Tracker Pixel for Entry

Rolling stops

by Tom Bixby | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | March 15th, 2017

As more people get around on bikes, the rules of the road should change to reflect a changed reality.

A proper bike lane has a raised portion such as a curb between the bikes and vehicle traffic. A bike lane without such a divider is not a bike lane. It doesn’t protect riders from drivers who text or young male drivers showing off.

We are unaware of any bike lanes in the U.S. The nearest one is probably in Vancouver, British Columbia, in a more civilized part of the world.

Cyclists don’t have a network of paths fully separated from car traffic, as in the Netherlands. They deserve all legal protection consistent with safety for all road users.

In 1982, the Idaho Legislature passed a law allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs and traffic signals as yield signs. In 2005, the law was amended. Idaho cyclists can still roll through a right turn at a traffic signal, but they have to come to a complete stop before they run a red light.

The exact wording: “A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Some bicycle groups say bicyclists are safer when they don’t have to stop. They don’t spend as much time in intersections, where they’re most likely to be hit by a car. They are more able than motorists to perceive approaching danger, and with a much stronger reason to do so.

There are too many stop signs (boulevard stops) on the quiet streets that cyclists often choose. Cyclists use a lot of time and energy moving off from rest. They need to be in motion to avail themselves of the unique advantages of bicycles.

Forcing cyclists to come to a complete stop is wasteful. It takes more time, expenditure of energy, collision risk, discomfort, strain and overuse injuries.

Changing the law would do no more than legalize what bicyclists already do, as a result of “frustration, leading to pervasive noncompliance.” And cyclists that don’t stop are less exposed to the pollutants that accumulate at crossroads.

Research conducted at the University of California School of Public Health shows that removing boulevard stops lessens collisions by approximately half.

Idaho’s state law, again, allows bicyclists to yield rather than come to a complete stop. The researchers chose similar comparison areas without such laws. The Idaho accident rate was 30% better; Idaho bicycle injuries were 15% fewer.

Most motorists don’t like the whole idea. They say there would be confusion about the rules of the road and more bad behavior by cyclists.

There are two main traffic philosophies. The dominant one, traffic control, has a bible, the “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.” Its main thrust is safety through uniformity, and thus predictability: lots of rules and signs, signals and stop signs.

The main opposing philosophy is called shared space. Adherents propose removing “all or nearly all traffic controls,” relying instead on “safety through uncertainty.” If driving and cycling were more intense vigilance tasks, say proponents, road users would be safer.

Oh, really? We know a guy who was against seat belts in cars when they started being used. His reasoning was that if you know you could go through the windshield, you drive more carefully. Seat belts, he said, tempted drivers to take chances.

We have to admit that we don’t know the answer. Maybe it depends on the size of the city. In the bicycle capitals of the nation, Portland and Minneapolis, it might not work.

The safety-through-uncertainty philosophy, as far as we know, has only been tried in Langley, Washington, where drivers share the streets with bicycles and numerous golf carts. Results, so far, are inconclusive. We’d like to see an experiment in Moorhead or Fargo.

Should cyclists be allowed to roll through stop signs? Tell us what you think.

Gone but not forgotten

We’re upset that the Community Bike Workshop has been gone since last June.

People say that the city is too small to support a communal bike workshop; that the workshop moved twice in the last few years and could never pay a downtown rent; that without a profit motive it could never survive anywhere.

What do you think, Reader readers? Can the city support a community bicycle workshop? Will there ever be another one? How would you set one up?

Recently in:

FARGO – Nearly half of the Walmart employees claiming discrimination from management at the world’s largest retail chain came before Fargo’s Human Relations Commission Thursday, to appeal for help, and the commission…

Culture

​Gaming and Steam

by Chuck Solly

I have hesitated in the past to ride into the gaming world with my guns blazing and my hair blowing in the wind. My reasons are many and varied.In my own personal case, I don’t play online or offline games because it is a huge…

Thursday, February 22, 7pmFront Street Taproom, 614 Main Ave, Fargo The jazz musician and independent songwriter, making music for 20 years and performing for 10. Interesting, arranges in a dynamic and unorthodox fashion. On tour,…

Editorial

​Savoring local flavor

by Sabrina Hornung

What draws people to a particular area? Food? Culture? Nostalgia? It’s hard to speak on behalf of the populace but we obviously know what draws us in as individuals.Here’s another question: What makes an area thrive and what…

Do we finally have ‘beauteous mankind in a brave new world?’British philosopher and writer Aldous Huxley used a line of Miranda’s speech in Shakespeare’s play "The Tempest" as the title for his book about the future…

This year’s Cocktail Showdown yielded a mixture of familiar and fresh faces to compete in the Fifth Annual Bartenders Battle when it returns to the Holiday Inn on Sunday February 18th. With a bright and colorful Tiki theme, we…

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Melissamartincounselor@live.com Emotional eating refers to a range of behaviors in which individuals eat for reasons other than physiological hunger; and eating is an attempt to self-soothe emotions.…

Whoever said rock n’roll ain’t pretty must have never had the opportunity to speak with Wanda Jackson, often referred to as “the queen of rockabilly” and even the “first lady of rock n’ roll.” The Oklahoma native just…

Given the film’s somewhat odd marriage of style -- the personality-driven presence of chatty neophyte documentarian Bryan Fogel -- and substance -- the ugly realities of the longtime Russian doping program for Olympic competitors…

The Red Raven had their annual opening party for the Erotic Art Show last week, drawing in a sizeable crowd that got to take home free condoms, lubricant, chapstick, and Planned Parenthood pins and brochures.The red candles at each…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.eduThe ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas; the class which is the ruling material force in society is at the same time the ruling intellectual force.- Karl Marx and Friedrich…