Laws of cycling chaos
- email@example.com wrote:
> BADDELEY'S LAW OF URBAN CYCLING: If nobody else is endangered and the rightWhen I was in Beijing in 1990, I couldn't help noticing the apparently
> thing is more dangerous than the wrong thing, I am inclined to do the
> "wrong" thing if it ensures my safety and the safety of others around me
> whether in cars, walking or cycling.
chaotic traffic patterns that the bicycle commuters followed.
A young American woman was teaching at the school where we stayed, and
she commuted by bicycle every day from her official foreigners' lodgings
on the other side of the city. She told us that the trip was really
scary at first until she developed a kind of sixth sense for what the
other cyclists were going to do. Her feeling was that everyone just went
where they needed to go, and the other cyclists just adjusted their own
I noticed something similar during the year when I was traveling into
New York City by car twice a month. (I know, I know, but I was coming
from Ithaca, and I always brought a load of riders.) It soon became
clear that if I obeyed the official traffic rules, I would just confuse
people. If I needed to switch lanes, for instance, I just gave a token
signal and immediately moved over, and a space opened up. Similarly, I
learned to watch for people who were going to switch lanes in front of me.
P.S. As far as the question about the Portland freeway is concerned, I
wasn't living here when it was removed, but there was a whole cohort of
young politicians in the 1970s who were interested in avoiding the urban
planning disasters that had occurred in other West Coast cities.
- When my residential street complained about high traffic speeds, we were
told unequivocally that the city would NOT put in a four-way stop
because "stop signs should only be used to resolve right-of-way issues."
After six months, they put in the stop signs. Now the motorists slow
down - if only as they near this corner - and stop, while the cyclists,
strollers, skaters and pedestrians travel right on through; because
there never was a right-of-way issue, this is not a problem. Everyone is
happier, except those who write the "engineering standards". Go figure.
No one obeys all the traffic rules. Neither motorist, nor cyclist. Some
cyclists, suffering from an excessive amount of "act white and
everything will be alright," believe that they they should ride letter
perfectly. Me, I take my lessons from motorists; they've taught me
rolling stops, running yellow lights, lane splitting (from the
motorcyclists) and most important: predictability.
Kevin Pfeiffer <pfeiffer@...> - Pasadena, California, USA
The ESL Parlor - now serving English by the cup!
- On 5 May 2001, at 16:47, Kevin Pfeiffer wrote:
>(...)Nor do I believe that it is necessary to be more Catholic than the
> No one obeys all the traffic rules. Neither motorist, nor cyclist.
> Some cyclists, suffering from an excessive amount of "act white and
> everything will be alright," believe that they they should ride letter
> perfectly. Me, I take my lessons from motorists; they've taught me
> rolling stops, running yellow lights, lane splitting (from the
> motorcyclists) and most important: predictability.
Pope. However, I think that it's important politically, if not
practically, for cyclists to remain on the moral high ground. I
always try to obey the laws at least as well as motorists - or
better. For example I do stop for red lights, as do motorists.
(Happily, the exceptions are very rare.) However, I am often on the
pedals and moving across the heavy white stop line when the light
changes to green and I try to make as good a rolling stop at stop
signs as your average motorist. (I should note that there is some
talk in North America about changing the majority of "stops" to
"yield", as is the norm in Europe.) I think that enforcement of traffic
law needs to be enforced better than it is now, especially with
respect to speed limits.
Wade Eide, who only speeds in the 40 kmh zone in Westmount
when he has a wind in his back.