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Predictibility and a call for new bike laws

Posted by on October 2nd, 2006 at 9:51 am

“Ride predictably!” is a common mantra from both motorists and bike safety advocates.

There’s a perception among non-cyclists that our behavior is at best terrifyingly confusing and at worst suicidal and malicious. Cyclists themselves even complain about near-misses with other bikers, particularly at intersections with stop signs.

Motorists, often enraged by road behavior that they perceive to be random and dangerous, respond with fear and sometimes violence.

Maybe the problem is not so much that bicyclists ride unpredictably as that when it comes to bicycles, people don’t know what to predict.

Predictable cycling is often confused with rigid adherence to traffic laws. But literal interpretation of the law is not what actually rules the roads. Most motorists don’t drive in strict accordance with the law at all times, but an experienced person can still predict the vast majority of mistakes, fudges, and intentional violations. Whether driving, cycling, or crossing the street, knowledge of the law counts for very little, whereas ability to predict the behavior of drivers around you means survival.

But it’s hard to predict the behavior of cyclists, even if you are one yourself. In part this is because we’re used to observing cars. Bicycles in mass numbers are a relatively new element on the road, and the new bridge counts showed that our presence continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This changes the road dynamic and creates the need for a new discourse on rules.

“Theoretically, the rules that work for cars ought to work for bikes as well. But once you get out onto the street on your bike, you find that bicyclists have few real, workable, safe rules to go by.”

Theoretically, the rules that work for cars ought to work for bikes as well. But once you get out onto the street on your bike, you find that bicyclists have few real, workable, safe rules to go by. The closest thing we have are the largely irrelevant set of rules for motor vehicles, with a smattering of pedestrian conventions thrown in.

Often it’s our instinct to follow these rules — whether by merging with too-fast traffic or riding on the sidewalk — that gets us hurt. Throw in a large dose of practical response, expedience, and a certain messenger flair, and you get an emerging informal code of bicyclist road behavior.

It’s pretty much a consensus among seasoned urban cyclists that it’s safest when cycling in traffic to take the whole lane. But this produces confusion and rage among motorists who have long been used to greater speeds on similar roads, and who cannot comprehend bicycles as real vehicles. Legally, we are allowed to take the lane, but this fact is widely unknown.

Stop signs are probably the most glaring example of a misapplied and misunderstood rule that leads to unsafe conditions and a bad reputation for cyclists.

The law is very clear that all cars and bikes must come to a full stop. This makes sense when it comes to cars, with their high speed, dangerous weight, and limited visibility. But for cyclists, who are lighter, slower, and have far greater visibility than car drivers, it’s often sufficient to slow to a jogging speed while checking to see if an intersection is clear. And, as Susan Otcenas pointed out when she laid out the idea for the Super Legal Ride, traffic congestion is eased for everyone when cyclists can move more efficiently through intersections.

All this aside, it seems like intersection design and use are insufficient for public safety. If everyone just slowed down at intersections, regardless of signal type, it would matter less whether we rolled through or stopped completely. Such a guideline only makes sense, and ought to be designed for, legislated, and enforced.

Like women in a male-dominated workforce, bicyclists in our car-dominated culture are held to a far higher standard of road behavior than any motorists. This is how we really need to shift our thinking.

When something goes awry, we and we alone are expected to shape up our behavior, to “be predictable,” and to somehow fit in. As we’ve seen with the SE 23rd and Salmon traffic sting, Critical Mass, and the recent spate of fixed-gear brake citations, the combination of being misunderstood and slow-moving targets can make us tempting as scapegoats for traffic problems.

Yes, most cyclists would benefit from more education about how to ride safely in traffic, but we do not need to learn how to ride like good car drivers ought to drive. We need to learn to ride like good bicyclists. But what does that mean? How should we bike? And is it even possible to bike well on roads as they are currently designed? Is it possible to come up with reasonable rules for bicyclists without changing rules for drivers as well?

Bicyclists don’t need anything nearly like the comprehensive set of laws and rules required to control the use of heavier, faster, more dangerous motor vehicles. But we could sure use some more sensible basic guidelines, and a friendlier, less treacherous climate on the road.

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steph
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steph

wonderful article, Elly! it’s of such vital importance to keep in mind that both cyclists and motorists are frustrated by unclear guidelines. i’ve had many conversations with drivers recently who dislike the liability of driving, have found no reasonable transportation alternative that fits with their lifestyle and location, and don’t know how to function on the road in tandem with the growing number of cyclists. by raising the questions, it feels as though we come one step closer to solutions.

adam
Guest
adam

love the article, elly.

Adam’s rules of safe biking:

1. STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM CARS AS POSSIBLE
2. when you have to be near cars, realize any of them within 20 yards(or so) may try to kill you at any moment. Be aware of them and of potential safety bail out places always.
3. Don’t fall off of your bike – it is humiliating.

WOBG
Guest
WOBG

Two words that go a long way toward defining predictability: speed differential. When road and traffic conditions are such that cyclists are as fast as (or even faster than) motorists–such as fit cyclists in downtown congestion, or confident cyclists descending Sam Jackson Rd.–take the lane. Otherwise, DON’T take the lane. Instead, stay right–or if there is not enough right to stay in, find a better route. Motorists often crowd like lemmings onto allegedly faster arterials, leaving pleasant parallel routes wide open. But we cyclists know better–don’t we?

The idea of legal rolling stops for cyclists is intriguing. But with such a double standard, odd legalities would emerge. What if a motorist stopped at a signed intersection just before the approach of (and at 90 degrees to) a cyclist–such that the motorist has right-of-way, but the cyclist can legally roll? Which party should be required to defer? What about the same situation with two cyclists?

Scott
Guest
Scott

Predictability is all I ask of any motorist or cyclist. Legal rolling stops in the appropriate situation sound great for cyclists. However, there are already plenty of cyclists out there who don’t even slow down for stop signs. More importantly, too many of those signs are blown when the cyclist doesn’t have the right of way and there is traffic present. I’d like to particularly direct this to the cyclist that almost took me out 2 nights ago when he blew the stop sign (2 way) on 42nd and Lincoln (my right of way).
Scott

Brad
Guest
Brad

My take is that 95% of our issues could be solved with the following:

1. On streets with a posted speed limit of 25 MPH or less, bikes and cars are EQUAL. Bikes may not pass moving cars and vice versa.

2. On faster thoroughfares with no bike lanes, autos must give three feet of passing clearance. Bikes may not pass moving or halted car traffic on the right.

3. Cars must yield to bikes on all downhill grades. ( Since descending is the most dangerous aspect of cycling and bikes must sometimes swing wide to avoid road debris in bike lanes.)

4. STOP means STOP for ALL. Period. (If you require unfettered speed or momentum, go for a ride in the country.) Bikes take their turn at four way intersections and yield for left turns at traffic lights just like cars.

5. Signals (lights or hands) are required for ALL. Cars must yield to a signaling cyclist as if she were a motor vehicle.

6. The same rules for safe following distance apply for all. Hit something from behind, YOU are at fault. Pass halted traffic and hit a car that is turning right, YOU are at fault.

If we educate cyclists and drivers to these simple rules and expectations, we can eliminate a great deal of tension and unpredictability. It might also make traffic enforcement easier for the police and ultimately more fair for bike riders.

Lenny Anderson
Guest

I drive my bike like its a car, so I don’t get sloppy drive my car like its a bike…at 60 this works best.
From my motorcycle days I remember this rule: trust no car! Bicycles are just slow “bikes.”
Yield to peds, stay off sidewalks for your own good…I was hit as a kid crossing a street sidewalk to sidewalk.
Be seen…most motorists do not want to do you harm; they just don’t see you.
Last, please fellow bicyclists do NOT pass on the right in bike lanes; always pass on the left, so if we miscalculate and crash, we get thrown into the parked cars, not the moving ones.
Everyone would be better off if we could get the motorized vehicles to SLOW DOWN.

Doug
Guest
Doug

The rules I follow:

When traffic speed is 20mph or less: ride in the center of the lane, as if I were a car.

When traffic speed is greater than 20mph and there’s a bike lane: use it.

When traffic speed is greater than 20mph and there isn’t a bike lane: Ride a side street, bike boulevard, bike path or similar.

At a stop sign: Stop. I used to slow and roll through stop signs, but I was looking for cars as I approached the intersection and didn’t notice the pedestrians. After a couple of near misses I decided the only way to be safe was to do what I was supposed to do.

dan
Guest
dan

Scott…bikes should be able to roll through stops while yielding to cars that have the right of way. That’s what I do at least.

Scott
Guest
Scott

Dan, I agree. My point is that too many cyclists blow stop signs while not even slowing down and/or not yielding. In the last month, I’ve had more close calls with other cyclists than I have with cars. At least twice I would have been t-boned by another cyclist if I hadn’t seen it coming and avoided it.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

More points to ponder: It’s all well and good to make suggestions regarding the rules of the roads for bikes, but until you find a way to get all bikers to recognize and respect those rules, you’re just “teaching a pig to sing”. 🙂

And, while we’re trying to get bicycles to have some responsibility for their road use, how about getting the motor vehicle drivers to accept their own responsibility? I’ve seen too many drivers distracted by too many things while driving (i.e. the driver reading a novel while driving down I-5, around the Corbett exit) … or going too fast for the road conditions (weather or traffic), or driving too aggressively (“it’s my lane” mentality), no turn signals, faulty equipment (no brake lights, my favorite), etc. etc. etc.

I find it hypocritical that the powers that be want to hold me to a higher standard than the majority of road users.

revphil
Guest
revphil

I want fewer rules.

On predicibility, i like to paraphrase stumptown robert, ‘maybe what the world needs is more crazy, drunk and erratic cyclists. I mean we dont want these people in cars, do we?’

SKIDmark
Guest
SKIDmark

No Rev.Phil, we need more rules. As it is, there are too many instances where people are allowed to think for themselves. It sets a dangerous precendent that could harm the current regime.

Matt Picio
Guest

I agree with Rev. Phil – fewer rules. I’ll go one further and say if you can’t fit all the rules on 2 sides of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, then there are too many rules.

I also think that testing requirements should be more strict according to the weight and top speed of your vehicle. (top speed on level ground)

I’m more worried about the drivers who “know” the rules (and really don’t) than I am about people thinking for themselves. Maybe if they get some practice, they’ll learn to do it better.

Then again, that *would* threaten the current regime, wouldn’t it?

Dan (but not the other dan that posted here
Guest
Dan (but not the other dan that posted here

Predictability is what it’s all about for me. The most dangerous cyclists on the road (in my opinion) are the really un-easy, hesitant folks who don’t make it clear to drivers what they are doing. I think most drivers can interact with cyclists when it’s clear who’s doing what.

Carl
Guest
Carl

True: predictability is key.
Also true: obvious UNpredictability can also be key.

Although I don’t like doing it, sometimes you can buy yourself the inches you need to survive on the street by weaving more erratically than (your favorite celebrity drunk driver here). “That guy’s crazy, honey…pull into the other lane!” It doesn’t help the image of bicyclists any, but if nobody is respecting your space, sometimes flamboyant unpredictablity is the way to go. Motorists don’t assume that they can squeeze past you with only a foot to spare if you’re taking frequent 5 foot zigs one way and 3 foot zags another.

Upstanding, foot-down-at-the-stop-sign-stopping fellow BTA members: do not get your reflective undergarments in a bunch over this tactic. I practice it very rarely.

Great article, Elly.

clotbuster
Guest
clotbuster

I agree we need rules. I have cycled extensively all my life, some 53 years, and the only accidents I have ever had have been with other cyclists disregarding common courtesy, rules or the road, or etiquette. More and more cylists commuting and increasing numbers on local group rides makes safety awareness key today. We have experienced passing on the right, excessive speeds and loss of control in inclement weather, cutting around too close on a downhill, blown stop signs, cutting in and out recklassly on bike trails, inexperienced pace line riding, not signalling turns or passing, etc. Seems like common sense, but just like wearing a helmet, which has saved my life more than once, we should all care enough to practice safe riding skills on the road – If not out of respect for one another, then simply respect for this mode of trasportation and the good it does.

jami
Guest

wobg, in your scenario the car would have a stop sign and the bike a yield. the bike goes. the cars waits.

as it should be.

as bikes, we have too many rules, not too few. cars, on the other hand, could shape the hell up.

WOBG
Guest

Thanks jami—but in the “legal non-stop for cyclists” scenario, the motorist DOES stop, just ahead of the cyclist’s arrival, and might then go and expect for the cyclist to yield (otherwise, in what circumstance does the cyclist yield?). But of course the cyclist would expect to roll through.

And what about cyclist vs cyclist in a dead heat, with both expecting to roll the stop?

I dunno—changing the law would not change human nature and make motorists and cyclists more empathetic. I see the ugly potential for a game of chicken every block—more so than now.

Pete Jacobsen
Guest
Pete Jacobsen

Elly, I don’t see why new rules would do any good. As a community, we show everyday that we are unwilling to follow the rules we have. If we don’t like a rule, we make up one of our own to follow.

Stop signs are a great example. The rule is simple enough: Stop. Most bicyclests in Portland just blow that off. Some may stop if obviously confronted by a car with the right-of-way, but put that person in a small group of riders, and stopping is totally out the window.

Suggesting that bikes should be able to “roll through a stop sign at jogging speed” but a car should not does not make sense to me. Speed you say? Jogging speed is jogging speed for both car and bike. Weight you say? Cars can stop in less distance than cars from any speed that both cars and bikes can attain. On top of that, the vast majority of cars have brakes that work decently well, while a significant number of bicyclests have poorly adjusted or worn out brakes (I’m a mechanic, and I see it very regularly. If stopping in a decent distance isn’t worth the price of new brake pads, stopping must not be a very high priority.)

I am heartened by the number of commenters who have said, “Stop means stop”. I hope more riders can decide to follow the rules we have before asking for a new set.

Jonathan Maus
Guest

I think all we’re doing is questioning whether or not the existing rules really make sense.

It seems simple to me: A rule that is written for a 3000 pound, fully-enclosed, motorized vehicle is bound to not always work when applied to a 30 pound bicycle.

And if the rules don’t work, they need to be changed (while following them in the mean time of course).

I’m trying to think of an analogy…don’t ultralights (lighweight flying things) have different rules of flight than huge, commercial jetliners?

It just seems to me that as bike riding and bike advocacy matures in the U.S. (which I believe it is doing) we will need to re-examine the “same roads/same rules” mantra with more scrutiny.

The two modes of travel (bike and cars) are just so different that I think it makes perfect sense to question whether or not we should abide by the same rules.

michael in orange,tx
Guest
michael in orange,tx

Hey gang! Nice website was passing by and checking it out! Great article too Elly! I live, ride and commute daily in Orange, Texas.

Don’t know much about bicycle laws out there but here the Texas Transportation Code defines bicycles the same as the other forms of transportation; a vehicle.

T.T.C Sec.504 states; Every vehicle is required to stop at stopsigns/redlights regardless. At unmarked intersections; first one there has right of way.

Yielding right of way to bicyclists & pedestrians is mandatory. Ride in the far right lane on two lanes or more occuppying the three foot zone.

On a two lane road, Farm to Market Roads if it’s narrow you are legal to ride on the left, ect otherwise they specify the right shoulder since Texas believes in making roads wide.

On left turns, occupy center of lane; signal your intention then proceed accordingly.Being courtious really pays off, especially if the driver is being aggressive.

Then, I call 911 & request help immediately.

The Orange, Pinehurst & West Orange PD’s have seen me ride in a professional manner and show respect for each other.

Bicycles are tolerated on sidewalks. However, you are required to stop, dismount and walk your bike past the other party or wait. I’ll post more info later if you like.

In the meantime, locate the bicycle laws for your state. Do like I have; print a copy to carry with you.

It’ll help when you are dealing with a cop or state trooper that doesn’t know (tries blowing smoke up your butt) or understand state laws regarding bicycles.

hehehe….Oh yea, be firm, friendly & fair with all when informing or explaining traffic laws/safety to others, even police officers.

The more knowledge (you’ll need a copy of the laws with you) respect & restraint you show no matter how bad things are, the further you’ll go dealing with people and earn their respect at the same time.

Cheers!

David
Guest
David

I’m pretty sure I can predict traffic as well as the next person who’s ridden motor bikes and bicycles on streets in multiple countries for at least 25 years. On a bicycle, I’ve always assumed that the same rules didn’t apply to me though. That was until I was ticketed about a year ago for well over $200 while running a red light on an intersection where no cars were in sight. This after stopping with a patrol car practically alongside me. I felt unbelievably stupid and did not even realize that it was not okay to go through red lights when it was safe. My reasoning: Because I’d seen countless other bicyclists doing it on a daily basis.

I think the key here is education. Unlike a car, any old fool can get on a bike and take to the road. Our kids need to be educated on how to ride alongside traffic and maybe adults should be encouraged by bike dealers to take courses on safe biking. Likewise anyone applying for a drivers license should have tests involving bicycles.

Do motorcycles and scooters have different rules to cars? I don’t think so. As biking becomes more and more sophisticated, people will be flying around on a battery powered recumbent at 45 mph. Will the same rules apply to them?

I don’t care how accomplished you are at reading and predicting traffic, as a fellow citizen on the road and you riding around as if rules don’t apply to you, you could impact not only your life but anyone else who is involved in any unpredictable event that might occur. It’s about respecting others more than anything, I think.

Jill
Guest

I’m as guilty of running stop signs as anyone, but I still think it’s best to obey all the rules of the road. Cyclists have enough trouble earning respect from the majority motorists as it is.

Guest
ROBERT "BOB"

as long as different(cars,trucks,bikes,motorcycles) vehicles share the same roads everyone needs to follow the same laws. a different set of laws for each vehicle leads only to 1)not knowing all the differences 2)interpretation of what laws apply to their circumstance and 3)”more laws” to try and clear up those interpretations

Lenny Anderson
Guest

We need to get Ray Thomas in on this discussion. He’s the local expert.
I have more near misses with other bicyclists than with motor vehicles. A good sign, but sometimes a frustration.

Macaroni
Guest
Macaroni

I’m concerned about getting lawmakers involved. Elly wrote:

“…such a guideline only makes sense, and ought to be designed for, legislated, and enforced.”

Next thing you know, we’ll all be required to license our bikes and have license plates. My wish is that we can do this within the biking community.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Most cyclists don’t know the ‘existing’ rules of the road (for bike and cars); concurrently, most auto drivers also do not know the rules that cyclists (and cars) are ‘supposed’ to follow (based on existing rules and regulations), so it comes down to a daily battle of who ‘thinks’ they are correct.

Until some other form of rule system is baked (perhaps one system for cyclists, one for autos), we need to work the best we can with what we have, which is a system of shared roads that primarily serve automobile traffic (for better or worse). Subsequently, we need to follow the current set of rules and regulations as close as possible in order to educate motorists by example. Among many examples, this also means stopping at stop signs.

Cyclists who choose to write their own rules about stop signs create a negative stigma for those of us who follow the existing car-centric rules of the road. If you choose to endanger your own life, so be it. This normally wouldn’t bother me. But when you add to motorists’ ire by setting a poor example, you automatically add me to the motorists’ perception of ‘careless cyclist.’

Let’s be honest, if you’re rolling through stop signs it’s likely because you’re trying to make a statement or because you hate the fact that you lose momentum, which takes more effort to regain from a stop. So really, you’re either making a statement that auto-centric rules don’t apply to you, or you’re just lazy (or perhaps you simply hate inefficiency -an irksome issue indeed).

Elly
Guest
Elly

Some more fodder for discussion:

– A recent national survey found that 20% of adult, licensed drivers would fail a driving test if they had to take one today.

– In Idaho, it has been legal since 1988 for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. This is apparently not controversial there.

– Another question to consider is the difference between laws and conventions. It’s not the illegality that upsets drivers who see cyclists make rolling stops, it’s the perceived nonconformity. People don’t routinely get indignant at other illegal (but very, very common) behaviors, such as speeding. One major issue is how to best educate cyclists to be safe, polite road users, but we can’t ignore the problem of how to make sure we’re seen as equal. And I just don’t think that lambasting other cyclists for not riding to the letter of the law is going to do the trick without a lot of other changes. For instance, could we re-design intersections so that all traffic needs to slow down? Can we add pedestrian amenities and shift the focus of enforcement to protecting peds at intersections?

Okay, enough. The existing stopping vs rolling debate, while prodective, is enough to be able to take us as far as we want to go….

Geoff G.
Guest

On stop signs: If there’s other traffic in sight I treat it as a stop sign. Might as well obey the rules when other road users are around. When I roll up to a four-way and there’s no other traffic about I’ll usually slow way down and pull a rolling stop. And I’m usually on a 45 pound Schwinn 3 speed, so I don’t buy the momentum arguement that people toss around.

And a word on getting your brakes serviced: As a former mechanic, ding-dang it people! throw down the $20 – $30 at your favorite shop and get some decent brake pads on your bike for the rainy season. You’re worth it.

Cheers, Geoff

jami
Guest

the 5 mph stop-yield showdown doesn’t worry me, wobg. for one thing, i’ve never had a car that saw me do anything but yield. most drivers are very nice people who don’t want to hurt us. heck, many drivers in portland also bike.

Cate
Guest
Cate

Elly said: “- Another question to consider is the difference between laws and conventions. It’s not the illegality that upsets drivers who see cyclists make rolling stops, it’s the perceived nonconformity. People don’t routinely get indignant at other illegal (but very, very common) behaviors, such as speeding.”

I totally disagree (and have heard this argument many times). Speeding is going beyond the law by degrees. You’re already in motion, the motion is just faster than the law allows. With stopping, either you are stopped or you’re not. (Aside from being obvious, this is also how the laws are enforced. The police usually don’t ticket for speeding until the driver is 10 – 20 miles over the speed limit. They ticket for running a stop sign if the driver is not fully stopped.)

Speeding also doesn’t usually put one in direct opposition to another. Going faster doesn’t have much to do with confrontation. Stop signs are usually in places where confrontation is potentially likely (hence the word intersection).

If you want to use a better cars vs bikes analogy, use cars running red lights and stop signs vs bikes blowing through stop signs or red lights. I think people get just as indignant about drivers not stopping as bicyclists.

And I also don’t think it’s the lack of conformity that bothers drivers, it’s the arrogance that says, “I don’t have to stop if I don’t want to”. True for drivers and bicyclists.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Elly, I think you make a lot of excellent suggestions about the bigger picture. Unfortunately, ‘forest-view’ movements rarely proceed without effective ‘tree-level’ tactics. ‘Lambasting other cyclists for not riding to the letter of the law’ certainly won’t cure all our collective ills, but riding to the letter of law ‘will’ make a distinct, positive impact on the road today –far more than theorizing and postulating.

Pete Jacobsen
Guest
Pete Jacobsen

Right on, Jeremy! (opps, I think I just gave my age away!) As a previous poster indicated, when someone chooses to ignore the current rules, it does impact those of us that do follow the rules. I’d really like to see more people push for following the existing rules while discussing and then campaigning for new rules. It will make us all safer, even at the loss of a bit of momentum.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I have long been for declassifying bicycles as motorized vehicles. This will take us back wards 5 years, but then we can go smothly and safely inot the future with a set of guidelines that actually apply directly to cycling.
This must be done in Salem. This must be done now.
I follow some rules of the road. I break some rules of the road. I stay alive, and do what I have to do to assure that I stay that way.
It is not possible to ride smoothly, quickly, safely, and EFFICENTLY on the roads, due to the fact that the rules apply to motorized vehicles.
But, the declassification of bicycles as motorized vehicles could be about a horrible side effect, if not handled properly.
We could be handed a bigger, tougher set of rules, applying to bicycles alone. Many of the recent violations would be taken into account.
For instance, I would forsee yield laws,or a safe california stop, being allowed, while fixed gear bicycles (without a redundant brake) would certainly be handed a death blow.
I know that this has been thought about by you, by me, and by many others.
Now is the time to get it done…and done right.
A set of rules written by a good representation of the actual cycling population, commuters, messengers, cycling clubs, etc……..
We know the people to get this done. Some of those people are reading this… right now…
What are you waiting for?

eric
Guest
eric

Jonathan,

Do the rules really not work? They work for me. I get where I’m going in a reasonable time, every time.

A stop is a stop. It’s clear cut. The minute you introduce a variable that’s open to interpretation, like “who, of the two people coasting up to this stop sign is maybe the one who would have had to stop first”, you’ve just introduced human nature, a recipe for chicken fights, last minute decisions, and disaster.

A stop is a stop, no matter what you’re on or in. Everyone can grasp that. I would hate to bike in a world, where drivers or bikers were deciding whether I was close enough to an intersection to wait for … or to go for it, or to … oh wait, he’s going faster than I though … slam on the brakes, … no wait gas it, I’ll clear the intersection!

While I don’t discount, out of hand, the need for some tweaking of rules of the road, I think the entrenchment of the ones we have means that we need to deal in the enforcement realm rather than the new rule realm.

Also, I think most folks who say the rules don’t work just don’t want to follow them. I find it quite funny that most bikers who advocate the right to blow stop signs come off sounding an awful lot like the arrogant driver who wants to get where he’s headed, pronto. And anyone, or any rule that interferes with that goal sucks, and should be eliminated.

Android
Guest
Android

I enjoyed Cate’s thought that cars actually stop (i.e. no forward motion, wheels not moving) at stop signs and that makes it different than bikes not coming to a complete stop at stop signs.

If you watch, most cars (and their drivers) do *not* come to a complete stop at stop signs most of the time.

I believe it *is* a matter of “it’s ok if I do it, but not if you do it to a greater degree than I am doing it”. Aren’t the people going faster than you a bunch of maniacs and the slower ones are all idiots?

If you do drive a motor around, actually do come to a complete stop at stop signs/lights and drive the speed limit – or slower, it is an *upper* limit after all.

Rolling speed bumps.

Matthew Picio
Guest

Jonathan,

ultralights and commercial aircraft do have different rules, sort of. I’d hesitate to use that analogy, though.

All aircraft have to respect restricted and controlled airspace, regardless of aircraft type. Where the rules differ is that ultralight aircraft do not have navigational equipment, so they can only be flown under VFR (Visual Flight Rules). Commercial and private “normal” aircraft can also be flown under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) if the pilot is IFR certified.

I’d hesitate to use that example in public because it points out the difference in vehicle capabilities (ultralights are only “allowed” on the “roads” up there under certain circumstances) and argues for gradiated certification (“licenses” for cyclists)

Respectfully,
-Matt P.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I was sitting at the Dragonfly Coffee Shop on Thurman waiting for my training parter yesterday. As I was sipping my java I couldn’t help but count the number of cars who did not come to a complete stop. In the 15 minutes or so I was there I counted 25 cars in a row whose wheels did not stop completely. Then I remembered this write up. Seems to me that many drivers are using this same logic, but not wanting to admitt it.

I’m not talking about cars blazing through the stop signs, they simply slowed to a reasonable speed, almost stopped and then continued through the stop sign unless there was another car they had to yield. Seems to me such logic makes sense.

I couldn’t help but think I I had quested the drivers if they felt they came to a complete stop what they would have said.

michael in orange,tx
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michael in orange,tx

Hello again from S/E Texas! I see Ms Elly decided to keep the discussion going. Good job Elly! After reading the posts above, I elected to locate Oregon’s bicycle laws. If it is Ok here’s the link:

http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:HT5Gb86kM3YJ:www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike-ped_statutes.pdf+State+of+Oregon+bicycle+laws&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4

It’s posted in html format but you can d/l it in .pdf. My stand is still ride and obey the laws to the “T”. When the other party messes up, the ball is in their court, not yours.

Anyway thanks again for an excellent website. Sometime this month I hope, I’ll have one put together here. Yall be welcome to drop by and check it out.

Ride to live; Live to ride!