Originally Posted by Helmet Head
It would be interesting to know how they defined "obeyed the rules of the road" to reach such a conclusion.
For example, if a cyclist clearly signals his intention to merge, merges, and is hit, was he obeying the rules of the road?
If yes by their definition, then that alone would probably explain their conclusion. If the definition does not recognize "failure to yield" as breaking a rule of the road, then I could see how someone who makes sure it's safe first but merges without signalling could be safer then someone who appears to be following the letter of the law, but missing the most important rules.
Same thing with rolling stop signs. A cyclist who blindly stops at every stop sign like an automaton and proceeds without making sure that drivers in cross traffic have noticed him may not fare as well as someone who rolls stops, but only when it's clear.
I have read two articles from the London Times on this matter. The title of the one titled about the danger of obeying the traffic laws is entirely wrong. It largely concerns the greater proportion of cautious cyclists (say, women) who overtake on the curb side of long trucks that are waiting at a traffic signal before turning [right, in American terms]. The cautious cyclists wait for the light to turn green, and then get run over by the turning truck. The other subject in the article concerns cyclists who are first in line at a light and are approached from the rear by a vehicle with a high driver's position. When the light turns green, the motorist accelerates faster than the cyclist, and runs over the cyclist without having realized that the cyclist is there.
The article does not say, but in Britain there is such a thing as the cyclists' box at the front of the waiting line, so that motor vehicles have to stop on a red light further back than the intersection boundary, leaving the "box" for cyclists. Therefore, cyclists filter up between the waiting motor vehicles and the curb, and then swerve across in front of the waiting motor vehicles to reach the box. If I were the driver of a large truck waiting first in line I might quite likely never be in a position to see a cyclist swerving across in front of my vehicle, or for that matter, might not be looking for that swerve, since I was just waiting for the light.
The conclusion that the article suggests is the value of starting out before the light has turned green.
The second article concerns revisions to the the British Highway Code that strengthen the recommendation (The HC is not law, but is often considered to be like law) for using bikeways wherever possible. The Cyclists' Touring Club and John Franklin have naturally come out against the proposed revision, citing the confusing and dangerous traffic movements produced.
So far as I can see, there's nothing in either article to justify any claim that disobeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles is a bad idea.