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Cyclists protesting strict red light enforcement follow law & shut down San Francisco traffic, legally.

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This was the scene in San Francisco last week when hundreds of cyclists, inspired by a recent San Francisco PD threat to crackdown on cyclists running stop signs and “zipping past cars,” organized a protest along The Wiggle, a popular cycling route through the city. With the purpose of demonstrating the negative implications of current policies, cyclists chose to follow the law to the letter. Taking the lane in single file, each rider stopped at each stop sign, paused until they had the right of way, then safely rode though – a process that held cars back as much as ten minutes a city block.

No word yet as to the effectiveness of the demonstration as far as law enforcement, but fingers crossed they’ll adopt the Idaho plan of allowing cyclists to use stop signs as yields and red lights as stop signs. Check out the full story at SF Weekly.

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duder
duder
7 years ago

Can we adopt Idaho stop for cars too? It’s freaking stupid to come to a complete stop if there is no cross traffic.

We should just go the Belgian route with unsigned intersections.

The other day power was out during my commute home and all the stop lights were out. Holy crap, it was sooo much faster. Everyone slowed down, did the right thing and rotated right-of-way when there was traffic. It was awesome. More signage and rules creates more problems.

AlanM
AlanM
7 years ago

@duder, meanwhile a traffic light was out by my house the other day and cars traveling the heavier used directions where running the light at full tilt. If only people could use common sense.

Dave M
Dave M
7 years ago

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen drivers approach a right turn at a stop sign or red light at speed with their head craned left intending to blow through if there is no cross traffic and nearly take out a pedestrian.

So an Idaho stop for cars would not be a good idea. But by my estimate 90% or more drivers do it anyway, yet somehow are hypocritically irate when cyclists do the same at a lower speed.

Greg
Greg
7 years ago

This is part of my commute, unless one is blowing through these at speed no one really gives a sh*t. There is a lot of cubicle rage in some of the cyclist in this city.

Pantaloon
Pantaloon
7 years ago

Traffic signs are a remnant of the past. Driverless bikes will ease congestion and increase safety.

@ObligatedToSay
@ObligatedToSay
7 years ago

@duder: That’s called a “California stop”.

Paris is looking at allowing cyclists to go through red lights: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33446899

I’d prefer a roundabout to an unsigned intersection.

AdrianQ
AdrianQ
7 years ago

Roundabouts would be a nice middleground. They take a little getting used to, and yes, people do sometimes violate their yields in the one near my house, but they’ve been shown to be faster and safer for cars (and not just by Mythbusters). I imagine the same would be true for cyclists, especially since there’s usually a fair bit of room to dodge into the inside of the lane. They’re also a fair bit prettier than a 4-way, too!

Mirwin
Mirwin
7 years ago

Forget the Idaho stop, traffic circles are a much more way of keeping traffic flowing.

'Merika
'Merika
7 years ago

To make this worthwhile, they’re going to need to sustain this protest. One day of this isn’t going to work. They will need to be persistent until something gets done.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

just obey traffic laws. It’s easy and safe. No wonder we get a bad name when (deleted) ignore the rules of the road

James S
James S
7 years ago

Car drivers in SF are used to cyclists not stopping completely at stop signs and it makes traffic flow a lot better, especially in places like the Mission district where almost every intersection has a 4-way stop sign. It’s funny how all of the sudden it’s a problem and cops need to start handing out tickets (which by the way don’t make any distinction between cyclists and car drivers and are outrageously expensive). I can tell you from experience that the SF police aren’t much good for investigating real crimes like assault or theft so it’s pretty sad to see what they are wasting their time on these days.

Dominicadl
7 years ago

(deleted)

@ObligatedToSay
@ObligatedToSay
7 years ago

@Mirwin: As much as I like roundabouts/traffic circles, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s a threshold where traffic volume is better served by lights… though there’s places (IE: Dubai?) with multiple linked roundabouts that works just fine, so the issue initially seems to be space. The roundabout needs to be wide/big enough for large vehicles like buses or fire trucks to get through. Don’t laugh, word is some areas of Calgary, AB, Canada learnt this the hard way. The other benefit I’ve experienced about roundabouts is there’s no need for power/electricity for the lights.

As Mythbusters confirmed, roundabouts are superior to a 4-way stop (and that was specifically excluding the U turn aspect).

@Dominicadl: Your supposition is reinforced when you know more about the US prison system.

WG
WG
7 years ago

First of all, roundabouts are the optimal solution in terms of safety as it’s usually physically impossible to zip through one at speed. They do cause slightly more minor collisions, yes, but numerous studies show that on roundabouts there are WAY fewer casualties compared to regular intersections, signed or not. Plus, it’s easy to design a roundabout with more than 4 exits, which sometimes comes handy.

The downside? They usually take up more space (unless they are so small that they in fact become an unsigned crossing, just with “reverse” right of way in some cases, where those at the intersection are supposed to yield to those entering it, which sounds like a terrible idea) and don’t always allow large vehicles to run through at all.

As for the protest, it’s just awesome! Perfectly shows how stupid some rules are. I’m not that much for running past red lights or stop signs but a this crossing looks like it should simply be unsigned, but some local officer simply thought that they need to display the power of local authorities. I don’t see any other justification for this kind of regulation in such a place.

Itchy Bon
Itchy Bon
7 years ago

@matt, our traffic laws aren’t designed to keep cyclists safe. They’re designed to keep cars from murdering everyone else. Ride in a city long enough, and you’ll understand that following the law is often very dangerous.

Brian S
Brian S
7 years ago

Re traffic circles the bright minded rich folks in Pasadena actually sued to have three traffic circles removed several years ago. In the end the traffic circles remain but with four-way stop signs added. Now the city is too scared to put in more. Ignorance combined with political power making the world a better place. 🙂

Allan
Allan
7 years ago

@Dominicadl, there is one other thing cops do, but we don’t want to incite a riot in this thread.

Agree with James S, most drivers expect a particular behavior from other cars, and bikes. I actually hate it when cars *insist* I go, even though they were clearly there first. If I decidedly get there first, I’m rolling through, it’s much safer, and I think most drivers like that, because it clears out the “slower” cyclists from the intersection. But if the car gets there first, JUST GO! Stop trying to be nice and wave me through, it screws up the entire flow, especially if it’s a 4-way.

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

let’s hope cyclists continue to do this

Rocky Gardeno
Rocky Gardeno
7 years ago

roundabouts Merica, roundabouts

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
7 years ago

While I’d like an Idaho stop, I’ve stopped at far too many stop signs, only to see a car barreling past their stop sign while texting on their phones. I’ve also seen no shortage of cyclists bolt through a 4 way stop without a simple attempt at looking right and left…there are far too any idiots out there for this to work everywhere

Scotty
Scotty
7 years ago

I like to see them keep the protest up which means they are obeying the law. Is it really that hard to stop at a stop sign? Most of these people are normally holding a cell phone and not even slowing down to see if there are cars already in the intersection. They deserve to get ticketed.

I spent about 15 years living in Davis, California, aka bike capital of the world. They do ticket you if you don’t put your foot down at a stop sign. Everyone will stop at a stop sign and then proceed through as a group if there are a bunch of cyclists together.

chasejj
chasejj
7 years ago

Idaho has a system that works because Idaho doesn’t have a fraction of the Dbags on bikes that SF has. Pretty simple.

SurlyWill
SurlyWill
7 years ago

@duder, they’re called roundabouts and are better in pretty much every way for most intersections.

I agree with the article. The Idaho plan is the way to go.

SurlyWill
SurlyWill
7 years ago

@Allen, I agree rolling a slow roll is the best option if you would have had the right of way.

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