There are many people in this world who like to argue to hear themselves. Then there are others who would just assume turn and run when it appears conflict is about to begin. And there are those who will stand up somewhere in the middle. This is my attempt to stand up and voice a few concerns to the cycling community with the hopes of getting wheels to turn in the brains of some readers to help make our passion a bit safer for all: cyclists and drivers.
No matter how inconvenient, this is something we really should work on. Yes, it kills our averages. Yes, stopping messes up our momentum. Yes, many drivers wave us through anyway. And yes – we really do need to stop at signs (especially when drivers are present.)
Why is there animosity between drivers and cyclists? Because “the same rules of the road don’t apply to cyclists.” It’s just not “fair.” Oh really? Yet we get mad when they don’t give us 3 feet. We wave our arms (or fingers) at them, yell and scream that “YOU GOTTA GIVE US 3 FEET!!!!”
Can we have it both ways? Can we really pick and choose which laws to obey and which ones to expect drivers to abide by? Think about it. What if drivers blew through stop signs in our paths?
I will be the first to tell you that it’s just plain annoying to have to come to a complete stop at every sign. I will also be the first to tell you that when there is no traffic or if I’m in a group where no one stops I go with the flow. Keep in mind, however, that some 29 tickets were given out one Saturday morning at a local ride when the entire group ran a stop sign. Now that group stops and every single sign, puts a foot down and has just accepted it as “the way it is.”
So yesterday, while riding through a little town I tried to think of “good” things that can come out of obeying stop signs:
1) Drivers know what to expect. They feel safer and notice that we, too, want to share the road safely.
2) It’s a good way to practice tracking.
3) Provides some power start practice.
4) It’s good PR for our cycling community.
5) It builds respect from drivers. Let’s not give critics ammunition to use against us.
6) It is safer for everyone.
7) It’s the law.
You may not agree. That’s OK, but it is something to consider. It is the law. Do what you think is right but just understand that when drivers see us blow through stop signs their resentment towards us grows. As for me, I like knowing they give us 3′. When cars are around, I’m stopping. Share the road goes both ways.