Guys, is it possible to have a polite and respectful conversation about bicycles without it derailing into nothingness through a series of logical fallacies and childish nitpicking?
I mean... I've started with "the road code isn't up-to-date with the modern traffic of both bicycles and cars, it should be renewed", and we ended up with mobility scooters (by the way, they are -VEHICLES-), 2-hours ride to work by bicycle at Tour de France pace, extreme pedancy on Texas taxes and whether walking is a right or not.
Why is that that criticizing the behaviour of some cyclist is bad? We all do -extensively- for cars, even towards bicycle, if that is the case (does anyone remember my comments on the two cyclists run over by cars in the idiots+car thread?)
Why is that that highlighting problems of coexistence is bad? We all do for cars and other vehicles or pedestrians.
Why is that that proposing to change things is bad? We all do for cars and dangerous situations.
Why is that that asking for equal rights and responsibilities is bad? We all do for cars and other vehicles.
Why is that that when the theme "problems caused by riding bicycles" comes out, I find people getting angry? What is happening? Why is so socially wrong to talk about bicycles and the problems they might create?
There is not a war going on, it is a matter of making life better for everyone. Safety first, then efficiency. We still have to decide whether bicycles are vehicles or not. If they are, they can carry the rights of vehicles, but they must carry their burdens too. If they are not, they should enjoy the same rules (and burdens, and rights) as other non-vehicles. It is not difficult. Will that mean making cycling more complicated and possibly an activity which requires attention and focus? Maybe. Why is this a problem? Do someone fear having to use mental resources while riding? I am sure not.
Everyone has the same right to be on the road: 18-wheelers, buses, cars, motorbikes, scooters, bicycles, pedestrians. They are different, we need rules to accomodate everyone on the road, and we might need to adequate them to actual physics, not just what our mind would prefer. And as much as it is possible, mobility should be a choice. If I want to move by car, I must have the right to do it, as long as I'm paying an adequate social and material cost so as to cover the resources I'm using. Cars, moreover, can not be canceled out of our societies, and cars are not a bad thing, a devil, a mark of shame: cars (or, to be more correct, personal motorized mobility) has liberated endless amount of people who couldn't otherwise move out of their own neighbourhood or their own street. We have to rethink many things about that, but not the idea of having the possibility of motorized personal transportation.
And as for bicycles, everyone has the right to ride: the athletic guy clad in Lycra training on an ultra-light bike for two hours on end to prepare for competion and the old-lady on her old bike going out for groceries. I have seen people treating both of them as if they were the same, or using only one of these two categories as if that was the whole of "cyclists". They are not. This difference has to be taken into account both for defining the rules of integration with motorized vehicles and the rules of cyclist-to-cyclist respect, safety and circulation, or the cyclist-pedestrians relations.
Things are not easy.
And the world is not all northern Europe. What works in northern Europe won't in most other places. And northern Europe itself is not exempt of problems. I've been there, I've seen it. If we believe that bicycles might be a mean of transportation used by the masses in the future, we have to rethink our rules and roads now, and not in a way that excludes other road users.