Chain begins with the system. People placed in a system start to behave according to its design.
Sergey Sobolev

I agree generally on all your points. The infrastructure in Stockholm is much better than Chicago, for example. However, in the areas where there isn’t much difference, the cautious road-sharing behavior continues. Maybe it’s the effect of the overall system being better. It may also be because in Sweden there’s a higher level of instruction and testing to obtain a driver’s license, and the penalties are more severe for moving violations. Bad infrastructure — worn away lane markings, wide turning radii at corners, lack of turning bays, poor-timing of stop signals, speed limits set too high, undefined “asphalt oceans” at large intersections— reduce predictability and increase the number of decisions motorists have to make, and due to the relative lack of training and inconsistent enforcement, I’d venture that bad decision-making is a contributor to the traffic norms in the U.S. It gets worse, when the laws regarding road sharing are not part of most states’ driver curriculum, and the standards for bicycle positioning and interaction with traffic are confusing and inconsistent from place to place, further complicating predictability and decision-making. True, it’s not just one-way, top-down. The infrastructure from a cyclist’s perspective is even more ill-defined. We’re faced with as many decisions to make as motorists are. Cyclists also influence motorists, their ease of movement through tight traffic can aggravate feelings of frustration and a sense that something’s not fair. When we blow through a stop signal, that also reinforces a norm. Though bicyclists can influence motorists in good ways, sometimes. When traffic flow and travel times are good, a more cooperative relationship between different mode users starts to occur. Perhaps because of our vulnerability in traffic, and the feeling that we’re not welcome to share the streets, I still believe we feel the influence of motorists more than vice versa, and not all of our decisions are rational. The choices available to cyclists in many situations are not ideal, but they’re usually informed by a fear of getting hit by a car.

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