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Old 07-17-08, 01:18 PM   #1
bhop
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LA riders.. santa monica / wilshire intersection

Is anybody familiar with this intersection? Going West, It scares the crap outta me. It's got 4 lanes, two that go straight (on the left), then next to that is a lane that goes straight or turns right, then a right turn only lane. The problem with it is that the right arrows turn first, while the straight lights stay red. If you're in that 2nd lane and you're turning right, you can go, but if you're going straight, you have to wait for the straight green light, which would hold up right turners behind you. (does that make sense?) In a car, this wouldn't bother me, but on my bike it's scary. I've seen people stuck behind those cars, while waiting for the straight green light, get visibly pissed off. I hope my post wasn't too confusing..

What would be the best thing to do in this situation? Currently I gave in to my fear and go around the block just to avoid this intersection.

(on the map, i'd be coming from the top right corner towards the left)
google map
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Old 07-17-08, 01:23 PM   #2
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Sidewalk time?

I'd go on the sidewalk if there was one.
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Old 07-17-08, 01:34 PM   #3
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I'd go on the sidewalk if there was one.
Yeah.. there's not one there.
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Old 07-17-08, 01:45 PM   #4
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That intersection kind of sucks.

I would roll up to the light and then pull in front of the straight/turn lane (lane #3) far enough into the crosswalk to allow cars to turn right behind you.

That way, you're not holding up right hand turning traffic, and once the light turns green, you can cross the intersection and stay right.
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Old 07-17-08, 03:34 PM   #5
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What would be the best thing to do in this situation? Currently I gave in to my fear and go around the block just to avoid this intersection.
It's not fear, it's the rational thing to do...
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Old 07-17-08, 06:43 PM   #6
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that's a terrible intersection.

if you choose to travel one block north of SMB you can cross Wilshire at Robinson's/May and go through the parking lot, behind the Hilton and back out to SMB
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Old 07-17-08, 06:50 PM   #7
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that's a terrible intersection.

if you choose to travel one block north of SMB you can cross Wilshire at Robinson's/May and go through the parking lot, behind the Hilton and back out to SMB
Maybe i'll give that a try next time and see how it goes.
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Old 07-17-08, 07:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sketch_austin View Post
That intersection kind of sucks.

I would roll up to the light and then pull in front of the straight/turn lane (lane #3) far enough into the crosswalk to allow cars to turn right behind you.

That way, you're not holding up right hand turning traffic, and once the light turns green, you can cross the intersection and stay right.
Do you mean the second lane from the right (the one that can go straight or turn right)?


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Originally Posted by AngeloOldSpokes View Post
that's a terrible intersection.

if you choose to travel one block north of SMB you can cross Wilshire at Robinson's/May and go through the parking lot, behind the Hilton and back out to SMB
That is a hairy one! IMO, both of these are good choices for that intersection. I assume your intention is to continue west on SMB.
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Old 07-17-08, 07:08 PM   #9
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That is a hairy one! IMO, both of these are good choices for that intersection. I assume your intention is to continue west on SMB.
Yep. I live in Los Feliz and work near Santa Monica, so I have to go through there either way. I have been crossing the street at Roxbury and riding on the sidewalk on little santa monica and getting back on big santa monica after the intersection of doom, but it just seems so out of the way. I guess a slight inconvenience is better than death/maiming. I'm still semi-new to the bike commuting game too, only been about 3-4 months now (2-3 times a week). I'm pretty comfortable in traffic now, but that one intersecion...
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Old 07-18-08, 11:34 AM   #10
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Do you mean the second lane from the right (the one that can go straight or turn right)?
Yes.



I think you can pull up far enough where the lane can turn right behind you if they need to.

Or if you're familiar with the light sequence, wait in the middle (between lanes 2 and 3), and get a rolling start as the light turns green and ride to the right across the intersection.
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Old 07-18-08, 11:45 AM   #11
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An employee of then Supergo was killed at that intersection 4 years ago. That is a dangerous corner, any time of the day.
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Old 07-18-08, 11:53 AM   #12
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No intersection is dangerous if you're riding where your supposed to be. You should be able to ride at speed anytime of the day at that crossing.
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Old 07-18-08, 12:17 PM   #13
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No intersection is dangerous if you're riding where your supposed to be. You should be able to ride at speed anytime of the day at that crossing.
In theory, yes.

In practice, that intersection IS quite dangerous. You have FOURTEEN lanes of traffic, intersecting at an unusual angle (it's inconvenient to turn your head more than 90 degrees...). The intersection itself is quite large and takes time to cross, and I dare say the spot in question may have the highest concentration of cell-phone using, SUV driving, red-light-running, not-quite-looking-out-for-anyone-but-themselves drivers anywhere in the world.
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Old 07-18-08, 02:49 PM   #14
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In theory, yes.

In practice, that intersection IS quite dangerous.
How dare you suggest that common sense takes precedent over our right to be on the road!

Truth is, there are some nasty places around here where I don't even feel safe in car.. That would be one of them.
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Old 07-20-08, 09:35 PM   #15
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Ive ridden this intersection almost every day for the past 2 years. If the light is green just ride in the left most right turn lane. If its red do the same till you get to the front of the traffic and pull in front of the right most straight lane so cars can turn right behind you. No sweat!
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Old 07-20-08, 10:47 PM   #16
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Yeah, I deal with the same intersection. I used to take Carmelita, then go through the private road at the hotel, but that private road has a lot of aggressive drivers looking for shortcuts.

Similar to the above...
I ride up to the light (cutting between the 2nd and 3rd lanes) and pay attention to the first car in that third lane. Make eye contact. If they've got their turn signal on, I move my bike to the left in front of the 2nd lane in the cross walk. But most of the time they're going straight. If they are I watch the green arrow of the Wilshire Blvd east bound traffic. When it turns yellow, I start riding out into the intersection to keep from tempting fate of the stream of cars in the third lane that want to go fast and cut back into the 2nd lane.

Christ on a *******, it's a pain.

I'm recovering from an accident going east bound on Little SM Blvd before the Peninsula Hotel. A guy turned right at the last second with no signal. Cut me off. That whole area blows.
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Old 07-21-08, 12:21 AM   #17
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I've been through there just about every weekday for the last 7 months...it sucks, and there's no real way around that.

The advice about watching the car in the third lane is basically what I do. If the front guy has his signal on, I make sure to leave him room when I head to the front. If it's about to go green (turn arrow or full ahead), I've even sat in line if I'm second or third and it's starting to move to make sure I'm not surprising the driver ahead by appearing as they jump.

To make it more fun, coming home everyday is a left at the same intersection from eastbound Wilshire to northbound Santa Monica and they've started closing one of the left turn lanes during rush hour so it goes 3 to 4 to three lanes making for some crazy traffic moves. For that one, I've found setting up in the left/straight lane and being a couple cars back almost always works, since I'm splitting to the lane 95% of the time and one of the first three cars usually goes left and stops the lane so I don't have to.
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