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Friday, May 9, 2014

Cyclists Should Be Able to Roll Through Stop Signs

Posted by on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Most of us do already. Vox argues that allowing cyclists to do so legally is actually safer—for cyclists and drivers:

For drivers, the idea of cyclists rolling through an intersection without fully stopping might sound dangerous—but because of their slower speed and wider field of vision (compared to cars), cyclists are generally able to assess whether there's oncoming traffic and make the right decision. Even law-abiding urban bikers already do this all the time: because of the worry that cars might not see a bike, cyclists habitually scan for oncoming traffic even at intersections where they don't have a stop sign so they can brake at the last second just in case.

There are even a few reasons why the Idaho stop might even make the roads safer than the status quo. In many cities, the low-traffic routes that are safer for bikes are the kinds of roads with many stop signs. Currently, some cyclists avoid these routes and take faster, higher-traffic streets. If the Idaho stop were legalized, it'd get cyclists off these faster streets and funnel the bikes on to safer, slower roads...

If all this sounds far-fetched to you, look at the data. Public health researcher Jason Meggs found that after Idaho started allowing bikers to do this in 1982, injuries resulting from bicycle accidents dropped. When he compared recent census data from Boise to Bakersfield and Sacramento, California—relatively similar-sized cities with comparable percentages of bikers, topographies, precipitation patterns, and street layouts—he found that Boise had 30.5 percent fewer accidents per bike commuter than Sacramento and 150 percent fewer than Bakersfield.

A cop stopped me in the U-District a few years ago after I failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. There was no traffic coming in either direction—and I had slowed down (my days of bombing through intersections are over). But the cop explained as he wrote me a ticket that I had to apply my brakes and come to a complete stop, take one foot off a pedal, and put that foot on the ground. That's a legal stop. I replied: That would be like telling a driver he had to put his car in park at a stop sign, take the keys out of the ignition, hold them out the window and jangle them. He handed me the ticket.

I've continued to roll through stop signs.

 

Comments (102) RSS

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1
Piffle, I absolutely disagree (and I've been riding in traffic in Seattle since the 70s.

I agree that putting your foot down at every stop is unnecessary and cops are better trained now than the one you encountered a few years ago, but predictability is key to effective traffic movement - that's why so many motorists are perpetually pissed at cyclists - two sets of rules doesn't serve predictability.
Posted by JAT on May 9, 2014 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Kinison 2
The corner of Boren and Pine is probably one of the most dangerous intersection in the city because bikes cruising down at high speed cant see around the corner. By the time they get near , its too late to break. Passing a law will make this intersection even more dangerous because cyclists will assume its legal to roll through the stop light.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on May 9, 2014 at 7:47 AM · Report this
3
As long as there is a distinction between stop SIGNS and stop LIGHTS, I'm all for it.
Posted by paulus22 on May 9, 2014 at 7:49 AM · Report this
4
and when a car is the only thing in sight at a 4 way stop sign or a stop light (if driving late at night, happens all the time), the car should be able to save the CO2 emissions and slowly roll on through, right ?
Posted by ChefJoe on May 9, 2014 at 7:51 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 5
Agreed, rolling stops should be legal. But to be fair - bicyclists also need to take seriously the pedestrian right of way in crosswalks. Disregarding the law for one type of traffic signal (however reasonable) erodes respect for others (less reasonable.)
Posted by Dr. Z on May 9, 2014 at 7:54 AM · Report this
6
So if a cyclist rolls through a stop sign and a motorist rolls through that cyclist, who would be responsible for the accident? How do you determine responsibility?

As a pedestrian in New York who doesn't own a car and occasionally cycles, I am continuously annoyed by cyclist who seem to believe their desire for momentum puts them above the rules of the road. I realize it's not all cyclist and probably not a majority, but it is a constant presences on the streets, and the biggest offense is rolling through stop signs and stop lights.

I'm not sure I believe the right solution is adapting the law to accept that cyclist are just going to be reckless - again, not all, but way to many - so it's up to the rest of us to accommodate them.

I get that actually stopping at every light breaks momentum and having to restart every block drains both efficiency and joy from cycling. I just don't care. The same is true for driving. We could save energy and reduce green house gasses by letting cars roll though stoplight and stop signs at a steady even pace. Let the cyclist and pedestrians get the hell out of their way. That doesn't make it a good idea.

Explain to me why prioritizing the efficiency, convenience and joy of cycles over the rest of us is good public policy?
Posted by East Coast Douglas on May 9, 2014 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 7
In bad weather, this is a particularly bad idea.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 9, 2014 at 8:07 AM · Report this
delirian 8
What if a driver stopped at a stop sign on a street with a bike lane on the right hand side. The driver then proceeds to turn right while a cyclist runs into the side of the car going straight and skipping the stop sign. Who is at fault?

What if a car stops at a four way stop and then proceeds to turn left. A cyclist coming the opposite direction skips the stop sign and runs into the car. Who is at fault?

I'd support this idea but only if the cyclist is always at fault for collisions caused when they skip the intersection and if they are required to slow down to 10 mph within 50 feet of the intersection and through the intersection (and have signs posted on low-visibility intersections that require cyclists to fully stop).
Posted by delirian on May 9, 2014 at 8:09 AM · Report this
10
I kind of agree with this, even as a (former) cyclist who unclipped at every stop sign. On an individual basis, you're pretty much always safer making the sign. But behaviorally, that battle has already been lost. I don't know if allowing the roll-through stop will make people safer - that seems like conjecture to me - but traffic enforcement could be more wisely used elsewhere.
Posted by Joel_are on May 9, 2014 at 8:17 AM · Report this
11
American communities are obsessed with putting stop signs on every corner. There aren't nearly as many in any other developed nation - certainly not in Europe, where most non-arterial intersections are left completely uncontrolled and people use common sense to yield to traffic coming from their right.

The vast majority of stop signs here should be replaced at each intersection by yield signs on the less-traveled street and removed altogether on the more-traveled street.

Until then, common sense should prevail and our laws changed to reflect both empirical data and the reality on the ground: it's safe in the vast majority of cases for cyclist to roll through stop signs, and cops should prioritize their limited resources on something besides harassing cyclists.
Posted by SuperSteve on May 9, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
DOUG. 12
I roll through stop signs. I'll also enter a clear intersection on a red light to get a jump on the traffic behind me.

I've been riding in Seattle for over 20 years and have never been hit by a car.

That U-District cop is an asshole who doesn't understand bicyclist safety.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on May 9, 2014 at 8:20 AM · Report this
CC-Rob 13
I agree with @1 Predictability is always desired in driving and sharing the road.
Posted by CC-Rob on May 9, 2014 at 8:20 AM · Report this
14
And I'll continue to call you a fucking dangerous idiot when you roll through that stop sign into pedestrians who have the right of way to cross there.
Posted by treehugger on May 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM · Report this
seandr 15
@delirian: What if a car stops at a four way stop and then proceeds to turn left. A cyclist coming the opposite direction skips the stop sign and runs into the car.

Why would the bike hit the car? It's traveling < 5 mph, so it can easily stop in time to let the car turn.

That said, I think this rule makes the most sense for empty intersections.
Posted by seandr on May 9, 2014 at 8:22 AM · Report this
rinohog 16
I am surprised by the number of people who are upset by this. The Idaho bike law requires that you treat stop lights like stop signs (aka, you have to completely stop and can only go if there is no one coming). Perhaps it's different in the big city where there are more people, but the Idaho stop allows motorists to not be held up by bicycles coming to a complete stop so it is generally well-received.
Posted by rinohog on May 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM · Report this
theophrastus 17
Vehicles should be able to ignore stoppage in a linear ratio to their environmental impact - it's all so obvious! For example.. an all electric car should only have to 'hint' at slowing whereas a hybrid needs to show definite intent.
Posted by theophrastus on May 9, 2014 at 8:24 AM · Report this
badstone 18
@16 that's how I bike. I never go the wrong way down one way streets, generally take up my lane and act like a car. If there's a car behind me I signal before I turn, not out of courtesy, but so the multiton metal object following doesn't hit me. Maybe non-cyclists don't understand, the moment you push off from a complete stop is the moment when you are most vulnerable, your balance is wobbly till you've got the wheels around once and it takes a real push of energy to get that momentum going.
Posted by badstone on May 9, 2014 at 8:33 AM · Report this
sloegin 19
Rides a fixie because it's a better workout. Rolls thru intersections because it's too much work.
Posted by sloegin on May 9, 2014 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 20
Nobody should wear helmets. Because it's actually safer.

Drivers should be allowed to open their door into a bike lane without looking. Because it's actually safer.

Drivers should be able to drink four beers before driving. Because it's actually safer.

Neat, huh? Just make a bullshit assertion, and then add "Because it's actually safer" to the end. Look at me, I'm Malcolm Fucking Gladwell! Up is down! Winter is summer! Everything is the opposite of what it is.

Because!
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on May 9, 2014 at 8:42 AM · Report this
tainte 21
share the road, man! but i'm not going to share your rules.
Posted by tainte on May 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM · Report this
22

I wholly agree...the most dangerous interface for a bike is a busy intersection with heavy traffic from all four directions.

If you follow the rules of cars, you're going to end up trying to do things like going straight while vehicles are making right hand turns...a source of many accidents and side swipes.

If you simply eyeball the traffic for an ebb to me that seems much safer.

Another thing I will do is during a red light, I will make a right turn up the cross street, then cross in the middle of the street and come back to the intersection (making a U-turn).

This reduces the complexity from 4 oncoming streams of traffic to 2.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 9, 2014 at 8:48 AM · Report this
ferret 23
I guess your anti authority behavior is just one step away from being part of the rag tag militia in Bunkerville, Nevada. Dan. You better start listening to more Country Music, and eat more fast food to get better prepared for the life of Liberty, Freedom and Psychosis, besides those brutal 100 plus degree summers..

The U District is just one big cash stream for SPD traffic enforcement..
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo hide on May 9, 2014 at 8:48 AM · Report this
24
What if both are wrong? The bicycle should slow to under 0.5 mph (yes it's not stopped but get real) and the cop who thinks you must put your foot down (my hand on the utility pole doesn't count?) should find something better to do.
Posted by MikeB on May 9, 2014 at 8:55 AM · Report this
25
@11 There are actually plenty of areas without stop signs or any traffic control on neighborhood side streets. Many, obviously not all, cars treat these intersections the same as green lights because they are used to being told when to stop, or think there won't be other traffic approaching the same intersection.

To others complaining about bikes not stopping at clear intersections: I hope you all are in favor of ticketing every car that does not come to a complete and full standstill at every stop sign. Because then you'd be just a tiny bit of a fucking hypocrite.
Posted by deign_to_say on May 9, 2014 at 8:57 AM · Report this
27
If we can limit the roll-through speed to 2 or 3mph and figure out how to enforce that restriction, sure.

But if you want 10mph roll-through for bikes, or if you want a law that gets in the way of ticketing for "bombing," as you call it, then hell no.
Posted by robotslave on May 9, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
28
More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority. They are doing the "right thing" by cycling, so that puts them above the rules of the road that apply to other vehicles.

Like the spandex-clad rider next to me on Dearborn the other day. He was in the right-turn-only lane and didn't want to turn right. So rather than move over to the thru-traffic lane, he simply sailed through the intersection from the right turn lane.

The only safe way for motorists and pedestrians to react around bicyclists is to always assume they will do something illegal, and then try to avoid a collision with them.
Posted by Citizen R on May 9, 2014 at 9:06 AM · Report this
tike0vitz 29
@6,8, & 20 Did you guys read the article or watch the video about the safety benefits at all? Or do you look at the headline and go straight to pulling your opinions right out of your ass?

Idaho has had this law on the books since 1987 and bike's colliding with cars are 30-150% lower than cities of comparable size and frequency of riders.

As far as this rule applying to cars, what you're thinking of is called a roundabout.
Posted by tike0vitz on May 9, 2014 at 9:07 AM · Report this
COMTE 30
@13:

Predictability may be desirable, but every person who travels on public roadways, whether driver, cyclist or pedestrian, already knows such a thing as predictability is nearly an oxymoron. I can't count the number of times I've been behind drivers who apparently have never been educated on the basic functions of turn signals; or watch cyclists attempt to skirt an increasingly narrow window between a turning vehicle and the curb; or had to slam on the brakes as pedestrians blithely enter a crosswalk against a red light, head buried in their cellphone.

The point is, predictability doesn't exist in the real world, and as a result everyone needs to practice a state of hyper-awareness, because you simply have no idea what the person ahead, to the side, or behind you is actually going to do at any given moment. So, IMO at least, allowing cyclists to practice this "Idaho stop" maneuver won't make that much difference, since I already have to assume every cyclist I encounter will roll the stop anyway, which as others have pointed out, is practically SOP as it is.
Posted by COMTE on May 9, 2014 at 9:07 AM · Report this
31
More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority. They are doing the "right thing" by cycling, so that puts them above the rules of the road that apply to other vehicles.


First of all, people walking and using body powered conveyances were here before cars.

Just like in the case of the Ship Canal, where 1000 motorists must wait if a large yacht comes through, in theory, pedestrians and bicyclists should have the right of way at every intersection, if logic were pushed to its extreme.

Think about the concept of "stopping" in general. There is no natural analog! People (or animals), before vehicles, did not walk, come to a point, stop, wait for cross traffic, then walk again. It's bizarre that all of us have been inculcated to do this most unnatural of things!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 9, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
32
If the idea is to incentivize bikes to take side streets, let's allow Idaho stops on those streets only. Maybe ban bikes on major roads during rush hour too.
Posted by wxPDX on May 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
34
Motorcycles are required to do "foot down" stops, and I've always interpreted the rule as applying to bikes, too. Back before my 6th bicycle got stolen, I obeyed the "foot down" rule - when I got a moped, I continued obeying it, now that I have a full-size motorcyle, I still do the same thing.

Note that this doesn't mean we're required to come to a complete stop. You can easily drop a foot momentarily while still rolling. Which is the whole point of the foot-down stop as opposed to the complete 3-second stop; it doesn't upset your balance.
Posted by Lack Thereof on May 9, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
35
People being against idaho stops strikes me as about as rational as people being against yield signs.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 9, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this
seandr 36
@28: More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority.

I assume you are new to the internet, because bike/car flame wars have been, after the millionth occurrence, officially declared the most boring thing in the universe.
Posted by seandr on May 9, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
tike0vitz 37
@28 False sense of moral superiority?

I can't think of anything more selfish than people transporting themselves and personal items that could easily fit in a bag on their back in a fossil fuel burning personal vehicle. After taking into account climate change, air pollution, increasing national debt, supporting regimes with terrible human rights violations, increasing congestion for vehicles transporting loads that require the convenience of a motor engine (i.e. ambulance, construction, etc.), not to mention the natural health benefits received by biking which would lower rates of chronic disease further reducing our nations debt.

It's all the more frustrating if the destination is less than 30 km away.
Posted by tike0vitz on May 9, 2014 at 9:42 AM · Report this
39
This reminds me of a pack of cyclists (around 30) riding around a local residential neighborhood, ignoring traffic signs and disrupting other vehicular traffic. A cop stopped them and gave everyone a ticket for running a stop sign, but this was after numerous complaints from the residents in the area.
Posted by bitwise on May 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
40
ITT: people who don't know what "Yield" means
Posted by the other one on May 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM · Report this
41
If you want to be considered a vehicle in traffic as a cyclist, you need to follow the laws applicable to vehicles, including stop signs.

Stop signs, like traffic signals, exist to ensure the safe and orderly travel of everyone by creating predictable traffic patterns. Violating the stop sign puts everyone around you at risk.

Now, if a cop pulled you over after you did it at an empty intersection with no cross traffic, then that cop was being a stupid knob that lacks common sense. But this is not a valid argument for doing it at any intersection at will. It's not just about your field of vision and safety... it's about everyone else's ability to anticipate your next actions and work around you to get where they're going. It's not just about you.

It's not just about you.
Posted by El Steven http://misterstevengomez.com on May 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
42
Dan - Your own post contains the biggest reason why this is bad.

"My days of bombing through intersections are over..."

But that's not the case for a lot of other bicyclists out there. I can't speak to Seattle, honestly, where bikes are more prevalent than here. Maybe (though from the comments, I doubt it) there's a greater sense of responsibility on the part of bikers and awareness on the part of automobile drivers up there, but out in the rest of the world, bikers not infrequently exhibit the schizophrenic attitude suggested by some posters: We have every right to use the road just like cars, but we don't have any responsibility to follow the rules like cars, because bikes.

So let's say we allow rolling stops. How does a policeman determine whether a person slowed down enough for a rolling stop or "bombed through the intersection"?
Posted by cowboyinbrla on May 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
43
Also, just because you did not personally see any cross traffic does not mean there was nor would have been no cross traffic that may have put you or them at risk by not anticipating your run of the stop sign.

(And of course we're taking you at your word that everything was exactly as you described. I realize your account is one side of the story.)
Posted by El Steven http://misterstevengomez.com on May 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
smajor82 44
@1 The data disagree with your opinion. The data aren't changing any time soon.
Posted by smajor82 on May 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM · Report this
tike0vitz 45
@41, 42

Once again people refuse to take into account new data when forming their opinions. The article and video showed from 17 years of applied practice in Idaho that rules like this decreased commute times for all traffic and lowered rates of bicycle accidents (significantly when compared to cities of similar size).

This is why we, as sentient organisms, can change the laws which we expect our community to live by to make them more efficient and fair for a greater majority.
Posted by tike0vitz on May 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 46
Once again, Dan knows how to generate comments. A few years ago, there might have been 100 by this time already.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 9, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Fnarf 47
This thread is hilarious. The outrage coming from people who read the headline and nothing else is classic.

No, the Idaho Stop doesn't mean you have carte blanche to blow through any intersection you come to; it applies to empty intersections only. Pedestrians are safe -- safer than they would be without this law. Cars are safer too. There is, in fact, no even slightly rational argument against it.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 48
I can't remember the last time a bicyclist stopped for me at a four-way stop when I was on foot. I always take my right-of-way, because fuck them, but typically the bicyclist looks very pissed off about it.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 49
@28- I bet there's a sign that says "right lane must turn right except bicycles". They're all over the place in Seattle, but the writing is small.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on May 9, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
smajor82 50
@41 Hence the point of the Idaho stop - it becomes the norm and everyone can anticipate it. Traffic allows for rolling through intersections in many places - they are indicated by Yield signs. The Idaho stop essentially makes all stops a yield for cyclists. It makes perfect sense.

Further, accelerating from rest on a bike takes a long time. Bicyclists at a stop in an intersection make the intersection very slow to clear as anyone making a right turn waits for them to cross. This increases congestion, which is a known risk factor for traffic accidents. The risks you mention, by contrast, are hypothetical, seeing as you don't seem to have any data to support them.

<\response to @41>

My opinion (which is taken from my anus, where I think many opinions come from) is that many motorists dislike bikers because bikers are getting exercise and not producing pollution, which makes drivers feel bad about themselves, which in turn causes them to direct their negative feelings at the perceived source, which in turn causes their minds to rationalize said negative feelings with something that is entirely about the bikers' behavior and nothing about their own.

That being said, all bikers are people, and many people are assholes.
Posted by smajor82 on May 9, 2014 at 10:47 AM · Report this
smajor82 52
@6 The same way you would in any other circumstance where there is a collision - consider the nature of the accident and make a call. Stop signs do not make assignment of fault in an accident easy. Also, the goal of traffic laws should be to reduce accidents and / or increase efficiency, not help assign blame when they occur.

@28 Great point. Motorists, by contrast, NEVER pull crap like that. Wait ... oh yeah, they do all the time. Maybe the problem is people in general, and whether they are on a bike or in a car doesn't matter much. I know that doesn't play into your irrational dislike for bikers (highlighted by your need to point out that the biker in your story wore spandex, which I bet you think is just so friggin stupid), but it's worth considering.
Posted by smajor82 on May 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 53
It's the best when someone popular in showbiz has an everyman problem.
Posted by Westlake, son! on May 9, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
54
Bike like everyone is trying to kill you and you will always be safe. Don't be an asshole, and make good judgement. If you can't, DARWINISM.
Posted by 2Old_Fred3 on May 9, 2014 at 11:05 AM · Report this
55
Rolling through stop signs should be legal on a bike. My only concerns are that it would require a ticket that would give a lot of discretion to the police (did you slow down enough? Was there a car close enough to require a full stop? etc) and that it might reinforce the false notion that bikes don't have to wait their turn at a stop sign. It is insane how frequently bikes roll intersections without stopping when there are cars lined up at the other stop signs in the intersection. You still have to wait until it is your side's turn to go...
Posted by brent.b on May 9, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
56
This makes sense to me, as long as the law still requires sensible, responsible behavior on the part of the cyclist, and still requires cyclists wait at red lights. It transfers some of the responsibility to the cyclists, too, because by proceeding without stopping, it's the cyclist's job to assess the traffic situation.

I'm so sick of the anti-bike driver lobby. It is very common that cars don't even come to a complete stop at stop signs, so get off your high horse. If you, a driver, think you always hit 0 before continuing, you're lying to yourself.
Posted by senzasord on May 9, 2014 at 11:32 AM · Report this
57
Maybe drivers vs cyclists is old and boring, but as a pedestrian that walks or runs everywhere, the legality of this terrifies me. I've had multiple occasions where a cyclist barreled through an intersection that I was crossing with the legal right of way and came with in seconds of hitting me. In every instance, they didn't stop to apologize for nearly hospitalizing/killing me. In fact, they acted like I was in their fucking way. Not to mention that no matter where I seem to run, I'm ALWAYS pissing off cyclists. Whether I'm in a tiny section clearly designated for pedestrians or fucking anywhere no matter what, I'm somehow always in the way of a shit head on a bicycle.
Posted by garbagehumper on May 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
58
As to all the "should drivers be allowed to do this?" the answer is yes. 4-way yields with the first arriving then vehicle to the right having the right-of-way are just as effective as 4-way stops, when people aren't morons.

As to "who is at fault?" the answer remains the cyclist if the car had the right-of-way. If the car was fully stopped at the stop sign when the cyclist approached, the cyclist has to stop. Same first-arriving then vehicle to the right hierarchy. If, on the other hand, the vehicle arrives after the cyclist has entered the intersection, and either chooses not to stop or to proceed from a stop before the intersection is clear - well, that is also the exact same law.

And pedestrians almost always have the right of way at intersections like this, so no "I didn't see you" from either group, okay?

Jeez people, Idaho's been doing this for *32 YEARS* and yet we still scream about how it won't work. It works, obviously. We have DECADES of evidence is works!
Posted by Ms. D on May 9, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
59
*that is also the exact same law we have now (that is, driver is at fault...you t-bone someone in a stop sign intersection, you're getting a ticket)
Posted by Ms. D on May 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
60
45.50. Also bear in mind the population and traffic in even the densest parts of Idaho is far lighter than in Seattle, plus the layout is not nearly as dense so visibility is far better. It's almost an apples and oranges comparison.
Posted by El Steven http://misterstevengomez.com on May 9, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
61
Yay! Reasoning by mood affiliation!
Posted by oxyala trio http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bernstein/shadowtime/wb-thesis.html on May 9, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
62
@44 Your statement is vague nearly to the point of meaninglessness. First of all "data" changes all the time. Secondly, I express a few opinions, which one do you mean? That putting a foot down is unnecessary? The predictability is key? That different rules don't further predictability? - those are not data-driven assertions. Perhaps it's that cops are better trained or pointing to a reason why motorists are perpetually pissed - okay show us some data, then.

Advance the discussion, don't just be a specious turn-of-phrase spouting douche.
Posted by JAT on May 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 64
@47

OK, joking aside. The stop sign is imperfect and there are arguments to replace stop signs with "take turns" signs, yields, roundabouts, traffic circles, or simply eliminating them and having unmarked intersections. But remember, no traffic device is perfect. You could get into arguments about any other traffic device as well, and cite studies that this or that change "reduced accidents". Except when you look at overall safety numbers, it really comes down to whether a society is wealthy, technologically advanced, and law-abiding. Not whether they favor stops or yields or have a lot of baked feets on der roods, as they say in that one country that urban progressives think does everything better.

And all of the above arguments against stop signs apply equally to cars as bikes. When you step back from the bike and look around at the big picture, the justification for special rules for bikes disappears.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on May 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
65
@60 - I think that just means it wouldn't make a difference as often. The point is that bikes are going slower and have a better field of vision, so they are much more likely to be able to safely determine that there is no need to stop (because the intersection is an empty four-way stop or whatever). In instances where there was other traffic or there wasn't adequate visibility, presumably bikes would be required to stop.
Posted by brent.b on May 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
66
@58
4-way yields with the first arriving then vehicle to the right having the right-of-way are just as effective as 4-way stops, when people aren't morons.


So, in other words, they aren't workable for cars?
Posted by brent.b on May 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
sissoucat 67
I've yet to hear about a bicycle rider getting a ticket in France. Same for pedestrians. In here, tickets happen to people with motor vehicles, not to people whose reckless behaviour can only endanger themselves.
Posted by sissoucat on May 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM · Report this
68
Many of these comments are ridiculous.

Why are there so many people concerned with how this might give cyclists the right to blow through intersections or disregard the right-of-way of others who are there first? The proposed rule only is applicable where the intersection is empty.

Why do some people think it is hypocritical to have different rules apply to bicycles? Different rules have always applied to different modes of transportation, including cars, scooters, motorcycles, large trucks, walking, and bicycles. This is not a new thing. It is based on seeking an optimal way for all these things in motion to share space.

And why are some equating changing this rule (that bikes must stop) to anarchy? A proposal to change a rule is the opposite of anarchy. Disregarding the rule would be anarchic.
Posted by dandan on May 9, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
69
@smajor82: I think you're over-psychoanalyzing anti-cyclist drivers. Honestly, I get EXACTLY why so many drivers are anti-cyclist; it's the same reason why so many car-drivers are anti-biker. Everyone in a car has had that moment in which they didn't see some crazy cyclist or biker and they almost had an accident. True, everyone has also had this moment with asshole drivers, but because they are a car-driver, they know for a fact that not all drivers are assholes. What's more, these near-accident experiences happen more often with motorcycles and bikes because bikes and motorcycles aren't prominent enough that drivers are always looking for them. It's a massive difference I realized when coming to college- because the infrastructure for bikes is so good here, everyone rides bikes and everyone is looking for them.

Now to address the main argument. The fact is, rolling stops on bikes are a lot like speeding in a car: everyone does it as long as there are no cops around because the laws are unreasonable. Just because that asshole who goes 100 mph in traffic is an asshole does not mean that our speed limits are arbitrarily low. Maybe it's different in Washington, but the freeways in California have speed limits of 65 most of the time. Which means that almost everyone goes 70 and is therefore breaking the law. This is basically analogous to rolling stops- everyone riding a bike already behaves this way, coasting up to the intersection, braking lightly, looking to see if anyone else is there, only coming to a complete stop if they need to. For example (one that happens all the time), I could see a 4-way stop ahead and start coasting, looking left and right; if I see one car on my left that is already stopped and no other cars at all, I know I can just coast through, since that person will be through the intersection by the time I get there. If there's a line of cars behind that person, I start braking properly because I know I'm going to have to take my turn like everyone else. Because bikes are supposed to follow the rules for cars, that process isn't legal right now. But I guarantee that the vast majority of bicyclists, even the responsible ones, are following it.
More...
Posted by alguna_rubia on May 9, 2014 at 12:44 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 70
It's a slippery slope - if law would allow people to not come to a complete stop at stop signs, MANY cyclists would not even slow down, blowing right through them and, in turn, getting hit.

#1 put it best, so I'll post what they wrote again: "Predictability is key to effective traffic movement - that's why so many motorists are perpetually pissed at cyclists - two sets of rules doesn't serve predictability."
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on May 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 71
@67,

Bicyclists can and do harm pedestrians.

@69,

Back when the max speed limit in California was 55, everyone drove 70. And I never saw anyone get pulled over for that. Hell, CHP would zoom by me when I was going 70. Changing the speed limit to 65 basically brought the limit up to what people were already doing.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM · Report this
72
If you're worried about this law (coming to a complete stop) may I recommend enforcing it by sitting at a particular intersection where I know people break this law all day long, every day?

It's the one with the stop sign at it.

If you don't know who to target for enforcement, start with the population of road users that is already responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths, injuries and property damage that results from breaking this law all day every day.
Posted by nullbull on May 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM · Report this
73
@71 - yes they can hurt peds. But do they and how much?
Posted by nullbull on May 9, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 74
On Broadway the other day I watched a guy on a bike pass a car that was turning right (and using their signal) on the cars right. He very nearly got himself killed. His reaction? Screaming at the driver lady, banging on her car, and spitting.

Moral of the story - some people are fucking idiots, and some people will fuck up a simple intersection crossing regardless of any law.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 9, 2014 at 1:23 PM · Report this
75
Differing transportation requires differing regulation.

Personally, I feel that it boils down to a necessary change in law, a recognition of current laws (pollution laws, current vehicular weight laws, etc.), common sense and practicality. Cars weigh several tons, while a bicycle weighs less than a human.

Why cyclists have to obey the same laws as cars is an archaic belief.

Polluters use the same air we breathe and they face strict regulations for doing so. Cars use the same roads as bicycles, but they are given the same regulations as cyclists. Why?

Cars and trucks must obey different laws because they are different sizes and weights. Why is size difference regulated, while vehicles of different classifications (and a larger difference in size existing between cars and bicycles) are expected to obey the same laws?

That's nonsense.

The U.S. is far behind on its regulation, and separation, of vehicular transportation. Laws that apply to vehicles are hardly applicable to bicycles...that's just common sense. It's time that the U.S. got its head out of its collective ass regarding vehicular regulation. One road hardly means the same laws for everyone, just like shared oxygen hardly means the same regulations for everyone needing air.

Technically, all bicycles are considered traffic. It is a cyclist's inherent right to use the entire road, if we so choose. It is a courtesy that we are confined to narrow, deadly, right-hand space that allows for vehicles to move more quickly in their vehicular privilege.

Cars are a privilege and never a right. A car can kill someone. Show me a list of fatalities for a bicycle, alone, with no other traffic.

I do find poor cyclists everywhere, just as there are poor drivers everywhere. Cyclists, for example, using sidewalks is a travesty and I hate it. As an 18 mile-a-day cycling commuter, I utterly frown upon cyclists using the sidewalk. It's called a "side walk" for a reason...it's for walking. Personally, I think cyclists need to be ticketed for doing so.

Again, it boils down to legislative change and a societal acceptance that differing transportation requires differing regulation.
More...
Posted by jevridon on May 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM · Report this
76
This is an awful idea. Riding a bike in Seattle is much different compared to riding in Idaho. Bicyclists are not above the law. Yes, putting your foot down for a full stop is a little bit extreme, but please, just stop your damn bike at stop signs, so that you don't get hit by a car. This would be bad for all stakeholders. Thank you
Posted by WH333 on May 9, 2014 at 1:32 PM · Report this
77
Differing transportation requires differing regulation.

Personally, I feel that it boils down to a necessary change in law, a recognition of current laws (pollution laws, current vehicular weight laws, etc.), common sense and practicality. Cars weigh several tons, while a bicycle weighs less than a human.

Why cyclists have to obey the same laws as cars is an archaic belief.

Polluters use the same air we breathe and they face strict regulations for doing so. Cars use the same roads as bicycles, but they are given the same regulations as cyclists. Why?

Cars and trucks must obey different laws because they are different sizes and weights. Why is size difference regulated, while vehicles of different classifications (and a larger difference in size existing between cars and bicycles) are expected to obey the same laws?

That's nonsense.

The U.S. is far behind on its regulation, and separation, of vehicular transportation. Laws that apply to vehicles are hardly applicable to bicycles...that's just common sense. It's time that the U.S. got its head out of its collective ass regarding vehicular regulation. One road hardly means the same laws for everyone, just like shared oxygen hardly means the same regulations for everyone needing air.

Technically, all bicycles are considered traffic. It is a cyclist's inherent right to use the entire road, if we so choose. It is a courtesy that we are confined to narrow, deadly, right-hand space that allows for vehicles to move more quickly in their vehicular privilege.

Cars are a privilege and never a right. A car can kill someone. Show me a list of fatalities for a bicycle, alone, with no other traffic.

I do find poor cyclists everywhere, just as there are poor drivers everywhere. Cyclists, for example, using sidewalks is a travesty and I hate it. As an 18 mile-a-day cycling commuter, I utterly frown upon cyclists using the sidewalk. It's called a "side walk" for a reason...it's for walking. Personally, I think cyclists need to be ticketed for doing so.

Again, it boils down to legislative change and a societal acceptance that differing transportation requires differing regulation.
More...
Posted by jevridon on May 9, 2014 at 1:32 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 78
@73,

My stepmother was put into a coma by a bike messenger in San Francisco. A bicyclist in San Francisco killed a guy: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/08/15…

Reckless bicyclists are not just a danger to themselves. Speaking as a driver who also walks a lot, my primary animus toward bicyclists is as a pedestrian.

When I'm driving, bicyclists tend to obey the law when dealing with me in a car, presumably because they don't want to die. When I'm walking, bicyclists treat me as badly or worse as drivers do. While I'm more likely to be cut off by drivers at a four-way stop when I'm trying to cross, that's largely due to sheer numbers. Bicyclists, in terms of percentages, are more likely to cut me off, in my experience.

Also, when I force the issue and take my right-of-way anyway, drivers will stop for me, even if it means blocking the intersection. Bicyclists NEVER stop. They choose instead to bike around me. I imagine slow-moving elderly people, in particular, get the short end in that equation.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
79
There is a side street close to my place that feeds into a larger street. There is a STOP sign for cars coming from the side street onto the larger street. If there are no cars on the larger street 90% of drivers roll through the STOP sign. Just sayin'
Posted by Pate on May 9, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
80
And probably about 95% of cyclists do the same. Same momentum logic for both cars and bikes.

4-way stops at the end of every residential block is stupid. And in general roundabouts are much safer and more efficient than 4-way stops.
Posted by Pate on May 9, 2014 at 2:06 PM · Report this
81
Let's be realistic here the only time most cars stop fully at signs when no other vehicles are present is if they can see an officer near by. I cycle commute every day and we aren't the only ones rolling through. That said we should all be more careful and mindful of each other instead of bickering about who's more righteous or deserving of a place on the road. We all make bad decisions sometimes be they on two wheels or four. We're all people with families that love us trying to get where we're going safely.
Posted by Pedrito on May 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 82
@78- So would your rather get hit by a car or a bike? No one has said it's impossible for a cyclist to hurt a pedestrian, but to pretend they pose the same danger as cars is absurd.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on May 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM · Report this
83
Nope, stupid jackass idea.

If you want to go faster with less effort, just drive a car. Being an entitled, unpredictable cyclist just makes you a road hazard. Most people don;t get mad at cyclists for being slow or having to wait behind them for a short time. They rage when cyclists decide to blow off the same rules that everyone else follows.

Don't be a moron. Stop for every stop sign no matter what you are riding. And if you are the author of this article, feel free to get hit by a mack truck next time you decide the rules don't apply to you.
Posted by I am Seattle on May 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM · Report this
treacle 84
*sigh* Thread Too Long. But yes, I agree: The Idaho Stop.

Bicycles should treat Stop SIGNS, as YIELD Signs, -- slow down, check for traffic, then go if clear.

and Stop LIGHTS, as Stop Signs. -- come to a stop, (or very near to it), check for traffic, then go if clear.

@1 - Two sets of rules DOES serve predictability, if everyone follows the rules. There are different rules for Cops cars and Ambulances, but that doesn't seem to confuse anyone.

Furthermore, I have been treated --multiple times-- to cars that stop "for" me while I have a stop sign and they do not. Most recently on MLK & Pike while I was crossing MLK via Pike which has a stop sign (MLK does not). They were being "nice", and confusing the fuck out of me and the cars behind them.

If cars want bikes to act predictably, and I agree bikes should be predictable. Then cars should also act predictably and follow the damn rules. It's a (ahem) two-way street.
Posted by treacle on May 9, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
85
Take your fucking turn. Go back to kindergarten if you can't. You aren't entitled because of your mode of transport. Oh, you walk and ride the bus to work? Might explain why I missed my bus transfer when the bus I was on sat through 2 light cycles to make a right. Constant jay walkers. One bitch actually looked up from her phone after others had honked, and continued waltzing through the crosswalk against a now green light driving her phone.
No one is there. Go. I get that. A free pass?
Do not compare Seattle to New York. You jaywalk without looking... your parents down play your suicide at the wake. You jay wall in without looking in Seattle... Pedestrians "have" the right of way.

Take your turn.
Posted by pussnboots on May 9, 2014 at 3:46 PM · Report this
86
I have no problem ticketing cyclists who break traffic laws.

But I also believe that the punishment should fit the crime.

Since traffic laws exist for the protection of other road users, and since a tenet of any reasonable justice system is that the punishment should fit the crime, cyclists ought to be fined proportionally to their ability to do damage.

How to compute that? A car at a given speed has something like 25 times the kinetic energy of a bike at the same speed, so the simplest answer would be to scale bike fines down by a factor of 25ish. A more data-driven approach might be to compare the risk of killing someone while operating a bike vs. a car--there the difference appears to be more like 10000 (and that's just from kinetic injuries, and doesn't count the fact that the driver of a car bears more responsibility for smog and global warming and sending troops to Iraq and whatnot).

Anyway. I'm all for treating cyclists as traffic, as long as the punishment fits the crime.
Posted by something on May 9, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 87
@82, way to miss the point.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 88
@85- You don't know what we're talking about. The proposed law change wouldn't give anyone a jump in line. It applies to intersections at which there is no other traffic.

@87- Explain it to me. I'm listening. Well, I'll check back Monday probably.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on May 9, 2014 at 4:57 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 90
@89 "I have been hit by both bicycles and cars"

You're doing something wrong.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
93
@78 I am very sorry for your stepmother, but according to traffic statistics about real accidents resulting in injury, property damage, or death, her circumstance is an incredibly tragic and unlikely exception.

In a world where our ability to enforce is not unlimited and violations are far, far greater in number than is safe for users of the road, we have to ask ourselves - where is the biggest problem? Not the newest problem or the most popular thing called a problem. The biggest problem. That is a question with a clear answer. Based on decades of stats about who is killing or hurting whom.

If every cyclist were a saint tomorrow, almost nothing would change. If every driver stopped texting, JUST TEXTING, thousands of lives would be saved in the next month.
Posted by nullbull on May 9, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
94
And tell your idiot cyclist friends to GTF off the sidewalks. There is literally a bike line two feet away every single time I've almost been run over by a douchebag on a bicycle while walking on the sidewalk.
Posted by treehugger on May 9, 2014 at 8:48 PM · Report this
95
There are many times when I come to an all-way stop (bicycling) with only one other car who either arrives slightly after me or at the same time but to my left. I have the right-of-way; should I come to a full and complete stop and cause a delay before the car can move off its stop line, or should I just roll through and save us both time and energy?
Posted by brockinnature on May 9, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
James6 96
A million fucking times no. Cyclists should follow the same rules that everyone else does, or everyone should be able to roll through stop signs and break all the same rules bicyclists do, and tickets for jaywalking should be eliminated.
Posted by James6 on May 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
ilikefood 97
I'm not really upset about having to stop at red lights. (I normally keep an eye on the changing light and get a head start on the cars behind me before my light goes green). However, I would LOVE to see our nanny state get rid of the helmet law and leave that choice up to the bike rider. Yes, when I'm taking a trip through downtown at rush hour, of course I'll wear my helmet. But on a hot afternoon, when I want to take quick trip to qfc using back streets, well, basically, fuck a helmet.
Posted by ilikefood on May 10, 2014 at 1:27 PM · Report this
98
I'm late to this party, but as a pedestrian 95% of the time in San Francisco, and having been stuck twice by bicyclists and having had about dozen of near misses with bicyclists, this idea of not stopping at stop signs is dangerous.

Furthermore, it is an example of the fucking elite, egocentric and 'morally superior' attitudes that plague many cyclists. This discussion is all about bikes vs cars - as if there are no pedestrians.

I hope to create a pedestrian pepper-spay army to defend ourselves against pig-headed drivers and bicyclists. You all suck.
Posted by GarySFBCN on May 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM · Report this
99
@93 What a bullshit post. Because drivers text, and some hooey uncited statistics, the risk of bicyclists plowing down a pedestrian is acceptable. Or something.

And your post was in response to someone whose stepmom was killed by a bicyclist.

Fucking pius POS.
Posted by GarySFBCN on May 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 100
How does pedestrian vs. cyclist vs. driver become a powderkeg forum topic? Do some (or all) of you live in some alternate universe mad max Seattle?
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 11, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
smajor82 102
@62 That was the best insult I think I've ever received. Unfortunately, while my statement was lacking in detail, it wasn't actually incorrect, so while "specious" was a fun word choice, you missed the mark a bit. You claim that "two sets of rules doesn't serve predictability" after asserting that predictability was the "key to effective traffic movement", implying that 2 sets of rules would make for less effective traffic movement. Well you have no evidence that 2 sets of rules leads to unpredictable traffic. Further, you are posting this to disagreee with a an opinion based on a study that showed that 2 sets of rules made for more effective traffic movement. So, as I said, the data disagree with your opinion.

I used the "any time soon" qualifier to indicate that yes, I understand that data change (data is a plural noun, so since I'm already a douche, I might as well point out that "data changes" is incorrect). So there.

Oh, and if you're going to go around calling people "douche" and insisting that they "advance the discussion", you shouldn't open posts with things like "piffle". It's quite the proverbial glass house, you know?
Posted by smajor82 on May 12, 2014 at 6:42 AM · Report this
103
Bad idea I already have had altercations with bike riders who want to blast through stops even though little old lady me was in the walking crosswalk and had the right of way. They yell and they get annoyed. I was not hiding, I did not jump out in front of them. Too many riders will take this as carte blanche to be bigger assholes than they already are. I want them to follow the RULES OF THE ROAD. A stop sign means stop.

I ride a bike, I can understand the wanting to not have to stop, I would like to keep cruising and not lose my momentum too, but when there is a stop sign you must stop, there are others using the road and they want a predictable controlled set of rules that everyone follows, makes things much easier and safer for everyone.
Posted by silverelf on May 12, 2014 at 8:18 AM · Report this
105
@102 So Specious was specious? Fuck!

I'll try harder next time.
thx
Posted by JAT on May 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
106
Way back up to @17:
I like that idea. But it is a really bad one for a few reasons. My fully loaded semi gets 6.5 miles per gallon and seems to be about the worst on the road but with the way you are looking at things it is one of the best on the road. Figured in Ton-Miles per gallon of fuel I am one of the most efficient vehicles on the road at 260. A Prius doesn't even come close to that efficiency. So under those rules I just get to pretty much roll right on thru the intersection (and everything in it). Besides having that high ton-miles rating, the exhaust from my truck is better than the air it takes in when traveling thru most major cities. So I should get a bonus from that. Sounds good to me.
Posted by Romial on May 12, 2014 at 3:49 PM · Report this
107
Wow..you can tell a lot of those people commenting don't ride a bike regularly. Bikes and cars are not the same kind of vehicle--applying the exact same rules would be stupid. Long-term, we should aim for totally separate infrastructure for both on any road 25MPH or more, and neighborhood and dense area speed limits need to be 20 MPH no tolerance..In the meantime, anyone on a bike knows it's ridiculous to come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless traffic is coming, and even more ridiculous to wait at a red light for a group of perpetually angry motorists to come behind and finally trigger the weight censors. If you didn't know that many stoplights throughout the USA cannot be triggered by the weight of a bicyclist, then you are in no position to be commenting on cyclists in cities. If you think that we should get off our bikes and press the crosswalk button to cross the street, go play in traffic.

To Jat and all those who feel the same way: motorists were angry long before cyclists came into the picture. They're angry at pedestrians, angry at other drivers, angry at cyclists. I get it: It's a stressful thing for economic, time and health reasons. But when a motorist gets angry, he puts everyone else's lives in danger--the same cannot be said for people on bikes, pedestrians or transit users. Furthermore, a motorist's biggest obstacle are other drivers--no turn signals, running red lights, making hasty left turns, driving drunk, speeding, taking up parking spots, double parking, slamming on brakes, driving and talking or shaving or eating at the same time.

The highest % of bicycle modal share in any American city is something like 5%, for most it's less than 1%. I wonder if motorists are angry because of, in most cities, the 3-5 cyclists they might see each day? Give me a break. A bicyclist does the same violations as a motorist and at worst he puts his own life in danger. These stories of cyclists mowing down pedestrians are so few and far between, and yet it's what drivers like to focus on. Oh and, these jerks on bikes who ride like that..would you rather have them drive cars, seriously? Guess what, 1,200,000 people died worldwide last year in car "accidents", and motorists keep complaining about a "war on cars" despite having the vast majority of transportation funds and systems dedicated to them at the expense of others, every year, in almost every country in the world. Get over it. If any other avoidable, inexcusable thing caused 35,000 deaths in the U.S. year after year, it would be labelled an epidemic. Cars cause them and it's OK simply because cyclists and pedestrians are seen as system-gaming freeloaders who won't follow the rules, when in reality everyone, driver or not, pays for road upkeep and cyclists are causing less wear and tear and less death and injury in a transport system that marginalizes and endangers them in nearly every metropolitan area in the country. WAKE UP. Oh and lastly, only a few nutjobs in the cycling community are trying to force everyone to ride bikes. We simply want everyone to be able to ride a bike for transportation without risking life and limb or being ridiculed, marginalized, or singled out by police and motorists for mistreatment. Do all of us who ride a bicycle a favor and pretend every cyclist is a friend, family member or loved one and get of your high horse of entitlement.

P.S. I drive a car, too.
More...
Posted by nathanbotas on May 12, 2014 at 3:52 PM · Report this
108
Wow..you can tell a lot of those people commenting don't ride a bike regularly. Bikes and cars are not the same kind of vehicle--applying the exact same rules would be stupid. Long-term, we should aim for totally separate infrastructure for both on any road 25MPH or more, and neighborhood and dense area speed limits need to be 20 MPH no tolerance..In the meantime, anyone on a bike knows it's ridiculous to come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless traffic is coming, and even more ridiculous to wait at a red light for a group of perpetually angry motorists to come behind and finally trigger the weight censors. If you didn't know that many stoplights throughout the USA cannot be triggered by the weight of a bicyclist, then you are in no position to be commenting on cyclists in cities. If you think that we should get off our bikes and press the crosswalk button to cross the street, go play in traffic.

To Jat and all those who feel the same way: motorists were angry long before cyclists came into the picture. They're angry at pedestrians, angry at other drivers, angry at cyclists. I get it: It's a stressful thing for economic, time and health reasons. But when a motorist gets angry, he puts everyone else's lives in danger--the same cannot be said for people on bikes, pedestrians or transit users. Furthermore, a motorist's biggest obstacle are other drivers--no turn signals, running red lights, making hasty left turns, driving drunk, speeding, taking up parking spots, double parking, slamming on brakes, driving and talking or shaving or eating at the same time.

The highest % of bicycle modal share in any American city is something like 5%, for most it's less than 1%. I wonder if motorists are angry because of, in most cities, the 3-5 cyclists they might see each day? Give me a break. A bicyclist does the same violations as a motorist and at worst he puts his own life in danger. These stories of cyclists mowing down pedestrians are so few and far between, and yet it's what drivers like to focus on. Oh and, these jerks on bikes who ride like that..would you rather have them drive cars, seriously? Guess what, 1,200,000 people died worldwide last year in car "accidents", and motorists keep complaining about a "war on cars" despite having the vast majority of transportation funds and systems dedicated to them at the expense of others, every year, in almost every country in the world. Get over it. If any other avoidable, inexcusable thing caused 35,000 deaths in the U.S. year after year, it would be labelled an epidemic. Cars cause them and it's OK simply because cyclists and pedestrians are seen as system-gaming freeloaders who won't follow the rules, when in reality everyone, driver or not, pays for road upkeep and cyclists are causing less wear and tear and less death and injury in a transport system that marginalizes and endangers them in nearly every metropolitan area in the country. WAKE UP. Oh and lastly, only a few nutjobs in the cycling community are trying to force everyone to ride bikes. We simply want everyone to be able to ride a bike for transportation without risking life and limb or being ridiculed, marginalized, or singled out by police and motorists for mistreatment. Do all of us who ride a bicycle a favor and pretend every cyclist is a friend, family member or loved one and get off your high horse of entitlement.

P.S. I drive a car, too.
More...
Posted by nathanbotas on May 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM · Report this
109
107 & 108 ftw despite the double post and humorous misuse of 'censors'. The roads were not designed for bikes, and the bicyclist deserves the benefit of some tweaking of traffic laws.
Posted by Micah on May 12, 2014 at 4:08 PM · Report this
111
@110: Do you really think cars and bicycles present similar levels of risk to the pedestrian?
Posted by Micah on May 12, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
112
@111, bikes seem to be able to damage each other pretty well, which stacks up well against the damage they can do to pedestrians. At least cars have more surface area than your average bike.

http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/05/1…
Posted by ChefJoe on May 12, 2014 at 7:39 PM · Report this
113
@112: As I suspect you know, I was not expecting anyone to give a straight answer since it seems clear to me that cars are much, much more dangerous than bicycles. Cars are much more powerful and carry much more kinetic energy. I googled for 1 minute and this was all I could find for bike on ped crashes: http://gothamist.com/2011/09/19/pedestri….

They found ~1000 injuries requiring a trip to the hospital per year in NY state.

In comparison, there are about that many pedestrian fatalities in just NYC per year from motor vehicle and around 10000 injuries. These vague stats are from

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/nyregi…

The only report of a bicycle killing a pedestrian I could find was the infamous case in San Francisco. The data is sparse, so it could be that there is an undocumented holocaust of peds done in by bicycles, but my naive assessment is that bicycles pose a threat for serious injury about an order of magnitude less than cars and essentially no risk of death to pedestrians in an urban environment.
Posted by Micah on May 13, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
114
OK, some more googling found this story:
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/04/05/…
which contains mention of a second bike-on-ped fatality in SF in 2001. Two documented fatalities. You know of any more, ChefJoe??
Posted by Micah on May 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this

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