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Do you obey traffic signals?

Old 08-21-17, 07:36 PM
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Do you obey traffic signals?

Or do you only stop at intersections if you perceive there's a reason to - i.e. traffic dictates it - and otherwise blow through red lights and stop signs?
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Old 08-21-17, 07:40 PM
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Sure, I obey them. I always slow down when the light is red.
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Old 08-21-17, 07:41 PM
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Sometimes.

****/M

That should cover it.
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Old 08-21-17, 07:43 PM
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mostly.
sometimes if I'm blocking somebody waiting for me to clear out so they can right-on-red, i'll go straight if it's clear.
i'm a fan of keeping traffic moving. i hate not moving. one of the reasons i bike!
but if it's 5:30AM and no cars in sight, I'm rolling on the red.
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Old 08-21-17, 07:44 PM
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When appropriate.

Fortunately, the county in which I do most of my riding has no traffic lights.
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Old 08-21-17, 07:49 PM
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Thread moved from General Cycling to Advocacy and Safety forum.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:01 PM
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I alway do unless I encounter a dead red, but the law where I live allows going through a dead red.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:04 PM
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I used to but the city has been "upgrading" the radar sensors and there are now dozens of intersections that will never change to green for cyclists. For ones I know will never change why bother waiting. When there is more traffic around its less of a problem since another vehicle can trigger the light for me.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:08 PM
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I do, mostly.
For the 2 main roads, always. For the mostly part, that's in the residential areas.

I also live in a place that allows cyclists and the like to proceed through a red light after a given time if safe to do so.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert P
Or do you only stop at intersections if you perceive there's a reason to - i.e. traffic dictates it - and otherwise blow through red lights and stop signs?
If this were a courtroom, I'd object that the question is improper.

There's a broad spectrum running from strict obedience and totally ignoring them. Plus among the ignore faction there's a spectrum running from a cautious approach to intersections, to a devil may care attitude.

I don't think I'm especially unusual, and will pay traffic signals and signs some heed, yet will break the rule in situations and ways that I consider safe. In many ways, I ride as if they didn't exist and we simply had to obey the rules that apply to unmarked intersections.

You might say that I treat every intersection, including those where I have the legal right of way (green light, or cross traffic having a stop) as if I had a yield sign. Slowing, observing, and proceeding if/when safe.

So, back to my objection. "Blowing through......" is pejorative, and an unfair term to apply to those who may proceed through a red with a reasonable degree of respect and caution. Ignoring this approach, and asking the question in a way that assumes that there are only the two extremes prevents a nuanced answer and subsequent discussion.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:21 PM
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Depends on the situation but if it is safe to do so I go through red lights and stop signs. Funny enough at the stop for pedestrian crosswalks I almost always come to a complete stop.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:51 PM
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I never stop at stop signs but I nearly always stop at lights.

I think it would be great for the biking community to work toward getting the 'Idaho Stop' as the State law in each state since it seems to reflect what most cyclists do. For those not familiar "The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but has not been adopted elsewhere." In the case of right-turn-on-red, it took an oil crisis to implement the law. Cyclists have much less power so moving forward will take an effort. But, it you have the ability to work on this effort, I for one think it would be a good change to the ordinances.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by debade
I think it would be great for the biking community to work toward getting the 'Idaho Stop' as the State law in each state since it seems to reflect what most cyclists do.
I agree that it this should be the law everywhere, but in most places law enforcement allows this regardless of the letter of the law. So it's hard to gather much interest in advocacy for change.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:09 PM
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Never understood why anyone wouldn't stop for a red light or sign. Some people seem to have a death wish. Those who run red lights or engage in other reckless behavior are future Darwin Award contenders. They get zero sympathy from me. They are a danger to themselves and everyone on the road.

Last edited by northernlights; 08-21-17 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert P
Or do you only stop at intersections if you perceive there's a reason to - i.e. traffic dictates it - and otherwise blow through red lights and stop signs?
Stops, the amount I'll slow down depends if it's a two or three/four way stops. For a two way stop, I'll stop to an almost dead stop since I often can't see enough to know if cars are near. On three/four way stops, if I'm already going slow (less than 15 km/h), I'll stop pedaling, look all around as I approach the intersection and up to the intersection, if no cars, I resume pedaling, otherwise I'll keep slowing down so they know I'm giving them the right of way (may be a go ahead gesture if they don't get the hint) then proceed if it's clear. If I'm going faster, I'll slow down to at least 15 km/h, cross the street as above then get back to my previous speed, often by raising from the saddle.

Red lights, I stop, no matter what. Stops are for non busy intersection, lights are for busier so I don't mess with them.

Btw, if it's a two way stops and I don't have the stop, if traffic allows it (ie, no traffic), I'll move to the center of the line so cars having the stop sign will see me better. Like cyclists, often drivers do not fully stops at stop signs so making myself visible where they look for traffics gives me a better chance at not getting hit.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:15 PM
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I mostly do obey them, most of the intersections on my daily ride I have no choice but to obey them. Crossing four or six lanes of high speed traffic would be rolling dice to run the light. But on a bike in general I feel no compulsion to obey traffic control that may be misguided for bicycles.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by northernlights
Never understood why anyone wouldn't stop for a red light or sign. Some people seem to have a death wish. Those who run red lights or engage in other reckless behavior are future Darwin Award contenders. They get zero sympathy from me. They are a danger to themselves and everyone on the road.
Agree. but don't think it is a death wish. I suspect it is the result of the self-marginalization of cycling. Perhaps people think of bikes in terms as sport or recreation, rather than as essential components of our surface transportation system. If you are just playing with a toy, rules don't apply. This marginalization may also attract people with a strong bias against authorities -- i.e, they do something because it is against the conventional norm. I don't claim any virtue for myself in following traffic laws -- I'm just using habit patterns that are highly uncomfortable for me to override. I have to force myself to do a right turn on red, whether in a car or on a bike.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:49 PM
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I always stop at red lights* but will slow and roll through stop signs if safe to do so. BTW...The Delaware legislature has just passed a new Delaware Safe Bicycle law which the governor will imminently sign which allows rolling through stop signs among other things.

I believe that stopping at reds gives the bike community credibility and more respect from motorists.

* I admit that when I'm in really rural areas with long flat sightlines, I'll stop and then proceed if no cars are in sight
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Old 08-21-17, 10:13 PM
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I'll generally stop at red lights unless no one is around. Like most drivers I'll roll stop signs without coming to a complete stop. The speed I slow to depends on the traffic. Today I came to a 4-way stop at the same time as a car on my right, I slowed enough to wave her through but didn't stop or unclip.
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Old 08-21-17, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by northernlights
Never understood why anyone wouldn't stop for a red light or sign. Some people seem to have a death wish. Those who run red lights or engage in other reckless behavior are future Darwin Award contenders. They get zero sympathy from me. They are a danger to themselves and everyone on the road.

Running red lights is way overrated as a way to end ones life. I've been trying since 1977 and for the life of me, I can't find anyone to oblige. But hope springs eternal, tomorrow is another day...
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Old 08-21-17, 11:48 PM
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Yes, if needed. Lots of times it's good to go, like on turns. But much of the roads where I live are busy 40mph roads.
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Old 08-22-17, 12:32 AM
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It's situational.

Stop signs:
  • School zones, I stop and track stand briefly, even if there's no other traffic. Just a good habit for when the school year rolls around.
  • During school hours I stop and put a foot down, especially if there are parents around. Parent drivers at school drop off and pickup are the worst drivers. And I want to show the crossing guards that cyclists aren't the problem.

Other stop signs:
  • If there's no other traffic in sight, I slow and roll through.
  • If a vehicle is approaching from directly ahead or to either side, and we will both/all arrive at the intersection at approximately the same time, I stop, set a foot down and make eye contact with drivers before proceeding. Too often they'll wave me ahead, then change their minds and rush into the intersection. So I'll put both feet down and wait until they go. If they hesitate I'll fiddle with my helmet, water bottle, etc., to make it clear I'm not moving until they do.
  • If I arrive at the intersection clearly before the other drivers, I stop and track stand briefly, then roll.
  • If the only other vehicle is directly behind me, I slow and roll through. Most of the times I've been struck on a bicycle or motorcycle were from behind at stop signs. They always say the same thing: "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see you!"

    Same thing again Sunday when a driver rolled through, barely missing me. She was very apologetic, between glances at her phone. But this was a problem long before ordinary cell phones, let alone smart phones. We're just invisible to some drivers.

    If the vehicle behind me doesn't slow down, I don't slow down either and just roll through. And I have on video instances of inattentive drivers blowing through stop signs as we both arrived, barely missing me. I don't need another reminder that this is has personally been the most dangerous scenario for me.

Traffic lights:
Usually I stop at red lights and wait like everyone else.
Based on experience with a particular intersection I might clear enough room in a right-turn-optional lane to wave drivers ahead if they're stacked up behind me. Depends on the intersection, lane width and neighborhood. Every neighborhood has a different personality and drivers behave or misbehave accordingly.

The only exceptions are bad neighborhoods, dangerous intersections and dead red lights.

On dead red in a safe area I'll wait for two complete signal cycles. If I still don't get a green I'll roll at the next safe opportunity. The main exit from one end of the MUP to the nearest public street is plagued with a dead red. Not sure why it's never been adjusted since so many cyclists use it.

In some areas traffic lights are adjacent to underpasses with transients, druggies and aggressive panhandlers and too many blind spots and hidey holes. I slow and roll ASAP.

In a few areas I'll detour around a signal, taking a well lighted parking lot to avoid a known trouble area -- a traffic light immediately adjacent to a liquor store or convenience store where troublemakers hang out. Those intersections are often littered with broken glass too.

Technically it's usually illegal to avoid signals by cutting through parking lots but I know the cops familiar with these areas would understand why cycles and pedestrians do so.

In decades of commuting and riding city streets following these basic situational practices I've been warned exactly once, by a San Diego cop in the 1970s. One particular light near the airport would never change for cyclists. My commute was before dawn, well before any vehicle traffic, so slowing and rolling never posed any hazard. Most police ignore stuff like this, but some don't.
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Old 08-22-17, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by northernlights
Never understood why anyone wouldn't stop for a red light or sign.
I have always understood it. It's basic laziness coupled with a superiority complex
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Old 08-22-17, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert P
Or do you only stop at intersections if you perceive there's a reason to - i.e. traffic dictates it - and otherwise blow through red lights and stop signs?
Without fail, except for the speed limit!
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Old 08-22-17, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert P
Or do you only stop at intersections if you perceive there's a reason to - i.e. traffic dictates it - and otherwise blow through red lights and stop signs?
Most of the time I will obey traffic signs / signals, but sometimes it really depends on the situation. For example, if I'm up early and out doing a 3am ride and come to a red light and there's no traffic present, I'll slow down but then continue riding thru the intersection.




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