New York Newspaper Busts on Bay Area's Bikes

Times declares a "backlash" against bicyclists for ignoring stop signs

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Nov 6, 2009  |  Updated 5:00 PM PDT
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New York Newspaper Busts on Bay Area's Bikes

Salim Virji

The four way stop at Duboce and Steiner in San Francisco is a popular route for cyclists, who tend to roll past the stop signs -- as do drivers.

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Another week, another round of complaints about cyclists that don't stop at stop signs. Not because the behavior has actually caused any accidents or injuries, necessarily, but because it apparently annoys motorists.

Are bicyclists "facing backlash," as the New York Times feels? Maybe, though anecdotal evidence indicates more people are bicycling than ever for reasons ranging from health to frugality.

The Times even created a time lapse video at one of the busier bike intersections in San Francisco along "The Wiggle," the low-grade course that eases trips between the east and west sides of the city for cyclists.

The findings? Around 81 percent of cyclists did not stop in the course of 40 minutes. Also? No one was injured or inconvenienced. Shocking!

Certainly rolling past red lights and stop signs leads to confusion among drivers as to exactly what the rights and responsibilities of cyclists are on the road -- when they are, actually, pretty much the same.

And a couple of motorists did take things into their own hands when they asked a San Francisco judge for an injuction on the city's plan to add 109 miles of new bike lanes, more bike parking and other amenities over, get this, environmental concerns.

Thankfully, that injunction may be lifted as early as November 12, and the city is reportedly prepared to move quickly to install the new lanes and amenities.

And cyclists are lobbying state government to implement a version of an Idaho law that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.

Photo by Salim Virji.

Jackson West doesn't want all this talk of "backlash" to discourage people from riding bikes, or worse, have motorists taking things into their own hands.

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