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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806

    I don't get it...

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    So, part of my ride - about 3 to 4 miles - goes through the west side of Chicago. It's not a great neighborhood at all, but I seem to be able to get through it without many issues. It all depends on the time of day. Mornings are quiet and event free. Afternoons....now that's a different story. It's not adults I have problems with, it's kids. I'd say 1 out of 20 rides I have a kid think it's a great idea to stand in front of me/run out in front of me/ride their bike at me or in front of me. Today I was cruising at about 19 mph and this kid was coming across a crosswalk on a cheap bmx bike. I had a green light. I looked over at him as he weaved toward me and he goes "boo". I was like are you f-ing serious? No helmet, I had about 40 lbs on him, and I'm going 20mph. Who's going to win that little encounter? I also know how to throw an elbow if need be. But my god, who wants to do that?

    WTF are they thinking? Or are they just not?
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    They are just not thinking.

    There's a spot where I ride often that I have to cross a bridge. Bikes take the sidewalk here as a. the bike path feeds onto it and b. the bridge would be very dangerous - very high traffic with lots of merging and metal grating deck. Even on the sidewalk its still a place to be careful - its narrow and there are lots of pedestrians and other bikes, there is no railing separating the walk from the cars and there is a large drop of probably a foot or so to the roadway. I had some a$$ teenager (it was a girl none the less) lean out of a car window and scream just to see what my reaction would be. Jeezus if I was a jumpy person - or the woman I was riding with - but she's deaf in one ear and didn't even hear it. If the girls in the car had to stop at the traffic light the little chickee would have found out just how scary a very angry 5 foot cyclist could be.

    I highly doubt that she had any idea that she was endangering my life and the person I was riding with. She just thought it would be fun to try to scare the bicycle rider. People like that (and especially kids) don't really think that their actions might have consequences.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351

    Veronica's Theory

    They don't see you as part of their group so it's okay to be rude, try to intimidate, etc. Anything they feel they can get away with. Next time say boo back or some other goofy thing, but say it with authority. Straight authority however gets their hackles up. Most kids like adults with a sense of humor. But they are like dogs and they want to know where their place is and what's your place. Are you above or below them... because you're not part of the group, they want to intimidate and put you below.

    It reminds me of when my classroom window got broken and I asked my students - 5th graders - if any of them had done something similar, broken windows, grafitti, to someone they didn't know. Probably 10 hands went up. And this is a good part of town. But it's okay in their minds to hurt someone you don't know. They are not part of the group. And it doesn't occur to them that someone they don't know may have feelings.

    Communities are fractured, people are now afraid to discipline other people's kids, so the kids feel like they can get away with more.

    Not all kids are like this of course. There are a good number whose parents are raisng them to have respect for all others, not just the members of their group.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Do you change your route regularly? These kids might be waiting for you to have some fun. Change your route, even by a street or two, and keep things fresh and unpredictable.

    I go through some rough areas, too. Having alteranate routes is a good, safe thing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    Tulip makes a good point, beta. Afternoons, those kids have nothing better to do. Even when they're back in school, they'll be out by the time you're riding. Be very unpredictable, and deny them the fun of planning what to do the next time you fly by!
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    Yeah, I really should ride up to Diversey in the afternoon. Or at least take Lake street. Some days I just want to get home and my normal route is the quickest. Guess I should suck it up I do alter the times I go through though. But it's usually in the same range between 3 and 5pm. I don't think I'd want to go up or down 1 or 2 blocks though. The neighborhood is really sketchy, and Washington has a bike lane. Often there are crossing guards and chicago cops around. I'm not sure 2 blocks north would be better. The streets I mentioned above are other major thoroughfares that I've ridden, and certainly have fewer problems on.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    254
    I have found that if I take out my cell phone and pretend to take a pciture of them - it tends to discourage them (My phone has no camera) - it does take my time and slows me down - but worth it to me - if I had a real camera phone I would take a real picture in case something did happen to me. I know I would almost never be able to pick anyone out of a lineup -kids usually wandered off muttering when I explain to them what I am doing and why (taking your picture to show police)

    ps - I am a lawyer who does criminal defense - the girls are becoming more and more like boys in some types of crimes that they were not usually involved with in the past.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    Beta--I agree that going N or S a couple of blocks in that neighborhood is a bad idea. I would have thought that Lake St. would suck for bike riding because of the train tracks over head. (or, more to the point, the beams that hold them up. Major obstacle course) Diversey, or, how about North Ave? That's what I take in the car when I go to my sister's. No bike lane, but it is a wide street.

    Yeah, there are cops and crossing guards, but you know how it would play out. Doesn't matter if some kids stake you out and run in front of you deliberately. If you run down one of the kids, you're another rich suburban so-and-so who rides with reckless abandon, endangering the lives of inner-city angels. etc. Pisses me off that they mess with you that way, but it is the reality.

    I love the cell phone idea, "I'm taking your picture to show the police".
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    LIke Veronica said, you're "not in their group." (Or gang, as the case may be...)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    23
    Way up here on the north side and into Evanston I have seen more and more street daredevils riding BMX bikes, wrong side or middle of street, no helmets of course. They run stop signs and lights, taking the middle of the street even with oncoming traffic. Usually it's groups of 3-6 riders together. Pretty stupid stuff. I haven't gotten any trouble from them when I'm biking.

    I don't think they are thinking. They are just trying to seem cool to their friends. I haven't seen kids doing it alone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    On one of the street I take there are frequently lots of teenagers hanging out. One time, there were ALOT, and they were spilling into the street. I passed by, they saw me, and one put his hand out. I don't know if it was to me, or it was just a gesture, but whatever, I gave him a high five as I passed and he said, "She gave me a five!". Now I'm cool.

    Of course, he could have easily taken me down, but I don't think he expected the high five.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    good thinking Tulip!
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293

    Watch out for rocks!

    I have a coworker who used to ride his bike through the West Side on his way to work, and the kids would sometimes throw rocks at him. Be careful!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    587
    Boy:

    Even our future society is screwed up eh. I'd grab the little ba$st@rd by the arm and drag him home to his loving mother. I have no time for cr@p like that and if my kids were doing it I would want to know about it. We have a little
    creep like that in my area...cept he likes to play "chicken" with on coming cars. His mother thinks he is cute. Someday he is going to lose this game and I am going to have to limp out of my house and play nurse on his sorry butt.
    I just hope nobody I know is the one to hit him. The person who does will never recover because he jumps out so quickly that they would have to have great reflexes not to hit him. We have called the police, etc., yet the game continues. Someday he will prove to his mother that he ain't that cute...sadly
    it will happen when he is pinned under the wheels of a car. Today when I was trying to walk he tried to kick my crutches out from under my arms. I gave him the "mommy death stare" that my kids get and he took off. I am sorry to say I hate that kid!!!!

    karen
    blood still boiling over the crutch thing!!!
    Quitting is NOT an option!
    Know the signs of stroke!! www.stroke.org

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    That sounds like a seriously sick kid. How old is he?

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

 

 

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