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Old 01-18-06, 02:35 PM   #1
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This thread, perhaps even a sticky if it becomes popular, is to discuss cycling advocacy and safety issues that concern all cyclists, while barring the promotion, defining or debating of the brand called Vehicular Cycling™ (VC™). While a specific viewpoint, tactic, technique or theory that might be considered by some to be VC™ can be discussed, any discussion of the brand itself is strictly prohibited - there are plenty of other threads for those.

To begin the discussion: Do you believe that cyclists should obey traffic laws? My own opinion is that we should obey the laws as long as doing so does not put us in danger. I think we are perceived by too many non-cyclists as arrogant law-breakers and if we expect drivers to obey the laws, not to mention respecting our right to the road, we must lead by example and obey the laws ourselves. That said, I also believe that some laws can be bent, if not broken.

Edit: and of course humor is ALWAYS welcome!
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Old 01-18-06, 02:38 PM   #2
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Good luck...the VC are EVERYWHERE...
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Old 01-18-06, 02:43 PM   #3
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Good luck...the VC are EVERYWHERE...
Charlie's in the wire!!!!
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Old 01-18-06, 02:50 PM   #4
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Chip,

I think one of the fundamental problems with driver and cyclist interaction is that most motorists are ignorant of the laws as they pertain to cyclists. They have it in their head that we are suppose to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances. It is my opinion that much could be gained by making all road users aware of the current laws, rights, and responsibilities. I just had to take online traffic school (apparently there are no u-turns in the business district) and there was not one mention of bicyclists rights, only that motorists should "Watch Out!" for them. Very helpful. A few more, "cyclists allowed Full use of Lane" or "Cyclists Merging" when a bike lane ends would be very helpful in my opinion. The rest seems like common sense to me. Use the bike lane when it's there, stay out of the door zone, and take the lane when it's narrow, let cars pass when there's room. What am I missing? I bend a few laws when I ride and when I drive, but inching forward on the right in heavy traffic or rolling through and empty intersection is not the same risk if I were to perform such actions while driving. Otherwise this whole debate has gotten way out of hand with both sides beating each other up over every little verbal misstep. I really can't imagine that many of the experienced cyclists if going out together would really ride all that differently.
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Old 01-18-06, 02:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Do you believe that cyclists should obey traffic laws? My own opinion is that we should obey the laws as long as doing so does not put us in danger. I think we are perceived by too many non-cyclists as arrogant law-breakers and if we expect drivers to obey the laws, not to mention respecting our right to the road, we must lead by example and obey the laws ourselves. That said, I also believe that some laws can be bent, if not broken.
I encourage other cyclist to obey all traffic laws for the reasons you state. I also encourage motorists to do the same.
Fortunately for me I have no laws I need to break in order to cycle wherever and however I want.

As to bending rules, if you do, accept the consequences whether from law enforcement or a resulting accident and don't try and make excuses for the behavior.

If there is a law that you must bend to be safe, then do so once or twice, but don't do it a third time unless you have initiated or actively supported serious effort to get the law changed for all cyclists benefit.

Al
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Old 01-18-06, 02:56 PM   #6
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When approaching an intersection I like to (signal and safely) merge to the center of the lane I am traveling in, whether I will be stopping or not.
I find when I am stopped in the center of a right most lane on a multilane road, that the results is that the vast majority of drivers will move one lane over. This makes it far more pleasant on green light as you don't have a line of cars directly behind you and evenually passing you when starting up again.
Stopping on the far left of an outside lane can extend a courtesy to motorists who wish to turn right. I've gotten the most friendly response from driver when doing this.

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Old 01-18-06, 02:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Do you believe that cyclists should obey traffic laws?
Traffic laws can be separated into those that apply to only cyclists, and those that apply to all other drivers.

I believe cyclists should definitely obey all traffic laws that fall into the latter category, including those that apply only to drivers of slow vehicles.

But laws that apply only to cyclists, and go beyond restrictions put on other drivers of slow vehicles, those are often problematic, and I usually have no problem with cyclists violating that small area of traffic law.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chipcom
This thread, perhaps even a sticky if it becomes popular, is to discuss cycling advocacy and safety issues that concern all cyclists, while barring the promotion, defining or debating of the brand called Vehicular Cycling™ (VC™). While a specific viewpoint, tactic, technique or theory that might be considered by some to be VC™ can be discussed, any discussion of the brand itself is strictly prohibited - there are plenty of other threads for those.

To begin the discussion: Do you believe that cyclists should obey traffic laws? My own opinion is that we should obey the laws as long as doing so does not put us in danger. I think we are perceived by too many non-cyclists as arrogant law-breakers and if we expect drivers to obey the laws, not to mention respecting our right to the road, we must lead by example and obey the laws ourselves. That said, I also believe that some laws can be bent, if not broken.

Edit: and of course humor is ALWAYS welcome!
Chipcom , what laws would you deem as worthy of bending, breaking or ignoring? In this state it is legal to roll a stop sign if the intersection is not occupied, but not a stoplight. I often roll these also if no traffic is present.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:05 PM   #9
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If I can see both ways for a long distance I don't actually stop for a stop sign either in my truck or on my bike. This morning driving to work I "stopped" for a large truck and then went, but my wheels never actually stopped turning. I bike the same way is that what you mean. Some times I come up to a red light stop the bike unclip aand all seeing no traffic go ahead and cross - it keeps you away from the guys turning right.

You tell me how far off I am.

Joe
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Old 01-18-06, 03:24 PM   #10
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If I can see both ways for a long distance I don't actually stop for a stop sign either in my truck or on my bike. This morning driving to work I "stopped" for a large truck and then went, but my wheels never actually stopped turning. I bike the same way is that what you mean. Some times I come up to a red light stop the bike unclip aand all seeing no traffic go ahead and cross - it keeps you away from the guys turning right.

You tell me how far off I am.

Joe
I think this accurately describes what most car drivers and cyclists do.

What's problematic is when stop signs are run when it's not clear in both directions, particularly if there is someone waiting at the cross street at 4 way stop intersection. I see this all the time. It's exacerbated when many drivers seem to assume that the cyclist will run the stop sign.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by joeprim
If I can see both ways for a long distance I don't actually stop for a stop sign either in my truck or on my bike. This morning driving to work I "stopped" for a large truck and then went, but my wheels never actually stopped turning. I bike the same way is that what you mean. Some times I come up to a red light stop the bike unclip aand all seeing no traffic go ahead and cross - it keeps you away from the guys turning right.

You tell me how far off I am.

Joe
This one really pisses me off. The problem with this is that 'not quite stopping' progresses into just slowing down for **STOP** signs. It also leads to the 'but officer ... I didn't see him !'.

Stop means **STOP**, not yield.

jw
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Old 01-18-06, 03:49 PM   #12
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There's no way I'm coming to a complete lock/foot down stop at every bloody sign.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:55 PM   #13
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There's no way I'm coming to a complete lock/foot down stop at every bloody sign.
I use the rolling track stand.
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Old 01-18-06, 04:15 PM   #14
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Chip,

I think one of the fundamental problems with driver and cyclist interaction is that most motorists are ignorant of the laws as they pertain to cyclists. They have it in their head that we are suppose to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances. It is my opinion that much could be gained by making all road users aware of the current laws, rights, and responsibilities. I just had to take online traffic school (apparently there are no u-turns in the business district) and there was not one mention of bicyclists rights, only that motorists should "Watch Out!" for them. Very helpful. A few more, "cyclists allowed Full use of Lane" or "Cyclists Merging" when a bike lane ends would be very helpful in my opinion. The rest seems like common sense to me. Use the bike lane when it's there, stay out of the door zone, and take the lane when it's narrow, let cars pass when there's room. What am I missing? I bend a few laws when I ride and when I drive, but inching forward on the right in heavy traffic or rolling through and empty intersection is not the same risk if I were to perform such actions while driving. Otherwise this whole debate has gotten way out of hand with both sides beating each other up over every little verbal misstep. I really can't imagine that many of the experienced cyclists if going out together would really ride all that differently.

+1. Especially regarding the education of motorists to the rights of ALL users of the road!!!
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Old 01-18-06, 04:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Fred Smedley
Chipcom , what laws would you deem as worthy of bending, breaking or ignoring? In this state it is legal to roll a stop sign if the intersection is not occupied, but not a stoplight. I often roll these also if no traffic is present.
I don't advocate breaking or ignoring any laws, unless for some reason doing so would put you at risk. Bending the law is another thing. Stop lights are a good example. If I cannot trigger a light to change, I'm going to treat it as a 4-way stop, even if the letter of the law does not state that it is legal to do so. Rolling stops are another good example.
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Old 01-18-06, 04:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by John Wilke
This one really pisses me off. The problem with this is that 'not quite stopping' progresses into just slowing down for **STOP** signs. It also leads to the 'but officer ... I didn't see him !'.

Stop means **STOP**, not yield.

jw
Good point - if other traffic is present in the opposite or cross directions and have the right of way - STOP. I tend to stop even if the other direction traffic doesn't have the right of way, at least until I am sure they see me, because you never know if THEY might blow that stop!
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Old 01-18-06, 04:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Treespeed
I think one of the fundamental problems with driver and cyclist interaction is that most motorists are ignorant of the laws as they pertain to cyclists. They have it in their head that we are suppose to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances. It is my opinion that much could be gained by making all road users aware of the current laws, rights, and responsibilities.
+1 ... and I would add police to the list also.
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Old 01-18-06, 04:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
I think one of the fundamental problems with driver and cyclist interaction is that most motorists are ignorant of the laws as they pertain to cyclists. They have it in their head that we are suppose to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances. It is my opinion that much could be gained by making all road users aware of the current laws, rights, and responsibilities.
I don't find it problematic that many or even most (who knows?) motorists are ignorant of cyclist rights and many of whom even believe "that we are supposed to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances". I assert my right and 99.999% accept, apparently regardless of the ignorance. And those who don't accept it? I ignore them. So what's the problem?

Now, law enforcement officers that fall into this category are problematic, to be sure. Not sure what to do about this one.
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Old 01-18-06, 05:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by John Wilke
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeprim
If I can see both ways for a long distance I don't actually stop for a stop sign either in my truck or on my bike. This morning driving to work I "stopped" for a large truck and then went, but my wheels never actually stopped turning. I bike the same way is that what you mean. Some times I come up to a red light stop the bike unclip aand all seeing no traffic go ahead and cross - it keeps you away from the guys turning right.

You tell me how far off I am.

Joe
This one really pisses me off. The problem with this is that 'not quite stopping' progresses into just slowing down for **STOP** signs. It also leads to the 'but officer ... I didn't see him !'.

Stop means **STOP**, not yield.

jw
+1 for John. You're in a car. It takes no effort other than pressing on the brake and clutch and shifting to 1st. STOP at stop signs. The little kids or guys on BMX or rollerbladers or joggers that you don't see have absolutely no chance against a car.

If there's one traffic offense that really, really bugs me, it's the stop-sign rollers. When you don't stop at intersections when you are supposed to, chaos ensues.
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Old 01-18-06, 05:01 PM   #20
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I don't find it problematic that many or even most (who knows?) motorists are ignorant of cyclist rights and many of whom even believe "that we are supposed to live in the gutter and yield to cars in all instances". I assert my right and 99.999% accept, apparently regardless of the ignorance. And those who don't accept it? I ignore them. So what's the problem?
Because most of us are human and don't have as thick a skin as you. Most of us don't enjoy the abuse confusion over laws cause even if it doesn't result in an immediate safety risk. However I do think it does in some cases, such as agressive tailgaiting used to intimidate cyclists from using the full narrow lane or intentional close passing to 'teach' cyclists to move further right or back in the bike lane.

This is food for thought too: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060118/...NlYwMlJVRPUCUl Could some men interpret riding in the center of a narrow lane as 'bad' or 'cheating' the law and not feel any emotion about potentially harming the cyclist?

Al
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Old 01-18-06, 05:03 PM   #21
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+1 ... and I would add police to the list also.
I definitely agree with that sentiment and have had run-ins with the LAPD, but to some extent these are cancelled by other positive experiences I've had too. But I don't see how anyone could be against an expansion of education of current laws.

And on the topic of ignoring laws one issue I find incredibly offensive is the request for riders to walk a bicycle. Usually though these are rules set forth on private property and not so much a legal requirement. But I'm infinitely more coordinated riding than I am walking and I resent the idea that I need someone else looking out for my safety, or that I can't be trusted to not run down pedestrians.
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Old 01-18-06, 05:06 PM   #22
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And on the topic of ignoring laws one issue I find incredibly offensive is the request for riders to walk a bicycle. Usually though these are rules set forth on private property and not so much a legal requirement. But I'm infinitely more coordinated riding than I am walking and I resent the idea that I need someone else looking out for my safety, or that I can't be trusted to not run down pedestrians.
#1 - it's not your property. Respect the wishes of the owner or get off of his property
#2 - liability. We live in the lawsuit capital of the US. If you get hurt on his property doing that dangerous bicycle-riding thing, you can sue him for all he's got because he didn't warn you to not ride. That sign protects him for those lawsuits. Sadly, that's the world we live in.
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Old 01-18-06, 05:10 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mac
#1 - it's not your property. Respect the wishes of the owner or get off of his property
#2 - liability. We live in the lawsuit capital of the US. If you get hurt on his property doing that dangerous bicycle-riding thing, you can sue him for all he's got because he didn't warn you to not ride. That sign protects him for those lawsuits. Sadly, that's the world we live in.
Mac,

You're right about the private property issue and correct about why these rules would be put in place. And my reaction to such a rule would be to avoid such a retailer and inform them about why they won't be receiving my business. This probably won't change a thing, but in this day and age voting with one's pocketbook is more productive than visiting the voting booth.
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Old 01-18-06, 05:18 PM   #24
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Because most of us are human and don't have as thick a skin as you.
Now I'm inhuman. Great.


Quote:
Most of us don't enjoy the abuse confusion over laws cause even if it doesn't result in an immediate safety risk.
I never said I enjoyed it. I just choose to not let it bother me. You are free to choose otherwise.


Quote:
However I do think it does in some cases, such as agressive tailgaiting used to intimidate cyclists from using the full narrow lane or intentional close passing to 'teach' cyclists to move further right or back in the bike lane.
I would never challenge a truly aggressive driver. I think what passes as an aggressive driver is often actually more tame. For example, I've never been unsuccessful in getting a tailgater to back off with a simple issuing of a slow/stop arm signal. But if someone didn't back off, i would pull over at the curb or in the shoulder, let him pass, and then continue. Unless that happens more than once a month - and I can't recall ever having to do it - I wouldn't call that problematic either.


Quote:
This is food for thought too: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060118/...NlYwMlJVRPUCUl Could some men interpret riding in the center of a narrow lane as 'bad' or 'cheating' the law and not feel any emotion about potentially harming the cyclist?
Just about anything is possible, but I think such interpretations are extremely unlikely. I think what's missing is how natural it looks for a cyclist to be riding in the center of a (truly) narrow lane, and how unnatural it looks for a cyclist to be squeezing up against the side of such a lane. If you are ever in a car with someone else driving who encounters a cyclist hugging the edge of a narrow lane, check out the driver. They often are unsure of what to do. What most cyclists don't realize is the motorist is looking for a cue from the cyclist. In this case, the edge-hugger is saying "go ahead, squeeze on by", yet there doesn't seem to be enough room for that. A centerish position makes much more sense... "he's riding there because there is insufficient room to pass". And drivers don't need any special training to figure this out...
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Old 01-18-06, 05:24 PM   #25
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Chipcom - I gotta say, I'm really enjoying this thread.
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