Friday, December 16, 2016

Bicyclists! If you want to live, blow that red light!




     For Mad Max messengers, tattooed, wrapped in chains and merino wool, riding their $2,000 titanium alloy bicycles painted matte black to deter thieves, a red light is not a command to stop so much as a gentle hint there might be traffic whizzing ahead, so they should put on a burst of speed when threading between the cars and trucks.
     I knew bike messengers did that. Turns out, most everybody else does too.
     At least according to "POLICIES FOR PEDALING: Managing the Tradeoff between Speed & Safety for Biking in Chicago," a new study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.
     Turns out only 1 in 50 cyclists stop at stop signs if there's no traffic coming. A quarter don't stop when there is traffic. Red lights fare a bit better.
     Not only that, but the study gives the practice a big thumbs up.
     Which is a relief because, to be honest, even I roll through the stop signs and sometimes the lights.
     On my sky blue Divvy, huffing from Point A to Point B, I come to a red light, slow, and yes, I will jut a foot out and actually stop if there's cross traffic coming. If not, a quick glance left and right, a mental "So long, suckers!" tossed at the cars dutifully waiting, and onward across the street.

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4 comments:

  1. Don't try riding that right now.

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  2. It's been a long time since I rode a bike in the street, and to be honest, as a motorist I'm no fan of them. But even I thought that this "make bicyclists obey every single traffic law" stuff was silly. Bikes aren't like cars. They're powered by muscle, and it's dumb bordering on cruel to make them stop and start up again at every last red light and stop sign.

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    Replies
    1. we honestly are not fans of the motorists we share the streets with either. most of whom pay little attention to the traffic laws.

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  3. I almost got a ticket for blowing a red light on my bicycle a few years ago, but was smart enough to tell the cop that I had left my driver's license at home and with a harsh admonition to pay attention to traffic signals and a look of disgust on his face he reluctantly let me go.

    john

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