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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CBA did put it well, but far beyond their first point of "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." There is a responsibility for cyclists to obey laws or at the very least act responsibly when riding. Motorists do not trust many cyclists as there are so many that have adopted the bad habits of a few riders, such as skirting around three way intersections and blowing stop signs regardless of the traffic surrounding them.

The responsibility to ride with consideration for the fellow users of the road lies with all of us. If a car decides to go against the light, it endangers many people and goes against the proper social etiquette to regard the safety and rights of fellow motorists. The same goes for Bicycles. If, when salmoning on Lake street, a driver is caught unaware of the oncoming cyclist there are a number of scenarios that could not only harm the cyclist, but nearby pedestrians, other motorists, other cyclists, possibly even riders of the El if a support is stuck by a truck. Getting "Smooshed" is the least of your concerns. Being held liable for a massive accident, damages, or even manslaughter, while you're recovering in the hospital could come down on your head. And merely because you were too lazy or didn't care enough for your fellow man to slide one street over and ride in the right direction?

Following the traffic laws to the letter isn't practical for a cyclist, to be sure. Even this morning, I rode through some stop signs on Wells after ascertaining there was no risk to myself of traffic. But, I will happily say, i rode the correct direction on Lake street. And not for the excitement or danger of it; because I had to renew the tabs on my Volvo. I find the idea laughable that anyone should "do whatever they want" on their bike. It is immature and irresponsible.

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. 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.
Some years back, 2000 or so I was ticketed for running a stop sign. This was in Downers Grove. It was an empty 4 way with clear lines of sight for at least a block in every direction. The ticket was thrown out. At that time the definition of "vehicle" in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code was "any form of transportation not powered by human force". Therefore the code I was cited for violating was deemed to not pertain to bicycles. The question of weather in disobeying the stop sign involved failing to yield the right of way was raised, but since it did not, the case was dismissed. So at that time, as long as a cyclist did not fail to yield the right of way, they were not required to obey traffic control devices. I don't know if the definition of vehicle has been changed since then, but I would be curious.
last week, i was almost hit by a cyclist who blew a stop sign. i was carefully crossing the intersection - out walking the dog. it was still dark - the rider had no headlight. i pointed out the stop sign, and the rider stopped to lecture me that stop signs didn't apply to cyclists. i got an earful.

ironic, as i was dressed to ride to work in cycling gear and helmet. i love cycling and cyclists, but secretly hope she flatted in the rain.
I would love to see Idaho rules in Illinois.
you are wrong in your assumption of my speed. it isn't a question of speed, it's of repect for all road users.

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.
Last evening whilst riding down Lincoln St. in Evanston, i approached a 4-way that i normally just slow down a bit for and wave to as i go through. This time, there was an Evanston PD unit idling about 50 meters down the side street facing the intersection. You'd best believe i stopped that time.

My normal commute takes me through Glenview, Wilmette, Evanston, and Rogers Park. i once counted about 75 stop signs and 50 traffic signals along my route. Do i stop at any of them? No, not unless i really need to (cross traffic or watching PD.) This is easier at 6AM than 4PM, of course.

i am pretty lax about stops and most of the time, i get away with it. i've been hit through my own fault once, and had a few embarrassing and truly frightening near misses over the years.

Why do i blow through most stops? As others here have said, it's really hard on the old knees to do the repeated start-stop thing, and also if i did obey the letter of the law, i'd still be on my way to work right now.

That being said, i believe it behooves us to at least nod to existing laws about stops, one ways, etc. and BE READY to be obedient to the rules.

i got warned by a local officer in a small Wisconsin town this summer -i'll add that's a lot more than a Kane or Kendall, IL county cop'll give you- he let me know i had "rolled" a 3-way stop on a right turn, and that it was worth $75 (which i don't have) if he ticketed me.

We can go about flouting the rules to our hearts' content, but we need to be mindful that sometimes there is a heavy price to pay -in fines or blood or bad PR for our fellow riders.

If i get clobbered through my own negligence, i have no complaint. If i flout the law and get caught, i also have no complaint, and neither do you.

i know i'm a hypocrite when i only obey a law when someone's watching. i'm willing to bet that most of the rest of us are as well from time to time.

Let's just be careful out there and try not to piss people off.
I do not follow any laws that would apply to motorized traffic. I do not rely on cops to safeguard my trip, or really that motorists are aware of me...unless I'm out in the middle of traffic...which I often do. I see myself as water in a river that flows around objects that move more slowly than I do. I am hyper-vigilant of what's going on around me and seldom does a car, or a ped ever have to slow their pace for me.

Not that prior success would dictate my bike riding future...but I am going on my second year of riding to work every day, and my 6th or 7th year of riding to work in the spring/summer/fall incident free. Well, that is if you are counting me hitting something or someone hard enough for me to fall.
Why is it that we as cyclists feel we are entitled to flaunt everyday traffic laws, while if other road users (cars, pedestrians) flaunt traffic laws we get all enraged? Could it be caused by the fact that cyclists as a group tend to be younger than the average road user and (still) have that feeling of invincibility? That is the only way I can make sense of this statement by OP:
"Personally, I think I should be able to do whatever I want on my bike. [...] 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."

Laws in generally only work if they are adhered to without exception. Who is to judge whether my reason for ignoring a law is better than yours?

That is not to say that some bike laws aren't antiquated and need to be updated to reflect a changing society. Until that happens though you can't just ignore them and expect everyone else to agree with your behavior

"If they do screw up its their responsibility."
I would say that is incorrect. If you get hit due to your own stupidity, someone else still pays for that. Either the driver's insurance, or we as a collective through an increase in insurance rates. That is unless you will deny any and all medical care or pay out of your own pocket, of course.

"Some states do have laws that make a red light and stopsign a yeild for cyclists"
AFAIK there is no state that has a law like that. There is Idaho, where cyclists are allowed to treat red lights like a stop sign, and a stop sign like a yield sign. but that is not the same. There are other states that are looking to change that rule, but no one has followed Idaho's example AFAIK.
Frank
I concur. Well put sir.

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. 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.
Bicycles in the roadway are vehicles and subject to the same regulations as other vehicles. By extension, should an all-electric vehicle not have to stop either? What degree of efficiency requires stopping?

Alan Matejka said:
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?
AGREED!

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
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.
Clark said:
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!

-I'm all for rolling stops if it's safe, but Patrick made it sound like he'd just disregard stop signs like they weren't even there, not even slowing down a bit for them.


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?

-An alternate left would be better here (cross street while on the right, then turn to cross the street you were just on), and you stay off the sidewalk.

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.

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