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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Running red lights...
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%
Voters: 114. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-12-14, 09:33 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
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.
Maybe in Lincoln. Here in NYC, the people who carefully roll reds are, well, almost everybody. It keeps traffic flowing and is safer for the cyclist. Almost everybody jaywalks, too. That's just how the city works.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:39 AM   #127
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And yet somehow we're safer for cycling than southern/rural areas.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:55 AM   #128
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And yet somehow we're safer for cycling than southern/rural areas.
Yeah, if you listen to some of these guys, we should all be dead! I can tell you that I'd feel a lot safer cycling in NYC / Philly than in, say, most of Texas.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:55 AM   #129
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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.
In my area cyclists get a lot of bad press for blowing stops signs and red lights. So where me may not earn respect by obeying the law, we certainly earn a lot negativity which translates into making it harder for cities to implement infrastructure improvements, proposal to ban non resident cyclists, and increased focused law enforcement.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:59 AM   #130
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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.
And if this is ok for you, why is it not ok for the careful driver?

the problem is many people (cyclist and drivers) are not truly careful and use good judgement and that results in less safe situations.
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Old 05-12-14, 10:19 AM   #131
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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.
+1. You consistently get it.

The give respect to get respect arguments imply that we are somehow responsible for the BEHAVIOR of others based on their perception of our group status. I am responsible for me, that's it. A motorist can THINK whatever he chooses to think about me, but if he extends that thought into behavior that is dangerous and/or illegal, the motorist is 100% responsible for that behavior. I ride safely to protect myself and I ride considerately because I'm generally a considerate person and I care about the effect my actions have on others.

I frankly don't care that much about how the driver feels about me or other cyclists, just as I'm sure they don't give much thought to how I feel about them. The VAST majority of drivers I come into contact with are respectful, sane and competent...the "perception" some have of cyclists doesn't justify the small minority of jerk hats. Would ford drivers worry about giving respect so that others respect fords?


Most poor behavior happens because of:


1. Error/mistakes. They happen. I make them on my bike on occasion and motorists screw up as well. The majority of issues I've had are simply mistakes. Unlike others here - I'm not perfect either. Gump happens.


2. Selfishness. Some people just don't give a damn about your "rights" or space - they want to drive to point B quickly, and God help anyone in their way. A significant portion of our population - including members of our group - are self centered meat heads and if they have the right motivation on the wrong day, watch out. I had a cab cut me off the other day so closely that I still don't understand how I didn't hit him. He saw us, he just didn't care...he wanted to beat the light and that was more important than my safety.


3.Negligence. This can be similar to number one, it's just more avoidable behavior - texting while driving, rolling stops, drunks, etc.


4. Pranksters. There may be overlap with the psychopath...but it's usually more prank'ish. The stupid kid throwing a soda who doesn't understand or think about the consequences.


5. Psychopaths. I've never come into contact with one of these in my history of cycling - these are the guys that hate cyclists and, if they can get away with it, might hurt you just to do it. These are the truck drivers in Easy Rider. The site famous Doctor. The guys booby trapping a trail. These are people that if they weren't out to get cyclists, it would be doctors, or a racial group, or the government, or fluoride. This is the only group where perception matters, and it's a pretty small group. I've never met one, and hope I don't. The problem these people have is that they're psychopaths - and thinking that we should change our perception to appease them is like blaming movies for Columbine.


I have a better suggestion - ride safely, as that applies in your area. Ride considerately whenever possible. Not to get respect, but because it's the right thing to do. If someone decides that me following Idaho laws, which is what I have found to be safest for most situations, is "wrong" in some sense, they are welcome to their annoyance, just as that person probably has a dozen behaviors that annoy me. It's a community, you're going to get annoyed from time to time and it doesn't justify poor behavior.
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Old 05-12-14, 10:19 AM   #132
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And if this is ok for you, why is it not ok for the careful driver?

the problem is many people (cyclist and drivers) are not truly careful and use good judgement and that results in less safe situations.
First, cars and bikes are different vehicles, one weighs thousands of pounds and is capable of 100+ mph and very quick acceleration, and one weighs, say, +/-200 lbs and is capable of much less speed and much slower acceleration. That said, it *IS* ok for the careful driver. The fact is that drivers almost never fully stop at stop signs. They slow down and roll through slowly, after determining that it is safe. As mentioned upthread, this is what every driver does at uncontrolled intersections. Do red signs / lights suddenly make them a lot dumber?

Stop lights are a little different than signs, due to the traffic usually involved. I believe it is safest for everyone for cyclists to treat them like stop signs--slow way down, check carefully, and go if it is safe--stop if it is not. This protects cyclists from rear ends and hooks, and keeps traffic flowing for cars. It is mutually beneficial.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:00 AM   #133
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IMO I think you will find that the cyclist that blow red lights and stop signs are the drivers that do the same. They are the ones that never stop on a right turn on red (after a full stop). Once a scofflaw always a scofflaw.

Again IMO thats what gets people dead!!!!
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Old 05-12-14, 11:15 AM   #134
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I believe it is safest for everyone for cyclists to treat them like stop signs--slow way down, check carefully, and go if it is safe--stop if it is not. This protects cyclists from rear ends and hooks, and keeps traffic flowing for cars. It is mutually beneficial.
Solid idea IMO.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:15 AM   #135
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IMO I think you will find that the cyclist that blow red lights and stop signs are the drivers that do the same. They are the ones that never stop on a right turn on red (after a full stop). Once a scofflaw always a scofflaw.

Again IMO thats what gets people dead!!!!
IMO you are a silly person prone to sweeping generalizations.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:18 AM   #136
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I hate having to continually pass the same d-bag because they run red lights when I stop at them.
The answer is simple. Run them too.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-12-14, 11:35 AM   #137
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IMO I think you will find that the cyclist that blow red lights and stop signs are the drivers that do the same. They are the ones that never stop on a right turn on red (after a full stop). Once a scofflaw always a scofflaw.

Again IMO thats what gets people dead!!!!
not at all
I realize that when I'm behind the wheel I could very easily kill someone, and that I will also get serious fines and higher insurance premiums for a traffic violation if caught running a stop sign.
When I'm on a bike I can get away with it, and I'm not going to kill someone unless it is some type of freak accident.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:54 AM   #138
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not at all
I realize that when I'm behind the wheel I could very easily kill someone, and that I will also get serious fines and higher insurance premiums for a traffic violation if caught running a stop sign.
When I'm on a bike I can get away with it, and I'm not going to kill someone unless it is some type of freak accident.
Its a bad idea to think that way, a cyclist probably won't cause serious injury directly, but may create a dangerous situation where a someone reacting to their dumb maneuver could.

Being on a bicycle doesn't absolve one of responsibility.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:06 PM   #139
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Being on a bicycle doesn't absolve one of responsibility.
I don't see anyone here saying that it does. You don't seem to get it, but that's OK.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:38 PM   #140
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First, cars and bikes are different vehicles, one weighs thousands of pounds and is capable of 100+ mph and very quick acceleration, and one weighs, say, +/-200 lbs and is capable of much less speed and much slower acceleration. That said, it *IS* ok for the careful driver. The fact is that drivers almost never fully stop at stop signs. They slow down and roll through slowly, after determining that it is safe. As mentioned upthread, this is what every driver does at uncontrolled intersections. Do red signs / lights suddenly make them a lot dumber?

Stop lights are a little different than signs, due to the traffic usually involved. I believe it is safest for everyone for cyclists to treat them like stop signs--slow way down, check carefully, and go if it is safe--stop if it is not. This protects cyclists from rear ends and hooks, and keeps traffic flowing for cars. It is mutually beneficial.
my area must be odd, because people do not in general roll stop signs. I see more people blow thru red lights than rolling stop signs.

The problem I have the mass of vehicle argument is that: if I as a cyclist make an error in going through a red light, then I am forcing a consequence on the driver or cyclist who legally has a green, Do I hit the cyclist or take an evasive move that puts me in the other lane? My error in judgement is not just impacting me.

People not following traffic rules creates unpredictability, which in my view is what drivers and cyclist depend on.... and any reduction producing more risk.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:43 PM   #141
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I don't see anyone here saying that it does. You don't seem to get it, but that's OK.
Running a stop because a cyclist is "unlikely" to cause injury isn't the same as doing it when safe. That seems to imply that doing something potentially risky is OK. Maybe I just misunderstood what he's trying to say.
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Old 05-12-14, 04:04 PM   #142
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my area must be odd, because people do not in general roll stop signs. I see more people blow thru red lights than rolling stop signs.

The problem I have the mass of vehicle argument is that: if I as a cyclist make an error in going through a red light, then I am forcing a consequence on the driver or cyclist who legally has a green, Do I hit the cyclist or take an evasive move that puts me in the other lane? My error in judgement is not just impacting me.

People not following traffic rules creates unpredictability, which in my view is what drivers and cyclist depend on.... and any reduction producing more risk.
I see both. A lot. I'm kind of surprised you don't see people roll stops, I thought it was pretty universal. I've lived in MA, VT, NYC and CA and it's very common, as far as I can tell.

Anyway, the mass of the vehicle is just a side note to me. I carefully roll reds because it keeps me safer as a rider. As for making mistakes, anyone can make a mistake. A car could run a red by accident. A cyclist could do the same. Most of the time, we are OK. The risk of making a mistake is no reason not to drive or cycle. It's only a reason to be smart and cautious.

I believe that sitting at a red light (at least here in NYC, I can't speak for everywhere) is more dangerous than carefully rolling one. By proceeding through the light safely, I rely on myself not to make a mistake. By sitting at the light, I rely on car drivers, over whom I have no control, not to make one. I trust my judgement and would rather rely on myself when I can.
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Old 05-12-14, 05:12 PM   #143
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my area must be odd, because people do not in general roll stop signs.
That would indeed be odd. I live fairly close to you and when I've observed traffic at a stop sign less than 5% of cars actually come to a full stop in the absence of needing to wait for traffic on the cross street. Most slow so they are almost stopped, i.e. only a few mph, but they don't come to a complete stop as required by the CVC.

I suspect many may not even be aware that they aren't stopping. When I was teaching my mother to drive I mentioned to her that she was treating stop signs the way most drivers do, but that when taking the driving test she should really come to a complete stop. She insisted that she already did that so I suggested that at the next stop sign she should "stop" as usual, but then quickly push down hard on the brake pedal - which would do nothing if we were already stopped. The sudden jerk as the car went from ~2mph to 0mph was very convincing.
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Old 05-12-14, 05:27 PM   #144
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That would indeed be odd. I live fairly close to you and when I've observed traffic at a stop sign less than 5% of cars actually come to a full stop in the absence of needing to wait for traffic on the cross street. Most slow so they are almost stopped, i.e. only a few mph, but they don't come to a complete stop as required by the CVC.

I suspect many may not even be aware that they aren't stopping. When I was teaching my mother to drive I mentioned to her that she was treating stop signs the way most drivers do, but that when taking the driving test she should really come to a complete stop. She insisted that she already did that so I suggested that at the next stop sign she should "stop" as usual, but then quickly push down hard on the brake pedal - which would do nothing if we were already stopped. The sudden jerk as the car went from ~2mph to 0mph was very convincing.
the areas I frequent have very few people who don't stop 100%. these have a lot of traffic, a lot of 4 way and 3 way stops and stop onto fairly fast traffic so that may have something to do with it. In many case people don't have choice but to stop 100% so it becomes a habit.

people doing the right on red with out stopping is pretty common

fwiw: local knowledge think willow glen, lincoln ave, hamiltion, curtner, leigh ave, union ave areas
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Old 05-12-14, 05:38 PM   #145
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In my area cyclists get a lot of bad press for blowing stops signs and red lights.
We get this alot in DC. Pretty much a red light story gets run every year around Bike Week. Problem is,it's often unjustified. One of the local stations just ran a story about this,but in the video they used most of the cyclists actually were doing the right thing. They recently(Jan) changed the law and cyclists are now allowed to leave red lights with the leading walk signals. But many people don't know this,so to them it looks likes the cyclists are jumping the reds.
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Old 05-13-14, 07:01 AM   #146
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IMO you are a silly person prone to sweeping generalizations.
kon

Your opinion is noted and dismissed.
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Old 05-13-14, 09:27 AM   #147
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IMO I think you will find that the cyclist that blow red lights and stop signs are the drivers that do the same.
Total nonsense. (Not my opinion. Based on observations).

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Being on a bicycle doesn't absolve one of responsibility.
Agreed. I have a responsibility to myself, my wife, my coworkers, and my next of kin to get to work and home again in one piece doing whatever it takes out there. If it's safer to run a red to get a head start on a green light "releasing the bulls", then I am going to run it if I can. If it is safer to wait for the green, I wait for the green.

Some here have the incorrect assumption in their heads that it is somehow ALWAYS unsafe to run a red light. I find that annoying. Others who are just "letter of the law" junkies I can respect because they know they could easily cross on a red now and then but they don't. I hope they don't get clobbered due to sheer stubbornness.
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Old 05-13-14, 10:00 AM   #148
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...
I have a responsibility to myself, my wife, my coworkers, and my next of kin to get to work and home again in one piece doing whatever it takes out there. If it's safer to run a red to get a head start on a green light "releasing the bulls", then I am going to run it if I can. If it is safer to wait for the green, I wait for the green.

Some here have the incorrect assumption in their heads that it is somehow ALWAYS unsafe to run a red light. I find that annoying. Others who are just "letter of the law" junkies I can respect because they know they could easily cross on a red now and then but they don't. I hope they don't get clobbered due to sheer stubbornness.
And some here have the incorrect assumption that is somehow UNSAFE to stop at a red light or stop sign. Don't worry about me btw. In all my years I've never once been clobbered at a light or a stop sign.

Wait strike that. Yes I have. Half-a-dozen times. Like this.

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Old 05-13-14, 11:04 AM   #149
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And some here have the incorrect assumption that is somehow UNSAFE to stop at a red light or stop sign. Don't worry about me btw. In all my years I've never once been clobbered at a light or a stop sign.

Wait strike that. Yes I have. Half-a-dozen times. Like this.

-mr. bill

That is not what we are saying at all. We are saying sometimes it's safer to pass through, sometimes it's safer to stop--one should use their judgement to decide what to do.
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Old 05-13-14, 11:19 AM   #150
JoeyBike
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
And some here have the incorrect assumption that is somehow UNSAFE to stop at a red light or stop sign. Don't worry about me btw. In all my years I've never once been clobbered at a light or a stop sign.

Wait strike that. Yes I have. Half-a-dozen times. Like this.

-mr. bill
Where I live, nobody stops if the coast is clear. That's the key. But I do have a funny story related to that cartoon for ya.

A few years ago a friend and I were blasting down Canal Street, one of the only streets in NOLA with a complicated traffic signal at every intersection including U-Turn, pedestrian, and no-turn-on-right signals. 6-lanes wide with mass transit adding another 2 lanes right down the middle. Generally mayhem, bumper-to-bumper, double-parked cars in the right lane, but almost always a tail-wind howling between tall buildings (prevailing from the south all summer) pushing us along. Due to the pedestrian signals a red light does not release crossing motor vehicles - it releases pedestrians. No pedestrians means no stopping required for more than 30 seconds after the light goes coal red. OK...there is the setup.

So my bud and I are flying up Canal street splitting past all of the gridlock traffic and catching gaps at every intersection. We arrive at one of the busiest, widest, most pedestrian-clogged intersections. We easily make the first three lanes (cars moving left to right) but the cars are just getting released at the next three lanes (crossing right to left). I am 10 feet behind my bud as we jam against the left curb (left edge of the left lane) to give ourselves a three lane buffer from the cars releasing at the light (this is standard operating procedure for us BTW). All of a sudden my bud thinks I can't make it through behind him and decides to stop and wait for the red together. Usually no problem because I am watching him closely, I know I can easily make it across, I am just watching what he does. So he STANDS UP on the pedals, which signals to me that he is blasting across - so I stomp the accelerator too. The problem was...he was on his fixie that day. If you know anything about fixies, the rider has to "STAND UP" on the pedals to stop the rear wheel at high speed. This skidding action also turned him a bit sideways in front of me. By now of course I am getting sideways too locking up both brakes. BANG! My front wheel goes in just behind his right foot and crank, both bikes go down together leaving us rolling around on the ground between the medians well out of the flow of traffic now going past in front and behind our position. We get up giggling and grab our bikes. They are locked together like one of those little wire brain-teaser puzzles. They won't budge. So we walk together carrying the pile of bikes over the the grassy median where we commence to untangle the bikes - all the while being laughed at and demeaned by a crowd of about a hundred people waiting for the public bus.

Somehow, neither of us, or the bikes, were damaged. We finally solved the bike puzzle, took our bows in front of the crowd, mounted up and continued on to the house. After a minute my bud leans over to me and says "...and our audience is STILL waiting for the bus!" which made us both laugh.

The most dangerous thing you can do on a bicycle is to traffic jam in close proximity to another rider. Since we are both using the same gaps in traffic it is only a matter of time before things get all tangled up. And we rode together a lot. I stay way clear of strangers on bikes so there is not a chance of me rear-ending someone at a stop. I assume they are going to ****-out and fall in front of me. I leave enough room for them to do so.

OK...hope you enjoyed that story. Don't think I have ever "come clean" with that one here on BF before.
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