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  1. #1
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    A good reason to run red lights?

    I commute in Philly and I've been wondering weather it's wise to (carefully) run red lights or not. Lately I've been thinking that it may actually be safer. The reason is that it keeps me away from cars. If I run a red light, then I ride the next block without cars around me. On the other hand, if I wait for the red light, then I am among a horde of accelerating trucks, taxis, and SUVs... which is scary.

    Thought? I'm trying to decide what's best.

  2. #2
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    Many of us run lights and stop signs for the same reasons that you do it- just keep in mind that it isn't legal (and no amount of your reason will get you out of a ticket), and don't expect to be supported by other cyclists if you cause something negative to happen while you're doing it.

  3. #3
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    Well it depends... are you wearing a helmet?

  4. #4
    headtube. zzyzx_xyzzy's Avatar
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    There's a spot where I will often carefully run a red when I have to take a left at the next block. Beats trying to merge over from the right in traffic.

    In other cases, I think it might be safer to be accelerating across an intersection with traffic ... any cross traffic is more likely to see the cars and stop for cars you are traveling with. using a car for a shield when going through a dicey intersection is a habit i picked up motorcycling (where you can keep up with traffic, but you are still completely invisible to turning and merging cars for some reason)

  5. #5
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzyzx_xyzzy View Post
    any cross traffic is more likely to see the cars and stop for cars you are traveling with. using a car for a shield when going through a dicey intersection
    At a lighted intersection wouldn't the cross traffic be stopped? Or am I missing something?
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Your reasons are logical, but it gives the non-cycling public reason to scream see there cyclist are law breakers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    I treat lights and stop signs as yield signs. If there's no one around, i go. Simple.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hertsgaard
    The car is not only tainting the present but devouring the past and threatening the future.

  8. #8
    DON'T PANIC!
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    I have only had one occasion where it made sense to run a light. At night on an on-demand light where, for the life of me, I could not trip the sensor.
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  9. #9
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Cyclists are supposed to have thick skin and enjoy doing things that feel dangerous.
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  10. #10
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austinnh View Post
    A good reason to run red lights?
    Pissing off motorists is a good one. Just don't think you're on the higher ground anymore when they rant and rave at us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  11. #11
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    It's scary for me when a cyclist runs a red light while I am riding through the intersection.

    Paul

  12. #12
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Here's a good reason NOT to run red lights- the cyclist who's running full steam through his/her green. Pretty much the same reason why it's not a good idea to run red lights when you're in a motor vehicle. For future reference, make sure those vehicles see you when you stop with them at the light. Take the lane or whatever it takes. Yeah, it's unnerving to be surrounded by all those revving engines and exhaust, but relax and be defensive. You'll be fine.

  13. #13
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austinnh View Post
    ...it keeps me away from cars.

    Thought? I'm trying to decide what's best.
    I have a small blog dedicated to your question: http://joey-bike.blogspot.com/

    Hope it helps. Check out some of the links I have collected dedicated to running red lights too.

    Keep in mind, the folks here at A&S can be a bit narrow minded at times. They often confuse following rules and laws with true safety. Your situation, your sensibilities, abilities, and local law enforcement (or lack of enforcement) will all contribute to how safe and feasible it would be for you to run lights at will.

    Cheers
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  14. #14
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    I find it amusing that many motorists at once are annoyed at cyclists for holding them up and for running reds. When I run red lights I do it to save them time as well as myself. If I'm already well ahead of you down the road when you get green that gives you more time to merge over into the other lane and pass me. If I don't run the red you are stuck behind me moving slow as traffic next to us speeds up making it difficult for you to merge into that lane.
    Therefore running reds HELPS motorists.

    An yeah, do look out for other cyclists coming through green when you run a red. Don't be as blind as motorists.

    Me and some couriers recently nearly had a three way crash in the middle of an intersection. We we're all paying attention and so noticed each other just in the nick of time.

  15. #15
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Keep in mind, the folks here at A&S can be a bit narrow minded at times. They often confuse following rules and laws with true safety. Your situation, your sensibilities, abilities, and local law enforcement (or lack of enforcement) will all contribute to how safe and feasible it would be for you to run lights at will.
    I don't think someone who openly commits 50 moving violations a day is in a position to comment on the safety of vehicular cycling. You may choose to take the calculated risk, but don't confuse it with some cycling panacea.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    Your reasons are logical, but it gives the non-cycling public reason to scream see there cyclist are law breakers.
    I'm riding to get to work on time and not dead, not to save the world.

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/op...02raschka.html.

    The writer's experience matches my own, to include many years of daily bike commuting in Philadelphia. I don't know any bicycle riders, nor have ever seen cyclists who sit and wait at traffic lights when it is obviously clear to proceed. However unlike the author of the article, I never had the desire to chat with motorists at intersections so I never found a similar reason to start a new trend of dawdling at intersection.

    I can only guess about the location of the planet where all these BF cry baby cyclists who are shocked, shocked at cyclists who don't wait for red lights come from.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 05-02-10 at 06:12 PM.

  18. #18
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I can only guess about the location of the planet where all these BF cry baby cyclists who are shocked, shocked at cyclists who don't wait for red lights come from.
    I don't think anyone is shocked, but I'm not taking safety advice from a bunch of scofflaws. Since the other half of the forum is advocacy, the basic fact is it puts all cyclists in a poor light when many ( or as your would indicate, the vast majority ) can not be bothered to follow ever the most basic traffic control devices.
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  19. #19
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertv View Post
    Therefore running reds HELPS motorists.
    Where I commute, I can't stop at the red lights AND stay out of their way. I think motorists just want us out of their way, or off the roads entirely. The red light running thing is just envy.

    Areas of town where I run lights either helps motorists, or has zero effect on them.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    If you line up with cars will you make it thru the intersection when the light turns green? If so, then you will be behind most of the cars, instead of in front of every one that stopped at the light if you filter forward.

  21. #21
    headtube. zzyzx_xyzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    At a lighted intersection wouldn't the cross traffic be stopped? Or am I missing something?
    Right turners.

  22. #22
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brontide View Post
    I don't think anyone is shocked, but I'm not taking safety advice from a bunch of scofflaws. Since the other half of the forum is advocacy, the basic fact is it puts all cyclists in a poor light when many ( or as your would indicate, the vast majority ) can not be bothered to follow ever the most basic traffic control devices.
    The most basic traffic control devices are your eyes. Whether you run lights or not, stay safe. Following all the traffic rules alone is not something that will guarantee you safety or being looked at in a rich light.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dmac49's Avatar
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    Ooohhh we're so special...so very special...we need no helmets or laws to to impede our way. We're so special, so elite in our super hero suits of coarse we are not included in the rules because we're so special. We ARE so VERY special.
    Last edited by dmac49; 05-03-10 at 10:48 AM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWPdx View Post
    Well it depends... are you wearing a helmet?
    helmet???? you mean body armor. Helmet will do little when you get t-boned by the pickup gunning for the yellow

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertv View Post

    Me and some couriers recently nearly had a three way crash in the middle of an intersection. We we're all paying attention and so noticed each other just in the nick of time.
    How come, if you were all paying attention, none of you noticed the others rather earlier than "in the nick of time"?

    As for RLJing, I still don't get the arguments in favour (unless conditions in the US are so markedly different). I've never, knowingly, ignored a red light (2am excepted) and only had a handful of iffy moments in decades of commuting and leisure riding, in spite of nearly always filtering up on the inside of a queue of motor vehicles. I can only assume that I must be doing something wrong
    Last edited by atbman; 05-03-10 at 06:55 AM.

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