The Chainlink

Just posted to our blog:

A new post on Slate asks whether bicyclists should obey stop signs & other traffic controls. What's your take?

http://www.activetrans.org/blog/awelty/are-you-vehicular-cyclist-or...

Ethan, with Active Trans

Views: 602

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I think it's a little silly to be divided into opposing camps like that, but it might help non-bicyclists understand some of our internal debates.

But I'm 100% for Idaho stops. I think keeping momentum keeps me safer in traffic, and spares my aching joints.
I would say I am mostly a vehicularist with a few facilitator qualities.

Bicyclists in Chicago are stuck sharing the road with cars for a long time to come. Dedicated bike paths crisscrossing the entire city would be great, but it's not happening anytime soon, until then I will keep "acting accordingly" when coming to a stop sign or red light. If running the light or rolling through the sign does not cause me to slow traffic - bicycles or cars - then no big deal.

I try to avoid going the wrong way on one-way roads and NEVER ride in the wrong direction in a bike lane - why do people do that?! I will stop at a light when crossing busy roads, such as Ashland, Chicago, Lasalle, etc. and wait until the light turns green, mainly because I like to space out at red lights or take a break from processing so much info, car doors, firetruck barreling down the road, car doors, car doors, etc...
I gotta say I'm both, too. I'm a former Effective Cycling Instructor with the old League of American Wheelmen. I believe that cyclists have their place in traffic and that, with proper education and training, motorists and cyclists can coexist. Stop sign=yield and red light=stop sign also has my vote.

On the other side of the coin, a well designed bike trail can be a blessing if the traffic in an area is just nucking futs. The Northwest suburban area where I live falls in that category. I feel lucky that the Fox River Trail can get me to work and back home each day with a minimum of headaches.
I am a little bit of both. Mostly obeying lights because of the necessity of getting across a busy street safely, but rolling through stop signs if I have a clear shot.
And I mostly let cars get on ahead of me because I want that vehicle in front of me where I can see it, not behind me and cause doubt as to the drivers intentions.
I am a little of both also. I think that sometimes when I stop at a red, I slow traffic up because the cars then have to wait for me to get going and get across the street and to the right before they can proceed normally. I think sometimes that frustrates motorists more than cyclists treating red lights as stop signs.
I notice a trend here. I do a bit of both too. Mostly out of pragmatism. I feel that the streets belong to me as much as anyone else. I have no problem with bike lanes or off street paths either.
I think the black and white argument can do more harm then good. I personally go by what seems within reason. Common sense kind of. Obviously if no one is there I'm not stopping, but if there are cars I tend to think over the situation more carefully.
Vando said:
[...] I think that sometimes when I stop at a red, I slow traffic up because the cars then have to wait for me to get going and get across the street and to the right before they can proceed normally. I think sometimes that frustrates motorists more than cyclists treating red lights as stop signs.

This sounds like an attempt to justify your behavior. Just imagine you are the first car in line instead of a bicyclist. Would you consider driving thru a red light so that the cars behind you aren't slowed down by you? Didn't think so...
Besides, a true vehicular cyclist doesn't filter to the front. He takes his place in line of waiting cars ;)
frank
Any suggestions on how best to move discussion of amending the Illinois motor vehicle code to allow for the "Idaho Stop" from blogs and message boards to the legislature? Who are the most bike friendly Illinois legislators who could be approached about sponsoring a bill?
Until there are fair and safe traffic routes for bikes, I feel like it's justified for bikes to stop and (when the coast is clear) proceed forward through red lights / stop signs. Purely, for the sake of keeping cyclists moving, getting them ahead of car traffic and off the streets a.s.a.p.

I also believe that bicyclists are, by no means, exempt from traffic etiquette -- they need to be collectively safe in their behaviors, they don't always have the right away, they have responsibilities.
I'm also in favor of the "Idaho Stop." Assuming I'm interpreting it correctly, it's treating a stop sign and/or light as a "yield."

So for example, you're rolling up to a stop sign and the coast is clear, you go. If you're rolling up to the same stop sign (heading southbound) and for example a westbound car gets there before you do, you stop and let the car through before you go.

This causes some awkward moments for me though because car drivers are conditioned to assume bikes are going to run the stop sign. So when I stop and give a car the right of way, the car often just sits there, and I just sit there, and finally the driver waves me on and I go through the light before them anyway.

If drivers were conditioned for the Idaho stop, the car would go ahead and roll through the intersection, allowing the bicyclist to time it out so he/she doesn't have to make a complete stop. I hope this makes sense.

RSS

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service