you drive a car or ride a motorcycle.

In the state of Idaho, the law is written such that bicyclists may treat stop lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. It is a great law, but I doubt it will ever spread past our borders.

Mr Evilwrench said...

When I ride my bike on the road, I ride paranoid. Cars are bigger than me. They can hurt me. The fact it's the other guy's fault won't console me much when I'm laying in a hospital bed looking forward to a lifetime of disability. I stay out of the way and let the cars do what cars do. If I was in a hurry I'd be driving a car myself. Yeah, when I'm driving some of the bicyclists piss me off, but I just figure the best I can do is not contribute.

scottW said...

"In the state of Idaho, the law is written such that bicyclists may treat stop lights as stop signs and stop signs as yield signs. It is a great law, but I doubt it will ever spread past our borders."

No, It's a law that gets bicyclist killed.....

Joe said...

"gas-hole"