This is a ripe, perhaps overripe, week for bike-commuting.... I've previously written about how I almost rear-ended another commuter, and now today another "interaction". There's a particular intersection (Division @Potrero
) that I cross on my morning ride to the Caltrain station. Generally the traffic signal is red, so I stop and wait for the light to change. There's also a pedestrian crossing signal that runs parallel to my direction, which, more often than not, is displaying the white "WALK" sign while the traffic light is red. So 99.9% of the other "bikers" that pass through this same spot somehow magically decide that -- at that split second -- they can morph from "vehicle" to "pedestrian" and blow the red light, but honor the pedestrian sign and rationally proceed.
Or maybe they're just colorblind?
Today I stopped at the red light as usual. Another "biker" came up behind me and leaned in with "Hey, it's OK to go, the crosswalk signal is good!" I replied with "Yeah, but it's a red light". He then actually tried to tell me that it was safer
to go on the crosswalk signal than it was to wait for the green light. Now, I've ridden through this spot at least a hundred times in the past six months, and I can't tell you how many close calls I've seen from bicycles blowing the red light, especially if a car/truck/bus is making a right turn onto the cross street. If this guy was driving a car or motorcycle, I'd bet he wouldn't even consider running that red light -- why then should the rules be any different just because you don't have a motor bolted to your ride?
He kept going. When the light turned green, I went, too. And promptly caught up to, and then passed him. I let out a "and it doesn't get you there any faster, either" as I went by. Which was pretty juvenile in retrospect, but it's true.
A while back, I gave up trying to convince other cyclists which way is the right way. You ride however works for you, and let me do my thing, OK? I've been bike-commuting for over twenty years with a clean track-record, for whatever that's worth. But it still really galls me when "bikers" demand equal access to our roadways, yet randomly decide which, when, and how they're going to follow the rules of the playing field. It undermines progress, and relegates us to second-class citizens. I never want to be one of "those damn bikers", thank you!
So man, don't tell me how to ride, OK?!?