Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm Going to Stop

From now on.

You can do whatever you want, but when I ride up to a stop sign, and there's a car nearby, then I'm going to stop. On the local group rides, I'll try to get out of the way, but know that I'll be stopping. Please don't ram me from behind--I don't want to be violated by a brake lever.

If you witness me break this vow, then please call me a hypocrite.

(Note: one exception... Over the next couple months I want to do some other group rides, e.g., Simi, Swami's, Spectrum, and since I don't know the way, I'll probably do whatever the group does. When in Rome...)

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you get a ticket or something?

Anonymous said...

Marco,

Laura and I will be in San Diego for a big chunk of December. You'll have to come on down for the Swami's ride. Good for you for stopping. That always cracked me

Jake

Anonymous said...

Stop??? and risk losing Sunday Worlds or Food Park? That's crazy talk.

TnA said...

I guess you saw the report on the news Tues. night, huh?

I'm with ya. Yell at me if I slip up, 'kay?

TnA said...

P.S. Oh yeah...it's a "brake" lever.

A "break" lever is something you have on your "rode" bike as you cycle around the "coarse" :-)

Marco Fanelli said...

Nope, no ticket. Just reached my limit of the absurdity. Like yesterday's noon ride... a car reached the intersection a couple seconds before us, properly stopped, and had the right to continue on through. But then us skinny-ass, lycra-clad dorks come flying up to the intersection at 25 mph and the rider in front puts up his hand like a traffic cop ordering the car to let us roll on through the stop unimpeded, which we did, following him like sheep. That car had every right to just say FU and pull out anyway. Fortunately he didn't. But you can sure bet he thinks less of cyclists now. Maybe some day when he's really in a bad mood, he won't be so understanding and he'll hit somebody on a bike. And maybe that day it will be some innocent like 14-year-old Brandon who becomes the victim. After all, we all look the same and we must all behave the same, right?

But even ignoring some horrible car-bike-crash scenario, how arrogant of us cyclists to think our time is more valuable than that of the car driver. We're out recreationally riding bicycles fercrissakes!

So, why not stop and then quickly accelerate back up to speed. It's better training anyway.

And yeah, that probably means losing the prestigious group ride title, which is beyond my grasp anyway!

Yeah, hoping to get down to SD for a nice weekend sometime this winter, so Swami's would be great.

And thanks for the correction TnA; "your" a real help! :-)

Chester said...

how bout this one mark, I'll stop if you bridge me back... That sounds like a win win to me.

steve said...

Can we all draft behind school buses? ;)

Marco Fanelli said...

> Can we all draft behind school buses?

Yes, if that's what it takes to catch back on after STOPPING at the STOP sign! ;)

We all have our own rankings of traffic badness... to me, drafting a vehicle isn't as bad as blowing through a sign or light when it's not our turn. But you knew I'd say that, didn't you!

TnA said...

I took the "draft behind the schoolbus" incident as an homage to our dear departed EJ, who drafted a garbage truck going up Glen Annie one time. Still makes me chuckle...

Anonymous said...

http://www.keyt.com/news/local/11052931.html?linkSource=edhat.com

That's the news report TnA refers to.

I've been stopping since the last rash of Ofc. King tickets were issued. Hasn't ruined the quality of my rides at all...

It astounds me that some riders will risk their life blowing through two stop signs while dropping off Gub and onto the 150 at full speed - sometimes crossing across both lanes of traffic due to their speed. 9 times out of 10 these same daredevils are caught along the 150 just a few hundred meters later by the guys who did slow down and cautiously enter the 150. It's mind boggling.
I'm with ya Marco.

Druber

jen said...

Simi = fun times. Just get there soon before it goes from mostly crazy fast to completely freakin' ballistic. Mulholland has to be one of the coolest roads for bikin'

Btw, the Indy has a traffic rant today too. Must be something in the air. Funny stuff in the comments.

Marco Fanelli said...

Ballistic Simi is what I want! Real racing starts in less than three months.

Anonymous said...

Too bad cyclist aren't judged as individuals, but instead are lumped together with the ones who don't care about following the rules.

Carissa

velogirl said...

okay, devil's advocate here. I stop. all the time. but, with a large group, it could be dangerous to suddenly stop when you're riding 25mph. maybe dude @ the front was worried about a bike pile-up.

Marco Fanelli said...

VG- That's a fair comment for sure, but in the particular case I was talking about, there was enough visibility and time for everyone to see there was a car and for the rider at the front to indicate he was planning to stop. You are right that it is not always the case, but I submit that is part of the problem, i.e., the "default" behavior is to blow through the stop sign and it is somehow "unusual" to stop. How screwy is that?!?

BTW, on our large group ride on Sunday we almost did that. The riders were flying up to one of the signs we usually run, when the rider(s) at the front noticed a cop sitting there. They slammed on their brakes and we almost had a 50-bike pile-up. That would have been hilarious! Especially for the cop!!

Carissa- You are right on... it's a form of prejudice that all cyclists get judged based on how we dress and because of the actions of a few individuals.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

good for you...we can only try to be courteous and hope we make up for the folks who think the rules are not for them (both cyclists AND drivers in this category). If enough people *stop* or *don't cross the double yellow line on the 192 when sprinting for the glory at worlds* maybe the culture can change, while still remaining fun and competitive.

(it's easy for me to wax poetic when I'm still stuck inside on a trainer waiting for my dr. to give me the ok to ride outside...i'm already antsy and pushing the envelope).

Anonymous said...

I think that the drive to compete as well as look good in front of our peers is the main force behind the stop sign antics. If my experience as a professional is worth anything, I can speak with some certainty that the attitude is often steered towards safety amongst other pros as well. I ride a reasonable distance everyday and have to go through a fair number of stop signs. Up here in Portland, my greatest fear is not other cars, but commuters blowing through a 4-way. It's a legitimate concern. And while racing, pros are generally quite concerned for eachother's well being. Remember our race protests of a horrible city circuit added to Sea Otter in 2003 and another at Pomona in 2004? While other groups did the race courses, we refused because it was not worth risking our lives (and other groups did have crashes related to the courses). The same is true at stop signs. I would be quite a fool if I had to call my boss and tell him I'm out for the season because I blew a sign and got hit by a car. Of course I am guilty myself as I did go through the Stops in SB many times but aren't we all? I did try stopping with Kim from time to time. This usually left us chasing back for about a mile. But if you guys just make it the norm for all, then there won't be any chasing. Invoke mob rule and talk down to the dudes who don't stop. You're probably saving a life without knowing it and setting an example to new folks on the ride.

Jake

TnA said...

Marco wrote:
"You can do whatever you want, but when I ride up to a stop sign, and there's a car nearby, then I'm going to stop."

Hey Marco..why the caveat? If you're truly not going to be hypocritical about this, aren't you going to follow the traffic laws whether or not there's another car nearby? What about that car you don't happen to see?

Don't forget about that stop sign at the narrow section on Glen Annie on tuesdays. I fully expect you to stop at that one so I can keep up with you ;-)

Jake - I'm with you brotha'. When we had some "issues" here earlier in the year (cue Eric Cartman: "You MUST respect my Authori-TAH!" http://www.chunder.com/carrots/authority.wav), I advocated just following the traffic laws (especially in regards to stops) so that the "observers" had nothing to complain about. I'll admit though, that I've slipped in my behavior since then. Thanks for the "wake up call" Marco!

UtRider said...

Totally agree with you on the need to stop at signs/signals.

JH said...

Hey Marco, when you come down to do Swamis, post it up. Will try to talk to you....nothing in particular, just cycling networking....

JH
wheelsuckers.com

Marco Fanelli said...

Jake- I'm too much of a cynic to think the ride(s) will change. This has come up every few years for the twenty years I've been here and it's worse now than ever. I know I've been a part of the problem just like most everyone else. I'm really going to try to do better, even if it means getting dropped and riding solo for most of the ride. BTW, that Pomona course was a blast. Crazy and dangerous, but a real rush. For those that don't know about it, the course was a small circuit around the reservoir that used bike-paths and other narrow roads. Crazy to race on with a field of 100.

Doc Kim- Perfect timing for you to be stuck inside. IT'S FREAKIN' COLD OUT THERE!

TnA- OK, at least I'll slow down and do a "California Stop" when no cars are around.

UT- Is it bad in Utah? Is this a universal group-ride issue?

JH- I'll definitely post a Swamis plan if it happens. But I'll be pretty nervous about making the famous "The List"

TnA said...

Marco said:
"TnA- OK, at least I'll slow down and do a "California Stop" when no cars are around."

That's a mighty slippery slope you're putting yourself on there...next thing you know, you'll be blasting through stop signs without slowing down again when you think there aren't any cars around ;-)

Also, I have to point out, that perhaps one of the reasons there's more "blowing through" stop signs on the Sunday ride is that fact that...well...there's more stop signs now! [lol]

Eric Forte said...

Idaho law says cyclists treat stop signs like yields, and red lights like stops. Hard to get used to legally running a light.

Not sure if law is bicycle friendliness, libertarianism, or simply sporting, as in giving us a head start before running us down.

UtRider said...

I wouldn't say it's bad in Utah since, as Turbo Ryan put it in his comment to my post on the same subject, we just don't have the sheer number of riders you get on a group ride in CA not to mention our city limits are much easier to escape.

bjorn said...

Nice discussion. I started to stop (huh?) at stop signs when I started teaching classes through the League of American Bicyclists and as others commented it hasn't impeded my life but has added valuable crit training.

I had a similar experience to Mark's when another dude and I stopped while the rest (half a dozen) went trough a stop sign. Driver was very pissed, but also thanked the two of us and hopefully got the message that we are not all the same.

LAB's message is "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles" and I have found that to be very true (to the point that I get annoyed at cars that have the right of way at 4-way stops but wait until I am there to wave me through. Even then I stop to make them realize that "same rules are for everyone." They would be slowing me down less if they would have just followed the traffic rules and common sense...

Now here in Africa I still have to encounter a single stop sign, but then bicyclists usually hop off the road when cars come honking along (similar to what I encountered in Mexico). I'll get a bicycle the next couple of days and will get some "feet-on" experience (but unfortunately won't be around for KiliMan in February: http://kilimanjaro-man.com/)

Returning to Belgium in February one of my goals is to check out one of the Hans Monderman projects, who generally gets rid of almost all traffic signs (I never understood the purpose of a 4-way stop): http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/traffic.html

cheers,
bjorn

Marco Fanelli said...

Yaay Bjorn! You finally made it to Africa. Cool. Please blog all your observations about cycling there; should make for interesting reading! Are you going to do a side story for CN about riding (racing??) in Africa? That would be cool.