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Law and Order and Cycling

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Law and Order and Cycling

Old 06-21-21, 05:01 PM
  #26  
billridesbikes
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
that's always been my strategy. i mean, my trip out of the city has 20 stop signs, 400 feet apart, at 90 degree intersections on 25mph roads with clear visibility in both directions every time. i don't stop at them unless there's a car or pedestrian or cyclist within range of the intersection in the other direction. but, like this officer said, in the big city, it's anarchy!!!!!
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Sausalito is pretty well known for hyper-strict enforcement against cyclists, especially tourists who ride over the bridge from the City. And if you don't know, well now you know....
I know you guys have probably already contacted your state senators about the Bicycle Safety Stop Law. Let’s get the California Roll legalized for cyclists and ‘stop’ this type if silly law enforcement action.
Bicycle Safety Stop Law

If California can get it done this year I think that will make 10 states where it is legal for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.
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Old 06-21-21, 05:37 PM
  #27  
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Your actions were made with some judgement and probably were low risk; however didn't meet the requirement to come to a complete stop. Unfortunately, at least in my observations, very few people ever come to a complete stop before they turn. What's more, they are usually looking to the left for traffic without consideration of pedestrians and other road users. There is quite a body of literature showing that injuries to non-motorist road users increased after these laws were put into place. Personally, I think they really need to rethink them. They were intended to save fuel during the OPEC embargo in the '70s and have nothing to do with traffic safety. Nowadays with better fuel efficiencies as well as the trend toward hybrid and electric power, I doubt the fuel savings is worth the price of compromised safety.
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Old 06-21-21, 07:34 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Sausalito is pretty well known for hyper-strict enforcement against cyclists, especially tourists who ride over the bridge from the City. And if you don't know, well now you know....
makes sense, but I did not know that! my wife has worked in Sausalito for years, taking golden gate transit there from then city, but to be honest i avoid the place like the plague.

i can see how the hordes of bike tourists could get annoying, but then again, if your Main Street is full of cafes and ice cream shops catering to tourists…
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Old 06-21-21, 08:33 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
Sometimes police are unreasonable. Sometimes police are dishonest. I believe they need quotas, so the dream up trivial things to book people.
The fact that the officer wasted 15 minutes of his time and didn't even write the OP up kinda blows this theory out of the water.

Originally Posted by genec View Post
I say don't cite cyclists... the harm they cause by errant behavior is statistically negligible... which is why cyclists are not required to carry liability insurance to use the roads. Cyclists biking in a dangerous manner will be removed by the dominate road users... automobile drivers.

Really, other than to meet the exact letter of the law, what IS the point of citing cyclists. If the same "letter of the law" approach is taken toward motorists, stop every speeder. Ain't gonna happen.

Enough with the anti-bike campaigns by LEOs.
Never mind wasting officer time attempting to cite all the speeders. Automated systems could do it much more efficiently, making our streets safer for all and balance local budgets to boot. Hey, just doing my part to help make it to 6 pages here!
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Old 06-21-21, 08:37 PM
  #30  
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I think it's always worth reconsidering traffic laws as they apply to cyclists. Traffic laws are for cars. If there were no cars, we could safely have a lot fewer traffic laws. But with that said, the time to protest is before getting a ticket. After the ticket, all one can do is lick one's wounds and pedal on.
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Old 06-21-21, 10:02 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I think it's always worth reconsidering traffic laws as they apply to cyclists. Traffic laws are for cars. If there were no cars, we could safely have a lot fewer traffic laws.
The reality of existing car free settings casts doubt on that belief.

Consider for example how less predictable and aware of surroundings pedestrians become where there's no threat of death by automobile.

And going the other way, cyclists become the not infrequently inconsiderate and too-fast-for conditions threat, exactly recreating driver behavior in miniature.

It's true that current traffic laws are "autonormative" but even without cars, efficient cycling at a user volume displacing even a fraction of car trips wouldn't be safe without some sort of norms and shared expectations of how "traffic" works - just see all the MUP conflict threads and realize that's pretty much driven by the recreational traffic volume, not people actually trying to go anywhere for a purpose.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-21-21 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 06-22-21, 04:43 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
The reality of existing car free settings casts doubt on that belief.

Consider for example how less predictable and aware of surroundings pedestrians become where there's no threat of death by automobile.

And going the other way, cyclists become the not infrequently inconsiderate and too-fast-for conditions threat, exactly recreating driver behavior in miniature.

It's true that current traffic laws are "autonormative" but even without cars, efficient cycling at a user volume displacing even a fraction of car trips wouldn't be safe without some sort of norms and shared expectations of how "traffic" works - just see all the MUP conflict threads and realize that's pretty much driven by the recreational traffic volume, not people actually trying to go anywhere for a purpose.

No one's saying that there would be no rules, but they would be simpler and more flexible. Cars move faster, are harder to stop, have well-known blind spots, and the consequences of incidental impact are much worse. Most of the traffic rules are predicated to some extent on those factors.
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Old 06-22-21, 07:29 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
The reality of existing car free settings casts doubt on that belief.

Consider for example how less predictable and aware of surroundings pedestrians become where there's no threat of death by automobile.

And going the other way, cyclists become the not infrequently inconsiderate and too-fast-for conditions threat, exactly recreating driver behavior in miniature.

It's true that current traffic laws are "autonormative" but even without cars, efficient cycling at a user volume displacing even a fraction of car trips wouldn't be safe without some sort of norms and shared expectations of how "traffic" works - just see all the MUP conflict threads and realize that's pretty much driven by the recreational traffic volume, not people actually trying to go anywhere for a purpose.
I think this was in some ways demonstrated in some cities during lockdown. But let's face it, that was a new situation.

What about areas where pedestrians and cyclists regularly "engage," such as Amsterdam, or Copenhagen. Certainly some "traffic normals" have evolved in those places... Just what is the death/injury rate for peds in those areas? And even if there are a few collisions... mass and speed dictate that the "survivability rate," over that of an automobile collision, will be higher for those involved.
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Old 06-22-21, 08:33 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
What about areas where pedestrians and cyclists regularly "engage," such as Amsterdam, or Copenhagen. Certainly some "traffic normals" have evolved in those places...
Look at the videos and see how slow that bike traffic is. And they're obeying the lights.

So sure, if people ride at jogging speed - and obey vehicle style traffic laws - it works.

What that really demonstrates is that car free settings aren't utopian free for all's.

They still have rules. And ironically, cyclists end up going slower than they do when riding with cars - and buy bikes built for such slow usage.

The interests of a cyclist trying to really go somewhere on a road and those of a driver aren't all that different. The cyclist is slower and more volnerable, but what they're trying to do isn't that different. Neither wants stop and go or unpredictable intrusions in their path.
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Old 06-22-21, 10:19 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No one's saying that there would be no rules, but they would be simpler and more flexible. Cars move faster, are harder to stop, have well-known blind spots, and the consequences of incidental impact are much worse. Most of the traffic rules are predicated to some extent on those factors.
To take a specific example, I have real doubts about the viability of an Idaho stop in a place such as where Manhattan where large numbers of people get around by walking.

It just stretches too readily to pedestrians having to defer to bikes in situations where the pedestrians are supposed to have right of way as the light is in their favor. Certainly see enough of that already in city centers where there isn't an Idaho stop law and the cyclists are not just violating pedestrian right of way, but breaking the law to proceed at all.

That's not to say it wouldn't be nice in low density settings or hours - the problem is that laws are blunt instruments so contemplating changing them hits "give an inch, take a mile" concerns.

In the supposed urban cycling utopias the cyclist pedestrian interplay seems to be more regimented not less. And far from being free to keep going unsubject to rules written for cars, cycle traffic actually ends up slower.

Where the Idaho stop thing actually works is rural and town/small city settings where non-car user volumes are low enough that pedestrians and cyclists are mostly dealing with cars, rather than each other. Even there its not infrequent that there's perfect gap in traffic for something like a vehicular left, but can't take it because there's a pedestrian crossing the target street. Those are the rules, and with good reason.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-22-21 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 06-22-21, 11:21 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Climbing through Easton to an ill-chosen hotel far off the D&L I recall seeing a sign along the lines of

"Rolling stops: $125. Actual stops: still free. Your choice"​​​​​
Was "Speeding Up" an option on that menu?
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Old 06-22-21, 01:13 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
The reality of existing car free settings casts doubt on that belief.

Consider for example how less predictable and aware of surroundings pedestrians become where there's no threat of death by automobile.

And going the other way, cyclists become the not infrequently inconsiderate and too-fast-for conditions threat, exactly recreating driver behavior in miniature.

It's true that current traffic laws are "autonormative" but even without cars, efficient cycling at a user volume displacing even a fraction of car trips wouldn't be safe without some sort of norms and shared expectations of how "traffic" works - just see all the MUP conflict threads and realize that's pretty much driven by the recreational traffic volume, not people actually trying to go anywhere for a purpose.
Indeed, this can be observed in places such as train stations and large shopping centers. People mill around, and even occasionally bump into one another, apologize, and keep going.

At the other extreme, if two cars even so much as touch one another, it becomes a matter for the police and insurance.

Bikes are somewhere in between. Surely, some rules are needed, but probably not very many. I can't imagine cycling without at least a convention on which side to pass on. I'd love to live in a world where bike traffic is a problem.
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Old 06-22-21, 01:19 PM
  #38  
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Indeed... but bike v. bike and ped v. ped are the easy cases.

It's situations of crossing bike and pedestrian trips at non-trivial volume which are hard to make fair. Once there aren't many natural gaps in the flows they easily degrade to either pedestrian intimidation, or mounted progress being all but impossible.
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Old 06-22-21, 06:06 PM
  #39  
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Hmmm...

We have a few 100% T intersections with lights. And, at the top of the T, it doesn't impact bicycles in a bike lane one bit. What the cities should do is draw a straight line for the bike path across the intersection to denote the light doesn't impact the bikes. Perhaps mark "Bikes Yield" on the pavement.

WATCH OUT FOR TRUCKS?

There is a similar T + driveway in Springfield that I regularly pass, and I usually stop, but find it a bit annoying, especially if I go through there in the evening when all vehicles around me are clearly visible.

Unclipping isn't the worst thing in the world. I'll do it on occasion.
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Old 06-22-21, 07:04 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
Of course there are lots of threads and opinions here about the behavior of cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, etc.
I had an interesting experience today which I honestly don't know what to think about.
I was riding northbound through Sausalito, in a bike lane, going approx 20. I had a red in front of me that had just turned red, but the road to the right was just the entry to a parking lot, essentially. Honestly I didn't want to unclip so I slowed, turn right, went about 100' up the parking lot entry road, looked over my shoulder, made a u-turn, and then a right back onto the main road.

About 15 seconds later, a motorcycle officer pulled in front of me and signaled me over.

He asked if I knew why I was there, I said I wasn't sure but maybe he didn't like the u-turn? He said no, the u-turn was fine - you went far enough up the road - but you ran two red lights. He then asked where I was from (San Francisco) at which point he gave me a very long lecture about law and order. The basic theme was: in this town, we care about law and order and safety unlike in the nasty big city where the cops have too much to do and don't enforce basic laws. His entire responsibility is pulling over cyclists, because "the people of this town don't feel safe on the roads they built with their taxpayer dollars because of cyclists that don't obey the law." I listened, discussed with him briefly, and about 15 minutes later (it was a long lecture!) went along my way. He didn't cite me for anything.

So, yes, in California a bike must come to a stop before a right turn on red. I don't believe we have any version of the idaho yield. But I can't imagine a more victimless crime here. It wasn't even a full intersection, and there were zero cars coming out of the parking lot entry... and there was a bike lane on the main road so it's not like I turned out into traffic.

What does everyone think? Horrible behavior on my part to turn on red at 10mph (if that!) into and out of a parking lot access road? I mean, laws are laws. I get it. Slippery slope. But I suppose I've always believed that things like jaywalking, speeding, and incomplete stops when there are literally no vehicles nearby to be impacted are acceptable compromises between the law and expediency.
If you jaywalk enough times you will and should eventually get stopped for it. Same with speeding on an empty road or rolling through stops in a quiet area.
You don’t get to choose which laws to obey and at what times.
The silliest part of this passive-aggressive rant though is the reason for breaking the law. Didn’t feel like unclipping?
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Old 06-22-21, 08:02 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
If you jaywalk enough times you will and should eventually get stopped for it.
No you should not! Jaywalking shouldn’t a crime in the first place. Streets are for people, and people can figure out when to cross a street, instead we criminalized walking. Jaywalking laws where put in place because rich automobile drivers and car corporations where annoyed that lower class people where in their way, ‘jay’ was a disparaging term for a someone who lived in the country, now they’re used disproportionately against black people. Completely eliminating jaywalking laws won’t lead to chaos, but will mean fewer interactions between citizens minding their own business and law enforcement.
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Old 06-22-21, 08:33 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
No you should not! Jaywalking shouldn’t a crime in the first place. Streets are for people, and people can figure out when to cross a street, instead we criminalized walking. Jaywalking laws where put in place because rich automobile drivers and car corporations where annoyed that lower class people where in their way, ‘jay’ was a disparaging term for a someone who lived in the country, now they’re used disproportionately against black people. Completely eliminating jaywalking laws won’t lead to chaos, but will mean fewer interactions between citizens minding their own business and law enforcement.
If streets are for people, what are sidewalks for?
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Old 06-22-21, 11:22 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
No you should not! Jaywalking shouldn’t a crime in the first place.
You know what other party jawalking and similar spur-of-the-moment pedestrian activity is most dangerous to?

Cyclists.
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Old 06-23-21, 09:02 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
As long as no cars are coming from either direction...I run through red lights all of the time with my bike.
Then again...I live in a place where the police don't care about such frivolous stuff.
Same here; I see a cop about once a month when cycling. In a city, the only thing I'd have done differently is to slow to an "almost stop," so you essentially stop but don't need to unclip. It communicates that you take the stop light (or sign) seriously, but it's obvious to any onlookers why you didn't put your foot down. You can actually stop, but only for an instant, without unclipping; and explain to the cop that that's what you did.
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Old 06-23-21, 09:15 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
If streets are for people, what are sidewalks for?
clearly, for cars to transition from the public right of way to private property with parking lots and parking garages!
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Old 06-27-21, 09:12 AM
  #46  
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Although I ran red lights infrequently (when I was on two wheels), my local police always looked the other way when I did.
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