@ Joe in Atl~
You're probably right, I caught a snip of the size argument when I first got to work and it got me rolling in that direction. As for mixed use area utilization the same common sense people should apply on the road is equally applicable. I moved away before the beltline really got moving but the Silver comet was up and running and you see a similar car to cyclist mentality with cyclist to park goers in congested areas. So easily we forget what it feels like to be in the others shoes.
A little personal responsibility goes a long way. It's a shame so few have any, stay safe out there. It's gotten a little libel-is in here with all the "I'm gonna run you over" back and forth. So I'm checking out of this one.
Law enforcement does vary based on vehicle weight. Those licensed to operate commercial buses, trucks with more than three axles and various weight restrictions require operators to obtain specific permits. Those licenses are subject to considerably harsher penalties than non commercial light vehicle licenses. If a bus driver gets caught blowing a RXR or a red light they aren't worried about the fines (which will be substantial) because they will have their CDL yanked. Similarly, concessions are made to allow behaviors in heavier vehicles to safely maneuver (hence the "leave room when you pass" signs on the interstate and the vehicle makes wide right turns mud flaps). Whether you admit it or not you are at the mercy of larger vehicles when you're on the road as well. The difference is big rigs and buses don't feel entitled to run you over because you are in front of them going slower than they think they should be.
No one owns the road. We share it, bicycles, cars, trucks, buses, big rigs and the like. Big rigs don't go around plowing Prius's out of the way because they're bigger, occasionally a big rig will run over a car but it's not a premeditated act. Usually, it's quite the opposite. In a car you are not permitted to have someone get out and stop traffic so you can back into your driveway, yet this is a requirement for CDL req vehicles. They don't do it to be assholes, or just because they can, they do it because it is the safest way to accomplish their end.
Goat, I hear what your saying man, and it's like you said, either party has the option to be a dick. I'm just stressing that neither should capitalize.
O, You're absolutely right, also popping out of the saddle at drives on roads that allow on street parking (I know in Atl it's not that common) has kept me from eating hood more times than I can count.
MPI, Bikesnob can be pretty entertaining. His perspective on infrastructure is unique to NYC and various burroughs associated there with. I'm in no way trying to knock him, I've read his stuff and he's been maintaining his blog for YEARS, much respect to that end. Each city offers it's own unique obstacles, but try riding like a disgruntled NYC commuter/messenger in Atl and you will likely find yourself waking up in Grady.
I lived in Atl for 20+ years, it's where I learned to drive and it's where I started road cycling. The car culture vs. bike culture in that town is terrifying. Neither has any regard for the other. Part of the problem is that Atl and the surrounding suburbs where not designed for the volume of traffic they receive. This places added pressure on the dynamic between the two groups as the infrastructure is incapable of supporting the demand.
Back-road thoroughfares have half mile lines for stop lights, so many roads exist nearly elusively as alternatives to highway routes and only strictly residential zoned neighborhoods have speed limits under 45. The speed limits are almost laughable as there are only a few hours during the day which motorist can safely reach them.
With that said, both mentalities have to change. I've never lived in a town other than Atl where "pack joyrides" are such common place, and the mentality of pack riders is so entitled to obstruction of reasonable use. Similarly, I've never been anywhere where cyclists feel entitled to "take the front" at a light. As a cyclist these behaviors are infuriating, as a motorist it's the stuff news articles are made of. Motorists on the other hand carry over said animosity towards such inconsiderate habits to all cyclists.
In most of the country as long as the speed limit of a road does not exceed 45 or 55 mph (or non motorized traffic is otherwise specifically prohibited) bicycles are granted all of the rights and privileges entitled to cars and other light motorized vehicles. That means, we have to obey all of the same traffic laws someone in a car does. It also means, if you hit them from behind or the side you're on the hook for any damages incurred.
As far as behavior at lights and stop signs are concerned. If the cyclist is the only one present at the light/stop and there is clear line of sight then feel about it how ever you like, if it's clear they are going to go. If they are not the only one at the intersection but they are the first one there then with a clear line of sight they are probably going to go too. This is for two distinct reasons and it has very little to do with stopping and regaining momentum. It has to do with being bumped out of the lane (possibly off the road entirely), and trying to avoid affecting the flow of traffic anymore than absolutely necessary. When cars approach a cyclist at a light or a stop sign even with only a few yards between the cyclist and the light, cars try to overtake them. This poses a problem as the only way for the motorist to (with respect to himself) safely do this is to veer out of his lane slightly and then cut over in front of the cyclist forcing him out of the lane. When the light changes the cyclist has lost his place on the road and must now try to regain speed with cars continuously pushing him back out of the road. What I'm trying to say is the "first at the light" response is conditioned, and we do it for our own safety and motorists convenience.
Secondly, at no point should a cyclist EVER pass stopped cars at an intersection. If you're not the first one there, get your ass in line with everyone else, this means coming off the white line and taking front and center on the bumper behind the last car in the line. Cars behind the cyclist deal with it. I currently live in Louisville and it is one of the safest and most accommodating city with respect to road cycling I've ever been in. There are not a great number of bicycle lanes, but the "let's all get along" attitude is abundant. Bike lanes in general have a less than desirable effect on motorists overall attitude towards cyclists. This is becuase it allocates a separate space for bicycles, the implication being that bicycles don't belong on the road and separate space should be provided for non motorized traffic. Motorists take this as a concession that cyclists should only be tolerated to the extent that they stay in their allocated space. While bicycle lanes are nice and comfortable they are a double edged sword especially if you are trying to change the dynamic between the two groups.
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