Sunday, October 11

Little Lame Prince

Jessie W Smith Little Lame Prince Illustration 1920s
Once upon a time, when Steve hurt himself, he'd moan to his family, saying "I'm like the Little Lame Prince." Everyone rolled their eyes.

Then, he actually read the book (audio book file) (text)(read on screen). Now, I NEVER say that. Instead, I think of the Little Lame Prince when people decry cyclists getting hurt by big bad cars, or blaming the cyclist victims if they get hit while on the shoulder. I just say to myself, "I'm like the Little Lame Prince."

Some things are beyond our control, or the influence of any possible legislation, or anything other than chance. It's always been that way. We can either be crippled by the injustice, or live our lives, and enjoy our journey. It's a tough; sometimes unjust world out there. But it's also beautiful, and you can really EXPERIENCE it on a bike. Be a Little Lame Prince; ride as well as you can, using your bike as a magic travelling cloak, or go hide in your bed and don't complain to me. This blog really ISN'T about bicycle victimhood, or who's fault stuff is, or all that baggage. It's inspired by the example of the Little Lame Prince.

End of rant (no wick intended), y'all live happily ever after now, OK?


Filigree said...

Okay, I need to read the Little Lame Prince. I do like the illustration.

On a somewhat related note, I had my first incident of being almost hit by a car last week. I am still processing it, but what bothers me the most is that I cannot think of a thing I could have done to have avoided it; it was a case of the driver either having spaced out or being intentionally malicious. I choose to believe the former...

Steve A said...

Your experience IS related - and to the justice post at CommuteOrlando. I suspect if the motorist were malicious, you'd be in no doubt. The number of cases I see reinforce my resolve to "ride really obvious" despite some motorsts getting a bit irritated.

However, in your case, be the Little Lame Princess! The principle is just the same.

Eliot said...

I've never heard of this story... sounds weird!

Keri said...

Looks like we both had the same thing on our mind yesterday.

Bicycle victimhood is highly marketable, unfortunately. I've been gently trying to persuade a certain high-profile "advocate" to stop using fear-mongering in the cause of "making cycling safer." Sadly, fearmongering has sold a lot of product for him and propelled him to the forefront.

If anything gives me hope for a shift in consciousness, it's the popularity of Filigree's wonderful, gentle blog and others like it.

ChipSeal said...

Well, I have been called lame, and I have been called a dog (That is close to "prince", right?) so perhaps I am a little lame prince?

I am enjoying the tale through chapter five so far! Thanks for pointing me to it, Steve!

Filigree said...

In my case, I had to merge left before making a left turn. A car slowed down to let me in. It slowed down considerably, making it seemingly clear to me that it was letting me go. So I merged, and at the same moment it unexpectedly sped up nearly plowing into me (I had to do a drastic swerve maneuver to avoid being hit). What I think must have happened, is that the driver was not letting me merge in the first place, but simply spacing out. Then suddenly they realise that they were driving too slowly, and speed up, without noticing my just having merged into their lane. But how the heck to avoid this kind of situation? I have not figured that one out yet.

Steve A said...

Lane changes are a conflict for all traffic, motorized or not. Here's what I do for a lane change to the left. It seems to work:

Hang that left arm out early as far as I can reach, doing head checks at the motorist in the next lane over. See some sort of clear change from the motor vehicle. So far, I think we probably did similar. At this point, I'm probably riding in the center of the LH tire track, gradually edging there from a foot or two further right. I WANT the motorist to see some leftward movement to reinforce the notion something is about to happen.

When I think the motorist has invited me to move over by slowing to NO MORE than my speed or hopefully even a touch SLOWER, I wave thanks. Almost always, I'll see a head nod or something, and then I deliberately execute the lane change, with my arm hung out until I'm over. If I don't see the invite, I wave the motorist by and they'll usually obey.

It seems to work, but I can't say for sure that I've never encountered a spaced out motorist that slowed. Hopefully, all the arm & head stuff helps alert them something's about to go on. I won't go if the motorist is still gaining on me even if he/she has slowed down.

Keri Caffrey is the Queen of this sort of communication. I refer to them, collectively as "Keri Waves." I hope we might prevail upon her one day to document these in a systematic fashion. You can see them in some of her videos. Watch the hands & head.

Do our techniques vary in any particulars that you can notice?

Keri said...


Yikes! That's quite frightening! It was a space-out or a very mean act.

I'd be tempted to chalk that one up to a freak occurrence. It's not something you can really devise a defense for. Other than making sure your communication is always deliberate (as Steve has described).

I misjudged intent once and nearly got myself run over. But unlike your case, it was totally my fault.

Ah, Steve, the waves are such a whimsical thing... the (2-finger!)peace sign salute, the 5 finger wiggle wave, the high-reaching "you-made-my-high-speed-merge-look-so-FAB!" wave... they're all just spontaneous manifestations of my happiness in the dance :-)

Filigree said...

Steve and Kerri, thanks for the advice. I usually try to do an eye contact/ face check thing when a car seems to be letting me go, but this time I did not - so perhaps my experience underscores the need for that extra step. I like the whimsical waves!

Steve A said...

Head check and signal and wave. Move over deliberately without swerving. Make it OBVIOUS that you're moving over. Wake 'em up! In traffic, you're a stage actress making BIG gestures so the audience can see and understand them. If the motorist actually applauds, however, you've overdone it. ;-)

Chandra said...

Awesome picture, Steve! The topic is interesting!!

@Filigree -- glad you are okay!

Peace :)

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