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Stop at stop signs?(44 posts)

Stop at stop signs?HAL9010
Dec 15, 2003 12:24 PM
So the latest Quick Poll on stopping at stop signs (which at last look had 75 responses) indicates that over 75% of us blow stop signs. (Seldom and occasionally, what's the quantitative difference?)

This seems very sloppy on our part. I claim that if you run a stop sign(or light) on your bike, you probably do the same in your car. Honestly, prove me wrong on that, that you do one on your bike but not the other in your car. (Where the consequences can be far greater for the same action.) It is far too easy to be lazy, sloppy whatever you want to call it while driving. The temptation is very high.

I for one make a point of coming to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and red lights weather on my bike or in my car as a matter of principal. No rolling stops, full and complete. So what if the stop is at the base of a hill. Good time to perfect that track stand. Besides we're out there for our health and a bit of extra effort is what it is all about.

We have enough "problems" on the road with out giving car drivers any more fuel to fire their comtempt for us.

So don't be JERK, STOP at the Sign/Light. If you don't why should you expect anybody else to?
I think it depends,TJeanloz
Dec 15, 2003 12:34 PM
99.99% of the time, I stop at stop signs. But there are some conditions where it is completely unnecessary. On the plains of rural eastern Colorado, with long, straight roads that meet at 4-way stops, and you can see for miles in every direction, there isn't a lot of need to stop.

BTW, a track stand doesn't qualify as a stop in most states - you must place one foot down on the pavement to be a "stop."
I think it depends,HAL9010
Dec 15, 2003 12:46 PM
Good points but they (the situations you describe) are special circumstances. For the (assumed) majority riding in suburban/urban roads. Stopping is a must. IMO

Which states require a foot down? If you cease all fwd motion long enough you are in control and fully stopped.
Colorado, othersTJeanloz
Dec 15, 2003 1:08 PM
The foot-down rule is required by most states that don't have bicycle-specific rule, as a bicycle usually falls under the motorcycle rules. In Colorado, there was a particular stop sign that had a police attendent watching for feet, and writing tickets for those who didn't put one down.
if you're riding near a jail or police dept.zing
Dec 15, 2003 5:10 PM
It seems fairly obvious, but if you're near a justice center or PD, by all means stop at the sign. I ran a three way sign near Arapahoe County Jail near Denver(I was riding on the side where there would be no cross traffic to my right) and a cop stopped me. He asked if I saw the stop sign behind me, to which I replied, "uhhh... yeah," to which he said, "I could write you a ticket for that." He let me go with a lecture. My husband thinks the cop just wanted to check me out. A cop/cyclist friend commented that it was lame for the cop to stop me. Whatever.
Only if...biknben
Dec 15, 2003 12:50 PM
I only stop if a car is visable in any direction. If someone is going to be watching, I'll play "good biker". Otherwise, I'll slow down and roll through it like a yeild sign. My foot only goes down if I'm making a left onto a busy road.

Question: If I roll through a stop sign but no one is there to see it...did I really run the sign?

BiknBen (been hit by car who ran stop sign)
gross generalizationterry b
Dec 15, 2003 12:58 PM
When cycling I have a few stop signs I always stop at (some are blind, some are busy,) some that I never stop at (like downtown on a Sunday when there isn't a car within 30 blocks, ever,) and some that I stop at depending on conditions (like in-city neighborhood where cars are sporadic.) I never blow through any though, at a minimum I do a rolling stop.

When I'm driving, I always stop, completely, no roll, no question (so you are welcome to claim that for everyone else, but not for me.) Reason - I don't want to get cited. The cops in my little burg are very extreme about this, and I'm not interested in chit chatting while they're writing me a ticket.

I agree with you though about generating more contempt, and I when I see a cyclist blowing through one (when I am driving) I always think poorly of them. To that end I generally stop when there is a car anywhere in sight. Two reasons though - one is contempt, the other is I can't count on what that car is going to do.

Principles are a nice thing to have, so enjoy yours. I plan on continuing to let the situation dictate how I'm going to react (at least while on a bike.)
Rarely, typically only if there are cars there... nmNo_sprint
Dec 15, 2003 1:18 PM
Almost AlwaysDropped
Dec 15, 2003 1:54 PM
99% of my riding takes place in or very close to a huge urban area. Therefore, I stop completely if there is a car at or near the intersection. If not, I slow down to almost stopping but don't click out.

My life is much more important to me than saving 3 seconds by blowing through a stop sign.

Plus, everytime someone runs a redlight or stop sign on a bike, they make my life more dangerous because they piss of car drivers.
I agree within reasonlaffeaux
Dec 15, 2003 2:57 PM
I don't come to a dead stop, but I do come to a near stop at all stop signs and red lights. I slow to 5 mph or so, and if there is nothing around I go. If there are cars, I abide by the rules of the road and act like I'm a car.

I know the laws differ by state, and where I live currently rolling through stop signs probably is illegal (I've never checked). I used to live in Idaho, and according to their DMV manual, a bike does not have to come to a complete stop if there are no other vehicles present. Although I no longer live there, I like their law, and abide by it. (Not that makes it legal.)

When cars are present, I'll usually stop doing a track stand. Stopping is stopping (ir)regardless of if my foot is not on the ground. If I'm a standstill for 10 seconds with my foot in the pedal how can the law argue that that is not a stop?
Flintstone Act of 1927K BCE.djg
Dec 16, 2003 1:37 PM
All riders and drivers are required to put a foot down.
absurd logicmohair_chair
Dec 15, 2003 3:11 PM
I claim that if you run a stop sign(or light) on your bike, you probably do the same in your car.

I think your claim is groundless and absurd.

I blow stop signs and lights that I deem "unnecessary." Those that are in rural areas and no one is around, those that are there for traffic control purposes (stops every block for no reason except to keep speeds down in neighborhoods), and those that are placed at the top of climbs. I also "blow" lights that I KNOW don't sense bikes and therefore will never turn green for me. I don't blow these signs or lights if there are cars there.

I don't blow stop signs or lights in my car, which automatically proves you wrong.
Thank Youcollinsc
Dec 15, 2003 4:13 PM
HAL is full of sh!t with this point. Logical arguments work like this:
P implies Q.
Therefore, Q.

P absolutely does not imply Q in this case.
This is interestingChicago_Steve
Dec 15, 2003 3:12 PM
I posted about running stop signs on the Dirt Rag Forum about a month ago. The replies from the commuter forum are pretty interesting. It's also interesting to read different replies to a similar topic from two different cycling forums...
Differences between riding and commuting.dzrider
Dec 16, 2003 5:53 AM
I'm much like the commuters in doing what it takes to keep moving and escape from clusters of cars as quickly as possible. Traffic lights = Yield. Stop signs don't exist. Walk means walk or ride. I do whatever the traffic allows regardless of lights and signs.

When I ride the roads for fun and exercise I pick routes that make scofflaw antics unnecessary. The few stop signs and lights I encounter on these rides are usually two state roads intersecting in a small town and I'm more respectful of the laws when I'm out there.
re: Stop at stop signs?wily in pacifica
Dec 15, 2003 3:30 PM
I commute in the early AM and do not stop at most stop signs. If there is a car that has the right of way over me I will let it have it but you would be surprised at how often they do not take their right away and give it up to you. Sometimes I take it but not at 4 way stops where I am not next in line. But if I approach a stop sign and there is noone to be seen then I will coast thru.

I do stop at stop lights since they are gennerally busier intersections. But if there is no traffic I may have to ride through, once I make my stop, or I will sit there all day until a car comes my way to trip the light for me.

I think one of the differences between someone driving and riding, when it comes to stop light and signs, is the effect you would have if you caused an accident. You can cause a lot more damage by getting in an accident as the driver of a car then if you got in an accident and you were on a bike. I'm not saying this as an excuse but maybe as a reason it is done more often on a bike over a car.

How about a 4 way stop? - I blow them - nmbenja15
Dec 15, 2003 4:16 PM
How about a 4 way stop? - I blow them - nmwily in pacifica
Dec 15, 2003 5:16 PM
There is one strech of residential street that is slightly downhill and has a 4 way stop at each block. Since I am commuting in the dark I can tell if a car is aproching the intersection from my right or left by looking for their headlights. I will slow down to 5-10 MPH but if I do not see any car i will coast thru. If there was a car there before me I will slow enough to let it proceed before me but will probably still not stop. There are so few cars out at 6 AM that it would be rediculous for me to stop at each stop sign. If I come to the stop sign and all of a sudden notice a car, at 5-10 MPH I will be able to stop before I end up in the intersection. I am on riding on my brakes most of the way down this hill in antisipation of a car.

Again, I will stop and wait at Stop Lights since these are generally much busier intersections. Even if I am in the middle of no-where for some reason a stop light will get me to stop where a stop sign will just get me to slow up.

Willy in Pacifica
Only 75%, bet cars roll through at closer to 90%. (nm)TFerguson
Dec 15, 2003 4:21 PM
I see I hit a nerveHAL9010
Dec 15, 2003 5:03 PM
The venom that mohair_chair and collinsc show, well it speaks for itself. Note that I said, ".Probably do.". My statement is not groundless and absurd just because you say so.

People tend to mirror or duplicate actions from one activity to another, especially if there are overlaps or similarities in those activities. We here (on this board) fancy ourselves as superb finely tuned, disciplined, and focused athletes, reality be dammed.

Be honest just with your self in surveying your car & bike. No need to lash out. I have no doubt that there those of you who blow stops on your bike with whatever justification you cleave to but not do so in your car. This seems to be an item that few will choose to be honest about (without some form of justification).

In Calif. If a light sense you (on a bike) you are permitted proceed through the red when safe.
For example: when the signal fails to cycle (sense) you twice on a left turn. Aw gee I had to wait and unclip (my trackstand is far from perfect), but it was legal and by the book.

I run in to this just about every time I ride on my way out of the neighborhood. It happens literally down the street from a Police sub-station. The Police have seen me do it many times and it adds maybe 2.5 min to my ride time. But I am alive and without moving violation citation.
You didnt hit any nerves, you made a stupid claimcollinsc
Dec 15, 2003 6:56 PM
What you said:
" I claim that if you run a stop sign(or light) on your bike, you probably do the same in your car. Honestly, prove me wrong on that, that you do one on your bike but not the other in your car."

Mohair and I just offered you as much proof as you can get on the internet.

You said again:
"People tend to mirror or duplicate actions from one activity to another"

Says who? Says you? Apparently there are others that say "bullsh!t".
stop being so self-righteousmohair_chair
Dec 15, 2003 7:28 PM
Just because you believe that something is so does not make it so. Your statement is absolutely groundless, as it does not apply to me or to anyone I know.
stop being so right-selfishHAL9010
Dec 15, 2003 10:14 PM
I too am special and the rules just don't or shouldn't apply to me.

Besides (enter rationalization here) I'm superman! and G-ds gift, justify my actions, justify, justify, justify my way.
I see I hit a nervemohair_chair
Dec 15, 2003 10:44 PM
but not so boring as to keep you frpm responding. nm.HAL9010
Dec 16, 2003 8:32 AM
re: Stop at stop signs?george_da_trog
Dec 15, 2003 5:16 PM
"Besides we're out there for our health and a bit of extra effort is what it is all about. "

Health, I'm out for some fun. Health comes along for the ride. I ride mostly back country roads and stop if there is traffic, slow down if I can't see what's coming, and blow through it if it's clear. On the rare occasion that I ride within a city or town I follow traffic rules.

Well, I've gotten two tickets in my lifepurplepaul
Dec 15, 2003 6:04 PM
and both were for going through red lights on my bike here in NYC.

I never run lights or stop signs in my car. In fact, I once came close to being rear-ended because I stopped for a stop sign. The car behind me actually went into the opposing lane to avoid hitting me, and was really furious that I would do something as ridiculous as come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

So, in NYC, or parts thereof, it's just not common to stop for stop signs in a car, let alone on a bike.

As for red lights on a bicycle, it's awfully hard to stop for them when there are no cars or pedestrians around AND you see every police car blow through them. I'm aware that I'm breaking the law, but, since everybody does it, I can only suggest that it strikes the average cyclist as lacking in consequence. Except, of course, if you have to pay the ticket.
Running red lights in NYC???lyleseven
Dec 15, 2003 7:37 PM
Have some one tell us when the funeral is.......
Hey, I figure the drivers have more to lose than I.purplepaul
Dec 15, 2003 7:56 PM
No, actually, I will stop at red lights if there are cars or if I can't see if there are any. But, if the coast is clear, I will go through, just like almost every other NYC cyclist.

Now, bike messengers, they just keep going, cars or no cars. And most of the time, the car won't even have to slow down.
Here's my takeMel Erickson
Dec 15, 2003 6:59 PM
I always stop at red lights but if the sensor doesn't pick me up I'll proceed when safe. Sometimes I stop at stop signs and sometimes I roll through, depends on the circumstances. A four way stop in the middle of no where with no cars in sight I'll slow and roll through. Some right hand turns I'll do the same, even with traffic. Many I'll stop, just for my own safety.

In my car I obey all the rules (ok, I do 70-75 on the interstate). I stop, fully, at all stop signs and stop lights are a no brainer. My family thinks I'm anal because I don't roll through yellow lights. I don't think driving a car and riding a bike are very similar at all, they're just done on the same facility. Whole different level of responsibility when you're in a vehicle weighing a ton and a half and doing 55. Pretty hard to hurt anyone besides yourself on a bike on the road (MUTS are a different story, I don't ride them).
Mel, what's wrong with 70-75 on the interstate?russw19
Dec 15, 2003 7:34 PM
The speed limit in Florida is 75 outside of metropolitan areas. And people in Florida do 90 in 75 zones.

I drove to Ohio from Florida last spring and I noticed that people in general speed in the south, but as soon as I hit Kentucky, the rate over the speed limit went down. In Florida and Georgia people drive 10 mph over (generalization, not facts... but it's not uncommon to see a bunch of people cruising at 85+ in those states) but in Tennessee, they go a little less over the speed limit. Kentucky, they drive like 5 mph over, but once you hit Ohio... different story. People in Ohio don't speed. I couldn't get over it. Speed limit says 65, they are driving 64. Limit is 60 they're doing 58. But I was driving north up I-71 and 5 miles north of Cincinati, just about where King's Island is I saw literally 20 Ohio Highway Patrol cars in a 10 mile stretch pulling people over. It was hilarious! And I proceeded to be one of the people driving 64mph after that.

Laws are only as good as their enforcement. Don't overlook that.

Nothings wrong with 70-75Mel Erickson
Dec 16, 2003 6:44 AM
Here in Wisconsin that's 5-10mph over the limit of 65. The rule of thumb here is you can drive 7mph over the limit all day long and never get picked up. 8-10mph over and it depends on how the officer feels that day, but you're still pretty safe. 11mph and over you better have a detector and be lucky. Us Norwegians like to live on the edge! ;-)
Another take...KEN2
Dec 15, 2003 7:36 PM
I too question your assertion that if one runs signs/lights on the bike, one likely does the same in the car.

In my case, I find it a royal pain to stop on the bike for any reason. I try to minimize stops because riding is about motion, not stopping.

The car is a whole 'nother story--there's no physical penalty for slowing and stopping. We all know that all any idiot (including us) has to do is use 1/2 calorie to step on the gas again and get up to speed.
Another take...HAL9010
Dec 15, 2003 10:09 PM
...The car is a whole 'nother story--there's no physical penalty for slowing and stopping. We all know that all any idiot (including us) has to do is use 1/2 calorie to step on the gas again and get up to speed...

Yup but there is the rub. that 1/2 cal of effort. Far too often the stop just doesn't happen, look for it.
Oregonians don't have to because we're superior...NatC
Dec 15, 2003 10:50 PM
As of earlier this year, Oregonians can blow stop signs willy-nilly (well, almost).
Was the bill enacted into law? nmMikeBiker
Dec 16, 2003 1:35 PM
Dec 16, 2003 5:36 PM
as far as I know. I read it in the newspaper earlier this year, so that's my source. After the article came out, I started to notice cyclists blowing stop signs all over the place. I haven't heard of any accidents as a result fwiw.

It's funny, when I first saw a group blowing the stop sign (I was approaching the same sign on my bike), my first reaction was to think, "Hey, you're gonna cause an accident!!!" Suddenly it occured to me that I didn't have to stop either, so I punched it and blew right through it also. I felt a bit tickled, as if I had commited a misdemeanor and had gotten away with it.
re: Stop at stop signs?witcomb
Dec 16, 2003 5:59 AM
I'm going to have to side with those who say this is just absurd. I imagine most people who ride pace lines also tail-gate 6" from the car in front, yeap, that one must be true.

I don't stop for stop signs or lights all the time either, I do however slow down. All the roads I travel are rural roads, which have very little traffic. However, most intersections are blind due to trees and are not open fields, so slowing down is a must. I have seen cases where I have had the right of way, but motorist have made the assumption that traffic is low and that don't have to stop, this has caused some close calls.

In the case of red lights, it is often the case that I am on a low traffic road meeting an intersection with a higher traffic road. I will not even attempt to trigger the sensor enless there is other cars approaching on the road I'm on. I would just be stopping a high-traffic road when it is perfectly safe for me to go when it is clear.

I have seen some cyclists who feel it is their right to blow through stops signs. In fact one case was a woman who just passed through a stop sign, with an on-coming car making a left hand turn. Both the bike and the car came to a complete stop. The woman yelled something to the effect of "You are a 2-ton car, I'm on a bike, please be careful" to which the driver replied "That is a stop sign". The driver is entirely correct. But it is not this type of situation that most people here are talking about when they say they blow stop signs.

You make reference to a relation between driving and cycling. There is definitely a releation between these two activities. However, the relation that seems quite evident from what has been mentioned is, that people are safe and have the ability to make rational judgements. If generalizations are going to be made, they should be made at a high level.
I Ran 55 Stop Signs todaywily in pacifica
Dec 16, 2003 8:21 AM
After reading this topic yesterday I decided to see how many stop signs and lights are on my commute.

My commute is about 21 miles in complete darkness. It includes steep long uphills as well as downhills. About 25% is in residentinal, 25% on hwy, 25% in the CIty of San Francisco and 25% in National Parks.

I rode thru 55 stop signs today. I had to modulate my speed, but did not stop, at about 4 of them due to cross traffic but at the other 51 there was no traffic in sight.

There were about 10 traffic lights on my route. I would say 6 of those were red when i approched them and I must have actually stopped at three, rolled thru 1 and stopped then rode thru 2. Only at the 2 that I stopped for the entire duration was there any traffic.

I would defy anyone to come to a complete stop at 55 stop signs in 21 miles. It could be done but you would feel like an idiot in the middle of nowhere coming to a stop for no other reason to apease the auto drivers that are not there to see you stop.

At the few stop signs where I did encounter autos most of them slowed to a few MPH but rarely did they come to a complete stop.

I think what has not been brought up is that autos don't have to worry about building up momentum from a stop like cyclists do. How much energy does it take to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake then back while sipping your coffee? Now imagine climbing a very steep residential hill at about 6 MPH and having to come to a complete stop 5 times in half a mile when there is no traffic what so ever. Or even going down a hill at 25 MPH and having to make that one stop sign in the middle of nowhere with no traffic in sight.

If I had to make all those stops there is no way I would even bother riding in in the morning.

Willy in Pacifica
Do you actually drive?mexican-JUMPING-frijoles
Dec 16, 2003 8:24 AM
based on your comments that riding style mirrors driving style, I'm curious to know if you actually drive? Your comments have no grounds whatsoever. I have been in the car with most of my riding buddies, the same buddies who we roll through stop signs while riding, and when they drive, they are some of the safest drivers I know.

Next time think twice about posting such groundless BS.
re: Stop at stop signs?MShaw
Dec 16, 2003 10:25 AM
While I agree with you in principle, I disagree in some of the specifics of what you're saying here.

There's things you do with cars around, and things you can do without cars around.

Cars around:
If I don't come to a complete stop, I'll at least slow down and make a show of looking both ways to make sure it is clear before rolling through. Seems to appease the idiots in the cages.

I do not condone blowing through lights/stops while there are cars around. No matter what your excuse, it p1sses people off. You never know when you are going to terminally p1ss off a cager.

Cars not around:
Make sure you're not going to get creamed and do whatever your heart desires. I used to live out in the country where you could listen for cars before you got to any stops. Out on those chip and seal roads, you can hear traffic from a long way out.

Now the driving the car is the same as riding argument is pure bunk. It seems to me that people believe that when they're riding a bicycle, it gives them freedom. That freedom translates into being able to "get around the rules" by running lights/stops that they would never do in their cars. In other words, they're casting loose the bonds of society for a time.

I've seen some REALLY bad driving lately. From stopping in the middle of the road with your left signal on 'cause you missed the turn, to trying to merge into a left turn lane for the same reason. What gives? Doesn't anyone remember that the fix for your own goofs is to go to the next light and THEN turn around? Why should I move just because YOU screwed up? If you're too stupid to figure out where you're supposed to be before you get there tough! Bah humbug!
end rant.

Interesting range of responses,HAL9010
Dec 16, 2003 10:28 AM
I especially liked witcomb's thoughtful reply. I'll study the reactions and post my analysis soon.

To: mexican-JUMPING-frijoles,

Yes I drive. Unfortunately more than I ride. But so goes living in Southern Calif.
Interesting range of responses,wily in pacifica
Dec 16, 2003 11:10 AM
Here's another thought.

As in my previous post I truely rode right thru 55 stop signs today and stopped or went thru about 10 signals. I was discussing this with a couple of non-bike-riding co-workers this morning. It dawned on me that if I was driving the car to work today I would have only had to go thru one stop sign and about 6 lights before pulling into the same parking garage. If I could ride on the freeways I would not have had to go thru all these traffic controls. Are they really traffic controls if there is no traffic to control?

The end of my ride in is the Fiancial District of San Francisco. I do not have to ride any of the city streets as i ride along the Embarcadero which is a 20 foot wide sidewalk for the last couple of miles.

But, the automobile traffic becomes more bicycle like once in The City. The Taxi's, busses and many cars will run red lights. Pedestrians will cross against the signals etc. Believe me, you do not want to be the first person to step off a curb when the walk signal turns to green unless you are sure you look in every direction. I bet these same red light runners would stop at the lights ad stop signs in their neighborhoods but once downtown everything becomes such a rush.

Willy, still in Pacifica
I dunno. I don't know how to "prove" it to you, but I neverdjg
Dec 16, 2003 1:34 PM
blow through stop signs in my car (and I don't do "rolling stops" either). Period. However, while I generally come to a full stop on the bike, I sometimes do rolling stops on the bike when I really can see that there aren't any cars around. If I cannot see, I don't do it. And if there's a car coming, I don't wager on my ability to make it. But if it's clear ...