Bikes Are Always Running Stop Signs

Note I could make this shorter. This is a 5 minutes of google post.

The age old question is why bikes don’t follow traffic laws?

This seems like a reasonable enough question, but I posit that first of all, it’s actually NOT a question at all, but rather an attack on the cycling communtiy.

Below is a script to answer this question.

The first line must be said first as it sets the tone for the entire conversation.

“I will answer this question.”

Say this to avoid the charge that you are “evading the question.” We’re not; we’re answering it head on.

“However, we don’t ask questions in a vacuum, but rather each question carries with it a certain context. In this particular context, you have asked this specific question because you don’t like bicycles, and if you don’t run away, I’m going to prove it. Do you have enough time to finish this converstation? If you leave before I’m done talking, I’ll assume it’s because I’m making you uncomfortable because there’s something you don’t want to reveal about yourself. Are you willing to have this ENTIRE conversation? If you’re not then let’s terminate this conversation now.”

This is super-important because the person has told you that they have enough time to talk. Alternatively, they don’t and you don’t have to answer the question.

You: “Why do you think that cyclists have to stop at stop signs.”

Them: “Because it’s the law.”

You: “What law?”

Them: “Um?”

You: “If you’re not sure that it’s the law then why are you asking about cyclists specifically? It’s common sense for cyclists to yield to pedestrians and to motoring vehicles. Are you aware that there is an entire movement which is dedicated to getting other cyclists follow the traffic laws? Are you aware that often cyclists will stop other cyclists to remind them of the law? The cycling community, as a group is the most law abiding community of transportation. I can send you resources which shows the extensive efforts that cyclists have taken to get other cyclist to comply with the law. The cycling community, especially in Southern California, in general, is well aware of the laws regarding cycling. But you have chosen to single out the most law abiding and should I say safest form of transportation for breaking the law. Singling out a group for crimes which they tend to not commit is scape goating and it is usually done to people are not liked. Your singling out of cyclists proves that you are not interested in the law in general but rather you are grasping for straws at ways to make cyclists look bad.”

If they do know the law which is: “21200. (a) A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.” [http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21200.htm]

Next I’d ask, “how they know that cyclists don’t stop for stop signs?”

They’d say that’s what they see.

“So you base your stories on what you personally see? So as a medical writer, if you have two brothers and one has cancer, you’d say that 30% of males in the US has cancer? Or would you look for a source which shows the cancer rate? What a crappy reporter you are. Haha. There are many studies which show that in general, cyclists stop for traffic control signals:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=cyclists++red+light&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5

“The majority of afternoon cyclists who faced a red light stopped (89%).”

In fact, if you are looking for one commonality for people who break traffic laws, it’s not whether or not they are on a bicycle. So you are asking a question which is based on misinformation.

The one factor you should be looking at is whether or not the cyclist was male (from the study):

“(86%) of these red light runners were males.”

So you are asking a question which presupposes something which is factually incorrect. This shows a clear anti-cycling bias.

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One Response to “Bikes Are Always Running Stop Signs”

  1. Jay Porter Says:

    On a related note, I believe that cyclists have a moral obligation to disobey all traffic laws, including stop signs and stop lights. This is because the process by which stop signs and stop lights are determined necessary, and the process by which all “rules of the road” are implemented, is driven by the desire to facilitate as much motor vehicle traffic as possible, at the expense of pedestrian and cycle traffic.

    The legal processes which put these laws in place were begun at the financial behest of the behemoths of the automotive industry who correctly saw that as long as the public owned the streets, the public wouldn’t tolerate the streets being overrun with cars. Since the industrial titans needed high fuel consumption in order to maximize their personal wealth, they donated money to the politicians that would rework the legislation process to push people out of the streets so cars could burn fuel and rubber with impunity.

    This, of course, was morally wrong. And if you believe, as any right-thinking person would, that human beings are more important than cars and the consumption of petroleum products, then you are obligated to exercise civil disobedience against these corrupt laws. That means *never* following these laws — they are nothing but the apparatus of tyranny against the people, and if you obey these laws, then you yourself are the despot.

    I do my best at this mission of disobeying all motor-derived laws, although I’m having a hard time stopping at green lights. I’m not sure what to do about that.

    Ride happy
    Jay

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