My tendency toward "following the rules" despite their lack of pracitcality changed when a riding buddy of mine, A CAPTAIN in the California Highway Patrol, continuously blew stop signs and even stop lights. His reason: bicyclists have far more visual contact with their surroundings than drivers. Because we can see what is coming at our speed, stop signs should be advisory.
I still generally won't blow a major stop lighted intersection. Stop signs-especially when the city places them every three blocks in a misguided attempt at traffic calming, are fair game.
This has been an interesting disucssion-ways to justify my inherent feeling that yes, bicycles are different and can sometimes, where appropriate, follow different rules. Sure, there are brazen idiots who cause problems, but not nearly as many problems as drivers pilotng three tons.
There is nonetheless a strange sense of entitlement among dirvers. Irritation at anything that slows or impacts the right to an eternally free-flowing country road (even when in the middle of a city)