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PDX bike box convo


on the way to campus this morning, i hit a red light just before the Hawthorne Bridge. I pull up in the bike box behind a guy.

middle-aged white male in bike commuter gear—helmet, rain jacket, panniers. 

  • he turns his head back a few times to look at me
  • uhmmm… ok i guess he’s probably seen me somewhere before. and he maybe looks familiar… but really i have no idea. 
  • he says ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’ or some normal greeting, and I say ‘hi’ back.
  • just waiting for the light to turn green…
  • he looks back at me again and says: “[something something] (I didn’t catch it) not wearing a helmet in this traffic.”
  • i try to figure out what those first two words were, but really didn’t hear it. settle on the obvious: He chided me for not wearing a helmet.
  • while i was still thinking this, a lady who’s waiting on the right side of the guy—white, late 20s, in cycle chic / business casual but with a skirt that’s a little more alternative/portland-y, wearing a helmet on a more upright-style bike—she pipes up, says to the guy: DON’T BE RUDE.
  • light turns green, i bike past both the guy and the lady.
  • on the bridge, i’m like, What just happened?? lol

dude, what’s up with middle-aged white men telling me what to do??!

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overly law-abiding asshole cyclists

worse than bad, disrespectful, law-dismissing drivers because one would not usually expect this sort of crap from cyclists?

[update: 24.04.14]

5pm yesterday, heading downhill from SE Salmon (bike boulevard) toward downtown to go to campus (I had an evening class).

there’s this one awkwardly, possibly misplaced stop sign in the middle of the hilly stretch of SE Salmon. since I’m coming from uphill, i have a better view of the cross street, and there was no traffic as usual (small residential street, and four-way stop), so i just keep riding through the stop sign as usual…

except then a white guy in his 30’s wearing a helmet and sunglasses riding uphill the other way shocked me by yelling at me loudly, CAN YOU READ???

umm.. what?
hopefully my face looked confused enough that maybe he was thinking that I actually didn’t know english (i could be an asian exchange student who’s never seen a stop sign?!), as he restarted up the hill after he stopped at his stop sign.

but really, wtf??!

yeah, cyclists are the only group of people who self-regulate themselves so well they’ll call out fellow cyclists for blowing through red lights, etc., because they don’t want to be one of those “scofflaw cyclists”, to keep up a good image in order to get more bike infrastructure.

but this shit.. is just insulting.
like, this guy, does he insult people when they “jaywalk”?
if he drives, too, does he yell and honk at every driver who doesn’t use turn signals?

i don’t know but I can be pretty sure he’s never heard of the idaho stop nor know that the rules of the road for cars weren’t designed for bikes, or even thought about how that stop sign might be superfluous. (there are traffic circles on other intersections. that intersection could have had a traffic circle instead a stop sign, so you wouldn’t need to stop, only slow down).

PDX—not as bike-friendly as you’d think! as in other cyclists may not be friendly! and yeah, i’ll try to stay away from cycling during rush hour, to avoid road-raged cyclists who blast negativity at people.

the social pressure to wear a helmet in the US

is so enormous it’s outright ridiculous! and offensive!!

I was just cycling in downtown portland, nice day out, busy area with lots of people, some cars, and light rail trains

and some random middle-aged white man yelled at me from a corner as I passed,


I was momentarily shocked but then yelled back WHERE’S YOURS?!

cuz look at the statistics. look at those rates of pedestrian injuries and deaths from drivers hitting them. for what reason should people NOT be wearing helmets when walking around outside??

and look up the stats on car crashes. for what reason should people NOT be wearing helmets while driving??

why shouldn’t children be wearing helmets 24/7 indoors because of the danger of falling objects and sharp table corners??!

it’s obscenely ridiculous that the helmet thing has gotten so out of control and ingrained in american minds that random people will yell at people they don’t know to wear a helmet!!

plus, for me, it feels worse. I haven’t heard many stories from others about random people yelling at them to wear helmets, but in my experience..
it always seems like it’s middle-aged (or older) white men telling me to do shit.

as a young asian-american female, this is particularly sensitive to me. what the fuck

I can only assume that these men are tea partiers or republicans, from the midwest or south or something.

and hope that they treat everyone in the same patronising manner. (versus if it’s true that they only attack women and minorities)

like, did I blow through a red light?? did I kill someone??

gosh, the way he said it I might as well have. like it’s the greatest sin against society to not wear a helmet when riding a bike.

a couple bored, drunk, white men just knocked over the trash bins outside my apartment building. then a person got into his car behind them, turned it on. car lights cued the two men to run away quick. the last guy put the trash bins back upright, though.

so much for the “Keep Oakland Clean” campaign.

stupid bitches. it’s people like these, who break car windows, vandalize, light trash bins on fire.. that further Oakland’s fame of crime.

at least the guy still had some courtesy to put the trash bin back up.

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