Day 119: To Stop or Not To Stop?

2 05 2010

There was an interesting op-ed piece about cycling in the New York Times today by contributor Chris Raschka. In the article, the writer talks about his new challenge – stopping at stop lights in New York City. He explained that he is doing it not out of concern for his own safety or from getting a traffic ticket. Rather, he’s doing it simply to see if it can be done. He stated that he never saw another cyclist waiting at a red light simply because it was red. He was passed by commuters, children, even elderly women.

On a daily basis, I see cyclists running red lights all the time. Some slow down, look both ways, then proceed through the intersection. Others barely even slow down. In an average day, I’d guesstimate that only one in ten riders comes to a full stop and waits for the signal to change. If I’m riding in traffic, I stop at red lights and wait for the green light. I’ve had several motorists look at me strangely as if to say, “What are you waiting for? Go!” If I’m riding in a neighborhood, however, I may not always completely stop for stop signs. Traffic signals, yes; stop signs, not always. I do slow down and look to see if it’s clear to go before I proceed. I think it all comes down to our own personal safety.

I do agree that in order for cyclists to be respected as a vehicle, we should obey the same rules motorists have to follow. But the stop-or-not-stop issue adds confusion to the argument, I think. If I’m going to go straight once the light changes, then I take the lane when I stop. I want to make sure I’m seen by the car behind me. Often it seems that no matter what we do, we’re always going to piss of motorists at some point. I do the best I can to not intentionally piss motorists off, but I realize some are going to be upset if I run a red light and some are going to be upset if I stop at a red light. I just do what I feel is the best choice for my personal safety. And I think sometimes that’s all we can do. Always be aware of your surroundings and ride safe.

Do you stop at stop lights? Stop signs? All the time or some of the time? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast/Lunch:
— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 385
— Builder Bar = 270

Dinner:
— Breaded chicken with spanish rice (at a Cuban restaurant, so I don’t know how to estimate calories on this.)
— Iced tea = 0

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream cup = 120

Exercise:
— Stationary trainer for 30 minutes, 10 mph average (estimate) = 160 cal. burned

Life is journey. Enjoy the ride!

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.

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3 responses

3 05 2010
Tim

I’m not sure what confusion can be caused by a cyclist stopping for signs/signals. Although I’ve often wondered at motorists at four-way stops who sit there staring at me thinking I have right of way when clearly I do not. The confusion is being caused by the dolts that don’t stop.

Following the rules is the only answer. Stop means stop. Yes, motorists run red lights (although they think they haven’t) and it is rare to see a car come to a complete stop at a stop sign anymore.

3 05 2010
cyclingproject365

I’ve had the same experience, Tim with people at four-way stops. It seems like some people see a cyclist at one of the stops and their brain is incapable of processing who should go next. I find it frustrating and amusing at the same time. I agree that following the traffic rules seems to be the safest answer for everyone – cars and bike alike.

4 05 2010
Day 121: Annoying Ice Cream Truck Music « Cyclingproject365

[…] brief episode of traffic confusion reinforced a comment that Tim from An Old Guy on Two Wheels made the other day about confusion at four-way stops. When a […]

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