A challenge to drivers who are angry at bikers for selectively disregarding traffic laws

. . . like Sonny Bunch:

Though I am by no means an expert in jurisprudence, constitutional or otherwise, it seems to me that Wilkinson has created an entirely new concept of law, one rooted in choosing not to follow statutes…solely because they inconvenience you! Now, I don’t think every law should be followed blindly–there are times when a law is so unjust it should not be obeyed–but I don’t think civil disobedience extends to refusing to obey the law because it tacks three minutes on to your commute. Lest we think that this is an idea unique to Wilkinson, we see similar (though less obnoxiously phrased) thoughts over at Megan’s joint.

Which of you has never gone above the speed limit? Anyone, anyone? Don't bother, I don't believe you. Ditto anyone who says they've never jaywalked, which is, I assure you, against the law.

Coordination laws, like driving regulations--where the laws themselves have no moral content, but are merely a convenient way to enforce a common standard--are different from things like laws against stealing. Indeed, so different that you don't even think of speeding as breaking the law, allowing you to get morally outraged at bikers without even thinking of yourself as doing exactly the same thing on the highways.

The reason cops don't ticket bikers when they fail to observe stop signs at uncrowded intersections, etc, for the same reason that they don't ticket people going 5 mph over the speed limit--those people do not cause many accidents. That's because a bike going down a one-way street does not crash into cars. A bike passing through an intersection has neither the mass nor the velocity to hurt a car. A bike running a stop sign is maintaining a speed too slow to kill a pedestrian. Moreover, the fact that bike/pedestrian or bike/car crashes are at least as likely to hurt or kill the rider makes bike riders much more cautious than car drivers are likely to be.

I'm not excusing bike messengers who roar through stop signs at 20 mph--but I'm no danger to anyone proceding cautiously through a red light at an empty intersection. Furthermore, in my experience, drivers are much less likely to be enraged by a rolling bike stop than they are when I am obeying the law--driving in the middle of the lane in front of them, moving much more slowly than they are. If you're so hot on bikers not obeying the traffic laws, you should stop to consider that if we were obeying all the traffic laws, we'd ride like cars drive--right in the middle of the traffic lane. But I suspect that if bikers started obeying this particular traffic law, we would not be hearing applause from the drivers.