Monday Blues: Guilty by Association

"I stopped riding my bike because of all the bikers I would see running stop signs, and lights." I never know whether to take statements like this one seriously or not - the super powers enabling me to differentiate between the remarks of trolls and those of honest folk just never developed. Either way, though, these little pearls of wisdom are confusing and confounding to say the least.

Statements like the one above pop up on one site or another every so often, like last week for instance, and they leave me mildly perplexed. After all if you take the logic of them a step further would you not have to assume that this person has also given up on driving due to the great numbers of speeding drivers, red light running drivers, not to mention the thousands who kill annually due to their negligence? Then, what about the whole pedestrian jaywalking thing - the merits of its legality aside, in most places it is illegal. I assume the person in question has forsaken walking so as not to be associated with that group of bipedal law breakers.

The whole guilt by association thing can be taken to unreasonable extremes. Just because some bicyclists have been observed running stop signs does not mean all ride in that manner, and just because some drivers drive in a negligent way does not mean that they all do.

It is way past time to move beyond blaming an entire group of society based on the actions of a part of that group. I know it may be difficult for some. I know there are people who, even in this day and age, will blame entire ethnicities, races, religions, nationalities for the actions of a relative few. We call such people bigots, racists, etc. I don't see any difference with regard to the view I sometimes read about cyclists.

It is an unfortunate thing when people must give up riding. Some people may do so due to age and related health reasons. Others may do so based on a perception of safety, or lack thereof. To give up due of the actions of someone else, makes no sense to me. If it really bothers you that other cyclists may run through stops, then do the opposite, set an example by your own actions. It will help counter any evil being perpetrated by others, as well as help ease the pangs of a guilty conscience.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.