Great response to the recent North Shore enforcement targeted at cyclists. Since all of these towns (including Highland Park) insist they are also enforcing the laws with motorists (e.g. 3 feet distance from cyclists), I'm curious of how many tickets or warnings have been issued to motorists during the crackdown.
I can't tell you how many times I have nearly been hit by a swerving motorist only to roll up at a stop sign or light and see them looking down at their smart phone.
Very nicely said, Ken......Thanks for writing the Trib letter.
Yes, crack down on drivers and leave cyclists alone! I agree.
Idaho stop, I stand strongly against and I say so because I believe that if you make it the law, the only thing that will change is the behavior of cyclists (and not for the better).
Lets look at this realistically. Why should a cyclist stop at a stop sign if there is no cross traffic? Please answer that question in a reasoned manner. I can't, hence the Idaho stop law.
Most cyclists are familiar with the laws of physics, probably more so than a lot of motorists, ensconced in a ton and a half of steel with full power controls, accessible at the touch of a button and accented with rich Corinthian leather finishes.
All the Idaho stop does is legalize a behavior that most cyclists do anyway.
There are laws of physics that apply but that is not the issue. The issue is human behavior.
If you drive on the freeway and the speed limit is 55 and the LAW says you must be at 55 or slower, how many cyclists will be in excess of that legal limit? The answer is most of them. What?!!! Oh by the way, the cyclists are driving cars at the time.
Given a law that says "in essence" you only have to stop if you personally decide it is worthwhile. How many will simply take that as carte blanche to do what ever they want? Since the human behavior is proven and all cyclists are humans I reason that cyclist behavior will change with the law (and not for the better).
My reference to physics was twofold. It takes a lot of effort to stop, start and regain speed. If you're doing this at every intersection, particularly when there is no cross traffic, cycling becomes much less attractive, discouraging people from doing so.
A cyclist is also probably better attuned to his or her surroundings and more aware of their limits than the same person behind the wheel of a car. The very real prospect of road rash or worse is a powerful incentive to behave safely.
There will always be some people at the margins who will do whatever they want anyway, and the prevailing laws will not affect their behavior.
Sure, giving the cyclist the responsibility of making the right decision is an important underlying assumption here, but I think most of us will do so. I think the real question is, why do we have one set of laws for vehicles and another for cyclists when faced with the same situation?
It's a matter of context. The rules should be applied in the proper context. This is a more subtle distinction, which I think leads to a lot of the controversy surrounding the issue.
I have to say - my riding group has been on the lookout for this increased enforcement for the last 2 weekends, as we ride through all of these areas, and have seen nothing, good, bad, or otherwise.
Has anyone else?
I was recently ran off the road in Glenview by a woman in a large SUV. She was on a smart phone and totally disregarded me despite having a full compliment of lights and reflective clothing. This just goes to show that the suburbs are even more dangerous than the city when it comes to riding. The enforcement of the law regarding cyclists is a silly waste of police resources. The only reason this is happening is because a lot of people from the city go to the suburbs for pleasure rides and tend to ignore the stop signs because there is literally almost never any one at the intersections. When there are people, most riders will stop or roll stop. I have been waived through most intersections by cars because they realize my momentum is important and they are already stopped. Those people male me smile. The people in cars on phones make me sone angry.
Yup, welcome to my neck of the woods. I just had a similar experience last week on Glenview Rd., less than a quarter mile from the North Branch Trail entrance.
A guy in a BMW wasn't happy that he was stuck in traffic and that I was able to filter past the line of waiting cars, so he decide to creep toward the curb as I passed him. I had to stop and exchange words with him in order to get by.
It's simply a matter of how the suburbs prefer to address the issue: they can either start enforcing 3 foot, cell phone, and stop sign laws (and risk pissing off the driving/riding public) or build infrastructure needed so that folks can ride without getting killed (as much).
I've heard similar stories from other people about BMW's. Scary beasts. But I guess I'd feel the same way if I had the power of 350 horses under the hood of my ultimate driving machine.