The other day, Ward Rubrecht was standing next to his bike on a curb in St. Louis Park, sipping a Powerade. Replenished, the Twin Cities cycling advocate went to toss his empty bottle into a recycling bin.
Around that time, the camera Rubrecht uses to record everything he does on his bike (see here and here for examples) captured a moment he didn't care for: a guy riding through the same intersection hooked a right, rolling through the stop sign in front of him without hesitation. Watch for it around the 2:45 mark in the video below.
"I'm generally not [opposed to] cyclists breaking the law," Rubrecht says, "because I officially place the preservation of human life above arbitrary bullshit legislated by people who don't get around by bike."
He adds that "Idaho stops," named for that state's allowance of cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs and stop signs like yield signs, are shown to cut the risk of cyclists getting rear-ended by cars. Such from-behind collisions are responsible for a significant percentage of bike fatalities.
Rubrecht doesn't bike like this guy, though, because he's stubborn about knowing and observing traffic laws. Even if cops don't enforce them often.
"Every once in a while they set up stings to catch cyclists running reds," says Rubrecht, who adds that enforcement tends to disproportionately hit people of color who happen to be riding a bicycle.
If he could communicate a message to this man, what would it be? Rubrecht offered a mantra.
"Do whatever it takes to get home alive."