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Old 01-15-08, 02:48 PM   #1
BarracksSi
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Define "running" a red light or stop sign

Over and over (and over and over and over... ) in discussions about whether it's okay to proceed through red lights, there are people saying that any movement through a red light or stop sign is "running", and there are others who say that it's "running" only if the cyclist is hustling through at full speed without looking.

Or variations in between or outside of those main points of view.

So, really: What do you define as running a stoplight or stop sign?

I'm not asking what Idaho says or about any other state or city laws -- I'm just asking what we think.

No poll yet.
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Old 01-15-08, 02:59 PM   #2
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In AZ: ""Stop", if required, means complete cessation from movement." Anything else at a stop sign is running it. So for me I don't stop at a stop sign if my front wheel does not for at least a very brief moment stop rotating. I say I 'run' it if I don't feel like I've stopped for a moment and looked all important ways carefully, perhaps I'll still be moving very slowly.
'Running a red' is going thru a red light no matter if one or I stops first or not. 'Blowing' a red light is going thru without stopping first.
I know you did not want to talk about laws, but I mention the legal definition of stop as it is relevant.

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Old 01-15-08, 03:05 PM   #3
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I do the same thing in my car and on my bike: slow to approximately 3mph, stop completely only if if necessary, look, and proceed.
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Old 01-15-08, 03:09 PM   #4
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What, is this 1998 again? "It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is." –Bill Clinton, during his 1998 grand jury testimony.

Running a stop light. Going through it when it is red. Unless you are turning right, it is legal to due so, and you have stopped first.

Running a stop sign. Not stoppping for the sign.


stop= no longer moving
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Old 01-15-08, 03:09 PM   #5
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Stop: the elimination of forward momentum. I guess in a car, it's when the weight of the vehicle shifts from the front suspension to the rear.
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Old 01-15-08, 03:27 PM   #6
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Over and over (and over and over and over... ) in discussions about whether it's okay to proceed through red lights, there are people saying that any movement through a red light or stop sign is "running", and there are others who say that it's "running" only if the cyclist is hustling through at full speed without looking.
Proceeding through an intersection after checking for any conflicting traffic is probably what almost everybody does EXCEPT for all those "other guys" running red lights and stop signs without ever looking as reported/ranted about and seen only by the Expert Educator Wannabes of BF.
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Old 01-15-08, 03:32 PM   #7
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I treat stop signs and red lights as yield sings. Has always worked for me. Major intersections however i usually don't have a chance to proceed unless it's green for me, so i wait.
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Old 01-15-08, 03:54 PM   #8
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Stop: the elimination of forward momentum. I guess in a car, it's when the weight of the vehicle shifts from the front suspension to the rear.
I think that's called a wheelie.
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Old 01-15-08, 04:11 PM   #9
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i had the "is it ok to run red lights on a bike" discussion with some friends recently, and one of them said something that i thought summed up my feelings to a "t".

when drivers of cars are propelling their vehicles around town with their legs, i'll feel compelled to stop and wait for them. until then, they have no right to tell me to stop, which then requires me to recover the lost momentum.
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Old 01-15-08, 04:21 PM   #10
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Huh? Was that a dung beetle?

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Old 01-15-08, 04:58 PM   #11
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I treat stop signs and red lights as yield sings. Has always worked for me. Major intersections however i usually don't have a chance to proceed unless it's green for me, so i wait.
Do you yield right of way to other cyclists?
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Old 01-15-08, 07:42 PM   #12
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I define running a red light as breezing through a red light at speed, without looking, or touching the brakes.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:24 PM   #13
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Huh? Was that a dung beetle?

Nothing like a JackAss who asks questions but only wants to hear group think approved "correct" answers.

Exactly who has seen significant number (or any) adult cyclists racing through red lights at speed despite the presence of traffic, without even looking ? I believe such claims of outrageous cycling conduct by the "other guys" are for the most part straw man arguments and bogus blather made about cyclists who don't fit the self proclaimed competent/lawful/skilled cyclists' preferred cycling MO.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:28 PM   #14
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I've not only seen it, but I've had to avoid idiots who have done it while I was driving.
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Old 01-16-08, 12:09 PM   #15
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i had the "is it ok to run red lights on a bike" discussion with some friends recently, and one of them said something that i thought summed up my feelings to a "t".

when drivers of cars are propelling their vehicles around town with their legs, i'll feel compelled to stop and wait for them. until then, they have no right to tell me to stop, which then requires me to recover the lost momentum.
I was under the strange impression that it was the law which tells you to stop and not motorists doing so. I do, however, deeply sympathise with your poor little legs at having to recover your lost momentum. How outrageous that you should be expected to undergo such an appalling emotional and physical traumas simply because the law requires you so to do. There should be intersection-based counsellors (aka pushers-off) to assist you in overcoming this terrible experience.

The problem is one of your rationality, by the way, not your feelings, which are irrelevant.
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Old 01-16-08, 12:34 PM   #16
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I was under the strange impression that it was the law which tells you to stop and not motorists doing so. I do, however, deeply sympathise with your poor little legs at having to recover your lost momentum. How outrageous that you should be expected to undergo such an appalling emotional and physical traumas simply because the law requires you so to do. There should be intersection-based counsellors (aka pushers-off) to assist you in overcoming this terrible experience.

The problem is one of your rationality, by the way, not your feelings, which are irrelevant.
Darn, you beat me to it. These where my thoughts exactly when I read that post.
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Old 01-16-08, 02:31 PM   #17
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I do the same thing in my car and on my bike: slow to approximately 3mph, stop completely only if if necessary, look, and proceed.
When my wife first learned to drive she had this "stop only if necessary" attitude....

... until it almost got her killed a couple times. These incidents were enough to get her open to hearing what she was doing wrong. I suggested that instead of approaching the intersection thinking she would go unless she saw something, it would be safer to think sh would stop and change that only after concluding that nothing was coming. It's a subtle difference, but if you're thinking "go" as you approach the intersection, it becomes really easy to miss something, or misjudge an approaching vehicle's speed.
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Old 01-16-08, 06:30 PM   #18
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Yep! The law says STOP, which actually means STOP! Funny how that works!

Reminds me of an old joke:

This guy gets pulled over by the police for running a stop sign, and the driver protests that he stopped - or at least slowed down.

The officer asked him if the term "stop" and "slow down" meant the same thing, and the driver answered "I guess so".

The officer then drug the driver out of the car, started beating him over the head with his night stick, while asking the driver if he wanted him to stop or to slow down?
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Old 01-16-08, 06:47 PM   #19
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I know it's the law, but I also know that the purpose is to make sure that you don't proceed through the intersection without knowing the way is clear. I have a lot more time to examine those intersections than the average driver. If I can see that it's clear, I'm going for it. If I can see that another vehicle might get to the intersection close to when I do, I stop. Otherwise I'm going through. I know what the law is, but I also know what it's there to accomplish. If I can be safe and not lose what little speed I've got, I'm doing it.
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Old 01-16-08, 06:49 PM   #20
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When my wife first learned to drive she had this "stop only if necessary" attitude....

... until it almost got her killed a couple times. These incidents were enough to get her open to hearing what she was doing wrong. I suggested that instead of approaching the intersection thinking she would go unless she saw something, it would be safer to think sh would stop and change that only after concluding that nothing was coming. It's a subtle difference, but if you're thinking "go" as you approach the intersection, it becomes really easy to miss something, or misjudge an approaching vehicle's speed.
I'm thinking "look for hazards" as I approach an intersection. If cross traffic doesn't have to stop, chances are I'll end up stopping completely unless I've got really good lines of sight. But if the cross traffic doesn't have to stop, in most of the places I ride, I have to completely stop anyway and wait for an opening to go.

I haven't had any problems yet. Going that speed is enough to stay stable and keep in feet in toestraps if I'm using any, but I can instantly stop by squeezing the brakes if I need to.

And in the car, I usually have to keep rolling anyway because the stop lines are so far back from the intersections that I can't see enough to make a judgement of whether it's safe to go or not. Obviously, more care is exercised in areas with lots of pedestrians or other traffic. But most of my driving is on the interstate anyway, so there's little stopping being done.

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Old 01-16-08, 06:58 PM   #21
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If I have to brake or turn or am startled/scared, they ran the red.

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Old 01-16-08, 11:11 PM   #22
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Yep! The law says STOP, which actually means STOP! Funny how that works!

Reminds me of an old joke:

[SNIP]
The officer then drug the driver out of the car, started beating him over the head with his night stick, while asking the driver if he wanted him to stop or to slow down?
Reminds me of the Dudley Do Right jokers who incessantly beat the BF Forum with their sanctimonious whining about the "other cyclists" who don't believe every single obscure, irrelevant or unenforced paragraph of the traffic code must be complied with (to the strictest standard of interpretation) by every bicyclist, at all times, no matter what the circumstances, or else the bums are scum sucking lowlife scofflaws running red lights without even looking!
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Old 01-16-08, 11:54 PM   #23
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What do you define as running a stoplight or stop sign?
If a barroness whacks you with her handbag as you cross an intersection, you probably ran the stoplight.
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Old 01-17-08, 05:03 AM   #24
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If a barroness whacks you with her handbag as you cross an intersection, you probably ran the stoplight.
And when motorists/passengers, radio show wackos, and nut job writers of letters to the editor scream instructions at strangers about where they should ride or what they should do, they probably are right too, eh?

You can be sure that they think they are correct and justified too!
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Old 01-17-08, 09:33 AM   #25
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Exactly who has seen significant number (or any) adult cyclists racing through red lights at speed despite the presence of traffic, without even looking ?
*raises hand* Messengers in downtown Boston do it all the time.
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