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  1. #1
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    Do bicyclists really think like this?

    Treehugger has been running a couple of articles like this one, http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/war-...h-toronto.html. I find it disturbing that a common theme running through these articles is that traffic laws are for regulating automobiles, presumably they also mean large trucks, motorcycles, anything that has an engine/motor. Maybe I'm thinking too much like an engineer but it seems to me that traffic laws are predominately used for standardizing user access to a shared resource, roads and sidewalks. Sidewalks because they are mentioned in the traffic laws and do impact the road system. In other words, the laws are for regulating the behavior of people regardless of what they drive.

    I can sympathize with the example they give in the latest article of a street with stop signs at every intersection. I live by a street like that, I avoid it as much as possible. But I have no doubt that if the stop signs were not there and it was used by speedy velomobile packs the home owners would still want stop signs to slow those things down.

    Another thought comes to mind, if we got rid of all the cars, by their way of thinking we could get rid of the traffic laws. So with streets full of unregulated bicycles, carnage. And then the re-emergence of traffic laws.
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  2. #2
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    There sure ARE a bunch of riders who think like this; they are the ones in so many cities that make drivers complain about bicyclists in general. The saddest part is, they're not unique; every user group of every type (not just travel) believes they should have some sort of advantage. It's the plethora of differing opinions that spawned the need for laws and rules to begin with -- everybody has to give a little so everybody can get along and enjoy communal benefits in a society. An organized, civilized society inevitably breaks down, because human nature virtually dictates that those rules WILL get bent and broken with more and more impunity. How long that takes, depends on how fast the progression of impunity is, and how far over the line each breach IS.

    But, "it can't be BAD if it's done by nice people like US! It's the evil OTHER guy that's the problem!"

    "All I want is for things to be fair...ly in my favor."

    Cynical...ME? NAAAAWWW!!

  3. #3
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    I agree with what DX-Man said. I'm also amused at the OP's apparent lack of experience on our roadways. Ever seen a motorist stop at a stop sign per the vehicle code (full stop, behind the limit line)? Ever seen any of them actually do the stop part of "right turn on red light after stop?" How about speed limits? Haven't you ever heard people saying how the "real" speed limit is anywhere from eight to fifteen mph above the posted speed limit? When traffic laws are enforced don't motorists tend to think it's just some revenue scam that has nothing to do with safety? I'll answer that: yes they do. That's why automated traffic enforcement that uses technology has been forced OFF our roadways by the screaming, whining motorists. I'll add that cyclists, being basically the same people as the motorists, would whine and cry just as loudly if we were being subject to fines for riding like everyone else, present company excluded, of course.

    And do you really think we would have carnage on our roadways on a scale of our current bloodshed if motorists were removed from the equation and all cyclists were scofflaws? You must have never been in a setting with a significant number of cyclists; it just isn't that hard to negotiate an intersection with large numbers of cyclists even when they aren't stopping.

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    The article seemed reasonable to me. It seems rather obvious that most traffic laws are in place due to the danger posed by high mass vehicles, not bicycles.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndeere View Post
    Another thought comes to mind, if we got rid of all the cars, by their way of thinking we could get rid of the traffic laws. So with streets full of unregulated bicycles, carnage.
    CAR-nage is a car thing, not a bike thing.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

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    I stop at red lights, but sometimes I'll roll through stop signs (particularly one on a very low downhill grade which stopping would require a lot of effort to get back up to my previous speed). But, I can see for about a half mile in each direction given that I'm coming from uphill, and the road I'm crossing almost never has traffic. I don't think I've ever seen a cyclist stop there. However, that's usually on an actual "ride" (one which I take for exercise) rather than a commute. When I'm commuting I generally follow all of the normal traffic signals. (I'll still make right turns into a bike lane without stopping at a stop sign, even if there is a car coming. The bike lane is wide enough for me not to disturb them.)

    As for rolling through red lights because stopping at them would slow you down to the speed of a walker? Guess what.... pedestrians stop at red lights too.... It can't be that hard to take a different road.

  7. #7
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johndeere View Post
    Treehugger has been running a couple of articles like this one, http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/war-...h-toronto.html. I find it disturbing that a common theme running through these articles is that traffic laws are for regulating automobiles, presumably they also mean large trucks, motorcycles, anything that has an engine/motor. Maybe I'm thinking too much like an engineer but it seems to me that traffic laws are predominately used for standardizing user access to a shared resource, roads and sidewalks. Sidewalks because they are mentioned in the traffic laws and do impact the road system. In other words, the laws are for regulating the behavior of people regardless of what they drive.

    I can sympathize with the example they give in the latest article of a street with stop signs at every intersection. I live by a street like that, I avoid it as much as possible. But I have no doubt that if the stop signs were not there and it was used by speedy velomobile packs the home owners would still want stop signs to slow those things down.

    Another thought comes to mind, if we got rid of all the cars, by their way of thinking we could get rid of the traffic laws. So with streets full of unregulated bicycles, carnage. And then the re-emergence of traffic laws.
    Well I won't agree that if we get rid of all the cars, we could get rid of the traffic laws... but let's face it, before cars, the laws (what may have existed) were quite simple... and in areas with little motor vehicle traffic, what traffic there is tends to flow in a much more organic manner.

    Go one further... If we reduce the amount of overwhelming information we feed to motorists, they tend to drive better... Look into the studies of Hans Monderman.

  8. #8
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    I suppose I'm just rationalizing, but there are some road and traffic situations on my regular routes where
    I have made an intentional decision to violate the traffic laws as the safer alternative.

    One that comes to mind is a badly timed traffic light where the surface street encounters a freeway entrance
    that is heavily used by two lanes of traffic turning right onto it. The bike lane here is, of course, on the far
    right, and if I take the lane out to the far left, I encounter instant driver hostility.

    So I pretty regularly stop here, and when i see no cross traffic, I blow the light.

    Or the numerous intersections here where i can't trip the loop on a bike. That's legal, but still a little dicey.


    So I dunno ? Am I an outlaw biker ?......probably. But we've had an uncomfortable number of accidents
    and fatalities here where to all indications, the bike person was riding along in full compliance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
    No wonder everybody hates you.

  9. #9
    toasty! AK404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    CAR-nage is a car thing, not a bike thing.
    Except when bicycles were used back in the 1800s, scaring the crap out of horses when used on the streets and causing harm to pedestrians on the pavement.

    The way I see it, the rules of the road in America revolve around cars, but that doesn't mean cyclists can just out-and-out ignore them at will. It's just as much a matter of courtesy as it is the law.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK404 View Post
    scaring the crap out of horses when used on the streets and causing harm to pedestrians on the pavement.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  11. #11
    Newbie elliottpayne's Avatar
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    I think the article makes a fair point. I'm a self-admitted jackass rider & driver sometimes (loose interpretation of red-lights while riding, aggressive on-ramp acceleration while driving, etc.) but always defensive in my style independent of transportation choice.

    When pressed, almost everyone will admit to flexing away from the laws by the books and adapting their actions to the context of any given situation. Better transportation and urban planning design would lean towards accepting this human trait.

    For instance, check out this intersection re-design:



    99% Invisible has a great piece that puts this all into historical context:

    http://99percentinvisible.org/post/4...-modern-moloch

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Its all about bringing speeds down... in the vid at about 4:20 he shows the ancient film of traffic in San Francisco and discusses shared space... of course in that film everything was moving at human pace... the trolleys, the wagons and of course the people.

    The problems start to arise when motorists expect to go at dramatically faster speeds than other road users...

    The end result shows that the concepts of Hans Monderman work, and work in places other than his select villages.

    But again it all comes down to NOT prioritizing motor vehicles over all other road users. This of course is a totally "foreign" concept to American motorists. Meanwhile on this side of the pond, we have to tell drivers not to hit the walking folks... with yet another silly sign.

    image012.jpg
    Last edited by genec; 08-29-13 at 07:07 PM.

  13. #13
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    OP, there is a local forum for Chicago and a good percentage of the riders on their share that same mentality and ride in that fashion. While I don't blow reds, I will slow and crawl through a stop sign because (guessing here) 90% of them in Chicago are on 2 residential streets where there are other stop signs within a few hundred feet.




    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    CAR-nage is a car thing, not a bike thing.
    I seriously hope that isn't an actual mindset, because if you haven't seen 2 riders collide when one blows a red light, then you haven't seen carnage. Or would it be beneficial to your definition of words to remove any -car- letter combination and replace it with -bike- or -bicycle-? Bikenage makes no sense.



    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Its all about bringing speeds down... in the vid at about 4:20 he shows the ancient film of traffic in San Francisco and discusses shared space... of course in that film everything was moving at human pace... the trolleys, the wagons and of course the people.

    The problems start to arise when motorists expect to go at dramatically faster speeds than other road users...

    The end result shows that the concepts of Hans Monderman work, and work in places other than his select villages.

    But again it all comes down to NOT prioritizing motor vehicles over all other road users. This of course is a totally "foreign" concept to American motorists. Meanwhile on this side of the pond, we have to tell drivers not to hit the walking folks... with yet another silly sign.

    image012.jpg
    Don't forget the signs about designated turning on red times, and how people don't obey them. Or when someone does, horns and blaring.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  14. #14
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    I suppose I'm just rationalizing, but there are some road and traffic situations on my regular routes where
    I have made an intentional decision to violate the traffic laws as the safer alternative.
    Agreed.
    Sometimes it's safer to go through the light or the stop sign.

  15. #15
    Senior Member italktocats's Avatar
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    think what? that a stop sign every 100 meter is bull****? yes i do

  16. #16
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    I make my own rules.

  17. #17
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    I have seen clauses in the section of vehicle codes that say cyclists have the same rights and duties as motor vehicles, which says "except those by definition have no application". So I interpret and apply that to things like the laws about slow moving and impeding traffic. Also I feel like many, MANY stop signs are completely unnecessary. Yield signs would be just fine in most places. Obviously a neighborhood road coming out onto a 5-lane major road needs a stop sign, but 2 roads in a neighborhood really don't need a 4-way stop.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    I suppose I'm just rationalizing, but there are some road and traffic situations on my regular routes where
    I have made an intentional decision to violate the traffic laws as the safer alternative.

    One that comes to mind is a badly timed traffic light where the surface street encounters a freeway entrance
    that is heavily used by two lanes of traffic turning right onto it. The bike lane here is, of course, on the far
    right, and if I take the lane out to the far left, I encounter instant driver hostility.

    So I pretty regularly stop here, and when i see no cross traffic, I blow the light.

    Or the numerous intersections here where i can't trip the loop on a bike. That's legal, but still a little dicey.


    So I dunno ? Am I an outlaw biker ?......probably. But we've had an uncomfortable number of accidents
    and fatalities here where to all indications, the bike person was riding along in full compliance.
    Moving to the left to stay out of mandatory right turn lanes is perfectly lawful. Indeed, it is required by the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, though not for riders of bicycles.

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