Cutting to the front of a line of cars waiting at a stoplight, or riding on the sidewalk as a cyclist are both illegal. I don't do either of these things because they're dangerous to me as a cyclist, but let's be honest, you're just nitpicking because it's fun to point out "oooo, bad cyclist, bad!" in some sort of passive-aggressive annoyance.
When you ride a bike a lot, you realize how many traffic laws are geared (pun intended!) for cars, not bikes. I certainly never come to a complete stop at stop signs unless there are other cars; it's energy inefficient and more dangerous, in that I would be in the intersection longer if I had to do a complete restart.
Some cyclists SHOULD learn the law, but mostly for their own well-being. Many times it behooves a cyclist to obey traffic laws; other times it's better to use common sense. The same goes for cars, but for cars, I think traffic laws should be obeyed much more strictly because the consequences of motorized vehicle conflict are much greater than what a bicycle could inflict on other vehicles.
I've been biking all over Atlanta for commuting/recreation for 4 years and never once been hit, or even come close really.
When I first started, I had the same hesitancy as a lot of people, but the key is to forget all the routes you learned as a driver, and rethink them as a biker. Like many here have said, there are quiet streets just a block away (and often parallel) to busy/dangerous streets like Ponce/North/etc. Next time you want to bike somewhere, get Google directions and use the "Bicycling" instead of "By car" tab. This is a great introduction to safe routes, and you'll soon find that you can use the same safe connecting routes over and over, the same way you end up driving on many of the same connecting roads.
Obviously the Amsterdam comparison is exaggerated for headline purposes, but Atlanta has made huge progress over the last several years, and it gets exponential (funding, riders, infrastructure), just like NYC exploded in one year alone with new infrastructure.
Take 15 min to read this one page: http://bicyclesafe.com/ and then find an excuse to get on your bike. You'll discover it's pretty friendly out here in Atlanta.
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