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Whats this running stop lights & signs...Shlt.(30 posts)

Whats this running stop lights & signs...Shlt.Jrm
Feb 25, 2002 1:31 PM
I see people do this almost every day i commute. Some with helmets and some without. it's like they assume everyone will yield to them. or see them and then react to their illegal behavior. When in reality most of the time people dont see you. As in" im sorry he's dead mr. officer, but i never saw him in the 1st place".

What i dont get is, all you have to do is stop and get a look at a car and realize your at a disadvantage in terms of weight, speed and manuverability to a automobile, SUV or truck.. people still do it. Damn what a bunch of focking IDIOTS...
re: Whats this running stop lights & signs...Shlt.guido
Feb 25, 2002 1:51 PM
The trick is not to panic or alter your speed when someone on a bicycle runs a stop light or whatever. I bike across a six lane "loop" every day on my way to and from work. The only way to do it is by going to the middle turn lane, wait for traffic, then continue across. When I'm in the middle of this river, cars streaming past me in both directions, alot of the drivers get anxious as to what I'm going to do, not always appreciating that I'm basing my moves on what I perceive they're going to do.

So I'd say, most of the time, the guy on the bike isn't asking the guy in the car to give him the right of way, and that if he darts out in front of a car, he figures he'll make it based on the car's speed.

At any rate, that's always what I assume. If he doesn't make it, well, too bad.
Well, yeahCrankist
Feb 25, 2002 1:52 PM
I stop when there is a car in sight. But when visability is great and there're no cars around in residential
areas I do indeed blow through the stop signs. Do some stop no matter what?
Thanks dad. enjoy your ride. (nm)tempeteKerouak
Feb 25, 2002 1:57 PM
re: Whats this running stop lights & signs...Shlt.KEN2
Feb 25, 2002 2:02 PM
Well, I see my share of this behavior too. But there are sometimes mitigating circumstances at lights... on my daily commute there are a half-dozen lights whose sensors don't respond to what metal there is in my bike. If it's rush hour there's always a car or two, but other times I can sit at a red light waiting and nothing will happen. Same with left turn sensors. So I go when it looks clear, otherwise I grow cobwebs as I wait for a car to "help me."
Part of the Bargaingrzy
Feb 25, 2002 2:02 PM
Part of the bargain in claiming the moral high ground and being righteous on a bike is that you get to pick and choose which laws apply to you and which do not. When you get hit you get to rail against all the "idiot drivers" out there. The only people who have ever maintianed that cyclist are superior is cyclists, but some of them are dead. Saw a cop pull over and ticket a guy for running a stop sign right in front of the officer during an organized century ride. The biker was indignant and relfected his general attitude.

There's a good reason why a lot of drivers don't like us and we get hit.
Part of the Bargainxxl
Feb 25, 2002 3:16 PM
Too true! If you want to get treated like a "vehicle," ya gotta act like one.
Ride like you drive...Lone Gunman
Feb 25, 2002 5:38 PM
If you are a urinatingly poor driver and you ride your bike as bad as you drive, the law of averages will catch up to you. Ticket, accident, upset drivers with you as a target...just to name a few.
So THAT'S why cyclist's get hit by cars!redman
Feb 25, 2002 3:41 PM
Interesting global blame system you have, grzy.

Sure, I've seen a lot of unthinking and dangerous behavior by cyclists, most inexperienced, but some experienced cyclists too, and sometimes/often? cyclists may be at fault in accidents. But there is plenty of moral high for cyclists besides obeying the letter of the law if moral high ground is your goal (I notice some cyclists are into it for the lawlessness possibilities). If you don't know what that moral high ground is you need to look around.

The real issue is that people are people and they tend to break minor laws when they think it isn't unsafe and they won't get caught. Ride down the street and see if you don't see auto drivers breaking the law left and right: a little speeding, slow roll through through the stop sign, rolling right on red, speeding, speeding, speeding.

Does anyone really think that cyclists break more laws than auto drivers? Most drivers feel fine about breaking these laws when they don't think they'll get caught, as long as they think they're driving pretty safely, and many even drive considerately. Cyclists are no different; generally safe and considerate cyclists feel OK about minor infractions when they don't think they'll get ticketed. (Then there are, of course, the stupid and/or selfish drivers and cyclists who break laws without regard to safety or consideration for others.)

Of course it doesn't mean it's OK to flaunt the law because drivers do, but don't enter any discussion on cyclist scofflaws with the implied assumption that auto drivers are more law-abiding. They just get policed more and for different things. Cyclists in the the US and UK don't get ticketed much in part because police depts. and civil institutions don't want to regard them as legitimate road users. Giving responsibility would require them to give respect too.

Do law-breaking cyclists make it less likely that cyslists will get that respect? Maybe, and it's great to be an abassador of cycling--I try not to run a light however safely when drivers are sitting there waiting, just because drivers feel that's unfair that cyclists can get away with it. However, I ride to the front of ques in traffic for safety reasons, even if it bugs drivers. But bikes are narrow and easily go to the front without inhibiting others--it's a natural advantage of bikes. Cars are big and fast and easily speed past the speed limits when drivers choose to--it's an advantage of cars. I'm not going to fume about drivers getting away with speeding just because I can't on my bike, and it's stupid of drivers to fume about me using the natural advantage of the bike as long as I do it safely and considerately.
Well said! (nm)Chen2
Feb 25, 2002 3:57 PM
If we expect the rights of a car, we have to obey the rulescory
Feb 25, 2002 4:24 PM
This has been a big issue where I live lately: Bikes are "legal vehicles" and are entitled to all the rights of a car or truck. Hard to insist, though, when so many riders are running stop signs and lights, riding on the wrong side of the road, going three and four abreast blocking traffic and all the other crap they do. I've been a serious cyclist for nearly 30 years, and even I want to knock them down sometimes. Roadies (I'm one) are the absolute worst, and the more team clothing they have on and the more their bikes cost, the worse they are.
If we expect the rights of a car, we have to obey the rulesroofgoat
Feb 26, 2002 12:23 PM
Tell me about it. Living in the Chicagoland area, these wannabes act like the world revolves around them. I see these goofs blow through lights with traffic around and if they happen to f over the oncoming car, they flip off the car.

I think a previous poster stated it best. When open and no traffic, going through a sign or light is OK. But when cars are present, slow down or stop as if you were a vehicle. When I come up to a 4 way at the same time or close to same time as a vehicle, I defer. I'm sure the driver is in shock though because I rarely see bikes show any courtesy around here.
So THAT'S why cyclist's get hit by cars!grzy
Feb 25, 2002 5:17 PM
Point is we all do stuff that isn't always legit. You gotta admitt some people do so crazy stuff once they get on a bike - stuff they would never do in a car - it's like they've never driven a car (and some haven't). I'm not saying that neither group is without fault and we all know that two wrongs don't make a right. The part that irks so many people, both as cyclist and drivers of cars, is the significant number of people who make up their own ideas about operating a bike on a street. If you stay predictable, consistent, and within the law then you have a much better chance of drivers in cars anticipating what you're going to do and how to deal with you. Blowing through a stop sign in front of a cop isn't the smartest thing one can do. Even if a cop isn't there you can still get hit. The agressive pack ride that goes through Woodside, CA is so bad that the residents hate the cyclists for taking over the roads and treating it like a stage race. Imagine 100 guys blowing through lights and signs at full tilt. The cops hammer the group and some of the well healed Lexus driving locals will actually run you off the road. They've grown to hate *all* cyclists. Ultimately the majority suffers due to actions of the minority. I'm not saying there aren't times when you need to make the left turn on the red light - otherwise you'll be there all day. Sloiding up to the front of the line at a light is fine. Blowing through it is not. The original poster was asking why people blatantly disregard the expectations, laws, and normal flow of traffic. You stop to ask some of these people why they do it and they reply that it's somehow part of their birth right since they ride a bike. It's right up there with tossing messed up inner tubes and use GU packets on the side of the road.

My comments are probably more appropriate for the militant nose ring crowd - sorry to offend. Bear in mind you can be 100% in the right and still get hit and killed by some bike-hating driver - I just don't see how this helps.
If you want respect on the road you have to earn it, everyday.
no offense takenredman
Feb 26, 2002 12:40 AM
From my observation though, cyclists generally are hardly the real problem on the roads, hardly the basic source of injustice and injury out there. We probably agree on that, and like you I am familiar with the impulse to blame stupid and selfish cyclists who bring trouble to themselves and maybe bring trouble to you and me too. Sorry Grzy if it seemed I pounced on your expression of that blaming--I just think that in the cycling community (don't laugh) we should resist the temptation to blame cyclists generally for the harm that comes generally to cyclists on the road, howevermuch some cyclists do go out of their way to put themselves and others at risk and unecessarily offend drivers (like your Woodside ride example), leaving the rest of us to clean up the mess, explaining to driver friends why cyclists aren't all jerks.

As to the question of why people act that way, here's what I've noticed: like I said before, some riders seem drawn to the opportunity for scoffing laws that road cycling offers. Whether that's an outlaw rebel coolness like skateboarders enjoy, or maybe it's an extention of road rage--being a jerk for its own sake.

Another reason is that Americans generally think of cycling as a child's acitivity and associate it with freedom without responsibility, so that when they get out of the car and on the bike they are happy to be free of adult things like laws. I've talked to riders who actually think cycling isn't governed by any laws at all. This is much less true in the UK where I've ridden a lot.

Your Woodside ride example makes me wonder whether riders in a big group full of team jerseys actually begin to suffer from the delusion they are in a real race with rolling closures. From experience I know their is a lot of peer presure in that kind of group not to be the one guy who stops at the light while the rest blow through. Juvenile I know, but I bet 50 of those 100 riders in the Woodside bunch would have prefered to stop for the light but decided what the hell, the others' are doing it, and take refuge in the anonymity of the group. The only cure for that I know of is some kind of group leadership that declares before the ride that "this group ride stops for lights." Scoffers grumble but they bow to peer pressure and stop. If peer pressure can make men shave their legs, it can make them stop at lights in a group.
Safey, consideration, efficiency, legality--in that orderredman
Feb 26, 2002 1:27 AM
These are my own road behavior priorities, since I'm posting a lot on this:

Safey, consideration, efficiency, legality--in that order.

--My own safety and the safety of others.
--Considerate to drivers and road users, cyclists if any--taking someone's right of way is really inconsiderate, even if you can do it safely. I've learned there are huge benefits in being considerate--sanity and good karma at least.
--Efficiency means steady speed, stopping only where necessary for safety or consideration of others. I often stop at lights I could safely roll through simply for consideration of all the drivers waiting at the light.
--Legality is last for two reasons: to be honest this is partly because cyclists are much less ticketed--there is less of a chance for a penalty for doing something illegal.

But more importantly, the roads were designed and laws created for the safety and efficiency of autos not bikes (in N.Am. especially, but UK too). Obeying the law while driving seldom compromises your safety or efficiency. But there are times when strictly obeying the law while riding can compromise your safety, and there are many many ways that cycling efficiency is unecessarily compromised by auto-oriented laws. My example of going to the front of a que is a safety example. I also sometimes ride through left turns (cross traffic turns) alongside cars when it is safer than crossing heavy traffic without cover. I try to imagine myself explaining to a judge why I broke the law and if it's reasonable and not selfish or stupid, then I know I'm on the right track, even if I'd probably still have to pay the ticket.

But, yeah, I sometimes break laws for efficiency's sake. An obvious example is proceeding though a light when it is governed by a sensor that detects metal (even steel bikes don't trigger these). The law would require me to wait for an auto to show up and trigger it before I go through, which is stupid. Rolling through stop signs or sometimes stop lights, but only when it is not unsafe, nor inconsiderate of drivers or other cyclists.

My priorities when driving an auto are only slightly different: Safety, consideration, legality, efficiency. The first three are seldom in conflict. Sometimes in driving there are things you could get away with legally that are either inconsiderate or unsafe, so legality is third.
Good post, but...cyclaholic
Feb 26, 2002 8:10 AM
This is a good post that sets up, more or less, a logical ethos for all good cyclists.

But there is one little thing I do not agree with:

That has to do with worming through cars to jump to the head of the queue at traffic lights. Don't make the car or truck pass you twice. Take your rightful place in line.

It isn't a safety issue. While you are waiting with the other vehicels, take enough lane so that you can go through the light just like all of the other vehicles. Once you are through the light, you can then take your normal place in the right lane and allow cars to pass. That's plenty safe, considerate, and shows that you know how to ride in traffic.
I see what you mean, but...redman
Feb 26, 2002 9:19 AM
I see what you mean, and I've tried it both ways--going to the front and taking my place in line.

I agree about not making drivers pass you twice when passing is difficult or requires the drivers moving lanes; this is an issue of basic consideration and I often take "my place" in line when the autos I'm behind have just passed me--as long as I can still be safe in that line in the intersection. (Here, I'm taking about considerate cycling, and not the flagrantly inconsiderate cycling that has also been described on this thread.)

Lots of times, however, it is considerably less safe to take "my place" in line in traffic and I have to make the call. This is less of an issue where I live and ride now because any roads that have lights or stop signs also have wide lanes and wide hard shoulders, so even when I'm riding at the edge of the lane, drivers pass me easily and considerately without having to change lanes. I don't think they care about passing me more than once--I never do when I'm driving. (Sometimes the exhaust fumes are so much greater back in the line that it becomes a different justice issue--I'm not going to put my face in someone's exhaust pipe for a three minute intersection just because he thinks it's unfair if I can roll forward.)

It can certainly seem inconsiderate to drivers to be taking a lane in traffic, but then using the narrowness of the bike to move straight to the front of the que, and cyclists should think hard about that. But I'll ride that way when safety calls for it, when I know I'm going to be much safer and more visible in traffic that way.

I like the concept of riding just like I would drive, it seems just and much of the time that works fine, but the facts are that roads and laws are designed for the safe operation of autos, not bikes, and to be appropriate and safe, cyclists sometimes can't and shouldn't ride just like they would drive. For drivers, legal = safe. Not quite as true for cyclists.

If drivers would expect me to put myself in situations that are less safe when there are safer and still considerate alternatives (like riding to the front sometimes), then that's a matter of those drivers being inconsiderate and unreasonable. And I won't compromise my own safety just because sometimes other people are uncomprehending or bigoted (against cyclists/cycling). And, yeah, inflaming the bigotry of others can also compromise your safety, so sometimes you have to make a call.

But lets not fool ourselves: when we discuss riding less safely or less efficiently in order to ride strictly legally so as not to offend drivers, we are talking about placating the ignorant and bigoted. You could argue it's necessary, but remember that's what it is. Most drivers, it seems to me, are less ignorant and not so bigoted, and they understand that cyclists are on vehicles, but vehicles that require and merit certain differences in operation. Police are coming to understand that more and more too, now that so many police ride in traffic on duty and learn what it's all about. The world is changing for us, maybe for the better in some ways, and time is on our side.

But in the meantime:
1. Safety 2. Consideration 3. Efficiency 4. Legality
Feb 25, 2002 4:42 PM
when I was sided by passing car there were no stop signs or traffic lights 5mi in each direction, hmm
Not so interestinggrzy
Feb 25, 2002 5:32 PM
Well, damn, every time I've been hit or run off the road I too have been in the right. This isn't the point and only underscores my point that we as cyclists are some how superior.

The real point is how you handle yourself with all the other laws and norms that are out there. You aren't really going to insist that since you were in the right it's OK to run lights and blow stop signs for the next 5 years, are you? Funny, I don't get hit by cars much any more, knock on wood, but then I've never been in a car wreck either. I've got buddies who tangle with cars on a regular basis - the drivers just seem to have it in for them. I just don't know how they know which of us to hit and which of us to leave alone.

Yes, many drivers of cars really do suck, but then so do many of the cyclists. How does one suddenly become a superior driver if you trade the steering wheel for handle bars? It's kind of funny, but if you ask *anyone* they'll say that they're an above average driver/cyclist. So how can everyone be above average?

You tangle with a car you are going to lose every single time - why make it so easy for them?
We may not be "superior" but you must be good to survive!cyclaholic
Feb 25, 2002 7:48 PM
I do agree with your basic sentiments. No, it is definitely wrong to exude a superior attitude in relationship to the laws. We need to show good form as we take our share of the road. This means that we stop for red lights (if it's clear and no cars are waiting, you can go). Stop signs are a different thing; you need to slow but complete stops with no traffic are pointless. We need to also "take our place in line" as we stop at traffic lights. It's wrong to worm your way through cars to get to the front. That kind of thing is what makes enemies.

While I am not superior to the car drivers, I do feel like I am much more alert than the vast majority of them. It's a matter of survival. To a certain level, I really enjoy riding in auto traffic. When you are working your way through traffic, signaling to the drivers you are making eye contact with, it really does give you the idea that you are in charge. I've read authors who've expressed this idea of the capable cyclist being an unofficial traffic cop. There's nothing wrong with that empowering concept. We should foster it.
RUNNING A FEW RED LIGHTS CAN BE SAFER...........................Bikeman
Feb 26, 2002 12:21 AM
First things first. There are different degrees of going through red lights. Seriously. Well read on if you don't believe me.
From bad to not so bad:
Firstly, there's the one where riders (especially bike messengers) go through the red light when loads of traffic is whizzing by in both directions and no matter how many lanes they have to cross and no matter how fast the cars are going and no matter how little time they save by doing this. It's like a reality version of "frogger". That's stupid, and I'd never try that.

Next we have the scenario where its a T-intersection:
You're riding down the road, and there exists in front of you a set of traffic lights, with a road coming in from the right.
so you just scoot through - PROVIDED that you wait for a sizeable gap in the traffic!
(Here in Australia, we drive on the left side of the road, not the right, so I think this would only work for you Americans if the road was coming from the left and NOT continuing through to the right). Plus, you end up merging with the SLOW lane of traffic. And think about it now - you don't actually cross a single lane of traffic!! Sneaky.

Then you have the situation where its like:
"Oh come on now, there's no cars coming at all and everyone's just sitting here at the intersection wasting time waiting for a light to change its colour, so I think I'll just duck across to keep my body-engine from cooling down too much, and at the same time I'll get a jump-start on the cars waiting near me"
I mean if this were in the middle of a desert, everyone would go through, right?
This is where I'm talking about that IT IS SAFER to just go through the red light a few seconds before the other cars get started, because you have time to get your cleats engaed properly without battling cars trying to overtake you, you aren't so wobbly when the cars do pass you, and the cars can see where you're going better, 'cause they know how far in from the curb you ride and what line you're taking. Make sense? I thought so. Those that don't think it is safer doing this are too regimented/inflexible for their own good. Think of it this way, the lights are going to change soon anyway. And you can actually peek across at the other lights to see when they're about to turn orange and yours are about to turn green. I only do this when I'm positive that it is my turn to go, and not some turning light.

Lastly, you have the situation where you're going fast and you see your green light is now orange..... turning red when you're just a little short of the intersection, so you just keep going through even though it's red - because you're not a car with disc brakes and so you pretend you can't stop in time.

So you see there are certainly different versions of running the red light, I don't care what the cops say - a red light is not always a red light, at least not on a bicycle.
It's been fun.
And I couldn't agree more with the person who said that their bike doesn't set off the lights to change and you end up waiting there forever, if you're the kind of stickler to wait there until they change - no matter how long it takes - even though the lightbulbs don't know you're there, then you're way too constrained by "the rules".
Think about it.
ONE MORE THING ABOUT STOP SIGNS and "acting like a vehicle".....Bikeman
Feb 26, 2002 12:56 AM
Sorry for the double-post but I just thought of this:
Everyone knows momentum of a bike+rider is precious. No one would question that. So why would you bother stopping at a stop sign if there are no trees on the corner and you can see that there are definitely no cars coming from anywhere???

One more thing - to THE COMPLETE DOLT THAT SAID the following:

"If you want to get treated like a "vehicle," ya gotta act like one."

How are drivers going to treat all cyclists like motorists when there will always be riders out there (like me) running the odd red light and definitely not stopping (only "slowing down") for a stop sign if no one is coming?
TO SAY THAT "you will get treated like a vehicle if you obey all the rules" IS CRAZY.

Does that mean you can completely hog the middle of a lane of traffic and go as slow as you want, even if you know the lane is wide enough for you to move over? Do you seriously think that if you did this (still obeying the law) a great big truck is going to treat you with equal respect? Don't you think that if you tried that and held up a whole load of other motorists that they would become extremely frustrated, probably causing a road rage incident?
[remember that]
And in case you weren't aware, a bicycle is not a car man, and motorist don't treat cyclists and their bikes as vehicles. They treat them as bikes. That is why they overtake you while you are in your own lane. Would they do that to a motorcycle? I think not.

The fact is that traffic sometimes scares me and sometimes I even resort to riding short sections on the footpath rather than battle with narrow lanes of fast-moving lanes of traffic. It is a compromise that's what it is. We get to run the odd red light, but we can't just disturb the flow of traffic and get people pissy either.
Oh yeah, and concerning the bastard driver that knocked me off while I was cruising along at 40km/hr (causing me a broken wrist) on a straight road with no other cars around and then driving off. Did he treat me like a vehicle? No.
Just ride on the correct side of the road!redman
Feb 26, 2002 2:07 AM
Good stuff, Bikeman.

Whether in the US or UK, the thing that bugs me is cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. This is the real way that cyclists kill and maim other cyclists, the silent 30mph head-on collision is more common than people think.

I just hate watching a dope speeding right at me on the wrong side of the road thinking he's safer because that's the side he jogs on. Sometimes I yell "wrong side" at them, but there must be a real way to educate people about this.
ONE MORE THING ABOUT STOP SIGNS and "acting like a vehicle".....xxl
Feb 26, 2002 10:36 AM
Uh, I guess I'm the "COMPLETE DOLT" you referred to (in all caps, no less) in your earlier post. Not wishing to start some stupid flame war, perhaps I should explain myself to you.

When I said "to get treated like a 'vehicle,' you've gotta act like one," I was agreeing with the sentiments of the earlier post before me, and not stating some grand cycling philosophy about riding in traffic. What I was referring to, in "acting like a vehicle," is that we obey traffic laws in general; in this case, I don't think it's a good idea to "blow through" a red light or stop sign. "Rolling" through, slowing a bit for safety, on a more-or-less deserted street is cool with me, as no one's safety is jeopardized. Ditto for things like light sensor-monitored intersections, etc. Here in the USA the legal community refers to it as a "prima facie" interpretation of laws. It's also why, for years, a motorist could drive our western highways at triple-digit speeds, so long as no one was around; it was generally recognized that the only real harm would come to the driver.

Now, I think that if you generally adhere to traffic laws, you're going to be better off. You'll be safer, and probably piss off fewer drivers. Since you mentioned it, taking the whole lane isn't cool, unless you can keep up with the car traffic (e.g., a crowded downtown scene). In fact, in America, it's pretty much against the law. That doesn't mean bikes have to get off the road for cars. Most jurisdictions, a rider is only required to move as far over as safety allows; clearly, it's a grey area. But, as a city-riding veteran of many years, I do know there are times that you need to take up the middle of the lane, so that you don't get crushed. You also have to temper your "vehicular rights" with a little self-preservation; making a left-hand turn (for us Yanks) across a crowded intersection comes to mind as one of those times you might need to act like a vehicle. Of course, I'd never ever even consider trying to go toe-to-toe with so much as a Yugo, let alone a truck, but holding your own lane is a heck of a lot safer than blowing through red lights, don't you think? (In fact, if you look at cycling accident stats, you'd find that most car/bike accidents occur at intersections, where someone has run a red light, or made a left-hand turn. Your accident type is relatively rare. And BTW, asshole drivers sometimes even have accidents with other cars, not just bikes; do you recommend that car drivers needn't "act like vehicles" because someone else is sure to come along and break the rules?)

You might wish to peruse Eugene Sloan's book on basic cycling; that's where I picked up the general rule of "acting like a vehicle," while giving examples of where this general rule might not work. Like you said, it's not always a black-and-white world, and judgment is called for. You may well ride through that intersection without stopping on a deserted Sunday morning, while realizing it would be suicidal on a Friday afternoon.

The truly interesting thing here is how much we agree (which means either we are both DOLTS, or neither of us are). I'll ride through the odd vacant red light(though I don't see it as my "right" as a cyclist), as conditions warrant; so would you. I'll not ride in crazed, banzai-like fashion, daring all to stay out of my right of way; my guess is you too feel the same. I'll not hog the middle lane of traffic, just because I'm insistent that "I'm a vehicle, too, dammit!" I'll always try to take the road less traveled in order to stay out of peoples' ways. I drive too, and I hate getting stuck behind some jerk, regardless of his conveyance. I would bet you feel similarly, from what I've read in your post. So why you feel the need to ride your high horse instead of your bike is beyond me. I thought in the "post-Cherry1" period here, this was going to be a "kinder, gentler" board, wasn't it?

FWIW, I've had my share of car/bike crap, like any rider, and I've had plenty of cars treat me very un-vehicularly, but I've had cars do that to me when I've been driving, too. I even have a few broken bones, nothing major, thankfully, but I didn't get them by acting like a vehicle. And you, with your sideswipe accident, didn't get hurt because you were acting like a vehicle. Fact of the matter is, you get hurt, period, riding bikes. Sometimes it's your fault, sometimes it's the other's fault, often both, rarely but occasionally even no one's fault. And it's always the bicyclist that loses.
"always the bicyclist that loses"kenyee
Feb 26, 2002 11:07 AM
The one w/ the least mass loses, actually. Simple physics. Conservation of Momentum.

The new "in" thing in Boston seems to be to walk in the middle of the street or in the street next to parked cars (you get more "in" points if you saunter around at a slow speed even with a car behind you). Some pedestrians think they own the city now and streets are for walking when there are perfectly clean sidewalks they could use and not endanger themselves.

It's all attitude and too many people have bad attitudes.

I drive/walk/cycle defensively. I don't care who has the "right of way". I prefer being able to get home in one piece instead of landing in the hospital for weeks or worse :-P
Not about lights, more about accidents...Bikeman
Feb 26, 2002 7:34 PM
Well alright then! Sorry for calling you a dolt.
I thought (wrongly) that you were one of those people who naively think all car drivers are goodies.
When I got sideswiped people naturally noticed my plaster cast, and this one woman (a motorbike rider in fact) said "ah he probably never saw you" Now that pissed me off, because the sky was clear and the ONLY way he could not have saw me is if he had his eyelids closed.
I agree with you that cyclist have more control over their own safety than they think. After that incident, I no longer ride in the city, because I know what happens to your body when you hit the road at 40km/hr (25mi/hr) - let alone another car! Now I ride out of the city, and I've rediscovered the joys of cycling in areas with as few cars as possible. (and BTW my wrist still hurts almost a year later).

I guess I was cranky yesterday, because on my local training ride here in Sydney - on the road to a place called waterfall, a cyclist got hit by a car while he was in a bike lane. I saw the pool of blood and then veritable crater left in the windscreen of the car. Now he is fighting for his life. And of course there wasn't a traffic light within about three miles of the place where it happened.

I think what I'm saying is that if you take a lot of care, and like you said, let the other cars no what you are doing, then when you do get knocked over, it probably won't be your fault, and it will probably be in the middle of nowhere like these to accidents. And we have to face facts, some cars are out to get us. I'm positive of that. The guy that hit me was probably on drugs. There is just no way he could not have seen me, and it was no "accident" either, because if it was - then he would have stopped and helped.

But the people who play "frogger" will surely get hit at the intersection. I've actually witnessed a guy ride aross the pedestrian crossing at a set of lights when he shouldn't and the cars didn't know what he was doing, and surely enough he got hit. His bicycle was knocked at least 15 feet into the air (no I'm not kidding) and then when it came Earthward it actually bounced about three feet! The guy was just writhing in agony like a dying ant. That's the best way I can describe it.

So my hope is that people who run the real red lights that they know they shouldn't will read this and just stop and think before doing so.
And people who ride on the wrong side of the road - I've seen this too - are just plain psychotic.
Grzy UR missing the pointcyclopathic
Feb 26, 2002 4:14 AM
majority of bike/car racks do not happen because of red light/SS running, at least by cyclists. In a few cases I've seen it happened because drivers were doing it.

In one case kid was torn into pieces and killed because the moron decided to speed up and hit traffic light at 80mph, in other case driver did "rolling stop" and failed to see the commuter. Then he ran away. I was there 3min later, thanks haven commuter bunny was fine just minor scratches I've called police and we looked at his Huffy. It was toasted. Turned out he was a mnt biker and since I had my Jekyll loaded we talked a bit then police came and I took off.

Why I certainly disapprove I-dont-care attitude I follow the law (with exception of sensored traffic lights) I dont believe it has anything to do with accident statistics. Any time I was ran off the road it was because driver didnt see me didnt care or did it intentionally. And btw if some taxpayer hates you it is because you are a cyclist, not because you run traffic lights IMHO
The Pointgrzy
Feb 26, 2002 10:50 AM
The point of the orignal post was about people on bikes blowing off the traffic laws and how this is perceived by drivers of cars. Many people on bikes don't feel that any of the laws apply to them and this doesn't help our cause as cyclists. In turns many drivers don't feel that we belong on the road. It's way to easy to blame the cars for absolutely everything that happens. Hey, if the car wasn't there I wouldn't have been hit when I ran the light. We have to be willing to accept some responisbility for our actions, not always blame the other guy. Yes there are a lot of people driving cars that do stupid things and take down cyclists - either by accident or on purpose - and no I don't condone this. It's in your best interest to ride a bit on the defensive, follow the rules, anticipate what could happen and do everything in your power to make your intentions clear and your actions predictable. The cars aren't going away nor are the poor drivers.
the good news for us is that we can prevent most accidentsredman
Feb 26, 2002 1:42 AM
the good news for us is that by riding smart we can prevent most accidents.

When you read cycling accident stats (John Forester's Effective Cycling is good on this) and you realize how much control you have as a cyclist to recognize possible dangers, watch for them, prevent them, and ride safe. Takes experience, and some research helps too, but you can get safer and safer over the years. Can't prevent everything, but cyclists have more control over our safety than we at first think. In N.Am. most drivers and the auto/road building establishment prefers to think of cycling as an inherently dangerous and totally uncontrollable activity. Doesn't have to be that way.
Totally Agree. (nm)grzy
Feb 26, 2002 10:54 AM