Thursday, November 7, 2013

If Miss Manners and Judge Judy Enforced Crimes Against Cyclists

One in an Occasional Series of Responses to The Bike Proctor.  Expect Enforcement.

This posts responds to requests from those seeking guidance on bicycle etiquette and ethics.

Dear Bike Proctor:
I wonder if there are circumstances under which it is acceptable to block the bike lane.
Confused in Cleveland

Dear Confused (I omit the "Cleveland" since, as a sophisticated, big city person, I assume that many there are confused):
Indeed there is but one circumstance under which it is acceptable to block the bike lane.  If you are selling ice cream from a cargo bike which you have used to arrive at your vending spot, then it is clearly appropriate to block the bike lane.  However, should you not get any customers because your ice cream is somehow befouled, melted, or inferior then you would not be within refined social norms to continue to block the bike lane.
The Bicycle Proctor

Dear Bike Proctor:
Hypothetically, let's say that I have a friend who is the CEO of a major Canadian company that makes the bikes used is bike share programs globally, and somehow I let my company go into massive debt thereby endangering the long-term success of bike share programs across the globe.  Is there anything that my friend can do to prevent becoming the object of scorn?
Anxiety-Ridden in Montreal

Dear Anxiety-Ridden:
This is where the Bike Proctor becomes General Patton-meets-Super Nanny.  Failure is not an option.  The bike share programs are changing the world.  You may damage or impede this positive momentum.  You will have to get this company back on track or get the heck out of the way.  Tighten your belt, cut costs, stop throwing away cash on limos, small jets, liquor, narcotics, and corporate retreats.  Did you see the film "Margin Call?"  Do not become Jeremy Irons' character unless you want experience eternal damnation.  If you have a mistress, jettison her like so much extra baggage.  Go paperless, recycle, seek outside investors who are not emitting smoke from their heads and holding tridents.  If you know you cannot stop hemorrhaging cash, locate a fixer, or a closer, like the fat guys they bring out at the end of baseball games just to smack one out of the stadium to win the game.  Then promptly resign your position falsely citing a desire to spend more time with your family as the reason for your departure.  Do not take with you a Golden Parachute.  You do not deserve such a thing.  It is not about you, it is about the planet, mankind, the free world.  Fix it, or get out of the way.  The Bike Proctor knows not every relationship can be fixed, but you are Canadian, and I think that means that you are less vulnerable to shenanigans.  Therefore I counsel you to get cracking.  Immediately.
The Bike Proctor

Dear Bike Proctor:
I frequently block the bike lane to get a latte, drop off my girlfriend, use the ATM machine, or scratch myself.  I never seem to get ticketed.  Will I someday be held to account for these infractions?
Morally Bankrupt

Dear Morally Bankrupt:
It is rare that the Bike Proctor hears from someone as utterly depraved as you, but at least you are reaching out.  It is a little bit like Jim Jones expressing remorse only after he ladled Kool-Ade into the waxed paper cups of a hundred toddlers, but I supposed that it is better than nothing.  At the turn of the 17th Century, we had certain methods of punishing people that relied heavily on their well-developed sense of shame.  The pillories were used to embarrass thieves and to make them so physically uncomfortable that they were deterred from further criminal involvement.  Modernly, we simply post photos of people like you on Instagram in the misguided belief that you care about the opinion of those with higher IQs than yourself.  This is a serious waste of data since you will not see the photo, you do not care, and have a very high threshold of shame - certainly higher than people did circa 1679.  I want to tell you to go in peace and sin no more, but I doubt that will work.  No Hail Marys can cure your infractions.  So I suggest you sell your car immediately.  Maybe tonight on eBay or Craigslist.  Get a Bicycle.  Start using cycle tracks tomorrow and become a spokesperson for cycling good.  Everyone loves a story of redemption.  Be like the guy who left the skinheads to marry a woman of color.  Kind of.  Change your life.  Then write again and I will reconsider my advice.
With Irritated Reserve,
The Bike Proctor

Please feel free to send your request for advice to the Bike Proctor.

If I see you in the bike lane, and you are riding in the bike lane, and not blocking the bike lane, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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