Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Stupid Things You Can Do To Get Ticketed On Your Bike

This debate is nothing new. It goes a little something like this: How come if I get a traffic violation on my bike, I get points on my driver's license and my insurance goes up? I don't need a license to ride my bike! Counterpoint: Cyclists are supposed to have all the rights of vehicular traffic. You wouldn't run a red light in your car, would you? (Maybe YOU would. That's not the point.)

The truth is, as much as TriDiva, all of her friends, and every other cyclist in the known universe don't like to slow momentum down at stop signs and do other silly things, these actions are truly counter productive. We all like to fight for our rights to the road. We stick "Share the Road" signs on our bumpers and are pro-anything that raises drivers' awareness of cyclists. But when we break the law that lets us have these rights to "Share the Road", we're making a strong case against ourselves.

So here are a few things all cyclists do, and will probably continue to do until the end of time. Because, hey, why stop at a deserted stop sign, really? Just use your head, or else you might not have one to use after your next ride!

  1. Stop at traffic lights. No brainer. Lights are put in intersections where there is more traffic. Otherwise, there'd be a stop sign. Capisce?Red Light

  2. Stop at stop signs you know often have traffic, even if you don't see anyone coming. AND at blind stop signs where you can't see people who might be coming left or rignt.

  3. Stop at stop signs in neighborhoods you know are frequented by cops. Or at least, before you roll through a deserted intersection, do a quick look behind you to make sure a trooper isn't drafting off of you. Hey, it's still against the law, but if a tree falls in the woods, and there isn't anyone there to hear it...Stop Sign

  4. Use a front light at night / dawn / dusk. It's the law. If you don't have one, you can and probably will get pulled over. Street lamps don't cut it. You don't have to spend a fortune...unless you're riding in the pitch black. (Ask for a bright light for Xmas? Birthday?) But how would you be doing that anyway without a light?Bike Light

  5. Use a blinky in the back. This is not the law. But it should be. Because if you're riding in your lane to the right, as the laws of cycling intended, people are seeing you first from behind. People are attracted to blinky things. The blinky will make sure they don't destroy you from that direction, because they'll see you. Let's just hope they don't gravitate toward its mesmerizing rhythm.Blinky

  6. Check out this Portland, Oregon case. It appears fixed gears are illegal there for the time being...or will be after this ruling. If you have one, make sure it stops. But even if it does, you might end up in court vs. a power hungry cop like this girl.

So ride on, fellow cyclists! Just don't go duct taping a dead flashlight to your aerobars, flying through stop signs and red lights, and expect to get away with it. Your Geico agent won't be happy with you.

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