20 Comments

  1. This one works fine in conjunction with the previous day’s strip. The girl’s hypothesis is that car drivers are unwilling to pass a bicycle properly (by moving across the median into the opposite, oncoming lane) because then the “magic fuel condition” from the previous strip will cause the engine to fail. Frazz doesn’t want to refute her theory with the facts, because his own opinions of such drivers can only be properly expressed with words that are NSFW.

  2. There are really a lot of steps needed to appreciate this strip; it asks a lot of the reader. I am reminded of the discussions on Arnold Zwicky’s Blog, https://arnoldzwicky.org/, which Professor Zwicky sometimes talks about all of the background knowledge that is needed to appreciate a strip.

    1. The reader must remember that in the previous day’s strip, Nameless Child asked about the difference between gas and petrol and was told that gasoline works on the right side of the road, petrol works on the left side of the road.

    2. The reader must know that gasoline is the preferred term in the United States, where drivers use the right side of the road, and petrol is the preferred term in the United Kingdom, where drivers use the left side of the road.

    3. The reader must realize that Frazz has given a joke explanation that Nameless Child does not fully understand (although she does get that it’s a joke explanation).

    4. The reader must recognize the child’s theory about bicycles as an example of child logic, flowing from an overly literal interpretation of yesterday’s joke. (Since Nameless Child knows that Frazz was joking, even though she doesn’t understand the joke, she does not mean her theory to be taken seriously.) Obviously it would not actually be functional if cars would work on only one side of the road.

    5. The reader must have the background knowledge that Frazz is an avid cyclist.

    6. The reader must know that cyclists get upset and may swear when cars fail to pull over, and that the swearing may involve terms that could be taken as an explanation of why the cars didn’t pull over. These would be along the lines of “you’re a jerk,” but in stronger terms that I don’t need to go into.

  3. I think Kilby has it.

    Fuel (Gas or Petrol) only works if the car is in a specific position in the road. So cars are reluctant to ever deviate from set course and are reluctant to pull over for cyclists.

    It’s … contrived.

  4. From a driver’s point of view, bicyclists are a-holes. From a bicyclist’s point of view, drivers are a-holes. Enough of both categories are a-holes to povide sufficient proof that all of them are.

    The major complaints about bikes in the roadway are A) they’re slower than cars, B) they’re less visible than cars, and C) they sometimes don’t react to traffic control signs the way a car would. This puts extra stress on drivers to avoid hitting the bikes in the roadway. And then, rather than express thanks for doing the work to avoid hitting them, those darn bikers complain that you didn’t get out of their way! When they’re the ones invading roadways that were meant for cars to drive on! So, yeah, a lot of offensive words get muttered, shouted, screamed, or just thought.

    Personal synchronicity… yesterday, I passed by a place where the major bike thoroughfare crosses a major arterial street, and the street was closed down by a half-dozen cop cars, a fire engine, and an ambulance because of the person who was lying in the street next to an almost bicycle-shaped metal sculpture in the roadway. I didn’t see what happened, but I think I have a pretty good guess.

  5. Bicyclists and motorists cooperate much better in Germany than in the U.S. The rules of the road give cyclists specific privileges (and responsibilities), and this is stressed in driver training.
    Currently there has been an emphasis on reducing fatalities when trucks turn right from a stop light, blindsiding the unseen bicycle next to the truck. One proposal would require additional mirrors, or even a sensor to detect riders in the blind spot, but a simpler approach has been to educate riders not to squeeze up the narrow strip of asphalt between the truck and the curb.

  6. Actually, my major complaint about bikes in the roadway is the number of cyclists who insist on ostentiously riding “no hands” in traffic (generally leaning way back on the seat and folding arms in front of their chest, to demonstrate how skilled/stupid they are). I have fantasies about carrying a box of live Tasmanian Devils on the seat beside me and throwing one of same at each such cyclist’s head. So far practical considerations have prevented me from doing so, however.

    That’s as a driver. As a pedestrian, my least favorite bicyclists are the teens/adults who ride on the sidewalk (even though my avenue has large and well-painted bicycle lanes on it), come up behind me, and either say nothing or think that a brief “On your left” is going to be meaningful to me in a split-second, even if my hearing were good enough to be sure I heard it (which it isn’t).

  7. I got hung up for a minute on the term “pull over.” You pull over when a police car appears behind you with lights and sirens. You pull over when there’s an emergency vehicle coming behind you. In both cases, you pull over to side of the road on the right (in locations where you drive on the right).
    You don’t pull over for bicycles. Maybe you make room by moving to the left a little, but I wouldn’t call that pulling over. It’s the opposite of pulling over.

  8. @Shrug – top Brit cyclist and multiple Tour de France winner Chris Froome had a massive prang the other day, hitting a wall and breaking bones etc – apparently he had his hands off the handlebars to blow his nose. (Ironically, there’s video of him being told not to take risks just a few moments earlier, when he had his hands of the bars to deal with a jacket.)

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jun/12/chris-froome-doubt-tour-de-france-crash-criterium-hospital-injured

  9. @ narmitaj – On a more serious note, a report in the German news said that he spent six hours in the operating room.

  10. The law in my area says to give cyclists 3 feet, but that doesn’t seem like nearly enough rope…

    Seriously, though, most of the cyclist-driver consternation seems to result from the handful of members of both groups who are… let’s say, less-than-pleasant folks. Most drivers give cyclists room and don’t honk or swear at them and most cyclists ride to the right of the lane and obey traffic laws (which are for EVERYONE’S safety). I don’t know if those that don’t are on equal footing morally, but I do know that the cyclist wing of such folks are often engaging in risky business.

  11. So all that analysis on the Death Star / Magritte image, and he still misses the punch-line, the quote “That’s no moon!” into french and suddenly you have a pretend Magritte.

    Weren’t we just having a discussion that everybody knows Star Wars? Apparently here is at least one person who can’t recognize a Death Star when he sees one, and he saw Star Wars…

  12. I think it might be a bit much to expect everyone to know ALL ABOUT Star Wars. I’ve seen Episode IV at least four times, and I had forgotten the line “That’s no moon.” (However, I had no trouble recognizing the Death Star.)

  13. Totally agree with you John; just pointing out that for the claim “two-comics-explained”, he doesn’t actually fully explain the Death Star one….

  14. @ larK – No, but some else mentioned the relevant quote in the first comment at the bottom. If third-party analysis is par for the course in that blog, I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble to follow it.

  15. P.S. Of course, posting a comment like that on a website that is the epitome of third party analysis is just begging for abuse. Please refrain, I know I was being silly.

  16. Having been a bicycle rider in junior high both for transport on my own and as a member of the community rec department hosteling group I have a great deal of feeling for bicyclists – especially when they are riding properly.

    We have a two lane fairly main road that is under construction – closed during the work day – that we go on daily. Today on our way home from errands it was open again and Robert was driving. The left side of the road (in the direction we were headed) was left ripped open along the curb (we presume they are replacing the gas lines) . Out of a side road about 6 or 7 boys on bicycles pulled out. Robert braked expecting them to be all over the road, but they formed a single line on the right (as they should) and were doing their best to keep all the way to the right. Nice to see. Still a problem until there were no oncoming cars and Robert could pull left a bit and pass them.

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