Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just One Cyclist

all day long i saw cyclists running red lights. i don't think this is a good thing. courtesy has nothing to do with infrastructure, it's all about gaining respect for cycling in Emerging Bicycle Cultures. just one cyclist obeying the traffic laws can make a difference.

i stop for red and signal in any city i cycle in and i've cycled in many cities that are far worse than nyc.

it's marketing. branding. and one cyclist obeying the rules can make a difference in selling cycling to the rest of the city.

From Mikael Coleville-Andersen's comments about his recent trip to NYC on Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

I'm trying to be that one cyclist obeying the traffic laws,  but sometimes it's really discouraging when others are zooming past me while stopped at a red light.   Unfortunately if you've ever read comments on a bicycle themed article in a major newspaper, you know that the negative example sticks in driver's and pedestrian's  heads more than the positive one.


  1. Reading your posts is such a relief sometimes: It affirms that I am not crazy and these things really do go on in Boston. Cycling in Cambridge and Somerville, I would estimate that up to 75% cyclists do not stop on red. I just asked my husband whether he thinks that figure is an exaggeration, and he replied that during his work commute it is closer to 100%. What bothers me even more, is that the cyclists who blow red lights often give me contemptuous looks as if I am the one who is doing something wrong. Surely there is something not quite right here.

  2. This is why I blog-to reach out and find I'm not the only one out there...
    I have a theory, that I'm testing (and should keep notes on) that if the first cyclist to a light stops, the subsequent arrivals are more likely to stop. Power of suggestion. Enforcement of social norms etc etc. I keep trying, even though the outcome doesn't really seem to change.
    I have a nuanced argument about it, but it's hard to explain that to someone as they blow by you, and I feel like a nag yelling "red light sweetheart" (although that doesn't stop me)
    One good thing is that I often exchange a meaningful look, shrug and head shake, with the motorist next to me.