Probably one of the most challenging parts of being a bicyclist in SF (besides dodging potholes, jaywalking peds and inattentive drivers) is that we are typically portrayed as a singular entity. That is, people rely on their own anecdotal evidence of a-hole cyclists to reach the conclusion that all cyclists are a-holes. In fact, most cyclists ride in a safe and generally law-abiding manner.
Of course, to some degree, “law-abiding” can be in the eye of the beholder. Check out this crackdown by the SFPD on cyclists on the Wiggle, all being sited for failure to come to a complete stop at stop sign. N.B.: Pay close attention to traffic behind the irate dogwalker.
Why are bikes being singled out for enforcement here? Those cars coming to a rolling stop should be getting ticketed as well.
Of course, the larger issue is that it simply doesn’t make sense for bikes to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. In the report above, the guys who didn’t slow down or check the intersection? They deserved to be cited. But it is actually completely possible for a cyclist to obey the premise of a stop sign, yielding to peds and cars, without coming to a two-wheel stop. Here’s a great piece on the Idaho Stop, something the state of Oregon is attempting to introduce.
Of course, I hold out little hope of such a logical and appropriate law to ever be implemented (or even considered) in Cali. The cultures of “zero-tolerance” and self-entitlement (and this applies to everybody – drivers, bikers, peds… especially in SF. Well, everybody except me of course, since I am a paragon of virtue in all that I do. But I digress…) pretty much guarantee that any change in traffic laws that required people to be reasonable, attentive and patient would never be tolerated.