2 thoughts on “Same Road, Same Rules

  1. joe says:

    This is a tough statement to make. I live in Illinois, and the laws here were designed for cars- not bicycles. I often find myself breaking the law in the interest of practicality and safety. I find it irritating when cyclists complain about other cyclists breaking the law. Motorists find this irritating as well, but if I actually came to a stop at every four way stop how many motorists would respect my order of arrival at the intersection? I know from experience that they wouldn’t, and they would use my hesitation as an opportunity to bust through the intersection ahead of me. Further, how many motorists are interested in waiting behind a cyclist at a stop?

    How about passing laws in Illinois? If a motorist passes a cyclist they only have to provide three feet of space- and we are stoked that Illinois just passed that law. If you are cyclists passing a motorist you are required to have eight feet of unobstructed pavement or a free lane to do so. You are also required to pass on the left (despite the fact that we are clearly supposed to ride on the right). That’s just stupid- and it goes to show how little understanding the legislature has about the practicality of riding a bicycle.

    Sure- cyclists need to be respectful of motorists, but that doesn’t mean we need to follow laws that are ludicrous or unsafe when applied to cyclists as opposed to motorists.

    No overweight legislator who drives an SUV and thinks bikes are toys is going to tell me how to ride a bike.

    I can appreciate that some cyclists need to be more cautious, but give me a break- motorists break just as many rules as cyclists. As far as I can tell, there isn’t any problem with cyclists breaking the speed limit, but motorists get to do it with impunity in Chicago, and don’t get me started on stop signs…

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    I *think* the point of the slogan is that often cyclists are treated as second (third?) class citizens and is a call for equality. I’m all for that. At the same time, while I think that cyclists should have rules specifically for them, though I believe that we’re a long way from that in most places – except where separated bike lanes have been created.

    Now my comment is simply that while cyclists are a minority and fighting for respect the large peleton of folks blowing through lights or stop signs, and generally ignoring the “share” portion of the program as much as any collection of motorists does not help the cause.

    The utopia of utter respect and each group applying rules that make sense for them is just that, and therefore not part of my current thinking. That said, I routinely stop for stop signs and all other traffic signals on my bike as I would in my car. I roll through the same ones, and stop at the same ones. I take up the lane space I need to while respecting the rules, and folks around here (metro New York area) deal with it, even if not all of them like it.

    Just yesterday someone barely passed three of us riding single file on the right hand side of the road, honking and generally being rude. The pass was clearly not legal as the right hand mirror was within inches of two of us, despite us not having any more space to yield. It happens. Part and parcel these days… and get me started on the fixie/messenger style of riding in NYC.

    But ya know, there’s room for a bit of everything. And at the moment I accept the soup that it is, and condemn no one. Still, in the fight for respect, we have a greater than fair share of responsibility at the moment.

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