Bike etiquette: the traffic light

Daily, I commute to work on my bicycle. Since I live in Massachusetts, much of the year is too cold and rainy for there to be much bike traffic to contend with. A windy day in the teens means clear bike lanes and easy locking at my destination.

This solitary period is over, and there are many more people pedaling along with me. But though there are a fair number of people on bikes, I'm not sure there is yet a clear bicycling culture, as I presume exists in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Cultures are defined not by explicit rules, but by the assumptions and practices that happen without even thinking about them.

For example. You ride at a certain pace. You are faster than some, slower than others (actually, I travel exactly at the best Goldilocks pace). You pass a couple of bicyclists who really don't seem to be working that hard, but then stop for a light.  The people you passed come to the light too...and push in ahead of you.  To me, this would be a clear violation of social norms, if there were social norms. Because, of course, you just have to pass them again, and with Cambridge and Boston streets as narrow as they are, this takes a bit of attention to traffic, etc.  They should recognize their slowness and acknowledge that you deserve to be ahead of them.

Of course, if people faster than you, having passed you, stop at a light ahead, and you don't feel a stop is necessary (e.g., you see it as safe to go through the cross street even though a strict interpretation of traffic signals might indicate that you shouldn't), you feel no hesitation in blowing past them, even though they will then catch up to you and have to pass you, etc. They should stop being such sissies and acknowledge your greater daring.

So, at the very least, you should stop well to the right at a light, leaving room for others to go past you, even if it is red, because it's not your job to enforce traffic regulations. Don't sit in the middle of the space, all wide and sassy, as if you've been riding all winter and feel smug about your own toughness and a little irritated at all these wandering newbies getting in your way.... Of course then you have to watch people pump through intersections when it is clearly rude and dangerous, forcing cars to hit their brakes, etc. and know they are reducing the margin of courtesy that you rely on to get home safely. Sometimes slow people who really don't deserve it leave you far behind as a result.

It really shouldn't be that hard to get it right.  After all, I do.