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View Poll Results: Running red lights...

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  • It's one of the advantages of cycling. Why not?

    18 15.79%
  • Only when I'm in a hurry and no cars are crossing.

    43 37.72%
  • Dangerous, I never do it.

    49 42.98%
  • It's so cool hipsters are doing it.

    4 3.51%
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  1. #76
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Running a red light is stupid, and potentially fatal!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Running a red light is stupid, and potentially fatal!!!!!
    So let me ask you a question.

    It's 3AM Wednesday night and raining. The light just turned red, but there's not a car in sight, or even a glimmer of a headlight. Do you wait the minute or not?
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  3. #78
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Running a red light is stupid, and potentially fatal!!!!!
    Stopping at red lights is potentially fatal when the drunk/distracted driver behind you, hits you at full speed. I have had more close calls stopping at red lights and stop signs than I have when rolling them.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  4. #79
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Running a red light is stupid, and potentially fatal!!!!!
    Cycling is potentially fatal. We all take risks. IMO, here in NYC, safely and courteously rolling a red light generally decreases my risk. I don't much care if you think it's stupid there in MD.
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  5. #80
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    Cycling is potentially fatal. We all take risks. IMO, here in NYC, safely and courteously rolling a red light generally decreases my risk. I don't much care if you think it's stupid there in MD.
    I really think the U.S. should have a federal Idaho-type traffic light laws for the bicycles. That would solve the problem a lot of cyclists including me have - a dilemma between obeying the laws and riding safely.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  6. #81
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    So let me ask you a question.

    It's 3AM Wednesday night and raining. The light just turned red, but there's not a car in sight, or even a glimmer of a headlight. Do you wait the minute or not?
    Yes, I am still going to wait. Because the laws don't take a break 5pm-5am. I don't blow through a red light under the same conditions, during the day time. So, I won't do it during the night time.
    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Stopping at red lights is potentially fatal when the drunk/distracted driver behind you, hits you at full speed. I have had more close calls stopping at red lights and stop signs than I have when rolling them.
    That is tantamount to saying, you always blow through red lights. Really smart, not.
    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    Cycling is potentially fatal. We all take risks. IMO, here in NYC, safely and courteously rolling a red light generally decreases my risk. I don't much care if you think it's stupid there in MD.
    Yes, We all take risks. Since you are a proponent of blowing red lights, I hope for your sake, it doesn't get you arrested.

  7. #82
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    That is tantamount to saying, you always blow through red lights.
    Mis-framing my post does not help your argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Really smart, not.
    Odd that the Idaho stop law data tells a different story.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  8. #83
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Mis-framing my post does not help your argument.

    Odd that the Idaho stop law data tells a different story.
    So, You are invariably saying, is that anyone stopping at a red light. From a truck driver of an 18-wheeler, all the way down to a cyclist, is destined to get killed, where they to stop for a red light.

    That thinking promulgates, that traffic signals mean nothing to you.

  9. #84
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    So, You are invariably saying, is that anyone stopping at a red light. From a truck driver of an 18-wheeler, all the way down to a cyclist, is destined to get killed, where they to stop for a red light.

    That thinking promulgates, that traffic signals mean nothing to you.
    You do a poor job of trying to tell others what they mean when they post.

    But maybe you think this way if you really believe every cyclist that rolls a red light will be killed.

    I have simply noted that cyclists that carefully roll red lights are safer than those who always stop and wait. That is especially true for night commuters.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  10. #85
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    I run about 16,000 red lights each year - just on my commute. I started doing that at age 15 going to high school and i still do it at 56. Not a scratch. Been car free since 1989. I run a lot of lights. No problem.
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-10-14 at 02:57 PM.
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  11. #86
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    Cycling is potentially fatal. We all take risks. IMO, here in NYC, safely and courteously rolling a red light generally decreases my risk. I don't much care if you think it's stupid there in MD.
    Again - exactly.

    Too many folks here assume that the riding styles they use in their areas are "RIGHT" for everyone else - and it's not so. If you haven't ridden in NYC, don't lecture urban riders about how to ride in NYC. It is safer for me to treat a red like a stop sign - it also gets me out of traffic. The only way I'd go through intersections at reds is in traffic, and no one wants that on narrow urban streets.

  12. #87
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    Again - exactly.

    Too many folks here assume that the riding styles they use in their areas are "RIGHT" for everyone else - and it's not so. If you haven't ridden in NYC, don't lecture urban riders about how to ride in NYC. It is safer for me to treat a red like a stop sign - it also gets me out of traffic. The only way I'd go through intersections at reds is in traffic, and no one wants that on narrow urban streets.
    Running a red is illegal. But considering the congestion and hot-tempered motorists' in NYC, it isn't surprising.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    A red light is there to be obeyed. There are NO good reasons not to obey the law. Besides when drivers see cyclist whiz thru red lights, they say ----see there cyclist break the law all the time, and it gives all cyclist a bad name.
    And when drivers see other drivers whiz thru red lights - they don't give it a second thought. I saw six drivers whiz through ONE red light yesterday - one after another. Some of them actually slowed down to about 5 mph. None of them stopped. Of course, they were making a right turn on red. Seems most drivers have forgotten that pesky little part of the law that says "permitted after stop". ALL of them blew the light driving multi-ton vehicles. But when a cyclist on 30lb bike "blows" a light - suddenly drivers are very upset.

    Cyclists are disliked because they are on the road. Not because of how well they obey traffic laws.

  14. #89
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Running a red is illegal. But considering the congestion and hot-tempered motorists' in NYC, it isn't surprising.
    Unfortunately being an iconoclast, inane imbecile is legal.

  15. #90
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    Let's be real here and speak to the safety issue, as distinct to that of getting a citation.

    We ride through uncontrolled intersections (no light/no stop sign) all the time. Unless you live downtown in a large city, odds are that most intersections are uncontrolled, and operate under the classic rules of the road whereby those on main roads have right of way over secondary roads.

    As bicyclists we handle these by slowing or maybe stopping, checking traffic for speed and distance then proceeding when we feel it's safe. Traffic lights exist to regulate flow through busy intersections, but as we approach they there's no magic electromagnetic field that wipes out the judgement we use to be safe at all other intersections. So if we use the same rules of gauging safety before proceeding (regardless of the signal) we're in no greater danger than we are at all other intersections.

    Unless you believe that red lights make you stupid, there's no great risk in going against the light when conditions permit.
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  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I run about 16,000 red lights each year - just on my commute. I started doing that at age 15 going to high school and i still do it at 56. Not a scratch. Been car free since 1989. I run a lot of lights. No problem.
    In another thread you stated that you sometimes "shoot gaps" at 20 to 30 mph when running signals, If you're running 40+ lights a day, even if high speed gap shooting represents a fairly small percentage, it is mostly about you being very lucky and/or unusually gifted, and not a reasonable endorsement for it being safer.
    As others have pointed out, different conditions call for different techniques and I won't argue with that, but it also means some techniques can be totally inappropriate for some conditions too, yet a few seem to conveniently forget that.
    (not an accusation of you, just a general observation)

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    ....it is mostly about you being very lucky and/or unusually gifted, ....
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Reality eventually catches up with people who have lots of close calls, so IMO anyone who's been riding extensively a certain way for 25+ years, and not having accidents, isn't depending on luck alone.

    It's possible that Joey exaggerates his exploits, or has the skill and judgement to operate close to the line than the average cyclist, but he apparently is able to make it work for him.
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  18. #93
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    My handling of intersections runs the spectrum - from stopped awaiting a green AND a safe moment to proceed (a green does not mean it is safe to proceed) all the way to blowing through a red at top speed if i can. If we had the Idaho Stop law i would bother to stop every time out of respect for the "special" treatment and though inconvienent could be just as safe as my current behavior.
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-10-14 at 02:56 PM.
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  19. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Reality eventually catches up with people who have lots of close calls, so IMO anyone who's been riding extensively a certain way for 25+ years, and not having accidents, isn't depending on luck alone.

    It's possible that Joey exaggerates his exploits, or has the skill and judgement to operate close to the line than the average cyclist, but he apparently is able to make it work for him.
    That's why I added the qualifying statements about possibly being a gifted rider and wasn't accusing him of anything. It wasn't my intention to question his veracity or skill, it was just to point out it doesn't represent typical behavior or results in the same way someone who smokes 2 packs of cigarets, drinks a 5th a day and lives to 100 shouldn't be used as an endorsement for smoking and drinking.

    Outside of his philosophy on running lights, he seems to have a reasonable and realistic outlook on riding.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post

    Outside of his philosophy on running lights, he seems to have a reasonable and realistic outlook on riding.
    I guess we're on the same page about it working for him.

    OTOH- While he may be more aggressive than many or most riders, I don't find his approach more odd than that of those who feel that crossing against the red (not running without checking) unreasonably dangerous.

    The reality is that trafic signals are more about managing flow at busy intersection than safety, and riders who treat these with the same care as they give uncontrolled intersections are not at increased risk.

    BTW- I work in Mount Vernon, NY where every intersection is an adventure, and I suspect that traffic signals there do not offer cyclists any degree of safety at all. The green doesn't mean you won't be T-boned by a car running the red, or cut-off or hit, by a car making a right on his red directly into your path.

    So a green is no assurance of safety, and a red no assurance of risk.
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  21. #96
    vol
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    Here is a T-intersection where I frequently ride (click on the picture below to see it larger).
    redlight at T.jpg
    Both streets are one-way. I ride on the bike lane if I want to obey the laws. Then I need to make right turn onto the other, wider avenue. While on the left bike lane, which is better for me: stop at red light and wait for green to make right turn, or continue during the red light and make right turn when the cars have stopped?

  22. #97
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Here is a T-intersection where I frequently ride (click on the picture below to see it larger).
    redlight at T.jpg
    ...which is better for me: stop at red light...
    Before even looking at the map my answer would be: Whatever gets you through the intersection alive.
    After looking at the map my answer is: Whatever gets you through the intersection alive.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  23. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Before even looking at the map my answer would be: Whatever gets you through the intersection alive.
    After looking at the map my answer is: Whatever gets you through the intersection alive.
    +1, common sense trumps both pavement markings and traffic signals.

    The purists would have you make what is essentially a "Copenhagen Left", waiting for the green, going to the far corner, then waiting for the light to change before crossing the traffic flow and proceeding.

    But it makes more sense to use the red to advantage and make a single maneuver when the traffic is stopped.

    There are rules, and there's reality. I adjust my riding to the requirements of reality.
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  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    In another thread you stated that you sometimes "shoot gaps" at 20 to 30 mph when running signals, If you're running 40+ lights a day, even if high speed gap shooting represents a fairly small percentage, it is mostly about you being very lucky and/or unusually gifted, and not a reasonable endorsement for it being safer.
    As others have pointed out, different conditions call for different techniques and I won't argue with that, but it also means some techniques can be totally inappropriate for some conditions too, yet a few seem to conveniently forget that.
    (not an accusation of you, just a general observation)
    it does not take unusual skill to shoot a gap and cycling at speed is much safer than A&S fraidy cats believe.
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  25. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    it does not take unusual skill to shoot a gap and cycling at speed is much safer than A&S fraidy cats believe.
    Are we're using the same definition of "shooting a gap"? As in approaching an intersection at full speed only adjusting to shoot through a gap in two way traffic on the fly?
    That's a a lot different than running a stop when there's no opposing traffic, and is a risky maneuver that takes significant skill and judgment.

    Gotta call BS on that being safe or normal technique.

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