On Scofflaw Cyclists, the “Idaho Stop” and Lawbreaking Drivers, and Why It Works

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Bicyclists cruise through stop signs. Drivers roll through stop signs. Bicyclists generally move slower than the posted maximum speed limit. Drivers generally travel faster than the posted speed limit. All-in-all, this basically works in St. Louis, meaning there’s no real daily animosity between drivers and cyclists that boils over into real conflict. Cars generally let bikes roll through stop signs and bikes don’t expect cars to drive the speed limit or come to complete stops.

Cyclists cede space to cars. It’s how St. Louis prioritizes its transportation system. That in a few places bicycles are accommodated on streets alongside cars, only highlights how unaccommodating most places remain. Still, the rant against scofflaw cyclists pops up here and there. Scofflaw motorists, well, that’s just how things work.

Below is an example. I decided to watch how traffic actually works at a couple intersections in one St. Louis neighborhood. The first video is from the corner of S. Taylor Avenue at Arco Avenue in The Grove. Traffic is moving north. More than one person has told me that cyclists not obeying the law is serious problem and why they do not support efforts to increase the number of people riding bikes in St. Louis. I’m also told that drivers do obey the law.

Video transcript:
car rolls through
car rolls through
car rolls through
car rolls through
car rolls through
car rolls through
scofflaw cyclist!

Over approximately 20 minutes at three different intersections in The Grove (two videos below), I didn’t observe a single vehicle coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. This appeared to be slightly worse on S. Newstead Avenue where the street receives the ridiculous combination of concrete ball barricades and stop signs for a two-way stop.

The thing is, this works, more or less. What we see in the videos is just fine (though some examples are much more egregious and dangerous. Also, that thing some motorists say they want, they don’t want that. In a recent act of civil disobedience, cyclists in San Francisco obeyed the law. They came to a full stop, single-file, at every stop sign. Drivers weren’t happy.

The absence of conflict in St. Louis is partially due to the relatively low number of bicyclists. Most drivers do not encounter a cyclist on their daily drive. And it works due to the relatively low number of drivers on most streets at most times. Ride through St. Louis City on a weekend and most stop signs and lights become optional as there’s no other traffic. Most St. Louis County roads see sparse traffic on early weekend days. Cyclists can easily take a lane without impacting traffic, or ride for miles without encountering a car.

But cycling daily, as a means of transportation, is different. On many routes, infrastructure accommodating bicycles is needed. Our current streets do not provide residents and visitors the freedom to choose whether to ride or drive. Of course the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic (recently changed to Department of Transportation) famously stated, “We’re a highway department; we’re not a bicycle department.”

{Arsenal Street accommodates multiple uses, providing predictable and safe space}

There are incidents and moments when one of these forms of transportation draws the ire of the other. This may be on the increase in St. Louis as the number cyclists continues to rise, and as some streets see added infrastructure to accommodate more users than just cars. There’s now a physical manifestation challenging the dominance of driving, and a physical object to focus one’s frustrations.

That cyclists are scofflaws (and yes, drivers too) has a practical basis. To stop and go in a car, a driver slightly flexes his or her foot. Avoiding that complete stop when doing so doesn’t cause conflict can save a driver a few seconds. To a cyclist, momentum is everything. Stopping and starting drastically diminishes the utility of riding a bicycle. Quite a few places recognize this. The “Idaho stop” is being codified in various cities and states. In short, the “Idaho stop” allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign.

This is a practical, commonsense codification of how bicycles operate (and should be codified here). Perhaps the city’s new traffic engineer will recognize this. Some stop lights never change without a vehicle triggering a sensor. When no other vehicles are present, it doesn’t make sense for a cyclist to stop and start. Operating a vehicle necessarily requires more responsibility. A typical family sedan weighs more than 3,000 lbs. At 40mph, only one pedestrian in 10 survives a collision with a car. While there have been incidents of a cyclist hitting and killing a pedestrian, the speed, force, and risk of driving presents a exponentially larger danger, and actual death toll.

Impact of speed on pedestrian deaths

The key to bicycles and cars co-existing safely is predictable behavior. More-or-less this is done by treating each mode as a vehicle. It’s not helpful when a driver waves a cyclist through an intersection when it’s clearly not the cyclist’s turn to proceed. It’s not helpful when a cyclist moves to the front of a string of cars at a stoplight instead of staying in line.

Where’s there’s space, budget, and need to separate functions, bicycle infrastructure will continue to be added to city (maybe even county) streets. This helps keep bicycle and car movement predictable and safe. Of course, given that the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic (recently changed to Department of Transportation) famously stated, “We’re a highway department; we’re not a bicycle department,” dedicated infrastructure outside the city border may be hard to come by.

So this is rather simple. While cyclists certainly do ignore stop signs, drivers break the law constantly. That thing drivers think they want, that everyone obey the law, they don’t want that.

Sidenote: How is it still legal to text (or use a phone at all) while driving if you’re over 21 in Missouri. Think about that, it doesn’t make sense in any way. Few things are more unsettling than to be at an intersection on your bicycle and see drivers in each direction with heads down looking at their phones. By the way, the current fine for someone 21 or younger found to be texting and driving in Missouri? $20.50.

Sidenote to preempt predictable rants: We’re not talking about those cyclists and drivers we all hate. The cyclist that blows past stopped cars and through a stop sign or rolls through a red light in traffic. Likewise, cyclists and drivers alike know the drivers who do 50mph in a 30mph zone, change lanes erratically, and tailgate.

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  • rosabetz

    Really, it’s not that cyclists are scofflaws, or drivers are scofflaws, or pedestrians…also scoff laws. The common denominator is PEOPLE – and whether our feet are on pedals or pavement, most of us, at least some of the time, give in to temptation and take the path of least resistance.

    This will make every editor cringe, but it could help to shift our language (and perspective) away from cyclists/drivers/pedestrians, and instead talk about PEOPLE on bikes/people on foot/people in cars. After all, many of us are any one of those three depending on the time of day. And though our mode of transport may change our behavior, I doubt it essentially changes who we are, or our way of thinking about how we share the road.

    Maybe referring to all users of the road as people first could help calm the ridiculous ‘us v. them’ mentality that is really frustrating online, and really dangerous on the road. Maybe?

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  • Luftmentsch

    There is growing hostility toward bikes in certain sectors of our population, and it’s odd and kinda scary. A former student of mine – now a St. Louis police officer – posts periodic rants on Facebook about bikers who don’t stop at intersections, and he gets tons of “likes” and indignant responses from friends and fellow cops. These officers also insist (against all evidence) that 90% of accidents involving a car and a bike are the fault of the bike. St. Louis is still 10 years behind other cities in accepting bikes as a legitimate presence on the streets.

  • trex

    The purpose of vehicles is so people can move places easily. If you are stuck in traffic, you are not moving easily. So, mass transport is always the answer in a major city. People waste so much time in cars. You can study and work on a train/tram/metro. You can’t in a car.

    Invest in mass transit for the whole city. Place major taxes on people with second, third, or fourth cars. Give incentives to people to give up their car. Give them a years worth of free public transit.

    Mass transit can and will change St. Louis. Bikes are also good. Anything to reduce cars in the city is a good thing.

    • Tim E

      Distinction of not working in a car is starting to get blurred by tech. My blue tooth and I have become good friends and I got a lot of morning calls out of the way in Bay Area traffic. Tech is trying hard to develop driverless technology. I
      .
      That being said, I would rather have my office in San Fran or better yet, downtown Oakland because becomes the better option

  • mc

    They need to replace most stop signs with yield signs. I’ve talked to multiple cops (in the city – not talking about county) and they all say they don’t stop people for rolling a stop. It’s a St. Louis thing. No one makes a full stop. And it’s never going to change.

    Here is how it should be. The most vulnerable way fairer always gets the right of way. The pedestrian always gets the right of way, then bikers, then motorcyclists, then auto drivers, buses, trucks, etc.

    This works perfectly well in many countries, (i.e. Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany) and so it should work perfectly well here. Just enforce it.

    • Eileen

      The best idea ever ^^^^

    • Don

      I think (hope) a lot of us do this instinctively. A friend rides his bike to work in DC and has been hit by a car twice. Fortunately, for my friend, only the bike has been hurt. Both times the car didn’t see him. There is no bicycle utopia so we can relax our reflexive insecurity complex. As more and more bikes come onto the street conflicts will inevitable increase.

      I live and work in the city. I’m not a cyclist. Becoming bike friendly is important to the future of the city. Cars/bikes roll stop signs in the City and it’s not a problem. The only problem I have observed is when bikes don’t yield the right of way at intersections to the opposing car who would have the right of way. It’s very dangerous for the cyclist as it is for the motorcyclist both of whom are harder to see and less obvious than a car. Motorcyclist know they must yield the same as a car. Cyclist are learning to behave more like motorcyclist on the streets which is important for their own safety.

      Far more scary to me as a motorist in the city are jaywalkers crossing in the middle of a block into traffic and often at night. They scare the hell out of me all the time.

      • onecity

        As a cyclist, you have no idea how many times I’ve encountered the “you first,” “no, you first” thing when drivers are totally clueless about right of way? It’s retarded, and it confuses me. If you have the right of way, take it. That said, you’re driving in a city, so you should not expect to travel much faster than about 15 mph when you factor it all out. So slow down, and you’ll be less scared and have fewer close calls.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Yes. Within Forest Park I think it mostly makes sense for cars to yield to people on bikes, and they do. On city streets it’s pretty confusing. I ride defensively and do what I can to be predictable and yield to cars. Twice yesterday I sat a stop sign with a driver who clearly arrived first waving me through – though it took time to realize this since it’s sometimes not so easy to see a driver inside their car.

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  • Eileen

    Almost all of the vehicle stops in the videos seem just fine to me. If you’re looking around and not texting, an Idaho stop is perfectly fine. Why doesn’t anyone talk about people jogging in the street, going against traffic and around the corners of major intersections? Last I checked, it is against the law to jog in the street where sidewalks are present.

    • el_cap314

      As a runner, I often have to run in the street because people put their trash/cars/whatever in the sidewalk or it is unkempt, low hanging branches etc. Is too many runners on the road actually a problem for you? I’d be surprised in St. Louis. Also it is harder to see around corners/intersections when on a sidewalk and people are more likely to see you when crossing a street if you’re already in the road. I cannot count how many times I’ve almost been run over by texting drivers (most of them OVER 21) not looking at the incoming sidewalks before rolling through a stop sign.

      Idaho stops apply to cyclists, not cars. And none of those cars made a “full and complete stop.”

      • Eileen

        So where do you jog, in the car lane or the bike lane? Do you worry about getting hit by a car or bicycle? If there is something in your way, go in the street briefly and then get back in the sidewalk. Or jog in one of our many beautiful parks.

        • tbatts666

          Never been bothered about joggers in the Ike lane.

          In Montreal (which has amazing cycle tracks) People in wheel chairs often use it. No one cares, because they are on their bicycle having a good time.

          Please jog in the bike lane if the sidewalk is unsafe.

          • RGRHON

            But don’t wear your earphones and be aware! Here in California there are very rude joggers who just tune out and expect us to be able to miss them when they wobble all over the bike path. We love you but please be predictable and listen, and never
            cross the path without looking. It’s a lane, not a sidewalk. And use a real leash when you walk your dog. A 40ft leash is a hazard to everyone. Also, leash your squirrel, I’ve had a fall caused by an unleashed squirrel. BTW it’s now illegal to locomote in Cali with earphones on. It doesn’t stop the practice, but at least I’m not liable when my bike wheel encounters your kazoo. Love and peace all!

    • I’m sorry, are you persecuting pedestrians for breaking a law while just one sentence earlier condoning drivers who do the same. You’re not supposed to run on the street and you’re supposed to come to a complete stop at stop signs/signals, easy as that.

      The “St. Louis stop” is another example of how engrained the car culture has become in St. Louis over the past fifty years. Complete stops allow pedestrians to confidently and safely approach crosswalks, in turn creating a climate wherein people are more inclined to walk and experience the city. By allowing the “St. Louis stop” to not only exist but be heralded, there’s a very real impact on livability and activity.

      Look at Chicago, as an example. Any place in the city, you can confidently cross any street (that’s signaled or stop-signed) knowing that the person at that stop sign or signal will remain stopped until you pass. It’s a subtle thing, but one that stands out significantly if you’ve spent your whole life cautiously approaching any street or rushing across out of fear the driver approaching will just barrel right through (or stop short enough to at least make you fear he or she will barrel through).

      • I’d further add, with the Chicago example, that it makes pedestrians more likely to adhere to crosswalks and signals, rather than crossing illegally or mid-block. Of course, part of that comes from City planning and signalization too.

      • Larry Guinn

        Referring to your Chicago example, I also live in Chicago and do not witness your example. In an effort to protect pedestrians, the City of Chicago has added many signs to crosswalks to declare the pedestrian has the right-of-way. It’s somewhat comical for drivers to encounter these signs when they are not familiar with them, for they stop at them as if they were a stop sign when they are only a reminder to yield to the walker.
        Crosswalks that do not have this signage are dangerous. Broadway and Winona Street in the Uptown neighborhood is a good example of what I mean. its a scary thing to try and cross the street at a marked crosswalk in the City of Chicago.

    • Tim E

      As a runner its a mixed bag for me. First, prefer bike paths if all possible. My current office literally has a bike path along side it and a quick 5 minute drive from house is another great path. Finally, when I resided in Shrewsbury or whenever I check on my house there I mostly go jogging on River Des Peres greenway trail as I tend to day dream and really not fair to anyone…
      ..
      When no path nearby I will hit the road and like El_path will favor the street over a sidewalk if all possible. Why, Concrete is harder then asphalt. The difference is noticeable to me at least. Especially when I was trying to get ready for a marathon in my running hey day. Now I just go a short distance slowly where as I was used to be able to go a long distance slowly

  • Tim E

    As someone who drives to work because it would be impractical to ride a bike let alone being able to drop off my son at carpool let alone takes 4 kids to school on a bike, As someone who got a moving violation ticket near my house in Cali for a St. Louis rolling stop (yes, that habit is far and wide), and as someone who sees a lot of bikes on the roads in Cali where I reside now as well as motorcycles that lane split I agree education is the big big thing. But the one thing that annoys me about this post is this statement below….

    So this is rather simple. While cyclists certainly do ignore stop signs, drivers break the law constantly. That thing drivers think they want, that everyone obey the law, they don’t want that.

    Sorry, but both Auto’s and Bicycles are breaking the law at least in California where a bicycle is considered a motor vehicle (motor being human power but still a vehicle) but it also now law to give a min of 3′ space when passing (bicycle lane present and or passing lane available) or stay behind a bicyclist if that space is not available and in a no passing lane (narrow roads, no bicycle lanes, etc). Making this out as one group is bad and others are not doesn’t help anything.

    .

    • kjohnson04

      Check out http://www.bikes-as-transportation.com. The families that post their take upwards of three children to school on bikes; no cars. It’s doable, but requires a more expensive type of bike.

  • Michael B

    Adding another comment to say that if many drivers got on a bike and commuted more than 4 blocks to work for just a week, they would have an entirely different attitude about how our road system works.

    I bike, walk, drive, and take the metro and it has helped me understand and witness our traffic system in motion far better than when I was solely behind the wheel of a car.

    • Don

      Yep. When I moved back to the city after several years across the river I quickly gained a whole new understanding of pedestrians and the need to respect/protect them. That lesson has transferred well to my respect for the increase in bike traffic.

  • Josiah

    “It’s not helpful when a cyclist moves to the front of a string of cars at a stoplight instead of staying in line.” Happens at every lighted intersection in the city that doesn’t have a bike lane. If cyclists want to run through red lights and stop signs I don’t have a problem with it just don’t be surprised if you get a ticket doing it.

    • A.J.

      A $25 fine for rolling a stop on a bicycle once every 500 occurrences is worth the nickel per time.

    • K

      yeah, I disagree that it’s a problem if a cyclist moves to the front of of a string of cars at a stoplight. The alternative is staying in line, which means that when traffic begins to move, you get passed/buzzed/honked at in an active line of traffic where you’re less visible, and are much less safe than if you’d assessed the length of the light and gotten out in front of traffic in the intersection in advance. obviously if the light is about to turn green, stay put in line and make the best of it. But I’ve always been trained to do whatever you can to safely get in front of traffic where you’ll be as visible as possible, rather than in the mess with all the cars.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Plenty of nuance and specific circumstances to consider, but… if a car passing you on your bike comes to a stop light and you pass them, forcing them to pass you again in half a block, that’s not safely getting in front of traffic. I’ve done it to be sure, just saying I think it’s a bit of a rude move and I wouldn’t blame drivers for being upset.

        • If you pass the same bicycle more than twice in a trip, you are not going any faster than the cyclist’s average speed and you should consider riding a bike yourself.

          • Larry Guinn

            If someone on a bike observes all laws and courtesy, a car would seldom pass a bike a second time.

        • kjohnson04

          Valid point.

    • tbatts666

      Been doing it for two years. Never been stopped.

      I’ve also never run over someone. Because it’s not dangerous. And it makes sense if you are trying to get somewhere on a bicycle. It’s like jaywalking.

    • monopolytophat
    • Southside fixed

      As a cyclist, I couldn’t agree more with OneCity. Drivers just do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t do me any favors. Treat me like I’m not there at an intersection, be predictable, then I can adapt.. I’ll go where you’re about to not be. You only screw up the flow when do when “do me a good”. It backfires…really.

      • Southside Fixed

        Oh, & St Louis pedestrians are the worst.
        Not that it does any good to post it – since they can’t read.
        It’s ok to ignore “the hand” ✋ when there is no traffic… But c’mon. People in real cities know how to walk…

        • Adam

          Oh, give me a break. People ignore the hand everywhere–especially in big cities where it’s taken for granted that cars will stop for you. St. Louis pedestrians are no worse than anywhere else.

          • Alex Ihnen

            The St. Louis pedestrian is an endangered species whose habitat has been severely degraded over decades. They act rationally given the environment, but often appear to traverse the city in a haphazard and unregulated manner as they dodge vehicles and hop from one island of refuge to another.

          • Adam

            Agreed. Even St. Louis’ crosswalks (where they exist) are poorly painted compared to crosswalks in other cities. Except in the Grove!

  • Larry Guinn

    We all know cars do not obey the law as often as they should. Nor do pedestrians. However, the most common problem as I see it, is safety and a lack of respect for the right of way, which many cyclists are also very guilty of ignoring.
    Motor vehicle drivers are somewhat lazy when it comes to doing what they should. We know that. Cyclists are terrible about it also. Pedestrians are not innocent either.
    The point I’m trying to make is there needs to be better education about the laws we all should be following, with better practice on the streets.

    • onecity

      A pedestrian weighs 150lb give or take. A cyclist weighs 180lb give or take. A car weighs 4000lb give or take. Who is going to cause the most damage in a collision? The burden, by my way of thinking, is about 25x greater for the driver than it is for the cyclist, in that they have the opportunity to cause VASTLY greater amounts of harm than the cyclist. Also, the cyclist can hear and see their surroundings much, much better than the driver can, as the driver is usually insulated from the outside world, closed windows, blasting radio, AC noise, and blind spots all around. The fact that you chose to live miles away from your workplace or other destinations really isn’t the pedestrian or cyclist’s problem. Sometimes you will travel slowly, because you are in line behind the cyclist of pedestrian, and you’ll just have to deal with it. Why is this even a discussion?

      • Larry Guinn

        The burden of safety does not fall disproportionately upon the driver of the motor vehicle. It’s not possible for the driver to always look out for the pedestrian or the cyclist. Those others must watch their own behavior. A cyclist who blasts through an intersection, darting around other vehicles runs the risk of someone not seeing them in time, and causing great harm. A pedestrian who walks blindly into the street is assuming everyone is watching for them, and this cannot always be the case.
        If you assume it’s someone else’s job to deal with it, then your life may not last very long.

        • A.J.

          “The burden of safety does not fall disproportionately upon the driver of the motor vehicle.” True. But then why are drivers so bent out of shape if they’re in no danger? Shouldn’t it be met with a shoulder shrug and a passing thought of “That person is only putting themselves in danger.”

          • onecity

            Who knows why drivers are bent out of shape. Probably freeway driving setting their expectations for high speeds and open roads. In an urban setting, you really need to recalibrate your expectations if you are hoping to consistently travel faster than about 15 mph.

          • A.J.

            You comment has inspired this.

          • Larry Guinn

            I have often thought interstate highway speed limits have a direct impact on the expectation of drivers. I also think people driving larger vehicles that lift them off of the ground to a much higher position don’t realize the higher elevation changes their perception of their rate of speed. 30 mph seems very different when you’re sitting in a Mini Cooper versus sitting in a SUV.

          • Larry Guinn

            Some people are just assholes. Pure and simple. Be it in a motor vehicle, on a bike, or walking the street. I can’t blame a entire group because one asshole in a car, bike, or on the street pissed me off. Now, having said that, I do cringe when I see people putting themselves in danger, as often it also compromises the safety of others. My point is your safety is your own. You can’t expect someone else to be more concerned, if they should happen to care at all. The driver of the car is probably not paying full attention,probably not the pedestrian, and a cyclists would probably be paying more attention because their safety depends upon it.

        • onecity

          No one is advocating “blasting through an intersection, darting around other vehicles.” It’s stupid to ride that way, just as it is stupid to assume your car can proceed undeterred by other users in an urban setting. But to expect bikes to behave like cars, when they have vastly better sensory connection to their environment than any motorist, and when riding is so mechanically different than driving, is absurd. If there are no cars and no people crossing – which my eyes and ears will tell me because I’m not in an insulated, air conditioned box, I’m blowing through that empty intersection because a) I’m not a 4000 lb death ram, b) I can see and hear what is happening in a way I cannot from inside a car, and c) starting after a dead stop is very slow, and if anyone does happen to be behind me, I assure you that you do not want me to come to a stop.

          • Don

            Are you saying that while on your bike, your not obligated to respect the right of way? I don’t think you are and that is all the OP was saying.

          • onecity

            I’m saying rolling stops make sense on bikes because of the mechanical effort required to move forward from a dead stop. There are also idiot cyclists out there with no concept of self preservation. I’ve seen way more idiot drivers with no concept of the damage they can do.

          • Larry Guinn

            For the record, I expect cars to stop at stop signs and cyclists to yield to the right-of-way when appropriate. That does not necessarily mean braking as a head-check and a scan of the area will suffice.

          • Larry Guinn

            The point I’m making is something I witnessed just yesterday at Maryland and Euclid in the Central West End. There are cars coming and going at this intersection with most of them rolling through the stop sign. Most cyclists are dealing with it as best they can , with a very few riding on the sidewalk and weaving around cars, but as one did then they traveled north on Euclid on the far right side of the road, passed a car IN the intersection, weaved in front of them to travel west, while cutting off the southbound car who had stopped at the stop sign, as the cyclists abruptly turned north to travel northbound on the sidewalk of Euclid beside the Drunken Fish. This is the type of dangerous behavior I’m pointing out. If any driver had not been paying attention, as you know they often don’t, that cyclists would be injured or dead.

  • Michael B

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this piece! I commute to work by bicycle and live in The Grove. If you had been recording at a different time of day you would have seen me ride through those ridiculous stop signs on Newstead. Because it is a two way stop there is absolutely no reason for me to come to a stop on my bicycle; only to yield to pedestrians, which I noticed one car failed to do. I’ve seen many cars do what the first car did: barely even slow down for the sign.

    Small nitpick: the last video in the article is shot at Taylor and Oakland, not Arco.

    • Todd Alan

      Wouldn’t the reason to stop is because its the law?

      • Adam

        Todd, do you ever J-walk? If so, why? Modern traffic laws were created with little to no consideration for cyclists. That’s not to say it isn’t safer for cyclists to come to a complete stop than to yield given that drivers are so often oblivious to them, but that shouldn’t be the cyclist’s responsibility. And as Alex mentioned, drivers get annoyed when cyclists adhere strictly to traffic laws as well. Basically, our transportation system is built for cars, drivers feel entitled, and cyclists (and often pedestrians) can’t win.

        • Larry Guinn

          I’ll have to assume the same drivers Alex mentioned who insist motor vehicle drivers follow the law are the same drivers annoyed with cyclists strictly adhering to traffic laws.
          I’ve never met these drivers.

          • I “met” one back in 2001. He tried to kill me. While driving drunk, initially on the opposite side of the street with a median. He had to wait until he got to a cut-through to get on my side of the street then floored it to hit me on my bike so that he was doing about 60 MPH when he hit me. Not one of my better days.

          • Larry Guinn

            That driver is guilty of criminal behavior.

          • Adam

            I’ve been on the road with them numerous times. It’s not difficult to tell when a driver is annoyed with you for inconveniencing them. I’ve been honked at, yelled at, mocked, and dangerously passed more than a few times. When people get annoyed they just react, and annoyed drivers don’t generally stop and consider that maybe what the cyclist is doing is reasonable, safe, and legal.

          • Adam

            And, while this isn’t an instance of annoyed overreacting, I got mocked and then doored by some asshole drivers a few years back and sent to the emergency room just for riding in the bike lane. I wasn’t affecting them in any way; they just felt like being dicks because American drivers hate cyclists. My mistake was yelling back at them.

          • Larry Guinn

            The drivers of those cars act that way to other drivers and pedestrians, too. Bad attitudes like that are not reserved for cyclists only. You’re not special in receiving their asshole-ism.

      • Adam

        correction: laws AND infrastructure…

      • A.J.

        Following the law is more or less optional these days.

        • Alex Ihnen

          Probably less optional than in the past.

          • A.J.

            #AnCARchy

      • mc

        The mentality of “we do things because it’s the law” is absolutely ridiculous.

        Laws are there for a reason. If the reason is not present, the law doesn’t need to be enforced. If there are no cars, just go. Period.