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Old 07-19-12, 05:06 PM   #1
jfowler85
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Being waived through an intersection.

My roadbike commuting ideology: ride in such a manner that your actions are obvious and expected to the motorists around you, while obeying traffic regulations (had to throw that last part in there because cops love to ticket cyclists around here).

You would think that this would garner no objection from the motorist in a crowded city such as the one I live in, yet it seems sometimes you just cannot win them all. If I roll up on a an traffic laden 4-way stop, especially if it's busy or big enough for a dividing median, I do three things:

1) Make a slow approach in a manner that makes my intention to stop obvious
2) Make eye contact with any drivers that are also approaching the intersection or already stopped at it
3) Go, and go only, when it is my turn. Stop first, go first.

The thing is, people love to waive me through. This really isn't a big deal, except people out here in lovely CA practice the arts of "the shoulder is my passing lane" and "rolling is the same as stopping." What this means for me is that, if I let the motorist (who at this point has the right-of-way but is waiving me through) yield to me, I run the risk of riding into a situation where the guy blowing past the person waiving me through does not see me coming, and rolls into me. Not good. So, I plant my foot on the ground and indicate to the person that they need to go. This really upsets some people though, sometimes to the point that they play the "I'm not going until you go" game, which complicates a busy intersection in a hurry...and confused motorists at a 4-way is not something you want to ride into. If everyone would just stick to the rules - first come, first go - then everything would be much easier.

Interestingly, the folks of Santa Barbara seem to exhibit a phenomenon that I term "stopping in a thru-way to let the bike pass." The only problem with this is that it happened when I was stopped at a stop sign, whereas the motorist had no stop sign.

Sometimes you wonder if, much like Schrodinger's cat, once you mount up to ride you set in course a universe in which drivers are more confused and less apt to just stick to the rules. Then again, I'm sure that I am unknowingly the confused patron to some poor frustrated fellow in a number of other circumstances throughout the day.
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Old 07-20-12, 01:29 AM   #2
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I know what you mean, and agree completely.

Oh, just because they wave you through doesn't mean they're not going to decide it was a bad decision and go afterall. Another one is those darn cars in driveways with the backup lights on. It seems impossible to out wait them, but you just know what's going to happen when you are squarely behind them
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Old 07-20-12, 05:02 AM   #3
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I agree with you completely. Predictability is the only thing that makes traffic safe at all. And the only way it can work is for all users to follow the same set of rules.

Around here, we have an extremely popular MUP that crosses lots of 2-lane suburban-type streets. The official rules of the MUP say that trail users are to yield to motorists or others on the cross streets. And still, most motorists will stop for trail users when they see them waiting to cross and wave them out onto the road. This confounds me, for a couple of reasons: first, there's no guarantee that a motorist coming from the opposite direction will also stop for you, and two, it teaches trail users to expect that motorists will yield for them. About the first time they take that for granted they get plastered. We've actually had a couple of deaths because of it.
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Old 07-20-12, 05:33 AM   #4
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I never take them up on it.

I emphatically demonstrate that I will not and they need to quit holding up traffic.
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Old 07-20-12, 07:43 AM   #5
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It is annoying when I've slowed down, lost all momentum, unclipped, and then someone tries to wave me through an intersection. I found that if I don't make eye contact at a four way stop they generally won't try to wave me on. I believe making eye contact is interpreted by the driver that you wish to take the right of way. I know they are just trying to be nice but I always feel traffic signals should always trump courtesy.
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Old 07-20-12, 07:45 AM   #6
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Random acts of kindness. I not only take them up on it but I smile and wave. Why chastise somebody who, after all, thinks they are doing you a favor?

I do look for other road users, however.
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Old 07-20-12, 08:10 AM   #7
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Random acts of kindness. I not only take them up on it but I smile and wave. Why chastise somebody who, after all, thinks they are doing you a favor?

I do look for other road users, however.
I never thought these types were doing anything else but trying to be nice. But just because someone thinks they are helping doesn't mean they are. I'd rather they treat me like any other road user and follow the laws and rules of the road instead of trying to be traffic cops. I do not want special treatment, I want to be treated equally.
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Old 07-20-12, 08:40 AM   #8
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Random acts of kindness. I not only take them up on it but I smile and wave. Why chastise somebody who, after all, thinks they are doing you a favor?
Often as not, they have a stack of traffic building up behind them as they try to give you the right of way that you don't have, angering other drivers who likely as not, blame it on the bicyclist.

Nope, I'm a stickler for observing the rules of right of way. I don't need Nanny Drivers going out of their way to treat me like a helpless toddler.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:11 AM   #9
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That danger of someone blowing past Mr Kind is very real.
In the UK we have Zebra pedestrian crossings. Every years, several people die as a result of being waved across In the UK, we don't have 4-way crossings with equal priority; every crossing has a clear priority direction.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:23 AM   #10
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He wasn't on a bike, but we have a close friend whose son was waved across a busy intersection as he was trying to cross on foot. Unfortunately, it was a 2 lane road. The vehicle that waved him across was a large van that completely blocked the view of the other lane. When he crossed into the second lane, he was hit by a truck. Miraculously, he survived, but was in a coma for weeks and had months of physical therapy. I will always wait until the rules of the road dictate it's my turn to go, not some well-meaning "good samaritan".
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Old 07-20-12, 12:54 PM   #11
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I may be unpopular for this viewpoint, but 90% of the time I just blow through stop signs. It seems to be expected that I do so, so rather than disappoint, I oblige. However, 100% of the time I try to be safe. If I'm not sure, I can't see, or I can tell the drivers aren't paying attention, I stop.

Edit: I should add that I never blow lights. I may jump them from time to time (if it's a dead red, or something), but I always come to a full and complete stop, even if turning right.
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Old 07-20-12, 01:58 PM   #12
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Often as not, they have a stack of traffic building up behind them as they try to give you the right of way that you don't have, angering other drivers who likely as not, blame it on the bicyclist.

Nope, I'm a stickler for observing the rules of right of way. I don't need Nanny Drivers going out of their way to treat me like a helpless toddler.
So if you're at a 4-way stop with your car and another driver waves at you to go ahead - what do you do?
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Old 07-20-12, 03:16 PM   #13
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Around here, we have an extremely popular MUP that crosses lots of 2-lane suburban-type streets. The official rules of the MUP say that trail users are to yield to motorists or others on the cross streets. And still, most motorists will stop for trail users when they see them waiting to cross and wave them out onto the road. This confounds me, for a couple of reasons: first, there's no guarantee that a motorist coming from the opposite direction will also stop for you, and two, it teaches trail users to expect that motorists will yield for them. About the first time they take that for granted they get plastered. We've actually had a couple of deaths because of it.
Witnessed an auto rear-ender last week in this exact scenario. An MUP crosses a local street. There are no stop signs for motorists, merely a stripped pavement and signage indicating an MUP, so no requirement for a car to stop. Some do and it drives my nuts, though I understand they are being polite if stupid.

So I'm riding on the local street, behind 2 cars, approaching the MUP (which I avoid riding on generally), as a cyclist on the MUP approaches and stops. As does the first car - suddenly. Following car plows into the rear of first car. I stop. 2nd driver gets out and immediately starts berating driver 1 as well as the cyclist.

No bodies hurt, I get the hell out of there, no way I'm going to be a witness.
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Old 07-20-12, 03:22 PM   #14
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I may be unpopular for this viewpoint, but 90% of the time I just blow through stop signs. It seems to be expected that I do so, so rather than disappoint, I oblige. However, 100% of the time I try to be safe. If I'm not sure, I can't see, or I can tell the drivers aren't paying attention, I stop.

Edit: I should add that I never blow lights. I may jump them from time to time (if it's a dead red, or something), but I always come to a full and complete stop, even if turning right.
You're honest as well. MOST cyclists blow stop signs, IMO. Myself included. I pretty much do exactly what you describe as to signs and lights.

I think that this is prevalent in urban areas with a lot of stop signs and lights and know that if I had to stop and wait at every light, as well as come to a complete stop at every sign, my 25 mile bike commute from Long Island to Brooklyn would take 2-1/2 hrs instead of 2.
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Old 07-20-12, 03:25 PM   #15
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You're honest as well. MOST cyclists blow stop signs, IMO. Myself included.
I do, too, but only when no other vehicles (including cyclists) are present, from any direction including behind me. Then I stop and wait my turn.
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Old 07-20-12, 03:30 PM   #16
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If there is one driver at the intersection with a 4 way stop one lane each way and they wave me through I go. If there is a driver on the other side I look to see if he is inclined the same way before I go. Even if I have my foot down I accept the wave through. I have never had someone wave me through when they don't have a stop sign.
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Old 07-21-12, 01:53 PM   #17
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The rule for 4 way stops is fairly universal. Whoever is going the fastest has the right-of-way.
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Old 07-22-12, 04:04 PM   #18
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So if you're at a 4-way stop with your car and another driver waves at you to go ahead - what do you do?
If they got there first, I wait until they go first. No sense re-enforcing bad habits in other drivers.
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Old 07-22-12, 04:13 PM   #19
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The side streets where I live have a ton of busy 4-way stop signs and this happens to me all the time. I will just shake my head to say "no thanks" and wave them through and wait my turn.
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Old 07-22-12, 04:20 PM   #20
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Witnessed an auto rear-ender last week in this exact scenario. An MUP crosses a local street. There are no stop signs for motorists, merely a stripped pavement and signage indicating an MUP, so no requirement for a car to stop. Some do and it drives my nuts, though I understand they are being polite if stupid.

So I'm riding on the local street, behind 2 cars, approaching the MUP (which I avoid riding on generally), as a cyclist on the MUP approaches and stops. As does the first car - suddenly. Following car plows into the rear of first car. I stop. 2nd driver gets out and immediately starts berating driver 1 as well as the cyclist.

No bodies hurt, I get the hell out of there, no way I'm going to be a witness.
In NYS, a vehicle MUST yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. So while there is no need to yield to a cyclist in a crosswalk, no motorist should be taken by surprise by the vehicle he is following stopping to yield the ROW at a crosswalk. As a matter of course, I often yield to pedestrians, cyclists, roller bladers and dogs in the rail trail crosswalk.
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Old 07-25-12, 01:32 PM   #21
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But just because someone thinks they are helping doesn't mean they are. I'd rather they treat me like any other road user and follow the laws and rules of the road instead of trying to be traffic cops.
Right on the money. When there are multiple vehicles involved in the scenario, the safest way to navigate the intersection is when everyone follows the same set of rules. Things can get uglier than a Shakespeare fishing rod when even one person out of the bunch has his or her own agenda - ie, if there are three people at the intersection, and one of them starts waiving people through, the other two motorists have to react to the one waiver, which means that there are now three people on their own agenda in live traffic, instead of just one.
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Old 07-25-12, 01:38 PM   #22
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The entire practice of waving anyone through, whether car, bike, or ped, really just increases confusion and danger for all involved. The scheme works best if everyone does what they are supposed to when they are supposed to do it. Changing the order of priority 'to be nice' is really a poor idea. The problem is compounded by the fact in places like Florida, between the bright sun and the usually tinted windows, you often can't see that a person is waving. So they're not moving and you're left guessing.
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Old 07-26-12, 06:40 AM   #23
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In NYS, a vehicle MUST yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. So while there is no need to yield to a cyclist in a crosswalk, no motorist should be taken by surprise by the vehicle he is following stopping to yield the ROW at a crosswalk. As a matter of course, I often yield to pedestrians, cyclists, roller bladers and dogs in the rail trail crosswalk.
I never assume that a driver is going to yield here because a majority DON'T yield. I used to go for walks during lunchbreak in downtown Rochester and would regularly have to dodge cars that turned right in front of me and didn't yield in crosswalks. Most pedestrians hover at the beginning of a crosswalk and wait because they know that most cars won't stop for them. And don't get me started on people using their cell phones while driving!
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Old 07-26-12, 07:19 AM   #24
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I'm stopped at a crosswalk on a rail trail yesterday. The trail riders have stop signs, the motorists do not. Some nitwit women coming from my left stops and waves me across. The lane of traffic coming from my right has a long line of cars and nobody in that lane is stopping. I wave the women on, but she insists, even though I have no where to go.

I convinced, after years of driving and observing, that a lot of drivers get in a car and it's as if they are in a cuddly cocoon, they relax, turn their brains to OFF and drive on blissfully unaware of anything going on around them.
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Old 07-26-12, 08:00 AM   #25
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I never assume that a driver is going to yield here because a majority DON'T yield. I used to go for walks during lunchbreak in downtown Rochester and would regularly have to dodge cars that turned right in front of me and didn't yield in crosswalks. Most pedestrians hover at the beginning of a crosswalk and wait because they know that most cars won't stop for them. And don't get me started on people using their cell phones while driving!
Oh yeah. I'm just saying that anyone who rearends someone who IS yielding the ROW in a crosswalk, wasn't even paying the bare minimum of attention.
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