Monday, November 26, 2012

Traffic laws: The hell with it?!

I've been a big proponent of bicyclists obeying the traffic laws. I try to spread the word as much as I can. If we expect motorists and pedestrians to respect us, then we have to respect the laws ourselves too. I've been nonetheless getting those moments of 'the hell with it' while commuting recently. I might be losing my religion soon. When in Rome, right?
Last week as I rode up Boylston St. in downtown Boston (busy street!) a cop, yes a policemen, rode the wrong way while gazing straight ahead, in I'm not in a hurry style, on the bus lane!! Holy fuck, that's a new low. He was one of those policemen that rides on a bicycle and hides between cars waiting for a cyclist to go through a red light to ticket. A practice that I would whole-heartedly support if it was done consistently. The reality though, is that it's so sporadical and inconsistent with the behavior of the non-bike riding cops, that's it's probably quite useless. The non-bike riding cops -NBRC a term I just coined, completely ignore the messenger bag wannabes darting through the red light. In fact, last month, a cop on comm ave insistently waved to the car on my left to cut me off and make a right.
That's not to say that I don't go through some red lights. I do, but just for my safety sake. When I feel that it risks my life to obey the law, I break it. For example there is this intersection at Kenmore square where bikes are expected to ride in the middle of the street while getting through the intersection (said the shared lane signage on the street). As you can see from the picture to the right, this is a freakin' big square. Cars on the left want to cross to the street on the right, cars from the right wants to go the street on the left. And me, poor me, is riding in the middle. Every time I cross this intersection I keep murmuring while squinting: I can die any second now, I can die any second now. So when I get the chance to get a head start to sprint thorough it and pray to cross before the cars behind me get their green light, I do.
Look under this truck, right, that's the poor cyclist!

As I commute daily on comm ave on that bike lane on the left (awesome idea by the way), I stop at every light. For the past two years, there has been two cyclists, maybe three that had stopped with me. The rest just slow down and go.. still better than their darting cousins. Pedestrians do their part by constantly jay walking in front of me. They look first to make sure there are no cars, stare at me, then jump in the street and look the other way. That's when I think, why the fuck do I care? I should just do the same. Do motorists and pedestrians pretend that I'm Mr. Cellophane because of my fellow cyclists' behavior? Are my brotherins the reason I might get killed engaging in the simple act of commutting one day?

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