Thursday, December 1, 2011

The most annoying comment

I know I shouldn't read the comments. It's the cardinal rule of using the Internet, really: Don't Read The Comments. It's guaranteed to do nothing but annoy or frustrate you, or convince you that really, after all, the species probably isn't worth saving.

But I do read the comments. You probably do too. It's a sick fascination. It's like stopping to watch accidents or couples fighting in public. And then I find bits of those comments - at least, the ones on articles about cycling - circling my brain as I ride along on my bike, in lieu of snatches of music. One of them has been particularly persistent recently, and I feel I have to get this out of my system. You've probably seen something like it posted on some cycling article somewhere:

"Bikes and cars don't belong on the streets together. Physics will win every time."

Okay, I have to ask. What does that even mean? It's trotted out in the comments with odd regularity, with a sense that the author is nodding sagely as he or she types, and it makes about as much sense as "God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."  And its sheer meaninglessness has caused it to get stuck in my head worse than the jingliest of tunes.

It feels to me like it's dressing up a hidden sense of superiority - cars are bigger and more powerful and I drive a car therefore I'm bigger and more powerful - in the guise of concern for the cyclists. Because, apparently, Physics Will Always Win.

Well, then, folks, Physics is out to get us, and the human race is screwed. I mean, if Physics Will Always Win, then we have no right to put ourselves inside vehicles that travel in excess of 80 km/h (I'm talking within the city here) because Physics will be a bitch and a half when it catches up with us. Not to mention cars shouldn't be anywhere near large stationary objects like buildings and concrete bollards, because Physics will eat them. Not to mention - since Gravity is probably in league with Physics - we shouldn't have tall buildings with balconies, because if we were to fall off, Gravity - and Physics - would just outright kill us. And then there are airplanes. . . which are sort of like a clever human trap dreamed up over drinks one night by Physics, Gravity and Meteorology.

In fact, Physics is shaping up to be Public Enemy #1. Never mind the cyclists, we're all in the line of fire. Physics is out to exterminate the entire human race. Maybe even all life on Earth. I say we fight back. Down with Physics!

(Seriously? Physics isn't the problem when cyclists and cars share the road. People are.)


  1. Down with Physics, our Evil Overlord! Why do we obey the laws of such a fiend? Never again!

  2. as a physics teacher who tries to get his students to imagine themselves into the "realm of physics" to understand it better... they are understanding that Physics can really do you in. By the way, I believe that the comments at my blog are not as annoying as the ones you mentioned, thank God!

  3. I find the "its just physics, bikes loose every time" arguments annoying as well. I always imagine that these people believe that they're not get into cars but giant pinballs. They are launched on their way and no longer have any control or agency. It's just physics, man, can't help you got in the way...
    Cars are not at the mercy of Physics unless the driver is really bad.

  4. The proper illustration has lines of cars all immobile with lithe cyclists darting in and out and past. Physics loses. Congestion wins.