[*BCM*] Cambridge po-po sighting
russell a willis iii
rawillis3 at juno.com
Wed Oct 13 17:47:44 EDT 2004
I am with Turil on this stuff. While it may be rational to put through
legislation permitting bikes to treat stop signs as yields and red lights
as stop and proceed with caution, or whatever (the "rolling stop" rule,
which exists already in, I forget, Utah or somewhere), this is not
presently the law, and while I agree that the existing laws were written
with automobiles in mind, it is the better part of discretion to observe
the existing law, not only so you do not get busted, but because it is
good diplomacy in the effort to get motorists to acknowledge your right
to the road. If you assert your place in the lane, you will have a
perfectly good "view" of cross traffic, you will not get right-hooked,
you will not need to "race" for a place in the lane on the other side of
the intersection, you will not be forced into the door zone, etc. Like
Turil, I have never been hit, much less injured, by observing these
protocols. Let me make it clear that I do not allow motorists to force
me right when I do not choose to move right. If it is important to my
safety to be in the middle of the lane, that is where I will be. Try it,
you'll like it.
I do not buy the analogy to blacks having to do all the lifting to adjust
the inequities resulting from a history of slavery and persistent racism.
I do not think anyone in that continuing effort says it is okay to break
laws, except as an act of civil disobedience, to make a point (and
routinely violating traffic laws because you think a bike is "different"
from a car is not exactly a "demonstration").
Here in Missouri, I have been active with the St. Louis Regional Bicycle
Federation and the Missouri Bicycle Federation in drafting legislation
that would, among many other things (three-foot passing rule, etc.)
permit the "rolling stop." But until this is actually enacted, I will
(generally) observe the existing law, requiring a full stop, etc.
I have noticed that motorists tend to be impatient and angry. Always.
My theory is that when you get into an auto, somehow you expect to arrive
immediately at your destination, and anything (just driving time, let
alone traffic jams or even momentary delays) frustrates that expectation.
Getting behind the wheel of a car by definition makes you unhappy.
Whatever, doesn't matter. Yes, hostile behavior by motorists presents a
much greater physical danger to unprotected cyclists (and pedestrians)
than to other motorists, but with rare exceptions it is not difficult to
protect yourself through what they used to refer to as "defensive
In sum: there are good reasons to observe stops, and the reasons Roger
has put forward to ignore them do not persuade me.
rawillis3 at juno.com
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