Of Stop Lights, Stop Signs, Speeding And Other Riding Habits

On the main page of The Bicycle Site (late March 2011) are some links to stories about cycling in Central Park NY.

It seems there are a few faded signs about a 15 mph speed limit in the park.  However, the real speed limit is 25 mph.

NYC’s finest have been ticketing riders for speeding over the false speed limit of 15 mph.  They have also been ticketing for going through red lights, even though the park was close to automobile traffic at the time.

The speed limit issue will probably get resolved as the reality of 25 mph circulates.

Cyclists are suggesting that, if the park is closed to auto traffic, the only reason to stop at a red light should be to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross.  Sounds like a reasonable solution to me.

When we ride on the road, however,  we do go through red lights and stop signs.

Stop Signs are a problem for cyclists,  given the effort to bring a bicycle up to speed from a full stop.  However, the reality of the situation is that a car will win any car/bicycle contact battle.  My compromise is to come to a slow down or rolling stop as long as I have a clear line of site down the perpendicular streets for 100 yards (because cars can show up real fast).

Red Lights are a real issue, however.   Even a full stop and look left and right and then riding can be dangerous at certain intersections.   Some red lights are at semi blind locations and a car that was not there a second ago can be bearing down at 30-40 mph an instant later.

After several deaths on Long Island, NY last year, between cyclists and cars, at intersections, we all need to realize that the extra minute of wait time is a lot safer than the need to go now.

I now wait for the cars that do have the red light to actually stop.  I make eye contact with the drivers.  I raise a hand to say thanks.  It keeps me safe and helps change driver attitudes about cyclists.