Red Lights and People on Bikes

This contentious issue is in the news everywhere. This important article by Doug Gordon is from 2014, and not much has changed. In many cities the dispute about bicyclists’ rights at intersections is degrading the relationship between law enforcement and people riding bikes (looking at you NYPD) and people driving vehicles. In most cities in the US there are #toomanycars, and people walking and on bikes are being killed. People on bikes at intersections are just safer when they can get away from cars and trucks. Until the rules change we need to apply common sense and focus on safety of the most vulnerable road users.

Here’s the the last, spot on comment to the article:

““It is like expecting badminton players to use the rules of squash.”

Worse. It’s like expecting badminton players to use the rules of squash because you forced them to play on a squash court which was obviously designed with no concessions to badminton. And if they don’t follow the rules it will upset the real squash players.

Or maybe it’s like the penguins turn up to the zoo to be told there’s no penguin enclosure – not enough room or money… – so they have to man up and get in with the lions for the duration, and because of that they have to get locked into little cages every night like the lions, just for consistency.””

Cyclists and Red Lights: Actually, It’s Complicated

MAY 23, 2014

I knew it was coming.

The minute I finished reading Joseph Stromberg’s piece on Vox, “Why cyclists should be able to roll through stop signs and ride through red lights,” I had a feeling that a response would be published by someone somewhere — Felix Salmon? Slate? — and that it would have a somewhat tsk-tsk-sounding headline. “No they shouldn’t” or something like that. I had been waiting to weigh in on the subject of cyclists and red lights myself, in fact, until such a piece was written, because I knew it would frame the discussion in a typically binary fashion and I was hoping to stake out a more nuanced position.

Well, the response I was waiting for was just published on In a piece headlined “Why bikers should live by the same laws as everyone else,” Ben Adler says that and anyone advocating for Idaho stop laws, at least in cities, has it wrong.

I had a lot of problems with this piece, starting with the title. Should bikers live by the same laws as everyone else? What does that even mean? First of all, which laws? The laws applying to drivers or the laws applying to pedestrians? Because the laws that apply to each of those groups are very different. (Pedestrians, for example, can’t walk on interstate highways, while drivers, at least in theory, aren’t supposed to drive on sidewalks.) Cyclists, being a third thing somewhere between pedestrians and drivers — but obviously much closer to the pedestrian side of the spectrum — need their own laws. Which was essentially what Stromberg argued at Vox.

Read about it~

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