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Old 05-24-12, 03:23 PM   #26
dougmc
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax View Post
It would be helpful if other people did a little research before pontificating about other people's imaginations.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/traff_lgts_sgns.htm

" When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously."

The California vehicle code does not explicitly mention this. (http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21452.htm)
It would be helpful if other people knew how to do research on what the laws say before pontificating about other people's pontifications.

If the actual law doesn't say it's illegal, it's not illegal. Period.

If you're looking for a precise definition of what's legal and what's not legal -- don't get your information from the driver's handbook, your defensive driving instructor or a cop. Get it from the actual law -- anything else could easily be wrong or misleading.

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The California vehicle code does not explicitly mention this. (http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21452.htm), However, it is not unreasonable at all to interpret due caution as not entering the intersection when you can safely stop.
Where did you find the words "due caution"? If they weren't in the law ... they're not law. (They could show up in a court case that sets a precedent and that makes them "law", but that generally only happens when the law was ambiguous somehow and needed clarification.)

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And certainly if you're still in the intersection when the light turns red, you're in violation, in a car or on a bike.
Your citation of the actual law did not say this. Do you have a citation for this statement? I don't know the laws of California so I don't have any specific reason to doubt your statement, except that the law you did quote didn't say this, and I don't see it in the rest of that section.

Last edited by dougmc; 05-24-12 at 03:36 PM. Reason: added more
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Old 05-24-12, 03:28 PM   #27
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And sadly, this is one of those topics where the discussion will probably end up getting heated (again).
then I'll close it again
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Old 05-24-12, 04:03 PM   #28
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I shouldn't have opened the new thread until charges are filed; my bad.
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Old 05-25-12, 05:29 AM   #29
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Not wanting to draw any fire-
But isn't there usually a reckless/careless driving law/laws that is a catch all sorta' law
One the cops use when they don't have it spelled out-
for example driving 30 mph in a driving blinding rain might be reckless-but no law will ever spell out at what speed and what visibility it becomes illegal
Oh I'm not sure if reckless and careless are "different laws" different tickets-pretty sure I got a reckless driving ticket in 1966-and it was a big deal-and careless would have been a lesser deal(hit a lamp post in the rain-yeah I was reckless- Parnelli Jones in 1965 Plymouth Fury stationwagon)
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Old 05-25-12, 05:45 AM   #30
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I don't know how you would write a law properly covering yellow lights without some allowance for human judgement. It's illogical to think that you should always be able to tell when the light is going to turn yellow and be able to stop, although that seems to be the pattern here, people slow down for green lights getting ready to stop. I think we would all go nuts out of impatience if they timed the red light cycles so that people who entered the intersection nanoseconds before the light turned red could clear the intersection before the opposing light turned green. I'm pretty sure I saw lights timed like that in France, and they drove me nuts. So what that leaves us with is that you are required to judge if it is safe to go when you get the walk signal or green light. Maybe this is just too hard now that we all have electronic devices ruling our lives.
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Old 05-25-12, 07:26 AM   #31
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But isn't there usually a reckless/careless driving law/laws that is a catch all sorta' law
Yes. It's called "reckless driving". Though it's for serious violations, not minor ones. In Texas, it's a Class B misdemeanor -- you don't get a ticket. You get arrested and taken to jail.

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for example driving 30 mph in a driving blinding rain might be reckless-but no law will ever spell out at what speed and what visibility it becomes illegal
No, but that's generally called "speeding", or "driving too fast for conditions".

For example, Texas law says --

545.351. MAXIMUM SPEED REQUIREMENT. (a) An operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing. (b) An operator:
(1) may not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for actual and potential hazards then existing; and ...

and most (all?) states have something similar.
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Old 05-25-12, 07:38 AM   #32
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I don't know how you would write a law properly covering yellow lights without some allowance for human judgement.
If you can't tell how such a law could be written, just look at the law in Texas and California -- it's right there.

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It's illogical to think that you should always be able to tell when the light is going to turn yellow and be able to stop
Did you mean to say "turn red" ?

And yes, it's illogical to think that people will know exactly when that yellow light will turn red. But people do have a general idea of how long a yellow light should last (and there's standards for that sort of thing) and so if they saw the light turn from green to yellow, they should have an idea of when it'll go from yellow to red. Not a precise idea, but a general idea. (You can often get a precise idea by watching the timers on the pedestrian signals if they're there, but really I'd say you should be watching the road rather than those.)

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I think we would all go nuts out of impatience if they timed the red light cycles so that people who entered the intersection nanoseconds before the light turned red could clear the intersection before the opposing light turned green.
Most intersections are indeed set up like this, at least in the states I've been in -- and if not, they come very close. The problem for a cyclist tends to come from the fact that the timing gives a car time to go through the intersection when it's going at about the speed limit -- but for a cyclist going 15-20 mph they may not have time, so cross traffic will probably have a green light before the slow bike is out of the intersection.
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Old 05-25-12, 11:13 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Not wanting to draw any fire-
But isn't there usually a reckless/careless driving law/laws that is a catch all sorta' law
One the cops use when they don't have it spelled out-
for example driving 30 mph in a driving blinding rain might be reckless-but no law will ever spell out at what speed and what visibility it becomes illegal
Oh I'm not sure if reckless and careless are "different laws" different tickets-pretty sure I got a reckless driving ticket in 1966-and it was a big deal-and careless would have been a lesser deal(hit a lamp post in the rain-yeah I was reckless- Parnelli Jones in 1965 Plymouth Fury station wagon)
My father was in a similar situation when he was stationed at MacDill AFB. Him and a bunch of his friends were in his '57 T-bird going across the Gandy bridge. And he was speeding, when he/they were pulled over. He was driving so fast that when the cops stopped him, and got out of their car they were behind the doors with guns drawn.

If I remember correctly he said that the charge was "willful and reckless endangerment." He never said how fast he was going.
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Old 05-25-12, 11:20 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't know how you would write a law properly covering yellow lights without some allowance for human judgement. It's illogical to think that you should always be able to tell when the light is going to turn yellow and be able to stop, although that seems to be the pattern here, people slow down for green lights getting ready to stop. I think we would all go nuts out of impatience if they timed the red light cycles so that people who entered the intersection nanoseconds before the light turned red could clear the intersection before the opposing light turned green. I'm pretty sure I saw lights timed like that in France, and they drove me nuts. So what that leaves us with is that you are required to judge if it is safe to go when you get the walk signal or green light. Maybe this is just too hard now that we all have electronic devices ruling our lives.
Agreed, and there are also sadly plenty of people who for whatever reason run red lights and think that it's "no big deal at all."

Maybe it is time to revisit the idea of restricting the speed of cars to 25 - 30MPH, especially when within city limits. As well as revisiting the idea that one should be building "freeway like" roads going through cities.
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Old 05-25-12, 11:25 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
If you can't tell how such a law could be written, just look at the law in Texas and California -- it's right there.

Did you mean to say "turn red" ?

And yes, it's illogical to think that people will know exactly when that yellow light will turn red. But people do have a general idea of how long a yellow light should last (and there's standards for that sort of thing) and so if they saw the light turn from green to yellow, they should have an idea of when it'll go from yellow to red. Not a precise idea, but a general idea. (You can often get a precise idea by watching the timers on the pedestrian signals if they're there, but really I'd say you should be watching the road rather than those.)

Most intersections are indeed set up like this, at least in the states I've been in -- and if not, they come very close. The problem for a cyclist tends to come from the fact that the timing gives a car time to go through the intersection when it's going at about the speed limit -- but for a cyclist going 15-20 mph they may not have time, so cross traffic will probably have a green light before the slow bike is out of the intersection.
Doug,

Part of the problem with watching the walk timer is that not all traffic lights turn yellow when they hit zero. And it can be several seconds or longer before the light turns yellow after they've hit zero. Which as you said is why one shouldn't be paying too much attention to them.
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Old 05-25-12, 11:26 AM   #36
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Most intersections are indeed set up like this, at least in the states I've been in -- and if not, they come very close. The problem for a cyclist tends to come from the fact that the timing gives a car time to go through the intersection when it's going at about the speed limit -- but for a cyclist going 15-20 mph they may not have time, so cross traffic will probably have a green light before the slow bike is out of the intersection.
According to multiple sources, this particular cyclist was bombing down a hill at 35mph (in a 25mph speed zone) toward a busy intersection based on a GPS track allegedly uploaded to strava.com, and a security camera video allegedly (only the police and the DA have seen it) shows he made no attempt to slow down through the intersection before hitting and killing 71 year old pedestrian Sutchi Hui.

We really need to wait until the charges are filed and the DA's evidence is made public before speculating further.
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Old 05-25-12, 11:44 AM   #37
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We really need to wait until the charges are filed and the DA's evidence is made public before speculating further.
OK, but I (you quoted my text, so I'll assume you're talking to me (and maybe others)) wasn't speculating on that incident. I was talking about how the timing of intersections is generally set up. I could explain how that thread of discussion got to that point, but you can go back and see how as well as I can.

This line of reasoning is indeed somewhat related to the original incident, but it's not really speculating as to what happened during that incident.
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Old 05-25-12, 04:21 PM   #38
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OK CA vehicle code below, if people can find more please do.

Interesting:

this is my take
First I can't find anywhere a statement in the code that it is legal to enter and intersection on a yellow even if it turns red during your crossing. and I cannot find anything that indicates directly that a person has right of way in that situation, and there is even a listed citation that LEO can give referring to the yellow light code. The yellow light code simply states that you should be prepared for a red to follow

The green light code notes that pedestrians need to yield to those legally in the the intersection (but who is legally in the intersection?)

the red light code says you have to stop

the wording seem open to interpredation (ie what does facing mean)

all in all it seems less than clear to me, explains why there are lawyers, courts, jurys, judges. I think from what i see you could interpret the combination of these 3 codes in multple ways.....and on top of that are the other potential violation for any traffic situation.

link to list of violations and code http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/vioptct.htm


V C Section 21451 Circular Green or Green Arrow
(c) A pedestrian facing a circular green signal, unless prohibited by sign or otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.


V C Section 21452 Circular Yellow or Yellow Arrow

21452. (a) A driver facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is, by that signal, warned that the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown immediately thereafter.
(b) A pedestrian facing a steady circular yellow or a yellow arrow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, is, by that signal, warned that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway and shall not enter the roadway.

per ca dvm you can be cited for a violation of 21452 Illegal movement/yellow light/arrow

V C Section 21453 Circular Red or Red Arrow
Circular Red or Red Arrow
21453. (a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.


21452. (a) A driver facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is, by that signal, warned that the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown immediately thereafter.
(b) A pedestrian facing a steady circular yellow or a yellow arrow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, is, by that signal, warned that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway and shall not enter the roadway.
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Old 05-25-12, 04:45 PM   #39
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What would seem to be most important will be how far the cyclist would have gone at 35mph. The "State" should be able to get his speed from Strava, and be able to show if he'd have cleared the intersection at 35 mph if the light had changed to red just before he crossed the white line.
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Old 05-25-12, 04:54 PM   #40
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per ca dvm you can be cited for a violation of 21452 Illegal movement/yellow light/arrow
Huh? There is no way one can violate a code section that doesn't either prohibit or specify any behavior.

Please share what you believe California DMV says about "violating" 21452.

EDIT: Are you referring to pedestrians? They can violate 21452 (b), but that hardly seems relevant here.
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Old 05-25-12, 04:59 PM   #41
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What would seem to be most important will be how far the cyclist would have gone at 35mph. The "State" should be able to get his speed from Strava, and be able to show if he'd have cleared the intersection at 35 mph if the light had changed to red just before he crossed the white line.
I'd be very surprised if Strava data were admitted into evidence, at least not unless there were, first, a complex hearing to determine its accuracy and reliability.
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Old 05-25-12, 05:03 PM   #42
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Accelerating into a caution light is a Californian's rite of passage.
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Old 05-25-12, 05:57 PM   #43
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I think this is in the category that light timing is not based on 15 mph bicycle speed but on what the speed limit is for the road. So cyclist entering on a yellow at lower speeds that the post speed limit could easily hit the cross walk as people are crossing. which means cyclists should be extra careful to stop...unless they are fast.

I know that under CA vehicle code you are legal as long as you enter the entersection under the yellow, but as best as I can tell that does not give you a right of way if people start legally in the crosswalk.... things like reckless driving can be considered.
My impression from looking at sauerwald's video is that he maybe should have stopped when the light turned yellow since he was going so much slower than the timing the light was set for (probably 30mph?). I probalby would have done the same though, cruised through, but I would have been very vigilent of any approaching cross traffic, but it's a perfect situation for getting nailed by someone timing the lights and entering right when his light turned green. Also, the pedestrian was quite visible, and hopefully, the cyclist was on the brakes, expecting and preparing for exactly what the pedestrian did.

All that said, the pedestrian was a total idiot for crossing the street without looking. Why would anyone do that, even with a walk signal? Sheer stupidity.
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Old 05-25-12, 06:21 PM   #44
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All that said, the pedestrian was a total idiot for crossing the street without looking. Why would anyone do that, even with a walk signal? Sheer stupidity.
Very, very common behavior at busy urban intersections. At the particular intersection in question, you can see groups of peds doing it (actually, usually, jumping the walk phase) with nearly every signal cycle during commute hours (at least).
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Old 05-25-12, 06:35 PM   #45
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At last we have arrived at the point this discussion has inevitably been headed to: blaming the victim. Keep it up guys, you're not that far away from 'teach them a lesson.'
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Old 05-25-12, 07:07 PM   #46
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At last we have arrived at the point this discussion has inevitably been headed to: blaming the victim. Keep it up guys, you're not that far away from 'teach them a lesson.'
Camilo didn't "blame" the victim, merely suggested that his behavior, if it was as has been described, was "stupid."

If the pedestrian did, indeed, enter the intersection before traffic had cleared, he both took a serious risk and violated the applicable law. Does that, in any way, excuse the cyclist, if he was riding dangerously and/or illegally? No, it doesn't. But it may well have been an element contributing to the crash.

It's not even a tiny bit unusual for multiple parties to share responsibility for collisions.
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Old 05-25-12, 07:11 PM   #47
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At last we have arrived at the point this discussion has inevitably been headed to: blaming the victim. Keep it up guys, you're not that far away from 'teach them a lesson.'
I don't think that anyone is blaming the victim per se, but given that pedestrians ARE known to enter crosswalks BEFORE they have the right of way, they do have to shoulder some of the blame for what might happen to them.

The cyclist could/should have been behaving more rationally i.e. going at the speed limit, and preparing to stop when he saw that the light was yellow instead of hammering through it. Likewise the pedestrian(s) could/should have waited until the walk light clearly gave him/them the right of way to start crossing the street before doing so.

And as CB HI has stated the cyclists actions prior to this intersection aren't admissible because he hasn't been cited, tried or convicted for them. The only thing that is relevant is his action upon entering the intersection where the incident occurred.

Given what I/we know about this incident I think that there is probably plenty of blame to go around. The cyclist was wrong for his actions entering the intersection under the yellow and at an alleged high rate of speed. The pedestrian for entering the intersection before he/they truly had the right of way.
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Old 05-26-12, 06:03 AM   #48
Paul Barnard
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
Not claiming that I am completely blameless, but here is video from part of my commute in to work earlier this week. In the video, I enter an intersection on a yellow light, which turns red just before I exit the intersection. At the instant that the light turns red, two pedestrians step into the crosswalk in front of me. I was travelling at about 15 mph, and was able to avoid them, but had I been travelling at the speed that Mr. Buchere was going, I probably would have hit one of the pedestrians. I don't know all of the facts in the Buchere case, but I can understand how a cyclist could hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

You had nearly 3 full seconds to haul your bike down from 15 mph to a stop after the light turned yellow.

You knew or should have known if you had been paying attention that the light was going to be turning yellow. This based upon the amount of time it had been green.

Had the SUV driver jumped on the gas when your light turned red, that would have made things interesting.

Green doesn't mean go. It means visually clear the intersection and go. That applies to pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles.
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Old 05-26-12, 11:27 AM   #49
CB HI
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't know how you would write a law properly covering yellow lights without some allowance for human judgement. It's illogical to think that you should always be able to tell when the light is going to turn yellow and be able to stop, although that seems to be the pattern here, people slow down for green lights getting ready to stop. I think we would all go nuts out of impatience if they timed the red light cycles so that people who entered the intersection nanoseconds before the light turned red could clear the intersection before the opposing light turned green.
I agree with you that such a law cannot be properly written. But I would like to note that on my regular commute route, I know when many of the lights will turn yellow before hand by looking at the countdown crosswalk signals. Some lights turn yellow exactly when the pedestrian countdown reaches zero, for those intersections, I use the information to avoid being caught in the intersection when the light turns red.

Other intersections, no way of telling exactly when the light will go yellow.
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Old 05-26-12, 12:15 PM   #50
dougmc
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Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
I'd be very surprised if Strava data were admitted into evidence, at least not unless there were, first, a complex hearing to determine its accuracy and reliability.
Perhaps that complex hearing happened in the past, but today, in 2012, I imagine that using GPS data to reconstruct what happened in a collision is fairly routine and the rules have already been worked out.

Yes, there is the possibility that the data uploaded to Strava was somehow modified -- the parties involved will probably want the GPS itself (or it's data) entered into evidence, and even then somebody the idea that it was modified or otherwise inaccurate will be taken into account -- but I see no reason to not enter it into evidence at all. Especially if the police took it into evidence right at the incident, not giving it's owner any time to modify it's data. (I don't know this to be true, but in such a case I'd expect it.)

Of course, the side that it shows was at fault will contest its accuracy, but that's standard operating procedure in a court.
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