Every once in awhile I get caught up in the cyclist not stopping for signs controversy. Just yesterday I walked next door to the store to grab a soda and was ambushed by a couple of guys who I could tell pretty much hated bikes on the street.
I try to never get in a argument and always keep my cool. I try not to say anything to piss them off as the consequences are never pleasant. They told me those bikers who wear the tight pants should not be allowed on the road. They dont pay taxes. They dont stop at stop signs. So on and so forth. I won’t stereotype but you can imagine the type of person I was dealing with here.
As far as stopping for lights I totally agreed with them and that made them step down from the box they were on. There are just too many riders who just dont stop at signs and I wish the police would enforce it more.
There is some degree of stop sign abuse. First off the “blowing” right thru is done on a regular basis. I dont do that. I should say I dont do that anymore. I’ve been riding with some that blow right thru a red light. Not even slowing down. Sure, I’ve done it a few times in the past but now Im older and own a bike store. I just dont do it.
The more common rolling stop is what I guess I practice. I’ll slow, downshift a bit and look left and right on a very slow roll. Not quite trackstanding but close. And then I’ll go. So my comment to a complaint on that practice is look at 90% of the cars doing the same thing. You dont have to put a foot down to respect the stop sign. Just slow down. Do it.
Even in a group ride the first half (or all) should slow to a roll. And then wait till you’re all there and together proceed.
Other issues those two brought up is single file. Sometimes even police do not know this rule. You are allowed to ride two abreast if you are not impeding traffic. One of the dudes said he had to slow down and drive around. That is not impeding. But the definition of impeding is a grey area. My definition is that a car cannot get around at all. Then you singler out to let them thru, like in a construction area or something. So simply say he had to slow down because you were riding there is not really impeding. I could tell these dudes just hated having to slow down for a bike. Such inconvenience.
Bikes have the same rights to be on the same road as a car. At the same time. However once on the road we cannot defend ourselves. Cars and trucks win everytime. So be careful.
Long gone are the days where some car gives you crap and you wave the finger back at them. These days you try to get the tag number, not always possible. But if you can I found that the police are much better at paying the driver a visit. I heard of them doing that many times.
Don’t take matters into your own hands. When I do get some crap from a driver, whether I deserved it or not its always a friendly wave back as I try to read the plate. If the driver stops and harrases. Well, the plate is in plain sight.
Today we have some technology on our side. There are now several rear facing lights that have a small camera. Some front camera’s too. While its not caught on fast here there are a ton of cars with dashcams in Europe, soon to be here too. The cost of those are coming way down.
Anyway, my conversation that day could have been ugly, but it wasn’t. You just dont want to get in a shouting match over it. Remember you have the same right as a car and need to follow the same laws too.