Saturday, June 12

Apologies to Dottie

Dottie of "Let's Go Ride a Bike" made an excellent post about red light running, here. I highly recommend it, along with the roughly ten million comments that follow. As you might expect, I did not endorse the notion that cyclists ought to be running red lights. Hence the title of this post  - since I DID run a red light this morning. In my defense, I thought about it quite a while first. Besides, it's been quite a while since I have used the "hypocrisy" post label.

I was on my way, southbound to catch the TRE for a cup of coffee at the Sundance Square Starbucks this morning, and I stopped at the light where Bellaire intersects Highway 10. I had about four minutes to get to the train station which was about another block south. So I waited, and waited, and waited. "Crimeny, where ARE those induction signal trigger pavement cuts?" Finally, when it was clear, I went, because an ulterior motive other than not wanting to miss the train popped into my brain.

You see, it happens that one of our managers, who also happens to be a City Councilman of the jurisdiction this light is in, frequently tells me how dangerous cycling is, and how one of the reasons he is in his job is because his predecessor was killed while cycling along Cheek Sparger Road (which is about two blocks from my house). He has never come up with an explanation why all the close calls I have had seem to involve commutes when I'm taking the Land Rover rather than the bike. Maybe it's all just coincidence, or maybe I just forget how traffic works when I get off my bike and into a motor vehicle. Or maybe it's just conventional wisdom.

Anyway, Monday, rather than calling the traffic department, I'll call a City Councilman. During the course of the conversation, I expect to note, "You know, the thought occurred to me that if I didn't do all that cycling, that embolism might have killed me. Maybe, in a small way, it's balance for the guy that got killed on Cheek Sparger." Two messages are intended. #1 - Maybe cycling ISN'T tantamount to a death wish. #2 - I'm back on the bike and none too apologetic about it.

PS: I'll post about the ride later, including a photo I took involving "cyclist friendly medicine."


Ham said...

Gosh, I can't work my way through the trough of comments on the RLJ post. I'm going to talk about it at some length soon, but I had a revelatory moment the other day: Here, we call them traffic lights. I want to be considered traffic. What more is there?

(glad you're back & rolling now)

twister said...

I think, remembering the old childhood saying, one should, at a red light; stop, look and listen. I believe that about stop signs too, especially while in a car. While on a bike, though, I think, after one has made sure of the fact that there are no cars, it should be ok to proceed with caution. I drive all day and I'm telling you by experience, people are not stopping at stop signs anymore and barely at stop lights. It's this fact, that makes me feel as a bicyclist, running thru an unmarked corner may be more dangerous than slowly proceeding through a marked one. Blasting through red lights though, is foolish and is just asking for dire life changing events to take place.

Doohickie said...

I have to admit to being a bit of a scofflaw. I will run a red light. I will run a stop sign. But, if I do, I always ensure that I am not violating another vehicle's right of way. And if there is traffic around and I know the light will be tripped, I will wait.

One day this week, or maybe last, I was waiting at a light that I might otherwise ride through, except there was a truck waiting ahead of me. I settled in behind him and waited. And waited. Apparently his big ol' pick 'em up truck hadn't tripped the sensor. After probably a minute or two, I finally rolled around him... and pushed the walk button and we both got to cross with the green. He rolled down his window, thanked me, and gave me a thumbs up.

Okay, sure, I'm a vehicle. But there are somethings I can do more easily than the driver of a motorized vehicle can do.

Thanks for reading. I'll go away now.

cafiend said...

I tend to agree with Doohickie. I have certain stop signs I barely look at. Most times I wait for a red light because I want to show I'm not taking unfair advantage over the people stuck in motor vehicles. If none are present, no one will witness my illegal maneuver. If vehicles are present I probably should not be running the light anyway. As Doohickie pointed out, we can do some things motor vehicles can't. Just use judgment as always.

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