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Watch This Before You Complain That Cyclists Don't Stop At Stop Signs

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 7, 2016 5:18PM

It can be counterproductive to frame cycling advocacy in terms of bikes vs. cars, so please don’t consider the video above as antagonism against motorists. (This writer is regularly both driver and cyclist—though not at the same time.) But it is nevertheless a helpful reminder that the “cyclists plow through stop signs” line is not only a rocks-in-glass-houses canard, but that the onus for traffic safety lies most prominently on those operating large, potentially dangerous vehicles.

The clip, first covered by Streetsblog Chicago, shows footage of drivers encountering a four-way stop at the intersection of Adams and Aberdeen, in the West Loop. In the 5:29-minute clip, filmed on Monday at 6:30 p.m., 39 of 61 motorists who encounter the intersection either do not come to a full stop or straight up cruise right on through, appearing to not brake at all.

J. Patrick Lynch, of Lakeview, shot the clip. “It is something that I notice at all stop signs across the city, especially in my neighborhood,” Lynch told Chicagoist via email.

Lynch, a regular bike commuter, also underscored that reasonable cyclists do of course yield responsibly at stop signs. “I am well aware of the common complaint motorists have about cyclists who "blow through" stop signs/red lights," he said. "I fully admit, most of us don't come to complete stops, but we generally treat stop signs like yields. The term "blow through" really bothers me, because most of us proceed cautiously through stop signs and properly yield. Anyone who goes full speed through a stop or red light without looking or yielding has a death wish."

As Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield noted in his post, the “Idaho stop”—which refers to cyclists treating stop signs as yield signs— is a “harmless, momentum-saving practice,” hardly comparable to disobedient motorists.

“I'm sure my video could be replicated at hundreds of stop signs around the city,” Lynch added. “I just wanted to highlight the hypocrisy out there.”

[HT Streetsblog]