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Bicyclists Must Obey Laws If They Want to Share the Roads 51

Groningen Traffic Light for bicycles

Photo of a hectic intersection in Groningen, Netherlands by tup wanders

A common argument made to justify actions like Friday’s terrible incident in Porto Alegre, Brazil is that people on bicycles have no right to share the road and don’t deserve any courtesy from drivers until they obey all traffic laws. This is also a common argument made to argue against building proper bicycle infrastructure.

I always enjoy hearing this argument, because I actually get a laugh out of it because it is such blatant rubbish. The hypocrisy in this argument is astounding – particularly when argued by a motorist.

Although amusing, this argument lacks substance and unfortunately contributes to stifling any progress towards making bicycling safer in our cities.

To make matters worse, this argument is sometimes used even by people who would consider themselves *bicycle advocates*. They say they feel awful every time they see another bicyclist roll through a stop sign or red light, because we can never expect to be accepted on the streets unless we obey all of the rules.

Rubbish.

If you honestly think that bicyclists need to obey every rule of the road in order to be “accepted” and not be intimidated by angry drivers, then you have bought into motorist propaganda and you are making excuses for road rage.

You have been fooled, and you are contributing to distracting the public from focusing on measures that will improve safety for bicyclists.

In fact, the notion that motorists have the right to threaten and intimidate all bicyclists because they saw a rogue bicyclist run a red light last week is completely absurd and unacceptable in a civilized society.

Motorists are angry because they are stuck in traffic. Traffic that is created by other automobiles, not by bicycles. They are angry at bicyclists because bicyclists take up less space and can bypass automobile traffic jams. They are angry because they don’t think it’s fair that a bicyclist can move forward while they are sitting idle in our congested cities.

These are the real reason they are angry, and telling you they are angry because some bicyclists break the law is simply an attempt to justify their own rage.

Motorists disobey the law every day

Imagine for a moment that the tables were turned, and we told motorists that they aren’t allowed to use the roads unless they obey all traffic rules. We would not have ANY automobiles on the road. None. Zero. Zip.

Motorists disobey the rules of the road every single day. Here in Toronto you would be extremely hard pressed to find a *single* driver who *never* goes over the speed limit (excluding in traffic congestion). I once drove the speed limit (100km/h) on highway 401 (equivalent to an interstate highway) and people were angrily honking at me because I was going too slow. And this is in the far right lane of a 12-lane highway.

Virtually every driver on our highways breaks the law every single day. If you told me you knew someone who never breaks the law, I honestly wouldn’t believe you.

And it isn’t just the speed limit that drivers disobey every single day. I often ride my bike through side streets littered with 4-way stops to commute 10 kilometres to a client office in mid-town Toronto.

At these 4-way stops, you would be very hard pressed to find a *single* driver who makes a full stop without rolling through the stop sign. The rare time that you do see a driver make a complete stop only seems to be when another driver, bicyclist or pedestrian is impeding the motorist.

And the list doesn’t end there. Motorists too frequently dangerously roll quickly through red lights while making right-hand turns. It’s also illegal here to hold a cell phone or electronic device while driving, and a day doesn’t go by where I don’t see several motorists on their phone.

These motorists *are breaking the law*.

Society turns a blind eye

Our society has decided to turn a blind eye to these minor infractions because we feel the risk doesn’t warrant the additional effort required to enforce it. But it’s still breaking the law, plain and simple.

So to say that cyclists must obey the law if they want to use the roads is disingenuous and hypocritical.

The police have the means to hand out tickets to both drivers and bicyclists – and they often do. In fact, here in Toronto running a red light will cost you $315 – the same fee for both motorists and bicyclists.

However, the bicyclists that I see running red lights are doing it at quiet intersections when there is nobody in the way. They aren’t putting anyone’s life in danger, and they have an intrinsic incentive not to die so it’s in their interest to be aware of everything around them.

Cars can be dangerous weapons

On the other hand, when a motorist runs a red light, they are putting other people’s lives in danger. Cars can be dangerous weapons. So if an officer decides it isn’t worth her time to write a ticket for a bicyclist at a quiet intersection, it’s probably because the risk was so low (the same applies to pedestrians).

But that’s not to say that bicyclists don’t get ticketed here. Just a few days ago I saw a bicyclist getting a ticket for running a red on my way to work. It’s not uncommon for police to hand out tickets here – and “blitzes” to crack down against drivers and bicyclists come and go.

But police also have the means to hand out tickets for drivers doing 15km over the *maximum* speed limit. But do they? Not here in Toronto. You won’t get a speeding ticket unless you are doing at least 20km over the speed limit on the highway – and even that would be a stretch because so many people drive 30-40km over the limit.

Thus, the police have deemed 10-15km over the speed limit to be not worth their time to enforce, so they let it go.

So next time someone tells you that you don’t deserve to use the roads with your bicycle until bicyclists obey all the rules of the road, ask them when they last obeyed all the rules of the road.

They will either become quiet, or they will be lying.

* To be clear, I am not advocating for breaking the law. Being courteous to other road users is important in a civilized society, so using common sense and courtesy to others is extremely important for us all to co-exist peacefully. However, when a motorist tells you that you don’t deserve to use the roads because some bicyclists don’t follow the rules, you should ask them to get their house in order.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05642298460152468319 Janice in GA

    Hrm.

    I don’t run red lights.

    I don’t ride to the front of a line of traffic.

    I do roll (“rolling stop”) through the same stop signs I would in a car.

    In my part of the world, I’m not harassed very often. Passed too closely sometimes, but not harassed much.

    Coincidence? Maybe.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06199983680204710885 Mr. S.

    Janice, you are smug and part of the problem, and you’re going to get hit some day, though I do not wish it on you. If you do not go to the front of the line you either: ride where there is no traffic, are lying, or are an idiot.

    This article is on the money!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07222927237495430299 Bil Choy

    Safety begins with everyone of us, irrespective whether motorists, cyclists, pedestrians. Why not start with ourselves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15589492356827998591 Ryan

    Until cities start to create traffic lights that can either detect bicycles OR have push buttons as with Vancouver, expect cyclists to go through red lights.

    Completely running a red without slowing down or looking is stupid, but there are many intersections where if there are no cars around the traffic light simply won’t change. Am I suppose to sit there until a car comes along?
    There are instances where cyclists have to go through reds.

    Motorists also have to take off the rose coloured glasses. Do they honestly believe all cyclists are disobeying traffic laws while every or nearly every motorists obeys the law?
    Daily people travel 20-40 km/h OVER the speed limit on Ontario highways. They are breaking the law, however what is peoples reasoning? The speed limit needs to be raised.

    Many cycling advocacy groups bother me as much as motorists.
    Whenever someone with (usually Vancouver’s) cycling advocacy group says something, they always say “I always make sure I obey the laws by wearing my helmet and use common sense by wearing reflective clothing”.

    Mr. S. I don’t think someone not passing cars to get to the front makes them an idiot.
    If the roads are too narrow, traffic is light and there are no bike lanes I’ll usually wait in line with cars.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    @Janice, @Bil – I’m not advocating for breaking the law or riding dangerously. In fact, I am a very cautious rider, and I only break the law when following the law would put me at greater risk (e.g. legal left hand turns on busy streets). Or as Ryan has pointed out, some traffic signals are triggered by sensors, so it’s sometimes impossible to trigger the signal on a bicycle (they have bicycle sensors throughout most of Toronto nowadays however).

    The purpose of this article is to point out that the most common argument used against building better infrastructure (and a common excuse/justification for people dying on our streets) lacks substance and is disingenuous.

    In order to improve conditions for bicyclists, we need to get past this shallow rhetoric and talk about how to solve safety issues and how to build better infrastructure. This argument simply distracts everyone from the real solutions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13299453772790771792 Henry

    Hey, I used to never break the law while driving, or on my bike! Common man, you’ve ridden with me :) . Well, no more. I realized a couple weeks ago that 96% of the time, drivers do not stop at stop signs. They do not say “brake”, but stop. I have taken this into consideration, and now go full speed through all stop signs. 5-10 km/hr is the speed which motorists seem to slow down to for caution. If this is my current speed, why would I change it? It gives me plenty of time to see (and HEAR – cars cannot hear other things) what is coming.

    I still obey all the laws when driving though. Cars are dangerous.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13299453772790771792 Henry

    Oops, the purpose of that, is that I literally counted the number of cars that stopped and didn’t. Whenever a car didn’t do a full stop, neither did I. I was at about 30 stopped, and 400+ rolling through. I’ll still come to a full stop if the approaching car does too, but not otherwise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00360234564323741495 Mighk

    Pointing fingers at the other guy’s transgressions to divert attention from your own is childish.

    I’m with Janice. If you want respect, act respectfully.

    I see it all the time: the cyclists who complain most about motorists have poor traffic cycling skills and behaviors. Those who complain the least have the best. It’s quite funny; when you get smarter, so do the motorists.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Henry, lol, I’m not advocating for going full speed through stop signs. I normally slow down and use my judgement to determine when it is safe to proceed. I think that is the best way to handle quiet 4-way stops.

    If a police officer is doing a blitz at a quiet intersection, he will probably not give you a hard time if you slow down to a safe speed. But if you blow right through it, you can certainly expect to get the $110(?) ticket.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00360234564323741495 Mighk

    James: I agree that using cyclist behavior as a rationale for not providing facilities is specious. But then so are the arguments that bikeways improve safety, because if the users of those new bikeways don’t improve their behaviors (I’m seeing as much unsafe cycling behavior on bikeways as on streets without them) the crashes will still happen. Get cyclists to behave as predictable, liberated, first-class roadway users and there is no “need” for segregated facilities.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Mighk: I think (one of) the primary reasons some bicyclists misbehave is because we don’t have proper facilities. As Ryan points out, he encounters traffic signals that can’t be triggered by bicycles, so he must break the law to cross the intersection. For me to make left turns safely on busy streets, I often need to take complex detours or use the pedestrian crossing.

    These aren’t issues that you would have in cities that have properly designed infrastructure (e.g. Netherlands, Denmark). An example of great infrastructure are the traffic signals that stay green if you maintain a pace of 20km/h in Copenhagen. There are also some great examples of infrastructure that make left hand turns safer.

    The problem is that in North America, we build crappy, indirect infrastructure that doesn’t make the situation any better and only attracts “hardcore cyclists” instead of regular everyday parents and children.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12056080802746709323 Green Idea Factory

    That attack in Brazil is heinous and the guy deserves to go to jail for at least two years per injured cyclist.

    But it is important to put this in perspective.

    Driving legally (even extra slow) is inherently dangerous due to emissions (both tailpipe and centralized + noise) and other negative knock-ons such as wars and mining (for oil or minerals). These things kill more than “accidents” or collisions.

    The attack in Brazil was against people (who are riding bicycles) and it is a problem if it stays a “bicyclist”-led issue. It is important to agree that a car is a gun in different form (and one of the Brazilian graphics I saw makes this clear).

    People on bikes do often annoy, very occasionally injure and very,very rarely kill pedestrians. While this is minimal compared to the affects of cars and other motorized vehicles, it is certainly not “nothing”. Here in Berlin – and other places – cyclists speed around on pavements (sidewalks), not using bells and lights and so on. Mostly it is a matter of training, and also of culture, though some of these people are negative social misfits who only happen to be on bikes (and they would be more much more dangerous at the wheel of a car). A bicycle does not turn an asshole into an angel.

    That attack in Brazil threatens to make the all other crazy shit seem more normal in comparison (after all, I am sure more than a few people died in Brazil that same day from related causes… and then there are the 3,000+ others the world who also died that day, just from collisions.)

    Driving personal automobiles in cities is both inherently dangerous and unnecessary.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13299453772790771792 Henry

    Ok ok. Going downhill I will slow down for stop signs. 30 km/h is too fast for that. But not uphill, where I’m lucky to be going faster than 5 km/hr. I was thinking about my ride to work this morning. My new commute is brock. Screw lansdowne. Too many crazy people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Thanks Henry, I don’t want to get a call from the Toronto Police saying that I should pay for your ticket :) I think it’s very important to be safe, respectful of other road users and common sense is paramount safety in the city.

    The point of this article is to debunk the argument that bicyclists don’t deserve to use the roads until they follow all the rules of the road. The police already have the tools to enforce the law on both bicyclists and motorists.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10529004554427280103 Mark

    I got a $110 ticket for a rolling stop on my bike at a quiet intersection in Toronto.

    The cop put on his lights and siren. Come on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14957646196429963830 billpoindexter

    The more cyclists on the roads, the more the general public, governments, and police will accept us.

    I am carfree and bike for transportation all year. I have noticed over the years the more people see me the more they become comfortable to having a bicyclist in their midst and it becomes less of an issue. They understand I bike for transportation.

    No matter where you live there will be bad/ mean motorist and cyclists, but hopefully very few.

    Getting along and having open communication is the key to a peaceful existence, and sometimes that will take work on all fronts; e.g. smiling at a motorist, thanking a police officer for making the roads safer, riding your bicycle for transportation even when you don’t feel like it, being aware of your invisibility.

    Regarding the Brazil incident. I watched the video of the VW Golf plowing through the CM ride and I cried. I have been on many CM rides and always feared something like that would happen. Whether or not you agree with CM, no one deserves the brutality of that criminal act.

    Keep up the ggod work James!

    Bill Poindexter
    carfree American

  • Micheal Blue

    James, I agree with you. Rules of the road are needed, otherwise it would turn into a ZOO, but sometimes following every single rule to the last letter would be stupid. I like the principle “do no harm”. As long as it does no harm to you or anyone else, then it’s OK to do.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15114988651949870474 Sterling Hada

    James D. Schwartz said: “The problem is that in North America, we build crappy, indirect infrastructure that doesn’t make the situation any better and only attracts “hardcore cyclists” instead of regular everyday parents and children.”

    I agree with this statement, and would only add that there needs to be a higher level of educating people on safe cycling practices. For all concerned. In my neck of the woods, Northern California, I see far too many people riding against traffic (I think the thought process here is that they follow the rubric about walking against traffic being safer), riding on sidewalks, riding without lights at night or wearing dark clothing at night. I’m talking not just ordinary people, but “hardcore” cyclists who use their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. Higher numbers of cyclists on the roads is a fallacious argument, viz-a-vis safety, if a significant percentage of them are riding recklessly.

  • Anonymous

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10205398931196477215 Tino

    Hey Anonymous, you are a troll and a coward.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Thanks Tino – I removed Anonymous’ comment because personal insults have no place in a civilized debate.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07321036757365862624 Lloyd Alter

    4 way stops exist in Toronto for one reason: Speed control of cars. Drive up Palmerston, south of dupont, where there is a stop sign every 266 feet: it used to be called the “Ying Hope Memorial Speedway” in honour of the 70s’ alderman who put it in to slow down cars.

    Stop signs used to be used for traffic safety, and would stop traffic on one road at an intersection, usually the minor one, while letting it through on the other. Then they evolved into a method of traffic calming, slowing everyone down, and two way stops became all way stops. In Toronto most other traffic control methods, like “no left turn” and “no entry 4 to 6″ have signs underneath saying “bicycles excepted”- why don’t stop signs?

    The traffic control system is designed to control cars, and applying the same rules to cyclists is stupid, we don’t have to slow them down.

    f one acknowledges that stop signs are primarily for speed control rather than safety, then there is really no reason to demand that bikes stop, rather than yield. But maybe a better alternative that would make everyone happier would be to remove the useless stop signs and use some of the other forms of traffic calming that don’t involve full stops.

  • Andrew T.

    This totally ignores that you never know what a bisycle is going to do. That is what makes it dangerous. I’ve seen when about to turn onto a road, that the traffic is stopped because of a pedestrian crossing and there are no pedestrians about to cross my street, begin to pull forward and then a bicycle cuts straight across in front of me. There is no predictability of behaviour.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Andrew T. That is precisely what helps make motorists more cautious. It was very comfortable to ride a bicycle in China – not only because they have good infrastructure, but drivers are always aware and ready for the unexpected. It’s sad, but a wobbly bicyclist actually has a calming effect on nearby drivers. That’s where safety in numbers comes in. If motorists are always ready for bicycles, they will be more cautious.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12056080802746709323 Green Idea Factory

    @Lloyd: Good comments.

    @Andrew T: Remember, most people who ride bikes in Canada and the USA have had no formal training at any time (in most EU countries including Eastern European all kids get training in school around age 10). Add to that the lack of bike culture and normal behavioural mimicry and you gotta lot a reasons why no signalling or eye-contact happens… even before bringing in all too normal general anti-social behaviour. Also many carfree people in non-cycling cultures also have no drivers license, which means they might have absolutely zero formal traffic education.

    @Sterling, not sure where you live in Northern California but there are a lot of one-ways in, e.g. San Francisco. One-ways are designed for cars, for maximum throughput. It is natural for people on bikes to want to take the shortest route, especially if the right way goes up a hill in addition to being a detour. One-ways on narrow streets also support a lot of parking. Manhattan avenues are a really terrible case as the legal detour significantly lengthens short journeys in particular. But few are willing to criticize this since the mostly good Janette Sadik-Khan is the mistress of this continued stupidity.

    Also, please don’t conflate legally-required lighting (and reflectors) with non-required clothing. I write about this in the September entry of my blog.

  • Anonymous

    If you are a motorist and think cyclists are just lawless scum, look up the fundamental attribution error.

  • Andrew T.

    James D. I am a cautious driver, which is why I didn’t hit him, just. The fact remains if the rest of the traffic has to stop shoudn’t the bicycle. He wasn’t on the sidewalk pretending to be a pedestrian. I realise I am talking about one individual. I am more than happy to share the road, or the sidewalk.
    GIF: Perhaps there ought to be formal training for all road users. Then there could be a line drawn betwee kids on the sidewalk and licensed riders with a road registered bicycle.
    Obviously all road users break rules occasionally, that does not make it unreasonable to expect all users to follow them. Obviously there are some very bad car drivers. Usually a car doesn’t keep changing from a vehicle to a pedestrian and back depending on what helps it most at the time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04808661100114872654 Yokota Fritz

    The worst of it is, when you point out this double standard, the typical response is that the driver never considers what he does as unlawful.

    Something I sometimes like to point out: Do you really want to encourage these dangerous scofflaw bikers to dump their bikes and get behind the wheel of a car? Let’s feed off of stereotypes say these bike riders bike because they don’t have a license or can’t afford insurance. A bike’s an easy and inexpensive way to get around. Increase the cost of riding a bike (through registration requirements, enforcement crackdowns, helmet laws, etc) and Mr Scofflaw says “screw it” and starts driving.

    About 17% of drivers involved in fatal crashes in the US are not licensed. About 15% of US drivers are uninsured. Putting additional restrictions on cycling only makes the problem worse, not better.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    (Cross-posting my comment from reddit for discussion here):

    Do motorists get angry when pedestrians cross on a red light? (assuming the way is clear and they aren’t impeding anyone else). If not, then why would they get angry at bicyclists?

    I find it strange that North Americans get so angry in their cars. In Chinese cities, road rage is almost nonexistent. Cars wait at red lights, and bicycles are free to proceed as long as the coast is clear. I’ve never seen a driver get angry at a bicyclist there for not waiting at traffic light. It’s just accepted that cars are bigger and more dangerous and there is little harm in letting bicycles proceed through the signal.

    Bicyclists will of course wait if there is no room to proceed, but they normally treat traffic lights as a yield signal – even though motorists will invariably wait for the green light (there are exceptions in China, but this is the norm in the bigger cities with proper traffic signals).

    Why are we so angry here? It’s not because of traffic congestion – I’ve seen far worse traffic congestion in China than here. I suppose it’s the fact that we just weren’t raised to be tolerant of growth and increasing density in our cities.

  • GnomeofVancouver

    I don’t buy it this argument. I commute 30 kms a day on a bike to and from work in Vancouver and I see dozens of cyclists ignoring the rules of the road and the safety of themselves and others. There are two types of cyclists, the ones that have had a fall and have wizened up and the ones that are teeing themselves up for that fall. Being a member of the former group I have learned my lesson. You want respect quit your griping and earn it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16828401001732920598 Paul Martin

    Great post, James.

    I have no problem with cyclists that run stop signs and red lights if safe to do so. Here there are intersections where the induction loop cannot ‘detect’ the presence of a bicycle so the lights don’t change… it can be a long wait.

    What disappoints me is that a cyclist who ran such a light (and I was sympathetic) yelled at me for not wearing a helmet! I was gobsmacked!

  • Urban_Snowshoer

    I agree with you on driver expectancy. Bicyclists come in and out of my neighborhood (in a major city) day and night. Drivers do a pretty good job of safely passing bicyclists, though it would be kind of nice if more motorists would signal that they’re parallel parking, instead of unexpectedly stopping in the middle of the street.

  • Urban_Snowshoer

    I agree with you on driver expectancy. Bicyclists come in and out of my neighborhood (in a major city) day and night. Drivers do a pretty good job of safely passing bicyclists, though it would be kind of nice if more motorists would signal that they’re parallel parking, instead of unexpectedly stopping in the middle of the street.

  • Alexian Conquest

    It’s a good thing that all drivers have perfectly functioning turn signals and brake lights, and use them 100% of the time.

  • Alexian Conquest

    It’s a good thing that all drivers have perfectly functioning turn signals and brake lights, and use them 100% of the time.

  • IG

    Ummm…what about the obnoxious cyclists I encounter on a weekly basis having blatant disregard for pedestrians? I cross at the same two crossings everyday and have lost count of the times cyclists haven’t even bothered to slow down and either try to beat me/other pedestrians or miss us by inches as they pass.

    My worst experience was crossing when the green man was showing. A cyclist came by…she had earphones in and was eating a sandwich with one hand ( therefore not in complete control of her bike). She clipped my coat as she went by which made her bike wobble… she started screaming at me! I thought maybe the lights had changed and maybe I hadn’t noticed, but no – the green man was still showing.

    None of us are perfect but as a pedestrian I see far more bad road behaviour from cyclists than motorists

    • mplscommuter

      As a pedestrian, I feel more bad road behavior from motorists than cyclists. But all I have are anecdotes to back that up, and we both probably have confirmation bias.

      As a cyclist I routinely encounter peds walking against the signal (crossing when not supposed to); just the other day had a runner cross against the signal, wearing headphones, not paying attention. I was about 15 yards away, yelled heads up and began avoidance. Dude stopped in his tracks and i nearly bulldozed him.

      See what I mean?

  • IG

    Ummm…what about the obnoxious cyclists I encounter on a weekly basis having blatant disregard for pedestrians? I cross at the same two crossings everyday and have lost count of the times cyclists haven’t even bothered to slow down and either try to beat me/other pedestrians or miss us by inches as they pass.

    My worst experience was crossing when the green man was showing. A cyclist came by…she had earphones in and was eating a sandwich with one hand ( therefore not in complete control of her bike). She clipped my coat as she went by which made her bike wobble… she started screaming at me! I thought maybe the lights had changed and maybe I hadn’t noticed, but no – the green man was still showing.

    None of us are perfect but as a pedestrian I see far more bad road behaviour from cyclists than motorists

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12056080802746709323 Green Idea Factory

    It is easy to say that e.g. “Chaotic drivers are a 1000 times more dangerous than chaotic cyclists” and while this is not entirely inaccurate, it is best perhaps to treat dealing with bikes vs. peds. and bikes vs motor vehicles as apples and oranges, due to their different place in various road hierarchies and, literally, their different relationships within and to the laws of physics.

    Too general platitudes like “share the road” etc. or those expressed in Complete Streets (“something for everyone”) do not help much, or enough. (I think Complete Streets is an improvement on most street philosophies, but it is too fair and thus unrealistic in reaction to private automobilism).

  • mplscommuter

    As a pedestrian, I feel more bad road behavior from motorists than cyclists. But all I have are anecdotes to back that up, and we both probably have confirmation bias.

    As a cyclist I routinely encounter peds walking against the signal (crossing when not supposed to); just the other day had a runner cross against the signal, wearing headphones, not paying attention. I was about 15 yards away, yelled heads up and began avoidance. Dude stopped in his tracks and i nearly bulldozed him.

    See what I mean?

  • DaHoffMan

    As the larger and more frequent user on our roadways, motorists are the dominant force that sets the standard for traffic compliance. When motorists begin to follow the letter-of-the-law for traffic rules, I am certain cyclists will as well. Until then, motorists are hypocrites to suggest that cyclists a lawless and dangerous roadway users.

  • DaHoffMan

    As the larger and more frequent user on our roadways, motorists are the dominant force that sets the standard for traffic compliance. When motorists begin to follow the letter-of-the-law for traffic rules, I am certain cyclists will as well. Until then, motorists are hypocrites to suggest that cyclists a lawless and dangerous roadway users.

  • e in Ga

    as a cyclist in GA where in the state of GA are you riding? I want to find this utopia where I don’t get nudged and harassed on every ride I do.

  • e in Ga

    as a cyclist in GA where in the state of GA are you riding? I want to find this utopia where I don’t get nudged and harassed on every ride I do.

  • JesusFreak

    I’m a Christian who takes Romans 13 very seriously. I always obey traffic laws, even as a pedestrian unless I am unaware of said laws. I would venture to say there are more like me, my wife and children for instance.

  • JesusFreak

    I’m a Christian who takes Romans 13 very seriously. I always obey traffic laws, even as a pedestrian unless I am unaware of said laws. I would venture to say there are more like me, my wife and children for instance.

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  • zeb

    Well, imagine if we drive cars like cyclists.

  • Cherokee Schill

    I found this article to be “spot on”. Cyclists who behave like they don’t belong on the road are the biggest problem that I have seen. Motorists who treat cyclists like they don’t belong on the road contribute to the problem. I know way more people who would cycle if they weren’t afraid of being treated like second class citizens on the road. It is a culture problem.