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  1. #1
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    Any proof that following rules of the road promotes driver respect for cyclists?

    In post after post, I hear the same mantra: "Bicyclists must follow all rules of the road, always make a foot-down stop at stop sign, never run a red, never filter." Their argument is that if cyclists follow the rules of the road, cars will respect us and treat us better, and that the reason cars hate us is because they have encountered bicyclists who don't follow the rules.

    To the proponents of the theory that following the rules leads to drivers respecting bicyclists right's more; what proof do you have? I'd like to see some hard evidence. I hope the thread doesn't degenerate into a recitation of anecdotal evidence, which, while entertaining, is not very probative.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  2. #2
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    The only "proof" I have is anecdotal and it only "proves" the opposite: that when cyclists don't follow the rules of the road it leads to drivers expressing disrespect toward us.

    It's a good question, though, and I agree with your unstated assertion that it probably wouldn't make a whole lot of difference how well we followed the rules of the road so long as maybe we weren't showing complete disregard for the law.
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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I can't even imagine how a quantitative study of this issue could be carried out. But I do think that it's more than reasonable to think that if a majority of cyclists act like responsible road users, most motorists will treat cyclists as if they actually belong on the road. It's human nature; if you encounter enough members of a group who behave like jerks, you're going to start assuming that ALL members of the group are jerks. (That's why I get really irritated when I see Critical Mass and similar groups intentionally screw up traffic just to make a childish point; it puts all cyclists in a bad light, and may actually endanger my safety some day.)
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  4. #4
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    From my experience motorists don't give two farts what we do as long it doesn't impede their journey.

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    In post after post, I hear the same mantra: "Bicyclists must follow all rules of the road, always make a foot-down stop at stop sign, never run a red, never filter." Their argument is that if cyclists follow the rules of the road, cars will respect us and treat us better, and that the reason cars hate us is because they have encountered bicyclists who don't follow the rules.
    Here?

  6. #6
    Member sswartzl's Avatar
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    I don't see how you're going to get hard evidence for it, short of a large-scale, long-term controlled research study or something.

    But does it really matter? You should follow the rules of the road for the simple reason that they are the rules of the road. They're a legal requirement, not a reflection of (or an affront to) personal style. I bend them on occasion, but no more than I do in my car. If you fail to follow them you become less predictable and therefore more dangerous. Whether or not doing so results in more "respect" from cars is irrelevant.

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sswartzl
    I don't see how you're going to get hard evidence for it, short of a large-scale, long-term controlled research study or something.

    But does it really matter? You should follow the rules of the road for the simple reason that they are the rules of the road. They're a legal requirement, not a reflection of (or an affront to) personal style. I bend them on occasion, but no more than I do in my car. If you fail to follow them you become less predictable and therefore more dangerous. Whether or not doing so results in more "respect" from cars is irrelevant.
    +1

  8. #8
    Senior Member tomcryar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    In post after post, I hear the same mantra: "Bicyclists must follow all rules of the road, always make a foot-down stop at stop sign, never run a red, never filter." Their argument is that if cyclists follow the rules of the road, cars will respect us and treat us better, and that the reason cars hate us is because they have encountered bicyclists who don't follow the rules.

    To the proponents of the theory that following the rules leads to drivers respecting bicyclists right's more; what proof do you have? I'd like to see some hard evidence. I hope the thread doesn't degenerate into a recitation of anecdotal evidence, which, while entertaining, is not very probative.
    There is no proof and probably never will be. The difference will be seen in that one driver who looks at you as another vehicle instead of a nuisance. And it's up to us to provide the impetus for that to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi
    It's human nature; if you encounter enough members of a group who behave like jerks, you're going to start assuming that ALL members of the group are jerks. (That's why I get really irritated when I see Critical Mass and similar groups intentionally screw up traffic just to make a childish point; it puts all cyclists in a bad light, and may actually endanger my safety some day.)
    If that were the case, then there should be wholesale hatred for car drivers. They act like jerks much more often than bicyclists because they vastly outnumber us.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    None whatsoever. A certain percentage of motorists don't like cyclists, it doesn't matter how the cyclists behave. If you think cyclists belong 'on the sidewalk', what difference does it make if the cyclist in front of you is following the rules of the road, or not?

  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
    From my experience motorists don't give two farts what we do as long it doesn't impede their journey.
    My experience matches TJ's; 100%.

  12. #12
    CyclePath Saddleview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
    From my experience motorists don't give two farts what we do as long it doesn't impede their journey.
    I agree 100%. As an ex-driver who went 10 years without riding a bike I have to admit that apart from making sure I gave the cyclist enough room I never even really noticed they were there. I certainly wouldn't have gotten my undies in a wad if I watched a cyclist blow through a four way stop with no other cars in site. I might just be different.

    On the other hand, I find this statement to be solid.
    But does it really matter? You should follow the rules of the road for the simple reason that they are the rules of the road. They're a legal requirement, not a reflection of (or an affront to) personal style. I bend them on occasion, but no more than I do in my car. If you fail to follow them you become less predictable and therefore more dangerous. Whether or not doing so results in more "respect" from cars is irrelevant.
    "View from the Saddle" Adventure Cycling Guide coming 2007!

  13. #13
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    Statistical proof no, I'm not sure if such statistical studies have even been done or if what proof there is was compiled from other sources.

    Personal experience yes, but not to often.

  14. #14
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    My experience matches TJ's; 100%.
    Sounds pretty accurate to me as well. A friend of mine and I were out riding in Waterloo County this evening and whereas it is normally a pleasant experience, it wasn't tonight. Normally, drivers give cyclists lots of room and there are tons of alterate routes with minimal traffic. The Regional Government, however, in its infinite wisdom decided to rip up all the roads in the NW section of the county at the same time. So drivers are frustrated because they can't get home directly and are careening down back roads at a million miles an hour. In the space of ten minutes, we were nearly clipped by mirrors twice and a git in a pick up decided to pass on a blind summit into our face. We were merely an obstacle to be bullied and harassed regardless of how assiduously we followed traffic rules.
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  15. #15
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
    From my experience motorists don't give two farts what we do as long it doesn't impede their journey.
    Yep. The thing is, when I am going to impede somebody's journey, I want to make sure I'm within my full rights to do it and am doing it all legally. Maybe I'm just a chicken or something, but I don't feel right filtering to the light first, and then taking the lane because it's narrow. I'll respect the driverrs' place in line, so I feel justified to demand respect for mine.

  16. #16
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    Yep. The thing is, when I am going to impede somebody's journey, I want to make sure I'm within my full rights to do it and am doing it all legally. Maybe I'm just a chicken or something, but I don't feel right filtering to the light first, and then taking the lane because it's narrow. I'll respect the driverrs' place in line, so I feel justified to demand respect for mine.
    Why? They won't / don't have the same consideration for you. Feeling guilty are you? Or just trying to rationalize irrational behavior?

  17. #17
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Sometime last winter, I posted photos that I shot on my commute. I'd pulled up to the stoplight in the right tire track of the NOL. A guy edged his econobox car alongside me, with two inches to spare. I posted a pic in this thread. One A&S poster made a thought-provoking point... cyclists do this type of sneak-up-the-side stunt to motorists, so why shouldn't motorists do it to cyclists? What goes around, comes around.

    Anyway, if you don't think bad behavior by members of a road-user group results in a generalized animosity toward that group, then you haven't hung around A&S very long. "The cagers are this, the cagers are that, and here's the proof (cites an example of today's latest cager outrage by one individual cager)!" Well, two can play that game... "The bikers are this, the bikers are that, and here's the proof (cites example of one scofflaw doing something everyone knows is blatantly illegal)!" Do you people really think they don't think the same way we do? Give me a break.

  18. #18
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    I'd pulled up to the stoplight in the right tire track of the NOL. A guy edged his econobox car alongside me, with two inches to spare.
    Y'all shoulda been dead center in the lane, it's your own fault....


  19. #19
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    Y'all shoulda been dead center in the lane, it's your own fault....

    There aren't many cars found in America that would've fit in that space. You know what they say about supposedly idiot-proof stuff...

    Flip side: do you think motorists should open the doors of their car when they're waiting at a light, to take up the whole lane width and prevent cyclists from sneaking up the side of the queue?

    Ah so, grasshoppah...
    Last edited by mechBgon; 08-10-06 at 10:18 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I don't know about where you are, but it's legal to pass on the right where I live.

  21. #21
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    My experience matches TJ's; 100%.
    Conversely, if you are impeding their progress, no matter how law abiding you are or even if you're going 24 in a 25 MPH zone, they'll blow a temple vein telling where you belong (and its not always the sidewalk ...)

    It wouldn't matter if every single member of the forum was squeaky clean (as one would think from the great number of members who claim to never run lights or stops) -- there's no licensing for bikes, and a high percentage of cyclists seem to be doing their own thing.
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon
    Sometime last winter, I posted photos that I shot on my commute. I'd pulled up to the stoplight in the right tire track of the NOL. A guy edged his econobox car alongside me, with two inches to spare. I posted a pic in this thread. One A&S poster made a thought-provoking point... cyclists do this type of sneak-up-the-side stunt to motorists, so why shouldn't motorists do it to cyclists? What goes around, comes around.

    Anyway, if you don't think bad behavior by members of a road-user group results in a generalized animosity toward that group, then you haven't hung around A&S very long. "The cagers are this, the cagers are that, and here's the proof (cites an example of today's latest cager outrage by one individual cager)!" Well, two can play that game... "The bikers are this, the bikers are that, and here's the proof (cites example of one scofflaw doing something everyone knows is blatantly illegal)!" Do you people really think they don't think the same way we do? Give me a break.
    Car drivers have more responsibilty towards the rest of us. If I were to misjudge the distance between myself and a car and actually hit it, it wouldn't do much of anything. But if a car were to hit me... Well there is a much higher probability of injury or even death.

    Oddly enough, most bicyclists here in San Francisco seem to break the law in a pretty consistent manner and therefore they ARE predictable. Lots of times when I have stopped at stop signs it has confused the heck out the car drivers - they totally didn't expect it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkS
    ...a high percentage of cyclists seem to be doing their own thing.
    And that's the beauty of being on a bike...


  24. #24
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29
    Oddly enough, most bicyclists here in San Francisco seem to break the law in a pretty consistent manner and therefore they ARE predictable. Lots of times when I have stopped at stop signs it has confused the heck out the car drivers - they totally didn't expect it.
    I know what you mean. There's a 4-way STOP on my former commute into downtown and when I'm coming downhill towards it, it's blatantly obvious that many people are fully expecting me to run the STOP sign. Because they stop, see me coming towards my stop line, and instead of proceeding like they're entitled to, they just SIT there. And LOL, sometimes they wave me on through ahead of them. I really wish I could see their thought process through it all

    Stopped... can go? YesWAIT!!! BIKE APPROACHING FROM RIGHT!!! {assumption[bikewillrunSTOPsign]=1** Cognition: bike slowing, will run STOP sign slower. Update: bike has halted(?!). Bike rider is looking at me pointedly while staying stationary at STOP sign. WTH. Ok fine, right foot actuating accelerator pedal. Weird world anymore...

  25. #25
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    I ride and drive a car. I only started riding last year though, so I had been driving for 5 years, basically oblivious to the rights of bikes on the road. Now, I didn't drive like an a-hole, but I felt very inconvenienced every time I had to pass a bike, whether they were on the road or not. The times I saw a bike taking the lane lawfully, I was thinking, "What the hell are they doing?" I got a little miffed, but still passed with due caution.

    Now that I've become a road-going cyclist being educated in the ways of the wisened on this forum, I am much more aware of bikes on the road when driving. However, for some reason, my automatic reaction to a cyclist slowing me down on the road is annoyance. It takes a second for me to remind myself that that could be me and to give him a lot of room and patience.

    Now, the point of all this is that I think that it's pretty ingrained in people's minds, esp. those of non-cyclists that we are rolling roadblocks. I mean, I have to remind myself to not get mad when everyone slows down for a cyclist. It's gotten better as of late. Now, I'm admiring the kit and looking at how fast they are going, and hoping to catch a quick glimpse of their bike.

    That mindset won't change without a flurry of constant PSAs and bike advocacy starting in high school during driver's license training. Both PSA's and education are in a laughable state in this country, so I don't see it happening anytime soon. You can see the constant pressure of PSA's and such on smokers. It can do the same with drivers, but this country is in no hurry to do so and I don't see it happening, unfortunately.

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