Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lawbreaking and Traffic Policy

Excellently written post by Ed on CycleDog about lawbreaking and traffic policy and laws and enforcement.

Below is the text of the comment I added to the post.
In response to jamie: Police don't enforce all the rules because they can't. There aren't enough police and there are too many rules to know and enforce. The police officers have to make the same choices the rest of us do: What rules make the most sense to that person at any given moment. And there is just as much onus on cyclists to pay attention and be safe. Other than speed violations, I see more cyclists doing illegal things much more frequently than cars. Running red lights, cycling wrong way on residential streets.

I freely admit to breaking my share of traffic rules, particularly speed related. Another issue is our big vehicles pick up speed too easily. I find that going 25 mph is not an easy thing to do, both from the perspective of impatience and the challenge of paying so much attention to the speedometer and accelerator.
The local bike club here in RI is having discussions about cycling safety, and the biggest complaint anyone has is that the cyclists themselves aren't being safe and obeying traffic law. Riding 3 abreast, running red lights, not even slowing for stop signs, passing too close to other cyclists, going around and between vehicles (ala messengers). Most cyclists I now, including myself, don't stop for most stop signs, unless other vehicles are present or approaching, largely because on a bicycle, stopping and starting are really annoying, made worse by some our insistence on using clipless pedals that infringe our ability to safely stop quickly. (and as i read recently, for very questionable mechanical force transmission advantages, except in particular situations).

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