The Chainlink

Motorist, pedestrians, and some cyclists enjoy comlaining about bikers who don't respect the rules of the road. They complain cyclists don't stop at stopsigns or run red ligths.
Personally, I think I should be able to do whatever I want on my bike. If I don't want to stop at intersection thats my perogative and my responsibility to get through it safley. If I don't surely I will be smooshed.
A bike can do things a car can't. For instance go the wrong way down lake. It is an exciting and dangerous ride, but a car would never make it. So I think aslong as the cyclist doesn't screw up they can do what ever they want. If they do screw up its their responsibility.
Some states do have laws that make a red light and stopsign a yeild for cyclists. I think its a good idea.
Your Thoughts?

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I agree as long as us cyclists take responcibility when we are the cause of an accident.
I definitely thing that all states should make red-lights and stop-signs a yield for cyclists. Though the joy of riding is a personal reward, I think we should get some perk for being kind to the environment, and riding our bikes instead of driving, I think that is a good perk (on top of not having to find parking - however, bike racks are still not as conveniently located as the could be...)
The problem with your 'perogative', is that you have no empathy for the driver that hits you, if you are "surely smooshed". As a driver, it is absolutely my responsibility to obey traffic laws not because it's my whim, but because I truly and deeply believe that I have a duty of care to all road users.

Please don't put me in a situation of being sad for the rest of my life.
Stop signs and lights are to slow down motorized traffic, and do not take bikes into consideration. If Chicago is serious about getting people on bikes, this is one of the many issues where the law needs adjustment. As for Anne's reply: If you cannot avoid a bicyclist who runs through a red light, chances are you are driving well over the speed limit (like most motorists here in town). Furthermore, you may be technically right (should this result in a crash) but in my opinion you're morally wrong. If you don't want to be sad, curse the cyclist, honk, show him/her the finger, flash your lights, but hit the brakes nonetheless. Better yet, try not to be in a car in the first place.
well said!

ironically i had a conversation with a fellow cyclist today precisely about why we don't stop at stop signs. we were sitting outside and watching a rather busy intersection with a stop sign and a center round planting. i didn't see one car make a "full stop".

he pointed out that cyclists have a further line of sight into the intersection, we can hear approaching traffic, are more aware of traffic patterns and driving habits, faster brakes, more manueverability, and a heightened desire to not get into an accident (lives at risk people). damn i know some seriously logical people.

what amazes me is the competitive desire for some cars to race with me. omg, you pushed your foot down a bit??? you beat me across the intersection? and to the red light? wtf, do you want a medal, or maybe a cookie? when i pass or am passed by other cyclists i don't feel a need to race them, why do people in cars feel the desire to roar past me? another topic i'm sure...

Sebastian Baptiste said:
Stop signs and lights are to slow down motorized traffic, and do not take bikes into consideration. If Chicago is serious about getting people on bikes, this is one of the many issues where the law needs adjustment. As for Anne's reply: If you cannot avoid a bicyclist who runs through a red light, chances are you are driving well over the speed limit (like most motorists here in town). Furthermore, you may be technically right (should this result in a crash) but in my opinion you're morally wrong. If you don't want to be sad, curse the cyclist, honk, show him/her the finger, flash your lights, but hit the brakes nonetheless. Better yet, try not to be in a car in the first place.
Stop signs are for motor vehicles. Bicycles are not motor vehicles. My view is that Bicyclists are pedestrians with a more efficient means of propulsion. what do you think?
wikipedia has an interesting article on "traffic calming devices". ironically, stop signs are not considered "traffic calmers".
This must be a joke. An aside - I enjoy complaining about people who don't take the time to proofread their writing. *now taking bets on how many posts it will take for someone to accuse me of hating Jews and irrationally tying grammar to it*

"For instance go the wrong way down lake. It is an exciting and dangerous ride, but a car would never make it. So I think aslong as the cyclist doesn't screw up they can do what ever they want."

-That's an interesting point seeing as how going the wrong way down Lake St is a possible definition for screwing up in this context.


So, pretty much what I'm seeing here Patrick, is you saying "If I get into an accident, I'll be the one worse off, so fuck traffic laws."

Is that true for all cases? What if you hit another cyclist, or a pedestrian (yes, as much as many love to jaywalk and walk blindly across the crosswalk, who's going to be likely more injured - you, or the person who was just unexpectedly plowed into by you)?

As for the traffic laws that you want to disregard so much, what about the motto "WE ARE TRAFFIC"? We want to be respected by cars and yet you seem to not want to act like traffic, even though you are on a road. If it was a choice left up to the motorist to stop at lights and stop signs, well, I'm sure you can come to the conclusion I have in mind.

We complain about pissy motorists adding a couple minutes to their commute to slow down for us for our safety, but we should be allowed to do whatever we please? Can't have your cake and eat it too.
What I would like to know is what are we to do about salmon-joggers? You know, the ones who pretend the bike lane has a symbol of a jogger painted on it? The same folks who think jogging against cars and bicycles is a good idea?

They scare me something awful and haunt my dreams always. Damn you Salmon-Jogger! Oh and drunken foul mouthed pregnant ladies. They scare me too.
We know that:
1. All drivers want to see as few bikes as possible
2. Bikes are unique, maneuverable, quick-stopping vehicles that take up very little road space
3. Because of 1.) and 2.) bikes should be ridden to a) stay out of the way of cars as much as possible, and b) take advantage of their quickness off the line, maneuverability, and slim profile. Hence: riding a bike using rules for cars just doesn't make sense.

For example, stop signs: asking a cyclist to come to a full stop, with his foot on the ground is like asking a driver to stop and turn of his engine at every stop sign! And you're in drivers' way, holding up traffic behind getting started again. Better to do a rolling stop, and thereby keeping pace with car traffic.

Another example: Left turns: Asking a cyclist to use the left-turn lane and light places him out in the middle of the intersection awaiting an opportunity to turn across traffic when they allow him to do so; meanwhile drivers from all four directions must see him and avoid him....he's become four times more annoying to drivers! Much better to get off bike and become a pedestrian through the intersection....or do as I do: three-stage left turn –– cross to left side against traffic in preceding block, whip a quick left turn against traffic making liberal use of sidewalks and watching for on-coming cyclists, and then recross the new street as allowable. If done properly, drivers never see you, and you spend minimal time in the intersection. Do any others use this three-stage left turn technique?

Obviously if our Bicycle Dream is realized, and we have Mass-like bike traffic on all our streets one day, we WILL have to have more stringent laws for bicycles, including Bike-traffic Lights and Bike Cops. But for today's conditions, where cars rule the roads, we have to adapt to survive.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
...So, pretty much what I'm seeing here Patrick, is you saying "If I get into an accident, I'll be the one worse off, so fuck traffic laws."
....We want to be respected by cars and yet you seem to not want to act like traffic, even though you are on a road....We complain about pissy motorists adding a couple minutes to their commute to slow down for us for our safety, but we should be allowed to do whatever we please? Can't have your cake and eat it too.
Our existing traffic laws were written for motor vehicles. I think much of the code needs to be rewritten to reflect the reality of how self-propelled traffic operates. Permitting cyclists to yield rather than stop at stop signs and lights is one obvious example. That point noted, in my opinion there are two reasons bicyclists should care about the law: (1) As Anne noted above, it is important to have empathy for the driver who may kill or injure you because you did something stupid on your bike. That will be something that stays with the driver for the rest of his or her life. (2) Your conduct has an impact on other cyclists. The cumulative effect of a few bicyclists behaving very badly increases the number of road rage incidents. I do not want to get buzzed, doored or cursed at because you and your buddies just scared the hell out of a driver salmoning or causing a near miss in a busy intersection.

I'm no saint. I blow stop signs, but I slow, look and listen before I do it. I salmon, but only on secondary streets I know well, and never in a bike lane. The existing laws don't make complete sense for bicyclists and that's annoying. But, respectfully, that is no excuse for acting like a complete fool.
I read the OP before riding off to work. On my ride, I contemplated an response. CBA said it for me: well put.

Chicago Bicycle Advocate said:
Our existing traffic laws were written for motor vehicles. I think much of the code needs to be rewritten to reflect the reality of how self-propelled traffic operates.

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