Thursday, November 8, 2007

Me Too

Normally I pride myself on being a good example when I ride. Be it on the road or trail, I try to obey traffic signs/signals, yield to oncoming vehicles, hikers, uphill riders, dismount and move off the trail around horses, signal when I need to turn and/or change lanes, etc. However, there are times when I ride with guys who don't worry much about the above and I'm embarrassed to say that in most cases I end up following suit in order to stay with the group. Well, after reading Marco's post on the subject I've decided that I too will continue to ride how I ride, regardless of who I happen to be with and how they choose to behave.


Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with you. Few things more annoying than what happened to me while riding back from a crit this summer. Small group of cyclists pretty much obeying the rules of the road. A car pulls up at the stop light we are all stopped at and asks me why we were in the middle of the lane.

They were not rude, not mean, just uninformed.

I explained we have the same rights as cars do and it's safer for us to ride in the lane than on the shoulder most of the time. We're just obeying the laws.

So what happens? Two dorks in our group wait for a car to cross the road and then pedal through the red light because cross traffic had thinned.

Piotrek said...

Me too! I believe it's usually just one person in a group that doesn't care, the rest just follows for various reasons. If all those followers resolved not to follow, the dork would end up waiting for the rest and eventually learning the lesson.

Anonymous said...

Along Wasatch Drive between Parleys and Emigration is probably the worst place for this. Stop signs don't mea anything more than to turn your head and make sure you don't get squished.

I'll admit to rolling through those on most occasions.

Stop lights? I always stop. Why would anyone roll through a red light?

Eat Sleep MTB said...

Yah, I do pretty good at following the rules of the road, but no matter how long you act like a car, the majority of cars will never treat you like one.

When was the last time you rode on a two lane road and cars actually used their blinker, and made a legal lane change to go safely around you? Most just slip by inches from your shoulder, more worried about scratching their SUV than taking your life.

goat said...


The rules of the road are not some kind of higher moral order. They are not an end in and of themselves. And they don't deserve consideration other than for the end they were intended.

Traffic laws are merely a convenient (and generally productive) social device intended to facilitate cooperation. As such, they are only necessary when there _is_ a need for cooperation.

In my car, when I pull up to a stop light and it's clear there is no one coming from anywhere, there's no way I'm going to sit around and wait for the light to turn green. To do so would leave reason to stare, dumbfounded, the beaten and bruised step-child of society gone mad. A traffic signal has purpose when there is traffic to direct. When there is no traffic, the signal serves no purpose.

The same principle applies to cycling, only more so, for the simple reason that the traffic code was penned with motorists in mind, not cyclists. Legality aside (the issue of what is and is not legal should never be confused with what is and is not moral), cyclists are traffic anomalies. Their needs and capabilities on the road are far different than that of motorized traffic and those differences should dictate what is and is not appropriate cycling behavior. That these differences are not appropriately codified into law is not my problem (unless I find myself arguing the point in court, which in 20 years of cycling I've only had to do once, and though that encounter resulted in my having to pay a fine, the value of the story alone has been well worth the $57, to say nothing of the moral liberation I feel not worrying about laws that serve no rational purpose every time I'm out for a ride).

Anonymous said...

From experience, this will be all together easier for you (Mark) to accomplish in Utah, than it will for Marco in CA. If for no other reason, we just don't have 150+ rider group rides where if you stop they will all run into the back of you. Plus, it's way easier here to get into the sticks where there aren't any stop lights.
I say "red light, turn right!!"

UtRider said...

goat - Yours was a classic response which I thoroughly enjoyed and half expected. However, I would have to disagree with you on almost all points. If we expect cars to treat us well (yield, give us the 3 foot buffer defined by law, etc.) then we as cyclists need to treat cars well. Even if that means sitting at a stop sign with a handful of cars headed in the same direction. If we go through the intersection it looks bad and if they go through as well that's even worse. The last thing I want is to worry about my safety driving/riding through GREEN lights for fear that some person doesn't see me and decides to run the red in the other direction.

In the grand scheme of things an extra 2-3 minutes at a red light is not going to matter.

Unknown said...

where in Utah do you guys ride? I went to the university of utah for a couple of years.


goat said...

I didn't say anything about treating motorists _poorly_. I certainly wouldn't purposefully do anything to disrupt a motorist's normal course (other than ride my bike on the side of the road, which is probably frustration enough for most motorists). In other words, I'm not going to disobey a traffic signal if so doing inconveniences a motorist or in some other way disrupts the 'cooperative facilitator' that is traffic law.

However, I'm also not going to follow rules for rules' sake, nor for the sake of positive impression management, because the impression that is being managed is just that--that rules are worth following because they are rules and not because of their functional value. I am a higher order moral being than that. And so are you. :-)

Eat Sleep MTB said...

Yes, "positive impression management", I see that a lot here in the Utah biking culture. I think 99% of car drivers don't notice (or even see), care, change as a result, or even remember 2 seconds later what any cyclist did.

I once got hit by a guy, he got out of this car, checked the front of his bumper, got back in and drove off like I was a dead deer. But I am not bitter!

primetime formerly known as slyfox said...

i dont wait for lights or stop signs, in a car or on a bike. i think its stupid sitting there for no reason when nobody is coming.
its not the 2-3 mins, its the 2-3 mins at 100 lights. i have better things to do than wait around for some computer timed light to tell me if i can go when i can look and see if anyone is there and decide on my own.