[*BCM*] Cambridge po-po sighting

rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org
Thu Oct 14 00:09:39 EDT 2004

hey russell,

i support you riding your bike however you desire.  and really you don't
sound like you ride that differently than me.  it's not like a get to
every light and run it on purpose.  when it feels right or advantageous
i run it, just as you sometimes do.  and it sounds like when you have a
law that says it's okay to run lights you'll do it all the more often. 
the only difference being "diplomacy" and, honestly, i don't really care
about being that diplomatic to cars.  cyclists and automobile drivers
are different. this seems to be a widely accepted fact, it's not just
me.  visually, the way they work, how they're treated in law books, etc.
 i'm not going to act like a car just because that's what car culture
wants.  and if cars get pissed that i beat them to some place i'm fine
with that.    

as for my analogy, i was responding to turtle's question of what i've
done to make things better for cyclist safety.  and i was saying that i
didn't think that the burden should be placed on the cyclist to make
things better.  just as it shouldn't be placed on african-americans.  it
probably will be, fine, but it shouldn't be.  and that's not where i
feel it's fairest to point fingers.  and i never claimed that i was
doing some great political act by running lights.  but there are plenty
of other laws that i feel are ridiculous to follow (ie. sodomy laws).  i
don't see any need for people to get those off the book before they have
sex.  i don't see the need to stop running lights before they change the
law.  and if some asshole cop gives me a ticket, i'll deal with it as
another annoyance of the state.  

and i think this whole, "you'll never get hit if you don't run red
lights and ride defensively" is ridiculous and misleading.  the three
times i got hit had nothing to do with running red lights or not riding
defensively.  i'm glad that you and turtle have not been hit-- and i
hope you never are.  but i know plenty of people who are very 
defensive riders that have been nailed-- many more than be put off as a
rare exception.  maybe boston is rougher than st. louis.  

and i never said ignore stop lights.  if the light is red, you should
take that into consideration and look and slow down and stop if
necessary.  i'm just saying that they shouldn't always mean stop to
cyclists (as you seem to think as well)


On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 16:47:44 -0500, "russell a willis iii"
<rawillis3 at juno.com> said:
> 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
> driving."
> 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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  rogerbwinn at letterboxes.org

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