Greater Greater Washington

Cyclists are special and do have their own rules

Sarah Goodyear of the Atlantic has an article for Bike to Work Week entitled "Cyclists Aren't 'Special', and They Shouldn't Play by Their Own Rules." The thesis seems to be that now that cycling is mainstream, cyclists need to behave better.


Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on Flickr.

I would argue that whether or not cycling is mainstream you need to ride safely and courteously. In fact, an increase or decrease in cycling mode share shouldn't change the way you ride one iota.

Goodyear is asking cyclists to become footdroppers and thinks that more enforcement of cycling laws is what is needed for cycling to "get to the next level." I disagree which is easy to do since Goodyear offers no evidence, no data and no defense of her position. It appears to be 100% emotion-based opinion.

When I look at great cycling cities in Europe it doesn't appear to me that there is some point where increased enforcement is needed to keep growth going. Growth is fueled by better designed streets, laws that protect cyclists, and increasing the costs of driving. If anything, what I've read about Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that they don't tolerate the kinds of bad driving that are considered normal here. I don't read about ticketing blitzes.

She makes the point that many cyclists are rude or ride dangerously and that she'd like to see such behavior ticketed. I have no problem with ticketing dangerous behavior - though if we're really going to focus on the MOST dangerous behavior, that will rarely mean ticketing cyclists. And if law enforcement were to blitz cyclsits, it would likely not be for their most dangerous behavior (riding at night without lights or too fast on the sidewalk or against traffic) but rather not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign during a charity ride or at some out-of-the way intersection.

Writing about wrong-way cycling she adds,

It makes all of us look terrible and it's a real hazard. Same goes for blowing through a stop sign or red light, or blocking the crosswalk when you're impatiently waiting for the light to change. Not to mention shouting at pedestrians to get out of the way when they are crossing legally. I saw someone yell at an old lady the other day.
I again assert that few cyclists actually "blow through" stop signs and lights. Yes, cyclists run them - even Goodyear - but not blowing through them.

She sees herself as an ambassador. But does anyone see themselves as a pedestrian ambassador when walking or as a driving ambassador when driving? No. Biking is not foreign, and maybe to "get to the next level" we need to stop presenting it as though it is. It is funny that she sees it this way, that she has to behave hyper-legally and as a role model only to follow it up with.

You're going to have to give up your identity as a special person who does some special activity known as cycling.

You're not so special any longer.

Ok, if I'm not so special any longer, then how come I have to behave differently - squeaky clean - than everyone else?

I agree that cyclists should be safe and courteous (because I think EVERYONE should be), but not that they need to be hyper-legal in the hope that it will soothe everyone else. Because it won't. And it won't take cycling to the next level.

What will help is changing the law where it currently doesn't make sense, such as with the Idaho Stop - exactly the kind of "Special Treatment" and "own rules" that Goodyear seems to be arguing against. What will help is treating cycling as special by creating special facilities to help them get around - like bi-directional cycletracks on one-way streets or cycle-tracks. What will help is bike sharing, on street bike parking, unique zoning regulations related to bike parking, special commuter benefits for bike commuters, etc...

We're going to have to treat cyclists better and let them play by their own rules if we want to "get ot the next level."

Is it fair if bikers get benefits when motorists don't? Nope. You know what else isn't fair? Everything. Deal with it.

Cross-posted at the WashCycle.

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David Cranor is an operations engineer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and former Texan (where he wrote for the Daily Texan), he's lived in the DC area since 1997. David is a cycling advocate who serves on the Bicycle Advisory Committee for DC.  

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What is a "footdropper"?

by cminus on May 13, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

"I again assert that few cyclists actually "blow through" stop signs and lights"

I don't know where you're cycling in DC because this statement is ludicrous and makes you lose face for the entire article. I love cycling in the city and am a huge proponent of increased bicycle infrastructure, but I think Ms. Goodyear makes a decent point. The culture of running lights, etc, just gives ammo to the bike haters.

by I. Rex on May 13, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

In Amsterdam, a lot of cyclists don't follow traffic rules and signals, but in Amsterdam cyclists are given the same respect as drivers and pedestrians. I don't know if you can say that cyclists are given respect because they don't follow laws, or don't follow laws because they are given respect. In cities like Amsterdam, cyclists are not treated as "more special" than anyone else. They are treated just as everyone else.

In most cities of America, cyclists are not given that much respect. Far from being treated as everyone else, we are treated as less than most others. I'm not really sure that the solution is to just continue willingly breaking the law in hopes that one day a bunch of factors will converge to make cycling a respected mode of transport.

And for the record I see myself as an ambassador of driving when I drive an an ambassador of walking when I'm a pedestrian. Why wouldn't I? If I am driving and someone is in the crosswalk I am going to stop to let them pass, if nothing else than to show them that not all drivers are A-holes.

And I totally agree with Ms Goodyear that it makes all of us look terrible. Whether it is a real hazard is probably arguable. I have seen many fellow cyclists blow through stop signs and lights. Yes not just pass through but blow through. Of course that is just one small sample based on my own observance. I think it makes us look bad, even if it is safe.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

@cminus. I have not really heard this term used elsewhere but I guess it refers to dropping one's foot to steady a bike when it comes to a stop. Such as at a stop sign or an intersection. So footdroppers is like a term to describe cyclists who obey the law and commonly stop at signs, signals, crosswalks etc.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 1:32 pm • linkreport

Perhaps some quote marks to set off certain sections?

"Growth is fueled by better designed streets, laws that protect cyclists and increasing the costs of driving. If anything, what I've read about Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that they don't tolerate the kinds of bad driving that are considered normal here. I don't read about ticketing blitzes."

I'd agree that we need more traffic enforcement. Blocking the box is endemic.

Of course the two types that we are enforcing in DC -- speeding and red lights* -- aren't really what bugs me when I cycle around.

IN fact the sweet spot is where we can improve the road for everyone. Except those skateboarders.

* there is a huge differnce between a car blowing through a red light -- which happens now and then -- and cars running yellows.

by charlie on May 13, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

David C's prescription is reconstruct the city. So unreal! Meanwhile, the dangerous conditions that exist today for all accelerate.

by David Marlin on May 13, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

I do consider myself a walking ambassador. Meaning that I will not stop and make a discussion circle with a few friends that blocks the entire sidewalk.

When biking, if I come to a 99% stop at a stop sign, and I was there first, I don't drop my foot for 2 seconds, and then hop back up on the seat. I was yelled at about that the other day at a 4 way stop, when a car arrived slightly before me, but waited there for at least 5 seconds- so I went, and was yelled at. Yes I was in the wrong, but unless people start biking with a ski pole, it's what I'm gonna do. (Yes, I have considered bringing a ski pole to be able to stop without dismounting.)

by Tom A. on May 13, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

I think the Rahm Emmanuel changes will probably be a net positive for cyclists - and the increased ticketing for cyclsits is cleverly designed to disarm the bikehaters, while not actully impeding cyclists who are PALs.

I think MOSTLY she is right - cycling as it comes of age can afford to be more mainstream. I don't agree with her dissing of the Idaho stop, but I do note that the cycling misbehavior she prioritizes is salmoning, not stop sign or even red light violations. And I believe she is correct in that. At this point, if a few hundred tickets a year in a big city, divided between cyclist who do egregious things (like salmoning, or reckless red light violations or riding at night without lights) and more justifiable things (defensible red light and stop sign violations) can help us keep up the momentum on more infrastructure, more bikesharing, more enforcement on motorists, till eventually we get enough people biking that there is a real constituency for reevaluating things like the Idaho stop, that sounds like a reaosonable strategy to me.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

The culture of running lights, etc, just gives ammo to the bike haters.

That you got up this morning and decided to take a bike instead of traveling by some other mode gives ammo to the bike haters.

by thump on May 13, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

"I again assert that few cyclists actually "blow through" stop signs and lights"

Come on. As others have pointed out, this is simply not true.

And was this piece even edited? What's with all the sentences simply ending abruptly or starting seemingly in mid-sentence? Really shoddy work, and not up to GGW's usual standards.

by CapHill on May 13, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

"We're going to have to treat cyclists better and let them play by their own rules if we want to 'get ot the next level.'"

I love your blog and generally agree with many of your opinions; however, that sentence isn't well stated. I assume you mean "and let them play by [sensible rules specifically applicable to bicycles]." As phrased, it looks more like, "and let them do whatever the hell they want."

That's an attitude taken by too many cyclists (and every other form of transport user) already.

by Ryan on May 13, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

I agree with @I.Rex and @Scoot. When I am crossing the street as a pedestrian or out on my bike, I expect drivers to follow the rules. That means I should do the same. Just because a lot of drivers don't obey the rules doesn't give everyone else using the road free license to do whatever they want.

I do agree that there needs to be MUCH better enforcement of share-the-road rules, with the emphasis on penalizing drivers who break the law, not cyclists or pedestrians. I also look forward to a day when we design all roads for all users.

by Rebecca on May 13, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

Not sure why it is so hard to write a positive article about cycling without saying something negative about driving. I support both.

by Chris S. on May 13, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

I really want to take the cyclists side on this, because we really need to make our transportation system much more multi-modal, but as a frequent pedestrian, I really do think many cyclists take on an elitist attitude and it's not helping their cause. Author of this blog post included.

I saw a quote one in another blog that I paraphrase by saying cyclists follow the rules of a pedestrian when it benefits them, and the rules of a car when it benefits them, and choose to ignore either set of rules when it does not benefit them. Cyclists commenting on that blog seemed to think that was both a true statement and OK behavior, which is where I have issue. Everyone has to follow rules, and cyclists should be no different. I so often see cyclists using narrow 5' sidewalks as their own, at high speed, and weaving around pedestrians. I even had one ring his little bell at me once. I had half a mind to tell him to move into the street where he belonged, but of course he rushed by before I could say anything, nearly hitting my arm in the process. If you're a novice rider, out with your family or on a short distance pleasure ride, i'd think you should follow the pedestrian rules. If you're a serious committed rider commuting or long distance riding, you should follow the rules of vehicles, at least until new rules can be adopted specifically for the cycling mode of transportation.

by Gull on May 13, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

"Goodyear is asking cyclists to become footdroppers and thinks that more enforcement of cycling laws is what is needed for cycling to "get to the next level.""

Eh? She talked a lot more about salmoning than the Idaho Stop. There are lots of behaviors at stop signs in between proceeding at speed, and doing a foot down stop. What the tradeoff is in slowing down at a stop sign just because its a stop sign - in terms of convenience vs bike-ambassodor appearance, is something we all need to judge. Some of her language was tad absolutist, but I think there is reaon to think that appearance does matter, and that violations have costs to bike public relations. Whether they should or not, whether that applies to car and ped violations or not, and whether or not that consistent with bike coming of age.

I would say bikes havent completely come of age - or we could, as Dave C suggests, be no more careful than drivers, and not have bad policy as a consequence. But cycling has come of age in that it is more visible, and more central to policy discussions.

I disagree which is easy to do since Goodyear offers no evidence, no data and no defence of her position. It appears to be 100% emotion-based opinion.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

"If you're a novice rider, out with your family or on a short distance pleasure ride, i'd think you should follow the pedestrian rules. If you're a serious committed rider commuting or long distance riding, you should follow the rules of vehicles, at least until new rules can be adopted specifically for the cycling mode of transportation."

There are lots and lots of riders in between. Who really can and should use roads in lots of instances, but for whom many suburban arterials (and in much of the suburbs there are no alt parallel routes) is incredibly intimidating, and for whom the sidewalk (at least for part of their trip) is the only choice they will consider.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

Bikes and cars ride/drive on the same streets but are not the same. This means some rules of the road make sense for both but others don't.

Bikes:
Stop in about 1/10th the distance as cars
Travel at about 1/2 the speed of cars
Weigh 1/10th of what a car does
Take up less space than cars
Turn in a smaller radius than cars
Allow riders to see better than car drivers (higher up/nothing blocking vision/closer to the front of their vehicle)
Allow riders to hear better than car drivers

With regard to stop signs and red lights, which seems to be the source of much consternation from the "follow the law" crowd, this means several things. Cyclists are able to assess the situation at an intersection in a very different way than someone driving a car. Why?
1. Cyclists stop in a much shorter distance than cars. This means they approach intersections differently than cars and start to slow down later than cars do.
2. Cyclists can see and hear better, this means that in that extra distance they get they have more time to look in all directions for traffic.
3. These two big differences mean that even before they have to apply the brakes to come to a complete stop, a cyclist can see what is going on and can safely continue if that is an option.

@I. Rex
Probably you and David are using different definitions of "blow through stop signs." If your definition is "don't stop" then I agree that many cyclists (myself included) do not stop at stop signs because often it is safe to just continue; there is nobody waiting to go. But the phrase "blow through" also implies that there is some egregious wrongdoing going on, and that is the part David I think has an issue with. I agree with him that I do not see many cyclists violate others' right of way when going through a stop sign. Which I think makes sense - to do so would be suicidal.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 1:58 pm • linkreport

I would also like to point out to the enforcement/follow the law crowd that laws can be changed. In eastern states cars used to CONSTANTLY violate the law when it came to red lights - they would turn right after stopping at the light. This behavior was not made legal until the argument was made in the 70s that idling cars waiting to turn wasted fuel.

So the idea that we might change the way transportation laws work in order to further a desired goal is not entirely crazy, and has been done before.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 2:00 pm • linkreport

She makes the point that many cyclists are rude or ride dangerously and that she'd like to see such behavior ticketed. I have no problem with ticketing dangerous behavior - though if we're really going to focus on the MOST dangerous behavior, that will rarely mean ticketing cyclists. And if law enforcement were to blitz cyclsits, it would likely not be for their most dangerous behavior (riding at night without lights or too fast on the sidewalk or against traffic) but rather not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign during a charity ride or at some out-of-the way intersection.

So, both you and Ms. Goodyear agree that cyclists should be ticketed for dangerous behavior and your main disagreement is on what constitutes "dangerous behavior". I don't think your viewpoints are as far apart as you think.

by Falls Church on May 13, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

@charlie - "IN fact the sweet spot is where we can improve the road for everyone. Except those skateboarders."

Are you saying that skateboarders, roller skaters, etc. who skate safely are not entitled to use the road (meaning roadway & sidewalk) like pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks, etc?

by Dave on May 13, 2013 2:05 pm • linkreport

yes MLD, and here in Va we tried to pass a no dooring law, and it failed (as did several other proposed changes)

Emmanuel is trying to pass a no dooring law in chicago.

I think there is a natural sequence to these changes. its very difficult for non-riders, or folks who only ride for exercise on a trail occassionally, to get the points you made above about stopping. I think the goal can be to do the things that are easier to pass (bike share, more infrastructure, and easier to pass legal changes) then get more people familiar enough with biking to make the changes.

When the right turn on red was passed, most american voters were regular drivers. We are not equal in that sense, yet, or even close to it. Think of this as a strategy for political bootstrapping.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Some cars have a much smaller stopping distance, much lower average speed, weigh less, take up less space, have a smaller turning radius, have a better field of view and are less insulated than other cars. Do you think the law should vary as to what type of car you drive?

Take Smart Cars for instance. Should a Smart Car be treated equally to a Hummer in the eyes of the law, since it's much lighter, smaller, etc? Do you think Smart Cars should be able proceed through a stop sign or signal without stopping given that they typically have a shorter stopping distance and less insulation than some other cars, e.g. big SUVs, which would presumably make Smart Cars safer at an intersection?

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerintheCity
Eh? She talked a lot more about salmoning than the Idaho Stop.

She offers stop signs and salmoning as her two examples of bad behavior and talks about equally about each.

And furthermore the point is that she is arguing against "special treatment" or "special rules" and I don't think there's a cycling advocate out there in the US who thinks that rules should be changed so that people can ride against traffic wherever they want. David is as bike-centric as any contributor here and I have not seen him excuse wrong-way cycling. The major special rule change advocates are looking for is about stop signs and red lights and so that's where the argument is.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

After one get's past the emotions or assumptions that we share, what I ultimately hear is that bicyclists are unpredictable. I think many of us are but it's not really a question of bicyclists, motorists or pedestrians but not following the laws but how to create streets (and people)that are predictable and either respect each other or respect the enforcement of road laws.

Roads tend to work when users have a general understanding of what others do while on them. Few follow the laws without omissions, so it's not necessarily about enforcing laws absolutely, but most of the time we can anticipate what someone will do while in the roadway. One reason why bicycling seems works well overseas is because everyone understands what's acceptable and unacceptable behavior, which makes everyone predictable.

Copenhagen has a robust transportation system that includes bicycle consideration on almost every street. I never saw a motorists drive aggressively, I didn't see pedestrians jaywalk, I never saw bicyclists go through signalized intersections on red lights. Why? Because people are trained don't readily break traffic rules. While street construction and law enforcement no doubt play a role, peer pressure also seemed evident.

It seems that for those in the United States to really share the road, we first must create and enforce laws that protect all of us equally and fairly. We also have to create and maintain streets that do not almost exclusively cater to moving motorists. That notwithstanding, these legal and physical structures are only as useful as the society that uses or follows them.

by Randall M. on May 13, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Cyclists are different from drivers and should have their own rules. However, that doesn't mean cyclists get to make their own rules or ignore laws they don't like. If David C wants to lobby the council to allow the Idaho stop I will gladly sign his petition but until such a law passes cyclists are required to come to a full stop at stop signs and wait for red lights to change and a cyclist who is ticketed for failing to do so has not more right to complain than a driver ticketed for the same offense.

I'm sure someone will reply that drivers kill more people than cyclists. A statement which is as true as it is irrelevant. Pretty much everyone would agree that murder is a more serious crime than robbery but I don't see anyone arguing that the MPD should stop investigating robberies until all the murders are solved. The law is the law, agree with it or not, and a belief that the law is wrong (no matter how acurate that belief may be) does not exempt you from the consequences of violating it.

by Jacob on May 13, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

scoot

trucks are treated differently - there are parkways where trucks are not allowed, for example. How fine the distinctions should be is a pragmatic question - its CONCEIVABLE smart cars should be treated differently than hummers, but the differences are probably not great enough to justify the confusion created. With bikes and Idaho Stops, I dont think that really applies.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport

MLD

no she spends an entire paragraph discussing salmoning, before the one where she seems to equate all bike violations.

And I think we are misintrepreting her call for "no special rules" She clearly supports bike infrastructure - IE bike lanes where cars are not allowed - shes not some kind of radical VCer. I think by no special rules shes not arguing about the Idaho stop, but just for being a "PAL" in general - IE obeying the current law as it till its changed - and for being supportive of enforcement.

I think it may be unfortunate that she confounded a politically clever approach to bike policy and enforcement in Chicago, with her own particular take on how to be a PAL.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

@Dave
Some cars have a much smaller stopping distance, much lower average speed, weigh less, take up less space, have a smaller turning radius, have a better field of view and are less insulated than other cars. Do you think the law should vary as to what type of car you drive?

I don't believe there's any car where you can see well enough to avoid stopping at a stop sign before proceeding. And given the damage even small cars can do (a smart fourtwo weighs 8-10X what a cyclist does) I wouldn't allow it.

Some cars are already treated differently in the eyes of the law based on what they are physically capable of. In some cars you may be able to make an allowed U-turn while in others you may not have the turning radius and could be ticketed for trying a three-point turn in traffic. Also consider laws that require drivers to "drive to the conditions," police are able to make differentiations based on what speeds are safe for different cars in different conditions.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 2:16 pm • linkreport

I think "blow through" must have different meanings to different people. For me, blow through means the same as sail through--which means to pass through the intersection as if there were a green light, without looking and without slowing. (The classic example is a driver of a car not noticing a stop sign and just cruising through--another expression of what I think is the same behavior, though "blow through" connotes the contempt of the operator for the rules that the others might not). I don't do this, and I can't think of seeing bikers do this; it's too damn dangerous. I have seen people do unsafe and irresponsible intersection crossings, and when I drive, it upsets me, too.
What I do see bikers do, including me, is approach an intersection and scan both directions to see if there is a safe opportunity to cross. If there isn't, I will slow more and hope one arises before I run out of momentum. If there still isn't, I will track stand or put my foot down and wait.
If I don't have to slow down because I have scanned both ways and I see that there isn't any traffic coming--foot or auto or bike--it might appear that I am "blowing through", but in actuality, I have looked and seen that there is no danger to me or any others and proceeded on my way.

by nloewen on May 13, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

Road cyclists in this town are assholes. Sunday I had one weave through cars waiting for a stop sign on Beach Drive, then cut off the 6 cars he'd weaved through while taking up the center of the lane doing 15 in the 25 zone and not allowing us to pass. Road bikes need to stay on the bike path when not on closed sections of Beach Drive.

by Redline SOS on May 13, 2013 2:21 pm • linkreport

This is the type of post that makes me embarrassed to tell others that I sometimes read this blog. Poorly reasoned, poorly edited, self-righteous... yikes.

The laws are there for a reason. If you don't like stopping at red lights, yielding to pedestrians, or driving the right way down one-way streets, then work within the political process to get the laws changed. Until then, please show a little respect for your fellow citizens.

by Pedestrian on May 13, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

When I'm cycling, I fear motorists who don't cycle, because they're the ones most likely to think they own the road and that cyclists don't belong there. When I'm driving, I fear cyclists who don't drive, because they're the ones most likely to think they own the road and that cars don't belong there. When I'm walking, I fear both.

And when I read a thread like this, I can find comments written by both.

I must say, I've had more close calls with cyclists nearly mowing me down in a sidewalk than cars.

by c5karl on May 13, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

That raises an interesting point - what does the law say regarding cyclists and the speed limit? Or does it say anything?

by Chris S. on May 13, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

I don't believe there's any car where you can see well enough to avoid stopping at a stop sign before proceeding. And given the damage even small cars can do (a smart fourtwo weighs 8-10X what a cyclist does) I wouldn't allow it.

OK, then what about different bikes? Some road bikes have 1/3rd the weight of Bixi bikes and much better breaks. In my experience Bixi bikes do not have such a great minimum stopping distance, nor particularly good control to avoid an obstacle.

I think my point is that there are usually limits to this argument. Not all cars are the same, and not all bikes are the same either. To say that we could just let bikes do what they want but put severe limits on cars seems to require making a rather arbitrary distinction between the two modes rather than a solution borne out of any kind of robust scientific analysis. But of course sometimes arbitrariness is the only realistic solution.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

@Randall M: Copenhagen has a robust transportation system that includes bicycle consideration on almost every street. I never saw a motorists drive aggressively, I didn't see pedestrians jaywalk, I never saw bicyclists go through signalized intersections on red lights. Why? Because people are trained don't readily break traffic rules. While street construction and law enforcement no doubt play a role, peer pressure also seemed evident.

When I visted Copenhagen several years ago, I noticed that pedestrians would patiently wait to cross the street even though there was no oncoming traffic. Me being an American with a disregard for meaningless rules, would go ahead and cross against the light. Once the others saw me doing so, they would cross with me, also against the light.

What does that mean? My guess is that the Dane's street courtesy is really only skin deep, and is based in conformity.

by goldfish on May 13, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

That raises an interesting point - what does the law say regarding cyclists and the speed limit? Or does it say anything?

In the District the law would typically mandate that cyclists follow the same speed limit as cars unless there is some kind of exception clearly posted.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

A. I don't have a problem with David C's tone. If someone keeps saying something that isn't true then call them out on it. Especially since that mantra is hurtful.

B. It's incredibly stupid to focus on the illegal things a cyclist does when most of the time its done because the streets are so hostile to anyone not in a car.

C. It's similarly stupid to think that there is any validity to the thought process that bikes must rigidly adhere to the law before gaining any respect. Cyclists don't want respect, they want streets they feel safe riding on.

D. It's (again) similarly stupid to assume that all cyclists are the same and that I, as a cyclist am responsible for my two wheeled brethren. If I am stopped at a light and another cyclist goes through I'm not going to feel obligated to educate that person (because we need the respect!) because I don't know them and frankly, don't care.

E. I will spend more time coasting through an intersection than a driver who will rush up, "stop", and then roll through. Yet I'm the one "blowing" through a stop sign.

F. Saying you're not stopped unless your foot is on the ground makes as much sense as if a driver was ticketed for not shifting into park and then back into drive at every stop sign.

G. Cycling isn't dangerous. Cars are the danger, they need to be more heavily regulated. If we were in a world where >10% of trips were made by car and the rest by walking and cycling we wouldn't need stop lights, most stop signs, lane markings, etc. Traffic control devices were invented to control cars.

H. Finally, it's been well documented that most local PD's won't do anything to try and follow up a struck cyclist/pedestrian investigation as soon as the magic words of "but I didn't see him!" are uttered. The state, through its policies and enforcement, doesn't care about cyclists. So then, why should cyclists apparently exhibit some slavish devotion to following the letter of the law when the law won't even help them when they need it?

by drumz on May 13, 2013 2:30 pm • linkreport

B. It's incredibly stupid to focus on the illegal things a cyclist does when most of the time its done because the streets are so hostile to anyone not in a car.

And because the traffic laws don't recognize the laws of physics.

by Alex B. on May 13, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

" To say that we could just let bikes do what they want but put severe limits on cars seems to require making a rather arbitrary distinction between the two modes rather than a solution borne out of any kind of robust scientific analysis."

I dont read MLD as supporting cyclists dong whatever they want, but only allow them, as a general rule, to tread stops signs as yield signs (IE the Idaho stop). I think in this instance the differences between different types of bikes, and between different types of cars, are small compared to the general differences between cars and bikes. I think one can misread MLD, because he appears to be arguing against Ms Goodyear, who, I think, is not an advocate for keeping the current law wrt Idaho Stops, but simply thinks that discouraging more egregious violations would be good for cycling. Again she confuses matters by mixing whats really egregious, and behavior she personally avoids - like the Idaho stop. Whether that particular behavior impacts the public view of cycling, is debatable.

I personally doubt the chicago initiative will focus on it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

@MLD: Do you have any evidence to back up your assertion that drivers turned right on red in the 70s before it was legalized? Because I'm old enough to remember the 70s, and I can't recall one time I saw someone do that in those days.

by c5karl on May 13, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

"It's similarly stupid to think that there is any validity to the thought process that bikes must rigidly adhere to the law before gaining any respect. Cyclists don't want respect, they want streets they feel safe riding on."

i want a no dooring law. We didnt get one in Va, and Emmanuel is supporting one in Chicago.

Its quite possible that the political reality is different in different places - something both Ms Goodyear and Dave C overlook. I tend to trust Mayor Emmanuel to have a good idea of whats politically doable in Chicago though.

"who are if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice" - Deng XiaoPing

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:36 pm • linkreport

"who cares"

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:36 pm • linkreport

@ MLD. I'm not sure I understand your definition of blowing through? Is it the lack of a pause before running the light or sign? That happens frequently in my experience.

by I. Rex on May 13, 2013 2:37 pm • linkreport

@Chris S: The law says the same thing that it says for every other vehicle, that the speed limit is an upper limit that a vehicle is not supposed to exceed. It's not an average, it's not a guide for how fast to drive, it's an upper limit, period.

by Moose on May 13, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

It's incredibly stupid to focus on the illegal things a cyclist does when most of the time its done because the streets are so hostile to anyone not in a car.

If I am doing something illegal, it's usually to make my trip faster or easier, not because the road is so hostile that obeying the law is impossible.

I usually feel that the streets are hostile only when drivers are not obeying the law. If I have to do something illegal to avoid being hit by a car, then I will do it. But that is not typical for me. I usually encounter some hostility when I am obeying the law, but for me that is not justification for breaking the law. I guess it is justification to others.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

Arguing about the precise meaning of "blowing through" still focuses on the fact that cyclists must observe 100% obedience before any policy changes should be enacted.

Can you imagine if people argued that DDOT shouldn't repair a single pothole until all cars obeyed the speed limit?

by drumz on May 13, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

"Arguing about the precise meaning of "blowing through" still focuses on the fact that cyclists must observe 100% obedience before any policy changes should be enacted.
Can you imagine if people argued that DDOT shouldn't repair a single pothole until all cars obeyed the speed limit?"

we are obviously never going to get cyclist 100% obedience, even to the sensible laws. but do you think that amount of cyclist obedience has no impact of chances of improved policy? Do you think biking is in the same situation politically as driving in most jurisdictions?

Do you think that support for a cycling enforcement campaign will not be used skillfully by the City of Chicago as the debate on its probike policies proceeds?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

If I am doing something illegal, it's usually to make my trip faster or easier, not because the road is so hostile that obeying the law is impossible.

Cool, but for many cyclists visibility is key. And intersections are already dangerous, and if you get a chance to clear the intersection before the cars do so they actually see that you're in front of them rather than them focusing on how to turn or just waiting for the light to turn green then that's an easy decision to make. All of a sudden you're doing something illegal but because you don't want to assume anything about what the people around you will do.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 2:44 pm • linkreport

does anyone think that this

"At the same time, Emanuel proposed increased fines for cyclists who break the law, bringing them from $25 up to $50–$200."

will stop people from doing Idaho Stops in places in chicago where thats an obviously safe thing to do?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

@AWITC-only if they see a cop first.

by Tina on May 13, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport

we are obviously never going to get cyclist 100% obedience, even to the sensible laws. but do you think that amount of cyclist obedience has no impact of chances of improved policy?

A. Realistically, yes, politics are politics. But it's still an absurd argument that relies on a number of false assumptions and we need more articles that prove why its a bad argument rather than ones that buy into it.

B. If a cop sees a cyclist breaking a law/doing something dangerous, that cyclist should be ticketed. But still, the issue is the fact that there are expectations for cyclists that aren't there for cars and drivers.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

I usually feel that the streets are hostile only when drivers are not obeying the law.

You will almost never find a car with any number of cars on it where the drivers are consistently obeying the law. They drive at least 1 mph above the speed limit. They don't come to a full stop before right turns on red, or at stop signs. They don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, especially unmarked ones.

by Ben Ross on May 13, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

Find a street, of course.

by Ben Ross on May 13, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

So if you think government can eliminate some "bad" cycling behavior from increased fines, be my guest.

I'd still argue that it's a misplaced priority when there is much more dangerous activity going on out there and a better overall policy would be to do more to accomdate cycling.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 2:53 pm • linkreport

Cool, but for many cyclists visibility is key. And intersections are already dangerous, and if you get a chance to clear the intersection before the cars do so they actually see that you're in front of them rather than them focusing on how to turn or just waiting for the light to turn green then that's an easy decision to make.

Visibility is key for me as well (not sure why you would think it isn't). Perhaps I just choose to be visible in other ways. Sometimes I'll move ahead of the first driver near the stop line, or I'll make sure not to be in his blind spot, or I will speed up quickly faster than the driver.

Even if I clear an intersection before the cars behind me do, I still have to contend with the cross traffic that may not expect me to be in the middle of the intersection - the cars behind me are not the only vehicles that need to be aware of my presence.

I don't really consider running stop lights and signs to be in my arsenal of tactics for safe riding, but we all have different strategies I suppose.

And maybe I'm jaded, or perhaps just plain wrong, but I would not really assume that cyclists proceed illegally through stop signs and red lights for the sake of visibility - I would assume usually that most do it for the sake of convenience.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

I dont read MLD as supporting cyclists dong whatever they want, but only allow them, as a general rule, to tread stops signs as yield signs (IE the Idaho stop). I think in this instance the differences between different types of bikes, and between different types of cars, are small compared to the general differences between cars and bikes. I think one can misread MLD, because he appears to be arguing against Ms Goodyear, who, I think, is not an advocate for keeping the current law wrt Idaho Stops, but simply thinks that discouraging more egregious violations would be good for cycling. Again she confuses matters by mixing whats really egregious, and behavior she personally avoids - like the Idaho stop. Whether that particular behavior impacts the public view of cycling, is debatable.

She's not just saying she personally avoids certain behavior - she is advocating that cyclists aren't "special" and should just follow the rules, and that she is going to be an ambassador of that good behavior. Follow the rules first, then we'll see if something can be changed, because probably people will be less annoyed at cyclists then. At least that's how I read it.

Correct, I don't think people should just do whatever they want whenever they want. I think there are some cyclist behaviors that continually raise the ire of drivers that should just be legal. The stop sign/red light issue is ALWAYS brought up, even though it really is minor in terms of inconvenience to others. I find in my observations that cyclists are usually courteous to other users and do not violate others' right of way or cause problems when going through intersections.

I think the real reason the Idaho stop behavior raises drivers' ire so much is that they see cyclists flaunting their freedom of movement. They see that cyclist filter up in the bike lane to the front of the line of cars at the stop sign and cruise through the intersection with the first car traveling their direction. Or they see the cyclist come to a red light, look around to see that there's no traffic, and then just continue on. Drivers waiting get upset because they can't do that. Bikes do it because 90% of the time they do it safely.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

"Realistically, yes, politics are politics"

Well thats MY point. Politics is the art of the possible, most voters aren't cyclists (in any way meaningful to these issues) and tradeoffs are going to be necessary. The kind of tradeoff involved proposed in chicago - higher maximum fines for cyclists (that will, I guess, be much more applied to cyclists who actually do egregious things, than to Idaho Stoppers) in return for a serious no dooring law, seems sensible to me.

Whether that requires most cyclists actually putting their foot to the pavement at each stop sign (as Ms Goodyear seems to indicate she strives to do) is debatable, of course. I do think that campaigns to be predictable, alert, and lawful, such as are supported by the major biking orgs in this region, are a good idea, not only in themselves, but for the sake of PR for biking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

I interpret "blowing through" to mean proceeding regardless of right-of-way and who has it. Running a red light or stop sign, even without stopping first, does not necessarily count. To blow through, you have to do so without looking or without caring that someone else legally has the right of way.

Perhaps you think that leisurely riding through a stop sign at a quiet 4 way stop is "blowing through", but I think of it as worse than simply ignoring a Traffic Control Device.

Just to define terms.

And no, this wasn't edited. It was written for my other blog where the work is a little more shoddy and the readers a little more forgiving. I apologize to the readers here and every English and writing teacher I have ever had.

by David C on May 13, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Also, some of the formatting at my blog didn't carry over to here.

by David C on May 13, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

I don't believe there's any car where you can see well enough to avoid stopping at a stop sign before proceeding.

The issue is usually less the car and more the visibility at the intersection. There are plenty of stop signs in open areas where there is ample visibility for drivers and cyclists to determine whether there is any cross traffic. Likewise, there are plenty in urban areas where neither can do so safely without coming to a stop. There may be a small number where a cyclist but not a driver could ascertain the safety because of modestly better visibility, but the forward and lateral visibilty from cars is very good; it's rear visibility that is the problem.

by ah on May 13, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

I don't really consider running stop lights and signs to be in my arsenal of tactics for safe riding, but we all have different strategies I suppose

That's the thing. Just because we're on a bike doesn't mean that I'm responsible for what you do or vice-versa. Yet, the argument is often framed with the assumption that cyclists are one bloc. Why should I have to "fix" those around me to get safer streets for everyone.

It's almost as if the "good ambassador" thing is meant as a diversionary tactic from talking about policy because all of a sudden every cyclist has to caveat that "well I ride this way so..." as if I can only speak once I meet some impossible standard.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

Politics is the art of the possible, most voters aren't cyclists (in any way meaningful to these issues) and tradeoffs are going to be necessary.

And if I was a city council member or Idaho stops were being actively debated at city hall I'd be willing to give more ground.

But in the abstract, and since I'm not in political office I don't have to compromise with anyone just yet, I can keep working on persuasion.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

@ Moose - Well, that's not quite accurate, is it? Speed limits are surely intended as guidelines to how the city would like traffic to flow through a particular area.

I don't know the letter of DC traffic laws, but the DC driver's manual states:

"No one should drive at such a slow speed they impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when a reduced speed is necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle or in compliance with the law."

Does this apply to bicycles as well, or are they exempt?

by Chris S. on May 13, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

Or they see the cyclist come to a red light, look around to see that there's no traffic, and then just continue on. Drivers waiting get upset because they can't do that. Bikes do it because 90% of the time they do it safely.

I think most of the time a driver in the presence of no cross traffic could safely proceed through a red light as well. On top of that most drivers can safely proceed through stop signs without coming to a full stop (most already do, and accidents are fairly rare). I think part of the reason drivers get mad is because they could do it safely as well, but obey the law anyway. They see cyclists proceeding safely through it and get mad that cyclists are not obeying the law.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

MLD

heres where she says she will be an ambassador

"I am trying to see myself as an ambassador for bicycling and to break the bad habits I formed over years of biking on streets designed solely for cars. If I am going to fight back against the forces that want to intimidate and marginalize me when I am on my bike, I think that riding as squeaky clean as possible is my best strategy these days"

IE she is just referring to her own personal behavior. She also says more ticketing of cyclists would make her happy, but she says that ONLY in reference to salmoning.

I see nowhere in the article where she argues against legalizing the Idaho Stop.

Or for it.

Perhaps its not really on the agenda in NYC right now? AFAICT,it wasnt at the core of bike legislative debate in Va. I dont think it is in Chicago.

There are loads of biking issues debated every day in multiple jurisdictions, that are NOT about the Idaho Stop. And loads of ways cyclists can improve behavior that are not about the Idaho stop.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

@I. Rex
I'm not sure I understand your definition of blowing through? Is it the lack of a pause before running the light or sign? That happens frequently in my experience.

To me, "blowing through" implies that the cyclist went through without looking and without any regard for cross traffic. This rarely happens in my experience.

If the cyclist can see it is clear and they are going a reasonable speed then they don't have to slow down much at all before continuing.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

And loads of ways cyclists can improve behavior that are not about the Idaho stop.

I guess so but it seems to me most complaints I see from drivers are "AND THEY BLOW THROUGH THE DAMN STOP SIGNS!"

If you are complaining incessantly about salmoning cyclists and how they need to obey the law before you'll give them an inch then I don't know how far we're going to get. I think riding against traffic is idiotic behavior but then again I don't see people doing it that often. And as I said repeatedly on another post about specific bike infrastructure, updating our streets so bikes can go both ways would help this problem.

I mean what are the top complaints about people on bikes? I think:
1. They don't wear helmets
2. They are slow
3. They go through stop signs/red lights
4. They go against traffic

Are there other legit complaints that people have about bikes?

by MLD on May 13, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

MLD,

Bike lanes take away parking.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

"I again assert that few cyclists actually "blow through" stop signs and lights"

Really? You can "assert" all you like but DDOT disagrees with you and measured 42% of cyclists on the PA Avenue bike lane rode through their red light.

We all have "anecdotal" evidence, and people can play down typical cyclist behavior in this town, ignore it as simple "bike hate", but you can't ignore the hard numbers of one of the nations most cyclist friendly DOT's.

This article is pretty timely though. Just this morning I witnessed a cyclist on a "big red" (a cabi bike) blow through a redlight on K street at K and 19th. The cars were all stopped, the light had been red for 14 seconds (I looked at the countdown as it happened). He came shooting out of the side access lane across 19th forcing 1 car to lock up his brakes and he got in some guys (peds) briefcase who was halfway across K street at the time, and went flying off his bike. The cabi bike looked pretty beaten up and the young man (mid twenties)tore his pants, was bleeding a bit and had a pretty prononced limp as he walked away, the ped he almost nailed screaming in his ear the entire time.

And no you aren't special.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

" guess so but it seems to me most complaints I see from drivers are "AND THEY BLOW THROUGH THE DAMN STOP SIGNS!""

I think if we can show we are addressing real safety issues, thats more important than addressing the uninformed (which includes ignorant citizens of good faith, as well as internet trolls or tabloid newspapers). It can at least help in the more serious legislative discussions.

"If you are complaining incessantly about salmoning cyclists and how they need to obey the law before you'll give them an inch then I don't know how far we're going to get. I think riding against traffic is idiotic behavior but then again I don't see people doing it that often."

I see it frequently in Fairfax. As I also frequently see folks riding in the dark with inadequate lighting.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 3:46 pm • linkreport

Why don't we make drivers who want a green light turn off the engine, put the car in park, and walk over to push a beg button? Instead, we use automatic sensors to tell when a car is present. It's because drivers are special and aren't like pedestrians -- it's much more trouble for the driver to push the button than for the pedestrian.

Similarly, it's much more trouble for a bicyclist than for a car to come to a full stop and accelerate again. Thus it makes sense to give cyclists different treatment, especially taking into account the lesser hazard of the bicycle to other road users.

by Ben Ross on May 13, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

"I guess so but it seems to me most complaints I see from drivers are "AND THEY BLOW THROUGH THE DAMN STOP SIGNS!"

The problem MLD, is that drivers aren't claiming to have their own set of rules and to members of a "special class" of privlidged road users.

The whole reason we have standard road laws (and air traffic laws, and boating laws) is safety through predictability.

We see a stop light, we "predict" everyone else will stop which allows us to safely proceed. If cyclists honestly believe they are a special class who can do what they want on the roads, then they shouldn't be allowed to use them, period.

Considering David C maintains a DC biking blog and is very involved in promoting biking policy, I suggest a copy of this overly self-obsessed piece of comedy be emailed to WABA, and to DDOT as an example of the typical cyclist attitude, as an example of "the problem".

You want to drive or cycle on a road where everyone "is special" and no one follows the rules, I suggest a trip to Greece.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

If cyclists honestly believe they are a special class who can do what they want on the roads

I think you've misinterpreted. Cyclists ARE a special class - there are whole sections of code that apply only to cyclists, and other sections from which they're excluded - but they can not do what they want on the roads. And no one I've ever talked to thinks that they can.

by David C on May 13, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

If I am going to fight back against the forces that want to intimidate and marginalize me when I am on my bike, I think that riding as squeaky clean as possible is my best strategy these days"

Sorry, but this is incredibly wrongheaded. Humans ride bikes. Humans are not going to adhere to arbitrary and strict standards of behavior en masse. So all you're doing is capitulating to the double standard whereby cyclists agree that they should be held to a higher standard to everyone else--and making their rights contingent on such behavior.

Pedestrians should walk to the right. They shouldn't jaywalk. And yet they walk all over the place. They jaywalk all the time. And they manage to figure things out--the sidewalks are not a scene of carnage as pedestrians elbow one another out of the way.

In the same way, cyclists actually behave quite well for the most part. As someone pointed out upthread, most of the "sins" that cyclists commit aren't things that endanger pedestrians, or drivers, or even themselves. They're things that upset drivers because they think it's unfair that cyclists aren't "playing by the rules". But those rules that were developed to codify behavior of drivers.

We often hear this "cyclists must behave like cars but they don't". And that's true. But usually when cyclists don't behave like cars, it's to the benefit of drivers, not to their detriment.

When your average cyclist is going to turn left, he doesn't get in the left-hand lane a block or two ahead of the turn as he's legally entitled. He stays right because it's polite to the drivers.

As @Redline SOS noted, some cyclist had the temerity to filter past six cars to get to the light before riding in the road (as is his legal right). I've actually been in this situation before, and depending on how many cars there are queued up, I'll filter as well. Because many times a six car length gap is far enough that a cyclist will miss the light. Oftentimes I'll be nice enough to wait on the other side of the light and allow a bunch of cars to pass, but sometimes I won't. Again, if you're going to demand that bikes follow the "letter of the law" I'm not sure you're going to like the results if you're in a car. Because filtering is legal. And taking the lane is legal. And the speed limit is an upper limit, not a lower limit. (And that's setting aside the ridiculousness of car commuters crying about being inconvenienced by bike traffic in a national park. Don't like it? Take Connecticut or Wisconsin.)

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

The whole reason we have standard road laws (and air traffic laws, and boating laws) is safety through predictability.

Good thing we can have safety and predictability while allowing for cyclists to behave differently at stop signs and lights (and the idaho stop still doesn't allowing "blowing through").

I suggest a copy of this overly self-obsessed piece of comedy be emailed to WABA, and to DDOT as an example of the typical cyclist attitude, as an example of "the problem".
Complaining about someone's supposed failure to obey the law is an awful way to figure out the best policy for building our streets. Besides, you're problem is with law enforcement and DDOT isn't law enforcement.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

"I guess so but it seems to me most complaints I see from drivers are "AND THEY BLOW THROUGH THE DAMN STOP SIGNS!"
The problem MLD, is that drivers aren't claiming to have their own set of rules and to members of a "special class" of privlidged road users.

The whole reason we have standard road laws (and air traffic laws, and boating laws) is safety through predictability.

The reason we have the standard road laws that we do is in order to standardize normal driver behavior. Cyclists also have a "normative" standard of behavior (that individual cyclists adhere to to a greater or lesser degree). As someone who has spent a lot of time on a bike seat in the city, I find cyclist behavior much, much more predictable than driver behavior. This is largely because of the tiny fraction of the horsepower available to the cyclist.

Pedestrians are equally predictable if you've ever actually walked anywhere. How often do you crash into another pedestrian when walking around town. Not often. And that's without signals, complex lane markings, or other accouterments.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

@David C

they can not do what they want on the roads. And no one I've ever talked to thinks that they can.

Well, you did say that "we're going to have to... let [cyclists] play by their own rules." It does seem like the context and subtext is that cyclists should be able to do whatever they want on the roads. Usually that's what "play by one's own rules" means.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

Considering David C maintains a DC biking blog and is very involved in promoting biking policy, I suggest a copy of this overly self-obsessed piece of comedy be emailed to WABA, and to DDOT as an example of the typical cyclist attitude, as an example of "the problem".

Uh-oh, David! You've ruined cycling for the rest of us. Now we're going to lose everything!

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:08 pm • linkreport

" So all you're doing is capitulating to the double standard whereby cyclists agree that they should be held to a higher standard to everyone else--and making their rights contingent on such behavior."

Mayor Emmanuel is supporting serious anti-dooring legislation, and the quid pro quo is NOT all cyclists riding to a higher standard, but simply an increase in the maximum fine cyclists are exposed to. And Ms Goodyear seems to approve that approach.

Im sorry, but she really is not a 'self hating' cyclist accepting the AAA/Examiner line on cycling. She's someone who A. is supportive of the kind of clever logrolling the mayor of chicago practices B. is legitimately disturbed the kinds of dangerous behaviour a small but not trivial minority of cyclists engage in and C. Wants to think her own strict interpretation of PAL is optimal for cycling. D has conflated these three somewhat different approaches in this column.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 4:09 pm • linkreport

@Scoot,

Well, you did say that "we're going to have to... let [cyclists] play by their own rules." It does seem like the context and subtext is that cyclists should be able to do whatever they want on the roads. Usually that's what "play by one's own rules" means.

Drivers have a set of rules (the Uniform Vehicle Code). Cyclists should have their own set of overlapping but different set of rules. Then cyclists will "play by their own rules."

What you're describing is "not playing by any rules".

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

drivers aren't claiming to have their own set of rules

Drivers do have their own set of rules. You've just interpreted drivers' rules as "the" rules; you've normalized driving. Driving isn't the only form of transportation. Riding a bike is very different from driving a car and from walking. It makes sense to have rules for biking that take into account what its like to ride a bike.

by Tina on May 13, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

Really? You can "assert" all you like but DDOT disagrees with you and measured 42% of cyclists on the PA Avenue bike lane rode through their red light.
I suggest you read the comments as we have discussed the difference between "blowing through" a light without regard to other users and violating red lights when it is safe. Most of that 42% falls into the latter category.

The problem MLD, is that drivers aren't claiming to have their own set of rules and to members of a "special class" of privlidged road users.
Of course drivers don't need to claim that - because the entire system is THEIR set of rules conceived to codify and legitimize their behavior. This is getting dangerously close to "can't let them (insert minority group) have special rights!" territory.

We see a stop light, we "predict" everyone else will stop which allows us to safely proceed.
Correct - and I believe if you actually looked at every situation instead of getting pissed every time you saw a cyclists not stop and put their foot down you'd see they are quite predictable and do not take right of way from other users.

If cyclists honestly believe they are a special class who can do what they want on the roads, then they shouldn't be allowed to use them, period.
We don't believe we should be able to do whatever we want. But David has made the case as for why the rules don't always have to apply.

I'm happy to take you for a bike ride any time Frank, so you can experience things from a different perspective.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

And Ms Goodyear seems to approve that approach.

Except then she extrapolates that incident to make a more general call for "anti-scofflaw" (for lack of a better term) and that is the only way to make biking and its infrastructure more palatable. I think it's a better strategy to explain (like David C. does) why bikes do what they do and why it's ok sometimes.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

Scoot, that phrase was perhaps unclear, but I think oboe's answer was what I intended.

by David C on May 13, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

@Oboe,

Biking on RCP is illegal, so is on the GW Pkway, and for good reason. If you have a problem with it, I suggest you contact NPS but riding illegally on a road, then having the temerity to tell drivers to "take another road" is why cyclists are thought of as they are.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 4:16 pm • linkreport

It's legal to ride on RCP but not the GW Parkway.

by David C on May 13, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

@ oboe

Drivers have a set of rules (the Uniform Vehicle Code). Cyclists should have their own set of overlapping but different set of rules. Then cyclists will "play by their own rules."

What you're describing is "not playing by any rules".

As far as this discussion is concerned, playing by one's own rules and not playing by any rules have the same outcome - a lack of any single standardized set of rules to govern all cyclists.

These various blog posts and comment threads reinforce the idea that the cycling community (at least a vocal minority of it) cannot agree on a single set of rules for all cyclists. This community cannot even agree on the basics of safe cycling, much less a regulatory code. This community cannot even agree on something as simple as the term "running a red light."

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 4:19 pm • linkreport

"Except then she extrapolates that incident to make a more general call for "anti-scofflaw" (for lack of a better term) and that is the only way to make biking and its infrastructure more palatable."

I see her making a call to her fellow cyclists to obey all laws (which we less controversially call being a PAL) Even that she qualifies with "as squeaky clean as POSSIBLE" I do not read her anywhere as saying that the advances in bike infrastructure, policy, law SHOULD to wait on others following her lead. I don't think that logically follows what from what she says. She seems to believe strongly though that advances will be slowed by unlawful cyclist behavior (thats a political judgement about which reasonable people can disagree) and she does not clearly address the difference between the list of which cyclist behaviors are most dangerous, and those which are most often cited by opponents of bike policy, which I agree is a weakness of her article.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

The difference between "blowing through a red light" and what 99.999% of all cyclists do when they ignore a red light is the difference between "jaywalking" and "running pell-mell into traffic without even looking".

It's the difference between accurate description and hyperbole.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

"These various blog posts and comment threads reinforce the idea that the cycling community (at least a vocal minority of it) cannot agree on a single set of rules for all cyclists."

I would suggest thats true for the driving community as well - I for one appreciate the 40MPH speed limit on the SE-SW freeway, which many people do not like. I think that driving at the speed limit on a 2 way road where passing is not possible should be allowed, and not be honked at. Etc, etc.

However we dont base driving laws on blog discussions, but on decisions by legislators. Which is the same for cyclists. In both cases disagreement is expressed as part of the democratic process.

The code is already different for cyclists than drivers, and some want to extend that to allowing the Idaho stop. Again, I think focus on the Idaho stop is entirely misreading what Ms Goodyear was addressing, which was violation of current law.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

@FrankD:

Biking on RCP is illegal, so is on the GW Pkway, and for good reason. If you have a problem with it, I suggest you contact NPS but riding illegally on a road, then having the temerity to tell drivers to "take another road" is why cyclists are thought of as they are.

No, actually biking on RCP is quite legal. But it explains why you seem to have such a strong sense of entitlement regarding it's use by cyclists.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

Walker,
Fair enough. We've seen similar proposals from cycling advocates that have taken the same tack.

BUT,

"I do not read her anywhere as saying that the advances in bike infrastructure, policy, law SHOULD to wait on others following her lead. I don't think that logically follows what from what she say"

I don't think it's her intent either but there are a lot of people with that intent and it doesn't help to feed it. Rather, we need to spend more time pointing out that its meritless.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

As far as this discussion is concerned, playing by one's own rules and not playing by any rules have the same outcome - a lack of any single standardized set of rules to govern all cyclists.

No, that's where I disagree. Pedestrians play by a set of rules. (Don't believe me? Go to Adams-Morgan Fest this year and run down the sidewalk as fast as you can while spinning in circles with your arms stretched out.)

Cyclists play by a set of rules as well. They're somewhat less formal than those that cars play by, but significantly more formal than those pedestrians play by.

What's obvious is that these rules are quite safe, both for cyclists and for other road users--considerably more so than the rules that drivers have which we've codified in the the UVC.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:32 pm • linkreport

As far as this discussion is concerned, playing by one's own rules and not playing by any rules have the same outcome - a lack of any single standardized set of rules to govern all cyclists.

A. We don't really have that for cars either, state laws vary and people quibble about specifics on certain roads.

B. We have our standards but they're unworkable for a variety of reasons. An Idaho stop law would do a lot of the standardization you're looking for though. But we're talking about that because first people need to see that bikes are intrinsically different than cars and need different considerations.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

@Oboe and DavidC,

Biking on Beach Drive is legal, biking on Rock Creek Parkway between Beach drive and VA Ave is not.

"The difference between "blowing through a red light" and what 99.999% of all cyclists do when they ignore a red light is the difference between "jaywalking" and "running pell-mell into traffic without even looking". "

I will use that excuse next time I "inch through" a red light.

You can parce, the definition of running a redlight as much as you want, but to the rest of the world it means one thing, and to the cabi biker who ran the red light this morning in front of me and will carry the limp to prove it for awhile, there is no difference.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

These various blog posts and comment threads reinforce the idea that the cycling community (at least a vocal minority of it) cannot agree on a single set of rules for all cyclists.

Talk to a group of pedestrians and I think you'll find similar issues. It's the edge cases folks disagree on--90% of this stuff is covered by

This community cannot even agree on the basics of safe cycling, much less a regulatory code. This community cannot even agree on something as simple as the term "running a red light."

Now that you've left off the hyperbole of "blowing through red lights" I think you'd pretty much get 100% agreement as to "running a red light". Or call it "jaybiking". Of course, that doesn't sound quite so fraught.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport

Sorry "...90% of this stuff is covered by convention."

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport

David:
Thanks for the clarification on "blowing through". For what it's worth, I still disagree with you that "few cyclists" blow through even under your definition. While less than the high number of cyclists who slow and run a light when there's no oncoming traffic, I do frequently see cyclists who accelerate to run a stop sign in front of a car that would have had the right of way if the cyclist had come to a stop as he was supposed to.

by I. Rex on May 13, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport

drumz

i guess as with all calls for moderation, it depends on the audience being addressed. You want your allies to stop doing things (beating up terror suspects, calling opponents of single payer fascists, building houses on the west bank, opposing nuclear power) that piss off the moderates on the other side, while you want to tell the other side that these these things arent nearly bad enough to bring your cause into disrepute, and sometimes arent really a problem at all "what my side does is NOT evil, but we will stop doing it anyway to show good faith"

I think Ms Goodyear thinks her audience is mostly cyclists, not bikehaters. She could be wrong in that.

I think that to the extent she correctly focuses on actually dangerous behavior (like salmoning) it can direct the right message to cyclists, without actually feeding the incorrect opposition.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 13, 2013 4:38 pm • linkreport

I do frequently see cyclists who accelerate to run a stop sign in front of a car that would have had the right of way if the cyclist had come to a stop as he was supposed to.

Though if we switched to an Idaho stop law that'd still be illegal. That people do it today doesn't mean that we wouldn't benefit from the Idaho Stop being on the books. Or that cyclists shouldn't be allowed to do something because a certain amount of them do something worse.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:39 pm • linkreport

Biking on Beach Drive is legal, biking on Rock Creek Parkway between Beach drive and VA Ave is not.

I'm sure there's a cite for that somewhere. Or did this come to you via revelation?

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:39 pm • linkreport

@Oboe,

I am sure you have a link to NPS website showing us where it is legal? Yes?

Link please

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

Biking on Beach Drive is legal, biking on Rock Creek Parkway between Beach drive and VA Ave is not.

I guess people are mixing terms then. The original complaint was about bikes on Beach Drive, oboe changed that to "in a national park" (which is correct) and then you extended that to RCP. Lots of people use RCP to refer to the entirety of rock creek park. Bikes are allowed where that person was complaining about how bikes should be "on the bike path."

by MLD on May 13, 2013 4:40 pm • linkreport

Walker,

I get you. And Atlantic Cities is seemingly more pro-bike than not but I'd rather she brought it up in our secret cyclist meetings that we have all over the country that anyone with a driver's liscense isn't invited to.

j/k I just feel like her call wouldn't actually lead to city gov'ts waking up and realizing that they need to think seriously about bikes. Only getting people on bikes will do that.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

I do frequently see cyclists who accelerate to run a stop sign in front of a car that would have had the right of way if the cyclist had come to a stop as he was supposed to.

Actually, what's happening is that the cyclist makes the estimation that they would be in the intersection before the driver came to a full stop at the stop sign, and therefore would be stopped while the cyclist was riding through the intersection. Not something I do, and kind of jerky, but not "blowing through an intersection [without even looking]."

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:43 pm • linkreport

You can parce, the definition of running a redlight as much as you want, but to the rest of the world it means one thing,

Cool, what does that have to do with how governments should consider bikes and how the law should treat them while recognizing their intrinsic qualities as transportation. Should we base transportation policy off of some notion of fairness? Is it fair to expect cyclists to behave exactly like drivers when they aren't driving they're cycling?

by drumz on May 13, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

@FrankD:

I am sure you have a link to NPS website showing us where it is legal? Yes?

Wait, so are bikes prohibited from all roads where FrankD might be inconvenienced, or is there some other criteria.

By that measure, I declare the "Real Housewives..." series to be illegal. Also Hardees. Thanks, you've improved my quality of life.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

@Oboe ,

The problem is people call the entire thing RCP, when the parkway only goes to Woodley Park. Makes it pretty clear when people don't know what they are talking about as Beach Drive and RCP are two different things.

@MLD,

RCP is in a national park. It is illegal to bike it. GW Parkway is in a national park. It is illegal to bike it. Case closed.

@Drumz

"Cool, what does that have to do with how governments should consider bikes and how the law should treat them while recognizing their intrinsic qualities as transportation. Should we base transportation policy off of some notion of fairness".

No, you should stop and wait at the redlight like every other road user does. You can't have different modes of transportation sharing the same exact lanes, with two different sets of rules.

Red means stop...learn it...live it. That is all that is expected of the cyclist.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

MLD: I believe if you actually looked at every situation instead of getting pissed every time you saw a cyclists not stop and put their foot down you'd see they are quite predictable and do not take right of way from other users.

Seriously? I don't want to accuse anyone of lying, so I'll just assume you travel on totally different streets than I do.

I don't see cyclists blowing through stop signs without paying attention to cross traffic. What I do see is cyclists calculating that, because they are not slowing down and thus losing momentum, they can easily clear an intersection before the cross traffic enters it, regardless of who actually has the right of way. This may not be "blowing through" and it may be "safe" inasmuch as nobody is actually injured or killed most of the time, but it's neither legal (even under Idaho stop rules) nor considerate of other road users' right of way. Is it worth writing letters to the editor about? I don't know. I'm not saying that every cyclists does this, but it's extremely common in my experience. I admit to doing it myself on occasion (and feeling like a dirty scoundrel after doing it). Yes, drivers do it, too, but not nearly as often. That's probably not because drivers are saints, but because in a car you can't easily veer out of the way of other traffic when everybody is interpreting "right-of-way" however they see fit.

Oboe: How often do you crash into another pedestrian when walking around town. Not often.

Near misses when people stop short or step out onto a busy sidewalk without looking aren't really all that rare. Fortunately a pedestrian is usually able to stop on a proverbial dime, so they're only near misses. Predictability doesn't have that much to do with it.

by jimble on May 13, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

Whenever I read these bicycle vs car debates, I'm always reminded of a favorite book from my teen years: On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. In one chapter, the protagonist visits Mother Nature, but has to traverse an area 3 times in 3 different modes to reach his destination. Through magic, these 3 trips loop on each other in space & time.

Roughly, those modes translate to car, bike, walk. And *surprise* the protagonist's self-centeredness renders him rude & dangerous to himself in the other transport modes.

We all sometimes, wittingly or not, affect others in how they are moving about the city.

by Erin M on May 13, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

RC Parkway is not Beach Drive, but I believe it is legal to ride on both. On RCP, there is no sign stating otherwise, the speed limit (35mph) would ordinarily permit bikes, the alternative path is inadequate, and I see bikes on there with some regularity. GW Parkway is different from RCP in each of those ways.

by SJE on May 13, 2013 4:51 pm • linkreport

@Oboe,
"Wait, so are bikes prohibited from all roads where FrankD might be inconvenienced, or is there some other criteria".

All you had to say is, "You were right Frank, I was wrong".

No need to jump the proverbial shark and change the subject because you were wrong about something.

Now you can educate your fellow cyclists.

You are welcome.

by FrankD on May 13, 2013 4:52 pm • linkreport

@FrankD
Bikes are allowed on any road unless specifically banned (interstate onramps have a sign for example) so the burden of proof is on you.

I have never seen a sign that says no bikes on rock creek parkway.

The transportation bill did have something about this but I don't know if it was ever enacted, see here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/fltp.cfm (bicycle safety)

Case not closed - where the previous commenter was complaining, bikes ARE ALLOWED.

by MLD on May 13, 2013 4:52 pm • linkreport

You can't have different modes of transportation sharing the same exact lanes, with two different sets of rules.

They've made it work in Idaho. http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title49/T49CH7SECT49-720.htm

No one is saying that cyclists shouldn't stop at red lights. They're explaining why they don't and what can be done to remedy the situation. Seems like one of the better solutions is to simply legalize some of the behavior because bikes are different than cars anyway and this will help more people ride bikes which is a goal the city has.

by Canaan on May 13, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

As far as this discussion is concerned, playing by one's own rules and not playing by any rules have the same outcome - a lack of any single standardized set of rules to govern all cyclists.

A. We don't really have that for cars either, state laws vary and people quibble about specifics on certain roads.

What is the purpose of this straw man? I never said that there is a single set of rules to govern all cars. I never even mentioned the word "car" or even suggested or implied that I was trying to compare cycling to driving. Gee whiz.

Anyway, saying that "cyclists should be able to play by their own rules" is not really the same as saying that cyclists should play by a set of rules determined by a legislative body.

It could be very easily perceived (and indeed was perceived by many commenters) to imply that cyclists should be able to do whatever they want, which as succinctly stated at the beginning of the comment thread is an attitude already taken by most other road users that contributes to the hostile environment we have today.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

Frank: there a plenty of national parks where it is legal to bike. In fact, it is more often that cars are banned than are bikes. GW and BW Parkways are actually very odd in that regard, being defacto parts of the National Highway System with 55mph speeds. Bikes ARE banned in parts of RCP, but only on the walking paths.

by SJE on May 13, 2013 4:54 pm • linkreport

I would just like to ask cyclists to remember that they and drivers are not the only people on the road, and for the group rides on city streets to take pedestrian signals seriously. Those group rides with the people in costumes and the bass-thumping stereo trailer seem really bad about letting pedestrians cross with the signal, and I and other pedestrians have found ourselves having to shove through cyclists to claim our right to cross the street with the signal. I have come to really dislike those group rides for that reason.

by iaom on May 13, 2013 4:58 pm • linkreport

RCP is in a national park. It is illegal to bike it. GW Parkway is in a national park. It is illegal to bike it. Case closed.

The NPS declared GW Parkway off-limits to cyclists with special public directive. Unless the NPS did the same and neglected to send it to anyone but you, the RCP is still open to cyclists. I'm fully willing to concede I'm wrong in the face of evidence to the contrary, but "where's your cite that it's legal" is not particularly compelling.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 5:00 pm • linkreport

I wasn't trying to provide a straw man and I don't think I did. I think talking about "the standard" is more of the rigid expectations we put on cyclists that don't exist when talking about cars and the law we have around them. Why should we be talking about whether people are following or contravening the standard when it appears that none exists?

It could be very easily perceived (and indeed was perceived by many commenters) to imply that cyclists should be able to do whatever they want,

Now anyone who thinks that is the argument being made is providing a strawman argument because no one has proposed that. Saying cyclists operate differently and the law should recognize that is far from saying that cyclists want anarchy.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 5:00 pm • linkreport

Biking on Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway are both legal, but biking is illegal on all or or of several other NPS roads (B-W Parkway, Suitland Parkway, GW Parkway, Clara Barton).

by JimT on May 13, 2013 5:01 pm • linkreport

Albeit a bit dated, here is a summary of the law for Rock Creek Parkway.

by JimT on May 13, 2013 5:05 pm • linkreport

This illustrates a larger problem for cyclists, which is that, even when they're following the law, there are a lot of other road users who are quite happy to condemn them (or run them off the road) for not following it.

Too often when something poses an inconvenience to the dominant group, it's immediately assumed it's illegal.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 5:10 pm • linkreport

@jimble, @FrankD-Yes, drivers do it, too, but not nearly as often.

Drivers do this to me every time I ride a bike. It happens all the time. It happened more than once this morning and I'm sure it will happen more than once this afternoon.

The difference is drivers DON'T clear out of the way. In fact most of time the driver completely mis-calculates my speed forcing me to brake and/or swerve to avoid a collision

or -- very often-- a driver passes me on the left then cuts in front of me and intentionally slows down or stops, such as to make a right turn. This happens with predictable frequency. Its endangers me and it angers me.

@FrankD - until all drivers stop doing these things that are not just breaking a rule but actually put me in danger I will hold you personally accountable. You're guilty b/c you drive.

by Tina on May 13, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

@ drumz

Just saying how it was perceived, not just by me but a number of other commenters as well. Perception is a very powerful thing.

And believe me, the commenters on here are already on your side and on the side of cyclists, myself included. Imagine how those who play identity politics and look for a reason to cite the arrogant and elitist attitude of cyclists will perceive this post. Anyway, nice chatting with you.

by Scoot on May 13, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

@Tina: You're right, although drivers are generally respectful of other drivers' rights at intersections, they all too often don't yield right-of-way properly to cyclists. Sometimes I find the opposite problem, actually -- a driver who insists on waving me through an intersection on my bike, even when I've already stopped and put my foot down on the pavement to let him proceed. I appreciate the gesture, but I never know how other drivers around me will act so I'd rather everybody just followed the rules.

by jimble on May 13, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

Perceptions are powerful. That's why posts like this are important correct the false view that cyclists are irrational an don't respect the law.

by drumz on May 13, 2013 5:37 pm • linkreport

Heck, even when cyclists obey the law they get dinged for breaking the law (i.e. leaving the bike lane, merging left to turn left, riding on the RCP, etc...)

by oboe on May 13, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

There is no known correct answer to the strategic question as to whether the required social change can best be encouraged by scupulously following the law, largely ignoring it in favor of doing what makes sense, or palpably breaking it to make a point. Throughout history, all three approaches have worked (e.g., the marches at Selma, evolution of property and traffic law, and civil disobedience, respectively).

by JimT on May 13, 2013 5:58 pm • linkreport

@JimT:

Interesting point. Also, as more people join "the movement" and it becomes less of an identity and more of a "thing that people do" it's increasingly likely that you'll see more lawbreaking rather than less. That's for the same reason that your average driver is unlikely to think of themselves as an "abassador" of driving. It's just something people do.

Cycling is an activity that is likely to continue to have a high rate of "scofflawism" as more and more people take it up. That is, until cyclist behavior is no longer considered scofflaw behavior. Then we'll just codify what people do on bikes as "the law". Just as we've done with driving.

by oboe on May 13, 2013 6:20 pm • linkreport

@jimble- a driver who insists on waving me through

This is very irritating especially when the driver has the right of way, I'm already stopped (foot down), and there are other drivers who also have the right of way against me. Why does this driver think I will take his/her advice on a life-death decision? Why does this driver think other drivers will give up their right of way?

drivers; don't do this. If you have the right of way and you see the biker is already stopped/slowed enough for you to go by w/o a collision -keep going! No one in their right mind is going to (or should) take advice or "allowance" from a complete stranger (you) who does not have all the needed information (for my safe crossing) on a life or death decision such as crossing at an intersection at which only one street has stop signs.

by Tina on May 13, 2013 7:05 pm • linkreport

She seems to believe strongly though that advances will be slowed by unlawful cyclist behavior

No she seems to believe that it will be stopped. SO that's my first disagreement with her.

And as you note, she doesn't distinguish between those actions that are dangerous and those that are not. So that's my second. I agree that everyone should be safe and courteous when on the road - not for political reasons or because of optics but because the alternative makes you a jerk. And I take the crazy position that being a jerk is bad.

And while you're right that she mostly focuses on wrong-way cycling, she brings up "blowing through red lights" so I'm addressing that. If someone has a long article explaining all the reasons they oppose Al Queda, and it focuses mostly on terrorism and oppression etc... and then they throw in "Oh yeah, and they're mostly Arabs, so that's disgusting too" they don't get a pass because all their other qualms are reasonable.

by David C on May 13, 2013 10:49 pm • linkreport

Driving through Dupont Circle the other day, a cyclist blew past me as I stopped at several intersections. Would reach a stop sign, the cyclist would ride right through it. I'd catch up and pass him, stop at the next intersection and he would dart out right past me again. This happened about six or seven times. Got the feeling he was frustrated I was stopping.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 6:51 am • linkreport

As a cyclist and a licensed engineer practicing in traffic safety, I have to say there is a difference between blowing a stop sign at full speed, and slowing down, looking both ways, preparing to stop completely if needed, and going if it is safe (an Idaho stop).

The decision whether to use a stop sign or a yield sign depends largely on the speed of motor vehicles approaching the intersection. At the speed you are going, can you see traffic on the other road when you are still far enough away to yield to it? If so, a yield sign may be used. If not, a stop sign is needed.

Most stop intersections can be safely treated as a yield sign at bicycle speeds. It may violate the laws of man, but it is perfectly in accordance with the laws of physics.

by Z. Fechten, P.E. on May 14, 2013 8:48 am • linkreport

"She seems to believe strongly though that advances will be slowed by unlawful cyclist behavior
No she seems to believe that it will be stopped. SO that's my first disagreement with her."

Actually what she says is that ticketing blitzes and similar enforcement campaigns need to happen to 'take biking to the next level' She does not say everyone has to choose to bike as she does for it to happen. What behaviors the actual ticketing blitzes she refers to are targeting is not mentioned. I don't know if Ms Goodyear knows. Since Idaho Stops were not at the core of the article, it may not have seemed worthwhile to her to find out if they were included.

"And as you note, she doesn't distinguish between those actions that are dangerous and those that are not. So that's my second. I agree that everyone should be safe and courteous when on the road"

PAL, as I am sure you know, stands for predictable, alert, and lawful. AFAIK all no major biking organization in our region calls for cyclists to be only predictable, alert and courteous. Even we realize that Idaho Stops, where they are appropriate, are in a category of behavior similar to drivers going 1MPH over the limit.

" - not for political reasons or because of optics but because the alternative makes you a jerk. And I take the crazy position that being a jerk is bad."

Well we are all going to made our individual choices about the importance of optics. Ms Goodyears appears to be extreme in one direction (though I do note her qualifier). You choose to ignore optics. Many of us are in between.

"And while you're right that she mostly focuses on wrong-way cycling, she brings up "blowing through red lights" so I'm addressing that. If someone has a long article explaining all the reasons they oppose Al Queda, and it focuses mostly on terrorism and oppression etc... and then they throw in "Oh yeah, and they're mostly Arabs, so that's disgusting too" they don't get a pass because all their other qualms are reasonable."

In that case I would have said "in an otherwise sensible article, Mr X bizarelly throws in a vile ethnic remark" Of course to say the parallel about this article would have sounded very silly - Idaho Stops, ISTM, are something about which reasonable people disagree, and opposition to them in the public sphere is hardly in a class with ethnic bigotry.

What would you think of someone who said that improving our schools is a higher priority, and better for muslim americansa, than banning anti-muslim discrimination? that would be pretty odd, eh?

Yet there are lots of cyclists who would prioritize more bike lanes over reforming law on the Idaho Stop.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on May 14, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

Drivers frequently don't signal before switching lanes or making turns. This means we should stop maintaining and building roads, which is just providing subsidies for this class of dangerous scofflaws.

by Tyro on May 14, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

"Interesting point. Also, as more people join "the movement" and it becomes less of an identity and more of a "thing that people do" it's increasingly likely that you'll see more lawbreaking rather than less. That's for the same reason that your average driver is unlikely to think of themselves as an "abassador" of driving. It's just something people do."

driving is "normal" so we see lots of folks driving a couple of miles an hour over the limit, making right turns on red without coming to a full stop, etc.

We also see enforcement against the more egregious misbehavior - speeding more than 10 MPH over the limit, running red lights, driving under the influence - to be major concerns of public policy, absorbing considerable police resources, etc.

So as biking becomes more common we will see more violations by bikers, more understanding of the acceptability of the minor technical "violations" (and possible law change) and more enforcement of the more serious violations. I believe it was the latter point that Ms Goodyear was trying to make.

"The flip side is that in places like Chicago, they have also been ticketing bicyclists for violating laws. In New York, the Department of Transportation has deployed safety officers on busy bike routes to remind people of the right way to ride. Ticketing blitzes seem to be happening more regularly.

This is what has to happen for things to get to the next level."

If anyone is familiar with the NY and Chicago blitzes, they can answer as to which violations are particularly targeted.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on May 14, 2013 9:26 am • linkreport

Actually what she says is that ticketing blitzes and similar enforcement campaigns need to happen to 'take biking to the next level'

If by "the next level" she means "reduce biking among the general public" then I agree. Funny how we don't need draconian enforcement of pedestrian laws to "take walking to the next level". ;)

by oboe on May 14, 2013 9:30 am • linkreport

Drivers frequently don't signal before switching lanes or making turns. This means we should stop maintaining and building roads, which is just providing subsidies for this class of dangerous scofflaws.

I think it's important to blanket the city with cameras to automatically enforce speed, red-light, and crosswalk violations in order to "take driving to the next level."

by oboe on May 14, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

"If by "the next level" she means "reduce biking among the general public" then I agree. Funny how we don't need draconian enforcement of pedestrian laws to "take walking to the next level". ;)"

1. We don't because everyone walks. Not everyone rides. Walking isn't seen by the public the way biking is. That may be wrong but its a fact. You havent raised a teenager yet, have you? Teaching someone that often you need to deal with the world as it is, not as it should be, is a difficult but necessary task.

2. Will it reduce biking? I don't know. I note that bike commuting in Chicago has doubled. I note that the enforcement blitz in Chicago is taking place in a city with a commitment to new bike lanes and tracks, a new bikesharing system, and new antidooring fines. In NYC the blitz accompanies the rollout of citibike, and the expansion of bike infrastructure.

Were the enforcement blitzes needed to get the probike policies? I dont know, but with all due respect, I am more inclined to defer to the political judgement of mayors Emmanuel and Bloomberg (esp Mayor Emmanuel) than to that of commenters on this blog.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on May 14, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

We don't because everyone walks.

For reals? Not true. Plenty of people don't walk much further between the door and their car and back.

by JustMe on May 14, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

Teaching someone that often you need to deal with the world as it is, not as it should be, is a difficult but necessary task.

Correct. Drivers need to learn to deal with the fact that cyclists will play by their own rules sometimes because that's what's safer and more convenient, and the likelihood of getting punished is very small. Demanding that everyone conform to the rules before anything is made better for bicyclists is a fruitless endeavor - there will always be scofflaws because the environment has been constructed to encourage that.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

@FrankD -just this morning I was bicycling lawfully and as courteously as I could manage without disappearing altogether - riding in the far right lane which was the parking lane and had cars parked at varying intervals, so occasionally I had to go around them.

As happens everyday, several times drivers accelerated past me on the left then cut in front of me and braked immediately to make a right turn, thus forcing me to brake and/or swerve to avoid a collision. Once this morning a driver made a U turn from the opposite direction to my direction and directed his car right into may path causing me to brake and swerve to avoid a collision and then he honked at me. If he'd waited literally 2 seconds I would have passed and we would not have had colliding paths. Same thing happened yesterday.

Did the biker going through stop signs in Dupont endanger you in some way? Or just piss you off? This shit I put up with daily from multiple drivers during one ride endangers me in addition to being incredibly discourteous. It's your fault. Who else is responsible?

by Tina on May 14, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

Did the biker going through stop signs in Dupont endanger you in some way? Or just piss you off? This shit I put up with daily from multiple drivers during one ride endangers me in addition to being incredibly discourteous

This is what blows my mind-- every day while commuting, I see dozens of cars doing stuff that is sometimes dangerous but much more frequently just run-of-the-mill illegal and angering. And while this does piss me off on a regular basis, and I generally regard drivers in the DMV as morons, I don't have a general resentment against drivers and the act of driving in general. Whereas drivers seem to really, really resent the concept of bike riding for what is no reason other than their feelings of personal resentment.

by JustMe on May 14, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

"Demanding that everyone conform to the rules before anything is made better for bicyclists is a fruitless endeavor - there will always be scofflaws because the environment has been constructed to encourage that"

I agree, and I wholeheartedly support making things better for cyclists NOW. I wrote to my Va legislators to suppor the VBF supported legislation, that unfortunately, lost in the last session. I absolutely do NOT believe that waiting for improved cyclist behavior to make improvements to law and infrastructure is good public policy.

But I also do think that 'optics' is real, and does have an impact on the politics of bike policy. As I said above, its a matter of audience. To drivers, legislators, etc I would say exactly what you are saying. But to my fellow cyclists, while I do not expect you all to share Ms Goodyears POV (and I personally don't take it as far as she does - but then in NoVa there are lots of places where an Idaho stop is less likely to even be visible to drivers and peds, than in Brooklyn, I suppose) I think the idea of modifying your behavior - of following the L in PAL - for the sake of optics, is something to consider.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

Driving through Dupont Circle the other day, a cyclist blew past me as I stopped at several intersections. Would reach a stop sign, the cyclist would ride right through it. I'd catch up and pass him, stop at the next intersection and he would dart out right past me again. This happened about six or seven times. Got the feeling he was frustrated I was stopping.

Why on Earth did you keep passing him? He was probably pretty irritated to have to keep passing you too.

by oboe on May 14, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

and to add - I am very skeptical that an enforcment blitz is bad for cycling. It needs to be A. focused on the priority dangerous behaviors - cycling at night without lights (common) salmoning (common) biking improperly on sidewalks (common) recklessly violating red lights (how common actually reckless violations of this type are, is debatable of course) and B. Accompanied by enforcment against other modes as well, especially drivers (but not excluding pedestrians either)

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

...drivers seem to really, really resent the concept of bike riding for what is no reason other than their feelings of personal resentment.

I think it's a deeply internalized sense of entitlement about drivers being "more equal than others". The shit that drivers do to me when I'm biking they do NOT do to me when I'm driving-not with the same frequency.

E.g., the accelerating past me on the left, cut off, brake immediately to turn right, pulling out from a driveway dangerously right into my path in front of me, the U turn, etc. do not happen with the same frequency when i'm driving. "Normal" drivers think it's ok to treat me with a level of disregard when i'm biking that they do not use when I'm driving.

That said, most drivers are ok when I'm biking. If they weren't I wouldn't be able to do it. But there is an increased proportion who disregard me in ways that are dangerous (as well as rude) compared to when I'm driving.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

@Tina

"Did the biker going through stop signs in Dupont endanger you in some way?"

Endanger me? No. Endanger others? Yes. When he ignored a red light and biked into the intersection at Florida Ave. and 18th St. he not only endangered his own life but any driver that may have needed to swerve to miss him or stop suddenly.

I bike too. I get that bikers don't want to stop so that they keep their momentum. There are some intersections where you can do this. I don't think Florida and 18th is one of them.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

he not only endangered his own life but any driver that may have needed to swerve to miss him or stop suddenly.

In other words, he endangered nobody.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

oboe:

"Why on Earth did you keep passing him? He was probably pretty irritated to have to keep passing you too."

Not sure what you mean. I was driving the speed limit and stopping at intersections like I'm suppose to. I think I would have really irritated him if I never passed and just tailed him.

These are the separate set of "rules" the writer is talking about. Legally he has to stop just like a driver does.

Like I said in another comment, I bike too. I understand bikers don't want to lose their momentum. There are some intersections where you can you can slow down and proceed if there isn't any traffic. There are others, like Florida and 18th (he biked through a red light), where everyone should obey the law—including cyclists.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

drumz:

"In other words, he endangered nobody." Are you saying his life has no value?

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

That said, most drivers are ok when I'm biking. If they weren't I wouldn't be able to do it. But there is an increased proportion who disregard me in ways that are dangerous (as well as rude) compared to when I'm driving.

On the rare occasion that I drive, I find there is about as much disregard from others as when I am cycling (or possibly a bit less disregard). Perhaps it is just a matter of perception and what we are attuned to at any given time. Driving in this city can be an endeavor full of interacting with/avoiding crazy obstacles, many (most?) of which are other drivers.

And I agree that most drivers are OK when I'm cycling. It's the ones that are not OK which stand out in my mind, and put a bad taste in my mouth about drivers in general. I imagine that's the case with many cyclists. I am finding after a while of cycling in this city that drivers are less malicious than they used to be, though they can still be inattentive to us.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

Are you saying his life has no value?

Frank, from your description it certainly didn't sound like he cut anybody off or forced anyone to come to a screeching halt or swerve around him. Sounds to me like he went through a light when there was no cross-traffic.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

Filtering is one of the greatest joys in an urban cyclist's life. It's a perfectly legal way to sustain a higher average rate of speed than cars in congested situations, and it rarely inconveniences any drivers, even mometarily--they are stopped.

It sometime enrages, quite literally, drivers. I've been screamed at, honked at and attempts made to strike me while doing this. So, here we actually have a law that entitles us to a unique treatment (as cars indeed have in other contexts). And the reaction of drivers is spitting, illogical rage, and often attempts to claim that this behavior is illegal. My own personal favorite is when, as Redeline SOS stated, the follow-up complaint is made that that a cyclist performing a legal maneuver prevents a driver from performing an illegal one, speeding.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

Frank,
lol.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

And the reaction of drivers is spitting, illogical rage, and often attempts to claim that this behavior is illegal

Is this the reaction of all or even most drivers? I'd guess that it would be the reaction of only a very small number of drivers, relative to all the drivers on the road at any given time.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

@MLD

There was cross traffic at Florida and 18th. He may have safely missed it, but who's to say he won't misjudge traffic speed in the future. He also wasn't wearing a helmet which I thought was incredibly foolish.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

When he ignored a red light and biked into the intersection at Florida Ave. and 18th St. he not only endangered his own life but any driver that may have needed to swerve to miss him or stop suddenly.

IOW, no driver actually did need to swerve or stop suddenly, but it could have happened, therefore it did happen.

by oboe on May 14, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

I did say "sometimes". The percentage is surely low. But I will pass hundreds of drivers some days, and even a very small percentage brings the probability to a high number on any given day.

These are drivers experiencing frustration, to be sure. The great irony is that the source of their frustration is other drivers like themselves, not me.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Oh... I see. It's not even within the realm of possibility that he might get hit. Ok.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

He may have safely missed it, but who's to say he won't misjudge traffic speed in the future.

Exactly why we should ban right-on-red then, right? I mean drivers usually do OK but who's to say the next time they won't run somebody down or run into another car?

You ignore the obvious reality which is that the reason nothing went wrong is because the cyclist exercised sound judgement. That's what we're constantly harping on. You're pissed that he ignored the light and "endangered" people except he didn't actually endanger anyone.

Believe me, people have a pretty good self-preservation instinct. They know when they can pass through safely and when they can't.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

Ok, so anyway,

There was cross traffic at Florida and 18th. He may have safely missed it, but who's to say he won't misjudge traffic speed in the future. He also wasn't wearing a helmet which I thought was incredibly foolish.

What does the behavior of one cyclist, at one intersection, at one time have to do with the question of what should traffic laws be for bikes?

by drumz on May 14, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

drumz:

My original comment relates to what the author wrote, "I again assert that few cyclists actually "blow through" stop signs and lights."

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

MLD:

If you want to bike through red lights, fine, go right ahead. But don't be surprised if maybe one day you get hit. I just hope you wear a helmet.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

Frank,

And few do! Even in your own story the cyclist apparently was aware enough of his surroundings that he acted rationally, you can call it "blowing through" but it apparently was as safe as can be.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

And remember... the intersection we're talking about is Florida and 18th. The biker was traveling east on Florida when he biked through the red light and turned left into Adams Morgan. You can barely see traffic that sometimes barrels down that hill.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

drumz:

You keep telling yourself you have perfect judgement if it makes you feel safer.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

I will, I always ride in a way that keeps me safest. I wasn't the guy you saw in Adams-Morgan but I'm concerned your whole view on cyclists seems to boilding down to one guy who may or may not have done something reckless.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

"Believe me, people have a pretty good self-preservation instinct."

Not all do. As Ive said above, in NoVa you will find a not inconsiderable number of people who bike with no lights at night, who salmon, or who do both. They may come from countries with different bike cultures, maybe they can't afford lights, and of course, overall, few of them are hit anyway (if they were hit regularly, I assume that would pass through the grapevine and theyd stop doing it) that behavior does not lead to constant serious accidents and fatalities is not an argument for legalizing it. I presume we all agree on that for these behaviors. Im not saying it might not make sense to legalize cyclists running reds on their own judgement - just that I don't think you can base that only on the beleif that good judgement is close to universal.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

'can't base that only on the belief"

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

drumz:

Like I said, I bike myself. I don't think this one biker is endemic of all cyclists. But I do think he reflects badly on all of us.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

Frank, how do you define "blowing through a stop sign"? Is it, in your mind, equivalent to running a stop sign? What about blowing through a stop light? I think that is large part of where we're getting hung up.

Imagine this scenario - a cyclist approaches a stop sign and stops pedaling as they do so thus slowing down. By the time they get to the intersection they see that it's all clear, begin pedaling again and proceed without stopping - but continue to look for cross-traffic of which there is none.

Other than it being illegal, do you have a problem with that kind of behavior? If you saw that in Idaho, would you be upset?

by David C on May 14, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity
Didn't we go over why people do those things? I thought so but you keep harping on it. Seems to me those people are making judgement decisions between unsafe behavior and getting to/from their job when they have few other options and shitty cycling infrastructure to contend with. Bike advocates do plenty of educating on these issues (including handing out free lights), it would be great if we had more funding for that.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 12:09 pm • linkreport

But I do think he reflects badly on all of us.

See, I want to know why you or I are responsible for him. We're not a special class, we all have different opinions. Why should individual actions matter when deciding a policy that applies to the whole?

You say he makes us look bad but why should he make anyone look anything?

by drumz on May 14, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

David C:

I think you missed some of my earlier comments. There are some intersections where cyclists can slow down and proceed if there isn't any traffic. There are others that are too dangerous and cyclists should stop. I think Florida and 18th is one of them.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

Not all do.

No. We all have a pretty strong self-preservation instinct. We don't all use good judgement all the time. We try to use laws to make up for that, but that is only useful to a point. In the end, when you go out on the road, you're relying on the good judgement of yourself and those around you. And mostly it works.

So while this (self-preservation based good judgement) alone is not universal, we base a lot of our laws on the idea that it is. And it's pretty close.

by David C on May 14, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

drumz :

I agree, it's unfair. But the bad behavior of a few in a group oftentimes reflects poorly on the group as a whole.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

"Didn't we go over why people do those things? I thought so but you keep harping on it. Seems to me those people are making judgement decisions between unsafe behavior and getting to/from their job when they have few other options and shitty cycling infrastructure to contend with."

I'm not talking about one way streets. I'm talking about people salmoning on two way streets. Granted better infrastructure would help, but this is largely based on poor knowledge of biking safety.

As for lights, I don't think that has much to do with infrastructure.

" Bike advocates do plenty of educating on these issues (including handing out free lights), it would be great if we had more funding for that. "

I agree, and that's one reason I have donated to WABA. And I think there should be more govt support for such campaigns.

My point however, is that I am skeptical of the claim, which I thought implicit in your words, that every cyclist (or almost every cyclist, if you prefer) has good judgement. Thats no more true of cyclists than it is of peds or drivers. I do not think we need to deny that to push for better treatment of cyclists. Though admitting it, may make it harder to argue against any ticketing of cyclists, anywhere.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

David C

I agree. And I am open to specific relaxations of laws that rely on such judgement. Im only stating that each such change needs to be examined on its own merits, and we can't simply say "if cyclists do it, it must be safe, because of cyclists instinct for self-preservation". Which is what I read some comments as implying.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

I agree, it's unfair. But the bad behavior of a few in a group oftentimes reflects poorly on the group as a whole.

Then stop bringing it up. If you really want to help cyclists then focus all the energy on calling out "bad" cyclists to local governments who have the power to make streets safer. We are well past the point of needing to bring up crazy law-breaking stories to make some point about cycling overall.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

drumz:

"We are well past the point of needing to bring up crazy law-breaking stories to make some point about cycling overall."

Read my earlier comment, that's not why I brought it up.

by Frank on May 14, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

@Scoot -Perhaps it is just a matter of perception and what we are attuned to at any given time.

I don't think so. I have paid attention trying to be objective.

I think it's that drivers don't see bikes in the same way as they see cars-see as in combination of attitude as well as physical perception. My car is a lot bigger and thus there is not the same amount of room available to shove me over -my car visually takes up more space and thus I'm given more space -drivers aren't as likely to drive into my pathway b/c they don't want to collide w/ me. I'm not perceived as the same threat to collide with when i'm on my bike, I'm smaller so I'm not given as much space. There is something of disregard in this but I think its mostly physical perception.

In addition there is the disregard. The thing where, e.g., drivers seem to think its ok to accelerate past me on the left then cut in front of me and brake -even when there is no traffic behind me. This does not happen with the same frequency as when I drive at all -b/c its stupid, dangerous, rude and inefficient. Most drivers will just change lanes behind me b/c there is no traffic behind me and they don't want to risk being hit from behind by stopping suddenly in front of me. But when I'm on my bike -it happens with enough frequency that i notice it happening a lot more than when i drive.

I think there are 3 things going on: internalized attitude (biker will and should move out of my way-this my path, I'm driving and drivers are "more equal"..), mis-calculation of the speed of a bike, and the invisible gorilla phenomenon or inattentional blindness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inattentional_blindness.

The two latter are improved with more bikes on the road b/c drivers get more experience. The former may be changed with more bikes on the road but also requires the visual presence of infrastructure (signs, paint, cycletracks, etc), laws, law enforcement, education of drivers, and requires a general cultural attitudinal shift backed by policy that does not consider driving more equal than walking and biking.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

Sorry, it's been a long thread. Why are we so fixated on a single cyclist who is apparently indicative of everything that every other cyclist does? And therefore until we can ensure complete obedience to the letter of the law we can say goodbye to anymore bike lanes or CABI stations.

Because that's how the argument usually goes.

If you still want to quibble about what "blowing through" means I'm afraid you're going to have to be content in your opinion while homeboy will still ride how he rides.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

Is this the reaction of all or even most drivers?

Possibly not, but the bad behavior of a few in a group oftentimes reflects poorly on the group as a whole.

by JustMe on May 14, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

@Frank -you said you didn't feel endangered by this cyclist and you keep using it as an example of how cyclists are perceived, but you have ignored the examples of drivers' bad behavior that actually do endanger the commenter. Why is the perception of the cyclists' behavior important and the perception of the drivers behavior unimportant?

by Tina on May 14, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

Possibly not, but the bad behavior of a few in a group oftentimes reflects poorly on the group as a whole.

I think this single sentence pretty much sums up Sarah Goodyear's entire article. The bad behavior of a few cyclists - whether it dangerous, illegal, or just plain inconsiderate-- can reflect poorly on the community of cyclists. To solve this, we attempt to shift focus to the bad behavior of drivers, hold ourselves to a lower standard, attempt to rationalize our bad behavior, or just fail to be introspective altogether. I think this thread contains examples of all this, plus some reasoned arguments.

@ Tina

I agree with what you're saying but still note that we often tend to overestimate our ability to be objective (an offshoot of the Dunning Kruger effect). Maybe you are quite objective, or maybe you just think you are. Possibly a combination of both.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

...the community of cyclists. But these drivers are part of my community and I see them that way.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

To solve this, we attempt to shift focus to the bad behavior of drivers,

Well, a car is way more dangerous than a cyclist.

hold ourselves to a lower standard,

Again, the danger I pose on a bike is way less than that of a car. Plus it's been argued that standards are unreasonably high already.

attempt to rationalize our bad behavior,

It's not "bad" behavior. It's completely rational for a cyclist to come to an intersection and not stop (as defined by putting a foot down) when they see no one is coming.

or just fail to be introspective altogether.

I still fail to see how cyclists must all agree as one. Moreover, I don't see why once we all agree as one that agreement must be that we must be perfect in order to show that we belong on the streets.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

Scoot, I fail to understand why I should not regard everyone with a driver's license and a car as a dangerous, rage-filled, out-of-control potential killer. Because some of them certainly are. Trying to tar the cyclist community only points the finger back at the automobilist community of the DMV which, in my experience with commuting, has severe problems with emotional control, executive function, and rules-following.

The problem, as you can see, is that the standards you pontificate on regarding cyclists are ones you're unwilling to apply to one of america's most prolific killers-- the motorists.

by JustMe on May 14, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

"still fail to see how cyclists must all agree as one. Moreover, I don't see why once we all agree as one that agreement must be that we must be perfect in order to show that we belong on the streets."

I still dont see where Ms Goodyear suggested that we must all be perfect in order for cyclists to belong on the streets. I think people, sensitized by bikehaters on the net and in the media, are attributing to her views she did not express. She said basically two things - to cyclists, take into account the optics of what you do - to policy makers, DO add enforcement aimed at cyclists to other policies (like better legislation, bike share, bike infrastructure).

How high we want to rate optics in our riding will vary. Some people just dont think about politics and policy in determining their behavior, and to expect otherwise is naive. Some people do, but find bowing to an arguably irrational political reality objectionable.

As for the policy recommendation, other than Oboes claim that enforcement blitzes will significantly impact the amount of cycling (a claim I am skeptical about, at least in the context of the NYC and Chicago blitzes)I see no disagreement here.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

I think this single sentence pretty much sums up Sarah Goodyear's entire article. The bad behavior of a few cyclists - whether it dangerous, illegal, or just plain inconsiderate-- can reflect poorly on the community of cyclists. To solve this, we attempt to shift focus to the bad behavior of drivers, hold ourselves to a lower standard, attempt to rationalize our bad behavior, or just fail to be introspective altogether. I think this thread contains examples of all this, plus some reasoned arguments.

I'd sum it up like this: There is a fairly random agglomeration of humans out there. They're becoming even less demographically cohesive with every passing day. But they're somewhat easily identified as a group (they're sitting on bikes).

Now we can speculate about all sorts of effects that would result from this group of heterogenous people suddenly behaving in non-human ways, but since the chances of that happening are essentially zilch, what's the point?

When you say "we attempt to shift focus to the bad behavior of drivers" what we're really doing is pointing out that humans don't act in the way that you're proposing. So the whole argument is moot.

by oboe on May 14, 2013 1:37 pm • linkreport

She said basically two things - to cyclists, take into account the optics of what you do - to policy makers, DO add enforcement aimed at cyclists to other policies (like better legislation, bike share, bike infrastructure).

Fair enough, I'd still disagree. Optics are great but the way we get to a better biking city is through more cyclists not better marketing (we'll take better marketing as well but its not going to cut it).

And while recognizing the political realities necessary in getting policies and infrastructure in place may deem a stepped up enforcement campaign, I'll use my position as an advocate that they aren't essential to each other and it's messed up as it is that things like bike lanes (and the people who ride in them) are still seen as unnatural in many areas.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 1:41 pm • linkreport

When you say "we attempt to shift focus to the bad behavior of drivers" what we're really doing is pointing out that humans don't act in the way that you're proposing. So the whole argument is moot.

Exactly.

Additionally, the dangerous behavior among drivers can be mitigated with more bikes on the road thus giving drivers more experience and training them to start seeing bikes, backed by policies that hold drivers accountable, working at dislodging the attitude that drivers are a special class whose rights are more equal than others, and gets more biking infrastructure in place that recognizes the nature of bicycling (its different from driving). The Mont Co ticketing of drivers not stopping for pedestrians is an example of actions/policies that simply "gathers the windfall", not even getting to the "low-hanging fruit".

by Tina on May 14, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

@ drumz

Thanks for providing concerete examples of what I'm talking about.

The problem, as you can see, is that the standards you pontificate on regarding cyclists are ones you're unwilling to apply to one of america's most prolific killers-- the motorists.

No, it's not that I am unwilling to apply the same standard, I'm just unwilling to pontificate on it because this community already knows that motorists can be dangerous, emotional, non-functioning and unlawful. We don't need another person telling us what we want to hear. Or do we?

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

I'm not buying into the notion that I'm somehow responsible for the actions of a cohort that I share only a form of transportation with.

Nor do I buy into the notion that on the day that all cyclists obey the law, we will be accepted by drivers.

Finally, I do not buy into the notion that my right to use the road is contingent on rates of law compliance among cyclists, drivers' attititudes toward cyclists, what I wear or whether I am "inconveniencing" drivers.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

"bike lanes (and the people who ride in them) are still seen as unnatural in many areas."

bike lanes are infrastructure that uses resources (mostly road space, not $$, except for more elaborate cycle tracks and off road trails). Naturally there is going to be competition for resources. You can think thats messed up, but its life. So you have to make your case. And part of that is that encouraging cycling is a good thing - and things that add to the perception that many or most cyclists are reckless, scofflaw jerks, do not help make that case, IMO.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 1:58 pm • linkreport

If recognizing that cars are much more inherently dangerous the bikes and that our policies should reflect that makes me incapable of introspection then I guess I'll have to live with it.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

So you have to make your case.

Right the case is that biking is better for you, the environment, pleasant and you don't even have to worry about half the stuff you worry about while driving. People's perceptions about cyclists being selfish or law-breaking is wrong and I'll be happy to correct anyone. Meanwhile if one has a particularly egregious example of something they saw a cyclist did once I'll be similarly happy to point out that examples like that should be evidence for more accomodations for cyclists because that's a great way to see more compliance.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

"I'm not buying into the notion that I'm somehow responsible for the actions of a cohort that I share only a form of transportation with. "

when you join them in requesting public policy, in effect you are. That is to say, your fellow citizens will judge the desirability of the the policy based on their perceptions of the group they see as benefiting from, and being grown by, that policy.

"Nor do I buy into the notion that on the day that all cyclists obey the law, we will be accepted by drivers."

I think the issue is less acceptance by drivers, than by policy makers. And not by all, but by enough to make a difference. In Va the votes on bike safety legislation last session were heartbreakingly close.

"Finally, I do not buy into the notion that my right to use the road is contingent on rates of law compliance among cyclists, drivers' attititudes toward cyclists, what I wear or whether I am "inconveniencing" drivers."

Your rate to use the road (and, today, in the better jurisdictions, to have better infrastructure, and better legislation) is contingent on laws, passed by majorities in state legislatures, who are very concerned with the views of their voters, many of whom are drivers who dont cycle.

We lost in Richmond this year. I want to win. You can try marching up the steps of the capital and saying you dont care what drivers think, this is your RIGHT dammit. I dont expect that approach will lead to legislative wins in the Commonwealth (or most other jurisdictions).

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

"Right the case is that biking is better for you, the environment, pleasant and you don't even have to worry about half the stuff you worry about while driving. "

Other than the environment (and the externality aspect of health), thats a case for why one should bike, not for probike policy. And there are lots of things that one can devote resources to help the environment, and plenty of people who exercise who dont bike. Enviro and health benefits are going to be weighed against the "suicidal law breakers who get delay me, and run me down when I walk"

"People's perceptions about cyclists being selfish or law-breaking is wrong and I'll be happy to correct anyone. "

The perception is that many or most cyclist are law breakers, many or most are reckless. Clearly a few of us (including Ms Goodyear,) are never lawbreadkers, but presumably not those who ride, carefully, through red lights. Clearly also most of us who break laws are far from reckless. But a few definitely are. Its certainly worthwhile to point out how few cyclists are reckless. I think its also beneficial politically to encourage more cyclists to NOT be reckless. And, given that I think its never going to be possible to get all non cyclists to understand the physics of biking, it may also be beneficial politically if more cyclists were lawful EVEN where being unlawful is, arguably, not dangerous at all.

Meanwhile if one has a particularly egregious example of something they saw a cyclist did once I'll be similarly happy to point out that examples like that should be evidence for more accomodations for cyclists because that's a great way to see more compliance.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Other than the environment (and the externality aspect of health), thats a case for why one should bike, not for probike policy.

I disagree, and local governments burdened by taking care of populaces with preventable lifestyle generated chronic diseases have a strong motivation to put in place policies that enable people to make healthful lifestyle changes that are sustainable.

Additionally, there is strong and ample evidence that communities that support active transportation and have good networks for active transportation are rewarded with more vibrant economies on top of the economic benefit of a more healthful populace/workforce.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 2:24 pm • linkreport

I find the suggestion that investments in infrastructure are based upon the humbleness of the demeanour of the users kind of humorous. I'd be very, very careful about atributing the reasons for specific pieces of legislation losing.

It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that one class of uses should be going around thinking that its rights to use transportation infrastructure are contingent on what another class of users thinks. I assure you that no driver thinks that way. I simply reject this debate that implies that my right to be on the road is contingent on anything at all. It's not.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerintheCity
What exactly do you want from people?
Its certainly worthwhile to point out how few cyclists are reckless. I think its also beneficial politically to encourage more cyclists to NOT be reckless. And, given that I think its never going to be possible to get all non cyclists to understand the physics of biking, it may also be beneficial politically if more cyclists were lawful EVEN where being unlawful is, arguably, not dangerous at all.
#1 and #2 are pointless when presented with someone who is ranting on about how "cyclists" are reckless scofflaw nutjobs; I'm not trying to convince them to ride more safely.

And you're not going to convince everyone to be lawful even when it doesn't inconvenience anyone. So I'm not sure how you're going to convince the ranters that cyclists aren't reckless lawbreakers; they don't want to be convinced, they just want to complain.

Meanwhile if one has a particularly egregious example of something they saw a cyclist did once I'll be similarly happy to point out that examples like that should be evidence for more accomodations for cyclists because that's a great way to see more compliance.
And the problem is that the message from Ms. Goodyear and others isn't this, it's "I'm going to be an example" as if that will solve the problem (it won't).

by MLD on May 14, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

"#1 and #2 are pointless when presented with someone who is ranting on about how "cyclists" are reckless scofflaw nutjobs; I'm not trying to convince them to ride more safely.
And you're not going to convince everyone to be lawful even when it doesn't inconvenience anyone. So I'm not sure how you're going to convince the ranters that cyclists aren't reckless lawbreakers; they don't want to be convinced, they just want to complain."

I think there are folks in between, who are not nut jobs, but still accept much of the POV expressed by the nut jobs.

If you want to teach them the sociology and physics of biking, by all means, go ahead. I would like to also.

But each time one of them sees a cyclist do something actually reckless, it makes them less likely to be supportive of the policies we want. And each time they see something they perceive as reckless (which may not be but is illegal - and few non cyclists are going to second guess the law on cycling, no matter how much we lecture them on sight lines and stopping distances) it makes them less likely to be supportive of the policies we want.

You ask what I want. All Im asking for is a recognition that Ms Goodyears column is not some kind of anti-biking rant itself - but is mostly a position on political strategy. And hardly one that is obviously wrong.

Again, it seems clear to me that Rahm Emmanuel wants to encourage cycling in Chicago. And yet he is supporting higher maximum fines for those cyclists who get tickets. Again, I trust his political judgement more than that of folks here. I do not find anything persuasive in the argument that divides everyone into those who agree with us anyway, and those who will never agree with us anyway.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

"I disagree, and local governments burdened by taking care of populaces with preventable lifestyle generated chronic diseases have a strong motivation to put in place policies that enable people to make healthful lifestyle changes that are sustainable.

Additionally, there is strong and ample evidence that communities that support active transportation and have good networks for active transportation are rewarded with more vibrant economies on top of the economic benefit of a more healthful populace/workforce"

Have you ever actually argued for cycling in a forum of mostly non-cycling suburbanites?

I dont like being forced to present a case I disagree with. But please be aware that what my seem obvious to use, goes over like a lead balloon among some others.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

"I find the suggestion that investments in infrastructure are based upon the humbleness of the demeanour of the users kind of humorous."

good, cause this isnt about humbleness of demeanour. Its about obedience to current law, which most noncyclists are going to treat as being equivalent to safety.

" I'd be very, very careful about atributing the reasons for specific pieces of legislation losing. "

There are always multiple reasons. Thats why I am trying to phrase this in terms of what helps.

"It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that one class of uses should be going around thinking that its rights to use transportation infrastructure are contingent on what another class of users thinks. I assure you that no driver thinks that way."

NUmbers matter. There are a lot more drivers than cyclists.

" I simply reject this debate that implies that my right to be on the road is contingent on anything at all. It's not."

if you want to speak of moral rights, sure. Im more concerned with legal rights. Which of course ARE contingent on laws.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:53 pm • linkreport

"And the problem is that the message from Ms. Goodyear and others isn't this, it's "I'm going to be an example" as if that will solve the problem (it won't)."

which problem are we talking about?

the problem of drivers, or the problem of how to pass public policy favorable to cyclists.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

But each time one of them sees a cyclist do something actually reckless, it makes them less likely to be supportive of the policies we want. And each time they see something they perceive as reckless (which may not be but is illegal - and few non cyclists are going to second guess the law on cycling, no matter how much we lecture them on sight lines and stopping distances) it makes them less likely to be supportive of the policies we want.

Well, that stinks. Given that you're not going to convince even a large minority of humans who happen to have a bike underneath them to never bend the law, do you have a Plan B?

by oboe on May 14, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

I simply reject this debate that implies that my right to be on the road is contingent on anything at all.

I don't think anyone here has so far questioned one's right to "be" on the road. I think the issue concerns the particular rules, if any, cyclists should abide. Clearly cyclists believe in the power of the social contract to impose laws against those who would act dangerously or without consideration of others. But I would guess that the current political reality is not that favorable to those who believe in the force of the social contract only so far as imposing laws on other modal shares and not on their own share.

I would agree with @AWalkerintheCity that the original article could be taken as a study on a political strategy. Some who consider the cyclist community to be akin to a marginalized class or a rebellion movement would be inclined toward civil disobedience as a means for solving problems. The original article is not an anti-bike rant, it just takes the position that civil disobedience is not a very good political strategy and probably does not score points with the voting public (most of which are drivers and pedestrians).

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

"I disagree, and local governments burdened by taking care of populaces with preventable lifestyle generated chronic diseases have a strong motivation to put in place policies that enable people to make healthful lifestyle changes that are sustainable."

The commonwealth is still resisting the medicaid expansion, which will be paid for by the federal govt.

And of course there are folks in NoVa who will be happy to support the continued existence of the W&OD for exercise, which is "good biking" (and runnning, etc). But not, you, know, laws that make it easier to ride in the road without being followed closely, or being tailgated. And when it gets framed as about exercise, its hard to argue for say, less circuitous routes, etc.

People here can talk about nutjobs. Several of the GOP legislators from NoVa (IIRC) voted against us on the bike bills.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

regarding "being a good example" and @scoots accusation of inability to self-reflect; it seems to me the motivation for "being a good example" is it's own reward.

You wanna be a role model b/c being a role model is important to you. If you can't do it (be a role model) w/o admonishing others for not being a role model then you really haven't achieved role-model status. You're just a nag and a scold. Role models lead by example with gentle acceptance of those who haven't reached the same higher plane of existence, not by scolding.

My primary goals when i ride a bike are 1)get somewhere and 2)get there w/o being killed, and as @David C expressed, 3)try not to be a jerk just on general principle.

Being a role model is not my goal, though as a middle aged woman riding in the street I am a defacto role model to other other women, and I'm ok w/ that. But it has nothing to do with my virtuousness as a rider. Its just my gender and age, two things over which I have absolutely no control, and my presence on a bike, which I do have some control over but this act is dependent on the built environment. There are many places I don't ride to even though I wanna b/c the infrastructure/road safety doesn't allow it.

That is, my freedom of choice and mobility options are intentionally limited by policies that shaped the built environment before I got here.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

"Well, that stinks. Given that you're not going to convince even a large minority of humans who happen to have a bike underneath them to never bend the law, do you have a Plan B?"

eh, I dont need to convince them to never bend the law. I want to convince them to bend it a bit less than they otherwise would. Every little bit helps (if not, you can forget about using global warming as an argument for biking)

But plan B is to accept that changes to more probike policies will happen more slowly and/or to a lesser extent. Ultimately there is likely to be SOME change anyway. It will just be slower than it needs to be. Meanwhile its possible to bike now - though with more danger, and less convenience, than there would be if bike reforms happened faster.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

....argued for cycling in a forum of mostly non-cycling suburbanites?

Are you suggesting non-cycling suburbanites are inured to evidence? Or that non-cycling suburbanites have never thought, "I need to get more exercise"? Or that non-cycling suburbanites do not have children of all ages that need safe passage that doesn't involve driving?

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:13 pm • linkreport

@ Tina

regarding "being a good example" and @scoots accusation of inability to self-reflect; it seems to me the motivation for "being a good example" is it's own reward.

I would definitely agree that there is the internal component, e.g., doing the right thing to make oneself feel superior to a scofflaw, but there is a positive externality as others observe one's good behavior. It does not have to be one or the other, it could be both.

Like you said, @DavidC expressed his desire not to be a jerk. Certainly this desire not to be a jerk arises in part from a genuine consideration of others, and in part from wanting others to form a favorable opinion of us. What's more, not wanting to be a jerk can have a number of external benefits.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

"Are you suggesting non-cycling suburbanites are inured to evidence? Or that non-cycling suburbanites have never thought, "I need to get more exercise"? Or that non-cycling suburbanites do not have children of all ages that need safe passage that doesn't involve driving?"

you might be advised to ask them, not me.

There are lots of non cycling suburbanites who get exercise. Including by driving to health clubs, riding on exercise bikes in the basements, etc. Loudoun county has the lowest bike commute rates in the region, and also some of the lowest obesity rates.

as for the children, there are loads of people proud to shuttle their kids everywhere by car. Their really isnt the massive discontent with their autocentric lifestyle.

Again, have you ever argued for procycling policies in a forum dominated by non-cycling suburbanites?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

"Are you suggesting non-cycling suburbanites are inured to evidence? Or that non-cycling suburbanites have never thought, "I need to get more exercise"? Or that non-cycling suburbanites do not have children of all ages that need safe passage that doesn't involve driving?"

are you suggesting I am lying about the mix of skepticism, indifference, and downright hostility to cycling Ive encountered? By people who are a bit blinkered, but far from nutjobs?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

....argued for cycling in a forum of mostly non-cycling suburbanites?

I think the spread of CaBi to close-in suburbs has shown that the best "example" that we can set for suburbanites is to just ride have people ride bicycles--in all their imperfectness. Anecdotally, it seems like the more folks you see on bikeshare, the more chaotic and disorderly things get--and the more folks in the suburbs want it. (I see this as a positive, by the way, as it forces drivers to stop treating neighborhood streets as a highway. The next best thing to a woonerf is a city street with a dozen CaBi bikes on it.)

I don't see anything wrong with encouraging people to be safe, and where that isn't at odds with the law, I think we can all agree on it. It's the contingent nature of the request that I think that hits people the wrong way, and I think that's because it plays into (in some small way) anti-biking sentiment.

by oboe on May 14, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

Now you're playing a game with semantics. Yes, our right to be on the road may, in some circumstances, in a general sense, be contingent on laws, that is, a legal framework. But what the debate implies is that it's contingent on compliance with laws. That is not the case. The near-universal rates of speeding have not a whit of implication for the right of drivers to be on the road, barring the apprehension of drivers for enough moving violations to have their licenses revoked.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -Again, it seems clear to me that Rahm Emmanuel wants to encourage cycling in Chicago. And yet he is supporting higher maximum fines for those cyclists who get tickets

I don't recall anyone on this thread taking issue w/ mayor Emmanual's policy. The discussion that I see is that some people think all bikers should start following rules designed for cars even when they don't make sense b/c that in itself is a political strategy (your stance), and others saying (1) asking for that is tantamount to trying to stop the rain and (2)even if it happened the cultural attitude that drivers are more equal than others won't change, and (3)asking such a thing just reinforces the inequity that already exists b/c there are so many examples of drivers' behavior that is actually dangerous and not just breaking the letter of the law, such as the drivers in Mo Co who didn't stop for police in hi-viz vests in cross walks at a pre-determined time and place.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

"But what the debate implies is that it's contingent on compliance with laws. That is not the case. The near-universal rates of speeding have not a whit of implication for the right of drivers to be on the road, barring the apprehension of drivers for enough moving violations to have their licenses revoked. "

for the umpteenth time, the average VOTER has driven a few MPH over the speed limit, and understands it. They have NOT ridden in traffic. So they DON'T understand it. Thats why its different.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:27 pm • linkreport

"think the spread of CaBi to close-in suburbs has shown that the best "example" that we can set for suburbanites is to just ride have people ride bicycles--in all their imperfectness. "

I agree that will help. People will ride, and they will learn.

If all you want out of Va is more probike policies from Arlco and City of Alex, thats enough (though even in City of Alex there is resistance). In FFX bike share is likely to always be limited, given the layout of the county. And in Loco it may never come at all.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

@Scott-doing the right thing to make oneself feel superior to a scofflaw - this is not a motivation to be a role model for the reasons put forth. This is a motivation to feel superior.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:32 pm • linkreport

They don't understand it. So I'm not getting into a debate where one side starts off with a fundamental misunderstanding, one they are not really inclined to change. That's a loser of a debate.

That's my point. We are debating from a false premise. So I won't.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -you might be advised to ask them, not me.
You are the one who suggested "they" are somehow "other", not me. I was asking what characteristic you think makes them "other", b/c I don't agree "they" are "other". Your comment is also barbed and smacks of condescension and assumption of my (lack) of experience.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

"I don't recall anyone on this thread taking issue w/ mayor Emmanual's policy."

Oboe, above, said that ticketing blitzes would only discourage ridership.

" The discussion that I see is that some people think all bikers should start following rules designed for cars even when they don't make sense b/c that in itself is a political strategy (your stance)"

Unlike Ms Goodyear, I dont expect all to do so all the time - I think at the margins more lawfulness will help as a strategy.

", and others saying (1) asking for that is tantamount to trying to stop the rain "

Im not in an all or nothing camp. I think every little bit helps. thats one reason I choose to bike.

"and (2)even if it happened the cultural attitude that drivers are more equal than others won't change,"

Again, Im not concerned about aiming at a complete cultural change (i am not sure about Ms Goodyear). I want to get a few more legisltators to our side, cause then the vote in Richmond will be a slam dunk. If we can get 5% more non-cyclists to smile when they see a cyclist on the road, that would help a lot.

" and (3)asking such a thing just reinforces the inequity that already exists"

Im not sure that it does so. Its just words. We who are probiking can see it as political strategy. Are there really many antibiking people reading Atlantic Cities?

Note, even Dave C, I think said this was basically a sensible article EXCEPT for the mention of red lights and stop signs.

AFAICT not all frequent cyclists share Dave C's view of red lights, etc. We can go to the washington bike forum and poll people if you want. I think the framing that anyone who doesnt agree about Idaho Stops or proper behavior at red lights (as Ms Goodyear seems to not agree) is reinforcing inequity, comes off as extremist and almost hysterical.

You support bike lanes, I believe. If youve spent much time discussing cycling, you've probably encountered folks who think striping bike lanes is a concession to inequity. Much of the discussion on this is beginning to sound like that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

"That's my point. We are debating from a false premise. So I won't."

You can feel free to not debate the ignorant. given the degree of ignorance on biking, that means not debating biking - at least not with those who are actually on the fence about bike policy.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

@ Tina

@Scott-doing the right thing to make oneself feel superior to a scofflaw - this is not a motivation to be a role model for the reasons put forth. This is a motivation to feel superior.

If the externalities from being a role model have a net positive outcome for the community, does it really and truly matter what the internal motivation is? Are we just trying to make ourselves feel better about our own motives by making judgments and pronouncements about the "right" motives of others? If someone goes to volunteer in poor communities in Africa because they want to feel better about themselves, who is to stop them? Who is to say, "your motivation is not good enough for me?"

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 3:45 pm • linkreport

"You are the one who suggested "they" are somehow "other", not me. I was asking what characteristic you think makes them "other", b/c I don't agree "they" are "other". Your comment is also barbed and smacks of condescension and assumption of my (lack) of experience. "

I have debated cycling policy with non-cycling suburbanites. They had attitudes that folks who seem to consider irrational or "nut job". They were not interested in cycling as part of their own lifestyle, and they saw cyclists as often reckless, and often an inconvenience, and were reluctant to support legisltation that would encourage more cycling (they were more open to bike lanes, which they hoped would at least get cyclists out of "their" lanes). I dont know whether that makes them "other" but in my experience their perception of cyclists doesn't help us - and trying to explain WHY cyclists sometimes break current laws is unpersuasive.

You may well have engaged in such discussions with different results. I would be happy in that case. But my impression is that you have not. And in that case, I think you might give some credence to what I report. Rather than challenging ME on what its logical for them to believe.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:47 pm • linkreport

"that folks here"

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 3:48 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -folks who think striping bike lanes is a concession to inequity
You mean from vehicular cyclists or from people who think cars are the only legitimate form of transportation?

Much of the discussion on this is beginning to sound like that.
I don't understand.

Re: Chicago's policy - @oboe thinks it might depress biking. I think it will just make bikers look out for cops more at intersections. But neither of us really knows what the effect will be. I do agree R.E. is an astute politician and I know he supports biking. But this policy is not the same as Goodyears call to all bikers, "behave!"

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

The subject of the article was not bike policy. It was cyclist behavior. Again, you attempt to shift the goal posts.

by Crickey7 on May 14, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

@Scoot-if the goal is to be a role model, that status is not achieved if it is accompanied by vocally nagging and scolding others who haven't reached your upper place. If the act is not accompanied by vocal nagging and scolding then it really doesn't matter whats inside someones head; yes, the act speaks for its self. That's what I said. If you are compelled to accompany your action with vocal scolding of others you are not letting your action speak for its self and this is not role modeling -its self-righteousness.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

Crickey

the subject was a column by Ms Goodyear. Dave read that as about cyclist behavior. I believe in reading that way, independent of the political considerations, he erred. I would agree that Ms Goodyear's less than perfectly clear writing is to some degree at fault in that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -...trying to explain WHY cyclists sometimes break current laws is unpersuasive.

I didn't suggest doing that. I suggested evidence that strengthens the community from an economic perspective and benefits everyone in the community regardless of their current biking practices.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 4:01 pm • linkreport

I have debated cycling policy with non-cycling suburbanites. They had attitudes that folks who seem to consider irrational or "nut job". They were not interested in cycling as part of their own lifestyle, and they saw cyclists as often reckless, and often an inconvenience, and were reluctant to support legisltation that would encourage more cycling...

I have talked to many, many suburban non-cyclists. Those who see cyclists as "reckless" have tended to be the super-commuter types who seem to be looking for an excuse to demonize anyone on a bike. They're as likely to decry cyclists on the Rock Creek Parkway as those who run stop signs.

Much more common are suburban commuters who think that cyclists' very presence on the roads is crazy and self-destructive. And, yes, I challenge them on that.

by oboe on May 14, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

@ Tina

If the act is not accompanied by vocal nagging and scolding then it really doesn't matter whats inside someones head; yes, the act speaks for its self. That's what I said.

I see what you mean now. But your subtext also seems to imply that being a role model for the sake of making oneself feel better is not good behavior, even if you are not nagging or scolding. By all means correct me if I am wrong.

I did not really perceive the article to be nagging or scolding but I don't doubt it could be perceived that way by others.

by Scoot on May 14, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

"@AWITC -folks who think striping bike lanes is a concession to inequity
You mean from vehicular cyclists or from people who think cars are the only legitimate form of transportation? "

I meant from VCers. I am sorry I was unclear. I meant the tendency to focus on abstract rights, over pragmatic consequences.

"But this policy is not the same as Goodyears call to all bikers, "behave!""

I read Ms Goodyears position on cyclist behavior in context of her her support for RE's policies - a context she chose for them. While not the same (as I mentioned above) I believe Ms Goodyear see's them as parallel expressions of a political strategy.

Now she may well be wrong. Or she may be right about some jurisdictions and not others. What I saw in Dave C's response and that of others here is "OMG, she's agreeing with the bikehaters who think we dont have a right to ride in traffic until everyone obeys every traffic law, and she opposes legalizing Idaho Stops because she accepts an autoprivileged world view" While I am not 100% certain, I think the content of her column overwhelmingly suggests otherwise.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

"I didn't suggest doing that. I suggested evidence that strengthens the community from an economic perspective and benefits everyone in the community regardless of their current biking practices."

You'd be surprised at people's ability to shake off economic studies (especially if you can't prove the actual impact on their county - they will challenge each and every detail, just as you are challenging me)

For example, the debate in Va was not over whether we should have "cute bike trails". It was over whether we should pass antidooring and anti close following bills. You would have to convince them that those bills in particular would lead to economic development- and that that desire for economic development (not every citizen in NoVa is even pro-growth) should trump their fear of getting fined.

I preferred to argue for the substance of the justice and pro-safety aspects of those laws.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -I think you might give some credence to what I report. Rather than challenging ME on what its logical for them to believe.

1) as i wrote above, if you mean trying to explain "WHY cyclists sometimes break current laws", I never suggested that or even implied it as a strategy.
2)You challenged me with your stand alone comment "Have you ever actually argued for cycling in a forum of mostly non-cycling suburbanites? as a response to my suggestion that many communities are motivated by (see comment @2:24). Yes, i have direct experience with non-urban communities who embrace the economic benefits of bicycling and walking infrastructure for the reasons I stated. Though not in VA. Maybe its Virginians who are unusually unreasonable.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 4:16 pm • linkreport

"Maybe its Virginians who are unusually unreasonable"

they may be uniquely perverse. They may be influenced by general cultural (relative) conservatism and related culture wars afflicting our metropolis. Or, as has been suggested to me, it may be their relatively stressed lives, with long commutes on congested roads, where any bike - auto conflict that DOES cause inconvenience to them as drivers is particularly noted, that is causative.

I would imagine the politics of this plays out differently in different jurisdictions. (I am always amazed at the discussions here that suggest that low income people bike less than affluent whites - since in the less affluent parts of NoVa working class hispanics are such a large proportion of all cyclists, esp of transportation cyclists)

That is one distinction between RE (and presumably Mayor Bloomberg as well) vs Ms Goodyear - they are making decisions with the politics of their jurisdictions specifically in mind - while Ms Goodyear is speaking more abstractly. but then much of the rage at Ms Goodyear here is similarly abstract.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

@Scott-But your subtext also seems to imply that being a role model for the sake of making oneself feel better is not good behavior, even if you are not nagging or scolding. By all means correct me if I am wrong.

I personally can not read minds. I see actions. if you're not lording your superior behavior over me with nagging and scolding and other verbal expressions of self-righteousness, then your actions speak for themselves and it doesn't matter what youre thinking silently to yourself.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

"Yes, i have direct experience with non-urban communities who embrace the economic benefits of bicycling and walking infrastructure for the reasons I stated."

BTW, Fairfax at least (arlco and city of alex are as probiking as anywhere in the region) is planning to expand bike infrastructure. But, AFAICT, many of the citizens are going along in large part for exactly the reasons VC's tend to dislike it - "at last they won't be in my lane anymore".

We will get bike lanes, but not (at least for now) anti-dooring legislation. One will have to keep a weather eye out for folks getting into their cars as one passes by. (as one must do in Arlington, now - which STILL is a silver bike friendly community)

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

" personally can not read minds. I see actions. if you're not lording your superior behavior over me with nagging and scolding"

ive never scolded anyone for an Idaho Stop or for their behavior at a light.

How do you feel about scolding someone salmoning on a two way street?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

"getting out of their cars"

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:31 pm • linkreport

One will have to keep a weather eye out for folks getting into their cars as one passes by

I do this all the time anyway everywhere and I highly recommend it to others regardless of the law.

@A Walker in the City - thank you for your time and effort on behalf of those in VA and elsewhere in our shared region who want to choose biking for themselves or who simply recognize the economic benefit to their own communities as well as to our shared region when policies and legislation support active transportation. We are on the same side. I apologize for offending you. It was unintentional. I support you; your work benefits me and my community (which includes a bunch of drivers who never ride a bike and whom I curse daily).

by Tina on May 14, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

I thank you. I do not consider myself any sort of hero for posting in a web forum. But I find it interesting how we find such different perspectives in different discourses - and how we as individuals can be seen so differently by different communities.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 4:50 pm • linkreport

What I want is for cyclists to stop violating my right of way as a pedestrian. I know what the statistics are about car accidents and cycling accidents, but in my experience it's cyclists who force to jump back at my home crosswalk (which is controlled by a 4 way stop sign). If you violate the right of way of pedestrians, who are engaging in the "greenest" form of travel, you forfeit your green points. And you certainly don't encourage me to support looser rules for bike travel.

by Wanderer on May 14, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

How do you feel about scolding someone salmoning on a two way street?

I call them assholes to their faces. this is not the same as being self-righteous. this is wrath at someone for endangering my life with his/her stupid action.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 5:02 pm • linkreport

^ If what you mean by salmoning is riding the wrong way in a bike lane...on a street? In the 'everyone' lane (as apposed to the bike lane)? I don't recall encountering this. Or if I did I don't recall it b/c there was enough space for me to pass w/o danger so it didn't have the emotional umph to imprint my memory.

by Tina on May 14, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

@Wanderer

Absolutely agree, people should not act like jerks.

by MLD on May 14, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

"If what you mean by salmoning is riding the wrong way in a bike lane...on a street? In the 'everyone' lane (as apposed to the bike lane)?"

Bike lane? This is fairfax county Im talking about.

Example 1. suburban "road" one lane each direction (north south road). Posted speed 35MPH (but actual average auto speed usually 45) Sidewalk on the east side. None on the west side. Cyclist is headed south, and approaching an intersection with a wide (four lane plus turn lane) E/W arterial. There is a crosswalk across the arterial, but only on the east side of the intersection.

"elite" cyclists will heading across will go southbound in the southbound lane, and cross the arterial as vehicles. Going to the left of the very busy right turn lane.

Cautious cyclists, afraid to cross this nasty arterial in the lane, and to get between the southbound traffic and the right turning traffic, will instead cross to the east bound side of the road, and will ride the sidewalk to the crosswalk.

The person in question was riding IN the road, southbound, in the NORTHBOUND travel lane. She had on helmet, which distinguished her from the mass of sidewalk cyclists. I was walking (on the sidewalk - but prepared to share the sidewalk with cyclists, as there are often cyclists on this sidewalk) I called to her "wrong side". I assume she was a newbie, and was perhaps confused as to the right course. I tried to make my tone more informative than scolding, but theres only so much you can do as someone bikes past.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 14, 2013 5:33 pm • linkreport

What I cannot get my head around is the insistence of riders to ride on the road even when there are bike paths that have been built at great public expense for their use. Why do riders insist on riding on River Road where there is no shoulder and the speed limit is 50 when there is the C&O towpath directly parallel? They endager not only themselves but others. There are many blind corners where one can suddenly come upon a rider in the lane. There are drivers (many) who are not patient enough to wait until it is safe to pass who swerve into oncoming traffice in order to pass the riders. I support your right to engage in yoru hobby and be fit, but when you put my life at risk where there is another perfectly good option - that is where you lose me. I don't want to hear all the talk about how the towpath is too crowded or bumpy - very Goldilocks logic and still not a good reason to risk killing yourself or others. If you want the motorists to compromise then maybe you should consider compromising too.

by Lolly on May 14, 2013 7:12 pm • linkreport

Well,

A: there is no legal prohibition against riding in the road when a path is present.

B: as documented in the other article, paths are often not as well maintained as the road, especially if you ride a road bike with thinner tires.

C: plus there may be pedestrians and many cyclists prefer being in the road to dodging cyclists. Plus the road provides more visibility for the cyclist and can be safer.

D: cyclists face the most danger from cars, not the other way around. If someone is swerving into oncoming traffic to get around te cyclist it's the swerving driver with the problem, not the cyclist.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 8:12 pm • linkreport

RE: A: Lots of things aren't illegal but are ill advised, say walking around a bad part of town in the middle of the night. Just because you are allowed to do something doesn't mean it is right or considerate. When there is a path 7 feet to your left and you choose the road that makes you an asshole and a fool who is just trying to upset people by gambling with their life and others.

RE: B: Goldilocks aswer.

RE: D: I face plently of danger when that driver comes in MY lane to avoid or foolishly pass the cyclist. It becomes MY problem then!

by Lolly on May 14, 2013 8:20 pm • linkreport

Offering up a poorer alternative and expecting cyclists to be grateful for it isn't going to cut it.

And it's safer for the cyclist to be in the road when you consider how many people coming out of driveways and making turns often get so focused on ther cars they fail to notice a cyclist on a sidewalk/path.

With regards to swerving traffic, again the problem is drivers behaving recklessly, not a cyclist who has the right of way.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 8:48 pm • linkreport

Plus, not every road has a convenient sidewalk or side path. I don't see what other option the cyclist has then.

by drumz on May 14, 2013 8:49 pm • linkreport

even Dave C, I think said this was basically a sensible article EXCEPT for the mention of red lights and stop signs

That's not exactly true.

What I saw in Dave C's response and that of others here is "OMG, she's agreeing with the bikehaters who think we dont have a right to ride in traffic until everyone obeys every traffic law, and she opposes legalizing Idaho Stops because she accepts an autoprivileged world view"

And that's not accurate.

Let's recap Goodyear's article:

1. Emmanuel's proposed law is good even though not everyone agrees.

2. Cycling is going mainstream

3. Cities are now ticketing cyclists more and "This is what has to happen for things to get to the next level."

4. Some cyclists are jerks and they should be ticketed

5. "I am truly sick of people wanting to have it both ways: calling for protected bike lanes and a bike-share system, demanding that cops step up enforcement when it comes to cars, and then blithely salmoning up a major thoroughfare and expecting everyone look the other way."

6. Bad behavior makes us look bad

7. She's going to start obeying the law including not running red lights - and you should too.

So my complaints are mainly with 3, 5, 6 and 7.

3 - because I don't think ticketing blitzes are good for cycling. Especially not the way they've been done in NYC, where they're ticketing stupid things like leaving the bike lane or writing $1555 tickets for running red lights. I can't think of a single good example of a good ticketing blitz and neither can Goodyear.

5 - I'm not sure that the people demanding good bicycle infrastructure are the same people behaving badly, but Goodyear pretends that they are.

6 - Bad behavior makes the people who behave badly look bad. It doesn't make Goodyear look bad.

7. The basic idea is OK, I suppose. But there are two things here that bother me.

One is the implication that you should behave better so that cyclists look better, so that better laws can be passed. But this is ridiculous. You should be safe and polite because that's just how people should behave. And if that isn't enough to convince you, then some advocacy angle isn't going to do it either.

The other is that in addition to being safe and polite, you should also do those things that do not make anyone safer and do not make you more polite but which make you more legal. Things like always riding in a bike lane when one is present or never rolling through a stop sign. And I know she never mentioned the first of those but it's pretty clear that she things people should obey the law - reasonable or not "Does obeying the law mean that you will reach your destination more slowly? Yes." She doesn't qualify that.

If she thinks more like I do on this then she is letting on, then that is one less thing we disagree about. But who cares? A lot of your comments are about how Goodyear actually may think something that she didn't say or that maybe she just wasn't clear about and we agree even more than I think we do. I don't really care if that's true at this point.

by David C on May 14, 2013 10:01 pm • linkreport

What is great about reading all of thes articles the past few days is the comments. Goodyear is obviously on to something here and the general cycling public is way ahead of GGW and as evidenced by the overwhelming support and frustration with all the also on cyclists and re light runners.

We daily cyclists get that America is at a turning point (and this ain't Europe). Emanuel and Klein are brilliant in their proactive approach to shaping the discussion and heading off criticism ahead of bikeshare and many more bike lanes. Funny no one comments on the $1k fine for dooring.

Glad to see Chicago leading

by Mr. BPT on May 15, 2013 12:22 am • linkreport

The original article is not an anti-bike rant, it just takes the position that civil disobedience is not a very good political strategy and probably does not score points with the voting public (most of which are drivers and pedestrians).
------
"Civil disobedience"?

Man, the ego here is hilarious!

Thumbing one's at traffic laws and treating stop signs and red lights as "optional" because "it's inconvenient to stop" or because "I don't want to lose my momentum" or because "I'm different from cars" or because "I have a right to ride in the road" isn't the same as making a choice to fight immoral laws and policy. It's lawbreaking, plain and simple.

Dress it up all you want. It's still a pig.

by ceefer on May 15, 2013 7:19 am • linkreport

@Lolly
First, cyclists have a right to the road, and all users have a responsibility to ride and drive safely. Your anger should be directed at the drivers who pass irresponsibly.

Second, all of River Road is at least half a mile from the towpath and most is more than a mile. So the towpath is not "7 feet" from River Road.

Third, what are the type of cyclists you see on river road? If they are road-racer types the towpath is not an appropriate place for them to ride. If they are transportation riders then they are trying to get from point A to point B efficiently, and a mile detour to the towpath doesn't make sense. The towpath makes sense for riders who are out for recreation at a slow pace.

Last, it is very "goldilocks" of you to demand that cyclists find another route - perhaps you should consider another route if river road is not to your liking due to its popularity with cyclists.

by MLD on May 15, 2013 8:47 am • linkreport

Dress it up all you want. It's still a pig.

I'm happy to do so when the supposed "pig" is "breaking laws that inconvenience me even when it doesn't affect anyone else." Because everyone does that nearly every day.

by MLD on May 15, 2013 8:54 am • linkreport

"3 - because I don't think ticketing blitzes are good for cycling. Especially not the way they've been done in NYC, where they're ticketing stupid things like leaving the bike lane or writing $1555 tickets for running red lights. I can't think of a single good example of a good ticketing blitz and neither can Goodyear."

This is the first Ive seen of details of the ticket blitzes. Those items are stupid. Do they represent the typical ticket given out? Goodyear did not detail what happened in the ticket blitzes. Had the criticism of her originally been that she did not, I would have supported the criticism.

"5 - I'm not sure that the people demanding good bicycle infrastructure are the same people behaving badly, but Goodyear pretends that they are."

I don't know either way. Im prett sure the salmoners I see in NoVa are not part of the activist community. Perhaps Ms Goodyear is referring to people she meets in Brooklyn. She should have made that more clear.

"6 - Bad behavior makes the people who behave badly look bad. It doesn't make Goodyear look bad."

Im going to have to disagree in part. It shouldnt make anyone else look bad. But human nature is human nature and people do judge groups. Maybe less so when you spend decades making non-judgement of a particular group a key priority of society. Even then I dont think we get to 100% non-judgement of groups. Many other minority groups are quite aware of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chillul_Hashem

7. The basic idea is OK, I suppose. But there are two things here that bother me.

I think we clearly dont all agree on advocacy. Safe and polite are very subjective and complex and very open to assumptions about not legal, but moral rights.

Im not as strict as Ms Goodyear may be (I dont know how strict she is) but at the margin, I DO take optics into account when I bike. Whether the action I am foregoing is rude or not - well most cyclists wouldnt consider it rude, and most non-cycling drivers would consider it rude. And its illegal. Though safe. As Ive said above I see that behavior invoked often by opponents of good changes to bike safety laws in NoVa. Some of those opponents may by people of bad will who will oppose us anyway - but I believe that some who listen to those arguments are not. You may disagree with that. I believe this is something about which reasonable people may disagree.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

I also know that the fact that bikes ARE ticketed is a counter that I have used, and that many other cycling advocates have used in discussions.

If ticketing blitzes are particularly problematic (as they may well be) then other approaches to enforcement may be better.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

"Funny no one comments on the $1k fine for dooring."

I've mentioned it a number of times.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

"The other is that in addition to being safe and polite, you should also do those things that do not make anyone safer and do not make you more polite but which make you more legal. Things like always riding in a bike lane when one is present"

Is that the law in Chicago? Or in NYC, where presumably Ms Goodyear bikes?

My understanding is the law is to ride as far to the right as safely practible (with the right to take the lane when needed for safety) and that in most places thats where the bike lane is located anyway, so it has no additional legal impact on cyclists.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 9:35 am • linkreport

In NYC bike lane use is mandatory when there is one available - with some caveats like turning left.

by David C on May 15, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

mandatory even when its unsafe due to obstructions in the road? I find that hard to believe.

Or are we back to the issue of "I dont ride in the bike lane because its too close to the door zone"? I think we are getting into the bike law weeds, when Ms Goodyear was discussing broader strategy and attitude.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

I think ceefer's point is that the fig leaf of civil disobedience for cyclists is a thin excuse for lawbreaking (with which I agree), while use of radar detectors and other camera-avoiding tactics to enable speeding is an acceptable way of protesting artificially low speed limits. I would say that most speeders are also being selfish and speeding for convenience, not as a way of sticking it to the Man.

If I am mischaracterizing, I'm sure I'll hear shortly.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

@Crickey,

Yeah, it's strange that the "civil liberties" argument is the only half-way compelling point that anti- speed-camera folks inevitably muster, and yet "freedom of movement" for cyclists is somehow ridiculous.

Just silly...

by oboe on May 15, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

mandatory even when its unsafe due to obstructions in the road? I find that hard to believe.
There are exceptions but that doesn't mean you can't get a ticket for it and still lose:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/09/bike-lane-ticket-new-york_n_873790.html
http://gothamist.com/2012/03/06/cyclist_ticketed_for_biking_outside.php
http://gothamist.com/2012/04/04/video_cyclist_vietnam_vet_arrested.php
http://gothamist.com/2011/05/09/in_cyclist_crackdown_cops_told_to_e.php

Furthermore, I don't think it's too "in the weeds" to counter people's claims of "following the law = safety" with "laws sometimes force us to do unsafe things." What other response do you think would be better?

by MLD on May 15, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

Yeah, it's strange that the "civil liberties" argument is the only half-way compelling point that anti- speed-camera folks inevitably muster, and yet "freedom of movement" for cyclists is somehow ridiculous.

Is there really any practical difference between "liberties" and "freedom". Seems like drivers and cyclists want the same thing.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

@Lolly- on River Road NW DC there are bike sharrows painted - right there on the road. Are you driving over the sharrows while cursing the person on the bike whose silhouette matches the image you are driving over?

by Tina on May 15, 2013 10:52 am • linkreport

MLD

I think there are a few questions raised by this discussion

A. Should we attempt to be "bike ambassadors" at all? Does optics matter?

B. If the answer to A is yes, should we be concerned not only with "politeness" but lawfulness? IE should we do things we might not otherwise do, just because they are the law?

C. Are there some laws bad that the safer course is to ignore them, and if so, should we still keep even those, for the sake of optics?

Ms Goodyear, seems to call for A, B and C. I think people are getting stuck on C. Whether she is incorrect about details (if thats even the right reading of her) is not the gist of this. If one does agree with her on A and B, one could say "This is a well reasoned argument for compromise, but Ms Goodyear needs to understand that there are a FEW cases where being lawful can lead to unsafe results, and of course one should violate the law in those instances"

I think a lot of people here mainly disagree on A and B. A is both a political judgement (does optics impact the politics of biking, and if so, how much?) and a personal/philosophical one (how much should i sacrifice a convenient/comfortable/pleasant ride for the sake of politics?) B is very much a philosophical one about law - I get a strong sense that some commenters here object, deeply, philosophically AND emotionally, to the notion of obeying "unjust" laws even when it may be pragmatically the best course for social change. Those are viable objections to Ms Goodyears column, but I think its also clear that many cyclists share Ms Goodyears general attitude. Again, I can think it wise to bike around an obstruction in a bike lane, while thinking that, at least on a day Im not in a hurry, its a good idea to stop at a red light I could safely run for the sake of 'optics'. I think thats getting lost.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

"Yeah, it's strange that the "civil liberties" argument is the only half-way compelling point that anti- speed-camera folks inevitably muster, and yet "freedom of movement" for cyclists is somehow ridiculous.'

-------

Come back when you have evidence of an organized group of drivers deliberately setting off traffic cameras and refusing to pay the fines once ticketed.

As it is, the argument you're trying to make is, in fact, ridiculous.

by ceefer on May 15, 2013 11:03 am • linkreport

Come back when you have evidence of an organized group of drivers deliberately setting off traffic cameras and refusing to pay the fines once ticketed.

Wait, who are the cyclists running stop signs and then refusing to pay fines for any tickets they get?

by drumz on May 15, 2013 11:09 am • linkreport

@ceefer -i don't know of any organized group of cyclists getting tickets on purpose. Do you? If you mean a bunch of individuals who have the same predictable behavior of treating stop signs as yield signs -these aren't an organized group.

They're a bunch of individuals doing the same thing, like a group of pedestrians who all cross at the same time when there's clearing in the traffic even though the light hasn't changed yet.

by Tina on May 15, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

@ AWalkerintheCity

C. Are there some laws bad that the safer course is to ignore them, and if so, should we still keep even those, for the sake of optics?

There are of course exceptions to every rule (I have to make this blindingly obvious disclaimer or else the commentariat will go on a tantrum about it) but I would guess there are relatively few instances where breaking laws is the safest course of action, particularly in the case of stop signs and red lights.

I can definitely think of laws that should be changed to make using the road safer for everyone, but I can't think of too many existing laws which are so bad that following them is per se unsafe, and breaking them is the >>only<< way to be safe.

In my experience the danger of riding on the road usually arises from being in the presence of law-breakers -- people speeding, not using signals, driving recklessly, salmoning etc, plus plain old human error.

Accordingly, if everyone obeyed every law at all times, and you could somehow take human error out of the equation, then I'm guessing you could cut accidents down to nearly zilch. That would be pretty good evidence that following the law per se leads to a (sufficiently) safe result.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

"I would guess there are relatively few instances where breaking laws is the safest course of action, particularly in the case of stop signs and red lights."

we were specifically speaking of the issue of an obstruction in the bike lane, when the safer course is to (after checking) enter the main travel lane to get around the obstruction - something that is apparently not legal in some jurisdictions.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

I'm with Scoot and Walker. The only even slightly plausible argument I've heard is that where a cyclist is at the front at a light, there are many cars behind them and the road ahead is clear, leaving before the light turns allows them to achieve a speed such that cars behind them can more easily slot into the other travel lane, rather than bunch up behind them.

Still don't buy it, but there it is.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

Come back when you have evidence of an organized group of drivers deliberately setting off traffic cameras and refusing to pay the fines once ticketed.

Well, speeding is usually deliberate, and the DMV is short millions of dollars in unpaid speeding fines. So you're free to come to your own conclusions about people's behavior.

Most people don't protest speeding enforcement by deliberately speeding, but a number of people protest speeding enforcement by argument that people should be able to speed wherever they want:

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/02/rev-bill-bennett-candidate-for-d-c-council-to-protest-speeding-enforcement-in-southeast-72370.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/post/chef-geoff-tracy-takes-on-dc-speed-cams/2012/01/24/gIQACOnTOQ_blog.html

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

we were specifically speaking of the issue of an obstruction in the bike lane, when the safer course is to (after checking) enter the main travel lane to get around the obstruction - something that is apparently not legal in some jurisdictions.

Which jurisdictions? The District certainly does not. Maryland lists several exceptions to the rule of using the bike lane when it's available, among them to avoid hazards (TR § 21-1205.1). I think Virginia is silent on the requirement.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

@ AWalkerintheCity

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18870/cyclists-are-special-and-do-have-their-own-rules/#comment-184076

I'm sorry but did you even read the links referenced in that comment?

from Gothamist: "Thing is, cyclists are not legally required to stay in the bike lane in NYC in every situation."

These were examples of citation officers not properly enforcing the law, or not being knowledgeable of it. The law itself reads:

Whenever a usable path or lane for bicycles has been provided, bicycle riders shall use such path or lane only except under any of the following situations:

(i) When preparing for a turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; (ii) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards) that make it unsafe to continue within such bicycle path or lane.

RCNY 4-12(p)

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

"I'm sorry but did you even read the links referenced in that comment?"

Actually I had intended to link to DaveC's comment, which simply asserted that was the law in NYC, not to the comment with the links. So no, I didnt read the links.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

@Scoot, AWalkerInTheCity

What I was pointing out was the terribleness of "enforcement" of cyclists through extra ticketing, and how extra enforcement usually means enforcing things that cause no harm, or actually enforcing the law entirely incorrectly.

The fact that laws like "cyclists must use the bike lane" exist even with exceptions means that the general public and even in some cases cops don't understand the law AND extend and misunderstand it to mean that cyclists should always just use the path they're given, even if it's a mile away from the street they're riding on.

Just look at the comments from Lolly above for this attitude.

by MLD on May 15, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

MLD

its probably easier to educate the police force, especially just prior to a ticket blitz, than to educate the general public.

I think all jurisdictions, and especially cities, would do well to have more police on bikes. That would give them a better idea of the nuances both of law as it relates to biking, and all the physics and other issues cyclists face.

That there is sometimes bad enforcement though is not necessarily a reason to oppose all enforcement. I dont buy that for red light/speed cams (where there was some problem in Baltmore?). Its a reason to make sure enforcement is done right. And this may be one area where Ms Goodyears comments are on point - as biking becomes more common, its more reasonable to expect jurisdictions to be able to do enforcement right, including better educating police.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

The fact that laws like "cyclists must use the bike lane" exist even with exceptions means that the general public and even in some cases cops don't understand the law AND extend and misunderstand it to mean that cyclists should always just use the path they're given, even if it's a mile away from the street they're riding on.

If it's a question of enforcement and understanding then focus on that and not on questions of what's legal and what isn't.

There are a ton of driving and parking laws that citation officers do not properly enforce. That's why about half of all appealed parking citations in the District are overturned. So enforcement is a problem regardless of modal share. In fact it's an issue that probably affects cyclists at a much lower rate than drivers (DC issues ten times more vehicle citations in a single day than pedestrian and cyclist tickets in an entire year).

As for agreement on better or more proper enforcement, clearly there is a small (?) but vocal cohort of cyclists that does not want better enforcement of existing cycling laws because it might negatively impact the convenience of riding. Talk about a question of enforcement.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

@MLD - certainly cyclists have a right to the road but that does not make it advisable. I have the right to walk around downtown at 2am in a bikini, but no one will cry much for me if I end up in the back of a van. I AM angry at the inpatient drivers, but I'm also angry at the cyclists who insist upon their "right" even when it flies in the face of common sense and consideration. The drivers wouldn't make that decision if the biker wasn't there.

RE: River Road - there is a nice bicycle path no more than 7 to 10 feet from the road on River from Bradley to past Piney Meetinghouse with a small interruption in between. Cyclists never use it. I'm assuming that this is because they might have to accomodate the rare pedestrian. Where this path ends is right by Swain's Lock which is no more than a quarter of a mile from River. Given that you are getting exercise, I can't see why a short distance like that would be prohibitive. It is also close at Pennyfield Lock and Riley's Lock. The majority of riders on River are not commuters they are recreational cyclists. Plus the scenery on the tow path is much nicer and you can go all the way to West Virginia.

It is not Goldilocks to say that choosing a route that endangers not just yourself but others when a reasonable alternative exists. What IS a Goldilocks argument is that the path is too bumpy or the branches hang down, or there might be people to consider. Consider that the cars feel about you the same way you feel about pedestrians on the path. Goldilocks must have only the most perfect surface on which to ride.

The main part of my ire comes from so many cyclists lack of concern about endangering others. You may not worry about being hurt or killed, but I surely do not want to kill someone when I come around a bend at 50 to find a biker in the road. I don't want to have to choose between hitting a biker and another car. It is a truly horrifying experience to almost hit someone.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

certainly cyclists have a right to the road but that does not make it advisable. I have the right to walk around downtown at 2am in a bikini, but no one will cry much for me if I end up in the back of a van.
Unless you are completely isolated, I'm sure plenty of people will cry for you. Moreover, we won't blame you for being a victim.

What IS a Goldilocks argument is that the path is too bumpy or the branches hang down, or there might be people to consider.

I'll express that sentiment next time someone complains about a pothole.

but I surely do not want to kill someone when I come around a bend at 50
Then don't drive so fast if you are worried about not being able to stop fast enough coming around a corner.

Look, I'm sorry that cyclists sometimes annoy by being there but they're going to be there regardless and it is YOUR responsibility to operate your vehicle safely no matter who or what is in the road, it could be a bike, it could be a tractor, it could be a little old lady in a buick who is just driving slowly. We all must share the road.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

River Road parallels I-270 for many miles. I think it's terribly selfish for those who could use I-270 not to. I am often delayed entire minutes in my car on River, which I live just off of, because these selfish people insist on their right to use my road. Don't tell me about it being inconvenient--talk to the hand.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

FYI, I believe the top speed on any stretch of River is 45.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

@Lolly -Given that you are getting exercise,
I ride to get somewhere and often take the shortest fastest route even if it means I have to share the road w/ people like you- (drivers hostile to any one on a bike and who make ignorant, arrogant assumptions about why a person may or may take a certain route, and the prime reason for the person to be on a bike in the first place).

It is a truly horrifying experience to almost hit someone.

If you know people are biking on the road then drive with the expectation of encountering them - or if you're so uncomfortable with sharing the road w/ cyclists- find another route. If you're going somewhere anyway what difference does it matter if you have to go out of your way? or if the route is less than perfect for you in some way?

by Tina on May 15, 2013 1:37 pm • linkreport

@Lolly- The majority of riders on River are not commuters they are recreational cyclists

How do you know? Are you a mind reader?

by Tina on May 15, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

@Lolly
Actually I would cry for you if you were minding your own business lawfully conducting yourself and some police officer decided to arrest you for it. Or if someone decided to assault you for it. And many others would cry too.

To address actual points:
there is a nice bicycle path no more than 7 to 10 feet from the road on River from Bradley to past Piney Meetinghouse with a small interruption in between. Cyclists never use it.
There are two stretches with a bike path adjacent: One is a 3/5 of a mile stretch where cars have lots of room including a big empty turning lane for most of the stretch. I don't think cars should have a problem seeing cyclists here (it's straight) and they shouldn't have trouble passing given the road is 3 lanes wide. The other stretch is about a mile long, again here the road is quite wide and has a shoulder and extra lanes in places. And it is straight.

I assume you see road-racing type cyclists, in which case I already said that the towpath is not a viable alternative for the kind of riding they want to do. It is not conducive to high speeds, nor is the surface appropriate or safe for skinny road bike tires. It would be if I offered a muddy dirt track to you as a driving alternative to river road.

Might I suggest Glen Road as an alternative for your driving needs? It's only a mile away from river road, so a short detour consider that you don't have to expend any sweat to go an extra two miles in your car.

You may not worry about being hurt or killed, but I surely do not want to kill someone when I come around a bend at 50 to find a biker in the road. I don't want to have to choose between hitting a biker and another car. It is a truly horrifying experience to almost hit someone.
What is the speed limit around here? I seem to recall from driving out that way that it is 35MPH in most places. Perhaps if you would like to avoid hitting people you should slow down.

Again, your biggest problem in all of this is that you don't think cyclists' desire or need to ride on this road is legitimate. It is.

by MLD on May 15, 2013 1:40 pm • linkreport

Won't give an inch will you. Sadly I live on River Road so I have no choice but to use it. the speed limit is 50 past Stoney Creek. I really think you don't realize how dangerous it is for everyone and that most drivers really don't want to hurt you or ourselves. I don't care that you want to bike. I like to ride my bike too - not everyone hates cyclists.

Oh and I think its a pretty safe assumption that the packs of brightly costumed riders on weekends are not going to work together.

All in all, I'd rather not kill someone and I'd like your help. Funny that I care more about your well being than you do. Why would you chose a much more dangerous option when a very safe, plesant one exists. I truly don't understand risking your life for a hobby or to make some point about you having a right to be there and wanting what you want when and how you want it.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

I would love to give an inch if you would suggest one for me other than something along the vein of "get the f--- off my road and bike somewhere else." Because no matter where that "somewhere else" is there will be someone with your opinion there.

So what do YOU think cyclists should do if they would like to ride road bikes on a road for exercise?

by MLD on May 15, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

I really think you don't realize how dangerous it is for everyone and that most drivers really don't want to hurt you or ourselves.

lol, nope. Apparently you're the one who doesn't realize that you are the one with the power and should operate your vehicle cautiously. We can't give you our "help" if your demand is that we stay off the road.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

There have been plenty of great philosophical/political debates about obeying laws considered to be unjust. Wonderful poli sci topic. On the road, everybody, everybody obeying the law is vital. The law is there so that everybody can function safely and predictably. A lot of what you're hearing on this forum is the anger and fear non-cyclists get when cyclists don't behave legally and predictably. I would have thought this goes without saying, but yes, that goes for autos too, and the reaction of bicyclists and pedestrians to them. Unpredictable behavior causes accidents and injuries.

An anarchist friend of mine said that traffic laws were one of the few where she could understand why she needed to obey them!

If the law really is unjust or inadequate, change it. The law of and facilities for bicyclists have changed a great deal in just a few years, and will no doubt change more. There was an example of cyclists taking off before the light changes to get ahead of the platoon of cars. That's the dangerous, random, unpredictable approach. The safe way to do it is to paint a bike box at the front of the queue and move the cars back behind a farther stop line. Many cities are installing these, which provided an automatic headstart.

by Wanderer on May 15, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

Drivers often imagine cycling to be more dangerous than it is. Collisions from the rear happen, but are among the least frequent type of cycling accidents.

You know what is a dangerous place, statistically, to ride a bicycle? A sidewalk.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

@MLD, I do operate safely, but I don't control what others do and I don't think that going the speed limit is an unreasonable assumption. Should I drive 25 on every road where there might be a cyclist?

When I want to ride, I ride on one of the many paths that have been built for cyclists at great public expense. Takes a little extra effort, but safer for everyone. In the city, I use the bike lanes. Are the paths sometimes crowded, yes, but so are the roads in my car. That's what I get for living in an urban area. See I can compromise.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 1:58 pm • linkreport

"When I want to ride, I ride on one of the many paths that have been built for cyclists at great public expense"

I live in NoVa which has some excellent trails - like the W&OD and MVT. neither is near my house. How do you propose I get to them?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 2:01 pm • linkreport

Should I drive 25 on every road where there might be a cyclist?

Not necessarily but if you are consistently coming around corners and having to brake suddenly that should be a sign that you should take those curves more slowly. Most roads generally have lower speed limits for sharp curves anyway.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 2:01 pm • linkreport

@Wanderer-yes I think many would love to see bike boxes. Are you asserting we should we stop riding until they're installed?

@Lolly-River Road has many streets crossing it, as well as alleyways parallel to it. I'm sure you can find a route to avoid River Rd. So what if its out of your way? Aren't you driving anyway?

If you live on River Rd then certainly you have seen the bike sharrows painted on it along with the green 'Bike Rte' signs along it.

by Tina on May 15, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

MLD wrote:

"What is the speed limit around here? I seem to recall from driving out that way that it is 35MPH in most places. Perhaps if you would like to avoid hitting people you should slow down."

Sure! But the speed limit could be much higher if everyone would just GTFOOMW for @Lolly.

Seriously, something needs to be done here. Maybe we could ask @FrankD to ban bikes from River Rd altogether.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

"I live in NoVa which has some excellent trails - like the W&OD and MVT. neither is near my house. How do you propose I get to them?"

Why, you drive there silly!

Actually, you might be able to apply for a special dispensation to ride there, but only if you can prove a pressing need or hardship. You can submit this request in triplicate to Lolly and FrankD for review. They'll let you know if you have sufficient cause to exercise your legal rights.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 2:18 pm • linkreport

@Lolly- River Rd is a marked Bicycle Route and has sharrows painted on it.

by Tina on May 15, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

I do operate safely, but I don't control what others do and I don't think that going the speed limit is an unreasonable assumption. Should I drive 25 on every road where there might be a cyclist?

When I want to ride, I ride on one of the many paths that have been built for cyclists at great public expense. Takes a little extra effort, but safer for everyone... See I can compromise.

Actually, driving at a speed equal to the legal maximum limit does not seem like a compromise. It seems pretty analogous to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.079 - right at the legal limit for a DUI.

In most other cases, your speed might depend on the circumstance; if it's raining or snowing, you'd probably slow down. If traffic were heavy, you'd probably slow down. It stands to reason that if there were slower moving cyclists, you might want to slow down as well. That is an example of a compromise. You don't necessarily have to reduce your speed to 25 mph, but it is not a compromise to just throw one's hands up and say, "I'm going to drive the speed limit, and if I hit you, then tough."

The ancillary issue is that even if driving the speed limit were considered a compromise, speed limits are often set without consideration that cyclists can and do use the road. So those speed limits may be unsafe to begin with.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

Frankly, if you are flying around curves on River Road at 50 mph, there is a deer out there with your name on it.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

Funny, I ride on area multi-use paths just the way @Lolly does. I'm usually doing close to 15-20 mph, and never slow down on blind corners. I've come close to running over pedestrians on numerous occasions--or worse, been nearly hit by oncoming bike traffic. So the dangerous behavior of pedestrians endangers not only themselves, but others.

I do operate safely, but I don't control what others do and I don't think that going the speed limit is an unreasonable assumption. Should I drive 5 mph on every bike path where there might be a pedestrian?

When I want to walk, I walk on sidewalks that have been built for pedestrians at great public expense. Takes a little extra effort, but safer for everyone. In the city, I use a treadmill at the gym. Is the gym sometimes crowded, yes, but so are the bike paths on my bike. That's what I get for living in an urban area. See I can compromise.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 2:32 pm • linkreport

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2013/04/building-bike-and-pedestrian-lobby-teeth/5414/

I do think Ms Goodyear's focus in general is heavily on the politics of advancing biking and walking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

A. Should we attempt to be "bike ambassadors" at all? Does optics matter?

We should attempt to be safe and courteous. If you want to call that being a bike ambassador, then more power to you. And while optics matter, that should be sufficient.

B. should we do things we might not otherwise do, just because they are the law?

If it carries zero cost, then yes, but otherwise no.

C. Are there some laws [so] bad that the safer course is to ignore them, and if so, should we still keep even those, for the sake of optics?

I'd say no. It's funny that some drivers love to point out to cyclists that being right isn't much good when your dead (which is why you shouldn't ride in the road in their opinion) but the minute you express a desire to be "wrong" because it's safer you're an arrogant jerk. But no, we should not have to risk our lives for the sake of looking good.

Nor should we have to inconvenience ourselves. In some places, you can't run a red light even if the sensors sitting below the road won't detect you and change the light. You could literally be sitting there for hours waiting for it to change. Does anyone think that is the right thing to do? There is no safety argument for running the light. Waiting is perfectly safe. But following the law in that situation is completely insane.

This isn't some civil disobedience thing, it's just recognizing that the law and engineering failed. It failed to consider you. Same with the Idaho stop. Ideally the law would change, and many people support that, but next best is that - like laws against adultery (which I think is still illegal in DC) - it just won't be enforced. And so we should just ignore it - which is exactly how I treat DC's anti-adultery law (just kidding honey).

by David C on May 15, 2013 2:36 pm • linkreport

The anti-adultery laws make more sense than some of the laws being applied to bikes.

by SJE on May 15, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

"A. Should we attempt to be "bike ambassadors" at all? Does optics matter?
We should attempt to be safe and courteous. If you want to call that being a bike ambassador, then more power to you. And while optics matter, that should be sufficient."

Thats a fair approach. Personally, I think its hard to argue whats "courteous" since there are so many different views - drivers who are convinced that anyone on a bike couldnt have time as valuable in someone in car because bikes are slower (Im thinking outside of central DC) may not share our views of what's polite in road sharing. Whats legal is far clearer, IMO. And I think, therefore, has more impact on the discourse. And yes, if one's MOTIVE is optics, then one may make different choices than if one is simply focused on courtesy for its own sake.

"B. should we do things we might not otherwise do, just because they are the law?"

What if the cost is not zero, but small (and not safety related) Waiting an extra minute at a red light (and I'm not in a super hurry, though absent the light I wouldnt stop just there)?

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

I agree that courteous is more of a judgement call - that's what keeps Ms. Manners in business right, but I think there's general agreement on it.

As for ~zero but >zero costs, I've waited at a red for 3 seconds when I could have gone and the reason has been "why not give the babies their bottle." So, yeah, there is some point where the cost may exceed the benefit. But there is some point where it doesn't either - and Goodyear doesn't acknowledge that.

by David C on May 15, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

@Tina "I ride to get somewhere and often take the shortest fastest route"

Makes sense. I believe drivers have similar thoughts. Hopefully we can get all road users where they are going in the fastest manner safely possible.

by Chris S. on May 15, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

As I ride up a hill with my 6-year old on the trail-a-bike, speed limit 35 mph with a lane too narrow to share (given the parked cars), I often want to pull over onto the sidewalk so I don't block the cars waiting behind me.

But my daughter says: "Daddy, it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk, get back on the road"

What can I do, but comply with the law?

by JimT on May 15, 2013 3:32 pm • linkreport

Here's Tanya Snyder'r response to Goodyear and to DaveC

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/05/15/refereeing-the-raging-debate-over-the-specialness-of-cyclists/

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 15, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

Idaho Stop should apply to bikes, because biking IS different. It's one thing to drive a car, but when you have to start and stop on a bike, you'll see why it makes no sense for bikes to mindlessly stop at every stop sign. Proceeding cautiously through stop signs or red lights, after yielding any necessary rights of way, is how it should be for bicyclists. So yes, biking IS different than driving. Therefore, I oppose Emanuel's mindless stop sign enforcement on bicyclists.

by Dave on May 15, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

All the responses are typical of the childish, selfish, bullies that people think cyclists are. Refuse to listen to any reason or consdier any opinion other than your own and then you wonder why people hate you. You won't win people over to your agenda with being awful. You just won't. Sorry I even suggsted that anyone consider using the paths that the communities asked for and built, sorry I even asked you to consider riding on a road with a shoulder, sorry I asked you to consider that your actions might affect someone other than yourself. I hope your parents pick you up from daycare on time. In the meantime, maybe you will pass me on one of the trails one day - oh wait, I forgot too bumpy.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

And your responses are typical of someone who came in here with an opinion (why can't you get out of my way) and refused to consider any opinion other than your own, or what alternatives you have.

Lots of people do use the paths that have been built - because they work for them. That doesn't mean it works for everybody.

by MLD on May 15, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

A. Should we attempt to be "bike ambassadors" at all? Does optics matter?
I've never met a driving ambasassador or a walking one, so no. However, I would not be opposed to Marion Barry as our official representative.

B. should we do things we might not otherwise do, just because they are the law?
Prudent observation of the law and strict observation are entirely different. I mean drivers shouldn't do anything other than drive in a vehicle, yet they do all manners of things from disciplining kids to reading the newspaper.

C. Are there some laws [so] bad that the safer course is to ignore them, and if so, should we still keep even those, for the sake of optics?
I ignore the law all the time, but for safety, not convenience. I will ride through a stop sign without stopping--especially if I can ride alongside a car because I know another car isn't going to run into them. I will run a red light if it means avoiding a precarious situation. Etc

by T1 on May 15, 2013 4:56 pm • linkreport

Lolly,

Well, we've given you plenty of reasons and ways to compromise. You can choose to ignore them or claim them as inadequate and that's fine. But if you want to go with the reasoning that cyclists are immature I'd reccomend you stop mocking them as children or saying that they're no better than goldilocks.

And please slow down. The life you save may be your own.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 5:06 pm • linkreport

I note that you mix up two stretches of River Road. One is farther out, winding and 50 mph for much of it. One is closer, straight, and lower and variable speed. You claim concern for cyclist safety prompts the suggestion we use the "trail" (really, a sidewalk), but in fact the only stretch with the "trail" is the straight part where a cyclist on the road is visible far in advance. Farther out, a cyclist has no "trail" option (I'll disregard the implausible suggestion of the Towpath).

Be honest. You don't want to share the road, and it has nothing to do with our safety.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 5:07 pm • linkreport

T1, no one breaks the law for safety. I call BS on that one.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 5:10 pm • linkreport

"All the responses are typical of the childish, selfish, bullies that people think cyclists are."

Wait, what's that phenomenon called where a member of a privileged class with a massive sense of entitlement irrationally claims the mantle of the "victim" again? Surely if it doesn't exist in English the Germans have coined one.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 5:47 pm • linkreport

@Crickey7

Be honest. You don't want to share the road, and it has nothing to do with our safety.

How dare you bully this poor person by engaging them in reasonable dialogue rather than immediately pledging to get the fu¢k out of their way.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 5:52 pm • linkreport

@Lolly -You have not responded to my pointing out that River Rd is a marked Bike Rte.

While you're sucking on your pacifier, ponder the fact that a lot of people ride in the road and on paths during one ride! Imagine! - b/c that's the only way to get to the destination -Oh! Just like you! You can't POSSIBLY avoid River Rd even though there are numerous alternate routes.

Wow. Either you're a fantastic troll or you are the stereotype of the entitled driver manifest. I'm sure you make the same great impression on other drivers.

by Tina on May 15, 2013 6:12 pm • linkreport

Now, now. I think we can all agree that it's selfish for cyclists riding on River Road for purely recreational purposes to inconvenience drivers on their way to Sprinkles or Tae Kwon Do in Potomac Village.

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 6:38 pm • linkreport

Wonder how she feels about the inconvenience caused by those going to see the cherry blossoms in Kenwood? The golf tournaments at the River Road golf courses? Going to hike the Cabin John Trail? Going to the Romanian Festival? Attending church on Sunday all at the same time?

Or is the outrage at the non-utilitarian reasons for being on River Road limited to a single mode?

by Crickey7 on May 15, 2013 6:58 pm • linkreport

I will type this very slowly so you can understand my points.

1) I never said people should get off the road. What I said is that it is foolish to ride on a road with no shoulder (read no margin of error for rider or car driver) and sometimes high speed limits. I'm not bothered by the bikers delaying my arrival at Sprinkles, but the cyclist's choice impacts me when drivers are forced into my lane either by their impatience or something the cyclist may do unexpectedly. You are right, this pisses me off, at both the driver and the cyclist. I was merely suggesting that it would be safer and more considerate to choose another road, one possibly with a shoulder.

2) It is inconsiderate to ride in the road when there is a paved bike path available for your use, much as it is incosiderate for pedestrians on mixed use paths to walk in the middle of the path. The path on River between Bradley and Piney Meeting house is wider than a sidewalk and designated as a bike path and rarely used by anyone - pedestrian or cyclist. Just as I don't always get to drive on a road free of traffic or potholes - the cyclist shouldn't always expect to have everything just as they like it either.

3) We hear a lot from cyclists about how the awful things cars do affect them, Just for a minute, consider how your actions might impact or be perceived by others.

That's all. If you want to read more into it than that, that is your problem not mine.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 7:36 pm • linkreport

"I will type this very slowly so you can understand my points."

Even typed slowly this appears to be the same self-pitying, narcissistic nonsense. We get it; we just take it for the irrational screed it is.

While your spurious concern for cyclists is touching, River Road is incredibly safe for cyclists. In fact, I can't remember the last time a cyclist was seriously injured on River Road. So really the only issue is that you're going to be inconvenienced on occasion. But that's the price we pay for living in a free society.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 8:40 pm • linkreport

"Just as I don't always get to drive on a road free of traffic or potholes - the cyclist shouldn't always expect to have everything just as they like it either."

Just as cyclists don't expect to have everything just the way they want, drivers should expect to be inconvenienced by slowing to pass on occasion.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 8:44 pm • linkreport

Oboe, read it again. I Dont' mind slowing, I mind cars coming at me head on. Would you understand if I typed it in a different language? Clearly you need to work on your reading comprehension, make sure you wear a helmet next time. You cerainly can't spare any gray matter.

by Lolly on May 15, 2013 9:05 pm • linkreport

@ Lolly
"I support your right to engage in your hobby and be fit, but when you put my life at risk where there is another perfectly good option - that is where you lose me."

I mostly ride for transportation, not a hobby. They have yet to make trails that get me to the grocery store or to work. So I will be on the road. It is my right to freedom of travel. There is no reason I should have to own a car just to get around safely. Being in a car gives your no more privilege to being on the road than being on a bike.

I think you suffer from what a lot driver suffer from, and that is unreasonable expectations. Perhaps you believe what is portrayed in the car commercials that show cars whizzing down the road unimpeded. It is just not reality. If there are other slower users of the road you need to slow down. Speed limits are upper limits. When I learned to drive I was taught that the speed limit is the speed at which is safely to drive based on the current conditions and traffic and not exceeding the posted limit. Never drive faster than you can see to come to a full stop. So that means if the speed limit is 50mph and there is a blind curve I SLOW down. There is no reason for me to expect a clear path.

Due to the often poor engineering there are places on the road where I can not easily get out of your way. So just chill out. I am happy to get out of the way of respectful drivers as soon as I can safely. Those who are not so patient just reinforce what many have said here about drivers. Are you going to be a driving ambassador or something else that begins with an "A"?

BTW, when I drive, I drive the speed limit (I follow the laws of the mode I am taking). It is always fun to see how long of a car "train" you can get as a result of others who speed. You would be more hard pressed to pass me legally on River Road than a bike.

by twk on May 15, 2013 9:25 pm • linkreport

Goodyear missed a key point, we don't have to learn to deal with cyclists, we can get them off the roads. Cycling is unsafe and a nuisance to people who actually have places to be. Make sure to let your local politicians know you want cyclists off the roads.

by Spare the Road on May 15, 2013 9:25 pm • linkreport

Cycling is not about getting from A to B, or exercise, or any of that. It is about people with low self esteem slowing traffic to a crawl and for just a while, make the world revolve around them.

by Spare the Road on May 15, 2013 9:29 pm • linkreport

This is what happens when the site goes dark for a day.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 9:35 pm • linkreport

Spare the road,

It's why I ride.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 9:37 pm • linkreport

Lolly,

So if you don't have a problem slowing down then what's the problem?

Oh right, someone who drives recklessly isn't responsible for their actions, yet a cyclist (in this instance, following the law, we're beyond talking about coasting through a stop light) is to blame for anything a driver, legally bound to maintain control their vehicle, does.

In other news, drunk drivers are no longer responsible for what they do behind the wheel because it was the beer that made them do it.

by drumz on May 15, 2013 9:43 pm • linkreport

"boe, read it again. I Dont' mind slowing, I mind cars coming at me head on. Would you understand if I typed it in a different language? Clearly you need to work on your reading comprehension, make sure you wear a helmet next time. You cerainly can't spare any gray matter."

It's clear you're frustrated with living off a major bike route. The veiled threats of violence are just sad, though. I'd say you are making drivers look bad, but grouping a class of people together by their choice of transpo then judging them by the actions of one member seems like a fairly stupid thing to do.

by oboe on May 15, 2013 9:55 pm • linkreport

@Lolly

I was merely suggesting that it would be safer and more considerate to choose another road, one possibly with a shoulder.

If cyclists choose another road, surely they will encounter other drivers on that road whom will inevitably be inconvenienced. Assuming there is no bike path, where are these cyclists going to go where there is no auto traffic? Surely if you knew of such a road you'd be driving on it, because it would have no traffic.

I think some people take issue with your position because it seems not so much a solution to keep our roads safe and inconvenient for everyone so much as it is a solution to keep you from having to deal with others at their expense.

Just as I don't always get to drive on a road free of traffic or potholes - the cyclist shouldn't always expect to have everything just as they like it either.

I'm not so sure that's analogous, as no one is asking you to go a few miles out of your way to avoid a pothole. I'm afraid it's apples and oranges.

by Scoot on May 15, 2013 9:58 pm • linkreport

@Spare the road,

"Make sure to let your local politicians know you want cyclists off the roads."

Fortunately the courts have always found a right to use the public highways by cyclists just as the courts have found a right to speech and to bear arms. While craven, freedom-hating politicians who despise our God-given freedoms will always be elected by some, thankfully they'll be thwarted by our Constitutional right to bike on our public roads.

Freedom!

by oboe on May 15, 2013 10:01 pm • linkreport

At first I was sure that "spare the road" was a joke given that the link didn't work, but it had a typo!

I may just have to get me one of these stickers for my bike:

Maybe photoshop out the website so they don't get any more hits.

by MLD on May 16, 2013 8:22 am • linkreport

Lolly's first point is that because there are drivers who cannot fully control their vehicles, cyclists should give up their right to the road. I cannot help thinking that the better response is to get drivers who cannot fully control their vehicles off the road.

The second is that we are inconsiderate because we irritate her. Frankly, I don't even know what to say to that.

by Crickey7 on May 16, 2013 9:14 am • linkreport

@Lolly- you still have not responded to the fact that River Rd is a marked Bike Rte.

@crickey7 - @Lolly needs a 'time out'.

Also, @Lolly is having a temper tantrum on this blog which is mainly about utilitarian biking when it seems @Lolly is irritated mainly by club cyclists (??). Perhaps @Lolly can go over here: http://www.potomacpedalers.org/? to throw a fit and spew hatred.

@Lolly - There is a linear relationship between the time you spend behind the wheel of a car and your total risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. When you put your life at risk where there is another perfectly good option (biking)- that is where you lose me. I can't believe you choose to drive when it's so clearly a dangerous habit for your long term health. Funny that I care more about your well being than you do by supporting biking as a transportation option AND as means to have fun and get exercise for everyone. Why would you chose a much more dangerous option (driving) when a very safe, pleasant one exists?

by Tina on May 16, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

1. I want to address this "potholes on the multiuse path are the same as potholes on the road for drivers'

I drive. I bike. Running over a pothole in my car is bad for my suspension, and its unpleasant. Running over a bad obstruction on a bike can be a serious danger. It really isnt the same.

2. Most cyclists I know of try to avoid dangerous routes. Our choices will depend on what alts are available, the purpose of our ride, and our speed, skill, confidence. If lots of folks are riding on that road, they almost certainly have compared it to alts, and determined its safe.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 16, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

" Most cyclists I know of try to avoid dangerous routes."

And routes where they feel they unnecessarily inconvenience drivers, too. Not that we get any credit for that.

(As to your pothole comment, I'm living proof, as I'm laid up for a while with a pothole related injury. I've never broken any bones from hitting a pothole in a car, btw... Apologies in advance for any narco-addled comments I may make in the next few days...)

by oboe on May 16, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

@ Tina

There is a linear relationship between the time you spend behind the wheel of a car and your total risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. I can't believe you choose to drive when it's so clearly a dangerous habit for your long term health.

Much, if not all of that risk relates to the sedentary lifestyle. The same thing can be said about other activities like watching TV, using a computer, playing video games or reading. If coupled with exercise - it does not have to be biking, it could be running on a treadmill - the negative effects can be reduced if not eliminated altogether.

Also, for a lot of people, biking (particularly to and from work) is not a good alternative to driving, much less a "perfectly good" alternative. And it is not always safer either. Sometimes, maybe even a lot of time depending on where you live, it is significantly less safe. And it may be much less convenient.

by Scoot on May 16, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

@Scoot -you've outlined reasons to adopt policies and invest in infrastructure that make biking (and walking, including walking to use transit) a good alternative for more people: so individuals are enabled to become more active as a part of daily routines.

We are not separate from our environments. Our environments have a great deal of influence on us as individuals including our health and well being. There is a whole journal devoted just to that subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_and_Behavior

by Tina on May 16, 2013 5:51 pm • linkreport

Tina--I'm not asserting that you should stop riding until there are bike boxes. If we all waited until we had ideal conditions, we'd be waiting a long time. I'm asserting that cyclists shouldn't take off in advance of the traffic light--getting ahead of auto traffic should wait until bike boxes allow it to be done safely.

by Wanderer on May 16, 2013 7:18 pm • linkreport

@Tina

Saying that bicycling is currently a good alternative is not the same as saying there are reasons to adopt policies and invest in infrastructure that may one day make bicycling a good alternative. First you said the former, now you're saying the latter.

by Scoot on May 16, 2013 9:33 pm • linkreport

@Scoot-It's not contradictory to observe that both conditions existin this city and certainly in this region -conditions that are good for a lot of people to ride a bike comfortably b/c of supportive infrastructure and driver behavior and places that are not as good for as many people. Infrastructure, law enforcement & driver behavior around bikers is variable. I am looking for improvement overall so more people have good conditions. Clearly a lot of people think River Road has good conditions for biking. In fact, its a designated bike route with sharrows painted on the pavement and green "bike route" signs along it.

by Tina on May 17, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

"I'm asserting that cyclists shouldn't take off in advance of the traffic light--getting ahead of auto traffic should wait until bike boxes allow it to be done safely. "

In DC the ped signal changes to "go" in advance of the traffic light. Does it make sense for cyclists to proceed when the ped signal changes, but before the traffic signal does? At that point there is going to be no motor vehicle traffic in the intersection, other than right turning vehicles. I am assuming the cyclist will look out appropriately to avoid potential conflicts with pedestrians.

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

@AWalker

Does it make sense for cyclists to proceed when the ped signal changes, but before the traffic signal does? At that point there is going to be no motor vehicle traffic in the intersection, other than right turning vehicles

I was under the impression that the ped signal changes to Walk in advance of the traffic light so that people in the crosswalk are more visible to a driver (or a cyclist, I suppose) making a right turn. It isn't really meant to take into account cross-traffic, as far as I know.

Not only could there be (and often is) motor vehicle cross-traffic in the intersection, but there could be bicyclists in the intersection as well (I see it all the time where cyclists run a red light and peds legally in the crosswalk have to move out of their way to avoid him/her - more often than not it seems to happen when when the crosswalk crosses over a bike lane).

by Scoot on May 17, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

The Bicycle Safety Act of 2013 that is working it's way through the council right now will make it legal for cyclists to go on a green ped light.

by David C on May 17, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

I thought the change in advance was to give the peds a chance to get across. That would not be impeded by a cyclist crossing at the same time, in parallel. The cyclists would of course have to make sure all auto and bike cross traffic had cleared the intersection. Thats not terribly difficult to do on a bike, from a stop (I am assuming the cylicst is already stopped at the red prior to the ped signal changing).

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

thanks for the info, David C, I support that change.

it will make it easier for me to be closer to "squeaky clean" ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

@AWalker

I thought the change in advance was to give the peds a chance to get across.

Hm, not that I know of. In my experience, the advance is like on the order of a few seconds - just enough time for peds to get out in the street in view of a turning vehicle, but not enough time to get to the other side.

Guidelines And Recommendations To Accommodate Older Drivers and Pedestrians provides a handy formula for calculating leading pedestrian interval based on lane width.

That would not be impeded by a cyclist crossing at the same time, in parallel.

Sure, but the signaling is not aware of who is turning and who is proceeding in parallel. Also, if cyclists can proceed in parallel to a crosswalk on an advanced signal, then why can't drivers? After all, they're not turning.

(I am assuming the cylicst is already stopped at the red prior to the ped signal changing).

I personally would not assume this because in my experience most cyclists run red lights. But maybe your experience is different.

by Scoot on May 17, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

By the way I support the change in the Bicycle Safety Act that would allow cyclists to proceed at the pedestrian signal, but cyclists still need to be vigilant when turning into a crosswalk.

by Scoot on May 17, 2013 12:25 pm • linkreport

Sure, but the signaling is not aware of who is turning and who is proceeding in parallel.
Cyclists still have to yield to pedestrians if they are turning right. Allowing cyclists to go with the pedestrian signal doesn't absolve them of this responsibility, nor does preventing them from going during the ped signal prevent them from violating ped right-of-way.

Also, if cyclists can proceed in parallel to a crosswalk on an advanced signal, then why can't drivers? After all, they're not turning.
Because it's safer for bicyclists to do so than drivers? If the goal is to separate cars from other traffic then this accomplishes that goal. Need to get out of the mindset of "cars and bikes must follow the exact same rules," because they are different in many ways.

by MLD on May 17, 2013 12:31 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Cyclists still have to yield to pedestrians if they are turning right. Allowing cyclists to go with the pedestrian signal doesn't absolve them of this responsibility, nor does preventing them from going during the ped signal prevent them from violating ped right-of-way.

I did not say that the advanced ped signal absolved any vehicle - car or bicycle - from the legal requirement to yield to peds in a crosswalk. The purpose of the advanced ped signal is to make peds more visible to vehicles and more likely that vehicles will yield to them, to say nothing of their legal requirement to yield.

I can acknowledge that from a safety standpoint, there isn't really a good reason NOT to let drivers who are going straight proceed on the ped signal, since those drivers are not interacting with the peds in the crosswalk. But practically, it's easier to just require every driver to adhere to the same signal, regardless of whether they are turning, than to retrofit every traffic light with a specially timed turn signal.


Because it's safer for bicyclists to do so than drivers? If the goal is to separate cars from other traffic then this accomplishes that goal.

The goal of the advanced ped signal is not really to separate cars from other traffic. If anything it's designed to mix cars with other traffic.

by Scoot on May 17, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

"I personally would not assume this because in my experience most cyclists run red lights. But maybe your experience is different."

I commuted today with some more experienced bike commuters - we followed modified squeaky clean - we did Idaho Stops at stop signs, and stopped at all red lights, but proceeded on the ped signal. IE all the violations we did were things that are either proposed to be legal soon in DC, or are legal somewhere in the US ;) We did not proceed through any red lights when the ped signal was red - though my friends may have done that in partial deference to my being a slower cyclist, and needing the periodic rests ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on May 17, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

A "footdropper" is a cyclist who is required to place one foot firmly on the ground at a stop sign, indicating a full stop. On my rides, I typically slow to a crawl and yield at stop signs but don't come to a full stop unless there is a need. I do, however, come to full stops at red lights and wait for the green signal. In my observation, motorist RARELY come to full stops at stop signs and RARELY stop when turning right on red. Both are likewise required by law but you don't see campaigns a foot to enforce them.

by Bonsource on May 20, 2013 12:36 pm • linkreport

a lot of good discussion here. I'd like to point out one thing I think has yet to be mentioned.

I think bikers pay alot more attention on their bikes than drivers do in their cars. Drivers tend to distract themselves while driving, be it eating food, talking on a cell, or listening the radio. Most bikers I encounter seem to pay attention basically continuously while they bike. To me this is a justification for the Idaho stop, and relaxing laws for bikers in general. Bikes can exist in a more lawless environment just on the basis that bikers are more attentive and better suited to responding to unpredictable events.

by aaron on May 24, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

I am a pedestrian who has almost been run down twice this week and Goodyear is right about rude behavior of bicyclists. I am a old woman who has been told to get out of the way when I was walking down the sidewalk by a bicyclist. I would like to see a crackdown on safety.

by Guest on Oct 17, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

This morning,October 23rd, 2013, in Washington DC. I took half a dozen pictures of bicyclists running red lights right in front of me...in groups sometimes... I do not need more proof of this dangerous, arrogant behaviour. I see it every morning...should I post the pictures too..?

by Julia on Oct 23, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

That cyclists run red lights is not in dispute. That it is dangerous or arrogant is. Do you have pictures showing that they were arrogant?

by David C on Oct 23, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

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