Not stopping doesn't make every cyclist a "rogue"
Weiss starts out the chat objectively and reasonably. explaining to some irate drivers that their needs aren't the only ones:
Speeding up auto traffic is no longer the highest priority for the District anymore. Instead making streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and the growing number of residents in that corridor is more important.And later,
For urban planners, a congested area such as around the Verizon Center means it is successful. People want to be there. Do you think drivers in NYC would be taken seriously complaining about how traffic in Times Square slows down their commute?Unfortunately, Weiss veers off the road when he says, "Rogue bicyclists. ... want all the rights of being a vehicle and none of the responsibilities, such as stopping at traffic lights and yielding for pedestrians." A bike commuter writes,
As a regional bike commuter, I have been hit two times in the last three years by cars while in a marked bike lane. I don't count pushing matches with vehicles where I don't end up in the ER. Drive up or down 11th street one day and count the number of cars parked in the bike lane, average 1 per block, and the number of cars using the bike lanes as passing lanes 2-3 per round trip per day.Weiss is unsympathetic:
I commute by bus, bicycle and sometimes car. And while there are many cyclists who play by the rules, there are many others who don't. A bicycle is considered a vehicle under the law, and is entitled to many things. But I see a lot of cyclists who take advantage of the privileges but who consider red lights a suggestion, ride the wrong way down one-way streets and ride on sidewalks.I doubt Weiss commutes very often by bicycle, or he'd see all the violations the bike commuter does. Also, Weiss is wrong that riding on the sidewalks is illegal (outside downtown).
Yes, there are some bad bicyclists. We should enforce laws against them. However, forcing cyclists to wait for red lights, which makes little sense when they can safely proceed after stopping and looking carefully, only lets critics like Weiss paint all cyclists with the same brush.
A cyclist who darts through a red light without stopping and across oncoming traffic is doing something very dangerous. A cyclist who reaches a red light with a completely empty cross street, stops briefly, then proceeds is not. We should enforce the law against the former, and legalize the latter.
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