Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Down on East End Avenue.
    My Bikes
    Salsa Las Cruces, Burley R&R and a boat load of others.
    Posts
    1,815
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Stopping at red lights dangerous?

    Well most people would agree that stopping for red light is NOT dangerous, but the other day something happened to at least give me pause.

    I was riding with a friend through a three block long business district. About 50 feet behind us was a bus. My friend was riding too close to the curb and rather tentatively, so I pulled into the middle of the lane and proceeded about 10 feet behind her. In the first block, she drifted through the stop, but I came to a complete stop. She was now a bit farther ahead now. So I sped up to about 22 mph, then started to slow down again for the second stop. At this point I made the slowing down hand gesture, (left hand at a 45 degree angle). The bus was right behind me as I came to a complete stop. I heard the bus stop abruptly. That is when the bus driver started to swear at me. Nothing specific, like “let me get past you @#% %^&*, but just your general cuss words of displeasure.

    Apparently I had irritated the bus driver by coming to a complete stop! I accelerated over the 200 foot long blocks at pretty much the same speed as the empty bus and that might have pissed him off as well, presuming here that he wanted to pass but simply lacked the power and safety margin to do that in a city bus.

    Now the one thing that occurred to me is that the bus driver was anticipating me running the stop. Perhaps it is because his route is on a tight street with lots of stops, traffic and bikes and he sees cyclists run light all day long. Another thing is that he probably blows off 20% or more stops on the smaller residential streets.

    Hearing the swearing, my friend looks back to see what all the noise was about.

    Well about a minute later, we intersect paths with the bus again. This time the bus was crossing right to left in front of us at an intersection. Well the bus "hero" gets out of the bus and really starts laying on the swear words and calling me to, "settle this up in the street". I say something about how I just followed the law and that there where witnesses all around. That pretty much got him to shut up and jump in the bus and take off.

    So did I do the right thing, or should I have yielded to the lumbering bus and should have chosen to ride behind him sniffing his exhaust? Or should I have blown off the signs?

    Of course we called the bus driver complaint line, but that really is about all I could do. I got the bus number, but not the driver's badge. Seems like the bus drivers are immune from getting in trouble for this type of thing. I once saw a bus cut off a motorcycle cop! The cop pulled up to the driver and begin to criticize him and the driver just said your not going to give me a ticket, so why don’t you just drive off. Which the MC cop did!

    This happened in Pittsburgh at Bryant and St Clair., I was on Bryant. It was a Negley bus.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=...,0.002063&z=19

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    90
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yep. The bus drivers in Pittsburgh will try to kill you. I got run off the road yesterday by one.

    You did the right thing by stopping at the lights/stop signs. Normally on small residential streets I'll only slow down, check to make sure there are no cars, and then continue. But technically you are supposed to come to a complete stop.

    It probably wouldnt hurt to call the cops up next time, as it seems like the driver was threatening you and your friend.

  3. #3
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southern Maine
    My Bikes
    2006 Giant Cypress EX (7-speed internal hub)
    Posts
    2,568
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You're right to stop. What his problem was, we can't tell without having witnessed it. Surely you annoyed him, for what reason we don't know, but that doesn't exceed the danger of running stops.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    by the football hall of fame
    Posts
    850
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Speak to your friend about her riding habits and safety. The driver was expecting one move from her and a different move by you caught him off guard. Still his fault, but two riders riding that differently together sends some odd signals to other vehicle operators

  5. #5
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South of Dallas, Texas
    My Bikes
    Giant OCR C0 road
    Posts
    1,026
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The bus driver should change his route if he can't handle the traffic conditions on that street!
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  6. #6
    Senior Member StrangeWill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fallbrook, CA.
    Posts
    1,112
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    People in cars have tried to argue the same thing too, it's just as illogical.

  7. #7
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    930
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by chipseal View Post
    the bus driver should change his route if he can't handle the traffic conditions on that street!
    lol!

  8. #8
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Melrose, MA
    My Bikes
    Bianchi Volpe, Bianchi San Jose, Redline 925
    Posts
    2,326
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Of course it's never wrong to stop for a red light/stop sign. But I often find my self running red lights for similar reasons. Where I ride, a lot of motorists take the first few seconds of a red light as kind of a grace period during which they'll just barrel right through and even accelerate. If I know I have traffic behind me and I don't have a large lateral buffer between me and them, I'l probably runt that light if the cross traffic permits it.

  9. #9
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Southern Florida
    My Bikes
    http://www.theheadbadge.com
    Posts
    22,730
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "All right, then YOU run the stop!"

    -Kurt

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    3,192
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Danw View Post
    Speak to your friend about her riding habits and safety. The driver was expecting one move from her and a different move by you caught him off guard. Still his fault, but two riders riding that differently together sends some odd signals to other vehicle operators
    Absolutely agree. However, please also call the cops regarding a bus driver crowding you at the intersection, attempting to force you to run the light, and then threatening you.

    Paul

  11. #11
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
    My Bikes
    Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder
    Posts
    7,906
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In Louisville, KY, one of the more forward thinking and bike friendly
    places Ive spent time in, running stops when its safe and leaving red
    lites early, or 'pulsing' bike traffic is what advocates in that city promote
    partly to avoid the situations mentioned in the O.P.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  12. #12
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Crystal MN
    Posts
    2,147
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +1 said above


    Your partner should be on the same page. If I do anything illegal I try to communicate with my partner I do this when I explain a route. Our defacto is stop and that means yellow lights if we have not entered the intersection (I show them how to time it). Looking back can help, but if you run the red another driver behind you may run the red and smash into you anyways. I have this happen when I am alone going through a yellow to red. Drivers veers around doing three times the speed of light.

    I almost got into an accident riding with a fixie this way. I like to stop for things, I never rode with him again.
    Last edited by wheel; 11-08-08 at 01:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,830
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have been tempted to get away from traffic by going through stop signs/stop lights. Particularly if I'm sitting at a traffic light with an ever-expanding line of cars behind me, and the opposing road having no traffic whatsoever. This happens every night on my commute. We have the worst traffic lights I've ever seen outside of Ogden Utah, which is world famous for bad light timing.

    I would have whipped out my cellphone right there and called 911 when he got out of his bus. Also taken his picture.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 11-08-08 at 01:28 PM.

  14. #14
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    New Orleans, LA USA
    My Bikes
    Surly LHT
    Posts
    4,639
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  15. #15
    Former Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    dropmachine.com
    Posts
    4,061
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    Of course it's never wrong to stop for a red light/stop sign. But I often find my self running red lights for similar reasons. Where I ride, a lot of motorists take the first few seconds of a red light as kind of a grace period during which they'll just barrel right through and even accelerate. If I know I have traffic behind me and I don't have a large lateral buffer between me and them, I'l probably runt that light if the cross traffic permits it.
    What he said.

  16. #16
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Jax, FL
    Posts
    1,158
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's ok to break the rules now and again, but as long as you do in a safe and responsible manner, all depending on given circumstances. When I run a red light I always make sure I slow down and check out my surroundings while predicting the future of that intersection for the next several seconds. If you are a good driver, cars are easy to predict. You gotta understand that not all the motorized vehicles follow all the rules, so you gotta be a step ahead of them to be as safe as possible.

  17. #17
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    11,420
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by spock View Post
    It's ok to break the rules now and again, ...while predicting the future of that intersection
    Is that the Vulcan mind meld, of driving technique?

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    1984 Trek 520; 1990s Peugeot (Canadian-made) rigid mountain bike; 2007 Bike Friday NWT; misc others
    Posts
    8,516
    Mentioned
    23 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I usually try to avoid holding up buses as a courtesy to fellow commuters and other modes of eco-friendly transportation. Cars can squeeze by easier and aren't on a tight schedule, and don't merit special treatment, but buses are part of the good guys, find it a lot harder to pass, and have a schedule to follow; and also put me at more risk when they do try to squeeze past. So if I can get ahead and stay ahead I do, and if I can't, I stay behind and fall back a ways, or change streets.

  19. #19
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
    Posts
    13,858
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by slagjumper View Post
    I accelerated over the 200 foot long blocks at pretty much the same speed as the empty bus ...
    How do you know that? Were you riding alongside or behind, or were you in front? If you're in front, of course the bus will "accelerate at the same speed", or else it'll run you over.

    Buses normally don't change lanes unless they're going to turn left. By staying to the right, they're keeping drivers from occupying the lane on their right and can easily make the stops.

    You should either --

    Go fast enough that you decisively leave the bus behind -- like, a whole block or more. This is when crossing on red comes in handy. That gives the driver no reason at all to complain about you.

    Go behind the bus, suffer for a bit in the exhaust, and as it pulls away since you're slower, you'll be back in (relatively) clear air.

  20. #20
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Jax, FL
    Posts
    1,158
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Is that the Vulcan mind meld, of driving technique?



    Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  21. #21
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Nampa, ID
    My Bikes
    Road, Touring, Mountain Bike
    Posts
    250
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here in Idaho it's legal for a bicycle to run stop signs if they slow down and yield properly. It's also legal to blow a red light if you stop first and there are no cars coming (yield). I hesitate on the later since it just plain looks bad but there are times when a bike does not trigger the signals and you really have to take advantage of that law.

    A similar law applies to Motorcycles if they don't trigger the signal through one complete cycle.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •