Straight-up list of Pittsburgh idiot cyclists
“unixd0rk: I have never once seen an instance where not following the law was ever a safer option for a cyclist or a pedestrian. In fact it is always the opposite. How is it being a “sitting duck” to not stop at a red light or a stop sign?”
perhaps ask the friends and family of the young lady who was killed stopped at a light on forbes.
We don’t like to discuss it here, because it seems like victim-blaming, but some of the recent cyclist deaths have included cyclists riding at night without lights, or running stop signs etc.
i nowhere advocated “not stopping” at a light or stop sign. that is just simply dangerous – and i propose that it rarely ever happens and if it were such a hazard we wouldn’t be hearing about experienced cyclists getting run over from behind and put into comas, we’d be hearing about the piles of dead bike ninja scofflaws at intersections becoming a problem. i have personally only seen people cross against lights while it was safe – which leads me to believe that not many are closing their eyes and barreling through without a care.
but we don’t… so i contend that something does not follow in the logic being espoused by people who either don’t feel any danger wedged between two chunks of steel at an intersection simply because they are following the law, or are not aware of the concept of inertia. perhaps they are aware of this danger and yet defy their own sense of self-protection? whatever it is, it makes absolutely no sense to me.
if the goal is for everybody to respect others out there in the streets, how does shaming other cyclists who don’t feel like putting their lives in the hands of an incomplete bike infrastructure or worse yet the dude behind the car behind them at the red light who is about to have a “medical incident” from the synthetic weed he’s been smoking while driving fit into that?
Yes, people do love to blame the victim so that they don’t ever have to feel an ounce of shame or remorse.
I was responding to the idea of “keep going” presented by another poster. I think while it explains peoples impatience, it is not an excuse for dangerous behavior.
When an asshole driver does something reckless and nearly endangers me, I always think “can you not wait 5 more seconds and not risk my life, please?” It should not be too much to ask that we respect each other more on the roads and not risk each others lives.. That said, the ones doing the actual life-risking are, as you mentioned with the big metal boxes, always motor vehicle drivers. If drivers are being vigilant, even a reckless cyclist is never going to endanger anyone other than themselves.
That poor lady was killed because a car hit the car behind her from behind and pushed them forward and squished her between two cars. Such a horrible thing, but the situation in and of itself was not a dangerous one. It was probably exascerbated by the car behind her not leaving enough room between them and her. If we want to be on the road with our bikes (and where else can we ride them if there arent bike paths, and even those don’t have good intersection solutions usually), then we cannot get on and off the road without that being even more dangerous. Also, since we can’t ride on the sidewalk in those kinds of areas, what are you supposed to do if you want to get through that intersection? Get off the bike, walk it across lanes of traffic over to the side walk and then walk through the pedestrian crossing, then merge back onto the road with cars zooming by because they arent prepared for a bike to merge on there?
I think that example you gave was not a good one to prove your point. I remain in my belief that it is not in any instance more dangerous for a biker to follow the rules than to break them, or avoid them.
Regarding adherence to traffic laws… I know this has been hashed and rehashed, but it’s ironic that some of our bike infrastructure creates situations where a cyclist is plopped directly into a weird traffic gray area. I’m thinking particularly of the bike lane on Sixth Avenue where it intersects with Penn Ave.
Unless you’re turning right onto Penn… I don’t really know what to do. Hopping off your bike to become a pedestrian seems like the best option.
I will readily shame and curse at other cyclists who do blatantly stupid things while biking. It makes the road more dangerous for everyone, not just them, because it heightens already ridiculously high antagonism towards cyclists, and also can put other people at risk as well; such as in the incident I described with a douchebag riding his bike the wrong way down a one way street and almost causing a car to crash.
That guy was not riding the wrong way down a one way street because it felt more safe, but because it felt more convenient and he felt entitled to do whatever the heck he wanted to.
Just as a pedestrian should not walk at a red light, a cyclist should not either. The same reasoning applies for cars, as even if you think the road is clear, so why not run the light, you never know and someone might be coming that you didnt see. That is why we have lights in the first place and not just a free for all where everyone can go when they please if they think its safe. We can’t count on people’s good judgement or complete awareness, so we have rules and laws.
If I see a cyclist stop at a red light and then cycle through, I am mortified, as everyone should be. I would be so happy to see someone get a ticket for this, but sadly the cops arent about enough it seems.
“Idaho Stop”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop
I support making “Idaho Stop” a law in PA, especially in Pittsburgh. According to the findings of several studies, Idaho Stop reduced crashes involving cyclists (see links in the Wiki link). I consider treating stop signs as yield signs is safer in hilly cities like Pittsburgh. Unless you are a good track cyclist who can do trackstand with ease, stopping at an uphill stop sign requires you to get into lower gear and put a foot down. Starting back up would most likely cause you to weave left and right a bit as you struggling to get enough momentum to remain upright, putting your life at risks as motor vehicles passing you. And if you are in the wrong gear, the weaving would probably be even greater and create a greater hazard for you. To make matters worse, if you shift too quickly under these conditions, you might cause a gear jam, forcing you to halt and block the traffic behind you.
Some opponents of Idaho Stop said cyclists should not have softer regulations than motorists. I disagree. Cyclists should be treated as preferred road users as they have low probability of killing someone with their vehicles, create much less pollution, produce little of no damage to road surfaces.
I will readily shame and curse at other cyclists who do blatantly stupid things while biking.
Do you shame bicyclists who are sitting at lights in dangerous intersections when it clearly would be sagfer to just go through the light?
Note: If you are unaware of such situations, please, please, PLEASE do not ride a bike it the city. You are a danger to yourself.
“the situation in and of itself was not a dangerous one”
you are welcome to keep telling yourself that, but if it wasn’t dangerous at all – then we wouldn’t have ever heard about another dead cyclist, would we? i suggest that you have a very good false sense of security if you are not terrified of being crushed in between two cars in traffic or rolled over from behind. your helmet, lights, and smug sense of self-satisfaction is not going to prevent your internal organs from being crushed or your spine severed. i realize that some will say “that’s just the risk you take” to which i will respond “no thanks, i’m not taking that risk. have a nice day.”
once again, i would like to point out that “pretending” that you are a car while you are riding a bike and fooling yourself into believing that you are experiencing the same level of risk to your life and limb as a motorist, is quite foolish in my opinion.
i fully support the idaho stop and any other solutions to the problem that don’t require shaming those who may have a heightened sensitivity or awareness as to when their life is or isn’t in danger.
“I would be so happy to see someone get a ticket for this, but sadly the cops arent about enough it seems.”
and yet, people have. so you must be happy.
“Also, since we can’t ride on the sidewalk in those kinds of areas”
is forbes between the cathedral of learning and dippy the dinosaur actually a bona-fide “business district”? for one thing, i don’t know of many “business districts” with a 4 lane “practically a highway” through it, so it sure doesn’t *look* like one. forbes between oh, halket and bigelow “kind of” looks like one despite the 3 lanes of death that continues to spuriously claim the lives of pedestrians trying to cross. craig street between forbes and center looks like one. walnut between aiken and negley looks like one. most of downtown looks like one…
even if that area IS legally (and I would say, erroneously) defined as a “business district” i will continue to ride through that area after bigelow heading toward CMU either carefully on the sidewalk at a sensible and courteous pace or cross-country through the cathedral cut by heinz chapel.
joshious, I don’t care how you frame it for yourself, but Susan Hicks death was indeed directly influenced by the fact that she was following “rules” designed for automobiles. As far as negotiating that specific intersection, personally, I go straight thru past the museum, take the lane, and take the left on S. Dithridge instead. I will take whatever course of action that I believe carries the greatest possibility of keeping me alive. And I disagree that “rules are there for a reason”. Rules exist because most people are more comfortable with rules than they are with rational, empathetic thought, they are a placebo. Based on the level of traffic injuries and deaths at present, the rules are not working. I don’t give two whits what other pedestrians and cyclists do if it doesn’t affect me, I don’t get irritated, and I don’t shame them, that’s called minding my own business. And if you do indeed sit at red lights in the middle of nowhere where there is no other traffic and no one else around, that’s just being pointlessly Puritanical. Literally no one cares if you run that light or not.
Well, I do follow the rules and I do sit at empty intersections (those with lights) for the simple reason that it’s the law. And I feel it’s important that cyclists be seen to respect the law.
Many times it feels silly. And I’ve even had other cyclists say “hey man, why you waiting? there’s nobody coming.” But I keep waiting.
Unless I’m really, really late for something… Real life ends up with exceptions. One of the things I like about it.
Thanks Gordon for the Idaho stop information. That is indeed an excellent law, and should be applied everywhere. Cyclists do in fact deserve “special” privilege on the road because A) we are more at risk for harm, B) we are not damaging the roads or taking up very much of the road, and C) we are not polluting the air and are doing something healthy in the process.
Anyone who would complain about cyclists having different rules is just being a dick.
That said, as long as the rules are what they are, we must follow them. The rules exist so that others know what to expect and can maneuver accordingly. If some cyclists slow down at stop signs, some stop completely and others zoom through without even slightly breaking, then drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists don’t know what to expect. That makes the road more dangerous.
As to the situation of stopping at a light at a dangerous intersection: First of all, I have never once seen a case where running a red light would have been safer. If it’s an intersection with lots of traffic to begin with it is very unlikely that there will be a long enough lull in perpendicular traffic to zoom through the intersection safely. Furthermore, that kind of biking could cause a car to have to swerve and hit other cars or pedestrians to avoid the cyclist. If we want to be on the roads, we have to follow the rules as they currently exist. When people don’t, they should get ticketed. Finally, I don’t understand how it is inherently more unsafe to wait in line with the cars. Sure, fluke accidents happen, but that situation with the lady getting pinned between two cars was a very unlikely scenerio where multiple things lined up. I would venture a guess that it is in fact much more dangerous to walk across an intersection on foot with the walk sign on, because so many cars clearly ignore pedestrians right of way and don’t even seem to look. I often feel way more unsafe on foot and crossing roads than I do on my bike.
I’ve lived in about 20 cities in 3 countries so far, and I must say that my new home of Pittsburgh is the place with the WORST drivers of any other place I’ve lived. The worse towards other cars, the worst towards cyclists and the worst towards pedestrians.
I understand everyone else’s points, but I still believe that this is primarily an issue of law and order rather than preference or “ones own business”. What other people do on public roads is not their own business, it is all of our problem. We need a system that works well and then we all need to follow it.
Considering how bad people drive here I’m appaled by the fact that there aren’t red light cameras and that the city police aren’t allowed to use radar detectors. It’s really quite barbaric.
Is this chicken and egg? are drivers worse because there is very little patrolling of intersections (i.e., very little risk of being caught driving poorly compared to other places)? Or the other way around.
In any case, the other factor that makes Pgh harder for everyone is that the grid was laid out over a century ago. The streets are narrow. They are winding. They go up and down hills. Some of them are one way. And they weren’t designed for the current load of traffic.
A simple situation where running a red light might be considered safer:
The usual thought process for many drivers at a red light queued up behind a cyclist goes something like this: “Shit, some guy on a bike! If I don’t get past him by the time I get across this intersection, he’s gonna block the lane. I’m gonna be stuck behind him and unable to pass, losing precious seconds of my time. As soon as the light changes, I’ve got to gun it and get ahead of that a-hole…”
At the same time the driver races off the line, the cyclist is attempting to accelerate from a full stop, the precise moment when his bike is least stably balanced, due to lack of momentum.
In this case, the cyclist might believe it is safer to cross before traffic, get up to speed and in better control of his vehicle before impatient motorists bear down upon him.
Not that I’m arguing this either way; just providing one example of how someone might logically conclude running a light would be safer than waiting.
For myself, I’m a believer and practitioner of Idaho. It’s simple, straightforward, consistent, and (for many cyclists) common sense.
I think it’s important to distinguish between traveling at speed through a light, vs stopping at a red light briefly before proceeding (classic Idaho), and a third situation, proceeding on the red after waiting for much but not all of the cycle.
But Stu, all three of those assume some degree of negotiability in the observance of the law, which some would declare as non-negotiable. So, for those, no effective difference.
Oh, my goodness. I was turning left onto Frankstown Road from Graham Blvd yesterday, around 6:00 pm, at the light there, and just as it turned green I saw a cyclist ride up the far lane of Frankstown (that is, on the right side of the street, against traffic) and cross in front of the cars that were waiting at the light, which had just gotten a green light. I couldn’t think of what to do other than point straight at him, hoping they would notice a rider coming from an unexpected direction. He saw me, and I guess thought I was saying hi, so he waved back.
Fortunately, he’s lucky, and the cars waiting at the light didn’t start right away and run over him.
I doubt he will see this, but please:
1) Ride with traffic. Riding against traffic is something they teach little kids. Don’t do that. It’s not safe.
2) If you’re on a multi-lane road, take the lane.
3) Stop at lights.
Followed two cyclists through Squirrel Hill on Murray Ave last night around 8:30, fully dark. No helmets, no lights. I can sometimes see the point of the anti-cyclist rants on the news sites. Cyclists not taking responsibility for their own safety is a problem.
On the plus side, they were otherwise riding safely, taking the lane more or less.
I was in the Pitt campus general area yesterday around noon, which is rare for me. So much wrong-way riding on Bouquet and Thackeray, uphill from Fifth. Though I partly blame this on the street grid in the area
Time to bring this topic up in 2017. I’m sure some of you have some stories to tell ;-)
was running on the north shore trail toward Millvale between 16th street and 31st street bridge a few weeks ago, far over to the right. It was during the day and the trail was empty except for a biker coming toward me. Straight toward me When he was about 5 feet away I realized he wasn’t going to move over to his side of the trail, so I had to jump onto the grass to avoid being knocked down.
He kept going. I stood there and scratched my head.
Maybe he was from a country formally controlled by the British empire and thought I was on the wrong side of the road. Or maybe he was stoned?
I had the exact same experience a couple months ago heading west on the north shore trail just past the casino. Some cyclist was trying to overtake another cyclist and was occupying my lane heading towards me. Either he didn’t notice me despite my headlight, or he wanted to play chicken. When collision seemed imminent I veered to the right off the trail and shouted “look out!”. He didn’t react at all; just kept trucking along with his head down.
I’ve slowed my roll because I’m approaching the Arts Festival and there’s TONS of peds. This idiot comes up behind me screeching his bakes. (sorry buddy, you’re going to have to go slow through here!)
Apparently, that wasn’t fast enough for him. He passes me with no warning while I’m trying to slowly pass a couple on our right and another ped oncoming.
Not cool. I told him so.
Need everyone’s help on this one…
We heard from the crossing guard at North and Federal on the Northside that a cyclist riding south on Federal (downhill) blew the red light and hit a child in the crosswalk trying to board a bus. Even worse, he did not stop. This is legitimately a deadly act and cannot be tolerated.
Guy was riding a black bike with silver helmet, and the guard said she recognized him as a somewhat frequent rider.
The top speed on that Strava segment is 37 kmh is 23 mph is still less than the posted speed limit, let alone what a lot of cars are doing around there. I’m not sure how relevant that is.
Look closer. Part of that segment is not on the street but on a walkway that connects Arch St and N/W Commons, and goes right by the elementary school. Seems pretty idiotic to me to ride through there that fast.
@chrishent It depends enormously on time of day and what’s going on. And most of the people on those lists were going 30km/h or less (18 mi/h or less), which is an easy cruising speed to get up to just coasting down the hill through a green light. It’s really not fair to insinuate that someone who once went 18-20 mi/h on Arch St (which is normally a pretty calm street, in my experience) is a reckless rider and a suspected child-hitter.
ETA: This event was obviously awful, and I really hope the kid is okay.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by pearmask.
it was suggested on facebook that the AGH satellite office across from the library and/or the parking garage may have video cameras. The library, the Crazy Mocha, and, for that matter, the bus itself might also.
Like I said, it might be one of those riders, mainly because a few at the top of that segment leaderboard use Federal St to go downhill as well. That does not prove anything, but the goal here is to try and identify who was the cyclist that hit the child, so looking at a tracking service such as Strava is just one possible way to help clue in who is a regular on that particular side of town. Some people post pictures of themselves riding or their bikes on Strava, so that may help in the IDing process.
Also, as far as I’m aware, most cyclists are not on Strava. @Buffalo’s note on surveillance cameras around the area might provide a better lead.
Could we get a time of the incident from the crossing guard? If it’s a semi-regular user of that route heading to work or class or a regular destination, the easiest thing might just be for people who are normally in that area around that time to keep an eye out and try and get a visual on the person. Do we have any idea if police were called?
My own 2 c, going downhill fast is cool, not being in control of the bike is not cool, and not stopping if something DOES happen is a chickenshit move.
Ran into a cyclist on Sarah St. this morning who was a) running stop signs, probably because b) he was riding the wrong way down a one way street. Probably didn’t help that he was c) wearing headphones and d) checking his texts.
After looking at my rear camera video, I’m thinking *I* was the idiot for calling out this Salmon Tweeker on a Healthy Ride. He promptly turned around and was coming back for me…
A thread from Nextdoor Squirrel Hill South:
Lori Goldstein, Squirrel Hill South1
I am all for sharing the road- however- shouldn’t they be required to also follow the rules of the road and human decency? As I drove through Squirrel Hill with my family, including my 7 year old daughter, we were repeatedly cut off by a middle aged man on his bicycle (coming from Greenfield) running red lights and stop signs, weaving and speeding. When we honked our horn, reminding him we were there, he proceeded to give us the finger, for several blocks, hands waving in the air- with my daughter asking what that meant. To that man- please- follow the rules. Ride your bike, but stop at red lights, stop at stop signs, and think of the safety of others. Above all- please, stop waving your middle finger around; especially at young children. Thank you.
New5h ago • 21 neighborhoods in Crime & Safety
9 Thanks • 7 Replies
Aviva Gross, Squirrel Hill South•5h agoNew
Can police issue tickets to bike riders?
Ronna L, Squirrel Hill South•5h agoNew
I think I’ve encountered this rude bicyclist also! Perhaps he has mental issues, and doesn’t know the rules and never drove a car? Perhaps someone not as kind as you will show him the rules.
David Korman, Squirrel Hill South•5h agoNew
The police can- but rarely do. (The Motor Vehicle term is “pedalcycle.”) https://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/PubsForms/Publications/PUB%20380.pdf Sorry this happened. Some bicyclists, like some drivers, are reckless, careless, and/or rude.
Jason Hochreiter, Squirrel Hill South•5h agoNew
Please don’t let one misbehaving bicyclist create a stereotype and label those people riding bikes. Many many cyclists follow the rules of the road. All Pgh street users, regardless of the form of transportation, should be acting and behaving so they can get safety to their destination.
Arie Presman, Squirrel Hill South•5h agoNew
Sorry, men, but he is well known crazy of the neighborhood.. He already got in many accidents but nothing helps.. Try to avoid him (and the like), there is a famous aphorism :don’t be Right on the road – Be Smart!
Jenn Halahan, Greenfield•5h agoNew
That’s so uncalled for! Such rude behavior. Sorry that happened to you and your family. As far as I know, they are ALL supposed to follow the rules of the road, but I don’t see that happen too often. It’s unsafe for everyone on the road when rules are ignored, bikes or vehicles. I’m an advocate of bicyclists having to pay registration fees, insurance, and licensing just like motor vehicles, especially since more and more are on the road. If a bicyclist hits your car during traffic and leaves without exchanging information, how do you report the dent or scratch that person left on your vehicle? It’s almost impossible because they’re all basically anonymous.
Peter Brusilovsky, Squirrel Hill South•4h agoNew
This is unacceptable cyclist behavior. But on the top of that, dear neigbors, please, do not honk to cyclists unless it is absolutely necessary – there are cases when accidents follow honking since cyclists get surprised and fell.
Avrum Harris, Squirrel Hill South·13m agoNew
Most bicycle riders expect you to give them the road not share it. I’ve ran into some very rude ones in Squirrel hill. They are by law suppose to follow the same rules as cars but from what I’ve seen most do not.
Monday evening, about 645pm, Oakland:
A rider heads outbound in the far left of the four-lane section of Forbes Ave. As he approaches the double left turn at Bellefield, a car pulls into the #2 lane. The rider looks back over his shoulder at the car on what will be the outside of his turning movement….and continues straight.
Fortunately the light changed and the car stopped for it. Also fortunately, there was no inbound traffic at that moment—he continued outbound in the inbound lane for another block, finally jumping on the sidewalk just before Craig.
Don’t use your phone while riding your bike unless you have some sort of hands-free set up.
If you take your bike on the T, don’t ride it on the platform. Even if it looks like there’s no one in front of you.
Normally I wouldn’t bother but I have these behaviors every day for the last two weeks.
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