The headline for the column below seemed to distract more than reveal what the subject was about. But it’s really a well thought out explanation for why he’ll often roll through red lights and stop signs when he assesses that it’s appropriate to do so. Seems that he was inspired by the same kind of bickering by drivers as we’ve so often seen here. (Hopefully, the link works.)
Interesting points. I have to say that I agree with most of what he says, but until we get the proper infrastructure, it may be somewhat unsafe for cyclists and still piss off motorists if we don’t try to adhere to vehicular traffic laws.
The question I always ask of people that bring up cyclists who go through stop lights is “how did it effect you?” and they never have an answer other than “it’s dangerous” or “it’s against the law.” If going through a red light were always dangerous we wouldn’t be allowed to turn on red.
I drove today, saw a car cut off a bus. The car was faster and smaller. Did not effect them or me. Not sure that way of thinking quite works.
Rational thinking does. A cyclist running a stop sign, or rather consciously rolling through it while still observing all other lanes can be just as safe. Can that be explained to people who don’t think we belong on the road? Doubtful. Until then I will just stop and wish others would do the same understanding why they might not and knowing that in the end their rolls are not bad.
When people tell me cyclist run stops signs and lights I ask them if they have ever jay walked? That usually shuts them up. If it doesn’t I explain that on a bike you have much better visibility than in a car. The same visibility as someone on foot. No one bats an eye at someone jay walking as long as they don’t step right in front of their car or bike.
“But bikes are not cars…Nor are cyclists pedestrians, of course (at least not while we’re pedaling). We are a third thing, a distinct mode of transportation, requiring different practices and different rules.”
That POV (aka the truth), along with the fact that nearly all traffic lights exist solely to control <b>motor</b>-vehicle traffic, make it perfectly acceptable for a bike to proceed through a red light but unacceptable for a car to do the same.
If you want to know why you are the only car at the intersection, yet you’re stuck at a red light, contact your local civil engineer and ask him why his design sucks so much.
Yeah, this whole debate seems to assume that what’s safe for cars must be safe for bikes as well….when staying at lights only means that bikes are bound to stay grouped with cars at a similar pace of traffic. It’s nice to read an article such as this that points out that a very different mode of transportation perhaps should be thought about differently in terms of rules of the road.