There’s really no good reason to require bicyclists to stop at stop signs. It’s possible to see and hear intersecting traffic earlier on a bike than it is in a car, which is the primary reason cars are required to stop — to give the driver a proper amount of time to assess the traffic situation.
But few things inspire condemnation from motorists more than the possibility — however logical — that people on bicycles will be granted an exemption from a law they’re required to follow. That’s the nature of the relationship the two have.
In a streets.mn post today on why it shouldn’t be necessary for trail riders, in particular, to stop at stop signs, Lindsey Wallace says there are three types of drivers at stop signs.
Passive: The majority of drivers fall into this category. They stop at the stop sign and wait for bikers to pass. Are they courteous, or just afraid of killing a cyclist? I don’t know. I do know that this may be the most frustrating situation. I’m 10 feet away from the stop sign and the car is just sitting there. They wave me through the stop sign, even though I’m supposed to stop. A cop car did this to me once. I thought it was a trick.
Assertive: These drivers treat the stop sign like any other stop sign, and they treat a bicycle like any other vehicle. They’ll stop. They’ll go when it is their turn. They do not wait unnecessarily. I love assertive drivers.
Aggressive: Aggressive drivers are p***** that you’re biking and they’re especially p***** that you’re enjoying yourself. They’re convinced you are going to disobey the stop sign. They will roll through their own stop sign and then honk at you if you start to progress through the intersection without coming to a complete stop. You have no idea how the driver is going to behave, and the vast majority of drivers you interact with are so passive it’s infuriating.
“The stop signs for trail users on Humboldt and Irving make those intersections less safe and make cycling through that area less fun. Let’s get rid of them,” Wallace writes.