Monday, June 16, 2008

Bumper Sticker = Bad Driver

Bumper Sticker Shock

Drivers who personalize their cars take it personally. Beware of the bumper sticker.

That's the unexpected conclusion of a recent study by William Szlemko of Colorado State University in the Journal of Applied Psychology, reported in the Washington Post in Shankar Vedantam's column. "Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other "territorial markers" not only get mad when someone cuts in their lane or is slow to respond to a changed traffic light, but they are far more likely than those who do not personalize their cars to use their vehicles to express rage -- by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior."

It does not seem to matter whether the messages on the stickers are about peace and love -- "Visualize World Peace," "My Kid Is an Honor Student" -- or angry and in your face -- "Don't Mess With Texas," "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student." The personalizing of the vehicle might be seen as territory markers.

"The more markers a car has, the more aggressively the person tends to drive when provoked," Szlemko said. "Just the presence of territory markers predicts the tendency to be an aggressive driver."

The implications for bicyclists are obvious -- aggressive drivers are bad news. The problems are equally obvious -- very seldom do we get a look at a vehicle's bumper until it has passed us.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chicago World Naked Bike Ride

For a variety of very good reasons, I'll not be participating in this ride. I just thought it was interesting to see the long list of rules and suggestions I was e-mailed.

CHECK-IN for the Chicago World Naked Bike Ride is at UNION PARK
Southern triangle, near 100 N. Ashland, near Washington/Ogden intersection,
South of Green/Pink Line Ashland/Lake stop, AT the statue of former mayor
Carter Henry Harrison Sr.
GoogleMaps: * YahooMaps:
* MapQuest:
Saturday June 14th, rain or shine, 6-9pm gathering, then riding for several
hours, ending near beginning.

DO NOT COME except participants on people-powered wheels, due to crowd

NON-RIDERS go watch at the recommended VIEWING point Halsted+Belmont some
time after 10:15-ish. Belmont Red/Brown stop puts you in the neighborhood.
We should pass that point twice over a period. Last year a sizable throng
assembled there and your cheers were greatly appreciated! To get live
updates en-route text message JOIN WNBRC to 8762.

RIDERS come at/after 6pm if you need body painting or wanna hang for tunez,
contests, bike decorating, eco banners, camaraderie, donations, etc.
Or come to check-in closer to launch time, like 8:45pm at the latest.

YOU are responsible for your own bike+self, travel+lodging, ID+money,
food+water, clothes+towel, etc, and help others. m'K?
Maybe bring some snax or drinx to share; also bells/whistles,
blinkees/glowies, helmet/backpack, smiles, etc.
There's no storage to leave stuff behind for the ride, but at least we may
have a potty this year.

DONATIONS are solicited on site to help defray costs, or use PayPal from

CELEBRATE positive body image and the end of the automobile era with WNBR-C.
Bare-as-you-dare outfits range from body paint to fanciful costumes to
beach-wear. GREEN is the theme color this year.
Chicago's past rides rallied hundreds of cyclists and numerous skaters
winding over a dozen miles of city streets. The ride's atmosphere is
extremely joyful, convivial, and transcendently fun. Now in its FIFTH YEAR,
Chicago's turnout is among the largest of many cities participating
With gas prices skyrocketing and obesity an epidemic, our messages have
become truisms.

1. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT visibly carry open alcohol.
2. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT arrive naked or be anywhere near the park naked.
3. DO NOT COME unless you are participating on people-powered wheels due to
risk of overcrowding. NON-RIDERS come watch at Halsted near Belmont some
time after 10:15pm.
4. No photographs allowed before ride except by identified authorized
personnel. Assume however by participating that you may be photographed
anywhere anytime.
5. Exposed goodies may make you a target for arrest. Even naked butts may
be risky. Do so at your own risk or remain minimally covered or painted.
6. If confronted by police obey commands and comply, do not escalate and do
not argue. If told to put something on simply do so immediately. And thank
them en-route for their help.
7. This ride is monitored by National Lawyers Guild volunteers who can serve
as witnesses in case of trouble. If arrested immediately call the NLG office
at 312-913-0039
8. Remember the messages: Promoting freedom from oil addiction and positive
body image. Not antagonizing cagers and residents and authorities. Hostile
acts are completely uncool towards cars not directly threatening riders.
9. For maximum First Amendment protection integrate your messages: "burns
fat not oil", "nude not lewd", "no concealed weapons", "naked is how
vulnerable I am sharing the roads with cars"
11. For more information see or try the hotline at
773-578-6289 or text JOIN WNBRC to 8762.

1. Keep a slow pace, it's easy to get excited and start pedaling faster, but
we need to stay together and not get stretched out.
2. We don't need to blast through every red light. They're a great chance
for the group to mass up, so we must stop every so often to allow the group
to remain in a tighter formation.
3. Avoid passing cars and swallowing them up in the ride. Drivers caught in
bike masses tend to make erratic moves, so it's best to just stop behind a
pack of cars and wait for them to move on.
4. Stay out of the oncoming lane, we don't need both sides of the street and
must leave room for emergency vehicles.
5. If you have never been on a big group ride in Chicago here's some helpful
6. Mr Bike has some great tips for riding naked:

==== SOUND BITES ====
"Say no to oil."
"Less gas, more ass."
"Cars support terrorists."
"Naked is how vulnerable I am sharing the roads with cars."
"Bikes don't block traffic, bikes ARE traffic"
"Why are we naked? Because it got your attention."
"This is an annual free speech exercise promoting bicycling."
"Bicyclists make better lovers!"
"My bush would make a better president."

THANK YOU participants for being the most wondrous community I've known, and
crew for having brought your A games, and the mayor and police for being so
bike friendly. C U tomorrow!

~ ~
WNBR-C Coord and avid inline skater.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Car runs into bike race

A driver, possibly an American citizen, fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a bike race in Mexico, causing mayhem.,2933,362147,00.html