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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. #101
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    Most accidents don't occur simply because one party made a stupid error of judgement - it usually occurs when a number of highly unlikely factors coincide perfectly. I'm sure all of us have had a near-miss at some point in time, not just in biking but in Life.

    There was a recent accident in Singapore where this taxi-driver hit a young girl of about 10 at 30mph dashing across the road. Without a video, it's easy to demonize the taxi driver for not slowing down, but the video clearly showed her being hidden by a road divider (with holes but from that angle was virtually impossible to spot) until she dashed out in front of him a few feet away. It was a chain of unfortunate coincidences that might have happened sooner or later.

    Watch any episode of "Air Crash Investigation" and you'll see several mini-mistakes and unlucky timing coincide to create a fiery explosion.

    Is it possible to run traffic lights your whole life and be perfectly untouched? Sure. Would anyone get the idea that they're 'too good' to be hit after a month of surviving such practices? Yes. That's why we'll continue to see reckless drivers and cyclists, because of such a mentality.
    Last edited by keyven; 05-10-14 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    Most accidents don't occur simply because one party made a stupid error of judgement -
    This is true in general, but I'm not sure it applies directly to the red light debate.

    First, to qualify, I'm not discussing "running" red lights, which I define as crossing against the red without reasonable caution. But I don't see that treating red lights the same way we treat unregulated intersections as especially dangerous.

    I'll take it farther and say that regulated intersections may actually be slightly more dangerous than unregulated intersections, because green lights promise more safety than they deliver. They cause cyclists to lower their guard, and become more vulnerable to drivers entering the intersection on a red, either illegally, or legally to make a right.

    IMO- Red, green or no light, stop sign or not, cyclists need to approach all intersections with reasonable care, and proceed when and if it's safe.
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  3. #103
    vol
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    Those posters who say they categorically follow the law of not proceeding at red light: I would appreciate if you tell us how you'd ride at the T-intersection to make right turn in the case shown in my post #96 . (Btw: extra info: the right lane is full of densely positioned potholes and patches; and a lesser question: would you ride on the left bike lane or the right vehicle lane prior to making right turn?). Map (sorry for the repetition):
    redlight at T.jpg

  4. #104
    Senior Member Worknomore's Avatar
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    I have always been a red light stopper until this morning inspired by the scofflaws here I ran, with caution, every red light I encountered. It was kinda fun and no cagers seemed to mind or even notice. Now it was very early Sunday morning and not your usual crazy rush hour ride. Most of the roads I ride on are rather high speed so I'll probably revert to being a fine upstanding citizen tomorrow.
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  5. #105
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Those posters who say they categorically follow the law of not proceeding at red light: I would appreciate if you tell us how you'd ride at the T-intersection to make right turn in the case shown in my post #96 . (Btw: extra info: the right lane is full of densely positioned potholes and patches; and a lesser question: would you ride on the left bike lane or the right vehicle lane prior to making right turn?). Map (sorry for the repetition):
    redlight at T.jpg
    Your drawing is indicating that two illegal and possibly dangerous maneuvers are being made for the sake of making a right turn, turning right from a left lane and doing so with a red light. In my state, cyclists are allowed to filter up slowly on the right of traffic and turn right on a red light, if your state has similar laws, personally I would go with the pot holes, patches and filtering.

  6. #106
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Your drawing is indicating that two illegal and possibly dangerous maneuvers are being made for the sake of making a right turn, turning right from a left lane and doing so with a red light. In my state, cyclists are allowed to filter up slowly on the right of traffic and turn right on a red light, if your state has similar laws, personally I would go with the pot holes, patches and filtering.
    I too would merge to the right lane way before making the right-hand turn that's shown in the picture. In Seattle, bike lanes are often as bad as the regular lanes when it comes to potholes and cracks, anyway.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  7. #107
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    So you two think it's safer to make lane changes through heavy traffic than to wait until a red light holds it so you can safely make the turn?

    Makes a world of sense to me.
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  8. #108
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    So you two think it's safer to make lane changes through heavy traffic than to wait until a red light holds it so you can safely make the turn?
    If I am familiar with the road, I should know whether or not the traffic is heavy enough that I should ride in the right lane to begin with. If I'm not, I would probably stop at the intersection and use the pedestrian crossings. If I didn't mind running a red light, I still wouldn't want to do so at an unfamiliar intersection.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  9. #109
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    So you two think it's safer to make lane changes through heavy traffic than to wait until a red light holds it so you can safely make the turn?

    Makes a world of sense to me.
    Maybe the area that this cyclist is traveling in, the LEOs won't care.....here in my area, that maneuver would be would be an automatic traffic stop if observed by an LEO. A poor cycling infrastructure design in forcing cyclists to make illegal and unsafe decisions in doing what many motorists would balk at in doing it themselves.

  10. #110
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    A thought came to mind(and maybe a need for personal clarification) about this topic. If the upcoming traffic light is green. But as you get closer, it suddenly goes yellow, then red. Would you consider that running a red light? Even though the yellow and red light were so sudden, that you couldn't stop without crashing, so you 'run the red'.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    If I am familiar with the road, I should know whether or not the traffic is heavy enough that I should ride in the right lane to begin with. If I'm not, I would probably stop at the intersection and use the pedestrian crossings. If I didn't mind running a red light, I still wouldn't want to do so at an unfamiliar intersection.
    First of all, NYC has a "must use" law regarding bike lanes. I don't know whether it has a turning exception or not (I avoid NYC's avenues with bike lanes) but this is one example of why I don't like segregated infrastructure.

    The only safe & legal way to make this turn is to wait for a green, cross the intersection to the far side, then wait for the light to change and start off to the right. However if one comes to it on a red, that means waiting 1-1/2 light cycles, when simply turning on the red accomplishes the same thing from a practical standpoint.

    Those who place abiding by the law above practical common sense are free to wait, but I'm the opposite and say common sense and practicality trumps the law.

    I don't fault those who chose to abide by every traffic signal, but simply want to refute the notion that careful disobedience is dangerous (except for the risk of a citation).

    Being legal and being safe do not go hand in hand, and it's possible to be both, but it's also possible to be either without the other.
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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    A thought came to mind(and maybe a need for personal clarification) about this topic. If the upcoming traffic light is green. But as you get closer, it suddenly goes yellow, then red. Would you consider that running a red light? Even though the yellow and red light were so sudden, that you couldn't stop without crashing, so you 'run the red'.
    I don't know the law in MD, but in NY a yellow light is early warning of the change to red. It's legal to proceed through a yellow, and the yellow phase is long enough that cars have time to decide whether to go or slow and stop based on their speed and position when the light goes to yellow.

    I can't conceive of a situation where a bicyclist would have inadequate warning because the yellow phase was too short for him to stop. However, it's possible that a cyclist entering on a yellow would not clear the intersection before the light changes, but that's OK within the law, which is based only on when you enter.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  13. #113
    Senior Member italktocats's Avatar
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    i have a brain, i dont need a light to tell me what i can or cannot do, its not like the right takes into account red light jumping cars...



    depending on the city i run up to 90% of the lights i come across, if the sensors and timers were working correctly, there wouldnt be that much a need, in amsterdam theres pretty much no need to run any light, no time advantage and green light timers are working

    but in my moms town, it takes 3 full rotations of the crossroad to get a green light on the bike, it literately takes minutes
    Last edited by italktocats; 05-11-14 at 11:50 AM.

  14. #114
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    First of all, NYC has a "must use" law regarding bike lanes. I don't know whether it has a turning exception or not (I avoid NYC's avenues with bike lanes) but this is one example of why I don't like segregated infrastructure.
    I can't speak for NYC. I didn't think we were talking specifically about NYC, either. If so, my apology. Where I live, we are allowed to use the regular lanes whether or not a bike lane is present.

    Those who place abiding by the law above practical common sense are free to wait, but I'm the opposite and say common sense and practicality trumps the law.
    Do you consider that an example of civil disobedience?

    I don't fault those who chose to abide by every traffic signal, but simply want to refute the notion that careful disobedience is dangerous (except for the risk of a citation).
    I try to abide by the law not so much because careful disobedience is dangerous as because I want to be able to stand on my own ground.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post


    Do you consider that an example of civil disobedience?



    I try to abide by the law not so much because careful disobedience is dangerous as because I want to be able to stand on my own ground.
    I don't consider running red lights (with due caution) civil disobedience since I've no agenda except getting to my destination. To me it's simply a question of reality trumping the law. I also remove those "do not remove....." tags without concern about the FBI knocking on my door. (Yes, I know it's legal to remove them at home, I was just being light).

    Traffic signals are installed to improve traffic flow through an intersection, where the rules of unmarked intersections don't work well. If ignoring them when there's no reason wait doesn't affect traffic either way, I see it as a no harm, no foul situation.

    Even in NYC where they are enforcing the traffic signal rules fairly strictly on bicycles, most cops will not stop a cyclist who slows, then proceeds through an empty intersection. They ticket those who run lights without stopping and/or yielding to cross traffic and in doing so deserve what they get.

    Eventually the law may change, probably applying Idaho rules, but for now I'll do what I do and ride in a safe and courteous way, sharing the road with other users, even when it puts me outside the law.

    Another example, I routinely leave early when cross traffic clears a a light I'm waiting at. It's illegal, but improves both traffic flow and safety because I'm out of the way of turning traffic before it flows.
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  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post

    I'll take it farther and say that regulated intersections may actually be slightly more dangerous than unregulated intersections, because green lights promise more safety than they deliver. They cause cyclists to lower their guard, and become more vulnerable to drivers entering the intersection on a red, either illegally, or legally to make a right.

    IMO- Red, green or no light, stop sign or not, cyclists need to approach all intersections with reasonable care, and proceed when and if it's safe.
    +100

    Since I've been commuting, I've started paying attention to how other riders handle intersections. Many, many riders simply look straight ahead when going through a green. As for myself, whether it is a green light, a stop sign, uncontrolled intersection or whatever, I am looking everywhere, expecting to get right hooked, left crossed. My closest calls have been when I had the right of way in an intersection, and naively thought that cars would yield to me.

  17. #117
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I don't know the law in MD, but in NY a yellow light is early warning of the change to red. It's legal to proceed through a yellow, and the yellow phase is long enough that cars have time to decide whether to go or slow and stop based on their speed and position when the light goes to yellow.

    I can't conceive of a situation where a bicyclist would have inadequate warning because the yellow phase was too short for him to stop. However, it's possible that a cyclist entering on a yellow would not clear the intersection before the light changes, but that's OK within the law, which is based only on when you enter.
    My question was not based so much on law, as it is ability to stop.

    My reason for asking, is indirectly connected to the title of the thread. Where if I see a green at the next light, going 20mph. Just as I approach the next light, it would go from green to yellow, then cycle through the yellow very quickly to red. So, Hit the brakes or ride through.....looking for opinions.
    Last edited by Chris516; 05-11-14 at 03:44 PM.

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    My question was not based so much on law, as it is ability to stop.

    My reason for asking, is indirectly connected to the title of the thread. Where if I seen a green at the next light, going 20mph. Just as I approach the next light, it would go from green to yellow, then cycle through the yellow very quickly to red. So, Hit the brakes or ride through.....looking for opinions.
    Going through on a yellow is OK both legally and safety wise (within reason) since cross traffic still has a red. Usually your red and the cross traffic's green are simultaneous, so latebirds pushing reds risk colliding with early birds quick on the green.

    But as I said earlier, the purpose of a yellow, is to warn of impending red with enough time to stop before hand, or complete passage if too close to stop. That's based on motor traffic going the normal speed on the road, or 25-35mph.

    Any yellow phase too short for a bicycle is clearly much too short for a car, and the best course of action is to inform the locals of a defectively timed signal.
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  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Eventually the law may change, probably applying Idaho rules, but for now I'll do what I do and ride in a safe and courteous way, sharing the road with other users, even when it puts me outside the law.
    Well said, and to that I would add not using legality as an excuse to do things that are unsafe or discourteous.

    A bicycle is a vehicle, but it isn't a motor vehicle. One of its greatest benefits is its ability to do things others can't, personally I prefer the shades of gray of reality, rather than the black and white of theory in regards to obeying traffic rules and laws.

    Safe and courteous, it should be obvious.

  20. #120
    vol
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    Thanks to dynodonn and daihard for responding.

    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I can't speak for NYC. I didn't think we were talking specifically about NYC, either. If so, my apology.
    Yes I'm in NYC.

    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Your drawing is indicating that two illegal and possibly dangerous maneuvers are being made for the sake of making a right turn, turning right from a left lane and doing so with a red light. In my state, cyclists are allowed to filter up slowly on the right of traffic and turn right on a red light, if your state has similar laws, personally I would go with the pot holes, patches and filtering.
    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I too would merge to the right lane way before making the right-hand turn that's shown in the picture. In Seattle, bike lanes are often as bad as the regular lanes when it comes to potholes and cracks, anyway.
    Some said that to earn respect from drivers, we should always obey the laws. That is generally true; however, in this case, I wonder which cyclist the drivers would prefer and would respect---esp. the drivers who are going to make right turn, too---the one that make right turn at red light, or the one that filters to the right lane? And will they think the cyclist is not a bit dumb who stops with them at the red light ("Newbie on the road!" )?

    Another concern is that the deep potholes are potentially hazardous to bike safety when a truck is passing you while you hit the edge of a deep pothole.
    Last edited by vol; 05-11-14 at 07:28 PM.

  21. #121
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Some said that to earn respect from drivers, we should always obey the laws. That is generally true; however, in this case, I wonder which cyclist the drivers would prefer and would respect---esp. the drivers who are going to make right turn, too---the one that make right turn at red light, or the one that filters to the right lane? And will they think the cyclist is not a bit dumb who stops with them at the red light ("Newbie on the road!" )?

    Another concern is that the deep potholes are potentially hazardous to bike safety when a truck is passing you while you hit the edge of a deep pothole.
    When I ride a bicycle, I'm not trying to garner motorists' respect, I'm trying to ride in a manner that is both predictable and understood by the majority of motorists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post

    Some said that to earn respect from drivers, we should always obey the laws. That is generally true;.....
    I disagree with the notion that we earn respect from motorists by obeying the law.

    IME motorists divide bicyclists into two categories, those in their way, and those not. Other than how we may somehow inconvenience them, they don't notice or care what we do.

    That may be something of an exaggeration, but the basic is right. Drivers either don't mind cyclists, or hate us, but it's not based on anything we do, unless we interfere with them so badly that we fuel that hate.
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  23. #123
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I disagree with the notion that we earn respect from motorists by obeying the law.

    IME motorists divide bicyclists into two categories, those in their way, and those not. Other than how we may somehow inconvenience them, they don't notice or care what we do.

    That may be something of an exaggeration, but the basic is right. Drivers either don't mind cyclists, or hate us, but it's not based on anything we do, unless we interfere with them so badly that we fuel that hate.

    I kind of agree here.
    Most of the people I know that hate bicyclists do so because they think we slow them down and don't belong on the roads.
    I don't think I'm winning over any fans by stopping at a stop sign, nor do I think I'm really taking away from cycling if I filter traffic and piss some redneck off at a stop light.

    I'm almost fine with being disliked in my area as opposed to being ignored. If someone hates cyclists, they're at least going to notice me beside them and watch me like a hawk hoping I do something illegal so they can yell road rage nonsense at me.

  24. #124
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    IMO the red light running cyclist are mainly the egotistical fully kitted roadie types that think their self proclaimed lightling quick reflexes will get them out of any situation. They are the ones that usually never wear helmets either. Also they seem to think rules and laws dont apply to them. With the chances they take, you sometime wonder if they have a death wish.

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    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.
    LOL. First, I am not a proponent of "blowing" red lights. I am a proponent of carefully passing them when it is safe. It will not get me arrested. If it ever gets me a ticket, I will take that as evidence that I was not being careful enough, because I didn't notice the cop, and I will reevaluate how I do it.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson) San Remo Plus, 1989 Trek 520, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

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