By Rick Bernardi, J.D.
The reason most often-cited by motorists for the animosity between motorists and cyclists is the disregard that cyclists have for the traffic laws. And one complaint in particular always comes up in any discussion about cyclists—the well-known disregard that cyclists have for stop signs and red lights.
Well, it’s true that many cyclists do not follow the traffic laws when it comes to required stops. But it’s also true that many cyclists do follow the law. And yet it’s virtually guaranteed that whenever the subject of cyclists comes up, motorists will volunteer their observations that cyclists have no regard for stop signs and red lights. And these observations are offered regardless of circumstances. A motorist right-hooked a law-abiding cyclist? A driver has no explanation for why he didn’t see a brightly-clad law-abiding cyclist in broad daylight? A road-rager uses his vehicle to assault a cyclist and bully him off the road? No matter. Somebody will mention that cyclists break the law.
So with all of that sanctimony, one might reasonably believe that drivers are themselves paragons of lawfulness, especially when it comes to observing stop signs and red lights.