I don't do that anymore. I stop. All. The. Time. Every light, I wait patiently. Every stop sign, I come to a stop and look both ways (although I don't always put my foot down, that's not required by law). I choose to ride predictably because that's the best way to keep myself and my kids, when they're onboard, as safe as we could possibly be.
I don't want anyone to be able to place blame on me if I'm ever in an accident. Insurance companies are chomping at the bit to find the biker at fault. If I'm cruising through stop signs and disobeying traffic laws, they're more likely to come after me and say "look, you did that wrong, you probably did this wrong, too." I will be able to go to every red light camera and show that I am calmly waiting for the light to turn green just like everyone else. I will have eye witnesses to attest to my niceness. It's not going to be my fault in an accident.
I don't want to do anything that I wouldn't want my children (or my students) doing. My kids watch every move I make. One day, they're going to be on their own bikes, barreling down the street (properly), and I don't want them to think it's acceptable for a biker to ride through intersections or ignore right-of-way rules. For one thing, children don't have the distance-judging abilities that adults do. They also don't have the same reasoning skills, either. Their eye-brain connection hasn't figured these things out yet. My flippant actions could put my children in danger down the road. Biking is dangerous and it takes serious concentration and decision-making, just like driving a car. If I can instill these behaviors in my kids now, I will feel better about them being on their own, both on a bike and in a car.
I don't want to be a jerk. It's bad enough that there is too much cyclist-hatred out in the world, I don't want to be contributing to it. Every time a biker disobeys the law, drivers around them say "see, that's why bikers are so horrible." I make a conscious effort to be courteous and generous. I always try to stop for pedestrians and say hello as they pass by. I smile but politely refuse when a car driver tries to wave me through and it's not my turn (also because that can turn into a dangerous situation very quickly if other drivers aren't paying attention). I ride as if I am a legal driver of the road--which, surprise, I am! I want the same rights and recognition as car drivers. With those rights come the same responsibility. I wish that drivers would see me following the rules and think to themselves "wow, I guess all bikers aren't terrible" but in reality, they will usually only see what they want to see--bikers misbehaving. Let's try and cut that down, please, to give us all a better reputation.
I can understand why bike drivers would want to keep moving. It's hard to start rolling again from a dead stop (try that with 80 lbs of kid, too). It's also not as fun. It takes work and balance, something that car drivers don't understand since they just push their foot a little to stop and go. It can also be scary. Oftentimes, you'll have car drivers squeezing in behind you and, most of the time, expect you to keep going. This is usually where I use my stop/slow arm signal. Not everyone still remembers what it means but it does draw attention that I'm about to do something. If there is a car really encroaching in my space, I might actually take a minute to put my foot down and really check the intersection before I go (yes, this is a little bit of passive-aggressive behavior, I'm sorry). Shifting down before you stop can really help you regain your momentum after stopping, which I'm getting better at remembering these days.
Sadly, everywhere I go, bike and car drivers are disobeying the laws set in place to keep us safe. Twice last week, I watched cars stop at a red light then drive through as if it were a stop sign. I watch bikers riding down the wrong side of the road and plow through stop lights and stop signs without even touching the brakes or turning their heads. These people are dangerous for everyone on the road, especially the more vulnerable users like pedestrians and other bikers. I would like to see them all ticketed and required to go to traffic school. Car drivers, of course, should be held at an even higher standard as they are also driving a deadly 2,000 pound machine.