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Thread: Traffic Signals

  1. #1
    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    Traffic Signals

    Do you stop at all lights and stop signs? I know when my husband & I are on our singles we tend to not stop at all stops signs, but we do slow down enough to look for traffic and then proceed. We NEVER run a traffic light unless the street is a "T" where no traffic can cross in front of us. On the tandem he makes sure that he stops every time, he figures it's now two people he has to make sure stay safe and he doesn't want to take the risk of something happening.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Obey traffic laws. Bikes have all the rights, and responsibilities, as other vehicular traffic.
    Tucson has just started an awareness program and are citing pedestrians and cyclists for breaking the law . . . a $123+ fine will quickly make you 'aware!'

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  3. #3
    Greetings Earthlings! bcspain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litespeed
    Do you stop at all lights and stop signs? I know when my husband & I are on our singles we tend to not stop at all stops signs, but we do slow down enough to look for traffic and then proceed. We NEVER run a traffic light unless the street is a "T" where no traffic can cross in front of us. On the tandem he makes sure that he stops every time, he figures it's now two people he has to make sure stay safe and he doesn't want to take the risk of something happening.
    I don't know about anywhere else, but Arkansas law grants bike all the rights and privileges of a car, and requires the same responsibilities, with the exception of licensing. That means you have the full lane, and you have to follow traffic signals. I even know a rider that got a speeding ticket. Passed 4 cars in on a downhill on a 4 lane, and one of them was a police car. Cop paced him at 53 in a 40.

    Stop at the signals, if for no other reason, it might keep you from getting smushed.

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    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Obey traffic laws. Bikes have all the rights, and responsibilities, as other vehicular traffic.
    I have to agree with this one. My theory is that if you ride your bike properly and responsibly, people will react to you accordingly.

    In other words, if you ride your bike like a child on his toy, people will treat you like a child on a toy.

    Having said all that, I live in a rural area and don't stop at every stop sign when out in the boondocks.
    Dennis T

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    Obey ALL traffic laws. We cannot expect to have respect from automobile drivers if we flagrantly violate traffice law. That's what gets drivers enraged with cyclists. Please don 't do it.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Yeah, well... since an objective 3rd party observer following us around with the vehicle code would suggest otherwise I won't be so bold as to suggest that we obey the letter of all traffic laws... noting that most traffic laws are written by some of the least skilled drivers and clearly no one who rides a bicycle on public roads (at least based on my more recent interactions with representatives of GADOT). Moreover, many of the law enforcement officers are also clueless when it comes to the rules of the road as they apply to bicycles.

    So, with that said...

    I tend to obey the spirit of all traffic laws, adapted as necessary to suit the time of day, prevailing conditions, and other factors that my mind is capable of processing.

    For example, in rural situations where we have a clear view of all approaches to stop signs we first look to see if they are 2 or 4 way stops and if the coast is clear will often times slow but not stop before proceeding through the intersection. (Tandem content: Debbie never puts a foot down unless we are stopping and getting off the tandem)

    In more urban situations, unless it's 0-dark thirty, we'll probably come to a near complete stop (near trackstand) before moving on past the stop sign when there are no on-coming vehicles.

    Traffic lights... again, it depends. We don't blow-through red traffic lights (period). However, if we can't get the lights to cycle by sitting on the buried line sensor after a reasonable period of time and there is not any cross traffic we will proceed, taking into consideration the given time of day, etc...

    Bottom Line: I ride in what I consider to be a safe, responsible, predictable, and considerate manner and try my best not to peeve-off motorists in the process.

    However, despite our best efforts, even as a middle-aged couple happily riding our tandem as described we still draw the wrath of most teens and other intolerant motorists (probably their parents) when trying to enjoy our public roads. And, frankly, even if you obey the letter of every law on your bicycle a motorist who is intolerant and unaccepting of your presence on the road will be wholly unimpressed by your skills since, after all, you're basically an inconsiderate idiot riding your bike or tandem on "their roads" where you don't belong. And, at least in my lifetime, I don't see those attitudes changing and expect them to become more widespread.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-27-05 at 10:46 AM.

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    Boy you've started a HOT topic! I've responded to many posts on this subject on Craigslist "Cycling & Transit" forum. You hear all ends of the spectrum.
    While in college I used to blow red lights when no one was around. But a ticket for said malfeasance changed my ways!
    I am fully aware that bicyclists are beholden to all the driving rules and regs. But I've also worked with local transportation planners and know a little about stop signs. Most residential neighborhoods have four-way stops almost every other block. The intent of said signs is to slow traffic. These are simply a nuisance to cyclists. In fact, these stops are there to deter traffic from using residential streets to instead use arterial routes through the city. And these are the streets cyclists should be encouraged to use. Bicyclists should be given the opportunity to use stop signs as yield signs in such instances. Proceed with caution when safe to do so.
    Additionally, yield signs have been all but abandoned because, I assume, most drivers don't know how to approach the things. They make perfect sense to me. But I guess people driving well-insulated big cars and SUV's hurrying to their next destination didn't take Yield signs seriously. But for cyclists, they make perfect sense. Instead of having to stop every other block, a Yield sign would allow a cyclist to proceed with caution without having to change momentum. I treat Stop signs like Yield signs when riding in such areas. If no one is in an intersection (and I'm including pedestrians of course), I'll proceed with caution.
    Yes, some drivers may take offense. But to those drivers I point out the following. Ever notice when approaching a Stop sign that cars more often than not roll through them at about the same speed a casual cycling pace would roll through the same sign? I notice it all the time when I'm commuting by bike. So, if cars roll through stops at about the same speed, why worry about a cyclist doing the same? Yes, I understand the intent and rule of the law, but when 90+% of the cars out there aren't coming to a complete stop, why worry about cyclists rolling through stop signs? Really, let's be serious.
    And I add to those vehement about the issue that a cyclist has unhindered vision and hearing. When I roll up to a stop, I'm very aware of my surroundings. Today's cars are very well insulated, and with the stereo going, a drivers hearing is all but useless. And vision is good, but not 360 degrees like a cyclist's.
    And I further add that if I'm dumb enough to roll into oncoming cross traffic, I'm going to pay for it big-time. It would be pretty hard for a cyclist to kill anyone in a car in this situation. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that bicyclists can and do cause accidents that can injure motorists. It's just very rare and most cyclists have enough self-preservation instinct to avoid killing themselves.
    But I do see cyclists blow through intersections when they obviously should have yielded the right of way. They do make us all look bad. I was behind one while riding to work one day. A car was at a 4 way and was just about to proceed when the rider in front of me just rode through the stop. I caught up to him and read him the riot act. He gave me a dumb look. I reminded him that he represents all cyclists and his actions were giving us a bad name.
    But rolling through stop signs in deserted residential districts? Not worth worrying about!
    Let the flaming begin!
    PS Pedestrians have lots to say on the issue. Especially many who've been buzzed by messengers in SF. And they should be pissed. You messengers buzzing peds in crosswalks: knock it off! But to them I add that I've had many peds step in my path illegally. And when I raced at Berkeley, I had many teammates taken out by peds walking against red lights into their paths. And the irony was that in all cases I heard about, it was the cyclist who got hurt, not the ped. Just before impact, the ped would move in the last milisecond to avoid most of the impact. But in the process would catch the riders handlebars which causes a high-side fall. This hurts. Broken ribs and collarbones and lots of road rash. So, you peds out there need to heed the laws of common sense too - and don't rely only on your ears when you step off the curb!

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    I can only agree with NJWheelBuilder. If we are going to take the moral high ground with being 'green' and healthy and having the right to be on the road, then we must obey the road rules and laws. Otherwise we add fuel to motorists fires that we shouldn't be out there.

    Ian

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    K&M
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    When riding my bike my number one concern is my own safety and my number one concern when on the tandem is the safety of myself and my stoker. In the rural areas where we ride there are many places where coming to a complete stop can be LESS safe than rolling through. This is because cross traffic does not stop and lines of sight are limited. Pulling out into a road like this from a dead stop while trying to clip in is definitely less safe than simply rolling across at speed if the coast is clear. Also, when approaching four way stops in town it is extremely common for a driver already at the intersection (who clearly has the right of way) to generously wave us through. In these circumstances it would almost be rude to expect them to wait while we come to a complete stop. Instead, we wave back at them to thank them and roll right on through as quickly as possible. In other words we do not place rigid adherence to the vehicle code above our own safety or common courtesy.

    That being said, we do not attempt to go out of turn at four way stops without being invited and we obey red lights (as long as they turn green for us within one or two cycles). Again, we want to be safe and to get along as well as possible with others using the road.

    Bikes may have the same rights and responsibilities as cars, but that does not make them cars. If we operate our bikes in the same way we drive our cars, I think we will be less safe and irritate other users of the road even more.

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    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Iím with TandemGeek, coming to a complete stop in the middle of nowhere is unnecessary, though still breaking the letter of the law.

    True story from my Sunday ride: My buddy and I were approaching a T intersection with a stop sign and a pickup behind us. We both had our left hands out signaling our turn and our right hand on the brakes.

    As we ďrolledĒ through the intersection with NO cars in sight, the driver behind us yelled that we didnít stop. I turned to see this pickup slow, but not come to a complete stop as well. As she passed us and continued to criticize our law breaking, I pointed out that she was just as guilty as we were.

    Bottom line, sit at any of the rural stop signs I roll through and youíll see that the majority of cars donít stop either. There is definitely a double standard here.

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  11. #11
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Well, at least we're still alive and well, to talk about this issue!
    Been hit hard 3 times: twice by a pickup truck once by a car.
    Each time the drivers got the ticket, including one license revocation for 3 months for drunk driving.
    Traffic laws can work in your favor, so obeying them is helpful.

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  12. #12
    Greetings Earthlings! bcspain's Avatar
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    I'll agree that in rural settings, it may not be necessary to come to a complete stop at a sign, and I can't say that I always do it either. As you can see under my avatar, I live in a rural area. But I got a little lesson the other day on this very thing. As it happens, my wife and I were on our way home and decided to take the long way to check out a possible new route to ride on. Any way, I was coming up a dirt road when out of a side road 2 kids maybe 8 or 9 years old suddenly popped up in my path. Fortunately we were going pretty slow, and the kids were definitely suprised by our truck. They were obviously used to just blowing through that stop sign.

    My point...obey the traffic signals if for no other reason, you set a good example for the little ones.

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    I read some states let bicycle riders "roll" tru a stop sign.Makes sence.All trafic signals signs,roads, etc are designed for autos,you gotta think of your own safty first--rules second.A good example of what I'm talkin of---try and walk across a large bussy(mostly autos) intersecton using that "walk light"

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    Howdi

    I am part of cycling club called The Outriders in South Africa, http://www.theoutriders.co.za/ - we have organized social rides called Outrides (hence name) and traffic lights, stop streets etc are a pain. We do our very best to respect every road rule taking into consideration the safety of the group.

    We approach every intersection with extreme caution and once having assessed the safety of crossing, we do it as a whole bunch (our groups can be anything from 30 Ė 50 solo riders a time) and whilst doing this we wave, smile at any motorist waiting to cross and 99% of the time get a similar response from them.

    We believe that it can very unsafe for the whole group to unclip, mount the bike again, restart and that is not even considering the extra time it takes for all to clip in.

    Right or wrong? Who can tell but safety for our participants is priority nr 1

    Cheers,
    mdk and the 555 EXPRESS (Enthusiastic Xtreme Paired Riders Experiencing Simultaneous Speeds)

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