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Shorewood bike cops again

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby WestSideYuppie » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:04 pm

I agree with you about streets and sidewalks. Trying to do a real commute on sidewalks would get old in a hurry. I'd really have to poke along on sidewalks. Not that riding fast is a god given right, but it's what brings my commute into the realm of the possible.

Is coming to a full stop really necessary for bikes? Why not relax that rule?
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Igor » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:23 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:Is coming to a full stop really necessary for bikes? Why not relax that rule?


I have to think the police would rather have a well defined rule than have to judge whether the situation was safe enough to roll through the stop sign.

I have to admit that I don't understand the problem with this one. I don't commute via bike, but when I ride for exercise I stop at stop signs. I have to think that a regular biker in better shape with a better bike can get up to speed again a lot more quickly than me.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby TeachInPeace » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:52 am

WestSideYuppie wrote:
Is coming to a full stop really necessary for bikes? Why not relax that rule?


Yes - because of turning cars, pedestrians, sometimes with dogs, speeding vehicles, and 1,000 other potential hazards that crappy intersection design prevents even the most cat-like biker from seeing everything. Just stop. Where do you possibly need to be that quickly? If you're a paramedic, you're doing it wrong.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Ninja » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:17 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:Is coming to a full stop really necessary for bikes? Why not relax that rule?


I think on its face that's feasible in most quiet, residential and really late-nite situations, but that already happens and nobody cares. It gets a little more complicated, as a post above points out, when you consider the occasional pedestrian, kid, pet, bad sight line, etc. Still not a huge deal.

When we're talking about commuting time though, on commuter routes, it just doesn't work. And I can see how it might not appear to be a big deal from a biker's perspective. Just pushing it a little, but plenty of room. Just sliding into traffic but staying in that bike lane, so don't worry. Just gonna hop up here for a second and be a really fast pedestrian, so watch for me.

But cars react to that stuff. Often in ways that put other drivers in danger. And sometimes it's a much closer call than you realized, because you might be kind of oblivious and there was a whole other thing going on to your right. Or you're just being rude, even if you don't intend to be. Or you're violating the law in the same way you accuse drivers of doing in this seemingly never ending back and forth. There are all kinds of reasons not to act like that.

I'm not a person who cares a great deal about rules in general, but driving/biking/pedestrian rules are really, really important, and I continue to be stunned at how they're ignored here (and yes I was bitching on here months ago, and yes I'm still here - life is complicated). But this is such a simple thing to solve. Just try a little harder, everybody, and it will be fine.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:25 am

Far be it for me to advocate violating the traffic code. :wink:

But it's still reasonable to debate and question the merit of the stop sign rule for bikes. It would be more convenient for me to amend the rule to allow a cyclist to maintain enough speed going through a stop sign to control the bike and stay on the pedals. And convenience in the absence of a widespread threat to public safety is a good enough reason to advocate for changing a law. I remember when "right turn on red" was introduced in my state. After all, the entire traffic code is a balance between safety and convenience.

Sure, I know it's not a big hairy deal. Even with rolling stops, cyclists still have to watch out for hazards. The rule for stop signs already includes a special case for bad sight lines.

Honestly, my main rule when cycling is to play it safe, and my second rule is to avoid being a jerk. Maintaining the appearance of obeying the same laws as car drivers is a relatively painless form of political correctness.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:23 am

On a somewhat related note, Madison plans to add a bunch of bike cops to their patrols, but it looks like they won't hit the streets until late fall.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:01 pm

I'm sure you won't get a ticket from a bike cop when it's 105 degrees out. ;)
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby green union terrace chair » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:29 pm

I was astonished at all of the people biking through the Art Fair on the Square this weekend. Not slowly coasting, but at full-on speed, weaving in and out of pedestrians like it was a slalom course.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby rabble » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:43 pm

Oh yeah, that reminds me. It was yesterday, about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We were in the car with visiting family, going past Olbrich when roughly a dozen bicyclists zipped out of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens parking lot, straight through oncoming traffic going both ways on Atwood, into the park where they ended up on the sidewalk heading towards Cottage Grove Rd.

Three or four cars in every lane. Everybody screeched to a stop and waited while they all just shot out of that lot and tore across the road. Not one of them even hesitated.

Damn.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Igor » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:16 pm

rabble wrote:Oh yeah, that reminds me. It was yesterday, about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We were in the car with visiting family, going past Olbrich when roughly a dozen bicyclists zipped out of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens parking lot, straight through oncoming traffic going both ways on Atwood, into the park where they ended up on the sidewalk heading towards Cottage Grove Rd.


Worst one that I saw was a guy that went full tilt making a left from Raymond onto McKenna when it was a 4 way stop. About 6 PM. I don't recall ever opening a window to yell at any motorist, pedestrian, or cyclist any other time. Of course I got the cyclist turn signal in return.

I guess the kid that tried to do the bike trick in the street on McKenna near Elver Park (and wiped out in front of traffic) was more dangerous, but he just seemed grateful and embarrassed instead of seeming to be an arrogant and superior.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby seemunkyz » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:41 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote: It would be more convenient for me to amend the rule to allow a cyclist to maintain enough speed going through a stop sign to control the bike and stay on the pedals.


Yeah? Well it would be more conveninent for me as a drive if bikers stopped at stop signs so that I don't have to worry about one riding his way into my path, so who's needs are more important? You can't just say a law should be changed because it inconveniences you. That's pretty asinine and selfish. It would also be more convenient for me if I could just take what I want from the store without paying, or murder those who annoy me, but laws are in place to protect public safety, so I don't.

And how about the situation where at a 4 way stop two bikes arrive at the same time. Now what? Who stops and who doesn't? If you had a set of rules to follow, oh, maybe normal traffic laws, there would be a solution! Not saying that two bikes are as likely to collide as a car with a bike, but there are so many scenarios to consider that we may as well just follow the rules set up for our safety.

I still don't understand why it is such a big deal to come to a stop, then continue on your merry way. It costs you a total of 10 seconds per? Ooooh I feel so bad for you. Better than the months of rehab it will take if you get hit by the car that expected you to stop.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby DCB » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:03 pm

seemunkyz wrote:I still don't understand why it is such a big deal to come to a stop, then continue on your merry way. It costs you a total of 10 seconds per? Ooooh I feel so bad for you. Better than the months of rehab it will take if you get hit by the car that expected you to stop.

Maybe you don't bike much. Loss of momentum is annoying.

According to Nick, he was in a situation where there was clearly no other traffc. I've been through that intersection a few times myself, and generally there is no other traffic - cars, bikes, feet, pets, etc.

In the rare instance where there actually is traffic, then I stop.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:14 pm

When it comes to a stoplight, I always come to a full and complete stop. When it comes to the stop sign it depends. I never blow through them and I usually come to a complete stop when I know the cross traffic is heavy. I know my route and I know busy streets and slow ones. I've seen some bikes blow through the stupidest stop signs and that does piss me off. I wear clipless pedals. Got hooked the first day I used them. Anyhow, it can be a pain to pull your foot out for every stop sign. I don't do the track stand bullshit, but I can come to a near complete stop(and by near meaning I could put my foot down and be at a stop) realize there is no traffic and go.

I would have to say about 60-70 percent of cars I see make rolling stops worse than bikes.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby Peanutbutter » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:29 pm

massimo wrote:Nice threadjack, guys.


Didn't you get the memo? No such thing as "off topic" in this forum.
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Re: Shorewood bike cops again

Postby seemunkyz » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:04 pm

DCB wrote:
seemunkyz wrote:I still don't understand why it is such a big deal to come to a stop, then continue on your merry way. It costs you a total of 10 seconds per? Ooooh I feel so bad for you. Better than the months of rehab it will take if you get hit by the car that expected you to stop.

Maybe you don't bike much. Loss of momentum is annoying.


I do bike a fair bit, and I agree loss of momentum is annoying. It is just as annoying to stop at a stop sign while driving a car. (Brakes and gas cost $$!) But I do it anyway because you never know when that one instance that a kid, a dog, or that car that came out of nowhere will appear. All it takes is that one bad day that you aren't paying full attention for the whole story to change. Am I saying that every time you don't stop you are being unsafe? No. But eventually there will be that time when you are being unsafe without realising it. That, and where do you draw the line on when it is and isn't safe to stop? Who actually gets to decide that? We clearly all see it differently. I think some of us would also agree that there are a number of people out there who aren't capable of making the decision on their own. So to make things easier and safer the line is drawn, which is why road signs, signals, and laws exist. Also, survey people involved in bike accidents. How many of the bikers do you think saw what they collided with coming? How many of the cars saw what they collided with coming? My guess would be not many. And even if they did, it was too late.

Bottom line is: If you have to get from point A to point B, whether it be by car, bike, or foot, there will be inconveniences and you have to deal with it. So stopping at a couple of stop signs shouldn't be a big deal.
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