Need For Speed: Presumably Not All Travel Is Regulated By Traffic Controls?

Summary

Bikeyface has some “neat” graphics out today. Here they are:

Yeah, everybody knows traffic is bad. But sometimes it’s outright embarrassing.

Yeah, everybody knows traffic is bad. But sometimes it’s outright embarrassing.

Especially if you spent $60-90K on your car with the promise of speed, agility, and driver engagement. And have this taunting you the whole traffic jam.

Especially if you spent $60-90K on your car with the promise of speed, agility, and driver engagement. And have this taunting you the whole traffic jam.

I like BikeyFace, But The Message Here Is Dangerous

I just wonder about the message being sent here. Theoretically a bicycle should be able to ride along a protected bike lane until it reaches an intersection where it either makes a turn (using a Bike Box) or it waits to cross the intersection on a “green light“. Assuming the next block ahead has a relatively empty bike lane when the rider crosses they should again be free to move ahead in the bike lane until the next light.

But in Chicago this situation has a step removed. We do not like to wait for the “green light“. We prefer to reach an intersection and then proceed through regardless of the color of the light. And if there is an stop sign ahead, then we barely wait before charging through the intersection. I label these “quickness” riders. They are not “plodders“.

Getting from one side of town to the other is of the utmost importance, even if it means doing things which “both break the law and are dangerous“. Because cyclists are not restricted to the bike lane alone (here in Chicago) a cyclist is free to pass both cars and other slower cyclists by entering the automobile lane and riding between cars (on the left) before re-entering the bike lane well ahead of the slower cyclists. They then proceed to “run the red light” to securely establish their dominance, all at the expense of “safety“.

You are even likely to get an argument from a cyclist that “their behavior while illegal is ethical” because it harms no one but themselves. In fact there is a famous video clip of Randy Cohen making this point while chastising “wrong way riders” because he disapproves of their behavior. This is hypocritical on his part and ours if we allow it to happen in our midst and say nothing about it.

We cannot afford to lose the moral high ground when discussing bicycle infrastructure. If the motoring public senses that we feel ourselves to be above the law, then they have no incentive to act within it themselves.