Why cyclists dont stop at stop signs

posted on October 19th, 2011 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Video Blog by Stephen

A situation that has been addressed around the Atlanta area is cyclists ‘blowing through’ stop signs. I think what the motorists don’t realize is that the front cyclists slow down and check traffic and that the group goes through the stop sign as a whole. Although it is not legal, it is to most motorists advantage to get this group of cyclists out of their way faster.

I was out on a metro-Atlanta road and came upon a construction area that was single file. Before moving into the next lane, I looked over my shoulder and saw that over 100 feet back there was a car approaching. So I went from a leisure training ride into putting in a solid effort to rush through this construction zone.

After getting through it the car behind would not pass, and now I noticed that there were 4 cars that had backed up behind this 1 motorists. So, again, I pedaled in earnest up to the stop sign, slowed nearly to a stop, checked both directions and made my right hand turn.

Then about 200 yards up this road, a pickup truck pulls up next to me and starts yelling ‘if you want to be taken seriously as traffic, then obey the stop signs’, and of course sped off before I could reply.

Here I was trying to stay out of the way, not get hit and help the flow of traffic, and I got yelled at anyway.

What I don’t think most motorists realize is that cyclists do not want a car following behind them just as much as most motorists don’t want to have to drive behind a cyclist.

Another thing that motorists don’t realize is that historically those stop signs are there to regulate speed, not right of way;
Now, since only elite cyclists average over 22 mph – whose speed are they trying to regulate?

Here is a great video that explains the reasons why most cyclists do not stop at stop signs.

I agree with what the video says, cyclists are ‘usually’ more cautious around other motorists because we realize how distracted motorists are these days. Also, in an accident between an automobile & a bicycle, a cyclist realizes he has the most to loose.

What I would add that cyclists yielding to stop signs allows for better flow of traffic for everyone on the roads.

Something that I try to keep in mind is that motorists hate anyone else using the roadways, especially if it slows them down.

Safe Travels!

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One Response to “Why cyclists dont stop at stop signs”

  1. Angie Aldana says:

    Before having children (2 boys) I still cared about cyclist not stopping at signs but now I care more. I rode a bike for many years as an only source of transportation. So I see both the cyclists’ side and the motorists’. I too have run stop signs (purposely) as a cyclist, when it was impractical due to no cars coming. I have never knowingly run a stop sign as a motorist.
    With my boys (9, 12) riding their bikes now, I am more concerned about this matter since I tell them to come to complete stops at stop signs; also to always signal at right/left turns. We live in San Francisco where there is lots of traffic like any big city. I want my boys to ride their bikes safely. Cyclists not stopping sets an example that goes against what I teach (and demonstrate) my sons. I wish there was a way to come together and discuss this with a moderator.

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