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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