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Thread: Should Cyclists Be Allowed to Yield at Stop Signs?

  1. #11
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    I don't mind the debate, but the core principle, in my mind, is that cyclists are simply not a sufficient modal share that this would create an issue. If half of all traffic were bikes, this would be unworkable. I'm uncomfortable with otherwise generally applicable traffic regulation that are defensible on safety grounds being waived primarily because we're too few to matter.

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    My theory: It is all about horsepower and traffic density.

    In Manila every vehicle is underpowered and severely overloaded. There are no traffic lights or stop signs. Everyone just goes...but very slowly. It appears chaotic and inefficient. 3 striped lanes turn into 4 lanes of cars plus filtering for 5 lanes of mopeds with pedestrians crossing at any point at diagonals. Everything moves along at speeds below 25 mph. No spaces open up to allow faster speeds as all roadway is filled...including the box. There are no stop signs and no one stops anyway. No accidents occur because the underpowered vehicles can't accelerate faster than a pedestrian can run.

    If you have stop signs and traffic lights traffic flow creates spaces allowing higher speeds. A powerful engine allows one to accelerate to 35 mph in the space taken up by the intersection box, for example. Pedestrians can't outrun American vehicles like they can the jeepneys and tricycles in Manila. That reduces the egalitarian aspects of Manila traffic and makes it more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians in US cities due to the relative speed difference.

    If traffic speeds are slower than 25mph and if all vehicles accelerated slower than a bicycle (and stopped twice as fast) we would not need stop sign adherence by anyone.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    I don't mind the debate, but the core principle, in my mind, is that cyclists are simply not a sufficient modal share that this would create an issue. If half of all traffic were bikes, this would be unworkable. I'm uncomfortable with otherwise generally applicable traffic regulation that are defensible on safety grounds being waived primarily because we're too few to matter.
    If bikes were half of all traffic, requiring them to come to a full stop at every stop sign would be unworkable, I think. Or we would have to have many fewer stop signs and replace them with yield signs. But that would be difficult because motor vehicles are more dangerous. Better would be mini roundabouts.

    Of course I think that the world where bikes are 50% of traffic is a world where bikes are mostly going in protected bike lanes, fairly slowly, for fairly short distances. The Dutch model more or less. People riding 15 miles fast from the suburbs to the center city is NEVER going to be mainstream (probably not even with widespread ebike adoption) Not sure what intersection treatment for unsignalized intersections happens in those circumstances (signalized intersections will have bike specific signals, of course)

    My concern is how we get there. The status quo, where the 60-70% or more of riders who Delaware stop signs, are conflated in the public mind with the 30-40% or so who Idaho reds, who are in turn conflated with the 10% or so of riders who are actually reckless, is making it more difficult to grow biking and bike friendly policies than it should be.

    I would much rather have a world where WABA could teach how to be safe, based on the way they know riders will actually ride.

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    Nearly all traffic signals and laws serve one purpose only: Establish Right of Way. Folks tend to get upset if their RoW is taken and NO, cyclists do not have RoW at all times and do have to stop and/or yield.

    When I arrives at an intersection and no one else is there, who cares if I stop or not. But when there are others, I always make sure that RoW is observed and established. I also NEVER interpret RoW such as green light and/or walk signal as SAFE as this sense of entitlement has killed many.

    I no longer expect others to obey any traffic rules, but rather operate mostly on what is the stupidest thing another can pull and how to react to it by honing necessary bike handling skills. I also do not subscribe to the notion that traffic laws offer any real protection as people are killed not by those following the law, but by those who ignore it.

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    I've seen no evidence that cyclists' judgment in assessing traffic situations is any better than any other modal users. I think any notion that situation X will be okay if we just have more education is simply not realistic. People are people. You need clear, simple, and sometimes bright line rules to follow to ensure smooth flow and protect people. Again, the argument that cyclists should be entitled to an exemption from those rules rests on unsupported and unsupportable assumptions--or apply equally to all modes.

  7. #16
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    In my many years' of observation and thinking about this, the vast majority of people on bikes essentially behave at stop signs exactly the way drivers do.

    In each case they slow to be able to assess the situation accurately and then proceed based on circumstances. Yes, there are exceptions in both cases, but for the most part, this is my observation and, for the most part, it works just fine.

    Cars do not stop at stop signs (I took a couple of videos to show this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQXcyxdPJyc & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEbxeEbwUzs). Nor do people on bikes.

    People riding bikes do not need to slow as much as drivers because they are usually higher up, moving more slowly (allowing more time to assess), have no blind spots and can hear better. I'm not interested in quibbling over whether 4mph constitutes stopping but 5mph does not. As long as the driver or cyclist is being safe, then the stop sign is essentially a yield sign already. For both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    I've seen no evidence that cyclists' judgment in assessing traffic situations is any better than any other modal users. I think any notion that situation X will be okay if we just have more education is simply not realistic. People are people. You need clear, simple, and sometimes bright line rules to follow to ensure smooth flow and protect people. Again, the argument that cyclists should be entitled to an exemption from those rules rests on unsupported and unsupportable assumptions--or apply equally to all modes.
    Well we will soon have four states where we can see if giving this exemption to cyclists helps safety or harms it. Assuming the concern is about safety, and not about consistency among modes for it's own sake.

    As we have discussed before, we often give people judgement in traffic. That's why yield signs are a thing, for example.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 07-11-2019 at 07:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    I've seen no evidence that cyclists' judgment in assessing traffic situations is any better than any other modal users. I think any notion that situation X will be okay if we just have more education is simply not realistic. People are people. You need clear, simple, and sometimes bright line rules to follow to ensure smooth flow and protect people. Again, the argument that cyclists should be entitled to an exemption from those rules rests on unsupported and unsupportable assumptions--or apply equally to all modes.
    I'd agree with the need for "clear, simple, and sometimes bright line rules", but that requires incentives for complying. In the case of traffic enforcement, that is generally absent (USPP and Hains Point stop signs being an occasional exception). Nobody gets pulled over for traffic offenses because that sort of law enforcement has be de-prioritized. The police departments generally establish their priorities and most have concluded that everything else is more appropriate. The excuses include short staff, traffic tie-ups, other higher priorities. Granted, we have all used similar lines with our bosses, probably with mixed success.

    Any traffic safety initiative needs to provide great assurance that violators will be identified and recognized with fines and points.
    Last edited by dbb; 07-12-2019 at 07:50 AM.

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