My attitude is that as cyclists we need to obey the laws in much the same way motorists do. I also get annoyed when bikes sail blithely through Stop signs and red lights without even a look. I console myself that eventually probabilities will assert themselves and the herd will be thinned. However, I also get annoyed at the high-handed attitude of the writers of these columns and letters, who insist that cyclists obey all the traffic laws when motorists disobey the law all the time.
The most blatant of these is the same Stop signs that are so often a complaint against cyclists. You hear this a lot; bikes never stop at Stop signs. Well, guess what, cars don't either. If there's no opposing traffic, cars almost never come to a complete stop. Just watch their wheels, they don't stop turning. When people who drive through Stop signs at 6 mph get mad at those who ride through at 9 it comes off as a bit hypocritical.
Related to this is right turns on red. You're supposed to come to a complete stop before executing the turn. Watch an intersection sometime. Cars will come up, peer left to make sure there's nobody coming, and go right on around without coming to a complete stop. Guess what? That's breaking the law, and something of a hazard to pedestrians, too.
And then there's speeding. Last summer, also in July, I posted the text to a letter I wrote in reply to a column by Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer-Press in which he whined about scofflaw cyclists and referred to law-abiding motorist, where I said:
Law-Abiding Motorists? Just for a day, just once, try driving the posted speed limit on all the roads you drive all day long. I predict that many people will enthusiastically communicate with you!
Well, apparently KARE-11, our local NBC affiliate, did this. They run long segments called "Extras" and Tuesday's Extra involves mounting cameras on a car and driving the speed limit and showing the enraged reactions they get. I've just seen the teaser for it, but it promises to be good. Those of you who are local might want to watch it, it should make interesting material next time some motorist gets all high and mighty about anarchic cyclists. (For those of you who aren't from the Twin Cities or the KARE-11 viewing area, I think you'll be able to see it online after it's broadcast).