Stop Means Stop: Slate on Cycling

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Slate's
Christopher Beam asks why cyclists tend to break the law and ignore stop signs. He talks to Andy Thornley of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who happens to agree with me:

"If there weren't cars, we wouldn't need stop signs," says Andy Thornley of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "They're not there for bicycles...."You didn't need stop signs until cars were in common use," says Thornley. "You just looked in the eyes of the other guy and it sorted itself out."

Beam notes that there are two kinds of cycling advocates: "Vehicularists" who say that bikes should act like cars, go where cars go and follow the rules for cars, and "facilitators" who demand an infrastructure of bike lanes, paths and separate bike-friendly rules.However Beam says that building bike lanes is just giving in to cars, giving up cyclist rights.

Vehicularists see the potential transformation of America into a Euro-style bike paradise not just as a far-fetched utopia but as an insult. Dedicated bike paths are an admission that the cyclist deserves pity and should be walled off from the world. Bike paths are separate but unequal--a way for motorists to get bikers out of their way.....You know who else liked bike paths? say vehicularists. Hitler.

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Right. Just yesterday I counted six delivery vehicles parked in the bike lane on one street, pushing me out into the streetcar tracks. The bike lanes in this town are little more than short term parking spots. When I got onto another street without a bike lane I almost got clipped twice by speeding cars, and then got stopped by a motorcycle cop for starting just a bit too soon before a light turned green at an empty intersection, and threatened with three demerits and a $128 buck ticket (he let me go with a warning). The fact is, whether you are a vehicularist or a facilitator, the car still wins.

More on cycling and stop signs:


It's Time To Rip Out The Stop Signs And Stop Blaming Cyclists
Should Cyclists be Allowed to Blow Through Stop Signs?

Tags: Bikes | Biking

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