Went for a latenight ride yesterday--forgot about the whole drunk driving/holiday factor until a few miles in, then just became a touch more cognizant for the rest of the ride. Saw p-lenty of dudes pulled over all over the city (ride was a 13-mile loop through downtown/university etc. type areas). Anyway, I went through one stretch that has 4 way stops every block just west of downtown by the courthouse. I was keeping good pace with the pizza delivery car adjacent to me by slowing down to check for anything oncoming, then going through if the coast was clear (it was for every block, maybe 6 in a row), while she came to a stop at each one, more or less. After this stretch, as I was waiting at a red light, this voice calls out from the parking lot across the way, offering me the sage advice from the title of this thread, and also that "I've nearly hit a lot of bikers back there who blow through stop signs."
A few thoughts ran through my mind--
1, it's amazing to me that people don't realize how much more aware of the environment it is possible to be while on a bike. Unless there's a near-invisible object crossing through an intersection (a bullet, Superman, many bugs), I trust that I will detect some visible movement and stop. And a car? Kinda tough to miss, especially if it's barreling through a residential area with no regard for stop signs.
2, this is yet another instance of a motorist lumping all cyclists into some sort of imaginary club, group, society, whatever. I can only control my own actions, not those of all cyclists. Can you control the rampant bad driving I witness daily? Do I ask you to, oh pizza delivery girl? It's a strange phenomenon, drivers unloading their frustrations with all illegal cyclist behavior on a single cyclist who blows a stop sign. There is no "you guys," "bikers," etc. There is only the person that you are nervously trying to pass without hitting, sometimes quite dangerously. He might or might not obey traffic laws. I think the same thing about cars that I see blowing lights or stop signs. Some ******, probably drunk (if it's past 12 or 1, for sure). I never once think about blaming this person for all the insanely bad driving I witness constantly.
3. Was she saying that she nearly hits bikers who cross intersections right in front of her, or those adjacent to her? Due to thought #1, I find it hard to believe that a cyclist would cross directly in front of a car that is already stopped at a 4-way stop. But I guess anything is possible, and yes, those cyclists are putting themselves in great danger and of course pissing people off in the process. So is anyone with a death wish.
I've come up with a ready-made reply for these situations. Whenever anyone yells that I blew a stop sign, or a red light with no traffic, my only response is, "You're right." It seems the most appropriate thing to say, if there's a need to say anything at all.
Hope you all had a great Sunday night and are enjoying the holiday.