Posts filed under ‘Laws-n-stuff’

Taking Positions

If I was the person in charge of making and enforcing bicyclist law in regards to how we use the road, this is how I would do things.

Bicycling laws that I would like to see introduced in my state:

  • Bicyclists should be required to have an illuminated tail light when riding after dark on any roads shared with motor vehicles. Currently, bicyclists are required to have a front light, which is completely unenforced. In the absence of a tail light law, a headlight law is pretty ridiculous. Not that I would mind a law requiring both, mind you, but a tail light is far more important.
  • Bicyclist should be forbidden from passing vehicles from the right when crossing intersections. Passing on the right is illegal for all vehicles in most states, but not in mine. I watched a bicyclists zoom to the right of a line of 10 right turning vehicles yesterday. I still haven’t recovered from the anxiety of waiting for him to be struck without even realizing how much danger he was putting himself in.

Bicycling law violations I would like to see actually enforced:

  • The use of headphones in both ears while operating a bicycle on roads shared with motor vehicles.
  • Riding in the opposite direction as traffic. Apparently, a huge percentage of cyclists are still under the false impression that riding against the flow of traffic is safer. Me being snotty and using the brief second we are squeezing past one another in my lane to scream “Traffic goes THIS WAY,” does not seem to be effectively getting the word out. Perhaps if people were ticketed, police officers could use the time it takes to write the citation to inform the bicyclist of the safe and legal direction to ride.
  • Cyclist blowing through stop signs, cross walks and stop lights. When I say blowing through I mean blowing through, at full speed, which leads to…

Bicycling law violations police should continue to ignore or only enforce when said action exhibits perceptible danger:

  • Controlled running of a red light after coming to a complete stop when crossing a lesser street with no traffic. Without bike boxes at intersections, I believe wholeheartedly in the studies that show cyclists that wait for green at red lights are in greater danger of being struck by right turning vehicles. Jumping ahead of traffic in such situations protects cyclists from danger. Bike boxes and 5 second bicycle head start lights would be preferable, but in the absence of such infrastructure, practical safety realities should take precedence over principle when enforcing cycling action at intersections.
  • Slowing down to below 2 mph and crossing an intersection with a stop sign without coming to a complete foot to the road stop. Of course, I have no valid argument in support of such a stop being safer than a complete stop, just as nobody as a valid argument that such a complete stop would be any safer for a cyclist. Common sense should dictate how a cyclist treats a stop sign, not the dogma of pretending that bicycles and motor vehicles are the same. Of all the instances I have read of police setting up bicycle complete stop traps, it is painfully obvious that the motive was to minimize irritating bicycle use, not to promote increased bicycle safety.

Maryland state bicycle law that is dangerous and stupid and really pisses me off:

§ 21-1205.1. Bicycles, motor scooters, and EPAMDs prohibited on certain roadways and highways; speed limit…

(b) Roadway with bike lane or shoulder paved to smooth surface.-

(1) Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway…

Seriously, if you want to have a law that demands that I ride in a bike lane (or on a shoulder?!) if one exists, then stop placing half assed class II bike lanes in door zones. I’m really not a fan of laws that place me in greater danger and risk my life.


December 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm 7 comments

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