Andy Boenau of the Urbanism Speakeasy, a weekly internet broadcast about human-scale design, promotes his latest venture, Walk Lobby TV with a clever infographic demonstrating the rules of the road for cyclists, as determined by transport infrastructure authorities. He is certainly right about the helmet; you could be flattened by a steamroller like Wile E.Coyote and the newspapers would still say "x was not wearing a helmet." See the whole infographic below.
Meanwhile in the Toronto Star, urbanist and cyclist John Barber writes a different set of realistic rules of the road for cyclists, the things that make drivers foam at the mouths in comments sections and that are unfortunately often true, including the questions of stop signs every 266 feet, traffic lights that don't change, traffic control mazes that keep cars from speeding through residential areas but make it impossible to go straight, and suburban high speed arteries without bike lanes that are impossible to cycle on, next to enticing empty sidewalks because nobody walks there. For example:
1. Stop signs do not apply to you. The ubiquitous stop sign is an evil made necessary by the life-threatening danger of motorized traffic. Nobody ever erected a stop sign to prevent death by bike. But cyclists who attempt to obey the command — to come to a full stop at the end of every block, then struggle back up to speed only to stop so soon again — will quickly find themselves frustrated, exhausted and late.
It remains a fact that no cyclist in the history of the world has ever been seen coming to a full stop at an empty intersection — not even police cyclists. Ergo, it’s safe to go.
The fact remains that in cities where the car rules, the rules are made for cars. It is almost impossible not to break some of them when you are on a bike. John Barber perhaps overstates the case but as both he and Andy Boenau both point out, bikes are not cars.