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02/16/2011

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atom

the "idaho stop"... when will it be law everywhere???

or, am i a jerk for even suggesting that different road rules might apply to me on a bike (gross weight <100Kg, top speed <50Km/hr downhill with a tailwind) than a motor-vehicle (gross weight 1-20 tons, top speed 150+Km/hr)...?

Kevin Wilson

Being a simple person, I have a simple philosophy on this subject.

If cyclists want to be treated as traffic then we must behave like traffic.

I do not know how traffic laws work in the US. Over here in the UK there is a little book called 'The Highway Code' which must be studied before taking a driving test.
This sets out the rules of the road, and Red lights apply to all road users. Likewise 'One Way' 'Keep Left' et al.

What right have I to expect motor vehicles to follow the rules (like not parking in cycle lanes and passing at a distance) if I flout the rules when I choose.

'Less Venom' Good advice Matt, I shall take that with me when I ride through London.

Kevin
England

Kevin Wilson

Being a simple person, I have a simple philosophy on this subject.

If cyclists want to be treated as traffic then we must behave like traffic.

I do not know how traffic laws work in the US. Over here in the UK there is a little book called 'The Highway Code' which must be studied before taking a driving test.
This sets out the rules of the road, and Red lights apply to all road users. Likewise 'One Way' 'Keep Left' et al.

What right have I to expect motor vehicles to follow the rules (like not parking in cycle lanes and passing at a distance) if I flout the rules when I choose.

'Less Venom' Good advice Matt, I shall take that with me when I ride through London.

Kevin
England

thomas

I've stopped getting riled up, but now I get a little more passive aggressive. If someone cuts me off while I'm riding - then I catch up and pull in front of them and go REALLY slowly. Or maybe I'll pull up alongside them and stare at the driver. However, I mean no ill will, I just want them to realize that I exist.

On the other hand, some people are just downright nasty to me without provocation: http://homebrewedbikes.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-being-called-faggot.html

Ross

@atom: We cyclists are problems just as much as the cars and trucks. Cyclists hit pedestrians occasionally in Washington DC, sometimes with serious consequences (e.g., http://www.wusa9.com/rss/local_article.aspx?storyid=122544).

Also, as Sancho Panza said, "Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone it's bad business for the pitcher". I've hit cars on my bike - sometimes their fault, sometimes mine - and it hurt me a lot more than it hurt them.

Ross

@thomas: I try not to piss off armed assailants unnecessarily, regardless of what kind of weapon they've got - knife, pistol, car, you name it. That goes for when I'm driving just as much as when I'm cycling.

On the highway, I've had folks deliberately pass me and stand on their brakes, apparently because they thought I was going too slow. Why they wanted to risk having their car hit by mine I don't know, but I assume when Rage takes over, Reason is in the passenger seat with duct tape over his mouth.

thomas

@ross: Thanks for the words of wisdom. I agree, but at some point I want to make people aware that they are endangering my life.

Kyle

Certainly a hot debate lately. Should cyclists and motorists be subject to the same laws?
http://www.montaguebikes.com/folding-bikes-blog/2011/02/should-cyclists-and-motorists-be-subject-to-the-same-laws/

K

I feel like as a cyclist I'm much more aware of my surroundings than when I'm operating a vehicle. I do both very regularily. As a result of this heightened sense of awareness, I feel it is sometimes appropriate to break the odd law here and there. After all, those laws were designed for vehicles, not cyclists, and the consequences of a misteak on a bicycle are more often than not, much less severe.

That's my two-cents

Adrian

Hi Everyone,

I’m an avid cyclist that uses the park responsibly and safely and think that we can work out a great compromise that everyone can live with. I propose setting traffic lights to “blinking yellow” during early morning weekday hours. If you’d like to support this, please join our facebook page and spread the word.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Concerned-Cyclists-of-Central-Park/127003104038320

Kevin

Thoughts while reading...

When I am on a bicycle I have no compunction to breaking the law when following the law makes it significantly unsafe for me to commute. I've been in more danger trying to follow traffic law then when I broke it, e.g., riding on sidewalk, or down an empty one-way-street, etc...all safer than being on a busy street where cars are cutting me off or brushing me as they try to squeeze through.

Realizing that two-wrongs-do-not-make-a-right, I would be more sympathetic to police enforcing traffic laws on bicyclists if they were similarly enforcing traffic laws on traffic and pedestrians when endanger me by their thoughtless, careless, or illegal behavior. So you ticket me when I'm on the sidewalk, or don't stop fully before turning right or going through a stop-sign with an empty intersection? Fine. Where were you when I got cut off by a car which turned right (literally) in front of me? Where were you when a truck drove by and beer bottles where thrown out at me? Or an asshat opened up a door causing me to swerve into traffic? Thanks for the equal treatment and protection officer.

Thus far it is cheaper to get that ticket for illegal bicycle usage than it is to pay for a new bike, that ambulance ride to the hospital, or those weeks of rehab.

And safer.

timebombtimmy

Hot topic! In the U.S., traffic laws vary from state to state, although in practice they are all the same. To give you an idea, here is the single line excerpt that I think stands out from New York state traffic law: 'Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.'

That last exception causes a huge gray area! What provisions do not apply?!? I believe this to be a major cause of the debate. Anyone can say 'Oh that doesn't apply to me!', and can point to the single exception above.

Another aspect I'd like to point out is NY law states that bicycles are required to have a headlight and a bell (or other audible signal device). These are considered 'optional' parts when you purchase a bicycle. I have never seen any bicyclist cited for not having a light or bell.

On the same note, it is now illegal in NY to use a cell phone while driving but I have yet to see a driver cited for this (even when they are doing it right in front of an officer).

The lack of enforcement of laws causes a lack of respect for those same laws.

Personally, when I am riding on a busy street I am more likely to obey traffic laws than when I am on a quiet street. I will admit the same goes for when I am driving my car. Many of us are guilty of situational ethics, but as humans we are inclined to take advantage of situations. I'm sure a scientific study could be done to prove a traffic free highway means a driver is more likely to speed.

I digress, and agree that being a jerk doesn't help.

adam

Following traffic laws comes down to expectations of those using the roadway. The rules are drawn out not just for safety, but also so that every person on the road knows how others should be behaving. Imagine hundreds of people commuting on bike to work. If none of those people felt the need to obey traffic laws, drivers would not be able to predict their actions. Traffic laws and roadways should be updated with consideration to bicyclists, however, we must all then follow the rules of the road.

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