I feel like I am a rule follower (except when I am not). But more times than not, I am. I know this because I will often try and determine the proscribed thing to do and then worry about not doing it the right way. I also know this because when I see other people not following a rule, I get annoyed; sometimes very annoyed.
For example, I was riding my e-bike this morning and I came to a pedestrian crossing across a somewhat busy street in a nearby neighborhood. There are clearly signs posted for traffic to stop for pedestrians, and I duly jumped off my bike to walk it across like I've read you are supposed to. Well, one car in one direction stopped, but the car in the other direction just went whizzing on by oblivious with some young driver at the steering wheel.
This is a small example of a whole world of angst of the bikers vs drivers variety. I suppose one side or the other could wax on for hours about the perceived sins of the other. And I have found myself in both camps. Pre-pandemic, when I used to bike part of the way to work every day except the dead of winter, I would almost daily be getting mad at some driver turning right at a light even though I clearly had the walk signal. On the other hand, I could just as easily be annoyed by a large pack of cyclers riding three or four abreast in a road clearly marked two abreast. Or an individual cycler who decides to blow off traffic light signals and plow across anyway even though there is a no walk or green turn arrow against them.
This reaction of mine against rule breakers is not confined to bicycling. I get annoyed when someone pops into the 15 item line at the grocery store with 20 items. I get annoyed when someone makes a U-turn where it is clearly illegal to make a U-turn. Or someone inadvertently (or intentionally) cuts in line in front of me. And on and on. I am also not above hypocrisy, getting irritated at rule infractions that I have done myself.
I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to NOT be a rule follower. Or at least to have more grace for rule infractions. Especially when they are minor and don't harm anyone. I wouldn't look the other way for a murder to be committed. But perhaps I could get less annoyed when I have to wait an extra minute or two to start across the street on my bike.
What about you? Are you a rule follower, or a live-and-let-live kind of person?