Are You “One Percenter?”

Ken Chichester does many things for Cycle Oregon. In addition to his leadership role in route planning, he’s also in charge of obtaining road-use permits from city, state and federal agencies. During the event, he’s all about keeping riders safe. Here’s what he has to say about the small contingent of folks that make the ride a little less enjoyable for the rest of us.

In the 1960s, to combat a perception that all motorcycle riders were dirtbags and criminals, the American Motorcycle Association issued a statement saying 99 percent of all motorcycle riders are decent and lawabiding citizens, and the true bad apples only made up 1 percent of the riding public. Unfortunately, various “outlaw” motorcycle gangs enjoyed the notoriety of being such a rare species, and quickly began referring to themselves as one-percenters.  To them it was a badge of honor to be recognized as a problem.

Similarly, the majority of Cycle Oregon riders are wonderful, conscientious and courteous folks and are a pleasure to ride with. However, there is always that small number of riders who through arrogance, indifference or simple ignorance act like idiots whenever they get on a bike. These riders threaten the safety and enjoyment of the ride for everyone around them. They also are responsible for a growing number of motorists who have legitimate reasons to dislike cyclists.

The Cycle Oregon one-percenters are not hard to spot. They’re the ones who don’t bother to slip into a single-file line when cars approach from behind. They’re in pacelines that are way too big to exist safely in a group ride. They’re the ones who don’t wait even a second to overtake other riders, and pull into the traffic lane in front of cars and trucks. They’re also the ones who won’t move to the right when they know they’re being passed. They’re the ones who ignore traffic laws. Unfortunately, they can occasionally be spotted in herds, which can result in even less courteous behavior. Strangely, some of the worst offenders are the most experienced riders in the bunch.

Volunteers who spend time on the course in vehicles are usually shocked to see how blatantly lame these riders can be.  Even hard-core cyclists can be converted into belligerent motorists if they follow a group riding four abreast long enough (ask me how I know).

The good news: That kind of behavior does not need to be tolerated. And when we see it, we can take action. We encourage the motorcycle officers who follow the course each day, and local police officers, to ticket those who flagrantly disregard traffic laws. Cycle Oregon staff can and will pull people from the ride who repeatedly violate safety rules.

Cycle Oregon is a great time. And a little consideration on everyone’s part makes it even better.  We can all be positive ambassadors for cycling by riding lawfully, courteously and  safely.

Steve Shulz on the Hunt for One Percenters

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  1. And don’t forget the riders at the end of a paceline who cut off those they’re passing. On a previous CO, my front wheel was almost clipped several times by these hot dogs. This problem starts with the leader of the paceline moving back to the right too soon and all the others trying to stay on the wheel in front of them. Each successive rider cuts in at a little bit sharper angle. The leader has a responsibility to wait until his entire paceline has cleared the riders being passed before moving to the right.

    1. I sometimes wonder if those 1% hotdoggers have hearts. Last year — my first CO! — I was literally elbowed over while going over a railroad track. Everyone had had to stop because a train was passing through. I was in the front 10-20 people. After the train passed and we all clipped and began pedalling, this guy all decked out in matching shorts/jersey like he races comes from somewhere in the backup of people racing down the hill and as he elevated on his bike to “jump” the railroad track he purposely leaned into me, knocking me over on the tracks. I fell into another rider. We both got scraped up and she had to go directly to camp with a shoulder injury. This incident tore up my tire and I had to wait for a SAG wagon to come and take me to the next Bike Gallery stop to get a new $65 tire. Glad the rim didn’t bend too. There is no need; this is a ride not a race and it was a dangerous thing he did that was heartless and selfish. I suppose the 1% types aren’t even reading this, but one can always hope for positive change.

  2. Last day of ride when other riders have already crossed the finish line and are now in their cars heading back to their homes AND DRIVE LIKE THEY ARE THE 1% OF IDIOTS THAT ALL BIKERS HATE. Steady stream of bikers heading in and here is a car with a pair of bikes on the rooof rack passing in the left lane a caravan of six cars. Were you just on CO or what?

  3. Are these also the ones yelling “car up” or “car back” – as they pass you while riding down the middle of the road? Thought so….

  4. This ride in the last five years has compiled a small group of riders that negates the efforts of the rest of us trying to project an image of responsibility . What a shame . We have an up hill battle with motorists with are credibility as it is without HOTSHOTS shooting us down> Shame on them…