An open letter to my fellow cyclists

The letter is from a blogger in Toronto, but it equally applies to Calgary cyclists. Read and discuss.

Forums: 

Good Article

I particularly like the one section "Paying F....ing Attention!"

It seems to me that most of my close calls or crashes usually result from me NOT PFA. And I am not talking about "Brain Completely Off," I'm talking about "Brain PFA meter reading 10% low! Just slightly distracted.....

Spot on, ...

Makes some excellent and correct points, however this first bit:

"...I reminded each one of them that the light was red..."

sounds kinda prissy to me. Whenever I see someone doing that, my first thought is what a gas they must be to live with. sheesh

It'd be nice

I'd really like the Idaho stop laws in Canada and I pretty well adhere to them now but I'm afraid it'll be some time before it happens, if ever. Heck even other States in the Excited States don't seem willing to adopt the change.

Yes they do

The Idaho laws referred to are amendments specific to bicycles. I do not know all the amendments but the 2 that we are interested in are:

1) Treat a stop sign like an existing yield sign. So you don't have to fully stop, only yield to any traffic which impies slowing down enough to make sure you can proceed safely.

2) Treat a stop light (red light) like a stop sign. So, you come to a complete stop at the red light but can then proceed without waiting for the light to turn green as long as it is safe to do so.

And there are other

Reasons why cyclists "flaunt" the laws. Take conservation of momentum. For a car, restarting from a complete stop (or even California stop), isn't a big deal. While it can easily increase your gas consumption by 20% or more, most drivers are unaware of this and it doesn't take any physical energy on behalf of the driver. But for a cyclist, getting back up to speed takes a bit of time and a lot of energy, exposing the cyclist to traffic in the intersection, in all of it's forms. So, it is much easier to coast through that stop sign or red light.

And the comment on safety versus legal is right on. There are decisions that I make while riding my bike (motor or pedal) that are not legal but I feel increase my safety overall.

Timely

Friday I was thinking along the same lines as I witnessed a cyclist blow through onto 3rd ave from the pathway connector at 8th street and then run the stop sign at 7th street. Of course the pathway connector has no right-of-way rule for cyclists...heck...it doesn't even really cater to cyclists at all at this point. The next street, well it would have been pretty easy and appropriate to stop. Obviously these sort of actions, whether due to grey-areas in the rules or outright flaunting the rules, stand out.

Then I thought back to the previous nights departure from downtown. I was leaving a bit late and decided to head out 8th ave to 10th street and join the river path. Well...what chaos with the construction. Motorists were jammed up on top of eachother! However, there was plenty or room for a cyclist to slip by on the right of the cars or even the left. So the option is to wait in a line of traffic, sucking exhaust and getting frustrated, or take advantage of one's size. Here's the thing. Motorists always pass cyclists in the same "lane" between intersections. I have no problem with this in most cases. As a cyclist I'm generally moving slower and if it is safe for the motorist to pass then they should. Of course, the sword cuts both ways...when it's safe for a cyclist to pass a slow moving line of cars in the same "lane" shouldn't they?

Exactly - cuts both ways

I completely agree -- if there is room for motorists to pass me without changing lanes, then there is enough room for me to filter up on the right. But if they have to line up behind me and drop to my speed because there is no room to pass, then I take my turn behind them when they are the slow/stopped vehicles. It just seems like common sense, but so many motorists and cyclist just don't seem to agree. :-(

Arrive alive.

Arrive alive is all I care about. If I have to cut a corner, break a rule... I do it. For the most part... ride smart and follow the rules but there are times.