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  1. #1
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    AZ letters to editor re:bicycling

    Nothing new here in a general sense. Readers give opinions about cyclists breaking laws, riding outside bike lane, riding 2-3 abreast (two abreast is legal in AZ)

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/a...er0202Z14.html

    Al

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Should we as cyclists now complain to the paper about motorists speeding, running stop signs and parking illegally?

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Should we as cyclists now complain to the paper about motorists speeding, running stop signs and parking illegally?
    Uh, yup.

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Should we as cyclists now complain to the paper about motorists speeding, running stop signs and parking illegally?
    Sure.

    But that motorists break laws doesn't mean that cyclists should. In other words, I think that the letters bring up some valid points in a civilized manner. Not that I agree with everything written. But I get the sense that a well-tempered response would be considered by the authors.

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    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i think those are all valid points in the paper (well, except for the `stay in your lane` stuff) seems like those people have no problems with cyclists as long as they follow the rules of the road and ride safety. who could be against that?

    ive driven before where i was cut off by bicyclist and then yelled at is if it was my fault. we have to face it, there are some really bad riders out there. there is no need to justify them.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Sure.

    But that motorists break laws doesn't mean that cyclists should. In other words, I think that the letters bring up some valid points in a civilized manner. Not that I agree with everything written. But I get the sense that a well-tempered response would be considered by the authors.
    Yes, but the point is they are being accusatory, while forgetting that they themselves are not all angels. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  7. #7
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Why do cyclists run stop signs?

    I have some ideas, see if you can come up with more:

    1) Cycist has to keep moving to stay warm.

    2) Cyclist has to keep moving top stay cool.

    3) Conservation of Momentum, there's no engine to get moving again.

    4) Bicycle is too lightweight and/or too slow to kill anyone if a collision occurs.

    5) Stop signs were intended for cars. For 6000 years, mankind had horses, but there weren't any stop signs. There weren't any horse accidents.

    6) To keep traffic moving. The bicycle is slow enough without stopping. Don't want the cars behind to be inconvenienced by slowing the bike further.

    7) Cyclist can see better than a motorist. There are no roof pillars to block the view. Cyclists can see over hedges and parked cars near the intersection.

    8) Cyclist can hear if cars are coming.

    9) Cyclist is doing a "personal best time trial" Last week he covered ten miles in 21 minutes 18 seconds, can he beat his own time?

    10) Copycats. The cyclist has seen other cyclists run stop signs, and he does it too, but without looking both ways, and often with earphones on so he doesn't hear either.

    11) The cars disobey the speed-limit signs 85% of the time, so bikes should ignore stop-signs 85% of the time (see #6 above).

  8. #8
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    For starters there are very few bike lanes in this area. Those are Shoulders because they made the roads to narrow.

    Maybe they should ride their bicycles in the bicycle lane, not along the line that separates their lane from ours.

    Maybe he should try ridin in those shoulders err bike lanes see how he feels.

    Not very educated. Cyclists get points off their driving record.


    I agree that bicyclists have rights, however, they also have a responsibility to follow the law, share the road with cars, make themselves visible and not unduly burden our health care professionals.


    Ok that last part is a little far burden the health care wow. After all driverrs are the one's hitting them right?
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    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel


    Ok that last part is a little far burden the health care wow. After all driverrs are the one's hitting them right?

    yeah, the health care remark was just stupid. consider how much it costs to care for the people involved in over 40,000 annual car crashes. or perhaps the health care costs of a sedentary population who drives everywhere and gets no exercise.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    Why do cyclists run stop signs?

    5) Stop signs were intended for cars. For 6000 years, mankind had horses, but there weren't any stop signs. There weren't any horse accidents.
    Interesting point. Hadn't thought of that one...
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  11. #11
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Cyclists on smooth pavement can achieve enough momentum to kill pedestrians.

    That said, practically speaking, coming to a complete stop is certainly not required to defuse the damage potential of a bike. But for a car, yes.

    Most people understand this intuitively. I've never heard of a cyclist who got cited for running a stop sign where he did slow down to a near stop, and checked both ways, before proceeding.

    But blowing a stop sign without even a hint of slowing down is what cyclists often do, and cannot be defended. Let's keep things in perspective.

  12. #12
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Many if not most of the stop signs in this area are for four way intersections. Solo I never run them - its hardly a hassle to stop. But I've ridden with groups (10-30 people) in the area and then they (the four way only) are always ran - not blown at full speed, but with reduced to allow lead rider(s) to assess situation. There is something about group dynamics with the lead rider seeing no other approaching vehicles that makes running them 'feel more appropriate' vs. getting the whole line to stop and go, in which either many more vehicles appear as each rider stops and goes, or only the lead rider is the one who technically stops and all the followers run the sign.

    Also as wheel points out there are very few bike lanes in the area, some, but mostly narrow (Chandler, Ray) or wide (Pecos) shoulders. The roads that do have true bike lanes are more generally slower (25-35mph) and also the primary lane is usually very wide too. There is much confusion motorist and cyclist alike as to what is and isn't a bike lane in this area. See http://azbikelaw.org/articles/RayRoad.html for a good review and photos.

    here is a link to a map of the area: http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en...m=1&iwloc=addr

    Al

  13. #13
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    Many if not most of the stop signs in this area are for four way intersections. Solo I never run them - its hardly a hassle to stop. But I've ridden with groups (10-30 people) in the area and then they (the four way only) are always ran - not blown at full speed, but with reduced to allow lead rider(s) to assess situation. There is something about group dynamics with the lead rider seeing no other approaching vehicles that makes running them 'feel more appropriate' vs. getting the whole line to stop and go, in which either many more vehicles appear as each rider stops and goes, or only the lead rider is the one who technically stops and all the followers run the sign.
    My assessment is slightly different. I think group leaders tend to ride exactly like they do when they're riding solo. When you see a group leader not coming to a complete stop, it's not to keep everyone in the group of having to stop, it's to keep himself from having to stop, no different from what he would do if he were solo.

    I say this because those at the front often forget they are essentially driving a virtual bus. This is perhaps most obvious when there is an obstacle up ahead of some sort (perhaps the need to adjust left to avoid a right only lane, or the start of onstreet parking, etc.), but they don't seem to adjust left any earlier than they would if they were riding solo. But because there is a delay that is propogated one cyclist at a time in the group, they should think ahead and move earlier than when riding solo. But, for the most part, they usually don't.

    Now, those behind the leaders? Act like lemmings (again, for the most part).

  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    My assessment is slightly different. I think group leaders tend to ride exactly like they do when they're riding solo. When you see a group leader not coming to a complete stop, it's not to keep everyone in the group of having to stop, it's to keep himself from having to stop, no different from what he would do if he were solo.

    I say this because those at the front often forget they are essentially driving a virtual bus. This is perhaps most obvious when there is an obstacle up ahead of some sort (perhaps the need to adjust left to avoid a right only lane, or the start of onstreet parking, etc.), but they don't seem to adjust left any earlier than they would if they were riding solo. But because there is a delay that is propogated one cyclist at a time in the group, they should think ahead and move earlier than when riding solo. But, for the most part, they usually don't.

    Now, those behind the leaders? Act like lemmings (again, for the most part).
    I don't know really.
    Leaders are just who is in front. I've been in that postion at four ways. If I did call out slowing well in advance, gradually slow and then signal stopping, I'd likely be ignored by many, perhaps even lectured by an 'elder' - actually this has happened to me before just for slowing gradually There is always a hot head or two in a group, not matter how fine the rest are, who wants to keep moving fast. This all of course all still fits in with the 'don't want to stop' and lemming theory.
    But if everyone did stop or slow to 5mph I still don't see how that works with a group of say 20-30 and x-traffic at a four way.
    Overall I know that groups could do better at four way stops. On the flip side many motorists give away their ROW at stops for groups of cyclist, so much it encourages worsening behavior and expecations of cyclists.

    Basically in my experience good riding behaviors and good traffic managment practices (call in VC if you will) fall apart in most groups - even groups whose official leader (different of course from who continuous varies as the pack/line leader) is a hard-as* about following laws, even groups with a majority of sensible riders. It allways seems to fall to the lowest level. Left turns are always started way to late, some if not all will squeeze by stopped traffic on the right, ride-lines are way too far to the right and leader merges around obstical too late (even if they signal them early)

    *Even with leader who has 'informants' who tell them who broke rules so they get a lecture later and may get kicked out if repeated - including: crossing double yellow on corners, running red lights, riding more than two abreast (except when dropping off lead). However two laws that are never of worry to leader include speeding (well exceeded down some hills) and not stopping at stop signs. Interesting.

    Anyway, off on a tangent I go...

    Al

  15. #15
    Senior Member Itsjustb's Avatar
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    FWIW, I read the original article and thought, "Yep." I didn't think the writers' comments were far off the mark. They seemed like reasonable requests for the most part.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a scofflaw cyclist. I do foot-down stops for stop signs and red lights and always wear a helmet.
    "Everyone is entitled to an opinion" is only half-right.

    Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion.

  16. #16
    yes
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    yeah, the health care remark was just stupid. consider how much it costs to care for the people involved in over 40,000 annual car crashes. or perhaps the health care costs of a sedentary population who drives everywhere and gets no exercise.
    To clarify - 40,000 fatalities. The number of highway crashes is more than 6,000,000 per year. Perhaps drivers should wear helmets .

  17. #17
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yes
    To clarify - 40,000 fatalities. The number of highway crashes is more than 6,000,000 per year. Perhaps drivers should wear helmets .
    ah, yeah, i had that backwards. thanks.

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsjustb
    FWIW, I read the original article and thought, "Yep." I didn't think the writers' comments were far off the mark. They seemed like reasonable requests for the most part.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a scofflaw cyclist. I do foot-down stops for stop signs and red lights and always wear a helmet.
    I agree, except for the bike lane comments due to two misconceptions:

    1. Many of the roads where cyclist ride 'on the line' do not have bike lanes, but a fog line
    2. Riding two abreast is legal. Most if not all of these roads have dual same direction lanes. Most of the group cycling occurs weekend morning or late evening when roads are relatively light in traffic (this part of town is known as 'the worlds largest cul-de-sac' - no thru traffic in the region. Passing two abreast cyclists is easy using adjacent lane.

    Solo I am not a scoffaw either, ever.

    Al

  19. #19
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    2) Ahwatukee is blessed with many sections of road with designated bike lanes. However, I often see two and sometimes three bicyclists riding abreast of one another and outside of the bike lane. I understand the need to provide bicyclists adequate room when passing in a car, but do they have the right to occupy a lane of traffic when a bike lane is available to them simply so that they can carry on a conversation with a buddy? I have witnessed and myself have been forced to change lanes to avoid colliding with a bicyclist in the roadway when they have decided not to use an adjacent bike lane to chat with a fellow cyclist.
    There were only 2 letters and this was the only comment about 'staying in the bike lanes'. It really does not seem unreasonable to me if the facts are 3 riders abreast. Now if it is a group of 20 that would be different, but that is not the image that comes to mind from the letter.

  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    There were only 2 letters and this was the only comment about 'staying in the bike lanes'. It really does not seem unreasonable to me if the facts are 3 riders abreast. Now if it is a group of 20 that would be different, but that is not the image that comes to mind from the letter.
    The facts? Probably usually one rider line, but sometimes two abreast. Based on what I witness every week.

    The other comment in the first letter:
    "Maybe they should ride their bicycles in the bicycle lane, not along the line that separates their lane from ours. "

    Which is pretty normal positioning given that the most 'bike lanes' in this area are sub-standard width or really shoulders. "their lane, ours" language also may be indicator of belief that cyclist dont belong anywhere but the BL.

    Al

  21. #21
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    If I ever find someone to ride we ride abreast when taking the lane. Not to talk but more visual.
    We normally won't ride side by side but the person on the right will be ahead a little (half a bike), Incase I need to slam on my brakes to allow for the rider to merge left.

    Sub standard bike lanes yea we have alot of that. I think they paint shoulders so they don't have to take care of that portion of the road.

    Hay I got to yell at a cager today so I guess I feel better. Goes around the barrels on the left passes in oncomming lane and then back through the barrels. (no passing zone) To bad he had a red light ahead.

    Me What is your problem?
    Cager you didn't move over.
    Me Your huge truck didn't allow enough room.
    Cager you need to move over
    Yellow light
    Try 7th ave (1/2mi.) F$%K Face


    Not to jack this thread. I might write a letter and put hyperlinks where they can educate themselves.
    Of course the paper always gets them wrong.
    Last edited by wheel; 02-02-07 at 04:32 PM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    The facts? Probably usually one rider line, but sometimes two abreast. Based on what I witness every week.

    The other comment in the first letter:
    "Maybe they should ride their bicycles in the bicycle lane, not along the line that separates their lane from ours. "

    Which is pretty normal positioning given that the most 'bike lanes' in this area are sub-standard width or really shoulders. "their lane, ours" language also may be indicator of belief that cyclist dont belong anywhere but the BL.

    Al
    Yes the facts can make a difference. The first letter seemed reasonable and the on the line part seemed to invite a response. Wonder why there was not one.

  23. #23
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    Why do cyclists run stop signs?

    I have some ideas, see if you can come up with more:

    1) Cycist has to keep moving to stay warm.

    2) Cyclist has to keep moving top stay cool.

    3) Conservation of Momentum, there's no engine to get moving again.

    4) Bicycle is too lightweight and/or too slow to kill anyone if a collision occurs.

    5) Stop signs were intended for cars. For 6000 years, mankind had horses, but there weren't any stop signs. There weren't any horse accidents.

    6) To keep traffic moving. The bicycle is slow enough without stopping. Don't want the cars behind to be inconvenienced by slowing the bike further.

    7) Cyclist can see better than a motorist. There are no roof pillars to block the view. Cyclists can see over hedges and parked cars near the intersection.

    8) Cyclist can hear if cars are coming.

    9) Cyclist is doing a "personal best time trial" Last week he covered ten miles in 21 minutes 18 seconds, can he beat his own time?

    10) Copycats. The cyclist has seen other cyclists run stop signs, and he does it too, but without looking both ways, and often with earphones on so he doesn't hear either.

    11) The cars disobey the speed-limit signs 85% of the time, so bikes should ignore stop-signs 85% of the time (see #6 above).
    IMO, the only one of these even faintly defensible is #7. As to #5, there were plenty of horse accidents, especially with carriages. And bikes were already making the situation worse even in the brief period before cars came along and completely pushed things over the edge. My interpretation is that cars only increased the necessity to the point that someone finally came up with the idea. But I think it's a reach to think that because stop signs were only invented due to cars, that they are only meant for cars. Certainly untrue from a legal standpoint, at least in those places where bikes are considered vehicles and thus bound by all vehicular laws, which is most places.
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  24. #24
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    i think those are all valid points in the paper (well, except for the `stay in your lane` stuff) seems like those people have no problems with cyclists as long as they follow the rules of the road and ride safety. who could be against that?
    The problem is that most people have only a vague idea about what the laws are pertaining to cyclists, and that vague idea usually includes a few misconceptions. People believe all sorts of things -- cyclists have to stay a certain distance from the curb, cyclists have to stay to the right of the white line, cyclists always have to yield to motor vehicles -- that are just not true.

    When I hear people complain about scofflaw cyclists, they complain about two things -- ignoring red lights and stop signs, which is clearly illegal, and not getting out of the way, which isn't. But the not getting out of the way is the real complaint.
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  25. #25
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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