Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Cars vs. Bikes: In the Doghouse

As you already know, I spend a certain amount of my day wandering the mean streets looking for cycling-related tidbits to post here. It was in that process that I stumbled upon the following webular comic from Doghouse Diaries. Click upon the following image to see it in its full resplendence at its home site.

That webbonical cartoon apparently sparked the ire of some cyclist with a copy of Photography Shoppe, because I found this retort on Reddit. Click for the full image.

Now, the problem here, as I see it, is not that one is right and the other is wrong. It is that both are equally right and wrong. In this way, a simply drawn web comic and a cobbled-together mockery thereof come together to form what I consider to be a kind of elegant metaphor for our American two-party political system… but let me not digress.

The Doghouse Diaries web comic is completely correct. Cyclists are known to occasionally act like the rules of the road do not apply to them and they’re wrong to behave that way. It’s wrong to split lanes, wrong to run lights, and wrong to blow through stop signs. They get away with it because, for whatever reason, they aren’t policed. I don’t know why cops don’t ticket cyclists, but I wish they would. I think it’s only fair.

It is ridiculous to condemn drivers for not following the law if you yourself don’t follow it.

I’m not completely sure what the main point of the cobbled-together retort is, unless it’s to state that drivers are NPR-loving homophobes, but it does seem to want to reinforce the commonly-held belief among riders that they deserve to ride like jackasses because they’re singlehandedly doing the entire earth a favor by not driving. Yes, bikes are an excellent green alternative to motorized transport, but riding one simply does not make a person above the law, and it does not excuse anybody from common courtesy.

That’s not to say that drivers don’t perform their own special acts of ass-headedness, oftentimes while holding a cellphone to their faces, willfully drawing their attention away from the road.

The problem described in both web comics is that people sometimes act like jerks, regardless of their chosen mode of transport, but really, what better time of year than Thanksgiving to come together and start treating each other with a little more respect?

Let’s get ourselves some turkey and dressing and stuff ourselves silly, and maybe on a full stomach we can all agree to be a little more considerate going forward.

5 thoughts on “Cars vs. Bikes: In the Doghouse”

  1. Anon

    Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling, when the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle, when traveling at the same speed as traffic, or while exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road. As used in this subsection, the term “hazards to safe cycling” includes, but is not limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which areparallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.

    doesn’t this imply that a cyclist can legally share a lane with a motor vehicle? As long as it’s safe?

  2. jim

    Of course. It’s necessary to share a lane.

  3. Stephen Touset

    I think the whole point of the retort is that there’s a perception amongst drivers that cyclists are a menace and cause the streets to be unsafe, when in reality, countless drivers speed, run stop signs, tailgate, and engage in other buffoonery.

    That’s not to say that either side is “right”; both break the law, but it’s incomprehensible to me that a 200lb object traveling at 15mph which runs a red light against no cross traffic somehow draws more ire than a 4,000lb object doing 50 in a 35, rolling through stop signs, tailgating, etc.

  4. jim

    No argument here, but I think the ire comes from the frustration of driving coupled with riders flaunting the law and having a “me first” attitude. If you’re sitting through cycle after cycle of lights and barely moving and someone comes weaving through cars on a bike and then runs the light, only to hold you up a few minutes later when you’re back up to speed, it can be hard to be considerate.

    I think that a lot of ground could be covered in the improving cycling territory by changing the behavior of cyclists themselves. Perhaps more than can be gained by pointing fingers at drivers.