A woman on a bike who didn't stop for a red light almost hit me and my dog while we were crossing the street. We had a walk sign. There was no option for us but to literally jump out of the way because she was going so fast. Bikes that don't obey the traffic laws do pose a serious danger to pedestrians!
No, Jamie. You're wrong. Assholes who don't yield to pedestrians with the right of way pose a serious danger to pedestrians.
Traffic lights are there for motorized vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds and kill pedestrians and bikes. For non-motorized traffic and pedestrians, traffic lights should be seen as a safety guide and an indicators of intersection right-of-way.
I must have run more than a dozen red lights today. I also biked the wrong way down two one-block stretches. I went on the sidewalk twice, but I would not have done so had there been a pedestrian nearby. I scared no pedestrians. I posed no more to risk to myself or anybody than had I been a pedestrian doing the same thing. And I did stop for a school bus with flashing red lights.
What's more, like it or not, I'm not going to stop running red lights. Nor am I going to stop walking against don't walk sign. Condemn me if you want. But them's the facts.
So now, that I've got that out the way, what are we going to do about it? Encourage a civil society rather than a mindless rule-based society. The problem isn't bikes running red lights. The problem is bikes going too fast in front of pedestrians crossing with the light (which also happens when bikes turn with the light, by the way).
What does "yield to pedestrians" mean? Can I cross the same crosswalk that a pedestrian is in? Of course. But should I zoom right in front of a pedestrian even if there's no contact. No. That makes you an asshole.
In too many bikers' minds, the comfort zone of pedestrians gets no consideration. That might be safe, but it's not right.
Bicyclists need to realize that pedestrians want and deserve a little more distance than is absolutely necessary for physical safety. It might be safe to zoom one foot in front of a walking person. But it's rude. Startling pedestrians is wrong. And as a bicyclist, I make a point to never startle a pedestrian that is in the right.
We should encourage bicyclists to be respectful. Don't cross right in front of pedestrians no matter what. Right is right. Running red lights has nothing to do with it.
And I just have to mention that pedestrians who run red lights pose serious danger to bicyclists and themselves. But I don't want to start a non-jaywalking campaign. I just want pedestrians to not walk in front of me when I have the green light.