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Old 11-24-08, 11:17 PM   #1
lesiz
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Stop signs: What's the answer?

I consider myself a safety-conscious cyclist. But I cruise through stop signs on a daily basis; carefully, but surely. And there are, or course many others who do likewise.

Some bike safety courses say for bikes to come to a full stop at signs. I say B.S. It's unreasonable to expect cyclists to do that; We can safely cruise through stops.

So, what's the answer? Should cyclists have the legal right to not stop at stop signs? There are the few who would abuse such a law by proceeding without caution. But that will happen anyway, law or no.

I think cyclists should be allowed to pass through stop signs without coming to a full stop. But I don't expect to see that ever made law.
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Old 11-24-08, 11:53 PM   #2
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I thought about this a bit on my way home from work today. I was approaching a 4-way stop and there was a car that got there way ahead of me, but he was just sitting there waiting for me until I waved him on. Its possible that he just has no clue how to drive around cyclists and is just being overly cautious to a fault, but my guess is that he's had plenty of cyclists blow through stop signs right in front of him when he had the right of way and he's just covering his ass. My personal view is that we should handle stop signs like yield signs. Slow down as you approach it (especially if visibility is bad around the corner) and stop and wait your turn if there are other cars there, but if no cars are coming, you're probably ok to safely move through it without coming to a complete stop.
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Old 11-25-08, 12:39 AM   #3
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I blow by stop signs in full speed!
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Old 11-25-08, 12:47 AM   #4
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I accelerate whenever I see a stop sign. My frame is filled with C4 and every day's a good day to take someone with me!!!
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Old 11-25-08, 01:01 AM   #5
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I'm a huge advocate of traffic devices in general functioning as yield signs. If I'm coming up to a stop light or a stop sign, I'm definitely cautious and slow making sure I'm not violating somebody else's ROW but I think it's unreasonable to expect cyclists to continually put their foot down. If I've got a good line of sight and can tell that I'm not impeding other drivers by running the traffic control, I'll do so. When I would be impeding traffic by blowing a stop, then I'll try to roll as slow as possible and eventually put my foot down.

As for vehicles that are in CYA mode, if they're far enough away I'll wave them through. If you're close to the intersection though, sometimes it's just best practice to blow it (as long as you know they're yielding ROW to you) being careful, cautious, and with a nice little thank you wave. If you're about to blow it and they decide it's their turn, hit the brakes and wave them through. But there's intersections where cars around here habitually yield to bikes even though the car was there first, and in all fairness I think I do myself and them a favor in not ending up in a "who can be nicer" standoff.

Oh, and +2 for the C4... definitely a must for any serious cyclist.
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Old 11-25-08, 01:42 AM   #6
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Good topic.

While we're at it, what do you all think of helmets?
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Old 11-25-08, 01:44 AM   #7
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but my guess is that he's had plenty of cyclists blow through stop signs right in front of him when he had the right of way and he's just covering his ass
Maybe some people also just like cyclists.

I saw a person stop their car to let a lady with a stroller jaywalk. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with other stroller-pushers jumping out into traffic...
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Old 11-25-08, 01:57 AM   #8
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Either move to Idaho or work to change the law in your state to match Idaho's.
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Old 11-25-08, 05:13 AM   #9
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Either move to Idaho or work to change the law in your state to match Idaho's.
Bear in mind that others in your state may be working against you.

In CA, the legislation to allow Idaho style was squashed by vehicular cyclists.
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Old 11-25-08, 06:59 AM   #10
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It's not unreasonable to expect cyclists to put their feet down at a stop. It's the law (most everywhere), and following the law is per se reasonable, i.e. there's a reason to stop: the law.

I agree with the OP, though: cyclists should indeed be allowed to treat stops as yields. Until that law passes, though, we're either going to have to stop or we can treat them as yields and put up with the potential legal, medical, and financial consequences. I know that I waiver between the two, depending largely on the amount of vehicular traffic.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:01 AM   #11
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I will sometimes roll through a stop sign on some of the back road routes that I ride and usually do not come to a complete stop at other stop signs. But if traffic is present, then I unclip and come to a complete stop.

Stop lights are another matter. I always stop for a red and will only go through if the light does not cycle.
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Old 11-25-08, 08:21 AM   #12
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Yah want vehicle rights, yah gotta follow vehicle rules.
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Old 11-25-08, 08:36 AM   #13
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So, what's the answer?
Use the brains (no matter how tiny) the good lord gave ya. Next question?
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Old 11-25-08, 08:37 AM   #14
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Spirit of the law. 'nuff said.
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Old 11-25-08, 08:40 AM   #15
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It's not unreasonable to expect cyclists to put their feet down at a stop. It's the law (most everywhere), and following the law is per se reasonable, i.e. there's a reason to stop: the law.

I agree with the OP, though: cyclists should indeed be allowed to treat stops as yields. Until that law passes, though, we're either going to have to stop or we can treat them as yields and put up with the potential legal, medical, and financial consequences. I know that I waiver between the two, depending largely on the amount of vehicular traffic.
In what state is it the law that bicyclists must put their foot down at a stop sign? That seems more like something a cop might say (make up) than an actual law.

It's not unreasonable to expect bicyclists to stop at a stop sign but it does seem a little unneccesary to require them to put a foot down.
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Old 11-25-08, 08:55 AM   #16
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Its clear that very few people actually follow the letter of the law regarding stop signs. Watch any 4 way stop (or two way for that matter) for even a short period of time and you will see that cars, which are by far the majority of vehicles on the road, do not stop at stop signs as they are supposed to. So if the majority of the road users don't follow the law, what are your options?

The only logical option to me is that as a cyclist, accept and acknowledge that stop signs are not respected by cars in the vast majority of cases and ride your bike accordingly. Time your speed and approach to the intersection so that you will interfere the least with the orderely flow of vehicles in the intersection. Sometimes this means stopping completely, most of the time it just means slowing down and going through the intersection when its safe.

But the bottom line is do what is safe, don't slavishly adhere to an arbitrary rule that very few people follow just because its there.
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Old 11-25-08, 09:03 AM   #17
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Bear in mind that others in your state may be working against you.

In CA, the legislation to allow Idaho style was squashed by vehicular cyclists.
And don't ya know that some of these same "vehicular cyclists" strongly oppose applying the vehicular rules of the road to bicyclists when it comes to things they consider fun, i.e. using racing techniques on public roadways, as in group riding which may involve not stopping for red lights when at the tail of a group that started through on a green.

As the late Art Buchwald once said: I love hypocrisy.
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Old 11-25-08, 09:11 AM   #18
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An oxymoron - "I consider myself a safety-conscious cyclist. But I cruise through stop signs on a daily basis; carefully"

Obviously, you are wrong!
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Old 11-25-08, 09:21 AM   #19
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An oxymoron - "I consider myself a safety-conscious cyclist. But I cruise through stop signs on a daily basis; carefully"

Obviously, you are wrong!
Of course one has to wonder about the validity of some stop signs. The neighborhood I live in of single family homes was built in 1953. There were no stop signs in the neighborhood until about 4 years ago. The number of homes and families has not increased... yet for some reason, we were doing quite well for some 50 years without the stop signs.

So what has changed?

Nothing. The stop signs are virtually useless... people stop for the intersections as needed depending on cross traffic... no traffic, folks don't stop... the signs don't matter... but there they sit, all octagon and red... a testament to recent urge to add more traffic control... for apparently no reason.
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Old 11-25-08, 09:41 AM   #20
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vehicular cyclists in california preventing law change to match idaho

please provide some information about this as I would like to know more
about what group is so unreasonable.
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Old 11-25-08, 10:17 AM   #21
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vehicular cyclists in california preventing law change to match idaho

please provide some information about this as I would like to know more
about what group is so unreasonable.
CABO http://www.cabobike.org/index.htm

CABO focuses on ensuring that cyclists have unrestricted rights to the road and that the laws for cyclists and motorists are basically the same. Thus giving cyclists "advantages" would counter their goals.

I had to search my emails to find a statement from them that covered their view on this...

Quote:
The Idaho experience seems to indicate that their approach can work. I've not heard otherwise at least. My question, as chair of the Legislative Committee for the California Bicycle Coalition, is what problem would this change in law remedy? I know a cyclist who was ticketed for not putting a foot down at a stop sign, but I don't know that such foolishness is wide-spread enough to justify the effort and expense to change the law.

My view is that we need to pick battles that will have a broad effect, and that will contribute to raising the standing of bicyclists in the community. As benign as this change might be, I'm not sure it would do either.

Stephan Vance
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Old 11-25-08, 10:29 AM   #22
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Maybe some people also just like cyclists.

I saw a person stop their car to let a lady with a stroller jaywalk. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with other stroller-pushers jumping out into traffic...
Well, if they really like cyclists, I would personally prefer they treat me like another vehicle, which means they go when its their turn rather than waiving their right of way to me. If there are other cars at the intersection, this inevitably screws up everyone else and slows down traffic worse than if they just took their turn.

And now that I think about it, I *have* seen mothers with strollers burst out into traffic with little to no warning. There's a few lighted crosswalks with blind entrances in my downtown that it happens at a lot.
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Old 11-25-08, 10:58 AM   #23
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An oxymoron - "I consider myself a safety-conscious cyclist. But I cruise through stop signs on a daily basis; carefully"

Obviously, you are wrong!
It's only an oxymoron if the stop sign is there for safety reasons. Stop signs are often used to slow traffic or because the city was to cheap too put a signal.
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Old 11-25-08, 11:09 AM   #24
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With no traffic present and good sight lines I too break the law by checking carefully and blowing through stop signs. For me, a change in law allowing that action not be helpful.

At four-ways with traffic present I aim to make the almost-stop and take my turn and do get caught sometimes by "nice" drivers.
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Old 11-25-08, 11:37 AM   #25
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I thought about this a bit on my way home from work today. I was approaching a 4-way stop and there was a car that got there way ahead of me, but he was just sitting there waiting for me until I waved him on. Its possible that he just has no clue how to drive around cyclists and is just being overly cautious to a fault, but my guess is that he's had plenty of cyclists blow through stop signs right in front of him when he had the right of way and he's just covering his ass. My personal view is that we should handle stop signs like yield signs. Slow down as you approach it (especially if visibility is bad around the corner) and stop and wait your turn if there are other cars there, but if no cars are coming, you're probably ok to safely move through it without coming to a complete stop.
If the laws changed and people knew that bikes will roll through the stop sign, but still yield right of way, then it would fix the confusion [edit] and traffic will flow better.

If they want us the behave like cars then motorists will be even more inconvenienced because I'll be in the middle of the road while all the traffic is waiting twice as long for me to regain my momentum.

Last edited by edmdusty; 11-25-08 at 04:07 PM.
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