Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
There was a time when I used to come on this forum and contribute on a regular basis, but it was exactly this type of comment that stopped me doing that.
The POB article is not about elitism, it is about safety. It is also about obeying the rules of the road. The biggest complaint that drivers of automobiles levy against us is that we run red lights and stop signs, ride the wrong way one-way streets, etc. etc.
We all know that motorists break the law too, but pointing the finger at them does little good as there is more of them than us. When you are a minority, you tend to be labeled by the worst in a group.
It seems to me that motorists complain at least as much about 'cyclists' 'blocking the roads' as they do about 'POBs' running lights and stopsigns. I believe a good citizen 'cyclist' who follows the law but delays a motorist will generally cause much more bleeting and complaining than the anarchist who travels independent of the traffic code and delays nobody. So we need to be careful about using motorist complaints as a reason to change cyclist behavior.
As for the safety issue, there are as many or more adult 'cyclists' getting hit while following the law as there are adult anarchists getting hit while breaking it. So the least we can say about the safety issue with respect to law-following or law-breaking is that it is muddled and unclear, and possibly complex.
I too wish cyclists would reign themselves in with respect to the rampant law-breaking. I have often said that the only people who should be attempting to ride like messengers are the actual working messengers and then only because they generally have to in order to complete their required tasks. But I won't hold my breath. For many reasons, cultural and physical, the bicycle lends itself to that kind of riding. Wagging fingers isn't going to change it. As the cycling population enters its growth explosion we are going to see a great deal more anarchic cycling, imo.
I personally am much more embarassed by the noticeable uptick in clumsy, unsmooth and rickety cycling than I am by scofflaw cycling. It is possible to bust a light or carve a traffic jam in a way that is elegant, smooth and even pretty, as well as safe. When I see that guy on a too-tall fixed wheel conversion, struggling and straining to slow his rig, wobbling all over the place and completely at odds with his machine, overreacting to traffic and peds due to bad awareness, swerving and lurching and infecting everybody with his lurchiness, smashing into potholes, it's not the bare fact that he ran the light that makes me cringe. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.