Love your "shocking" system!
The thing that drives me nuts, as a driver, is when bikers around here ride against traffic, like when people walk against traffic.. it's not the same.. people just have forgotten that bikes are vehicles, just like cars, and they should be reminded how dangerous is can be to *not* pay attention to traffic laws.
When I was a kid, we were even taught to use hand signals to let people know if we were going left or right.. that might be a bit much to expect these days, but at the very least, people should heed traffic lights.
Debs _________________ There is no Wisdom greater than Kindness
Joined: 24 Aug 2006 Posts: 85 Location: Toronto, Canada
Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:25 pm Post subject:
I've recently taken up biking fairly seriously (biked 124 km this past weekend!). My personal policy is that I stop at traffic lights, but stop signs are more of a free for all. There are SO MANY stop signs in my area and you lose so much momentum every time you stop. If there's another car at the intersection I will stop, but if not, I just slow down to make sure it's safe, and roll on through.
It bugs me as a driver when bikes run stop signs but as a biker I just can't handle having to come to a complete stop so often. LOL. I guess I'm a hypocrite.
Joined: 12 Apr 2005 Posts: 5738 Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:29 pm Post subject:
Thanks, Deb -- glad you got a kick out of it.
Something I forgot to mention: One of the great things about biking is that you're not just a biker, you're this kind of hybrid entity. When I do feel an irresistible urge to break the law, I dismount and switch to pedestrian mode (sometimes this is useful even when you aren't breaking the law).
Breaking the law is obviously never great, but I think this tranformative lawlessness is less awful than it might seem at first because:
1) It's objectively safer, on average. You might be just as "wrong," but on foot you're moving more slowly and stably.
2) It trains you that there is a cost to breaking the law. You have to take a moment to dismount. Slowly this cost trains you to break the law less frequently.
I'm an unrepentant, chaotic evil biker (biked 1275 km (a little under 800 mi) this summer and wrecked havoc all over the place!)
Naw just kidding for the evil part. Although I must admit that I'm not the most lawful biker in town, I have noticed that signalling (which is still quite in fashion in Ottawa these days and a practice of mine) is a great way to extend life expectancy and avoid bad encounters with cars!
In fact, I've been biking between 1000 (625 mi) and 2000 km (1250 mi) per year for the last 5 years and I had only one tiny rubbing with a car (partly my fault) so I guess I'm not too bad. The thing though is that I never think that a car has seen me or will try to avoid me. I avoid the cars, that way I'm never in harm's way.
I should try to be a bit more lawful...
Just my 2 cents. Not much actually.
P.S. Just for gloating pleasure, you now "know" two persons who own medieval weapons and armors. I own two-handed swords, rapier and main-gauche. I also made my own reinforced/studded leather armor. _________________ Bis vincit qui se vincit in victoriam
I just found your podcast via shovelglove, and I heartily resonate with the LGB proposal!
In earlier years I cycled daily in central London with no regard for traffic signals. For thrills. Luckily I had no serious accidents but probably annoyed many people.
Around 2008 I started cycling with my baby daughter which obviously changed everything. I found that, even when I was cycling alone, I was fed up with other road-users treating pedestrians like shit.
In the UK if somebody is waiting to cross at a zebra crossing they have the right of way, but in London most road users will conveniently fail to notice that somebody is waiting to cross until they actually step onto the road. And cyclists will often just buzz through regardless.
So I started making a point of stopping at zebra crossing when pedestrians were waiting. People are often surprised but usually appreciative, with a smile and a thankyou. It's nice to get a bit of human contact in the city!
Still though, cars don't always stop, so the final step, after stopping and smiling, is to then turn to look behind yourself and make eye contact with the oncoming driver.
No driver can withstand the steady gaze of a righteous rule-abiding cyclist!
Ok maybe they still won't stop, but at least you can share the moment with your new ally, the pedestrian: "What a wanker eh?!"
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