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“Rolling Stops” a yeild to common sense over “Crack Downs”

Jun 24, 2010 @ 12:57

Over at the Biking Toronto Discussion group, “Bikelanes & InfrastructureColin McKay started the topic: “Can we please have a police crackdown on cyclists running reds?“.

The inflammatory title of the piece serves to begin a discussion about the differences between car and bike, the history of the creation of the infrastructure and the bias towards car traffic reflected in traffic law.


Oh well. That’s what I wanted to talk about here.

Three weeks and three days ago Mark added a common sense essay to the discussion the included a link to this great video below. This seems like a good place to start here.

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

So far there are 12 comments on the discussion including one added today by Todd Tyrtle – have a look.

My take here and at this blogs sister site the “Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki“, is that everything must change a little, some things must change a lot in the transportation infrastructure of the city to make Toronto a bike friendly environment.

I rode courier for four summers and 3 winters people running reds was never a problem. Like the video says you make a habit of running red the problem will soon be gone – you’ll be dead. The main point of Mr. McKays introduction if I read it correctly is that we need to be taken seriously with in the commons.

I’m all for that – but you’re not going to stop a practice used by messengers to get they’re job done, on a grid that treats them like second class users – with a crack down – what ever that might be.

Equal, that’s the key I think; we all want to be treated like equals, but the stage the way it’s set right now has people with a car being a lot more equal than them without.

I agree that responsible cycling is key to the discussion, I even think bicycles should be licensed – along with changes to the drivers license test that includes much more about sharing the road, and perhaps even a section of the test that involves a bicycle road test for motor vehicle drivers! You can’t drive a car until you’ve got your cycling license for example.


This piece was cross published in Michael Holloway’s FilterBlogs.

Posted: June 24th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on ““Rolling Stops” a yeild to common sense over “Crack Downs””

  1. 1 Todd Tyrtle said at 1:23 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    I agree with most of what you’re saying but this statement: “but you’re not going to stop a practice used by messengers to get they’re job done” is somewhat defeatist, isn’t it? After all, if we say that about bicycle couriers, couldn’t we say the same for this guy?

    So hey, perhaps we are being treated somewhat equally (but in slightly different ways…)

  2. 2 michael holloway said at 1:31 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    Thanks for commenting Todd,

    I take issue with the fact your quoted passage leaves off the important qualifier, “..on a grid that treats them like second class users…”.

    The guy in the brown van in the bike lane IS the primary user – the one with all the rights compared to cyclists – the key element in the post war transportation infrastructure plan: The Truck!

  3. 3 michael holloway said at 1:32 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    Oh and,

    “..treated somewhat equally (but in slightly different ways…)”

    He-he, I get it – good one.

  4. 4 Todd Tyrtle said at 1:52 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    I do see your point about being “second class” but I don’t think that’s enough to justify breaking the law, and in the end likely building barriers that prevent our being treated more like first class road users.

    And in the end, whether brown van or red fixie, the situation is the same. Someone feels that they haven’t the time to do their job properly if they break the law therefore they break it. Neither employee is likely to change without external motivation despite the fact that there may be parking around the corner for the brown van, and that even stopping for red lights, the bicycle courier will still get there very quickly, likely much more quickly than the brown van.

    Of course one distinction (to reinforce your ‘second class’ metaphor) is that if a bicycle courier runs a red she pays a hefty fine. If a UPS driver parks in a bike lane nothing happens.

    And in the end both do a disservice to their peers. I particularly resent several peoples’ failure to stop at a red light being used to justify why my family and I don’t get to travel safely by bicycle in the city for lack of infrastructure.

  5. 5 michael holloway said at 3:34 pm on June 24th, 2010:

    Nicely said Todd,

    Your last point is worth a blog post of it’s own. Brilliant.

    I take your point about the red light running, Its a logic fault (and not that it’s any quicker, I think we all agree), so now un-necessarily risking your safety becomes the norm for messenger-ing – not good think.

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