Cyclists Should Be Able to Roll Through Stop Signs

Comments

1
Piffle, I absolutely disagree (and I've been riding in traffic in Seattle since the 70s.

I agree that putting your foot down at every stop is unnecessary and cops are better trained now than the one you encountered a few years ago, but predictability is key to effective traffic movement - that's why so many motorists are perpetually pissed at cyclists - two sets of rules doesn't serve predictability.
2
The corner of Boren and Pine is probably one of the most dangerous intersection in the city because bikes cruising down at high speed cant see around the corner. By the time they get near , its too late to break. Passing a law will make this intersection even more dangerous because cyclists will assume its legal to roll through the stop light.
3
As long as there is a distinction between stop SIGNS and stop LIGHTS, I'm all for it.
4
and when a car is the only thing in sight at a 4 way stop sign or a stop light (if driving late at night, happens all the time), the car should be able to save the CO2 emissions and slowly roll on through, right ?
5
Agreed, rolling stops should be legal. But to be fair - bicyclists also need to take seriously the pedestrian right of way in crosswalks. Disregarding the law for one type of traffic signal (however reasonable) erodes respect for others (less reasonable.)
6
So if a cyclist rolls through a stop sign and a motorist rolls through that cyclist, who would be responsible for the accident? How do you determine responsibility?

As a pedestrian in New York who doesn't own a car and occasionally cycles, I am continuously annoyed by cyclist who seem to believe their desire for momentum puts them above the rules of the road. I realize it's not all cyclist and probably not a majority, but it is a constant presences on the streets, and the biggest offense is rolling through stop signs and stop lights.

I'm not sure I believe the right solution is adapting the law to accept that cyclist are just going to be reckless - again, not all, but way to many - so it's up to the rest of us to accommodate them.

I get that actually stopping at every light breaks momentum and having to restart every block drains both efficiency and joy from cycling. I just don't care. The same is true for driving. We could save energy and reduce green house gasses by letting cars roll though stoplight and stop signs at a steady even pace. Let the cyclist and pedestrians get the hell out of their way. That doesn't make it a good idea.

Explain to me why prioritizing the efficiency, convenience and joy of cycles over the rest of us is good public policy?
7
In bad weather, this is a particularly bad idea.
8
What if a driver stopped at a stop sign on a street with a bike lane on the right hand side. The driver then proceeds to turn right while a cyclist runs into the side of the car going straight and skipping the stop sign. Who is at fault?

What if a car stops at a four way stop and then proceeds to turn left. A cyclist coming the opposite direction skips the stop sign and runs into the car. Who is at fault?

I'd support this idea but only if the cyclist is always at fault for collisions caused when they skip the intersection and if they are required to slow down to 10 mph within 50 feet of the intersection and through the intersection (and have signs posted on low-visibility intersections that require cyclists to fully stop).
9
Rolling through is fine. It's the asshomes who just ride through without even slowing down.
10
I kind of agree with this, even as a (former) cyclist who unclipped at every stop sign. On an individual basis, you're pretty much always safer making the sign. But behaviorally, that battle has already been lost. I don't know if allowing the roll-through stop will make people safer - that seems like conjecture to me - but traffic enforcement could be more wisely used elsewhere.
11
American communities are obsessed with putting stop signs on every corner. There aren't nearly as many in any other developed nation - certainly not in Europe, where most non-arterial intersections are left completely uncontrolled and people use common sense to yield to traffic coming from their right.

The vast majority of stop signs here should be replaced at each intersection by yield signs on the less-traveled street and removed altogether on the more-traveled street.

Until then, common sense should prevail and our laws changed to reflect both empirical data and the reality on the ground: it's safe in the vast majority of cases for cyclist to roll through stop signs, and cops should prioritize their limited resources on something besides harassing cyclists.
12
I roll through stop signs. I'll also enter a clear intersection on a red light to get a jump on the traffic behind me.

I've been riding in Seattle for over 20 years and have never been hit by a car.

That U-District cop is an asshole who doesn't understand bicyclist safety.
13
I agree with @1 Predictability is always desired in driving and sharing the road.
14
And I'll continue to call you a fucking dangerous idiot when you roll through that stop sign into pedestrians who have the right of way to cross there.
15
@delirian: What if a car stops at a four way stop and then proceeds to turn left. A cyclist coming the opposite direction skips the stop sign and runs into the car.

Why would the bike hit the car? It's traveling < 5 mph, so it can easily stop in time to let the car turn.

That said, I think this rule makes the most sense for empty intersections.
16
I am surprised by the number of people who are upset by this. The Idaho bike law requires that you treat stop lights like stop signs (aka, you have to completely stop and can only go if there is no one coming). Perhaps it's different in the big city where there are more people, but the Idaho stop allows motorists to not be held up by bicycles coming to a complete stop so it is generally well-received.
17
Vehicles should be able to ignore stoppage in a linear ratio to their environmental impact - it's all so obvious! For example.. an all electric car should only have to 'hint' at slowing whereas a hybrid needs to show definite intent.
18
@16 that's how I bike. I never go the wrong way down one way streets, generally take up my lane and act like a car. If there's a car behind me I signal before I turn, not out of courtesy, but so the multiton metal object following doesn't hit me. Maybe non-cyclists don't understand, the moment you push off from a complete stop is the moment when you are most vulnerable, your balance is wobbly till you've got the wheels around once and it takes a real push of energy to get that momentum going.
19
Rides a fixie because it's a better workout. Rolls thru intersections because it's too much work.
20
Nobody should wear helmets. Because it's actually safer.

Drivers should be allowed to open their door into a bike lane without looking. Because it's actually safer.

Drivers should be able to drink four beers before driving. Because it's actually safer.

Neat, huh? Just make a bullshit assertion, and then add "Because it's actually safer" to the end. Look at me, I'm Malcolm Fucking Gladwell! Up is down! Winter is summer! Everything is the opposite of what it is.

Because!
21
share the road, man! but i'm not going to share your rules.
22

I wholly agree...the most dangerous interface for a bike is a busy intersection with heavy traffic from all four directions.

If you follow the rules of cars, you're going to end up trying to do things like going straight while vehicles are making right hand turns...a source of many accidents and side swipes.

If you simply eyeball the traffic for an ebb to me that seems much safer.

Another thing I will do is during a red light, I will make a right turn up the cross street, then cross in the middle of the street and come back to the intersection (making a U-turn).

This reduces the complexity from 4 oncoming streams of traffic to 2.
23
I guess your anti authority behavior is just one step away from being part of the rag tag militia in Bunkerville, Nevada. Dan. You better start listening to more Country Music, and eat more fast food to get better prepared for the life of Liberty, Freedom and Psychosis, besides those brutal 100 plus degree summers..

The U District is just one big cash stream for SPD traffic enforcement..
24
What if both are wrong? The bicycle should slow to under 0.5 mph (yes it's not stopped but get real) and the cop who thinks you must put your foot down (my hand on the utility pole doesn't count?) should find something better to do.
25
@11 There are actually plenty of areas without stop signs or any traffic control on neighborhood side streets. Many, obviously not all, cars treat these intersections the same as green lights because they are used to being told when to stop, or think there won't be other traffic approaching the same intersection.

To others complaining about bikes not stopping at clear intersections: I hope you all are in favor of ticketing every car that does not come to a complete and full standstill at every stop sign. Because then you'd be just a tiny bit of a fucking hypocrite.
26
As a pedestrian commuter, I am not impressed by either driver's or cyclist's demonstrated knowledge of traffic law; intuitively this can't be anything but an unmitigated disaster. I'd want to see a much deeper dive into those statistics, because that truly is an incredible claim.

Personally, I think I'd rather see several grade separated bike freeways across the city and a few more regional sections.
27
If we can limit the roll-through speed to 2 or 3mph and figure out how to enforce that restriction, sure.

But if you want 10mph roll-through for bikes, or if you want a law that gets in the way of ticketing for "bombing," as you call it, then hell no.
28
More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority. They are doing the "right thing" by cycling, so that puts them above the rules of the road that apply to other vehicles.

Like the spandex-clad rider next to me on Dearborn the other day. He was in the right-turn-only lane and didn't want to turn right. So rather than move over to the thru-traffic lane, he simply sailed through the intersection from the right turn lane.

The only safe way for motorists and pedestrians to react around bicyclists is to always assume they will do something illegal, and then try to avoid a collision with them.
29
@6,8, & 20 Did you guys read the article or watch the video about the safety benefits at all? Or do you look at the headline and go straight to pulling your opinions right out of your ass?

Idaho has had this law on the books since 1987 and bike's colliding with cars are 30-150% lower than cities of comparable size and frequency of riders.

As far as this rule applying to cars, what you're thinking of is called a roundabout.
30
@13:

Predictability may be desirable, but every person who travels on public roadways, whether driver, cyclist or pedestrian, already knows such a thing as predictability is nearly an oxymoron. I can't count the number of times I've been behind drivers who apparently have never been educated on the basic functions of turn signals; or watch cyclists attempt to skirt an increasingly narrow window between a turning vehicle and the curb; or had to slam on the brakes as pedestrians blithely enter a crosswalk against a red light, head buried in their cellphone.

The point is, predictability doesn't exist in the real world, and as a result everyone needs to practice a state of hyper-awareness, because you simply have no idea what the person ahead, to the side, or behind you is actually going to do at any given moment. So, IMO at least, allowing cyclists to practice this "Idaho stop" maneuver won't make that much difference, since I already have to assume every cyclist I encounter will roll the stop anyway, which as others have pointed out, is practically SOP as it is.
31
More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority. They are doing the "right thing" by cycling, so that puts them above the rules of the road that apply to other vehicles.


First of all, people walking and using body powered conveyances were here before cars.

Just like in the case of the Ship Canal, where 1000 motorists must wait if a large yacht comes through, in theory, pedestrians and bicyclists should have the right of way at every intersection, if logic were pushed to its extreme.

Think about the concept of "stopping" in general. There is no natural analog! People (or animals), before vehicles, did not walk, come to a point, stop, wait for cross traffic, then walk again. It's bizarre that all of us have been inculcated to do this most unnatural of things!
32
If the idea is to incentivize bikes to take side streets, let's allow Idaho stops on those streets only. Maybe ban bikes on major roads during rush hour too.
33
Sorry, but if you wish to ride in traffic, as opposed to the sidewalk, you need to operate like a car. You need to maintain the speed of traffic and you need to obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and signaling turns, something that many riders around here ignore. We have almost hit plenty of riders because they pick and choose which laws to obey. You want to play in traffic, then respect the traffic.
34
Motorcycles are required to do "foot down" stops, and I've always interpreted the rule as applying to bikes, too. Back before my 6th bicycle got stolen, I obeyed the "foot down" rule - when I got a moped, I continued obeying it, now that I have a full-size motorcyle, I still do the same thing.

Note that this doesn't mean we're required to come to a complete stop. You can easily drop a foot momentarily while still rolling. Which is the whole point of the foot-down stop as opposed to the complete 3-second stop; it doesn't upset your balance.
36
@28: More evidence of bicyclists' false sense of moral superiority.

I assume you are new to the internet, because bike/car flame wars have been, after the millionth occurrence, officially declared the most boring thing in the universe.
37
@28 False sense of moral superiority?

I can't think of anything more selfish than people transporting themselves and personal items that could easily fit in a bag on their back in a fossil fuel burning personal vehicle. After taking into account climate change, air pollution, increasing national debt, supporting regimes with terrible human rights violations, increasing congestion for vehicles transporting loads that require the convenience of a motor engine (i.e. ambulance, construction, etc.), not to mention the natural health benefits received by biking which would lower rates of chronic disease further reducing our nations debt.

It's all the more frustrating if the destination is less than 30 km away.
38
Vancouver BC has gone some way to address this issue by engineering side streets as designated bike routes. There are very few stop signs on these routes so bikes can keep momentum and there are cyclist activated lights at all major cross streets. You can use the bike routes to travel to most parts of the city.
39
This reminds me of a pack of cyclists (around 30) riding around a local residential neighborhood, ignoring traffic signs and disrupting other vehicular traffic. A cop stopped them and gave everyone a ticket for running a stop sign, but this was after numerous complaints from the residents in the area.
40
ITT: people who don't know what "Yield" means
41
If you want to be considered a vehicle in traffic as a cyclist, you need to follow the laws applicable to vehicles, including stop signs.

Stop signs, like traffic signals, exist to ensure the safe and orderly travel of everyone by creating predictable traffic patterns. Violating the stop sign puts everyone around you at risk.

Now, if a cop pulled you over after you did it at an empty intersection with no cross traffic, then that cop was being a stupid knob that lacks common sense. But this is not a valid argument for doing it at any intersection at will. It's not just about your field of vision and safety... it's about everyone else's ability to anticipate your next actions and work around you to get where they're going. It's not just about you.

It's not just about you.
42
Dan - Your own post contains the biggest reason why this is bad.

"My days of bombing through intersections are over..."

But that's not the case for a lot of other bicyclists out there. I can't speak to Seattle, honestly, where bikes are more prevalent than here. Maybe (though from the comments, I doubt it) there's a greater sense of responsibility on the part of bikers and awareness on the part of automobile drivers up there, but out in the rest of the world, bikers not infrequently exhibit the schizophrenic attitude suggested by some posters: We have every right to use the road just like cars, but we don't have any responsibility to follow the rules like cars, because bikes.

So let's say we allow rolling stops. How does a policeman determine whether a person slowed down enough for a rolling stop or "bombed through the intersection"?
43
Also, just because you did not personally see any cross traffic does not mean there was nor would have been no cross traffic that may have put you or them at risk by not anticipating your run of the stop sign.

(And of course we're taking you at your word that everything was exactly as you described. I realize your account is one side of the story.)
44
@1 The data disagree with your opinion. The data aren't changing any time soon.
45
@41, 42

Once again people refuse to take into account new data when forming their opinions. The article and video showed from 17 years of applied practice in Idaho that rules like this decreased commute times for all traffic and lowered rates of bicycle accidents (significantly when compared to cities of similar size).

This is why we, as sentient organisms, can change the laws which we expect our community to live by to make them more efficient and fair for a greater majority.
46
Once again, Dan knows how to generate comments. A few years ago, there might have been 100 by this time already.
47
This thread is hilarious. The outrage coming from people who read the headline and nothing else is classic.

No, the Idaho Stop doesn't mean you have carte blanche to blow through any intersection you come to; it applies to empty intersections only. Pedestrians are safe -- safer than they would be without this law. Cars are safer too. There is, in fact, no even slightly rational argument against it.
48
I can't remember the last time a bicyclist stopped for me at a four-way stop when I was on foot. I always take my right-of-way, because fuck them, but typically the bicyclist looks very pissed off about it.
49
@28- I bet there's a sign that says "right lane must turn right except bicycles". They're all over the place in Seattle, but the writing is small.
50
@41 Hence the point of the Idaho stop - it becomes the norm and everyone can anticipate it. Traffic allows for rolling through intersections in many places - they are indicated by Yield signs. The Idaho stop essentially makes all stops a yield for cyclists. It makes perfect sense.

Further, accelerating from rest on a bike takes a long time. Bicyclists at a stop in an intersection make the intersection very slow to clear as anyone making a right turn waits for them to cross. This increases congestion, which is a known risk factor for traffic accidents. The risks you mention, by contrast, are hypothetical, seeing as you don't seem to have any data to support them.

<\response to @41>

My opinion (which is taken from my anus, where I think many opinions come from) is that many motorists dislike bikers because bikers are getting exercise and not producing pollution, which makes drivers feel bad about themselves, which in turn causes them to direct their negative feelings at the perceived source, which in turn causes their minds to rationalize said negative feelings with something that is entirely about the bikers' behavior and nothing about their own.

That being said, all bikers are people, and many people are assholes.
51
@20 You've captured my heart! A term I heard that perfectly describes this kind of article is insight porn.

"Turns out..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compen…
52
@6 The same way you would in any other circumstance where there is a collision - consider the nature of the accident and make a call. Stop signs do not make assignment of fault in an accident easy. Also, the goal of traffic laws should be to reduce accidents and / or increase efficiency, not help assign blame when they occur.

@28 Great point. Motorists, by contrast, NEVER pull crap like that. Wait ... oh yeah, they do all the time. Maybe the problem is people in general, and whether they are on a bike or in a car doesn't matter much. I know that doesn't play into your irrational dislike for bikers (highlighted by your need to point out that the biker in your story wore spandex, which I bet you think is just so friggin stupid), but it's worth considering.
53
It's the best when someone popular in showbiz has an everyman problem.
54
Bike like everyone is trying to kill you and you will always be safe. Don't be an asshole, and make good judgement. If you can't, DARWINISM.
55
Rolling through stop signs should be legal on a bike. My only concerns are that it would require a ticket that would give a lot of discretion to the police (did you slow down enough? Was there a car close enough to require a full stop? etc) and that it might reinforce the false notion that bikes don't have to wait their turn at a stop sign. It is insane how frequently bikes roll intersections without stopping when there are cars lined up at the other stop signs in the intersection. You still have to wait until it is your side's turn to go...
56
This makes sense to me, as long as the law still requires sensible, responsible behavior on the part of the cyclist, and still requires cyclists wait at red lights. It transfers some of the responsibility to the cyclists, too, because by proceeding without stopping, it's the cyclist's job to assess the traffic situation.

I'm so sick of the anti-bike driver lobby. It is very common that cars don't even come to a complete stop at stop signs, so get off your high horse. If you, a driver, think you always hit 0 before continuing, you're lying to yourself.
57
Maybe drivers vs cyclists is old and boring, but as a pedestrian that walks or runs everywhere, the legality of this terrifies me. I've had multiple occasions where a cyclist barreled through an intersection that I was crossing with the legal right of way and came with in seconds of hitting me. In every instance, they didn't stop to apologize for nearly hospitalizing/killing me. In fact, they acted like I was in their fucking way. Not to mention that no matter where I seem to run, I'm ALWAYS pissing off cyclists. Whether I'm in a tiny section clearly designated for pedestrians or fucking anywhere no matter what, I'm somehow always in the way of a shit head on a bicycle.
58
As to all the "should drivers be allowed to do this?" the answer is yes. 4-way yields with the first arriving then vehicle to the right having the right-of-way are just as effective as 4-way stops, when people aren't morons.

As to "who is at fault?" the answer remains the cyclist if the car had the right-of-way. If the car was fully stopped at the stop sign when the cyclist approached, the cyclist has to stop. Same first-arriving then vehicle to the right hierarchy. If, on the other hand, the vehicle arrives after the cyclist has entered the intersection, and either chooses not to stop or to proceed from a stop before the intersection is clear - well, that is also the exact same law.

And pedestrians almost always have the right of way at intersections like this, so no "I didn't see you" from either group, okay?

Jeez people, Idaho's been doing this for *32 YEARS* and yet we still scream about how it won't work. It works, obviously. We have DECADES of evidence is works!
59
*that is also the exact same law we have now (that is, driver is at fault...you t-bone someone in a stop sign intersection, you're getting a ticket)
60
45.50. Also bear in mind the population and traffic in even the densest parts of Idaho is far lighter than in Seattle, plus the layout is not nearly as dense so visibility is far better. It's almost an apples and oranges comparison.
61
Yay! Reasoning by mood affiliation!
62
@44 Your statement is vague nearly to the point of meaninglessness. First of all "data" changes all the time. Secondly, I express a few opinions, which one do you mean? That putting a foot down is unnecessary? The predictability is key? That different rules don't further predictability? - those are not data-driven assertions. Perhaps it's that cops are better trained or pointing to a reason why motorists are perpetually pissed - okay show us some data, then.

Advance the discussion, don't just be a specious turn-of-phrase spouting douche.
63
Single occupant vehicles for everyone!
As a lifelong Bellingham resident until six months ago, it's disheartening to see the car-first disdain for cyclists in such a 'progressive' city like Seattle.
Biking SHOULD be incentivized, and if removing the threat of a traffic infraction for treating a stop sign at an empty intersection like a yield sign helps, then I'm all for it.
(oh right and the fact that this proposal is empirically proven to be a safer approach).
64
@47

OK, joking aside. The stop sign is imperfect and there are arguments to replace stop signs with "take turns" signs, yields, roundabouts, traffic circles, or simply eliminating them and having unmarked intersections. But remember, no traffic device is perfect. You could get into arguments about any other traffic device as well, and cite studies that this or that change "reduced accidents". Except when you look at overall safety numbers, it really comes down to whether a society is wealthy, technologically advanced, and law-abiding. Not whether they favor stops or yields or have a lot of baked feets on der roods, as they say in that one country that urban progressives think does everything better.

And all of the above arguments against stop signs apply equally to cars as bikes. When you step back from the bike and look around at the big picture, the justification for special rules for bikes disappears.
65
@60 - I think that just means it wouldn't make a difference as often. The point is that bikes are going slower and have a better field of vision, so they are much more likely to be able to safely determine that there is no need to stop (because the intersection is an empty four-way stop or whatever). In instances where there was other traffic or there wasn't adequate visibility, presumably bikes would be required to stop.
66
@58
4-way yields with the first arriving then vehicle to the right having the right-of-way are just as effective as 4-way stops, when people aren't morons.


So, in other words, they aren't workable for cars?
67
I've yet to hear about a bicycle rider getting a ticket in France. Same for pedestrians. In here, tickets happen to people with motor vehicles, not to people whose reckless behaviour can only endanger themselves.
68
Many of these comments are ridiculous.

Why are there so many people concerned with how this might give cyclists the right to blow through intersections or disregard the right-of-way of others who are there first? The proposed rule only is applicable where the intersection is empty.

Why do some people think it is hypocritical to have different rules apply to bicycles? Different rules have always applied to different modes of transportation, including cars, scooters, motorcycles, large trucks, walking, and bicycles. This is not a new thing. It is based on seeking an optimal way for all these things in motion to share space.

And why are some equating changing this rule (that bikes must stop) to anarchy? A proposal to change a rule is the opposite of anarchy. Disregarding the rule would be anarchic.
69
@smajor82: I think you're over-psychoanalyzing anti-cyclist drivers. Honestly, I get EXACTLY why so many drivers are anti-cyclist; it's the same reason why so many car-drivers are anti-biker. Everyone in a car has had that moment in which they didn't see some crazy cyclist or biker and they almost had an accident. True, everyone has also had this moment with asshole drivers, but because they are a car-driver, they know for a fact that not all drivers are assholes. What's more, these near-accident experiences happen more often with motorcycles and bikes because bikes and motorcycles aren't prominent enough that drivers are always looking for them. It's a massive difference I realized when coming to college- because the infrastructure for bikes is so good here, everyone rides bikes and everyone is looking for them.

Now to address the main argument. The fact is, rolling stops on bikes are a lot like speeding in a car: everyone does it as long as there are no cops around because the laws are unreasonable. Just because that asshole who goes 100 mph in traffic is an asshole does not mean that our speed limits are arbitrarily low. Maybe it's different in Washington, but the freeways in California have speed limits of 65 most of the time. Which means that almost everyone goes 70 and is therefore breaking the law. This is basically analogous to rolling stops- everyone riding a bike already behaves this way, coasting up to the intersection, braking lightly, looking to see if anyone else is there, only coming to a complete stop if they need to. For example (one that happens all the time), I could see a 4-way stop ahead and start coasting, looking left and right; if I see one car on my left that is already stopped and no other cars at all, I know I can just coast through, since that person will be through the intersection by the time I get there. If there's a line of cars behind that person, I start braking properly because I know I'm going to have to take my turn like everyone else. Because bikes are supposed to follow the rules for cars, that process isn't legal right now. But I guarantee that the vast majority of bicyclists, even the responsible ones, are following it.
70
It's a slippery slope - if law would allow people to not come to a complete stop at stop signs, MANY cyclists would not even slow down, blowing right through them and, in turn, getting hit.

#1 put it best, so I'll post what they wrote again: "Predictability is key to effective traffic movement - that's why so many motorists are perpetually pissed at cyclists - two sets of rules doesn't serve predictability."
71
@67,

Bicyclists can and do harm pedestrians.

@69,

Back when the max speed limit in California was 55, everyone drove 70. And I never saw anyone get pulled over for that. Hell, CHP would zoom by me when I was going 70. Changing the speed limit to 65 basically brought the limit up to what people were already doing.
72
If you're worried about this law (coming to a complete stop) may I recommend enforcing it by sitting at a particular intersection where I know people break this law all day long, every day?

It's the one with the stop sign at it.

If you don't know who to target for enforcement, start with the population of road users that is already responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths, injuries and property damage that results from breaking this law all day every day.
73
@71 - yes they can hurt peds. But do they and how much?
74
On Broadway the other day I watched a guy on a bike pass a car that was turning right (and using their signal) on the cars right. He very nearly got himself killed. His reaction? Screaming at the driver lady, banging on her car, and spitting.

Moral of the story - some people are fucking idiots, and some people will fuck up a simple intersection crossing regardless of any law.
75
Differing transportation requires differing regulation.

Personally, I feel that it boils down to a necessary change in law, a recognition of current laws (pollution laws, current vehicular weight laws, etc.), common sense and practicality. Cars weigh several tons, while a bicycle weighs less than a human.

Why cyclists have to obey the same laws as cars is an archaic belief.

Polluters use the same air we breathe and they face strict regulations for doing so. Cars use the same roads as bicycles, but they are given the same regulations as cyclists. Why?

Cars and trucks must obey different laws because they are different sizes and weights. Why is size difference regulated, while vehicles of different classifications (and a larger difference in size existing between cars and bicycles) are expected to obey the same laws?

That's nonsense.

The U.S. is far behind on its regulation, and separation, of vehicular transportation. Laws that apply to vehicles are hardly applicable to bicycles...that's just common sense. It's time that the U.S. got its head out of its collective ass regarding vehicular regulation. One road hardly means the same laws for everyone, just like shared oxygen hardly means the same regulations for everyone needing air.

Technically, all bicycles are considered traffic. It is a cyclist's inherent right to use the entire road, if we so choose. It is a courtesy that we are confined to narrow, deadly, right-hand space that allows for vehicles to move more quickly in their vehicular privilege.

Cars are a privilege and never a right. A car can kill someone. Show me a list of fatalities for a bicycle, alone, with no other traffic.

I do find poor cyclists everywhere, just as there are poor drivers everywhere. Cyclists, for example, using sidewalks is a travesty and I hate it. As an 18 mile-a-day cycling commuter, I utterly frown upon cyclists using the sidewalk. It's called a "side walk" for a reason...it's for walking. Personally, I think cyclists need to be ticketed for doing so.

Again, it boils down to legislative change and a societal acceptance that differing transportation requires differing regulation.
76
This is an awful idea. Riding a bike in Seattle is much different compared to riding in Idaho. Bicyclists are not above the law. Yes, putting your foot down for a full stop is a little bit extreme, but please, just stop your damn bike at stop signs, so that you don't get hit by a car. This would be bad for all stakeholders. Thank you
77
Differing transportation requires differing regulation.

Personally, I feel that it boils down to a necessary change in law, a recognition of current laws (pollution laws, current vehicular weight laws, etc.), common sense and practicality. Cars weigh several tons, while a bicycle weighs less than a human.

Why cyclists have to obey the same laws as cars is an archaic belief.

Polluters use the same air we breathe and they face strict regulations for doing so. Cars use the same roads as bicycles, but they are given the same regulations as cyclists. Why?

Cars and trucks must obey different laws because they are different sizes and weights. Why is size difference regulated, while vehicles of different classifications (and a larger difference in size existing between cars and bicycles) are expected to obey the same laws?

That's nonsense.

The U.S. is far behind on its regulation, and separation, of vehicular transportation. Laws that apply to vehicles are hardly applicable to bicycles...that's just common sense. It's time that the U.S. got its head out of its collective ass regarding vehicular regulation. One road hardly means the same laws for everyone, just like shared oxygen hardly means the same regulations for everyone needing air.

Technically, all bicycles are considered traffic. It is a cyclist's inherent right to use the entire road, if we so choose. It is a courtesy that we are confined to narrow, deadly, right-hand space that allows for vehicles to move more quickly in their vehicular privilege.

Cars are a privilege and never a right. A car can kill someone. Show me a list of fatalities for a bicycle, alone, with no other traffic.

I do find poor cyclists everywhere, just as there are poor drivers everywhere. Cyclists, for example, using sidewalks is a travesty and I hate it. As an 18 mile-a-day cycling commuter, I utterly frown upon cyclists using the sidewalk. It's called a "side walk" for a reason...it's for walking. Personally, I think cyclists need to be ticketed for doing so.

Again, it boils down to legislative change and a societal acceptance that differing transportation requires differing regulation.
78
@73,

My stepmother was put into a coma by a bike messenger in San Francisco. A bicyclist in San Francisco killed a guy: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/08/15…

Reckless bicyclists are not just a danger to themselves. Speaking as a driver who also walks a lot, my primary animus toward bicyclists is as a pedestrian.

When I'm driving, bicyclists tend to obey the law when dealing with me in a car, presumably because they don't want to die. When I'm walking, bicyclists treat me as badly or worse as drivers do. While I'm more likely to be cut off by drivers at a four-way stop when I'm trying to cross, that's largely due to sheer numbers. Bicyclists, in terms of percentages, are more likely to cut me off, in my experience.

Also, when I force the issue and take my right-of-way anyway, drivers will stop for me, even if it means blocking the intersection. Bicyclists NEVER stop. They choose instead to bike around me. I imagine slow-moving elderly people, in particular, get the short end in that equation.
79
There is a side street close to my place that feeds into a larger street. There is a STOP sign for cars coming from the side street onto the larger street. If there are no cars on the larger street 90% of drivers roll through the STOP sign. Just sayin'
80
And probably about 95% of cyclists do the same. Same momentum logic for both cars and bikes.

4-way stops at the end of every residential block is stupid. And in general roundabouts are much safer and more efficient than 4-way stops.
81
Let's be realistic here the only time most cars stop fully at signs when no other vehicles are present is if they can see an officer near by. I cycle commute every day and we aren't the only ones rolling through. That said we should all be more careful and mindful of each other instead of bickering about who's more righteous or deserving of a place on the road. We all make bad decisions sometimes be they on two wheels or four. We're all people with families that love us trying to get where we're going safely.
82
@78- So would your rather get hit by a car or a bike? No one has said it's impossible for a cyclist to hurt a pedestrian, but to pretend they pose the same danger as cars is absurd.
83
Nope, stupid jackass idea.

If you want to go faster with less effort, just drive a car. Being an entitled, unpredictable cyclist just makes you a road hazard. Most people don;t get mad at cyclists for being slow or having to wait behind them for a short time. They rage when cyclists decide to blow off the same rules that everyone else follows.

Don't be a moron. Stop for every stop sign no matter what you are riding. And if you are the author of this article, feel free to get hit by a mack truck next time you decide the rules don't apply to you.
84
*sigh* Thread Too Long. But yes, I agree: The Idaho Stop.

Bicycles should treat Stop SIGNS, as YIELD Signs, -- slow down, check for traffic, then go if clear.

and Stop LIGHTS, as Stop Signs. -- come to a stop, (or very near to it), check for traffic, then go if clear.

@1 - Two sets of rules DOES serve predictability, if everyone follows the rules. There are different rules for Cops cars and Ambulances, but that doesn't seem to confuse anyone.

Furthermore, I have been treated --multiple times-- to cars that stop "for" me while I have a stop sign and they do not. Most recently on MLK & Pike while I was crossing MLK via Pike which has a stop sign (MLK does not). They were being "nice", and confusing the fuck out of me and the cars behind them.

If cars want bikes to act predictably, and I agree bikes should be predictable. Then cars should also act predictably and follow the damn rules. It's a (ahem) two-way street.
85
Take your fucking turn. Go back to kindergarten if you can't. You aren't entitled because of your mode of transport. Oh, you walk and ride the bus to work? Might explain why I missed my bus transfer when the bus I was on sat through 2 light cycles to make a right. Constant jay walkers. One bitch actually looked up from her phone after others had honked, and continued waltzing through the crosswalk against a now green light driving her phone.
No one is there. Go. I get that. A free pass?
Do not compare Seattle to New York. You jaywalk without looking... your parents down play your suicide at the wake. You jay wall in without looking in Seattle... Pedestrians "have" the right of way.

Take your turn.
86
I have no problem ticketing cyclists who break traffic laws.

But I also believe that the punishment should fit the crime.

Since traffic laws exist for the protection of other road users, and since a tenet of any reasonable justice system is that the punishment should fit the crime, cyclists ought to be fined proportionally to their ability to do damage.

How to compute that? A car at a given speed has something like 25 times the kinetic energy of a bike at the same speed, so the simplest answer would be to scale bike fines down by a factor of 25ish. A more data-driven approach might be to compare the risk of killing someone while operating a bike vs. a car--there the difference appears to be more like 10000 (and that's just from kinetic injuries, and doesn't count the fact that the driver of a car bears more responsibility for smog and global warming and sending troops to Iraq and whatnot).

Anyway. I'm all for treating cyclists as traffic, as long as the punishment fits the crime.
87
@82, way to miss the point.
88
@85- You don't know what we're talking about. The proposed law change wouldn't give anyone a jump in line. It applies to intersections at which there is no other traffic.

@87- Explain it to me. I'm listening. Well, I'll check back Monday probably.
89
@82 As a pedestrian commuter in and around the Seattle city core, I have been hit by both bicycles and cars, and prefer motorized vehicles.

A lot of this is because the city and it's traffic laws cause motorized vehicles to hit me only at low speeds, and the much greater surface area distributes the force much more evenly, whereas cyclists tend to clip me with some small portion of their surface and at higher speeds; sort of like the difference between falling down and getting hit with a baseball bat.

Further, motorized vehicles are readily identifiable, with make, model and license plates, are required to carry liability insurance, and drivers stop and check on me after contact, whereas cyclists are relatively anonymous and every cyclist that has hit me has fled.

With the exception of a hit-and-run road-rage incident that involved hospitalization, the injuries I've sustained from cyclists and one damn pedicab have all been markedly worse than what I've gotten from being hit by cars.

Sure, motorized vehicles kill more people and have such greater potential for violence that the difference is almost laughable, but as I encounter them, bicycles have done me so much more harm, and I doubt I am unique.
90
@89 "I have been hit by both bicycles and cars"

You're doing something wrong.
91
Wow I have been calling them California stops since forever and I am a PNW native
92
@90 Perhaps.

The rules of the road indicate that I was unfortunate enough to be there when someone else did something wrong.

As a long time pedestrian commuter, I am "there" a lot.
93
@78 I am very sorry for your stepmother, but according to traffic statistics about real accidents resulting in injury, property damage, or death, her circumstance is an incredibly tragic and unlikely exception.

In a world where our ability to enforce is not unlimited and violations are far, far greater in number than is safe for users of the road, we have to ask ourselves - where is the biggest problem? Not the newest problem or the most popular thing called a problem. The biggest problem. That is a question with a clear answer. Based on decades of stats about who is killing or hurting whom.

If every cyclist were a saint tomorrow, almost nothing would change. If every driver stopped texting, JUST TEXTING, thousands of lives would be saved in the next month.
94
And tell your idiot cyclist friends to GTF off the sidewalks. There is literally a bike line two feet away every single time I've almost been run over by a douchebag on a bicycle while walking on the sidewalk.
95
There are many times when I come to an all-way stop (bicycling) with only one other car who either arrives slightly after me or at the same time but to my left. I have the right-of-way; should I come to a full and complete stop and cause a delay before the car can move off its stop line, or should I just roll through and save us both time and energy?
96
A million fucking times no. Cyclists should follow the same rules that everyone else does, or everyone should be able to roll through stop signs and break all the same rules bicyclists do, and tickets for jaywalking should be eliminated.
97
I'm not really upset about having to stop at red lights. (I normally keep an eye on the changing light and get a head start on the cars behind me before my light goes green). However, I would LOVE to see our nanny state get rid of the helmet law and leave that choice up to the bike rider. Yes, when I'm taking a trip through downtown at rush hour, of course I'll wear my helmet. But on a hot afternoon, when I want to take quick trip to qfc using back streets, well, basically, fuck a helmet.
98
I'm late to this party, but as a pedestrian 95% of the time in San Francisco, and having been stuck twice by bicyclists and having had about dozen of near misses with bicyclists, this idea of not stopping at stop signs is dangerous.

Furthermore, it is an example of the fucking elite, egocentric and 'morally superior' attitudes that plague many cyclists. This discussion is all about bikes vs cars - as if there are no pedestrians.

I hope to create a pedestrian pepper-spay army to defend ourselves against pig-headed drivers and bicyclists. You all suck.
99
@93 What a bullshit post. Because drivers text, and some hooey uncited statistics, the risk of bicyclists plowing down a pedestrian is acceptable. Or something.

And your post was in response to someone whose stepmom was killed by a bicyclist.

Fucking pius POS.
100
How does pedestrian vs. cyclist vs. driver become a powderkeg forum topic? Do some (or all) of you live in some alternate universe mad max Seattle?
101
@100 Yes. There sure are a lot of heroes, out beyond Kingdome, and most of the road warriors I've encountered have been cyclists.

Not that everyone else isn't potentially dangerous, between being stupid, inattentive or just unlucky, but it does seem that much of the road (and sidewalk) rage is coming from fucks peddling their shit.