A few hundred bicycle activists in San Francisco were upset when they were asked to follow traffic laws. Consequently, they tried to make a political statement by stopping at every stop sign they encountered. Traffic ensued, which makes their point. But not really.
The controversy all started when San Francisco Park Station Captain John Sanford ordered his deputies to ticket bicyclists for zipping through stop signs and causing near misses with cars. But, as the Hoodline blog reports, the cops were quite reasonable in their approach:
Before the crackdown begins, district officers will promote education and awareness, but “bicyclists are required to follow the rules of the road,” Sanford said. “There’s a thing called a stop sign that bicycles are supposed to stop at.”
Traffic enforcement teams will consist of bicycle officers and marked police vehicles, said Sanford, who reported that district officers have given 38 traffic citations to cyclists between January and May. “I am not too shy to say that it is a problem,” said Sanford, who encouraged attendees to spread the word that a crackdown is in the works. “Tell your friends to slow, stop and obey,” he said.
Since many bicycle activists in San Francisco are as arrogant and entitled as the ones in Seattle, they all got together to make a political point! They don’t want to follow the laws!
A couple hundred of them got together and rode around, stopping at every stop sign, causing huge traffic problems with cars. Essentially, the point they were trying to make was that the real reason they don’t follow all the traffic laws is for all the drivers’ sake. You see, these bicyclists are selfless!
Their protest was silly and they blocked traffic on purpose. Traffic would barely be changed if bicyclists followed the law. These guys all got together, one after another, rode in the middle of the street instead of off to the side, and they created a scene that would never happen: it turns out 200 bicyclists don’t all ride on the street at the same time, one after another, in the middle of the road.
They actually had to choreograph the traffic problems, all because they’re upset they have to follow basic traffic laws.
In truth, the reason many of these people don’t follow the law is arrogance and selfishness. The same is true of San Francisco and Seattle bicyclists.
They think they’re better than drivers and they don’t stop at stop lights or stop signs because they want to get to places in a hurry without having to wait. I understand that feeling, believe me. But if a driver ever behaved like some of these activists, we’d be in a lot of trouble and the same angry bicyclist will scream at us about being dangerous.
Look, if you don’t care about safety, then don’t complain if you get hit by a car the next time you decide to coast past a stop sign or red light. I’ve seen near misses happen a lot, and if you don’t care about your safety, perhaps you can care about the trauma you’ll cause when you hit someone else’s car. Turns out, drivers don’t like the feeling of nearly (or actually) killing someone.
Bicycling can be dangerous; the city is oddly bad at planning bike lanes. They want so desperately to install them, then they do a really bad job at designing them (and this gripe from bike activists is warranted). Why make it more dangerous by ignoring the traffic laws?
At the end of the day, I suppose it’s somewhat comforting to know that SF bicyclists are just as silly as ours.