yja

Guest Article: Down with the YJA

Guest Article: Down with the YJA

by / / 178 posts

Bicycles and automobiles- can’t we all just get along? @Kah writes about this universal (do aliens have this issue also?) problem of us co-existing with humans in cars. We all drive cars too and have cursed the occasional cyclists for some good reason. Cars are our greatest threat. We can crawl away from our own bicycle crashes, thanks very much. We always lose when a car is involved. Thanks for contributing @Kah.

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

High-visibility jackets offend me. I’m not in the position to judge fashion really, and generally don’t care what other people wear, but something that tarnishes an entire mode of transport as unsafe and dorky is not okay. These garments misinform the general public that cycling is an unsafe activity (look, that cyclist looks like a lit up flare and a Christmas tree had a baby!), they make all other cyclists look like dorks.

Now, I’m not picking on genuinely introverted people, but people who are just less comfortable interacting with other vehicles on the road. As someone truly in love with spinning pedals on the road, I don’t see why there is this reticence to spend time on the road. The footpath is by far the worse option: congested with pedestrians, littered with signs, and unpredictable in its ebb and wanes.

There’s a spectrum of how happy you are with sharing the road: going from very uncomfortable to exuding quiet confidence before becoming attention-seeking and finally there is a thin line to obnoxiousness.

Uncomfortable, more introverted cyclists tend to hug the kerb, trying to stay out of everyone’s way. Every potential interaction is exaggerated; every passing car becomes a danger. Confident cyclists who are experienced know when to draw attention to their intentions, when to back off while negotiating between quickly moving cars, and how to tell the difference between a passing maneuvere that is actually dangerous and one that is not even worth commenting on. This comfort around other road users is something you can cultivate, but not one you can fake.

Attention-seeking cyclists and obnoxious cyclists tend to feel more self-entitled. “I’m a vehicle/road user too!” is the common mantra of these cyclists who don’t feel inclined to offer the same courtesy they demand to the other road users. To be fair these rolling douchenozzles tend to be the same regardless of vehicle.

My problem is, the introverts are trying to make up for their meekness with the artificial posturing afforded by the YJA. Their mistaken assumption of course is that this magical garment bestows visibility, and thus invincibility in traffic, leading some to jump to the illogical conclusion that they have automatic right of way in every circumstance by virtue of the highly visible jacket.

Magic jackets are not the answer to safer cyclists. Learning to share the road on a bicycle is the answer. Anticipation, not hindsight.

Fucking cyclists.

// Guest Article

  1. @Deakus

    @sthilzy

    @Jamie

    tow red LEDs in the rear and two FUCK YOU bright lights, one on the bars and one on top of my helmet to give a 450 lumen stink eye to the cager about to pull out of a side street

    Why stop at 450 lumen when you can have 450,000 lumen?!

    Haha! those look like niterider train rat lights, I still have one of those in my garage!

    love it. dude has like $5k in lights and a GoPro but he can’t buy a bidon.

  2. Need a ruling here!

    Just so I can upset everyone else at the mccogal I am going full on neon, BUT should I wear black socks or get some f the glaringly bright DeFeet ones to match my neon short sleeved top and gilet, both well fitting and semi-pro looking natch, .

    Obviously black shorts are the only way to go.

    If the weather doesn’t improve though all bets are off, at the moment it is 6 C dull and breezy, yes it may pick up in a weeks time but then revert to type for the all important weekend, damn you jet stream.

  3. @G’rilla

    @E

    …anything that makes the activity a little bit safer can only be a good idea (no?).

    There are many things that would make cycling a little bit safer.

    • Knee pads
    • Elbow pads
    • Downhill neck brace

    But we choose a line between safety and style.

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.  No one is suggesting wearing a crash helmet in bed based on the argument that it would make this activity marginally safer (not me at any rate).  But clearly there is a balance to be made between safety on the one hand and style on the other.  Where you draw that line is up to the individual. You I suspect will  lean towards style even as you slide gracefully off the bonnet of the car that failed to see you dressed in your matt black “Rafa” cycling outfit. Shame no one will get to see it when the lid is screwed down on your coffin.

    @Deakus

    Not my analogy I would wear a flak jacket and a cycle helmet if I thought it would save my life but not necessarily at the same time.

  4. @Chris

    @snoov

    @xced

    Is this a joke? Surely the police should be alerted and this young lady have her licence removed.

    It would seem that Emma Way is having a bad day. If the twattersphere is to be trusted it would appear that not only have the police been informed but they’ve requested that she pops in for a chat. It also looks as though she’s been tracked down to an accountancy firm in Norwich who no doubt know about her activities by now.

    She’s deleted her twitter account but not her twitter pic account thing which suggests she likes taking photos with her phone while driving. the police have also been made aware of that. Silly girl.

    Can’t imagine she’ll get much more than a slap on the wrist though.

    Emma Way has been suspended from her post as a trainee accountant, apparantly the firm she used to work for sponsors a number of running and cycling charity events in Norwich.  Not the sort of publicity you want from one of your employees.

  5. @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

  6. @G’rilla

    I love the way so many people arguing in favour of safety equipment like helmets and high vis etc seem to end up with a prediction of gruesome death or brain splattering for those who disagree.

    Usually with the adjunct that it  won’t be their fault but they will sorrowfully be cleaning it up. Presumably while muttering “I told him so” as they hose the grey matter into the drain.

    I propose it as the cycling equivalent of Godwin’s law.

  7. Ok – last night a YJA would have made me look like a tool but the helmet saved me from a trip to the ER

  8. @ The Engine   , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

  9. @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

  10. @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    This is good news! Speedy recovery to you and your mates now go get a new skid lid.  Hang your other one up like a trophy.  40kmh  WOW! Hurts thinking about it.

  11. @E Your comprehension skills do you proud. Nobody is advocating riding around in purely matt black kit. It’s about persona adopted by YJA wearers, the image they project to other road users and how there are plenty of other ways of making yourself visible and creating a zone around you into which no-one else should stray. It’s not just about what you wear but the way you ride.

    This “Rafa” cycling kit sounds stylish though. Is Nadal getting into cycling? He should get some training tips from his countryman Fuentes.

  12. @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

  13. @ChrisO You can hardly blame them, it take so much less thought and effort to maintain an ideology that starts with “If I/you don’t wear a helmet” and ends with “I/you will die a gruesome and messy death” than for everyone to spend time properly assessing risks and taking other road users into account.

    It does beggar belief, though, when you see someone cycling through London in the rush hour with their helmet hung neatly from their handlebars.

  14. @Chris

    @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

    Leadout train is about the only thing that goes down on me these days…

    Off to the LBS for a new helmet.

  15. @the Engine ba boom tish.

    I was going to say pay cash but Mrs theEngine probably won’t mind the expenditure in this instance.

  16. @the Engine

    @Chris

    @the Engine

    Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks...

    What happened, did you leadout train go down in front of you?

    Glad to hear that you and the bike are OK.

    Leadout train is about the only thing that goes down on me these days…

    Off to the LBS for a new helmet.

    Dude. Glad you’re OK. After my crash last fall, it took until last weekend for me to get the nerve to race again. In my 20’s I didn’t think twice about it. Now, with family and a mortgage, I try to manage my exposure better.

  17. @G’rilla

    @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

    You’ve got a B.A. in Philosophy too?

  18. @the Engine Glad you’re alright mate.

  19. @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    @ Russ – There.  You went and cajoled @The Engine into breaking Rule #81

    @ The Engine – Glad you’re OK, though.  I think perhaps you should have yourself checked out for this tendency towards positive geotropism.

  20. @the-farmer

    Need a ruling here!

    Just so I can upset everyone else at the mccogal I am going full on neon, BUT should I wear black socks or get some f the glaringly bright DeFeet ones to match my neon short sleeved top and gilet, both well fitting and semi-pro looking natch, .

    Obviously black shorts are the only way to go.

    If the weather doesn’t improve though all bets are off, at the moment it is 6 C dull and breezy, yes it may pick up in a weeks time but then revert to type for the all important weekend, damn you jet stream.

    Black socks. Neon (why am I imagining pink?) top half. That way, if you intend to hang oot the back you can prevent any momentarily distracted driver running up wir arse. Natch.

  21. @Skip

    @the Engine

    @Russ

    @ The Engine , By you not stating any details, i take it your okay then and the N1 made it out okay?

    Some special bruises – there’s one on my ring finger that goes all the way round – like my other bad crash I didn’t skid but came to a complete (and rather sudden) halt after going over the bars so my skin and kit are unholed (mostly). Also I took the elementary precaution of putting myself between #1 bike and the road – scratched rear mech and scuffed bar tape is all she suffered. Happened on a fast bit of A road which was scary. Funny how things stick in your mind – one of the bikes in front threw up a shower of sparks – gives some idea of how fast we were going – my Garmin’s last reading was 40kmh.

    @ Russ – There. You went and cajoled @The Engine into breaking Rule #81

    @ The Engine – Glad you’re OK, though. I think perhaps you should have yourself checked out for this tendency towards positive geotropism.

    There’s always a Rule – think before you type guys.

    As previously observed gravity sucks – also ½ mv² is worth remembering when exploring the outer reaches of your brakes ability to slow you down. Maybe a little less ‘m’.

  22. @frank

    @the Engine Glad you’re alright mate.

    Thanks – shit, as they say, happens

  23. @G’rilla

    @E

    That is what is known as an argumentum ad absurdum (argument to absurdity) or a straw man argument.

    Reductio ad absurdum is actually a valid argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

    Gotta get some use out of my 6 year B.A. in Philosophy…

    In that case you are arguing against yourself aren’t you?

    @Chris

    @E Your comprehension skills do you proud. Nobody is advocating riding around in purely matt black kit. It’s about persona adopted by YJA wearers, the image they project to other road users and how there are plenty of other ways of making yourself visible and creating a zone around you into which no-one else should stray. It’s not just about what you wear but the way you ride.

    This “Rafa” cycling kit sounds stylish though. Is Nadal getting into cycling? He should get some training tips from his countryman Fuentes.

    I am glad that is cleared up. No one is advocating riding about in purely matt black and no one is advocating the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets or day glow clothing.  What we have here is a discussion on the balance to be drawn between “style” and “safety”.

    Personally I am not going to leave “being seen” to my being able to create a mystical aura of otherness around me when I cycle at night into which car drivers will fear to enter.  I am going to leave “being seen” to “being seen” and the best way of being seen it seems to me is to wear clothing in which I am easy to see.  (Sorry to labour the point).

    Also I am not going to take lessons on style from anyone, (including me), who habitually dresses up in a lycra gimp suit, clogs and helmet (optional) with a flashing light on top.  Call me old fashioned but there you are fashion is what comes later, (if at all) apres cycle in the pub.

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