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  1. #1
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    4 way stop conundrum

    It seems I've noticed more and more motorists at 4 way stops that want to insist that I go through first, I may even be coasting up to the stop when they are already there and they seem to want to wave me through even though they have the right of way. When it's an advantage I sometimes go ahead and go - like heading into a hill, but when there is a lot of traffic or when they would pull in BEHIND me if I were to go first I normally decline. I don't see the benefit of pulling across when they are just going to come up behind me and pass anyway, so I stop and wait for them to go. I actually got a guy pissed off yesterday as he was frantically waving me on and I just sat there waiting for him to go. he eventually go the message and peeled out. I try and just follow the rules of the road and use the "first come first served" rule of thumb.

    I don't know if it's increased awareness or just my dumb luck that this seems to be happening, seemingly more and more. You guys notice anything like this?

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    If someone waves me on, I go, car or bike.

    I did notice lots of nice drivers on the way to work this morning. Maybe it's the cooler weather?

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    I get that sort of stuff a lot too, and don't appreciate it. People seem to want to help out a person on a bike. It just slows things down. It would be faster and more efficient if everyone just took their turn. (And didn't dwaddle while doing it )
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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    I get that sort of stuff a lot too, and don't appreciate it. People seem to want to help out a person on a bike. It just slows things down. It would be faster and more efficient if everyone just took their turn. (And didn't dwaddle while doing it )

    Politeness masks that most Americans, bikers and cagers alike, are pretty clueless about how to navigate 4 way stops. This is painfully apparent when a power outage knocks out a traffic signal at a major intersection.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

  5. #5
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    I noticed the same thing around here but I appreciate it a lot. Sometimes it's a bit annoying but I much prefer that than the aggressive behavior that I sometime get out of nowhere.
    Originally Posted by Leebo

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    Politeness masks that most Americans, bikers and cagers alike, are pretty clueless about how to navigate 4 way stops. This is painfully apparent when a power outage knocks out a traffic signal at a major intersection.
    Boy I really have to agree with that... we lost power in So Cal last year for about 12 hours... I could not believe the number of people that came to 4 way stops and just didn't know what to do. It was amazing.

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    this subject always surprises me a little when it comes up again. 4-way stop signs are a mystery to many drivers in the U.S., but they muddle through somehow. If someone gives up their turn at a 4-way, it doesn't concern me no matter what mode of transportation I have chosen. If someone gives up their ROW in other situations, I generally don't take it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Boy I really have to agree with that... we lost power in So Cal last year for about 12 hours... I could not believe the number of people that came to 4 way stops and just didn't know what to do. It was amazing.
    I remember one of the last power outages we had, I was amazed at how much FASTER traffic cleared the intersection, no one was sitting there waiting on a green light when no one was even coming the other directions.

  9. #9
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    My First commuting 4-way went like this:

    3 vehicles already there, I was the 4th on my bike and stop.

    Looking at each driver I see that each one is talking on a cell phone.

    They don't move.

    I get on the pedals and clear the intersection.

    Look back and all three remain, talking away.

    So now I filter through, almost never stopping.
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  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
    I remember one of the last power outages we had, I was amazed at how much FASTER traffic cleared the intersection, no one was sitting there waiting on a green light when no one was even coming the other directions.
    Problem we had was that there was traffic coming from all directions, and it was heavy... but the motorists would come to the stop line and then stop... they would not follow the pattern of the previous motorists through... so each group of motorists had to negotiate (and not well) for their turn.

    Me, I just followed the pattern established... as this meant that the first car at the stop was the first to go. But others would not do that... they would drive up, stop and then just freeze as if all had arrived at the same time. It was obvious that these motorists were not watching the traffic, but were so used to obeying a traffic light that they could not give up that habit.

    Cyclists watch traffic, they have to to stay safe... motorists tend to watch lights and signs, and if the lights are out, motorists go dumb.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    If someone waves me on, I go, car or bike.

    I did notice lots of nice drivers on the way to work this morning. Maybe it's the cooler weather?
    Thank you!

    Today, a driver yielded his ROW to let me out in traffic. I appreciated and acknowledged his courtesy. I guess I could have ignored him and waited for him to eventually go since he was there first, but why? Offering and accepting small courtesies is social lubricant that makes our day to day interactions more pleasant.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
    I don't see the benefit of pulling across when they are just going to come up behind me and pass anyway, so I stop and wait for them to go. I actually got a guy pissed off yesterday as he was frantically waving me on and I just sat there waiting for him to go. he eventually go the message and peeled out. I try and just follow the rules of the road and use the "first come first served" rule of thumb.

    I don't know if it's increased awareness or just my dumb luck that this seems to be happening, seemingly more and more. You guys notice anything like this?
    Yes, I notice the road is filled with polite, courteous drivers like the one you described. They are trying to be conscientious and generous to cyclists. If you accept their offers in the spirit they are given, you will give them a small positive stroke. If you reject their generosity, you will give them a small negative stroke. Totally up to you.

    If you feel that following the letter of the law at 4-way stop signs is of greater value than accepting an offer of courtesy, that's your prerogative.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
    Yes, I notice the road is filled with polite, courteous drivers like the one you described. They are trying to be conscientious and generous to cyclists. If you accept their offers in the spirit they are given, you will give them a small positive stroke. If you reject their generosity, you will give them a small negative stroke. Totally up to you.

    If you feel that following the letter of the law at 4-way stop signs is of greater value than accepting an offer of courtesy, that's your prerogative.
    Sorry, been passed too many times with less than 3' of room by the same motorists who pass me seconds later in traffic because they "allowed" me to go first, I'd rather wait, pull in behind THEM and gain the distance between them and the next car to follow (if any). Quite often these intersections are more crowded too as they cram a turn lane in there and 40' down the road it's back to standard lanes. Nothing "negative" just following the rules of the road AND keeping myself a tad safer.

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    The big problem I find with that in Florida is a lot of cars have tinted windows. Especially when the sun is in my face, I can't really see that people are waving me through. So it becomes a guessing game as to whether they are trying to cede ROW or if they're preoccupied with something else and will start moving as soon as I get into the intersection. I'd really prefer it if everyone just took their proper turn and eliminated the guess work. But mindful of the fact that people are just trying to be nice, I will proceed with a smile and wave even if I really wish they hadn't done that.

  15. #15
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    4 way stops, no hesitation on my part, and when I see an opportunity, I go for it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
    The big problem I find with that in Florida is a lot of cars have tinted windows. Especially when the sun is in my face, I can't really see that people are waving me through.
    Making window tinting illegal would help with that. In CA window tinting is illegal. The people who violate the law and install the tinting are a pet peeve of mine. When someone complains to me about getting a ticket for their tinting, I tell them in no uncertain terms that I am glad they got the ticket.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamhenry View Post
    The people who violate the law and install the tinting are a pet peeve of mine. When someone complains to me about getting a ticket for their tinting, I tell them in no uncertain terms that I am glad they got the ticket.
    Do you really?
    Got a camera? I'd like to see a video of these conversations. You must be a real fun guy.

    Why the heck would anyone be complaining to you, if you really are such a fussbudget?

  18. #18
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    a fussbudget?
    What is a fussbudget (I'm french canadian so I need help with english sometimes)
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I gave up long ago on trying to educated drivers that they should go in turn. Now I slow and look at the other drivers. If they make eye contact and appear to be waiting for me or motion me through, I go. No point in dallying.

    What happens on occasion and is even more hazardous, drivers on major roads that don't have a stop, yet see me waiting to cross at my stop and come screeching to a halt to allow me to go. I guess they think their treating me like a pedestrian or something?

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramiscram View Post
    What is a fussbudget (I'm french canadian so I need help with english sometimes)
    fussbudget

    fussbudget also fuss-budget (f¨s┤b¨j┤ţt) noun
    A person who fusses over trifles. Also called fusspot.

    The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,

  21. #21
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    If there's only a singe other vehicle, and they clearly give up their ROW and wave me through, I'll usually take it. If there are other vehicles there, I make a point of getting a foot out of the clip and dangling it to make it obvious I'm coming to a complete stop (most of my commuting is on a recumbent, so I presume it's even more obvious than my DF). I get a lot of wave throughs on my motorcycle and bicycle around here, but hardly ever when I'm driving my car.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
    I remember one of the last power outages we had, I was amazed at how much FASTER traffic cleared the intersection, no one was sitting there waiting on a green light when no one was even coming the other directions.
    Yes, that's what happens here, too. it's been used as an argument for doing away with the lights, but I think that's too hasty as a conclusion. The reason it works fine is exactly that it's an exceptional situation. Just like people at a bus stop who won't talk to each other under normal circumstances, but in a snow storm or other exceptional situation they will.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
    Thank you!

    Today, a driver yielded his ROW to let me out in traffic. I appreciated and acknowledged his courtesy. I guess I could have ignored him and waited for him to eventually go since he was there first, but why? Offering and accepting small courtesies is social lubricant that makes our day to day interactions more pleasant.
    Exactly.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Problem we had was that there was traffic coming from all directions, and it was heavy... but the motorists would come to the stop line and then stop... they would not follow the pattern of the previous motorists through... so each group of motorists had to negotiate (and not well) for their turn.

    Me, I just followed the pattern established... as this meant that the first car at the stop was the first to go. But others would not do that... they would drive up, stop and then just freeze as if all had arrived at the same time. It was obvious that these motorists were not watching the traffic, but were so used to obeying a traffic light that they could not give up that habit.

    Cyclists watch traffic, they have to to stay safe... motorists tend to watch lights and signs, and if the lights are out, motorists go dumb.
    My commute home goes through a 4 way stop. I'd say 60-70% of the total is from one of the 4 directions. Of that 60-70% about 2/3rds are turning left. The direction facing them is by far the least traffic. The vast majority of the cross traffic is either going striaght or turning right.

    Most of the time it is smooth, The main feed goes, either just a car turning left or one left and one straight. The cross traffic goes, straight of right. repeat.

    But when there is facing traffic there can be issues since the left turner has to wait until the straight clears.

    If there is a queue waiting my way thigns are fine, but if there is not and I time it wrong I can get there when it really is the other directions turn, but sometimes they wait.
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  25. #25
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
    It seems I've noticed more and more motorists at 4 way stops that want to insist that I go through first, I may even be coasting up to the stop when they are already there and they seem to want to wave me through even though they have the right of way. When it's an advantage I sometimes go ahead and go - like heading into a hill, but when there is a lot of traffic or when they would pull in BEHIND me if I were to go first I normally decline. I don't see the benefit of pulling across when they are just going to come up behind me and pass anyway, so I stop and wait for them to go. I actually got a guy pissed off yesterday as he was frantically waving me on and I just sat there waiting for him to go. he eventually go the message and peeled out. I try and just follow the rules of the road and use the "first come first served" rule of thumb.

    I don't know if it's increased awareness or just my dumb luck that this seems to be happening, seemingly more and more. You guys notice anything like this?
    When I encounter a situation like that, be it a 4-way or 3-way, I wave them on regardless. Because I don't trust motorists' NOT to do something stupid. I have enough to think about in that moment when there is traffic behind me. I don't want to tempt more motorists' stupidity in that moment, by them suddenly stepping on the gas, as I am just crossing.

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