Share the road cycling jerseys

9:44 a.m. on March 23, 2010 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Share the road cycling jerseys"

One of Share the Damn Road's statement cycling jerseys. We don't typically cover road cycling here at Trailspace, but I think these jerseys deserve an exception, especially as I see more roadies out in the spring weather. Share the Damn Road makes cycling jerseys with a message. The slogan jerseys have messages like "Slow Down" and "Don't Honk at Me" on the back and a mirror-image "Thanks" on the...

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2010/03/23/cycling-jerseys.html

2:30 p.m. on March 23, 2010 (EDT)
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classic

3:01 p.m. on March 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Good; but I doubt the worst offenders in their cages would even read a sign (unless it was one flashing on their GPS telling them that they are about to pass some golden arches).

4:28 p.m. on March 23, 2010 (EDT)
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I wish they also made a reverse version for runners (Don't Run Me Over on the font and a mirror-image Thanks on the back).

Most drivers are fairly courteous, but it only takes one distracted or (potentially worse) angry one to cause a big problem. I don't like when people have oblivious disregard for runners, cyclists, and walkers who are following the rules. But, I really don't get the small, but scary, second group that intentionally tries to threaten them.

7:17 p.m. on March 23, 2010 (EDT)
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I like the idea a lot!

6:37 p.m. on March 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Being a road-bike rider myself, I most certainly understand the impetus behind the organization and the jerseys. And I agree with Gaimon's statements about being polite, etc. But the name of the organization (which, unfortunately, is emblazoned on the jersey) seems to violate the spirit of what he said. "Share the damn road" isn't a polite request, and when an otherwise polite driver reads it, I think the wrong message is sent. Worse, if the rider happens to act overly entitled, rude, or is flouting traffic laws and customs, then "Share the damn road" becomes rude at best and possibly markedly counter-productive.

I'd consider getting one if it didn't have the mild expletive. No need to annoy anyone when making the request--in fact, I honestly think that "Please share the road" would be more effective in the long run.

7:04 p.m. on March 26, 2010 (EDT)
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You raise a good point, Perry. I admit I would be very unlikely to wear clothes with even a minor expletive on them. I'm also pretty non-confrontational. I like the idea of a statement shirt though.

I was running on the shoulder of a busy road the other morning and thought right about then I'd like a shirt that said, "please don't run me over" with "thanks" on the back.

Here's what the founder says on his Mission page. It addresses the very issue you brought up in the third paragraph:

The Mission
My name is Phil Gaimon. I'm a professional cyclist for the Kenda-Gear Grinders Pro Cycling Team, a coach, a freelance writer, and the founder of Share The Damn Road. During training rides, I've been honked at, buzzed, cussed out, and pegged with beer cans. When I'm victimized, if I can catch up with the offending motorist at a red light, I always try to talk to them. I'll knock on the window and ask "Do you know that you almost killed me back there?"

I don't yell or throw insults, but I try to calmly discuss the situation. I tell them that it's legal to ride on the road, even two abreast. I mention that actually I was in a bike lane, and that I can't ride on the sidewalk, because people walk there. Half the time, I don't get anywhere in these confrontations, because someone just wants to yell and cuss. But often, I'll get someone who's a little open-minded, apologetic for putting me in danger, understanding that I'm just trying to do my job or get a workout. I tell them to have a nice day, and they promise to be nicer in the future. I think the victory was just from talking to them, putting a face to cyclists, and humanizing what might have just looked like an easy victim before.

Some of these conversations were so positive, I wanted to find a more efficient way to spread the message, and jerseys were the obvious answer. I'm often accused of making the car/bicycle interaction worse, as people think the word "damn" or the messages themselves might generate more anger. I think this is absurd. No motorist is going to read a jersey in a split second as he passes, get mad because you have an arrow and "3 Feet" on your shirt, and decide to honk or swerve at you. There just isn't enough time to digest it and react. For the same reason, I realize that with text on the back of a jersey, it's not likely that a driver will realize the error of his ways and give the appropriate space, or suddenly decide to be polite.

The goal of the jerseys is just to get the message out there. We're treated unfairly, like second class citizens, but how can you be informative or send a message at all when someone just berates you and drives off at three times your speed? With Share The Damn Road Jerseys, they'll see the message at stoplights, coffee shops, and in traffic, and it will make them realize that we're people just like them, and hopefully they'll think about it next time they pass a cyclist.

When you wear a Share The Damn Road Jersey, I'd like you to keep these ideas in mind. Obey the laws, don't be a jerk, don't make it two wrongs, and don't give them a reason to hate us. If someone lets you in, give them a smile and a "Thank you". If you get honked at, try to catch up and tell them why you have a right to be there. I think a slightly confrontational method will be much more effective than continuing let cyclists get bullied, and I'll sleep a lot better just for trying.

12:09 a.m. on March 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm often accused of making the car/bicycle interaction worse, as people think the word "damn" or the messages themselves might generate more anger. I think this is absurd. No motorist is going to read a jersey in a split second as he passes, get mad because you have an arrow and "3 Feet" on your shirt, and decide to honk or swerve at you. There just isn't enough time to digest it and react.

Without wishing to appear disrespectful to Gaimon, I'd like to differ. Herein he claims that a concern such as mine is absurd, and supports his statement by maintaining that a passing motorist will not have sufficient time to read, digest, and react to the statement on the back of the cyclist's jersey. But this is much too short-sighted, and disappointingly so when he appears to be trying to take the longer view elsewhere.

The "situation" isn't merely the momentary intersection of interests of one cyclist and one motorist who may happen to be rude or careless. It is instead one of societal awareness and mass education of drivers and the general citizenry. Gaimon knows this, as evidenced by the fact that he's selling the jerseys, and as he claims in the very next paragraph, when he states, "The goal of the jerseys is just to get the message out there. We're treated unfairly, like second class citizens...." I'd remind Gaimon that there's many a soccer mom, and not a few soccer dads, grandmothers, sales clerks, church elders, engineers, and assorted others who will notice just a bit less Gaimon's primary message because of the unnecessary offense offered by the utterance of "damn road" when "road" alone would have done the job better.

I don't know Gaimon's mother, but I do know mine. She's a fine woman, fair and honest, and though she fears for my life every time she thinks of me riding on the roads (or hiking alone in the back country), she would echo the sentiment he wishes to promulgate--as long as the expletive is deleted. With it, she'd point out that if she sees a rider wearing it, the next time she sees a rider on the road, she may not be quite as sympathetic to his concerns and circumstances as she otherwise would have been (had the ill-advised "damn" not been used), and we wouldn't want that, would we?

I completely agree with his aim, and I share much of, if not most or even all of, his sentiment. I've been quite nearly struck and killed, and I've been riding with others who were struck by cars right in front of or behind me. (None fatally so, for which I'm thankful.) I've even done my own (now regretted) yelling and shaking of fists, etc. So I don't claim to be sin-free. Only adding what I hope is a reasonable bit to the discussion.

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