[*BCM*] Cambridge po-po sighting

rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org
Wed Oct 13 15:44:06 EDT 2004

i disagree with the idea that more law enforcement of bicycles as if
they're cars is actually going to make anything safer for a cyclist.  so
i'm riding in central square, and i run a red light.  here's why it's

1) i know what the cars that i'm cutting through are more likely to do. 
i get a better view of them than cars beside me.  they also get a better
view of me.
2) i get a headstart on cars.  this allows me to establish myself in the
lane rather than going "unnoticed" by the cars beside me.
3) i can rider wider in the lane, and thus decrease my chance of getting
doored.  even when there are bicycle lanes, it's usually tough cookies
for us cyclists. 

if i don't run the red light, i don't get position, i might get cut off
by a car that's turning right that just didn't see me, and i might get
caught between a van a car that's opening it's door (which almost
happened to me yesterday).  

fact of the matter is, it's two different worlds for cyclists and cars
on the road.  and the roads are made pretty much for just the cars.  the
lanes with cars aren't that safe and the roads with bike lanes aren't
that safe.  so if the deck is stacked against me, why would i play by
the rules, other than there's some doof in a blue uniform who's going to
give me a ticket because i ran the light.  i'm not going to act like a
"respectable vehicle operator" and risk my safety.  we don't have equal
rights on the road, no matter what some worthless law states.  and i
don't see why we should act like it.  

i mean to me, that's what critical mass is about.  saying, "we're not
the same.  and until you do something to make us more equal, we're going
to do what we have to to level the playing field.  and that means
running lights and bringing traffic down to our speed.  and having fun. 
and corking intersections.  so deal with it, and if you don't want to,
then do something to fix it, so i don't have to watch all of my friends
riding bicycles get hit.  and so i won't get hit again myself." during
the ride we don't stop at all the lights and follow all the rules. we
follow a lot, just not the one's that make things unsafe for us.  and i
think doing that on a personal level makes a lot of sense.

(ride with the mass often, post to the mass rarely)
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 15:22:33 -0400, "Lisa Williams" <lisa at cadence90.com>
> This is a great post, and describes what I believe in a nutshell.  And 
> enforcement does play a part in it.  I believe that motor vehicle 
> operators wouldn't obey as much of the traffic law as they do if there 
> were no threat of enforcement. 
> The reason bike riders don't obey traffic law is because there is little 
> or no enforcement.  Enforcement is the most effective form of education.
> Lisa W.
> turtle wrote:
> >If you want to be respected on the roads, then you yourself have to ride
> >respectably.  Running a red light is illegal and obnoxious, so why
> >shouldn't you get a ticket for it?   And the cops certainly do give
> >tickets to car drivers all the time for running red lights. (Cambridge
> >is even pushing the state to allow them to use cameras to identify all
> >the cars running red lights, like they do in England - whether or not
> >you like the idea, is still shows that they take it seriously.)
> >
> >As a bicyclist, you can't have it both ways. Either you are considered a
> >legal vehicle operator, or you aren't!  If you are, you have the same
> >right to use the roads as other vehicle operators, but with those
> >rights come responsibility to drive your vehicle within the same
> >regulations as everyone else.  If you don't believe that you should be
> >considered a legal vehicle operator, and instead some sort of "toy"
> >owner, then you may drive how ever you want, but you won't have any
> >legal protection when you get hit or hit someone else.  
> >
> >The law says you are a legal vehicle operator, with equal rights to the
> >road.  And I think that it's a good idea, so I choose to take my place
> >in traffic as an equal member, and I respect the traffic laws even when
> >I'm in a hurry, or think that I can "get away with it".  I do this
> >because I value my rights to use the road (especially when some folks
> >don't want me there at all!).
> >
> >-Turtle
> >Who's Streets?  Everyone's streets!
> >
> >HANDY TIP: if you want to use a pedestrian signal to cross a street with
> >a bike, you need to dismount and WALK your bike across.  This is legal,
> >and socially acceptable, and it shows how incredibly adaptable bicycles
> >are, compared to motor vehicles!
> >_______________________________________________
> >Boston Critical Mass mailing list
> >list at bostoncriticalmass.org
> >http://bostoncriticalmass.org/list
> >  
> >
> _______________________________________________
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  rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org

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