Bicycles Are Traffic – Please Treat Them Like It
While plenty of articles can and will be written about drivers ignoring people on bicycles — please give them 3 feet when passing — I am going to point out another issue: drivers being too nice.
Situation 1: I am on Oak Street heading north turning left (east) onto Third Street (the intersection near the south Kwik Trip in La Crescent.) I am at full stop with my foot on the ground and am signaling for a right turn. Vehicles in both eastward lanes stop. There was absolutely no reason for the left lane vehicle to stop, and unless the vehicle in the right lane was turning (please uses your turn signals!) it didn’t need to stop either. I eventually turned in front of the vehicles. Had the vehicles not stopped I would have entered Third Street only 5 seconds later.
Situation 2: I am on King Street at the intersection of Second Street. Again I am at a full stop, indicating I wish to continue straight ahead. The vehicle from my right on Second Street stops. I waved it along and crossed sometime later as traffic was coming from both directions. If the car had proceeded normally I believe I could have crossed as soon as it cleared the intersection. In this situation being nice actually cost me time.
I know children can be unpredictable, but if an adult is at a stop sign fully stopped and signaling a turn or a stop, please treat them like a car. This goes for four way stops. If you arrive before a person on a bike, you have the right of way – please continue normally. If you see someone on a bike stopped at an intersection do not stop if you do not have a stop sign. If you predictably follow the rules of the road you will make things better for all traffic – including bicycles.