We occasionally see discussion in cyclist forums about stupid uninformed writers and morning show jocks who advocate violence against cyclists. When I saw a letter to "Road Warrior" -- the motoring columnist for the Allentown, PA Morning Call -- that complained about cyclists, I expected more of the same "Get off the road" type of ranting.
But there is a caveat, in the view of the Warrior, who, while not as avid a cyclist as Carpenter, does take to the pedals from time to time, on occasion riding the five miles to work in Allentown from adjacent South Whitehall Township. (OK, on a rare occasion.)
Often, given the relatively low speed of bicycles, it's not really necessary to come to a complete halt at every stop sign. For their own safety, it's important for riders to ensure there's no conflicting vehicular traffic ahead. But when you're approaching an intersection at a mere 5 mph or so, usually you can see if traffic is coming, and if so, stop on the proverbial dime. Absent the visual confines of a car's roofline and pillars, you have a clear, wide view of traffic.
So it depends on the conditions. In city riding, it's important to stop at red lights or stop signs, particularly on busier roads or those where vehicle speeds are high, or sight-distances short.
But in rural areas, when cycling along a country road with miles of view and nary a car on the scenic horizon, it's kind of silly to stop dead at a stop sign.
He continues about lawbreakers, and I am in complete agreement with Road Warriors opinion here:
The Warrior's beef with bicycle-riding practices, Don, has less to do with drifting through stop signs, and more to do with the total disregard of any rules of the road by some riders, particularly in and around downtown areas such as in Allentown. They think nothing of weaving in and out of traffic, riding with passengers perched on the handlebars, riding at night without lights or even, reflective or light-colored clothing, whizzing out from alleys into heavily traveled roadways and routinely cruising on one-way streets — in the wrong direction, against traffic.