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Old 02-08-11, 09:29 PM   #1
Santaria
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Stop at red conversation

So I had lunch with one of my friends who is a local law enforcement officer here. We were discussing traffic laws on bicycles...one that came up was stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Officially he said "you should probably follow the law without question"

Unofficially he said

If you ride home at 10 p.m. down ANY part of downtown and stop, don't think for a moment that the prostitutes, drug addicts and pimps won't roll you for that bike and just because they can.

Other points of interest:

We had another 2 grenade attacks within 1/4 a mile of my condo against the Mexican Navy - fun times in the RGV
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Old 02-08-11, 10:31 PM   #2
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What kind of place is Brownsville that you are being accosted by pimps for your bike?!

The school resource officer that I work with often stops students for rolling stops, but I still do it when I'm certain that it's safe. However, I do this to keep my momentum, not to avoid being clubbed in the head by hooligans. If I was in your situation, I might consider packing heat or perhaps mounting an stinger on my handlebars.
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Old 02-08-11, 10:37 PM   #3
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that sucks that your city's downtown is so unsafe. I've lived in downtown Chicago for 4 years now and have never felt unsafe riding around the streets of downtown.
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Old 02-08-11, 10:46 PM   #4
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What kind of place is Brownsville that you are being accosted by pimps for your bike?!

The school resource officer that I work with often stops students for rolling stops, but I still do it when I'm certain that it's safe. However, I do this to keep my momentum, not to avoid being clubbed in the head by hooligans. If I was in your situation, I might consider packing heat or perhaps mounting an stinger on my handlebars.
Well if you really are in Siberia I can understand you not knowing the answer to your question. If you are in the US you might turn on a TV once in a while and look at a map. He's front line of the invasion of all the lawlessness that spills over our poorly protected southern border.
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Old 02-08-11, 11:46 PM   #5
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Well if you really are in Siberia I can understand you not knowing the answer to your question. If you are in the US you might turn on a TV once in a while and look at a map. He's front line of the invasion of all the lawlessness that spills over our poorly protected southern border.
I'm aware of the situation in our border towns, but I was under the impression that the issue was more to do with smuggling and organized crime than bike thieving prostitutes. And I'm not sure that turning on a TV would provide me any more information, here's tonight's hot news: http://kezi.com/news/local/203777
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Old 02-09-11, 12:12 AM   #6
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maybe the prostitutes wanna use the bikes for smuggling (I keed, I keed)
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Old 02-09-11, 05:34 AM   #7
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I'm aware of the situation in our border towns, but I was under the impression that the issue was more to do with smuggling and organized crime than bike thieving prostitutes. And I'm not sure that turning on a TV would provide me any more information, here's tonight's hot news: http://kezi.com/news/local/203777
Major crimes like smuggling and organized crime tend to bring other crimes with it as does illegal immigration in general. Not all illegal immigration crosses the border to work the fields, build schools and court houses.
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Old 02-09-11, 05:47 AM   #8
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My general rule is obay the law unless it endangers you.
I dont we we have any duty to stick to the letter of the law and put ourselves in danger.

When I come traffic lights on a hill, I make sure I can cross the junction before they flip. If this requires me to cross a light early, thats what I do. Ive been caught in the middle of a junction as traffic accelerates towards me from both sides and they dont give an inch to slow cyclists.
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Old 02-09-11, 05:53 AM   #9
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i ride every day, weekdays commuting, weekends for fun. I just can't get my head around all this "motor vehicle" association. My simple position is I am a pedestrian on a self propelled bicycle, being on the road doesn't change this one iota. I don't have to know the difference between a fire hydrant, a curb cut, how to double park, or when to use high beams, just like all the H1B cab drivers don't. I have very little damaging mass moving along to endanger anyone, my profile is as narrow as my walking profile, I'm more mobile and quicker to accelerate than walking, I have far greater visibility than a car. (There are a myriad of other little abstractions that cyclists know and seize that irritate auto drivers, (this would be a good thread idea ?) like getting out ahead of the traffic in urban arears that make it better and safer for everyone, etc...If we are to wait for lights why don't those little sensors see us; do car drivers have to get out and run over and hit the little idiot buttons to get the light to change?) BUT Especially there is no MOTOR on my self propelled bicycle. I can't figure out why cyclists want to align themselves with automobiles, we should be promoting our similarities with pedestrians.. Ped, pedal, pedestrian...
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Old 02-09-11, 06:41 AM   #10
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Officially he said "you should probably follow the law without question"
No so. There are situations where following the rules to the letter is actually dangerous. This is why a lot of cities have separate bicycle lights, contraflow lanes, sharrows, bike boxes, the Idaho stop, etc. I'd say he doesn't know what he's talking about, or is simply being overly general.

I don't buy the "follow all the road rules" or "follow the rules like cars do" b/c

#1 isn't true
#2 means I'd go 20 mph over the speed limit in front of schools and residential neighborhoods, illegally turn, run lights, ride distracted, double park, make illegal U-turns, etc.

My personal rule is to ride predictably as best as possible. I'm also known to give up my "rights" and swallow my pride to avoid getting killed if the situation calls for it....but it's pretty rare.
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Old 02-09-11, 07:24 AM   #11
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i ride every day, weekdays commuting, weekends for fun. I just can't get my head around all this "motor vehicle" association. My simple position is I am a pedestrian on a self propelled bicycle, being on the road doesn't change this one iota. I don't have to know the difference between a fire hydrant, a curb cut, how to double park, or when to use high beams, just like all the H1B cab drivers don't. I have very little damaging mass moving along to endanger anyone, my profile is as narrow as my walking profile, I'm more mobile and quicker to accelerate than walking, I have far greater visibility than a car. (There are a myriad of other little abstractions that cyclists know and seize that irritate auto drivers, (this would be a good thread idea ?) like getting out ahead of the traffic in urban arears that make it better and safer for everyone, etc...If we are to wait for lights why don't those little sensors see us; do car drivers have to get out and run over and hit the little idiot buttons to get the light to change?) BUT Especially there is no MOTOR on my self propelled bicycle. I can't figure out why cyclists want to align themselves with automobiles, we should be promoting our similarities with pedestrians.. Ped, pedal, pedestrian...
We're not pedestrians any more than we're motor vehicles. Do we belong on the sidewalk? Certainly not in an urban area. We'd be a danger to ourselves and actual pedestrians.
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Old 02-09-11, 07:29 AM   #12
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We are far more pedestrians than motor vehicles (14 -30 lbs. of mechanical advantage does not equal a motor vehicle); also the mentality that we are somehow aligned with MV's is as wrong as the error that Motor Vehicles own the roads: Why is that an assumption?
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Old 02-09-11, 07:52 AM   #13
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There really are a significant number of problems with the downtown area that the business owners are trying to fix, but that doesn't eliminate the problem.

There is a (one of probably 2 in the area) female prostitute that uses the Cathedral's fencing to hide in the shadows from passing police. In passing, you never would notice the guy standing about 15 feet behind her. One of the benefits of being on a bike, and observant.

At the intersection less than 20 feet away, you've got 2-3 drug dealers on the left corner in front of the pizza joint, and on the right are 4-5 transvestite prostitutes in front of the usada ropa shop. Coming to a stop at this light doesn't necessarily mean they're going to beat you up for your whip at all.

Rather, they want to protest their privacy, and still have that high school mentality of "what are you looking at?"

It is that childish mentality that makes them dangerous. Having trannys come over and put their hands on your shoulder and say things like "what's up, baby" combines to the stress level and makes it dangerous because, they too, have pimps stalking nearby.

The teens in the area are brazen, and look up to the Gulf Cartel and Zetas. I have driven by in my Suburban (before I sold it) on the way home and had 5 teens pull a pistol on me at the stop light and just laugh and shake it at me as I tore out of there.

By the time I contacted the police, and drove back around they were already ghosts down alleys.

The everyday people here rock, they may not be the most bike-centric, or even friendly toward bikers, but they're not the issue at 10 p.m. It truly is the native nightlife here that makes commuting at night and waiting for lights a danger.


One other interesting point, that doesn't limit itself to bike commuting at lights (but the light system in general):

We have 4 major intersections that run parallel to the Interstate. I noticed that the light is set to give the maximum time to cross traffic. This allows the access road traffic about 4-5 cars to get through a green before it turns red. There are certain routes that require me to have to flow with that traffic. I've played the wait for a green game. Interestingly enough, you have to be trackstanding and prepared for an all out sprint to get across 1 green cycle.

In Texas, generally, the rule is 3 cars after the light. That means 3 people will run a red and all other traffic adapt to it and adjust their start time accordingly. This means that when a light turns green, there is a VERY good chance when I sprint off through the intersection, I may still have 3 cars doing 15 MPH over the speed limit to account for. Just an observation.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:24 AM   #14
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We are far more pedestrians than motor vehicles (14 -30 lbs. of mechanical advantage does not equal a motor vehicle); also the mentality that we are somehow aligned with MV's is as wrong as the error that Motor Vehicles own the roads: Why is that an assumption?
Let's see how simple I can make this.

IT DOESN'T MATTER how you think or feel about it; THE LAW OF THE LAND, by which we operate a society of 300 million (not always well, naturally, but that's people for you) is what we all have to go by. We don't get to ignore the law because we disagree with it. Because you may get away with it a few times DOES NOT MEAN it's legal.

The bicycle-related traffic laws are based on the UVC, a federal code. The UVC says bikes have all the rights and duties of motor vehicles on the road. It's up to states to augment that -- some ban sidewalk riding, others define a bike as a "vehicle" (so much for 'ped, pedal, pedestrian; and, BTW, cars have pedals, too) -- but all 50 protect our rights to the road. AND they charge us with the responsibility to operate sensibly.

Thought doesn't matter (but don't stop thinking, you may actually be the one to build that better mousetrap); feeling doesn't matter. Culture and upbringing don't matter. The law is the set of rules we use to get along with strangers who don't think like we do.
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Old 02-09-11, 08:34 AM   #15
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It's the timid geeks waiting at the lights that cause all the confusion, good luck with that!!!
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Old 02-09-11, 08:51 AM   #16
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What kind of place is Brownsville that you are being accosted by pimps for your bike?!

The school resource officer that I work with often stops students for rolling stops, but I still do it when I'm certain that it's safe. However, I do this to keep my momentum, not to avoid being clubbed in the head by hooligans. If I was in your situation, I might consider packing heat or perhaps mounting an stinger on my handlebars.
+1000. I've ridden in rotten places all over the country in the past 40 years and never felt like that. Invest in some "commuter accessories" for the bike. You know an UZI, maybe a RPG launcher or flame thrower (hell,you think Bruce Wayne's crazy, wait till they get a load a me!) Seriously though, a 38 with a lazer sight would make me feel good in that situation.

Marc
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Old 02-09-11, 08:56 AM   #17
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It's the timid geeks waiting at the lights that cause all the confusion, good luck with that!!!

In this daibutsu's "defense", he does live in DC, probably a very different bike culture. But in defense of everyone else, it's people with attitudes like you, daibutsu, that make drivers hate cyclists. Just sayin'.



In regards to rolling through questionable areas at night, there is one section that I tried to excise from my route because it's a little ghetto and I'll probably have at least one person accost me verbally every week just going through there maybe 2 or 3 nights a week. Now that I'm riding home much later, it's getting worse. I think I'll have to take a more traffic heavy road just to avoid that place at night. It's fine in the daylight, especially early morning. But when I do go through there at night, I always rest up just before so I know I can do 20+ mph and get through it as quick as possible so people don't have as much excuse/opportunity to decide to harass me. Luckily there is only one turn and no stops.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:06 AM   #18
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I've noticed here in Austin that cyclists for the most part obey stop lights and signs. For me I always stop if there are other cars involved but if no one is around, I may blow through. After reading all the posts I'm torn now.
If I stop I'll be one of the timid geeks who cause all the confusion, but if I blow through a light or stop sign I'm the reason drivers hate cyclists! Can't win.

Do most people here obey the traffic rules no matter what, or is it more of a case by case basis?
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Old 02-09-11, 09:15 AM   #19
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They don't hate us, they're just jealous...they won't like or respect you more if you aren't aggressive. The more i ride, the more convinced i am of that.

Last edited by daibutsu; 02-09-11 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:45 AM   #20
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I've noticed here in Austin that cyclists for the most part obey stop lights and signs. For me I always stop if there are other cars involved but if no one is around, I may blow through. After reading all the posts I'm torn now.
If I stop I'll be one of the timid geeks who cause all the confusion, but if I blow through a light or stop sign I'm the reason drivers hate cyclists! Can't win.

Do most people here obey the traffic rules no matter what, or is it more of a case by case basis?
Case by case, person to person. At 4-way stops, I will surprise so many drivers by coming to a full stop but they figure it out and take their turn and I take my turn. If I want to play in traffic, I have to play by their rules. At night at stop signs with pretty good visibility, I might slow to 5 mph and then roll through. If it's limited visibility, or a traffic light that intersects with a pretty busy street, I'll stop and check for traffic, then go, but only at night. During the day, a car will be along shortly and the light will change. Definitely a case by case player that errs on the side of caution, but won't wait 5 minutes in the dark for a light to change.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:28 AM   #21
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LOL on stopping at stop signs to make a point with drivers, as if they could care less about cyclists. Around here, bikes are invisible, which is good, if they can see us, they'd try to hit us.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:34 AM   #22
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I love the value system four personality.


Just because someone typed up the "rules" does not make them the only, or best option. That's my personal opinion though, so I guess to each their own.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:44 AM   #23
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LOL on stopping at stop signs to make a point with drivers, as if they could care less about cyclists. Around here, bikes are invisible, which is good, if they can see us, they'd try to hit us.
the urban/suburban divide is interesting. i live in the city and i'm always amazed at how visible i am to car drivers, how often they will wave me through 4-way stop signs even if they have right of way and so forth. the vast majority of chicago motorists seem to be courteous and respectful to bike riders. cab drivers on the other hand...... they are the worst of the worst.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:45 AM   #24
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Major crimes like smuggling and organized crime tend to bring other crimes with it as does illegal immigration in general. Not all illegal immigration crosses the border to work the fields, build schools and court houses.
Whoah. This opinionated stuff seems more suited for P&R than this thread. I understand the tangent that spawned it, but c'mon. Don't make the mistake of assuming everyone here shares your perspective on this very politicized issue.

Can we talk about commuting here?

Aren't we talking more about stopsigns (and the discretion to run them if warranted)?
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Old 02-09-11, 10:49 AM   #25
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Just because someone typed up the "rules" does not make them the only, or best option.
Probably exactly what every drunk driving, texting, speeding, close buzzing driver is thinking.
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