A new post on Slate asks whether bicyclists should obey stop signs & other traffic controls. What's your take?
In LA you can get a ticket for blowing a stop sign. I don't know what the law is here, but now that I've had a police officer exasperatedly wave for me to go through stop signs, I figured that it's sort of a yield situation.
Sometimes I stop if it looks like people aren't paying attention. I find that it's best to put my foot down on the ground when I stop rather than track stand, otherwise drivers are unsure what I'm doing.
I think that Idaho has the right idea. Stop signs should be treated as Yield signs for cyclists when there is no other traffic. When I come to an intersection with stop signs, I will slow and and look, and yield to traffic that has the right of way unless they wave me through.
I stop at red lights. I've seen so many near misses and occasional accidents involving cyclists who blow through red lights that I consider red light running to be an unsafe practice under most circumstances.
More courtesy by both cyclists and drivers would make the roads a lot safer for everyone. There's plenty of room for improvement on both sides.
A decade ago it made sense to draw a bold line in the advocacy world between people who espouse separate cycling infrastructure and those who think cyclists should take the lane and stop at red lights. But these days virtually all advocates work hard for separate cycle infrastructure, regardless of their inherent safety benefits/drawbacks, because without question that they accomplish the most important safety effect in the world: draw more cyclists to the road. At the same time, these advocates accept that the majority of roads do not have cycling facilities and the most sensible way to negotiate those roads is to act as a vehicle whenever possible.
Granted, this describes the organized advocacy world. When it comes down to individuals, philosophies abound. In large part cycling behavior betrays the newness of mainstream transportation cycling in the US -- it's at once timid about taking the lane and inconveniencing automobiles and bold when perceived cycling-oriented opportunities (running red lights) present themselves.
I can't seem to log into Slate to comment there...
I think a little give and take needs to happen on both sides. Cyclists need to be a little less selfish and cede the right of way when necessary. Likewise, bikes carry a lot less liability and a lot could be accomplished by applying common-sense instead of fascist enforcement to traffic laws.
I believe this interpretation is already law in at least a few states: stop signs = yeild signs, red lights = stop signs.
If we can get over this selfish behaviour on all sides, we can all get along without have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
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