I ride my bike to work most days. It is 5 miles in and 5 miles back home. The whole route is on busy city streets and takes about 1/2 hour each way. The only break I get from traffic is the occasional part of my ride with higher quality protected bike lanes. In most places there are no lanes or sometimes those worthless sharrows, where we pretend that bikes sharing the road is possible. Everyday I have to deal with @sshole drivers who angrily swerve around me or other riders, or who drive in the bike lanes, or who exhibit other forms of life threatening @ssholeness.
I see angry entitled drivers yelling with indignation at crossing guards, cross walk signs flattened to the ground, and the all too common door swung wide open without concern for bikes. The extent to which people turn into jerks, once they get into their 200o pound personalized transportation / death machines, is shocking when you are in the trenches on your bike everyday. Often, after almost killing someone, drivers rarely offer an apology , more often they will scream at the almost victim to get F out of the way or perhaps they will simply employ universally understood sign language that describes their self entitle rage. We, as a nation, have convinced ourselves that we are owed fast transportation, everything else be damned.
Drivers are not the only people who behave this way. An informal poll of biker behavior on my daily ride shows that, myself and just one other guy stop at traffic signals. All the others ride right through. Bikers seem to think they are entitled to run through red lights and a vast majority do it. Today, that other guy, that also stops at lights, was screaming at the hoard of others that were running the lights. He was met with self-righteous indignation from the law breakers. These bikers probably think they are not harming anyone. After all, a bike can’t kill anyone, right? While a bike may not be as dangerous to others as a car is, it certainly can cause life threatening situations. But, perhaps more likely, bikers breaking the law gives @sshole drivers cover for driving like jerks. I have heard drivers excuse dangerous driving because bikers don’t pay attention to the rules of the road. Bikes need to be predictable on the road and that means obeying traffic laws. Bikers need to stop at traffic signals!
So, it takes you four effing more minutes to get where you are going when you stop at lights! So what? Be safe on the streets, be predictable, follow the rules. Just stop at the light and don’t give the drivers any ammunition to complain about bikers.