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  1. #1
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    Running Stop Signs

    Hey, I know some folks on here are going to disagree with this, but living in the land of the infamous "California Stop" I've grown a little apathetic to this concept that bicyclists need to be a stickler for the rules at every red octagon. I'm not suggesting some kind of madman's gambit where you blindly blow through every stop sign as you dash across town - but this notion that a cyclist should come to a complete stop every time is bogus (unless you're on a fixie in which case you get to show off).

    The majority of stop signs (with some exceptions) deserve to be treated as yield signs - with a cyclist slowing down upon approach of the intersection, getting visuals and seeing if they can safely make it across (with an easy margin of error so as not to freak out drivers), and then doing so. Secondarily, lights (with quite a few more exceptions) in off-hours with little or no traffic, can pretty safely be handled by stopping and making sure that traffic is clear, and then proceeding across the intersection without a light. With traffic just filter in alongside traffic and do it properly, but when nobody else is on the road I don't see the problem with carefully running a few reds, especially if there's not really any convenient way to trip the light (and I'm not a huge fan of running up five feet onto the sidewalk at every light to hit the pedestrian button if there's one). These practices make sense to me and make for a pretty good commute time in as safe a manner as I can think of.

    Additionally, there's a number of intersections throughout town where I'll routinely see cars yielding to me even though they clearly have the right-of-way. This happens despite the fact that I was slowing down and obviously not about to rush through the intersection (or able to get halfway into it before they crossed, even if I tried)... and at about the point that I'd have to stop completely to not run into the intersection, if they're still yielding I'll kick up my pace and take the right-of-way that they gave me. Otherwise you get into that weird mexican stand-off, and that's awful for everyone... and it's much easier for me to just jump on it, and they won't catch me anyways so I'm not really slowing them down more than they already have. Note, if you step on the pedals and they start moving too, just hit the brake and make a complete stop and wave them through.

    Easy, safe, and convenient... it makes sense to me. Right?

  2. #2
    12mph+ commuter
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    I'll often roll through a deserted stop sign intersection, but I'll never go through at full boar. If there is traffic approaching from any direction, I'll always come to more or less a complete stop. This way, it gives motorists a good example of cyclists obeying the law, something they rarely see.

    For lights, I won't run them unless I can't trip them or if they are obscenely long trigger times at 3:00am or something.

  3. #3
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    I do at least 75mph, 80 if I see a cyclist coming.

  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    I definitely stop for a stop sign if I see opposing traffic with the right of way. People here in Pennsylvania rarely stop for a stop sign from what I've seen. You can't even count on them slowing down if there is good visibility.

  5. #5
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    What kind of backwater ****holes do you people live in? I've seen people roll stops regularly sure... I rarely see people blow stops.

  6. #6
    Randomhead
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    Probably less of a worry in backwater ****holes than more populated area. In backwater ****holes, there is nowhere to be, so why hurry? I was thinking of making a movie today. There are two intersections on my commute where the right turn on red traffic doesn't even slow down most of the time. There are a couple intersections where I got the distinct impression that the motorists behind me thought that stopping like I did was not required.

  7. #7
    pedalphile
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    I will roll them at 10-15 mph assuming I have very good site lines. I will roll lights a bit more carefully as I know that I can't trip them anyway. An exception to this is busy intersections where first off, there are plenty of cages to trip the light and as has been said already, you set a good example to the cages as a law abiding cyclist.

    It's too bad you can't get away with the same behavior in your cage. You should be allowed to run lights after a complete stop in cases where doing so is undeniably safe. Trouble is, these intersections are nice cash cows for local PDs.

  8. #8
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I have many 3 way, 4 way intersections with Stop Signs.
    Most always get the yield from the autos. So I just slow down and roll thought.
    I tried stopping, but everyone justs sits , waiting for someone to GO.
    Ride to be safe and have fun.
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  9. #9
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    Without my road racing bike I don't think I can reach the "rolling stop" speed I see motorists use daily.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that there are times when running a stop sign or stoplight on a bike is legal. In Florida, the "roadway" is defined as "That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term 'roadway' as used herein refers to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively." You should note that the stop line at a stop sign or stoplight extends across the lane but ends at the right-side white line and does not extend across a paved shoulder. Thus, if you are on the shoulder and turning right, or crossing through a T intersection to the right of the white line, the stoplight or stop sign does not apply to you. So long as it's safe, there is no need to stop.

    This is not solely my interpretation. After researching the statutes, I confirmed it with several deputies whose understanding matches mine.

  11. #11
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    I see a "fair share" of bikes and cars running or rolling stop signs. Worst I saw today whilst driving, though, was a car that overtook me, then moved right (no signals at any time) and turned right through a red light without even slowing... Since they were heading for the same shopping destination, I had half a notion to follow and take it up with them, but thought better of it. Unfortunately, I didn't catch their numberplate. Now that was a blatant illegal move

    On the subject of stop signs, I gues they are supposed to act as a cheap alternative to traffic lights, and a measure to offer pedestrians safe(er) crossing places. Otherwise I don't quite see the rationale behind them. In countries where they are not widely employed (UK for example), I certainly don't see them as "missing" from the system, where a simple "give way" approach works.
    Visitors from the UK are often surprised by the use of the stop sign and have trouble accepting it.

    Despite my disdain for the things, I've given up the fight and just stop (bike or car). Its makes for an easier life in the long run.

    Ed
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

  12. #12
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Holland View Post

    Despite my disdain for the things, I've given up the fight and just stop (bike or car). Its makes for an easier life in the long run.

    Ed
    In Louisville KY. a very bikecentric culture, the thought process is keeping
    bikes and cars 'pulsed'(?) differently for safety reasons. Of course some car
    drivers dont understand the reasoning for bikes rolling stop signs or
    going on reds when it is safe so you sort of have to take your chances.
    Here in redneck gitmo, Ive found over the past year people on my morning
    route give me more respect,(sympathy ?) room etc seeing that I stop
    and 'suffer' the wait with them at lights. I thought it was my imagination
    but after a while you recognize a lot of cars that pass you every day
    and it is real, not imagined.
    My morning commute is definitely easier now than a year ago when Im
    sure they thought I was a drunk/bum sleeping on 'their' beach and now on
    my way into West Palm on an early morning crack run I can only surmise
    because I stop.

  13. #13
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    ^ as a daily commuter, I think I recognize similar traits. Its a bit of a cliche, but I do think I'm taken more seriously, and offered more consideration when riding in a manner that other road users recognise as responsible - and predictable. Of course this is not always the case, but there are bad apples that spoil the barrel whether one is riding or driving.
    Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    With the notable exception of Utah...STOP means just that. "to arrest the progress or motion of" They are typically used as as a traffic "calming" device. If people had the decency to pay attention to the people around them and be courteous they might not be needed. The town I am currently in has quite a few 4 way stops to deliberately slow traffic down in residential areas.

    Aaron
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  15. #15
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Explain it to the judge when you are hit or ticketed . . .

  16. #16
    pedalphile
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    With the notable exception of Utah...STOP means just that. "to arrest the progress or motion of" They are typically used as as a traffic "calming" device. If people had the decency to pay attention to the people around them and be courteous they might not be needed. The town I am currently in has quite a few 4 way stops to deliberately slow traffic down in residential areas.

    Aaron
    What is the rule in utah? Do they use a common sense ruling that says if you rolled through a wide open intersection at 10 mph, you are good? If so, I wanna move there. Nothing pisses me off more than being pulled over for rolling a stop sign where I could see in all directions a few hundred feet before I got there.

  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
    What is the rule in utah? Do they use a common sense ruling that says if you rolled through a wide open intersection at 10 mph, you are good? If so, I wanna move there. Nothing pisses me off more than being pulled over for rolling a stop sign where I could see in all directions a few hundred feet before I got there.
    My understanding is that cyclists can treat stop signs as yield signs. However most people have no clue what yield means in my general observations.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  18. #18
    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    I believe that you're mistaking Utah for Idaho.

    In Idaho, the law is that cyclists treat stop signs as yield signs and traffic lights as stop signs.

  19. #19
    Member 05HaroF2's Avatar
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    In the small town I live in, We can usally blow the signs because theres usally no one at any of them, But if there is, Me and my buddys, Or most of them atleast, will stop, and let them go.
    05 Haro F2
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I'll often roll through a deserted stop sign intersection, but I'll never go through at full bore.
    truth. part of the reason for this is that i sort of distrust my own senses, especially at speed. so i coast/slow down and go through the intersection nice and easy. it would suck to get creamed by a car that i somehow didnt see while going fast.
    2008 Raleigh Mojave 2.0

  21. #21
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Holland View Post
    ^ as a daily commuter, I think I recognize similar traits. Its a bit of a cliche, but I do think I'm taken more seriously, and offered more consideration when riding in a manner that other road users recognise as responsible - and predictable. Of course this is not always the case, but there are bad apples that spoil the barrel whether one is riding or driving.
    Yeah I think after 2 months on my current route I finally got the cagers trained to where they will give me plenty of room and have stopped complaining that I take the lane. Of course living in a university town you always get the punk kids who just blow right by you, those have been getting a slap on their trunk if they are close enough and a couple have been.

  22. #22
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saving Hawaii View Post
    ...this notion that a cyclist should come to a complete stop every time is bogus...
    Preaching to the choir. I bike through every one I can find.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  23. #23
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    And you guys have officially confounded me... if some previous threads were any indication, I thought I would've been given a stern talk for having rolled a yield.

  24. #24
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    OK, if it is ok, for a bicylist to blow a stop sign, then is it ok for a motorist to blow a stop sign? if they looked and were careful and the really stops should be yields anyway? Why should there be any differences

    Thinking that a cyclyist does not have to follow the rules of the road, of which stops signs are part of, is simple self centered, bogus thinking. It is no different than a motorist who yells "get on the sidewalk" because the motorist thinks that is what is right.

    More importantly, is the unintended consequences...or Murphy's Law. ie. you blow a stop sign and you missed seeing a motorist who had the right of way, they try to avoid killing you, lose control and hit a car in the oncoming lane..resulting in a serious accident.

    Sure there are plenty of times there will be no problem...come to the stop sign or light and do a almost stop.... .5 sec track stand or roll through at 2-3 miles per hour......but where is the safe limit...5 mph....10 mph ......
    Last edited by squirtdad; 10-27-08 at 09:32 AM. Reason: bad typing

  25. #25
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saving Hawaii View Post
    The majority of stop signs (with some exceptions) deserve to be treated as yield signs - with a cyclist slowing down upon approach of the intersection, getting visuals and seeing if they can safely make it across (with an easy margin of error so as not to freak out drivers), and then doing so. Secondarily, lights (with quite a few more exceptions) in off-hours with little or no traffic, can pretty safely be handled by stopping and making sure that traffic is clear, and then proceeding across the intersection without a light.
    I feel this way in general (not just about cycling), poor traffic light systems, networked but not intelligent, late night "complete or rolling stops", mostly what bugs me the most is the lack of efficiency... of course not like "I see a car coming, but I can make it if I do a rolling stop" or "I can turn left during a red even though cars are coming the other way, I see a gap", but situations where there is no one around, or no cars coming for 1/4 mile, it's ridiculous.

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