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  1. #1
    Eternal n00b
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    I was pulled over by a cop this morning...

    So I recently started commuting to work by bicycle, I leave my house at ~4am to give me plenty of time to arrive at work with room for a flat tire and a shower when I arrive (it's a very hilly 16 mile ride).

    I took a left turn through a red light, after stopping and checking for traffic, this light in particular will NOT change for a bike, trust me, I've waited.

    The only car in sight was one coming in the opposite direction appr. ~200 yd's ahead, shortly after taking the left the car that was coming in the opposite direction drives up behind me, BLING BLING the red and blues light up.

    Luckily no ticket, just a lecture.

    How do you guys handle red lights that won't change for a bike? To my understanding some states allow you to take the left against the light if it won't change, though I am unsure if Oregon is one of them.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    I just do what you do. And if a cop lectures me, I pretend to care.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  3. #3
    Senior Member icemanbb's Avatar
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    Left Turn at Light

    I have one left turn to make at a light (I don't trip it on a bike either). I go straight through the intersection (when light is green) then make three right hand turns and wait at the light again, if necessary, and go straight through in the direction I origonally wanted to go.
    "No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place." - Zen saying.

  4. #4
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    Some states take it one step further and let motorcycles go through a light that won't change for them. I don't think Oregon is one of those states, either for motorcycles or bikes. I've dealt with this a few ways:

    -Just waited for a car.
    -I've taken a right and made a u-turn if traffic is light. I think this might actually be legal in some spots.
    -I've caved and hopped on the sidewalk to push the walk button, but then you're faced with the awkwardness of getting back in the lane.
    -I've run the stop light by going through both crosswalks, but I don't think that gets me out of any legal issues, but it seemed like it might.

    I was faced with this problem once and checked over my shoulder before running the light. Upon gazing behind me I noticed a cop coming up, so I stopped. The cop stopped behind me, but gave me so much room he wasn't on the sensor either. We waited and waited until a car coming the other way rolled up to the other side of the intersection and the light eventually changed. It was annoying.

    What intersection?

  5. #5
    Eternal n00b
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    I think I will probably end up avoiding this particular light by taking some side streets, thanks for the replies though.

    It was Foster and SE 92nd BTW. Being it was far SE Portland (the ghetto) I wanted to ask the cop if he shouldn't be busting criminals rather than harassing bicyclists...
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  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    The cops here couldn't care less what you do on a bike. I've run redlights in front of them, said OH crap but it was like they didn't even notice. Flying under the radar!

    I was stopped for questioning because "we've had some B&Es in the area sir." I said, "You're welcome to search my bike, officer, to make sure I don't have any TVs or computers on it." Not funny, according to the cop. I thought it was hilarious!

    Anyway, the way I handle redlights that won't change is to make sure it's safe, then run it. If I did get a ticket, I'd try to explain it to the judge. If he didn't agree with my explanation, I'd just shut up and pay the fine.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  7. #7
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    If it won't change for you, you should turn right then turn around.
    Not too much to say here

  8. #8
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Report the light to the city. If you've reported it and you can demonstrate that it's broken (won't change for your legal vehicle) then in most states you're allowed to treat broken lights as though they were blinking reds (go when traffic clears).
    IANAL but I would think having reported the light as broken gives you a more firm ground.

    Just out of curiosity, did the cop acknowledge that it was possible that the light was defective? Did you ask him what you SHOULD do for a light that won't change? What should a car do?
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  9. #9
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I do just what you did. None of the signal detectors are set to detect a bicycle in Hawaii, so they get treated as a malfunctioning signal (law says treat them the same as a stop sign).

    Check your state laws for what to do at a light signal that is out or malfunctioning. That should give you the legal justification for what you did.

  10. #10
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Take it to court if you get a ticket. If the light does not register you it is malfunctioning.
    {edit**
    You are expected to obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle. If you are in your car and you come upon a red light that does not turn, you wait a reasonable amount of time, then give up on waiting and treat it like a stop sign. Otherwise you are impeding traffic.
    Last edited by Allen; 02-26-08 at 08:33 PM.

  11. #11
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    On a related note, I've heard that having a (relatively) strong magnet under the bottom bracket helps trigger stop lights like that. Anyone have any experience with that?

  12. #12
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    If it won't change for you, you should turn right then turn around.
    Turn right from the left turn lane? Wouldn't that be just as illegal?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  13. #13
    Senior Member wharfrat's Avatar
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    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
    I just do what you do. And if a cop lectures me, I pretend to care.

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
    On a related note, I've heard that having a (relatively) strong magnet under the bottom bracket helps trigger stop lights like that. Anyone have any experience with that?
    The lights are triggered by metal, not magnets. They should change for a bicycle. If they don't, they're defective or improperly installed. Most of the time when I think my bike won't trigger a light, it's really just because I didn't wait long enough.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Magnets help

    Quote Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
    On a related note, I've heard that having a (relatively) strong magnet under the bottom bracket helps trigger stop lights like that. Anyone have any experience with that?
    I have attached a magnet to the bottom of my older bike, and it does make a difference. The trick to it is that when you get to the intersection, you have to roll the bike back and forth so the magetic coil underneath the pavement picks up some motion. By doing that, I've been able to go through some intersections without the help of a car or truck.

    We used to generate drawings of the standard coil at the engineering firm I used to work at that goes underneath the pavement. I asked one time, and was told that they are not sensitive enough to pick up anything smaller than the typical economy car.

  16. #16
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilWinIL View Post
    I've been able to go through some intersections without the help of a car or truck.
    Me too, I use a bicycle.

  17. #17
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    FWIW, I've never found a light that wouldn't change if I put my wheels right on a sensor line. The sensors are big metal detectors. I don't think a magnet should really affect them any more than any other piece of metal.
    I know that there are sensors that aren't calibrated properly and won't detect a bike, but most will if you line up properly.

    All you need is something conductive that's close to the ground as possible. That means your wheel rims. If you plant them right on top of a sensor loop, it should trigger.
    http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8i.2.html

    They just switched to camera-based systems in the town I ride through every day. They do not detect bicycles AT ALL. In fact, I'm pretty convinced that they're aligned so badly that they barely detect cars. I've waited at reds there for several minutes with no other traffic on the road, and it didn't change until someone else drove up behind me.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  18. #18
    RT
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    The Weird Beard RT's Avatar
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    Stay to the right, turn left into the crosswalk with the green light. Problem solved. As you said, you have plenty of time.

  19. #19
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    All i do is go through the red when the way is clear. Don't do it on major intersections though since there is usually lots of traffic and i rather just wait than risk it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Question..... does the ticket get recorded via your drivers license? Does this mean higher insurance rates? How does the cop deal with it if you do not have a drivers license on you? Also, if you do have a license on you, do you have to show it to him?

  21. #21
    Eternal n00b
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    He did ask if I had an Oregon license, which I do not. I told him I have a passport but he didn't check it, he just asked me for my name and DOB. I think the law is if an officer asks for ID then you must show it, though I could be wrong.
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  22. #22
    Eternal n00b
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    actually that reminds me, when I told him I didn't have a license he got pissed for some reason and asked my how I have a job but no license, I then repeated that I have a passport...

    I was think WTF! anybody can get an ID, you have to pass a background check for a passport, which is FEDERAL ID
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  23. #23
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keisatsu View Post
    He did ask if I had an Oregon license, which I do not. I told him I have a passport but he didn't check it, he just asked me for my name and DOB. I think the law is if an officer asks for ID then you must show it, though I could be wrong.
    Generally you must identify yourself if asked. You don't have to provide an actual ID... BUT (There's that word!) if the officer is not satisfied that you've given him a correct ID, then he can hold you until they CAN verify your ID!

    As far as whether a ticket affects your driving record... that varies depending on the ticket and the area you're in. Research your local laws!
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  24. #24
    Mmmmm potatoes idcruiserman's Avatar
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    Move to Idaho. You'll have to pump your own gas though.
    Idaho

  25. #25
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    I would either do what you did; or if I saw that it was a cop, I would use the crosswalk option to get across on the green light side- then cross the street down the road further.

    Maybe you just got a tired/irritable cop. Wrong place, wrong time.

    Sounds like you handled it well.

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