#autowa, again

This tweet was making it rounds through Ottawa Twitter on Tuesday:


Anyone with a remote familiarity with using a street knows that the bicyclist pictured was exactly where he’s supposed to be, where the law tells him to be and where LEARN THE RULES! types would demand he be.

An Ottawa cop decided to set this driving enthusiast straight:

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-11-41-33-pmOf course, Constable Benoit wasn’t the only one to set Tommy straight. Many Twitter users weighed in to explain how obviously and clearly wrong he was. What was interesting was how Tommy dug in, and just wouldn’t admit his error.

Even when a cop told him he didn’t understand the rules of the road, he couldn’t accept it.

He attempted to save some dignity by blaming the bicyclist for not triggering the light, but that’s not a dick of a bike rider. That’s a dick of a city planner or politician. That bicyclist didn’t implement bad street design.

Don’t use little dots to let bicyclists trigger traffic lights. Don’t use beg buttons. These things regularly fail, and they’re just stupid street design, anyway. Make the damned lights change regularly. Give bikes enough time to get through. Always have a walk light with a green light. Never ever do a revert-red.

Twitter users were quick to note the other problem with this tweet and the all-to-prevalent sentiment behind it.

Bicyclists are regularly bitched out for not following the rules (or for other bicyclists not following the rules). They don’t stop at stop signs. They ride on the sidewalk. They filter (which may or may not be against the rules).

(Look through Tommy’s timeline. He starts complaining about bicyclists on sidewalks. What the hell does he want? Right. He wants everything to be about him.)

The rules, of course, aren’t suited for bicyclists. Bicyclists don’t need an endless string of stop signs or traffic lights. They don’t need intricate right-of-way laws. They don’t need massively segregated infrastructure. They can just ride their bikes. (Don’t believe me? Look at MUPs.)

So we’ve got horrible rules that don’t keep bicyclists safe, and, often, endanger them. Regardless, bicyclists tend to obey the rules. They round off a few corners here and there, but they still follow the rules 90% of the time.

However, when they go full-hog and totally, completely follow the rules, take the lane, act like a “vehicle” and do exactly what all these schoolmarm motorists nag about, they still get bitched out.

Why would you follow massively inconvenient rules when it endangers your life and opens you to further abuse from drivers?

5 thoughts on “#autowa, again

    • You know how at some traffic lights, if you want to cross the street you have to press the button or the light will never change? (If your in car, you have to be on the sensor. If you’re on a bike, you have to be on the dots.)

      Sometimes, the walk signal going the other way will start to change. You’ll get the flashing hand, and it seems like the light is going to change. However, if you haven’t pressed the button (or been on the sensor or dots) to trigger the change, it won’t actually change. The hand will flash, then it will go back to a walk sign. Worse, you might get a situation where the hand will flash, the green light will turn to yell, and then it will go back to green, without ever changing to let pedestrians going the other direction cross the street.

      That’s a revert-red.

  1. Thanks for the explanation. I sort of figured that must be it, but I’ve never heard the term before. On a slightly different topic, I’d like to suggest you use this soapbox to push for a serious attempt to produce a safe bike corridor on either Albert or Slater, or both, once the LRT has taken buses off those streets. It’s not an immediate remedy, but there is time to do some serious planning. Of course, if Jim isn’t interested, nothing will happen.

  2. Pingback: Special Rules for Drivers | Steps from the Canal

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