Rolling Stops Face an Uphill Battle

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Here's a great video I found off a fellow VUL-er's FB page (thanks Bruno!). It shows the
benefits of legislation which allows cyclists to treat Stop signs as Yield signs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84eB0N-LG6M (also linked below)

It's a wonderful idea that has worked in practice. The chief problem with its adoption would
be the irrationality of drivers that are for some reason prejudiced against (sometimes bigoted
against) bicycles.

The video does an outstanding job at describing the benefits to cyclists and assuaging the
concerns of non-cyclists.

It would be worth passing along to your MLA.

that is pretty much how every cyclist I have seen on the road already treats stop signs........are cyclist really being ticketed for not coming to a complete stop?

Wasn't there a report just last year about cops on bike routes doing just that?

Also, don't underestimate how legalizing the behaviour can affect the attitudes of drivers towards
cyclists. A great many drivers feel an irrationally strong angst when they see a cyclist disobeying
a traffic law, even if it's done in a safe way.

And yet they do it themselves.

Also: has anyone seen the big white spray-painted circles along the 10th avenue bike route? Looks like more of those cursed round-abouts are going in. Writing a pleading letter to council now...

other than the part about a bikers momentum...basically all they are saying is as long as you are paying attention to your surroundings you shouldn't have to stop.........can't all the points of how to safely treat a stop sign as a yield be used as an argument for motorvehicles too?

They could, Jeebus, but the proposed "rolling stop" protocol rests on an argument that it is necessary to facilitate cycling. The case is not quite as strong for motor vehicles.

I don't get it. I bike to and from work each day. During my trips I ensure I am on bike paths where available, yield to pedestrians, stop at red lights and stop signs and wear a helmet, lights and have a bell. Because it is easier to slow down and not stop at a stop sign I should be allowed to do that? The three seconds it's going to cost me to stop at the red light seem reasonable. I don't mind waiting my turn at a four way stop, and absolutely hate the rolling stops by cars or bikes. If everyone treated a stop sign as it's intended, there would be less accidents. Letting bikers cruise through is not the answer.

"Because it is easier to slow down and not stop at a stop sign I should be allowed to do that? The three seconds it's going to cost me to stop at the red light seem reasonable."

Well, not exactly. Their argument is that it is tiring for a cyclist to continually generate torque. Thus, they argue that frequent stops deter people from considering cycling as a commuter option.

They're not concerned about making cycling easier for people who already happily cycle; they hope to make it easier for people who don't already cycle.

I tend to agree with squiggsy....this rule change might be 'nice' for cyclists, but certainly not necessary.

And I actually think a rule change would create more angst between drivers and cyclist...if drivers felt cyclist were getting special treatment.

If it is too tiring for you to cycle....maybe you shouldn't?

Didn't the youtube clip say the bicycle is one of the most efficient machines invented? I would love to see an interview with someone stating they won't bike to work because of stop signs and all the changes in torque. That person is just looking for an excuse not to bike.

The majority of drivers already do not like cyclists, and vice versa. This comes from a lot (some?) cyclists weaving in and out of traffic, blowing through stop signs, starting to bike before the red light has turned green, not signalling, going the wrong way on streets, using sidewalks, etc. These are all valid concerns, and I don't like the cyclists who do that, whether I am driving or biking.

Bikers don't like drivers who drive in the dedicated bike or bike/transit lanes, such as westbound on Pender downtown, or block the bike lanes. Yesterday on Dunsmuir a guy was parked in front of Tim Hortons in the bike lane where the lanes are clearly marked and there are no stopping and no parking signs there. He didn't care that I had to go into traffic to get around him. Then a few blocks later a car was turning right but had moved the front of the vehicle into the bike lane so we couldn't get by.

There are so many hazards and reasons not to bike to work each day, but I enjoy the pedalling, the fresh air and not being stuck in traffic. There is no chance I ever think of how much torque is being applied at a red light or stop sign. I think if you allow bikes to go through them as yields, you are going to create even more tension, than already exists. How many people would start biking if you let them yield at a stop sign? Is that really holding even one person back? How many drivers actually yield properly? Most that I see treat yields as merges, which causes tension between drivers. The laws aren't that hard to follow.

Regarding difference between a rolling stop law for bicycles and automobiles, the pros and cons
of each are drastically different. A bicycle rolling through a stop sign when it shouldn't carries
much less overall risk than if an automobile were to do it. A bicycle safely performing 'rolling
stops' will take significantly less time to go through a dozen stop signs than an automobile
performing those same safe 'rolling stops' (under the assumptions that energy is the limiting
factor on a bicycle and speed is the limiting factor in an automobile).

The law is working well in Idaho, I think chicken littleing that it would cause mass hysteria in
Vancouver is a non-starter. That seems to be on the same level of 'different=scary=bad'
thinking that was against the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial.

If cyclists actually followed the rules, came to a complete stop and put their foot down at every stop sign, the impatient drivers would come unglued in short order.

Bicycles shouldn't be treated like cars under the law because they are not. We should absolutely being pushing for mode-specific, sensible rules. Next someone will say pedestrians should signal before changing direction. :-)

I don't think worrying about drivers and their sense of life being unfair should be the responsibility of cyclists. The roads would be a lot safer if they directed some of their outrage towards their own cohort and reckless behaviour therein, which is by far the bigger problem on our roads. The real inequity is the huge amounts of space required to operate a vehicle safety, esp. when most trips are in single occupant vehicles, not some cyclist rolling though an intersection.

Once you calculate the necessary bubble zone in front and behind of a car to allow for its safe operation it becomes pretty clear that drivers who complain about cyclists need to shut the hell up and be thankful for the privilege they already have, which is the general population letting the transportation network be monopolized by a highly subsidized, very inefficient means of travel.

The flip side of this is that cyclists need to stop apologizing and acting like victims. Be proud, polite, and take the lane when you need to. I recommend the VACC's Streetwise courses if you are tentative in traffic. They give you the skills to ride more safely while obeying all traffic rules.

"A bicycle rolling through a stop sign when it shouldn't carries
much less overall risk than if an automobile were to do it."

It also speeds up the general flow of traffic which seems to be a chief complaint by drivers... that bikes are slowing them down in their rush to get to the next stop sign, where usually, the cyclist just catches them once again.

"I would love to see an interview with someone stating they won't bike to work because of stop signs and all the changes in torque. That person is just looking for an excuse not to bike."

It wouldn't surprise me at all. I know that I don't want to sweat on my way to work. Further, full stops and accelerations contribute considerably to the cycling commute time, making it still more difficult to compete with motorized options. These seem like sensible considerations to people who are thinking about the morning commute.

"For example, on a street with a stop sign every 300 feet, calculations predict that the average speed of a 150-pound rider putting out 100 watts of power will diminish by about forty percent. If the bicyclist wants to maintain her average speed of 12.5 mph while still coming to a complete stop at each sign, she has to increase her output power to almost 500 watts. This is well beyond the ability of all but the most fit cyclists."

(excerpt from article "Why Cyclists Hate Stop Signs")

linked below

I like laws and agree that they are easy to follow. But laws should be amenable to change with the times. The COV wants to increase the modal share of commuting by bike in order to help meet its community ghg reduction targets. The rolling stop law would essentially remove one of the barriers to increasing this modal share.

Why don't you like round-abouts? I like them. Aside from the fact that many (bikes and cars alike) don't know how to use them...

That's exactly why I don't like them. The number of near-misses I've had at roundabouts because people can't be bothered to slow down, look, or even GO THE RIGHT DIRECTION AROUND THEM can't be counted, even if I take my socks off.

I got a response from someone at the City that roundabouts reduce certain kinds of accidents by 80%, but have not heard anything about what kinds of accidents those are, and what kind of timeline the studies were done over.

And it seems like the money could be spent on better things, such as introducing more vehicle blocks along the route, or just plain old fixing some of the awful pavement so cyclists aren't trying to unsafely dodge dangerous ruts. If the City is truly serious about making Vancouver green and being cyclist friendly, they have to start putting the money into it. Having 10th avenue as an alternative to Broadway when it's busy is a bad, bad thing.

I like why roundabouts were put into play, but I dislike the application. I'm with Injured Ninja on many people not knowing how to use them. I've always been taught that once you are in the roundabout you have the right of way. Everyone must therefore yield to you as you make your way through the circle. I've seen it too many times where I get in the roundabout and a driver will cut me off and enter it from the right. When I've talked to people about this they say the person on the right has the right of way, and that I have to yield because I'm on the left, even if I'm already in the circle. Maybe it's different in Vancouver, but in Calgary the guy on the right would have to yield because I was in first. Calgary also has yield signs at almost every one of them. Am I wrong on my understanding of the circles? If so most people know how to use them and I am the guy causing issues.

I've heard both perspectives re. roundabouts:

I know that in a true roundabout, which has actual lanes like those in Europe, and the new one on 16th at UBC, approaching vehicles do yield to vehicles in the roundabout.

But I've heard that small traffic circles on side streets are not true roundabouts, and you need to yield to the right as normal. I'm not sure on this, though.

That's correct; the rules of the road distinguish between modern roundabouts and traffic circles.

In modern roundabouts, incoming traffic yields right-of-way; in traffic circles, circulating traffic yields right-of-way. Visitors to France may know all too well how frustrating it is to discover that almost all of the country uses majoritarily roundabout rules, but Paris itself uses majoritarily traffic circle rules. And the differences aren't really obvious to the unsuspecting tourist.

In Vancouver, to my knowledge, all roundabouts are marked with signs so that you know when more familiar right-of-way rules no longer apply (see link for the signs).

That's not correct.

Roundabouts are easy, people make them hard.

If you think of a roundabout as you do a straight, one-way road with side-streets, you now know
all the rules.

Signal to turn onto the road. Signal to turn off the road.

Vehicles trying to turn onto the road, must yield to vehicles already on the road.

There are different rules for roundabouts and traffic circles. I think what most of you are referring to are traffic circles (the small round things in many intersections in vancouver).

An intersection with a traffic circle is to be treated as an uncontrolled intersection. IE if someone is already in the intersection, they have right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, person on the right has right of way, or person going straight through as opposed to person turning.

They are used for traffic calming because 1) they force cars to slow down at intersections and 2) bike traffic is not impeded (bikes do not need to made a wide turn).

And as stated above, people not knowing their road rules does not mean these intersections are hard or dont make sense. they're pretty straight forward!

PS for Merlin: the tiny traffic circles on the side streets can be regarded as basically traffic islands that just happen to be circular (hence, most of them have traffic island regulatory signs on them). Either way, you're right that the city doesn't consider them to be roundabouts.

"If the City is truly serious about making Vancouver green and being cyclist friendly, they have to start putting the money into it."

For all intents and purposes, they are.

Article about Dunsmuir Bike lane (incidentally the street I got smoked on
once)

In the few times I've needed to drive to work (from Mt. Pleasant thru downtown to Lions Gate bridge), I have never been caught in a "bottleneck" on Dunsmuir. It flows great with well-timed lights and whatever else that's been purposefully designed to facilitate throughput of cars.

More often, I bike through downtown. I consider myself very comfortable biking in and amongst cars & buses as I ride on Pender on the shared bike / bus lane.

But I can definitely understand there are those who would be terrified of riding on this route. The biggest barrier to getting on your bike for the first time, bar none, is safety concerns. Creating dedicated bike lanes e.g. those with visually and physically separated ROWs is the best way to go.

And, of course, as happened on the Burrard Bridge, the drivers will adapt.

I hope they put in the bike lane on Dunsmuir. Way too many cabs pull over on the side of the road and in the bike lanes instead of going the half block and turning right to park in a parking/metered spot. Often there is a vehicle parked in front of Tim Horton's at the corner of Seymour and Dunsmuir blocking the bike traffic as well, even though there are no parking and no stopping signs posted. Whenever I ask them why they are parking there, they get angry at me and say bikers think they own the road. I don't think that, but I do think I am entitled to the lane that is designated for bikes and transit. Why don't they just park on the sidewalk, as it's pretty much the same thing.

Too often cars are turning right and don't shoulder check and I have almost been clipped 20-30 times. Other times they start the right turn and stop in the bike lane while waiting for pedestrians to cross. I was sideswiped by a van on Dunsmuir last July and I still have ligament and tendon damage from it. The guy said he didn't see me. That's because he didn't look and just moved his van into the bike lane and hit me. Also, I hate that excuse. Of course you didn't see me, because if you did and still hit me, I think that would be a serious crime. And, end rant.

While I agree and sympathize with everything you wrote, it's worthwhile to point out that no
changes to the traffic patterns, lanes, or markings are going to change the behaviour of cabbies,
jerks who turn without looking, or people for whom coffee is an acceptable reason to disturb 100
other people's morning commute.

Agreed. The coffee statement is similar to the guy who thinks it is a good idea to stick his foot in an already full elevator to try and get in, when there are five other high speed elevators, including one that's empty and waiting, but eight feet of further walking. It's too bad that when you confront them with logic, they get angry at you.

rmt By rmt

Awesome news. That just made my ride to and from work much safer. I enjoy how the cabs are upset, as now they won't be able to park in the bike lanes and obstruct traffic.

Really good news. I hear that the St. Regis Hotel is already letting people go ahead of their reduced business due to losing access to their hotel.

Seems likely that some of those families will be thrown into huge debt, go on welfare and maybe some of their daughters will take up prostitution to make money.

Hope the 6 bikers enjoy their ride, when it's sunny.

Mark

Excellent comedy Mark. I was looking for something to cheer me up this morning.

My office alone has six people that bike through the winter, so it is sweet to have a lane all to ourselves. If only there was one other way people could arrive at the St. Regis. What's that? Traffic is unaffected because Dunsmuir still travels west and Seymour still travels north.

Unfortunately one of the problems with the visibility of cycling (as a transportation mode) is the fact that the efficient use of space by bikes makes 'congestion' nearly impossible to spot, leaving the impression there aren't many people commuting by bike. This is compounded by the fact many routes are away from traffic. The argument that we shouldn't have bike lanes because too few people use them is partially negated by the reality that there are plenty of people using them... they're just hard to spot because they aren't in a car, which requires so much space to use.

The other thing that negates the argument is the fact that all road improvements are done with future traffic patterns in mind. We build transportation networks to serve us for longer and with greater capacity than current demand.

link goes to shameless self-promotion of an article I wrote for Granville Online discussing the now-approved bike network budget

Whether or not this will be the case with these changes, I happen to think that efforts which
ease cycling and make SOV commuting slightly less convenient are a good thing.

Great article by the way. I think that the Burrard Bridge Bike Trial was a bellwether event for
cycling in Vancouver. It's a great idea to keep it in the fore-front of any discussion about cycling.

"Vancouver to add 500+ kilometres of new bike lanes by 2011..."

"According to the plan, 55 additional kilometres of bike routes and bike lanes will be added to the cycling network in Vancouver by 2011..."

Your headline seems to be at odds with the body of the article.

On another more important point, what side of the new barriers do the scooter riders of the World use? Can we do rolling stops at stop signes? Can I come up the inside of cars at Stop Lights?

If not, why not?

m2c

Good catch. I didn't write the headline. I'll ask the editor to change it.

"On another more important point, what side of the new barriers do the scooter riders of the World use? Can we do rolling stops at stop signes? Can I come up the inside of cars at Stop Lights?

If not, why not? "

1) If your scooter has a license plate then it's a motor vehicle. There are plenty of lanes for those. Separated lanes are there to provide a safe space for cyclists and other vehicles that move more slowly than autos, motorcycles, trucks, etc. Speed differential is a big problem on regular roads and having scooters capable of higher speeds and faster acceleration sharing space with the rest of the bike lane users is a recipe for injury and accidents.

2) Go for it.

3) refer to Answer #2

"Speed differential is a big problem on regular roads and having scooters capable of higher speeds and faster acceleration sharing space with the rest of the bike lane users is a recipe for injury and accidents"

I was thinking that safety was a concern of the bike people, but only for the bike people I guess? Isn't the argument for bike lanes, rolling stops and other bike rules that it makes things safer, or that there is less danger should an accident occur?

Bikes need to ride responsibly in your bike protected lane (eg A Tour de Gastown rider will have a quicker accelleration and faster top speed then grandma on her 1 speed), so why not open bike lanes to low speed scooters (less than 50cc's) and save lives?

My scooter is faster then a bike, but on average the damage in a bike v scooter crash (biker hurt, scooter driver hurt/annoyed) will be less then scooter v car (scooter driver hurt/dead, car driver annoyed).

"There are plenty of lanes for those"??? No, there are plenty of lanes for cars, you can't lump all vehicles together just based on being licences and/or motorized. Scooters are more like bikes than cars in terms of exposure of the operator, enviromental effect, traffic impact and even top speed (10-15 kMh for bike, 40-50 kMh for Scooter, 120-140 kMh for Cars).

I want my dedicated lane, I don't want to be run over by an SUV.

m2c

"I was thinking that safety was a concern of the bike people, but only for the bike people I guess? "

The bike people? Is that like the bus people, or the ped people, or the car people? Or, just maybe, people are people and tagging them according to a particular transportation choice is futile and counter-productive? The lanes are in place for anyone who rides a bike. You don't need a secret handshake.

"I want my dedicated lane, I don't want to be run over by an SUV. "

Then you need to do what the 'bike people' have done. Organize, spend countless hours donating your time to advocacy efforts, deal with the constant misinformation spread by reactionaries, work to see politicians who support your cause elected, and so forth. It shouldn't take more than a couple of decades.

Let gas-powered scooters into the bike lanes, then the 125 cc trail/road bikes are next, as well as mopeds, and pretty soon every crotchrocket jockey in town thinks they should get a chunk of that pavement too. Sorry, motors and people-power aren't a good mix, especially if the lane is only a couple of metres wide.

Plus you look like a gigantic dork riding a scooter.

Sure Temple, of course you look like a Gigantic Dick no matter what you are doing, especially when you are posting to this forum, which seems to consume about 90% of your pathetic life.

Stump - I occurred to me this week that the one thing that would make the "car people" who complain about every millimeter of bike path very happy would be another commuter group (like the Scooter Dorks) asking for their own dedicated lanes. The Slippery Slope argument would have some legs then. I can just see the call of "Soon there will only be 1 lane for cars on the Burrard Bridge". While that might be something you would like, it would scare the hell out of the people sitting on the sidelines and help to kill future bike route expansion.

Maybe we need to organize a "Critical Mass" ride for scooter operators some Friday. No worries car people, we will just ride very slowly...in the dedicated bike lanes down Dunsmuir and on the Burrard Bridge.

Ahhhh, the smell of sweet, sweet Irony! Can't wait to get flipped off by the angry "bike people".

m2c

"it would scare the hell out of the people sitting on the sidelines and help to kill future bike route expansion. "

I doubt it. The tipping point has been passed. Too many young people are embracing cycling for the auto to retain its stranglehold on road space. Now it's just a matter of continuing to prod the politicians who can't see past the next election and managing the transition in such a way as to make the switch easier for everyone.

BTW, motorcycles have access to HOV lanes, which 'the car people' always complain about being empty, so in a sense you already have dedicated lanes available to you in some areas.

"I can just see the call of "Soon there will only be 1 lane for cars on the Burrard Bridge". "

The Lions Gate Bridge handles more traffic than the Burrard with three lanes in total. Because people travel more slowly across that bridge, it can sustain much higher volumes of traffic. The problem with road congestion lies solely in the hands of drivers who drive poorly and cause accidents (number one cause of traffic congestion) or continue to drive solo. The ongoing attempts to put traffic jams at the feet of cyclists doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

If you are worried about your safety, then a bike may be a better choice for you than a scooter. As this year's Share the Road Challenge once again demonstrated, a bike is as fast as any other means of travel around downtown and you can then take advantage of the slowly growing network of lanes and traffic-calmed streets available to the self-propelled. A scooter is a bit unsafe IMO, too fast to crash without serious injury, too slow to run with the big dogs on the highway, and too small of a cohort to be able to make a convincing case for dedicated facilities, even though I personally would support graduated lanes that divided vehicles into categories according to their size and speed of travel.

One final note on your idea that scooters should have access to bike lanes.

Would it be fair or sensible to allow the owners of exotic sports cars to speed down residential streets adjacent to a highway simply because they felt safer there?

M2C: "Sure Temple, of course you look like a Gigantic Dick no matter what you are doing,
especially when you are posting to this forum, which seems to consume about 90% of your
pathetic life."

Nerve, thy name is 'raw'. Most people I know who ride scooters and mopeds roll with the
punches and play along. It's part of the package. Kind of like how us frisbee players have to
constantly get teased that we're a bunch of hippies smoking dope and watching the birds
instead of playing a real sport. It seems this is a sore spot with you though. I apologize for
the insult, it was meant in jest.

For an illustration of just how seriously I take 'looking like a gigantic dork', please refer to the
phallic looking person on the right: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?
pid=2721815&l=d28b56d395&id=642796775

CK, do you honestly believe that the reason Lions Gate handles more
traffic than Burrard is because people travel more slowly across it? And
can you find me some reference for your assertion that "Car folk"
complain that the HOV lanes aren't utilized?

"The Lions Gate Bridge handles more traffic than the Burrard with three
lanes in total. Because people travel more slowly across that bridge, it
can sustain much higher volumes of traffic."

Temple, your previous statement added nothing to the conversation.
Why even make it?

M2C, if there's one thing that CK has been consistent about, if it
doesn't harm other people, and it makes you provably safer (not just
feel safer) then go ahead and ride your scooter in the bike lanes. Call
it conscientious objection. After all, if it's OK for them (the bike folks)
to pick which rules they want to follow out of expedience (rolling stops,
signalling, helmets, passing on the right at intersections) then you're
obviously welcome to the same standards. Any objections are as you
say, a giant pot of hypocrisy.

"CK, do you honestly believe that the reason Lions Gate handles more
traffic than Burrard is because people travel more slowly across it?"

I think there's just more traffic in general, but I also believe that slower traffic allows for more cars occupying the same space.

"M2C, if there's one thing that CK has been consistent about, if it doesn't harm other people, and it makes you provably safer (not just feel safer) then go ahead and ride your scooter in the bike lanes."

I'd have no problem with that rationale except for the fact that M2C will be putting other people at greater danger of injury by deciding to ride in a bike lane. A scooter going 50 kmh is going to present a clear danger to cyclists travelling at around 20 kmh, esp. in a 1.5 m wide bike lane, and even more so if that lane is separated by a barrier, making it impossible for the scooter rider to weave in and out of the bike lane to pass.

I don't think anyone would suggest it would be safe for Honda Civics going 80 kmh to share a single lane with Escalades going 160 kmh. The whole point of bike lanes is safety, so behaviours that reduce that safety aren't going to meet with much welcome by users. How would we react to joggers trying to run on a crowded downtown sidewalk? I think many people would consider it a bad idea.

"And can you find me some reference for your assertion that "Car folk" complain that the HOV lanes aren't utilized? "

excerpt from web page linked below:

"Empty Lane Syndrome

Some argue that, far from relieving congestion, HOV lanes make congestion worse by forcing single occupant vehicles (SOVs) to crowd together in the mixed-flow lanes, while the adjacent carpool lane appears to remain largely underutilized. This so-called "empty lane syndrome" has led some to conclude that conversion of HOV lanes to mixed flow would alleviate congestion by making better use of the excess capacity."

Jon By Jon

CK, I'm on your side of the biking argument. But you need to rethink your logic around the
whole "cars moving slower actually move faster" thing. There's some backwards thinking in
there.

"cars moving slower actually move faster"

What? Are you referring to my comment about traffic 'volume'?

Slower traffic means the same road space can carry more cars. I'm not saying they get where they're going any faster.