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Road rules for cyclists

Even those of us who recognize that cyclists are doing the Earth a service by not driving cars, are more vulnerable than people in cars, and try to be considerate of them on the road, cannot help but feel a pang of irritation when they don’t obey the rules of the road such as stopping at stop signs or stop lights and then even if they do, sometimes going through an intersection even when the light is still red.

But Joseph Stromberg says that it makes sense that we should have different rules for cyclists and that Idaho has had such a policy since 1982.

Idaho’s rule is pretty straightforward. If a cyclist approaches a stop sign, he or she needs to slow down and look for traffic. If there’s already a car or another bike there, then the other vehicle has the right of way. If there’s no traffic, however, the cyclist can slowly proceed. Basically, for bikers, a stop sign is a yield sign.

If a cyclist approaches a red light, meanwhile, he or she needs to stop fully. Again, if there’s any oncoming traffic, it has the right of way. If there’s not, the cyclist can proceed cautiously through the intersection. Put simply, red light is a stop sign.

This doesn’t mean that a cyclist is allowed to blast through an intersection at full speed — which is dangerous for pedestrians, the cyclist, and pretty much everyone involved. This isn’t allowed in Idaho, and it’s a terrible idea everywhere.

This makes sense. Cyclists move more slowly than cars, have much better peripheral vision, and are well aware that they will be the loser in any collision with cars making them more likely to use good sense in going through an intersection.

Comments

  1. DsylexicHippo says

    A point not covered: As a cyclist I would rather face oncoming traffic while riding on the side of the road instead of sharing the road with cars and riding in the same direction as the general traffic. It is a disconcerting feeling to “sense” a car a few feet behind you while not being able to see it and not knowing if it could bump into you. But I know this is not what the law says.

  2. says

    I remember a cyclist complaining about hitting a runner in stopped traffic where neither could see each other until they were on top of each other.

  3. says

    I’m not enamoured with that Idaho law. It’s not hard to start a bike from a dead stop at an intersection. Changing gears before stopping makes it easier to start from a standstill. And if a cyclist wants to have momentum, stop safely before the intersection and start slowly when the red is very stale. I do that and reach the corner while moving, about 2-5 seconds after the light has turned green and cars are already moving. I would rather have all the stopped cars pass me and have open road behind than have them bunched up and impatient.

    That law may work in Idaho which is nearly empty (a total population equal to Philadelphia in a state over 200,000 square kilometres) but not in densely populated areas. Such privileges for cyclists will make drivers think they have the same ability, or that they should have it, and they will start driving like they do. That inevitably means more collisions and deaths, and not just cyclists but also pedestrians and other drivers (i.e. electric cars which are quiet).

    (Side note: In Canada since 1990, you’re legally required to drive with the lights on in the daytime as a means of accident prevention. In the US, it’s only a “suggestion”. Moving objects may blend in with the daytime background and seem invisibile, but lights are hard to miss.)

    http://youtu.be/j-mdoambAQQ?t=50s

    If cities aren’t willing to pay for protected bike lanes, at least enacting and marking bike lanes and enforcing laws would be a start, along with stop boxes at intersections, a/k/a advanced stop lines. Ignorant driver attitudes towards cyclists are very much like religious, political and racist extremists toward the targets of their hate. They see only the individual cases of wrong by the “others”, then ascribing it to the entire group to justify their hate and violence (road rage, in this case).

    http://youtu.be/xFM5QiAd3QA

    Unfortunately, cops are as much the problem as any other driver, more than Rob Ford and other such idiots, because there are so many of them. They’re more interested in harassing and intimidating cyclists than protecting them.

    http://youtu.be/JUsmoM3NtXQ

    http://youtu.be/mOXEzq_wmD4

    As an avid cyclist, I’m looking forward to the day when oil prices are so high that people can’t afford to drive anymore.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    DsylexicHippo @1: If I meet you on the road while I’m cycling, words will be exchanged. You might feel safer, but you’re not. No-one expects you to be there, especially other cyclists, and the delta v is much greater between you and the oncoming cars.

  5. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    #1 Riding against traffic isn’t just illegal, it’s also stupid as fuck. Whatever your “feeling,” you’re far more likely to get hit riding on the wrong side of the road where no one expects you to be than to be hit by an overtaking car while going the right way. If you’re on the shoulder and people are passing dangerously close then it isn’t a ridable shoulder and you should take the lane instead – make sure to rid far enough in that people can’t try to “squeeze by” when there isn’t enough room.

    John Allen’s guide is a good place to start http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter2a.htm

  6. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Heh, glad I’m not the only one who caught that.

  7. Mobius says

    But when it comes down to it, in an argument of right of way between a bike and a car…who’s gonna win?

  8. kyoseki says

    I remember a cyclist complaining about hitting a runner in stopped traffic where neither could see each other until they were on top of each other.

    I nearly seriously injured a pedestrian outside Harrods because he thought that just because the cars were stopped, that all traffic had stopped – he apparently didn’t realize that there were tons of motorcyclists filtering up the outside of the stationary traffic and just sprinted out from between two gridlocked cars.

    I managed to stop with my front wheel between his legs and both of his hands on my handlebars.

    Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, driver or biker, if you’re going to be in the street, pay fucking attention and make no assumptions.

  9. jackal says

    That’s basically how I ride: stop signs -> yield, red lights -> stop signs. I’m more cautious about the red lights, esp if it’s an unfamiliar intersection.

  10. DsylexicHippo says

    @3 Rob: No worries – you will not meet me on the road on a bike. It’s been more than a decade since I stopped and my bike is gathering dust in my basement. You are more likely to meet me behind you in car though. Let’s just hope that a meeting like that does not become as personal as you seemed to suggest. Usually, when a car and bike “meet”, words are not exchanged. Know what I mean?

  11. says

    The rule I’d like to see more cyclists obey, in the “share the road” world, is to get the hell over a bit when they are holding up faster-moving traffic. (Just like automobile drivers are supposed to do.)

    This could be alleviated in our Metroparks, where it is most common, if the cyclists could or would use the bike paths, which have unfortunately been taken over by inline skaters who don’t think any rules apply to them. Still. After all these years.

  12. Lea says

    @Hippo: A cyclist was in a collision here while riding on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic. What happened was that a car going the same direction as he was made a left turn, right in front of him and he crashed into it. Neither he nor the driver saw each other until a split second before the collision. The driver was looking ahead to make sure there was no oncoming traffic, not behind and to the left to see if someone was going the wrong way on the other side of the road.

  13. DsylexicHippo says

    @4 dysomniak: I know it is illegal. I did mention that but I realize that some may find it hard to put two and two together when the same is presented as “I know this is not what the law says”.

    Though I still prefer to be a bug-splat on the windshield, I know that the law says that you need to get tapped from behind if you must.

    Not like I just recommended doping to win Tour de France. We all know how we Americans disdain anything that’s illegal.

  14. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @F And where the hell are we supposed to get over to when there isn’t a usable shoulder? You want I should get doored, or run off the road by morons who think they have room? I’ll take the lane, like I have every legal right to, and you can fucking wait.

  15. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    @Hippo

    That’s the part of my comment you focused in on? Not the part about how it’s fucking stupid? I really don’t give a shit whether you break the law or not, but when you recklessly endanger yourself and others, while giving cyclists who aren’t utter morons a bad name? Then I have a fucking problem with you.

    Seriously, If you’re so chicken shit that you can’t ride safely you should not be riding anywhere near a road. The scary thing is that they probably let you drive a car.

  16. DsylexicHippo says

    @11 Lea: Some clarifications: I did not recommend doing what I said. I didn’t say I did it either. In fact, I never did. Unless the law is changed and everybody is aware of the new setup, it would be extremely dangerous to ride against traffic. What I would really like is having dedicated bike lanes on every road. Not happening though. We really love super-sizing our carbon footprints and that would be a step in the opposite direction.

  17. DsylexicHippo says

    @14: I though that by focusing on that aspect, you would have figured out who was being fucking stupid here. But that would be like expecting the blind to “get” what the color blue meant, I guess.

    Don’t you bother your silly apoplectic self with my driving abilities – I have a clean record as in no speeding, no parking or any tickets of any sorts ever.

    I wouldn’t repeat myself, just read what I said in #15. I get it – hypothetical arguments are beyond your comprehension abilities.

  18. Rob Grigjanis says

    DsylexicHippo @9: I long thought that my exit from this vale of tears would be in such a meeting, with the driver saying “I didn’t see you”, and my parting words being “well that’s ok then”, with as much sarcasm as I could muster in the circumstances. :)

    F @10: My rule when I ride is to take enough space that I am visible, and safe from parked idiots opening their doors. If that means taking a lane, that’s fine. Until there are dedicated bike lanes, you’ll have to deal with it. In a choice between my safety and your getting home in time for cocktails, guess what? Funny thing is, in decades of bike commuting, it’s very rarely been an issue. Clueless pedestrians and drivers talking on their cell phones, OTOH…

  19. steve oberski says

    I cycle about 100 km per week to and from work.

    I’m on the road in the morning at about 5:30 AM and that’s exactly how I treat stop signs (as slow down and yield) and traffic lights (stop and proceed when safe) given the small amount of traffic.

    In the evening around 6PM in the heavier rush hour traffic, it’s letter of the law, full stop at stop signs and red lights and only proceed on green.

    I also have 3 red strobes on the back of the bike and 2 white strobes on the front and use them day and night. I can’t over emphasize how much difference this makes in how other drivers treat you. Most drivers are not out to kill cyclists, but if they can’t see you, and on a bike in traffic you are very hard to see, then you’re dead. Most notable was when I added the 2nd white strobe on the front, the difference in the behaviour of oncoming traffic at intersections, especially from the left and right turns, was very dramatic.

    My current bike (Giant Roam 2) has front and rear disc brakes, and those things are great, impervious to the weather and when you engage them you stop (or at least the wheels stop rotating).

    My cycling philosophy is that if you as a cyclist don’t respect the rules of the road then don’t expect the respect of the other users of the road.

  20. Heidi Nemeth says

    @ F
    …in our Metroparks…if the cyclists could or would use the bike paths…

    The “bike paths” or All Purpose Trails (APT’s) in the Metroparks are appropriate for casual, young, and inexperienced bikers, but are totally inappropriate for serious cyclists. There are too many sharp curves, sudden stops, and too much congestion with walkers, dogs on leashes, slower bicyclists and in-line skaters. Also, the APT lanes are narrow. Ten miles per hour is about the fastest it is safe to go on the APT. That is ridiculously slow for a serious cyclist.

    Which puts serious cyclists on the Metroparks roadways. There usually is no shoulder and no passing lane on Metroparks roadways, so motor traffic is often slowed by the cyclists .

    The cyclists have right of way.

    If you don’t like it, don’t drive through the Metroparks unless you are on a leisurely excursion. The speed limit is only 30 mph, so its not like it’s supposed to be a quick cut-through.

  21. trurl says

    The reason the law says that bicycles should ride in the same direction as other traffic, and the reason that law should not be changed, is because that is the only way cyclists have any hope of being seen by other traffic. If you are on the wrong side of the road, and someone on a side street is going to turn right onto that road, they do not look right to see if it is clear, they look left where traffic is coming from. If you are coming from the right then you will not be seen. In general, it is the cross traffic that is the main hazard when you are on a bicycle.

    Also, if you are approaching the top of a hill and you are riding with traffic, the cars behind you have had plenty of time to see you going up the hill in front of them. If you are approaching the top of a hill and you are riding against traffic, you and the traffic coming up the hill from the other side have no way of knowing about each other.

    The law is what it is because that is the only thing that makes sense.

  22. DsylexicHippo says

    @21 trurl: Well stated. Point taken. Although for the case you mentioned, I would transfer the onus of yielding/stopping to the cyclist. A flow against traffic can only be considered with a separate bike lane – that would address your “hill” situation. Otherwise, I agree, you do have a very valid point there.

  23. says

    Wow. Since I have so many responses, I won’t address you individually, but thanks for the feedback.

    (Disclaimer: I only own a bicycle, have ridden my entire life, and haven’t driven a car in 8-10 years.)

    Yes, the speed limit is 30 in the park, but if you can’t manage 2-3 mph, you may as well be standing still. Get over more, since you are already in the dirt and gravel. A little bit further over is safer and you can let the people who drive 30 go by in a few seconds. Hardly unreasonable. You aren’t going anywhere in a hurry, either.

    Yes, the All Purpose Trails, which is not what they were, they were bike paths once upon a time. But times change, and as I noted, they are completely fucking unsafe for cyclists, so I’m not getting the point there. No argument from me on that one.

  24. says

    According to DsylexicHippo’s “logic”, it’s safer to run toward a polar bear or tiger that’s chasing you. His “thinking” says that closing the distance faster will somehow help you evade it.

    Newsflash for you: Humans are not pigs, we can turn our heads and look behind, plus we have ears (unless someone is dumb enough to wear headphones while riding). There are rear view mirrors for bicycle handlebars and helmets. And going the same direction as a pursuer will reduce the rate the pursuer is gaining, plus increasing the chances of reaching safe areas to get out of the way.

    http://www.evanscycles.com/categories/accessories/mirrors

  25. DsylexicHippo says

    @25 left0ver1under: Riding against traffic in your own dedicated lane is not the same as running toward a polar bear or tiger.

    The differential in momentum between a head-on collision and one that’s caused due to rear-ending is insignificant when it’s between a car and a bike so your logic of “reducing the rate the pursuer is gaining” does not mean much in real terms.

  26. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Wow, I really can’t believe anyone would be this dumb:

    The differential in momentum between a head-on collision and one that’s caused due to rear-ending is insignificant when it’s between a car and a bike

    Let’s try some basic math. If a car traveling at 30 mph hits a cyclist riding at 15 mph, that’s a 15 mph difference. If, on the other hand, someone were to take your advice and get into a head-on at the same speeds they would be subjected to a 45 mph impact.

    45 is three times as much as 15 you stupid git.

  27. DsylexicHippo says

    @27 dsyomniak: I knew you would fall for that! Did you complete high school? No, this is a serious question. Really. Were you an ‘F’ student all your life or am I just making fun of someone who took the short bus (in which case belated apologies)?

    It is obvious you don’t know what “momentum” means. Look it up. Hint: It does not mean the same thing as speed or velocity. Nuf said.

    Your humiliation is complete. Thanks for making my day.

  28. MNb says

    Me being Dutch and not having a driver’s licence have been a cyclist my entire life. The most important rule is: cars are stronger than me. Almost all of the rest is derived from this.
    An exception is that I always slow down for children.

  29. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Yeah, I’m fucking humiliated. I’m so ashamed that I fell for your “trick” of pretending to be an utter moron. Good trolling, A+.

  30. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    DsylexicHippo,
    Way to work in the ableism with your trolling. I find it hilarious that you actually think you are humiliating anyone here but yourself.

  31. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    On topic, I really appreciate this article, Mano. I think bikers and non-bikers alike should read that link, or at least just your paragraph summary at the end of the OP. The Idaho Stop makes sense to me and it is typically what I do (I live in a pretty bike friendly city right now, so I have little fear of any fine or anything).

    I think the biggest benefit of just stopping at a red light is that you will then get ahead of the stopped cars a bit so that when the light does turn green, and they accelerate by you, you have had time to get up to a decent speed. This makes you more stable and in control of the bike (you travel straight at cruising speed, whereas sometimes people tend to swerve bake and forth a bit during the initial acceleration), and gives the driver more time to see, react, and avoid you because you are traveling at a speed more similar to their own.

  32. DsylexicHippo says

    @30 dysomniak: You are an ass. Admit it. I know it hurts. It was NOT a trick. Anybody with a scintilla of intelligence would not have confused momentum with velocity. Oh, the irony of calling me a “git” and “moron”…..rich!

    As for trolling: I saw you throwing bombs on other blogs on FTB as well. For example: Kaveh’s ‘On The Margin Of Error’.

    Kaveh Mousavi: “I consider this a personal attack rather than an argument. Please read the comment policy and refrain from personal attacks. Thanks.

    Also, as far as I remember, you had decided that I’m not humanist to be worthy of your readership.”

    So, who’s the troll with the infamous foul mouth (add “stupid” on top as new credential of honor)?

    Now slink back to your cave.

  33. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I’m going to cross post this on bikeforums.com and watch the carnage.

    No, I’m not. I like you too much to do that Mano. ;)

    You might be surprised to find that even amongst the dedicated and not so dedicated biking community, there are a wide range of opinions on this. Most of us (especially those of us who commute) would prefer to be treated like a motor vehicle, with only minor changes, but at intersections and places where we have to interact with motorized vehicels, many of us would prefer to be treated as equals.

    Here in Southern Oregon, the drivers are actually too nice. They stop (when they have the right of way) at 4 way stops, and try to let bikes go through. The problem with this is that unless all drivers do this, it becomes unpredictable and ….dangerous. Consistency, in this case, is better than politeness.

    DsylexicHippo, for the reasons described above, you are creating more a hazard by doing so than helping. Yes, it may make you feel better, but all the other bicycles who are operating as a motor vehicle now have an extra hazard to contend with. If you don’t like cars going by you, get a rear view mirror (I have one on all my bikes that I commute on.), or stick to neighborhoods and MUPS where possible. There is even a derogatory term for cyclists who ride on the wrong side of the street – salmon. ;) And then you felt like you had to make that imlicit threat @10? That is one of the major problems with drivers: They feel like might makes right. Let’s hope you don’t meed a semi-truck driver with the same attitude.

    I can see the rule for 4-way stop signs actually being okay, only if there’s no traffic around, but I stop and wait for red lights. The only time I ever go through red lights or red left turns is when the light has cycled and not given me an arrow (for left turns) or it is longer than 2 full minutes (which means it doesn’t sense my bike and won’t change unless a car shows up). Many states have similar laws for motorcycles that allow them to run a red if the signal doesn’t detect them.

    F@11: petition your city/county to get better biking infrastructure, like shoulders and bike lanes. Some times, there is absolutely no room at all to ‘share the road’ as you say. Of course, you don’t really seem to be advocating sharing there, as bikes getting out of the way for the ‘real’ owners of the road. Bikes do have to obey the same rules as other vehicles, and in most states, it reads something like : ‘if five or more vehicles are being held up, move over [and this parts important] at the first safe opportunity to do so and allow traffic to pass.

    It’s funny how many people will bitch and complain about being held up for 30 secs by a bike, but will sit behind a slow moving tractor (they are slower than my average biking speed) for much longer and wait until it’s safe to pass with hardly a thought.

    And for those drivers who whine about how unsafe it is to bike, how many of them use their cell phones while they’re driving. Yeah, they are most of the reason biking is so unsafe…..

    I commute 11 miles (each way) to work on my bike, any time the temps are above 40F (below that there is too much risk of frost/ice). Oh, and I ride a recumbent, which is a little lower (theoretically harder to see) than a normal bike. However, it’s also unusual looking, so it seems (and this might be my bias) that I actually get noticed more. I wonder if there’s some psychological effect in play there. A lot of velomobile riders say they have a similar experience. Most drivers seem to give me a little more room than I typicall got when I rode an upright bike, as well.

  34. Crimson Clupeidae says

    DsylexicHippo@33: Since you seem to think you’re so smart, (no googling), what is the difference you are trying to elucidate between velocity and momentum?

    Also, for bonus points, can you tell us what factor plays most into injuries when it comes to vehicle collisions?

  35. says

    DsylexicHippo, give up. You lost the point and lost the plot.

    You are impressing upon people, but not in the definition of the word that you think.

  36. jdancyfan says

    Glad to see someone else picked up on that absolutely disgusting implicit threat @10. How somebody who (presumably) has spent some time commuting by bicycle could say something like that is beyond me.

  37. says

    What irritates me most about cyclists these days is when I seen one come to an intersection, and, instead of actually stopping, start jerking back and forth, and/or left and right, for no good reason, apparently just to avoid having to put one’s feet on the ground. This makes it much harder for drivers to predict where the cyclist is going, whether the driver has to swerve to avoid hitting him/her, or whether the cyclist is about to just fall down on the road. What the fuck is up with that? What’s wrong with just plain STOPPING?

    Most of us (especially those of us who commute) would prefer to be treated like a motor vehicle, with only minor changes…

    This is just bad threat-assessment: cars are more of a threat than bicycles; I don’t want to hit or be hit by a bike, but most times, I’m much more worried about hitting or being hit by another car. So if you’re near me, you’d better understand that I’m looking at the other cars first, and bikes second. I’ll do my best to avoid hitting you — if I know you’re there, and if the other cars leave me room to do so at the time.

    Another problem with cyclists is that they’re much faster than pedestrians, so a cyclist can effectively “come out of nowhere” and surprise a driver who is busy looking at both pedestrians and other cars.

    Here in Southern Oregon, the drivers are actually too nice. They stop (when they have the right of way) at 4 way stops, and try to let bikes go through. The problem with this is that unless all drivers do this, it becomes unpredictable and ….dangerous. Consistency, in this case, is better than politeness.

    I totally agree. Also, the more drivers yield to bikes, the more congested the car-traffic becomes.

    And for those drivers who whine about how unsafe it is to bike, how many of them use their cell phones while they’re driving. Yeah, they are most of the reason biking is so unsafe…

    Um, no, biking was pretty dangerous before cell-phones were invented.

  38. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Bee, those guys you see ‘jerking’ are balancing because they are clipped in to their pedals and don’t want to unclip. Right wrong, or indifferent, they are pretty much at a stop and pose no threat. If (as you and I both agree) cars would just do what they ‘should’ do, i.e. be predictable, I suspect that wouldn’t be an issue.

    This is just bad threat-assessment: cars are more of a threat than bicycles; I don’t want to hit or be hit by a bike, but most times, I’m much more worried about hitting or being hit by another car. So if you’re near me, you’d better understand that I’m looking at the other cars first, and bikes second. I’ll do my best to avoid hitting you — if I know you’re there, and if the other cars leave me room to do so at the time.

    No. No. No…fucking no. You, as a driver, are responsible for seeing and assessing all possible ‘threats’ and accidents. If you are primarily looking for other cars and you “don’t see” a bicycle (that for this purpose, I will assume is following the laws/rules), then you and only you are 100% responsible for that. Don’t victim blame. All potential incidences, vehicle (this includes motorcycles), bicycle, and pedestrian, should be at the exact same level of relevance, or you simply shouldn’t be driving a 2+ ton deadly object.

    I totally agree. Also, the more drivers yield to bikes, the more congested the car-traffic becomes.

    No. Bicycles do not increase traffic congestion, they decrease it. Significantly. You may not have intended it this way, but it appears you are also blaming bikes for this…. Besides if more drivers rode bikes, it would be even less of an issue. :)

    Um, no, biking was pretty dangerous before cell-phones were invented.

    Sure. Driving was also dangerous before. But it has gotten worse. Cars only seem safer because the safety measures that have been implemented.

    Data available here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA

    The data shows that bike fatalities had been decreasing from 2005 – 2010, then another upward swing. The data I found above only goes back to ’03, though. Unfortunately, they don’t have a way to correlate numbers of riders/miles ridden, like they do with autos. So it’s hard to get a real handle on the numbers. My anecdotal experience, though, is that I see and experience a lot more near misses and incidents and a lot of drivers distracted by their electronic devices.

    This report: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812016.pdf

    shows that 2012 (the latest year available) had an uptick in the number of injuries & fatalities per capita. The data on cyclists is pretty sparse compared to autos…..

  39. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Raging Bee

    I don’t want to hit or be hit by a bike, but most times, I’m much more worried about hitting or being hit by another car. So if you’re near me, you’d better understand that I’m looking at the other cars first, and bikes second.

    When I drive my car, I am generally more worried about hitting a pedestrian or cyclist than I am about getting into an accident with another car. Maybe I suck at personal threat-assessment*, but I don’t know if I could live with myself if I ran someone over because of lack of diligence.

    I’ll do my best to avoid hitting you — if I know you’re there, and if the other cars leave me room to do so at the time.

    Bolding added.This comment rubs me the wrong way. If I am reading your conditional statement correctly, it appears as if you are saying that IF other cars aren’t giving you enough room, and your choices are run over a cyclist or hit another car, you are going to avoid the fender bender and hit the cyclist?

    *that is a bit of snark, I am aware of how dangerous accidents can be, but still, I think overall, I have a better chance of surviving an accident with another car, than the cyclist does of surviving me running them over.

  40. says

    If I am reading your conditional statement correctly, it appears as if you are saying that IF other cars aren’t giving you enough room, and your choices are run over a cyclist or hit another car, you are going to avoid the fender bender and hit the cyclist?

    Yes, you read me right: I’m generally more concerned with my own safety than someone else’s, at least in the context of the split-second decisions I make while driving. (And what makes you think I’m only talking about “fender-benders?” Not all car collisions are minor.)

    If you are primarily looking for other cars and you “don’t see” a bicycle (that for this purpose, I will assume is following the laws/rules), then you and only you are 100% responsible for that.

    Not always: cyclists are much faster and more maneuverable than pedestrians (and no,they don’t always follow any rules), and sometimes a cyclist can approach a car and get dangerously close before the driver sees him — and when the driver may be looking elsewhere and responding to something else. And if the driver doesn’t see the cyclist, and the cyclist doesn’t accurately predict what the driver is about to do, then that is NOT the driver’s fault. Stop pretending cyclist are nothing but “victims” — they can make choices too, and they’re just as responsible for seeing the big picture as drivers are.

    Bee, those guys you see ‘jerking’ are balancing because they are clipped in to their pedals and don’t want to unclip.

    Tough shit — what harm would it do them not to clip their feet to their pedals? Clipping your feet to the pedals, so you can’t move them elsewhere quickly if you need to, is a pretty stupid thing to do. I never did that, and I never felt any need to do it. You’ve pretty much admitted that clipping increases the danger to cyclists, by preventing them from coming to a full stop when necessary.

    Right wrong, or indifferent, they are pretty much at a stop and pose no threat.

    No, they are not at a stop, they’re moving, and drivers near them are thus forced to pay more attention to them and try to predict their movement and determine whether they need to adjust. If a driver sees a cyclist jerking toward him, just as he’s driving close by, then the driver has to make a quick decision whether to swerve or brake or whatever; and that makes the driver less predictable, and more dangerous, to others near him.

    Also, sometimes I’ve seen cyclists doing this jerky dance in the middle of an intersection, because that’s where he stopped. So he’s not must moving about and forcing everyone else to try to predict his motion, he’s doing it while potentially obstructing traffic.

  41. Holms says

    Not always: cyclists are much faster and more maneuverable than pedestrians (and no,they don’t always follow any rules), and sometimes a cyclist can approach a car and get dangerously close before the driver sees him — and when the driver may be looking elsewhere and responding to something else. And if the driver doesn’t see the cyclist, and the cyclist doesn’t accurately predict what the driver is about to do, then that is NOT the driver’s fault. Stop pretending cyclist are nothing but “victims” — they can make choices too, and they’re just as responsible for seeing the big picture as drivers are.

    The point being made by Woo was, I believe, that if the following conditions are met:
    i) the cyclist is behaving in a legal manner, and
    ii) a collision occurs due to your stated preference: “So if you’re near me, you’d better understand that I’m looking at the other cars first, and bikes second.”
    then that collision is 100% your fault.

  42. says

    Holms: those are two really big “IFs.” Cyclists very often disregard the laws, and there are many cases where either the law may not be all that clear for cyclists, or the cyclist just blows through a given situation as fast as he’s able, without necessarily knowing or caring about what the law says, or having enough time to think about the law. I don’t really blame them for this — I did a lot of that when I used a bike to get around, and rode as fast as I dared through every open space I saw — but it’s still dangerous, and cyclists need to be aware of the dangers, and car-drivers and pedestrians don’t always have time or room to accommodate a fast-approaching cyclist.

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