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The ratio of driver enforcement to cyclist enforcement needs to be in the 100-1 range, if not higher.

Well, what is the ratio of tickets now?

Personally, I'd be glad to see a well-designed program (e.g. the police are carefully trained in the law) in which a place with heavy car-bike-ped interaction was closely observed and tickets issued for every clear violation seen regardless of the ratio. And warning tickets issued for arguable violations such as possible negligent driving, not passing or turning safely, etc.

That would be a bit unfair to cyclists, because alot of the violations that endanger cyclists are in areas where cyclists are sparse. But enforcement is not cost-effective where violations are too few. A decoy bicycle cop might be possible. Maryland State Police with the help of SHA probably should do such a project as part of the overall plan to get them up to speed on bicycle law and procedure. The video in production might not be enough.

I'm not sure what the ratio is now, and it may well be higher than that - if you count photo enforcement.

I don't know of any cyclist who blindly, deliberately runs red lights without slowing down enough to ascertain the safety of not stopping. I mean, c'mon, as a practice, that would be suicidal.

Blue-eyed: nevertheless, I still see it on occasion in Old Town. After which, if I'm on bike myself, I tend to comment about it loudly enough for the perpetrator to hear.

Froggie, you mean stop signs? Because I can't imagine anyway just humming down King Street, for example, through all those red lights at every block with their eyes closed and taking their chances. I mean, assuming this is regular behavior (and I admit to having done this by accident more than once), how long would such a cyclist last? Maybe one person's "slow-n-go" is another person's "running a red light without stopping". After all, on paper, they are the same, despite their different (opposing) connotations.

The stop signs on, say, Union Street are a different story, however. They're "all way" stops (some on one-way streets)and the traffic there generally moves slowly. A cyclist can move more quickly and still maintain an adequate level of safety in that area compared to most city intersections. So the "slow" part of "slow-n-go" may be a little more fast than at, say, the intersection of Connecticut Ave and Florida, NW.

I've seen a few in DC that, to my best ability to discern what they were doing, seemed to plow right through an extremely busy 4-way stop.

Never an actual red light though. As someone else said, that would be completely insane -- though I wouldn't be surprised if it did happen on occasion.

All of the points made by the paper are fair enough. I actually was looking for the standard, mostly-stupid comments but was pleasantly surprised to not see those ;).

You guys must spend a lot of time observing raffic. With all the speed I carry through the red lights and stop signs I run I really have no time or opportunity for that.

But seriously, it's the same old song. Drivers complain about cyclists' behavior some of which I am sure might look unsafe, unreasonable or annoying to the untrained eye but it might well be legal or at the very least an action carrying much less risk than it appears to carry.

If all the people who complain about the poor behavior by cyclists would be model citizens in their favored mode of transportation, I would not complain and feel ashamed to insult their sensibilities.

However, as we well know, pedestrians cross streets in mid-block without looking for bikes riding in a perfecly legal fashion or check their PDAs while crossing on a red light. Car drivers are too busy using all the awesome capabilities of their PDA such as texting, e-mailing, watching video, listening to music through headphones, or doing any other number of distracting activities to pay enough attention to speed limits, important traffic signals and signs, or operating signalling devices.

Case in point: Last Friday, a woman almost ran me over (in front of an Alexandria public elementary school no less) with her car while she left a parking space. It was about 8am, i.e. totally daylight but I had my powerful helmet light on. I look around and she is on the phone. Still! After almost running me over.

Somehow drivers are not happy that cyclists can move faster than they do. That's why they want to impose as many cumbersome requirements and restrictions on cyclists as they can and in pusruit of that goal they also do not hesitate to come up with phantastic stories that might have never happened or characterize a singular event as a common one. That's why they also make fun of satorial choices, another issue where cyclists cannot win: Either they're racers in spandex or hipsters in jeans with rolled up pant legs or silly women riding with dresses.

Having said all that: Cyclists should be reasonable participants in traffic and not freighten pedestrians on sidewalks (or other places) and forsake obviously dangerous or inconsiderate behavior wherever possible.

When I was walking back from lunch today saw a cyclist run a red, backing up traffic that was on the green.
I'm all for cracking down on the bad apples soiling the image of cyclists. Not only are some of their actions putting themselves and others in danger, they exhibit an arrogance that drivers have learned to loathe about cyclists.

Eric: I agree that we should not be judged by the actions of a minority, nor let the opinions of a few drivers dictate our behavior. At the same time, reasonable people, who like bikes and transit, etc are developing a bias against cyclists in DC, at least judging from my anectodotal evidence.

@Chris:

"Backing up traffic that was on the green."

Okay, cyclist runs red...sure, that can happen.

But "backing up traffic"? Really?

Since when is half a second "backing up traffic"? Or maybe I'm a little slow...did the cyclist lay down in the middle of the intersection and refuse to leave for half an hour? What am I missing here? I'm drawing blanks on my own. Details, please.

This sounds a helluva lot like the motorists who complain with the most colorful of invective and hyperbole about how a cyclist off to the side of the road riding in the gutter caused a major delay in traffic traveling on a multi-lane road in the city. A delay that amounted to far less than your average red light sequence.

In other words, it smells unmistakably like bullshit...

Question, if peds have a right to an exclusive space and motorists have a right to an exclusive space. Where is "Only bicycles allowed"?

The CCT after dark (but only if you're bike commuting). Bike lanes.

Bike lanes we have to share with scooters and Segways.

You got me on the CCT after dark, though I'll note one 4AM ride along the NCR trail there were hundred's of fishermen out walking.

Barry, you forgot the joggers as well as joggers with strollers both of them preferably moving the wrong way.

This whole thing just feeds on itself. Drivers who have never been known to follow the laws very well and pedestrians who have to watch another source of potential danger when they do their illegal jaywalks have finally found a scapegoat for all that ails DC traffic: The scofflaw cyclist! They're all saying: "If we can just get these people off the street, then all will be good."

And cyclists, like children who have never seen their peers or parents behave appropriately will of course copy and adopt behavior they have seen as acceptable.

We would save many more lives and trips to the hospital by installing speed and red light cameras all over the city.

You could simply reduce this list of complaints to, "Don't be an asshole."

Riding in the wrong direction? You're being an asshole.

Riding on a congested sidewalk at greater than walking pace? Asshole.

Treating red-lights as yield signs? A-OK.

BTW, to the previous poster (Froggie?) who claimed to see cyclists plow through red lights all the time without even checking for traffic, this is a failure on empathy on your part. *NO ONE* does this. It may be that the cyclist doesn't take as much time to evaluate the situation as you might, and it's entirely possible they're making bad decisions, but they're certainly not plowing blindly through a red light.

It doesn't happen.

Riding in the wrong direction? You're being an asshole.

Riding on a congested sidewalk at greater than walking pace? Asshole.

Can someone explain this to me? Why is wrong-way cycling *always? bad? Aren't there situations where it could make sense? Why not just trust the cyclist's judgment, as you want to do with lights?

I wouldn't say that wrong-way cycling is always bad. In some cases, DDOT has signed streets as "one-way except for bicyclists". And some places have said that one-way rules don't apply to bicyclists. But, I think wrong way cycling often involves knowing what will happen in the far future, whereas the Idaho stop only involves knowing what will happen in the immediate future, so that's why I don't equate them. Plus, we have Idaho to look at and see that it works. I don't know what the effect of allowing cyclists to bike the wrong way has been in the places where it is allowed.

Basically studies have shown a much higher risk of wrong way cycling then with the flow of traffic cycling.

All driveways and intersections become extremely dangerous as motorists are just not looking for traffic in that direction. And this goes triple for sidewalk riding. If your going to ride the sidewalk at least ride with the flow of traffic.

"Don't be an asshole" is a good guide...but the line is not always clear. There are plenty of accidents where the OTHER party is the asshole.

The shoulders of an interstate highway seem to be an example where riding against traffic makes alot more sense than with your back to traffic. If the wrong side just happens to have a wide shoulder and the correct side has no shoulder, and you are riding fairly slowly and/or the road has very few cross streets and driveways, and good visibility so that you are able to observe traffic coming out of them and yield to such traffic. Perhaps even in a typical urban setting if you are slow and not very good at riding in a straight line--if you are good at observing traffic.

Wrong-way riding takes more skill and attentiveness than red-light running. When going the wrong way, you must yield at every cross street and every driveway. There are circumstances where that is doable--but most wrong-way cyclists are only focused on the oncoming traffic.

Even on interstates a cloverleaf interchange would be impassable by a wrong way cyclists and combo lanes (straight or right turn)would also be difficult going wrong way.

As far as I know, it doesn't really matter which way you are going when you get to an interchange when riding a bike on an interstate: you cross a one-lane exit or entrance ramp perpendicular to the lane, far enough from the main stem of the highway to know for sure whether a given car is exit or through traffic. Alternatively, you exit along the first entrance lane you see.

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