Should the Rules of the Road Be Amended for Cyclists?

bike_stop.jpgVia Carectomy, a San Francisco CBS affiliate reports that the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission is considering whether to revise the rules of the road to better accommodate cyclists. The changes would make it legal for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and stoplights as stop signs.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Carectomy commentary comes down against the idea, saying the change would merely reflect how cyclists already behave, and that more tangible steps are necessary. While there’s no denying that better infrastructure for bikes would bolster cycling more than a rule change (and would cut down on ped-bike infighting), a logical legal framework is nothing to sneeze at.

The way things stand in California, New York and the rest of the U.S. — except Idaho
— countless cyclists are scofflaws according to the letter of the law.
Who sits at a red light for a full cycle after coming to a stop and seeing the coast is clear both ways? Even if the cyclist is not issued a summons
(likely, though no guarantee), this safe and reasonable choice is
still stigmatized. Changing the rules would legitimize normal cycling
behavior, and, as the San Francisco Bay Guardian pointed out last month, make cyclists’ decisions more predictable for all parties involved.

It
would also acknowledge, in a codified manner, some of the fundamental
differences between bikes and cars. Namely, that a person on a bike
poses far less risk to those nearby, and can maneuver more easily, than
a person encased within a multi-ton vehicle.

Photo: BikePortland/Flickr

  • Larry Littlefield

    Jaywalking is also illegal but common. At the same slow speed, perhaps this should be referred to as “jaybiking.”

  • Yes, yes, yes, it makes sense, at least in Manhattan where I ride, for all the reasons you mention, and more:

    It’s not just that *cyclists* are “scofflaws,” but so are virtually all the cops! They themselves make the very reasonable (and appreciated) decision not to ticket me as I carefully proceed through red lights. If the cops ignore the technicality just as much as cyclists do, then the law itself is being disrespected! Change the law to something that makes sense.

    When cops DO run a rare crackdown on bikes running lights or signs, cyclists complain! And they should!

    Also, cyclists deserve a little reward for their more socially responsible choice of transportation. Allowing them to proceed cautiously through intersections would give them a little advantage and reward they deserve.

    That last part surely sounds a bit self-righteous, but I totally mean it.

    Peds will surely complain that “cyclists are bad enough already, the way they tear through intersections.” But every NYC cyclist knows that those cyclists about whom peds complain are not representative of all or most cyclists. They are a visible, memorable minority of ASSHOLES, on whom NO laws or reasonable sense of safety make any impression.

  • More flexibility for cyclists’ rights in proceeding through intersections would also help make motorists more cautious and alert. Good for everyone.

  • mfs

    Sounds neat, but my concern is how to communicate this to cars that they are always supposed to yield to bikes at stop signs?

  • Do cars really want us to wait at red lights with them anyway? My experience is that motorists really love to gun it at green lights – who wants a pesky cyclist slowing them down? Of course, motorists shouldn’t be “gunning it” anywhere – but that is another story.

  • Jim

    I’m a cyclist, pedestrian and driver who worries about this.

    I’m not sure that the cyclists who whiz dangerously through red lights are just a “minority of assholes” — I see it too often, from riders of all types (delivery, competitive, leisure, commuting). I’ve been arguing for years that there should be more enforcement of existing law. Now we’d go the other direction and erode the law itself? Look for more struck pedestrians and more mashed cyclists, thanks to people whose halfway understanding of the new law will make them think they don’t have to stop at all.

    Also — my whole life I’ve watched cyclists battle to assert their “equal” right to the roadways. If they don’t remain equal under the law — in both right *and* responsibility — no element of the equality will survive. Look for more resentment and fighting of something like this passes.

  • Peter

    Who sits at a red light for a full cycle after coming to a stop and seeing the coast is clear both ways?

    I do.

  • I have to agree with Jim, to some extent. A lot of Manhattan cyclists tend to crap on pedestrians the same way cars crap on them — not yielding, riding quickly up sidewalks. Worse, I’ve come really close to being hit on several occasions by cyclists going the wrong way on a one-way street. On the other hand, I’ve watched many a cyclist vainly try to assert his/her right of way at a green light, only to be stopped completely by dozens of red light-crossing pedestrians.

  • john deere

    Sigh . . . this same tired proposal was aired last year in the Alex Marshall piece. In short, what is being asked is to codify the risk-taking behavior of some cyclists. What’s amazing is how many times one reads in Streetsblog and other liveable streets fora about how “dangerous” the streets are for cycling, then we get these proposals which codify behaviors that will make traffic less predictable, and which legalize some of the very cycling behaviors that make cycling less safe. Really, it’s quite surprising to see this kind of lowest common denominator thinking coming from organizations which claim to speak for cyclists. And no, not all cyclists around the country behave the way that this post claims they behave.

    If you want to make cycling laws which are more progressive and cyclist-friendly, how about a push for changing New York State VTL language which marginalize cyclists, like “ride at the far right edge of the road”. Other municipalities around the country write laws which interpret “ride on the right” to explicitly state that cyclists can take the full lane like any other vehicle. Instead, Streetsblog gives us half-baked proposals which exempt cyclists from rules that we ourselves expect everyone else to follow.

    And yes, ddartley, you are being self-righteous. Should people who choose hybrids, fuel efficient cars, or motorcycles which are fuel and space efficient be given similar exemptions to traffic law because they are “more socially responsible”.

  • i agree with Jim
    well said

  • It is safer for a cyclist to run through a red light once peds and cars are clear, and I am not talking about blowing the light. It is way safer to pass a block or two without cars than waiting for the light change and drag racing cars and trucks who are jockeying for position at the next red light. I will take the ticket without complaint, for now, as the price of safety.

    And yes John Deere, we cyclists are more “socially responsible” than a hybrid or scooter etc.

  • Doug

    These cars-versus-cyclists-versus pedestrians arguments are always so predictable and as old as the Internet. Everyone puts up claims of law-breaking cyclists running rampant throughout the city, as if their chance encounter with a bad cyclist is the be all and end all of the discussion.

    But personal, anecdotal experience is not the same as hard and fast statistics. In the past year, and in fact for quite some time, not one pedestrian has been killed by a cyclist who ran a red light, ignored a stop sign, jumped a sidewalk, went the wrong way down a one-way street, or otherwise rode where he was not supposed to. Despite a virtual war between cyclists and walkers and runners in the park, as was described by New York magazine, there have been no reported fatalities as a result of racing pelotons, training triathletes, or kids on BMX bikes striking a person on foot. Yet cars have killed cyclists AND pedestrians by doing much of the above many times over.

    That’s not to say that one’s personal experience isn’t important, and that there haven’t been pedestrians injured or threatened by irresponsible cyclists, or that a lot of people on bikes aren’t self-entitled blowhards. Those people tend to get the most attention, as would anyone who causes the most trouble or acts like the biggest jerk. (After all, do we notice the thousands upon thousands of cars per day that stop at red lights or the one or that runs through it? Which makes us angrier? The cars that park in legal spots or the relative few that park in bike lanes?) Things get magnified out of proportion in heated blog comment wars. There are jerky cyclists out there, no question, but their influence over the lives and fears of innocent pedestrians seems largely overblown. I’m not sure we’re facing an epidemic of red-light-running cyclists, even if you have seen a few run a red light.

    I think pedestrians take their anger out on cyclists in online forums because it’s a low-hanging fruit: a guy or gal in a dorky looking helmet – who’s possibly wearing spandex – is an easier and less threatening target than someone behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound tank.

    We do need to reexamine the hierarchy in this town. Right now it stands like this. Cars first, then peds, then bikes. It out to be peds first, then bikes, then cars. But before we can do that, pedestrians and cyclists need to see that they are allies, not enemies, in making this city safer, cleaner, and easier to get around.

  • Doug, well said!

  • Sounds like a folly. NYC is full of bicyclists who flout the traffic laws, riding against traffic, blowing through lights, etc. Change the laws, even a little, to accommodate this?

    As a bicyclist for over 35 years, I’ve been following the traffic regs. Have I been a sucker all this time?

    OTOH, I’ve repeatedly stepped off the curb, with the light, looking down a one-way street for cars, and been nearly blown away by bicyclistd disobeying the traffic regs.

    Complaining to the bicyclist results in a fusillade of curses from him, and then me.

    Sure, let’s recalibrate the traffic regs and make it easier to bicyclists to mow down pedestrians. Surrrrrrre.

    http://www.forgotten-ny.com

  • ddartley,
    I wouldn’t say that the law is being disrespected when bikers ignore lights and the police choose not to ticket them. The point of the rules of the road is to keep traffic moving in a safe way, and the blunt, one-size-fits-all approach of the law only works because the police enjoy a great deal of discretion in how to apply it. If a biker commits a violation without endangering or inconveniencing anyone, then the police act in the spirit of the law when they let it pass. Ticketing the biker (with the police car parked in the bike lane, no doubt) might actually be more disruptive than the original violation.

  • john deere

    well, I observe cyclists blowing the light a lot–every day. It’s pretty common behavior. Since “it’s common behavior” seems to be the the major justification for altering how intersections work, why don’t we just make it legal? Heck, going 45 in a 30mph zone is common. Why don’t we make that legal too.
    Smoking in restaurants was pretty common, until they made that illegal, at least in NYC. Since it was so common, maybe it should be brought back.
    What this really is; cyclists wanting to have it both ways, making a separate standard for themselves, that is a lower standard than they expect from others.

  • >>>I think pedestrians take their anger out on cyclists in online forums because it’s a low-hanging fruit: a guy or gal in a dorky looking helmet – who’s possibly wearing spandex – is an easier and less threatening target than someone behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound tank.

  • Ach…no cut and pasting of previous comments in here, I guess.

    My point was that the “tanks” actually stop for red lights and obey traffic regs, allowing me to cross the street unharmed. Not all bicyclists will deign to do this.

    http://www.forgotten-ny.com

  • john deere

    Doug,
    According to the NYC DOHMH Report “Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City”, 11 pedestrians were killed in collisions with cyclists between 1996 & 2005. While that’s far fewer than the number killed by motor vehicles, it does refute the “bikes are not motor vehicles” assertion. A bike is very much like a vehicle in that it can be operated in a manner that can kill or maim someone else. Not to mention that most research points to at least half of all fatal bike crashes are caused by cyclist error (the DOHMH report puts it as 42% cyclist error, & 36% as combined cyclist/driver error). Much of cyclist error involves ignoring traffic laws.

  • “What this really is; cyclists wanting to have it both ways, making a separate standard for themselves, that is a lower standard than they expect from others.”

    I think this would be tough to find argument with, and I think you are right. I should toe this mark. Now consider that if I expect nothing but the worst from car drivers, why am I always amazed when they U-turn right in my path, swerve into me to avoid a pothole, or to just show me they are bigger. Why is it car drivers never cease to amaze me in their selfishness or downright dangerous behavior just to get to the half block away red light?
    Because they do it, does that mean I can? No. I dont believe that, I really hate Bike Lane Salmon (thanks bikesnob) and side walk riders. But it is safer to run those lights than to sit, and buzzing peds isn’t included in that.

  • Does anyone actually believe that major changes like those discussed here could actually pass in Albany? Maybe we should think about small changes instead, such as the timing of traffic lights. It seems crazy to me that walk signals and lights for cars change at the same time. Like this, cars barge into intersections in order to make a turn before pedestrians get into the crossing, and pedestrians and bikers cross against the light in order to clear the intersection before cars barge into it. Everybody is behaving rationally, yet everyone is breaking the law.

    Here are a few simple suggestions that might result in more people behaving lawfully:

    1. Change the timing of walk signals to give pedestrians a head start of five seconds or so, just enough make sure that drivers understand that they won’t be able to beat the pedestrians when making a turn.

    2. Give drivers a few extra seconds to clear the intersection after the walk signal turns red.

    3. Bikes follow the walk signal. In other words, they get a head start, but they also have to clear the intersection well before the main light turns red.

    4. Choose a timing that favors an average speed of 20mph or so, so that a fast biker can surf on a green wave and feel less tempted to run a light.

    Any thoughts?

  • Doug

    I stand corrected on the bike v. pedestrian fatalities, but I would like to point out that I never said that a bike is not or should not be considered a motor vehicle. All I said is that the threat from bicycles seems overblown. To read blogs any time a bike-related accident or event is mentioned (or, really, merely when the word “bike” is mentioned) you’d think pedestrians were getting mowed down daily. I put bikes and Park Slope mommies in the same category: things that make the blogosphere apoplectic.

    So, yes, 11 pedestrians died in a ten year period and I would not want to minimize any pedestrian death nor wash away the responsibility of cyclists to observe laws. However, in that same study it notes that “Between 1996 and 2003,a total of 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes with motor vehicles.” Also, “Between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists died in crashes.”

    The survey is an interesting read, and can be picked apart to to suit many sides of this argument. All I am saying is that we ought not exaggerate the plague of scofflaw cyclists terrorizing this city’s streets.

  • anonymouse

    A bike is NOT a motor vehicle, though. A motor vehicle operator has to move his foot an inch to get from zero to 55. A cyclist has to expend a whole lot more energy to accomplish the same. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and traffic lights as “proceed with extreme caution, yielding to any opposing traffic or pedestrians”. And if these laws pass, I would hope that the cops start enforcing them, and hard, because there really is a lot of ignorance and incompetence among cyclists about how to safely operate on city streets.

  • dporpentine

    I’m a year-round bike commuter. For a long time I’d stop at lights, look both ways, and go when it was clear. Now I wait the full cycle at every single light I hit on my 10 mile a day route.

    Making this change hasn’t added any appreciable time to my route (though it’s made my commuting time very predictable) and I usually end up passing 80% of the cyclists who blow the lights I wait at.

    So if it’s not faster, what’s the point?

  • al

    it can be legal for a bike to go through a red light, yield at a stop sign and go the wrong way down a one way street while still being -illegal- not to yield to pedestrians at corners

    i also question how often people here are saying ‘blow through a red light’ when they mean a cyclist slows down or stops to see if there is anyone coming and then goes through the light.

    and once again, not stopping at a red light (treating it as a stop sign) could be -illegal- while going through the intersection while the light is red is -legal-.

    i mean, really, it’s not that complicated to make rules that protect everyone while acknowledging that there is a difference between biking and driving. it doesn’t mean that cyclists get to do anything they want. it means that the laws are taking into consideration that biking is not just another way of motor vehicularing around town, it is a completely different form of transportation. trucks have some of their own traffic laws, but no one is claiming that cars get special treatment because they can ride in the left lane on the highway.

  • Cyclists are not motor vehicles.
    Cyclists are not pedestrians.

    Cyclists fall in between – and as such are typically left the scraps of the public right of way for getting about. (unless we are in suburbia – then peds have it worse as there are typically no places for them to move about safely)

    Can’t we find a way to legislate standards for safe, sensible operation of a simple machine powered and operated by a human?

  • John Deere, I didn’t think anyone here was going to need to be told outright that the subject of debate is NOT legalizing things just because they happen a lot.

    It’s been obvious throughout that there’s more to the proposal than “it’s common behavior;” no one has made that the center of the argument, so you can save your energy by not rebutting that.

    To repeat, it’s not just that the behavior is common, it is also widely condoned, putting the usefulness of the rules under suspicion (yes, Vroom, may be “the law is disrespected” is a bit excessive).

    As for your answer to my self-righteousness, there is more to the social responsibility of one’s transport choice than fuel and space efficiency. Consider just two consequences of a vehicle’s mass: road wear (paid for by everyone) and greater damage caused in collisions. Yeah, in the context of city streets, bikes are in a completely different class than hybrids, and that’s why I said they deserve preferential treatment. Jesus, cars have been getting preferential treatment for decades, if you didn’t notice. I am not trying to have it both ways, and I don’t think the story asks for that either.

    I also remember the Marshall piece from months back. I was less enthusiastic about his suggestions back then mainly because they seemed so much more unrealistic even just that short time ago. I am glad the idea of such rules changes is getting discussed.

  • I’ve always found the Idaho “slow-and-go” law compelling, but since it has been on the books for several years, at this point it ought to be a useful test case.

    Does anyone have any data on whether the Idaho law has had any impact on collision rates, bike mode share or bicyclist behavior (i.e. cyclists more closely following the more moderate law)?

  • Fendergal

    I’ve witnessed more flagrant red light-running in recent months and years. High speed. In big SUVs. (Of course, I have no idea if red light cameras are addressing this problem.)

    So when I coast through a red at 3 mph, I do not feel like a similar menace. At a red light, I will stop in front of the crosswalk, wait for the peds to cross, scoot to the other side and either wait for the light to change (if traffic is heavy) or roll through (if the coast is clear).

    I would like to say that with the increased popularity of bicycling, I see more idiotic behavior by cyclists. Blowing through lights, causing people to scatter left and right. While sporting iPod earbuds, cord dangling, riding on the sidewalk. No helmet, no lights at night, no gloves, no brakes (if on a fixed gear), no brains. I feel like the cranky old lady out there, telling people to slow down on the greenway.

    I sometimes wish that I could force these folks to undergo a basic cycling competency test.

  • Phil

    The less codified the better. However helmets should be mandated for all bicycling on streets. . .and enforced.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If they are going to enforce something, start with lights at night. The cops should ride around with them and, if the catch a cyclist without them, make the cyclist buy them at a mark-up. For their own good.

  • To echo Anonymouse, a bicyclist has 2% the weight and 0.2% the horsepower, and thus about 0.004% the motive force of an SUV. Those of us who slow down and yield, rather than stop, at stop signs violate the letter of laws created to regulate autos, I’d argue that we respect the intent of the law (i.e., slow, quiet traffic flow with orderly queueing). Just because we don’t trust drivers to drive politely and let one another in in traffic — which we might accomplish with, say, yield rather than stop signs — hardly means that pedestrians or bicyclists can’t be trusted with the same.

    Remember that stop signs and lights were invented (in Detroit, no less, in 1915 and 1920) in order to protect pedestrians, bicyclists, and horses (which had previously safely shared the streets without needing any controls) from car drivers. Our laws have been playing catch-up with ever more powerful cars for a century now: the progression from 20hp Model Ts to 500hp Porsche Cayennes nearly requires a stop sign/light every 300′ just to keep drivers from zooming through cities at 70 MPH. Meanwhile, bicyclists have really not gotten any faster in the past century.

    Complaints about bicyclists recklessly “blasting through” intersections or refusing to yield in crosswalks are irrelevant: even if this proposed legal change takes place, such behavior would still be criminal.

    I wish that the Idaho experience were generalizable, but unfortunately Idaho is too rural to be comparable in any real way to NYC or SF. Maybe the examples of cities like Freiburg, Germany (where many traffic signs say “except bicycles”) are more useful.

  • Jeremy Coloma

    Jaybiking. That’s a good one. Cops don’t even stop people for jaywalking. Well, i never really seen it. I’ve seen people jaywalk in front of cops and they never get caught. But anyway, maybe it would be a good thing to have these rules for cyclists. It’s for the best. I mean yeah you have to sit at the stop light for a full cycle, but i mean be patient. You do in a car anyway. Overall, if the rules make it safer, yes it should be changed.

  • I am a fan of equal laws for car and cyclists. It makes cyclists more predictable in the eyes of motorists.

    Rolling through stop signs is common where I live,however, for bikes and cars. I’ve noticed on my route that I tend to roll through the stop at about 5 mph or less, which is about the same speed that autos do it. In my opinion, this does not constitute a risk to public safety. I’ve never seen our police stop anyone for doing this.

    As to red lights, I will wait through the light unless it has a sensor which does not recognize my bike. In which case I wait until no cars are crossing to go. I think upgrading the sensors makes more sense than changing the laws.

    And yes, I am in the very small minority of cyclists in my town who obey traffic laws. Unfortunately.

  • John Deere: “we get these proposals which codify behaviors that will make traffic less predictable,”

    Ouch, John. Traffic isn’t “predictable” because it’s made up of humans. You need to collaborate with other road users and that means anticipating that they might not do what you expect them to. You can’t just rigidly do everything by the book. That leads to misunderstandings and crashes.

  • v

    i’m ‘an illegal’

  • gecko

    The rules should definitely be changed to eliminate the huge disparity in safety between cars and cyclists.

    The huge disparity in safety between cars and pedestrians should also be eliminated.

    The disparities in safety between cars and both cyclists and pedestrians is perhaps the most striking example of the “Structural Violence” (reference Paul Farmer, Founder of Partners in Health, author of “Pathologies of Power”) allowed to continue by the highly affluent and so-called “developed” world.

  • meg

    I am an avid bike fan, and have been meaning to get one for a while, esp. now that the city has become so bike friendly. But I am not for loosening the regs for bikers just because they already disobey them…rewarding the violation, so to speak. I can’t tell you how many countless times I’ve been almost hit by a bike while crossing with the light. One guy almost hit me as I was crossing a one-way: he was driving the wrong way down that one way and came literaly inches from me. As well, my dog has been almost hit by bikers speeding down sidewalks (the dog being to the side of me). The simple fact is that most bikers I’ve seen AREN’T respectful of the regs or of peds and I see no justification for rewarding their bad behavior.

  • Max Rockatansky

    Adequate bike infrastructure would eliminate many conflicts.

  • Anarcissie

    I believe it has been shown scientifically that it is safer for bicyclists to run red lights when the intersection is empty, than to wait for a green light. I am referring to a British study into why more women than men cyclists were killed at intersections in a certain type of crash — some of you may know of it. Men tended to break the rule, women tended to observe it, and when traffic piles up at a red light, they can’t see the cyclists and they’re impatient to get going again anyway. So a more dangerous situation is created when cyclists wait around for the light to change.

    I know mere facts will convince no one, but there it is.

  • gecko

    Passengers in cars are very well protected. It is only fair that this protection be extended to cyclists and pedestrians.

    Some of the protections come from the design of the vehicles which, in the case of cars have to be somewhat be in compliance with law like seat belts, air bags, etc., or, the possibility of liability for whoever made the vehicle, rules of design so to speak.

    Other protections come from rules of the road like speed limits, observance of stop lights and signs, right of way, etc.

    Passengers in automobiles have substantial amount of design-oriented safety protections.

    Passengers on bicyles and pedestrians have virtually no design protections and the rules of the road should be crafted to make up for this considerable deficit because lives are at stake.

    Automobiles can be designed for cyclist and pedestrian safety which could be in the form speed and acceleration governors that kick in when there are a cyclists and pedestrians nearby but, the most effective ways would probably include complete separation of cars from cyclists and pedestrians, or cars traveling at very low speeds (probably significantly less than 10 miles per hour) when cyclists and pedestrians (especially children and elderly) are nearby or are potentially nearby and can be injured. These rules of the road (and design of the road) would ultimately save a lot of lives and prevent the grave injuries caused by cars hitting cyclists and pedestrians.

    It is well acknowledged that the current practice of street design and the ways that cars use streets is extremely dangerous and the high mortality rate for pedestrians is not justified. A parent does not walk down a city sidewalk next to a street without holding the hand of a very young child because of the danger nearby. Elderly often need assistance is crossing streets.

    Laws require that cyclists exclusively use streets even though they lack the same protections that pedestrians lack. In fact, pedestrians traveling streets much like cyclists in streets are jaywalking and breaking the law.

    What is curious is the lack of sense of urgency or expediency in removing the life-threatening rules of the road and practices.

  • I think making the rules of the road more cyclist-friendly would make cyclists obey the rules more, not less.

  • iso

    Reading through the 40+ posts in this thread, I noticed a common thread among those who have spoken out against an update of traffic regulations to accommodate cyclists. First, that personal negative experience(s) with cyclists are often cited. Second, that without fail, every single last one of the examples describes a type of behavior that would still be illegal under the proposed change.

    The proposal is NOT to make it legal for cyclists to “blow through” stop signs and red lights, go the wrong way on one-way streets, or ride on the sidewalk.

    There are three types of cyclists with regards to this issue:

    1) A small minority who obey all traffic rules.
    2) An even smaller minority who act like complete assholes and engage in the type of behavior cited by the naysayers in this thread.
    3) The vast majority, who occasionally do things like roll through a stop when there are no pedestrians or cars in sight, or stop at a red light, wait for all traffic to pass, look around, and proceed through the intersection.

    Right now 2) and 3) are equally considered “law breakers” and can equally be subject to being ticketed by the police. Because perfectly reasonable behavior that most cyclists engage in is treated this way, some cyclists feel, quite naturally, alienated. Thus we have drivers, pedestrians, and a few cyclists lined up against 2) and 3) (and since these groups constitute the majority of cyclists, it creates an “us vs. them” mentality among cyclists and all other road users). The proposal that started this thread would bring 3), the majority of cyclists, onto the right side of the law, where they should be, while isolating 2), the jerks we should actually be worrying about.

  • gecko

    There is a level of absurdity in pedestrians complaining about cyclists as they are quite literally greater than 1000 times more likely to be killed by cars.

    Admittedly, those cyclists dangerously blowing through people-packed intersections jettisoning epithets typical of child abuse victims can roil the emotions, but the unimpassioned truth is that the dangers caused by cars is by far the real problem.

  • Tom

    I don’t “always” do anything. I sometimes stop at red lights and wait the full cycle. Sometimes I roll through after looking. What I never do is intentionally ride into an intersection with cars crossing. My behavior is always based on the situation. The problem with lights and stop signs is they are “dumb”. Dumb in the sense that they cannot process the thousands of variables that change from minute to minute. I unlike traffic lights have been given the ability to process this information by the Almighty. So, I will continue to exercise my natural right of self determination and pursuit of life, liberty and happiness and ignore the light if it happens to be wrong for my situation.

    I also don’t think there are many cyclists (even really stupid ones) that blatantly ignore stop lights and proceed through intersections without a care for cross traffic. At least they don’t do it many times.

  • dporpentine

    Anarcissie (#40):
    One study done one time in one country does not equal a situation generalizable around the globe at all times.

  • Nickster

    Because it is about safety for all no tjust the convenience of inexperieinced bikers who have toruble getting thier bikes back up to Tour de France speeds….maybe the rules should also restric tthe maximum speed bikes can travel at to 10 mph.

  • Ian Turner

    @fb2f0114ee25bb16ec2fa693bba3123e:disqus : Since automobiles seem to have a tendency to kill people about 4000X more often then bicycles (not hyperbole), perhaps it would be in the interest of safety to restrict the speed of cars and trucks to 10 mph. What do you think?

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