I ride my bike almost every day. When I bike, I break traffic laws.
I drive a vehicle several days a week. When I drive, I break traffic laws.
I walk every day. When I walk, I break traffic laws.
There is a lot of hubbub out there about people breaking traffic laws while biking. But the thing is everyone breaks traffic laws and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant, lying to themselves, or lying to you. Probably a mix of all three. Speeding, rolling stops, jaywalking, not using turn signals, turning across double yellow lines, riding against traffic, trespassing…the list of laws people break while traveling are endless. While some laws are mode-specific (it is pretty hard to speed while walking) every traveler has laws they disregard. And we disregard them for a variety of reasons. A lot of behavioral research is studying how and why people break traffic laws in order to enlighten and perhaps even improve our current traffic laws.
Once such study from the University of Colorado, Denver, named “Bicycle Scofflaw Study” is looking specifically at people breaking traffic laws while riding a bike. What laws do they break? Why do they break those laws? How often do they break the laws? Please take this survey and share your input! I wrote a small essay for each of the comments (take the survey on a desktop – mobile versions do not allow you to make as many comments) because I wanted to give ample evidence as to why behave the way I do while cycling.
Take the Survey
Curious about my responses? Want to know my philosophy on traffic laws and biking? Driving? Walking? Shoot me a message or leave a comment – I am happy to share.
Scofflaw Biking Survey (Yeah, We Said It) | Washington Bikes
A few months ago I posted a short piece reflecting on my disassociation with cyclist and instead identifying myself as an urbanite. I was inspired to think intentionally about the cyclist label after a discussion with my classmates in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute. Tom Fucoloro, author of the Seattle Bike Blog, sparked our minds by challenging the sensibility of using labels such as driver, cyclist, and pedestrian. Makes sense to me – after all, I am all of these things at various times and it seems foolish to define myself by how I get around.
Now, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is in the spotlight for a blog article it wrote about using better language to break down perceived barriers between people using different modes of transportation. Clearly SNG is finding success; the idea of breaking barriers through more appropriate language not only appeared in my class but also in my neighborhood group. I find my daily language changing and noticed fewer people around me identifying themselves as cyclists. After all, we are all just people, right?
Check out SNG’s quick-guide to positive language:
Language guidelines from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
More on this:
Let’s Talk About Safe Streets | Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: http://seattlegreenways.org/blog/2015/01/06/lets-talk-safe-streets/
HOW SMART LANGUAGE HELPED END SEATTLE’S PARALYZING BIKELASH | People For Bikes (with comments by Tom Fucoloro of the Seattle Bike Blog): http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/how-smart-language-helped-end-seattles-paralyzing-bikelash
Seattle Bike Blog: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/09/im-not-a-cyclist-supporting-safer-streets-is-obvious-once-you-ditch-vehicle-language/
Language, Vehicle Size, and Bicycle Advocacy | IsolateCyclist: http://www.isolatecyclist.com/2013/12/09/language-vehicle-size-and-bicycle-advocacy/
Accidents Vs. Collisions | Living Streets Alliance: http://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/2013/03/accidents-vs-crashes/
…no really, it is true. My blog has been dark lately – more on that later. For now I want to share this thought I have been mulling over for a week or so:
I am not a cyclist. I am an urbanite.
As kid biking was free entertainment.
As a teen cars meant freedom.
As a student my feet took me everywhere I needed to go.
As a traveler linking modes was key to mobility.
As a Copenhagenite bikes were just part of life.
As an adventurer bikes were exciting.
As an urbanite bikes are functional.
No, I am not a cyclist. I am an urbanite.
Now let’s ride bikes!