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Old 04-23-10, 09:27 PM   #1
GraysonPeddie
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Treating Traffic Light As Stop Signs Even When Light is Green -- Possible?

If the light is in yellow or red, I stop at the intersection before the white strip, so with that out of the way, here's my scenario before my question:

Before I approach an intersection, I give my hand signal to tell the motorist that Iím about to slow down or stop (by extending my left arm downward). Then, I quickly take a quick look at the traffic light and look both ways before I go forward. Of course, I signal my turn by extending my left arm leftward, or right arm rightward.

Will I be impeding traffic by treating all traffic lights as stop signs when the light is green? I donít want to impede traffic when it comes to following my scenario.

The reason why I ask this is because the traffic lights during the daytime are pretty faint but at night it is so bright. I don't know why, but maybe that's just me? I am visually impaired (my left eye is blind) and I can see clearly with my right eye except for very fine (small) print from far-away distances. I have no cataracts or any kind of diseases that degrade my vision. Just for a test, but not an accurate one, with my 60" HDTV with a resolution of 1920x1080, I can read an 8-point font from ~9" away, although quite barely, even though it's still readable. I do remember reading at 9 or 10-point size in a 15" with a resolution of 1024x768, or in my netbook, I can barely read text at a resolution of 1024x600 with an 8.9" screen, but only up close. I don't want to bore anyone, so I came here to ask about doing a quick pause to look at a traffic light before I go through the intersection.

It'd be nice if traffic lights were two times bigger than normal, but I just might have to train my eye for it.
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Old 04-23-10, 09:42 PM   #2
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Are the intersections so blind that you don't have time to check the light and look both ways before crossing?

I would strongly suggest not stopping at a green (I think that's a recipe for disaster), but just slowing way down instead.
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Old 04-23-10, 09:55 PM   #3
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I think it happens when I was in Tallahassee before I moved to Orlando last year and I've never ridden a bike before.

I might try it anyway once I master my ability to balance on my bike, so thanks for your help anyway.
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Old 04-24-10, 09:29 AM   #4
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Let me make sure I'm understanding the question correctly: because of your visual impairment (and the style of traffic lights in your city), you need to stop and take a closer look at the light before you can tell whether it's green?

If so, then I understand why you stop, but it still sounds unsafe. Either you have to stop in the lane when other drivers are expecting you to go straight -- though the hand signal will help clue most of them in to what you're going to do -- or you have to squeeze to the right and stay out of their way, which is not safe behavior at intersections either.

From your comments about balancing, it does sound like you are very new to cycling, so you might find that as you gain confidence on the bike, you will find it easier to see the lights from a distance (because your attention attention won't be divided so many ways.) The best advice I can give is to stick to smaller, quiet streets at first, and work your way to the more heavily-trafficked ones as you gain skill and confidence. The problems seeing lights might turn out to actually be no problem at all by then. But if at that point there are still intersections where you really can't see the light color without stopping first, be prepared to pull over, get off the bike, and cross the intersection as a pedestrian; it takes extra time, but is a lot safer than stopping in a through lane on a green.
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Old 04-24-10, 10:53 AM   #5
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Ha... Good advice!

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-10, 11:10 AM   #6
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stopping or just slowing way down?

I think there's NO PROBLEM if you are in a lane controlling position, to slow down considerably as you approach a left turn, OR riding to a near stop to the right of other traffic to see if it is safe to proceed.

stopping on a green to make a left when there is oncoming traffic is quite common; expecting motorists to deal calmly or safely with a bicyclist stopping on a green to make a left when there is no oncoming traffic is a bit more of a stretch.

my advice: go high viz from behind, get a mirror, and just ride it slow and with the 'slow hand' out as you approach the intersection.

if you truly cannot determine if a light is green or red as you approach at a slow speed, a pedestrian left might be a better approach. cross to far side, stop. at that point, ascertain the light and proceed when safe.
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Old 04-24-10, 12:32 PM   #7
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I can completely understand why you might not want to do this, but a high viz vest with "VISUALLY IMPAIRED" in big writing on the back will probably buy you a lot understanding from motorists at intersections. That is, of course, if they don't take it to mean that you shouldn't even be on the road in the first place. But screw those people.
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Old 04-24-10, 12:49 PM   #8
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Motorist: "Hey! Get off the road if you're visually impaired and ride in the sidewalk!"
Me: [Shows a Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide and Florida Bicycle Street Smarts to motorists, grins/smiles, waves my right hand facing the motorist in the bike, and gives a thumbs up!]

How's my logic?
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Old 04-24-10, 01:45 PM   #9
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hmmmm...... Maybe you should throw "HEARING IMPAIRED" on the back of that high viz while your at it too. then when they start yelling you can just give them a quizzical look and keep going.
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Old 04-24-10, 01:58 PM   #10
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For something less 'damning', how about a more literal message, like 'SLOW CYCLIST' or 'I SLOW DOWN AT STOPLIGHTS'?
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Old 04-24-10, 02:23 PM   #11
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'SLOW CYCLIST' or 'I SLOW DOWN AT STOPLIGHTS'? I'm not sure, but the motorists would gladly take advantage of the wording "slow cyclist" and do something really stupid or tell me to ride in the sidewalk. To others, what do you think of "I slow down at stoplights?" I'm very skeptical of that. it's kind of like saying "slow cyclist."

To others: If I have "Visual and hearing impaired" in the back of my vest, wouldn't this be true if a motorist will respond like "if you're hearing and/or visually impaired, then maybe you should get off the road and ride in the sidewalk. It's safer there."? I want to try to discourage myself from riding my bicycle in the sidewalk, but it does depend on certain conditions on the road. In other words, I want to try to ride my bicycle in the road as much as I can, just to get a feel for it. Please pardon my skepticism, but I have to ask about that. Thanks.

(I have no balancing skills for riding my bike and I'm gonna have to look for hills. Hmm... I don't think there are any in Orange County in Orlando near my apartment in N. Chickasaw Trail.)

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Old 04-24-10, 02:51 PM   #12
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Well, its not illegal to be slow on a bike, and I think a message like that would reduce the opportunity for someone that doesn't approve of your cycling to make things personal.

I'm drawing more on what utility vehicles use as warning stickers- 'this vehicle stops at railroad crossings' or 'watch for children'. They're not descriptions of the vehicle, they're descriptions of the vehicle's behavior.

As for 'slow cyclist'- I guess you're right. I confess to secretly finding these signs amusing.
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Old 04-24-10, 05:12 PM   #13
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I'm wondering if there's a lens color for eyeglasses or sunglasses that would help traffic lights stand out more. Are the lights so faint that you can't tell which one is lit?

I just think that as a driver, or a fellow cyclist, I'd be wondering what the heck another rider is doing by slowing down for a green light -- is there a hazard that they can see but I can't see yet, or are they having a problem and are about to fall over, or are they drunk, etc etc?
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Old 04-24-10, 05:32 PM   #14
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Good point about the drivers, BarrackSi. I will have to check into finding a kind of glasses that will make traffic lights stand out.
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Old 04-24-10, 05:34 PM   #15
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'SLOW CYCLIST' or 'I SLOW DOWN AT STOPLIGHTS'? I'm not sure, but the motorists would gladly take advantage of the wording "slow cyclist" and do something really stupid or tell me to ride in the sidewalk. To others, what do you think of "I slow down at stoplights?" I'm very skeptical of that. it's kind of like saying "slow cyclist."
Just out of random curiosity, does your visual impairment preclude your ability to hold a valid drivers license?
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Old 04-24-10, 05:40 PM   #16
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You can't drive a car if you're visually impaired, so I'll probably say the same for drivers license.
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Old 04-25-10, 07:12 AM   #17
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I am wondering if it is the directional screening (not sure of the correct term) they put on some lights that is causing you some difficulty. Directional screening basically prevents drivers in an other lane from seeing a traffic light and for a cyclists to the right of a travel lane the luminosity would be greatly diminished. If this is the case you might be able to make some ADA issue out of it.

I also wounder if yellow lenses would help.
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Old 04-25-10, 08:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraysonPeddie View Post
If the light is in yellow or red, I stop at the intersection before the white strip, so with that out of the way, here's my scenario before my question:
So, if you can see yellow and red (it seems), maybe you can assume (carefully) that it's green when it's neither red or yellow (like what color-blind people do).

Quote:
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The reason why I ask this is because the traffic lights during the daytime are pretty faint but at night it is so bright. I don't know why, but maybe that's just me?
The lights appear brighter at night because of contrast (the difference of brightness between the light and the sky. It's not "just you". But people with normal sight might not need as much contrast as you do.

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Old 04-27-10, 09:58 AM   #19
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Get a glasses mounted mirror. Put it the right side and you will still be able to see traffic coming up on your left by swivelling you head a bit. It is easier to balance when you are rolling faster, so look at the lights well before you get to the intersection, and slow down if you think they are going to change.
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Old 04-27-10, 03:08 PM   #20
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Glasses mounted mirror? Can you tell me what that looks like? I don't want to obstruct my vision since my left eye is blind.
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Old 04-27-10, 03:29 PM   #21
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Do they have guide dogs for cyclists?
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Old 04-27-10, 05:41 PM   #22
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I don't need a guide dog. My thinking is that a guide dog is good for those with very severe low vision or those who are blind, because if I have a guide dog with me, the dog's eye can take the place of mine; thus, I can see towns pretty good. But I already have gotten good enough advice even if I'm open for more advice from other users in my thread.

Also, I'm not sure how fast a guide dog can travel as fast as I can. Besides, this will look silly if I have a leash strapped to my right wrist.

Thanks!
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Old 04-27-10, 05:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Glasses mounted mirror? Can you tell me what that looks like? I don't want to obstruct my vision since my left eye is blind.
There's a few shown here:
http://www.icebike.org/Equipment/cyclingmirrors.htm
http://www.bikecyclingreviews.com/Mi...your_Bike.html

I use a helmet-mounted mirror instead, but the principle's the same. I position it right at the edge of my glasses's lens frame, so it obstructs as little to the front-left as possible (you'd be front-right, as you said). Being far to the side also helps give a broader view to the rear since my head doesn't obstruct the view as much.

And, like AndrewP said, you can see everything behind you with a quick sweep of your head. You can't do that with a handlebar mirror.
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Old 04-27-10, 06:15 PM   #24
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Ah, okay. I'll check into it. Thanks.
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