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Should cyclists run red lights?

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Should cyclists run red lights?

Old 10-25-07, 02:38 PM
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m00n
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Should cyclists run red lights?

Interesting from WSJ. Just passing it along.

http://blogs.wsj.com/informedreader/...un-red-lights/
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Old 10-25-07, 02:42 PM
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I run 'em if it's a long light and there's a bike lane. If no bike lane I line up in the queue with the cars and wait.

Then again, if a cop busted me for running the light I would figger I got what was coming to me
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Old 10-25-07, 03:29 PM
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I run them only if I feel comfortable doing so and the light is ridiculous like a 1 minute light on some Podunk side street. Most of the time I wait it out.

Last edited by BikingGrad80; 10-25-07 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 10-25-07, 03:56 PM
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I run red lights. I split lanes, too, but it's all about keeping myself out of traffic when it starts moving again. If it's risky or questionable, I wait it out.

I would advocate traffic signals that send bikes through before cars.
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Old 10-25-07, 04:07 PM
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I dislike red light runners. I usually catch up to them and have to pass them again. (and there's already not enough room with parked cars and streetcar tracks for the majority of my trips.)

I actually saw a pair of OCP guys chatting, riding pretty damn slow (under 25km/h) running red lights. One guy nearly gets nailed because he was running the red light. He still did even after the close call.
I caught up to them way too often.
Obviously my stance on this is: If you're going to run them, at least make sure you're not going to get passed immediately after you do it because you just look like an ass to everyone around you.
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Old 10-25-07, 04:10 PM
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For me, it really depends.

I never blow right through red lights or stop signs, but I don't sit there if I don't see anyone coming for a while. Put me and a typical DC pedestrian at the same intersection, and we'll probably both choose to proceed at the same time.

The fourth comment on that WSJ page mentions Idaho and its recently-applied rule for bikes, saying that cyclists should treat stop signs as if they were yield signs, and stoplights as stop signs (of course, meaning the legal actions that people should use for "yield" and "stop"). The comment poster linked to this article:
http://bikehugger.com/2007/05/thats_...g_to_idaho.htm
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Old 10-25-07, 04:31 PM
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I wait out most of them, but there are some times when it just makes no sense, or when it's plainly safer to scoot through. I feel silly, for instance, waiting at the light for a "T" intersection that has no road on the right. There are also those times when there is no cross-traffic in sight for a half mile, no traffic right around you, but a platoon of traffic coming from the opposite direction that will ensure that you can't make a turn when the light goes green. If the objective is not getting hurt, I'll take the action that favors that outcome. But I don't often run lights just for the sake of convenience. That's not worth the effect it has on motorists who see it.
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Old 10-25-07, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
I dislike red light runners. I usually catch up to them and have to pass them again. (and there's already not enough room with parked cars and streetcar tracks for the majority of my trips.)

I actually saw a pair of OCP guys chatting, riding pretty damn slow (under 25km/h) running red lights. One guy nearly gets nailed because he was running the red light. He still did even after the close call.
I caught up to them way too often.
Obviously my stance on this is: If you're going to run them, at least make sure you're not going to get passed immediately after you do it because you just look like an ass to everyone around you.
If you have to pass a red light runner repeatedly, doesn't that mean the bike rider is making as good time on average as the motorists?

I know that's a major reason I run red lights...
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Old 10-25-07, 04:53 PM
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I run them, T-intersections and minor intersections, if there is no traffic. I don't do it on major intersections.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:01 PM
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Old 10-25-07, 05:22 PM
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I don't run lights but I will run the same stop signs on my bike that I do in my car (which is to say, the ones that should be yield signs but for some idiotic reason are stop signs instead). I feel that the the time and sanity saved in doing so offsets the risk of getting a ticket. If I get a ticket for it, I consider it the tax I pay for not dealing with the stop sign.

I do NOT run stop signs where there is a chance of pedestrians being put at risk or those at major intersections. I do occasionally take advantage of my ability to use either the sidewalk or street to bypass certain lights that are risky to deal with on a bike.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:26 PM
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I obey the laws.. it just seems like a lot of animosity exist towards riders because cyclist often break traffic laws..
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Old 10-25-07, 05:28 PM
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I do not run red lights unless there is no way to trip the light and there is no traffic.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:37 PM
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I like to be predictable. I always stop unless no cars are around to trip the sensors for the lights.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SDRider View Post
I do not run red lights unless there is no way to trip the light and there is no traffic.
Same for me. Had this happen today too, so I had to run the light, I wasn't going to wait for a car to come up and trip the light. But this is the only time I run them.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by momod View Post
I obey the laws.. it just seems like a lot of animosity exist towards riders because cyclist often break traffic laws..
+1

I am traffic, and I obey traffic laws. Also, I try to be on the drivers' good side; in a bike vs. car situation, the car wins more times than not.

http://www.biketrans.com/info.html --> That's what every city needs.
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Old 10-25-07, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
WSJ page mentions Idaho and its recently-applied rule for bikes, saying that cyclists should treat stop signs as if they were yield signs, and stoplights as stop signs
Yep. And I do.
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Old 10-25-07, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SDRider View Post
I do not run red lights unless there is no way to trip the light and there is no traffic.
Likewise. I don't see why we cyclists have any more right to be impatient than if we were driving cars.
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Old 10-25-07, 06:31 PM
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I have yet to find a reason to run a red light locally, since all of our light sensors and ped buttons, that I have personally used, are in good working order. Winter is my favorite time, it's when I bring out my heavily ladened commuter, which trips the light sensors easier than my summer lightweight.
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Old 10-25-07, 07:04 PM
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I treat them like yield signs.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:35 PM
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"No I don't. I like being alive too much."
Being alive is over-rated. Most people who've tried it quit after a while.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:43 PM
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Seldom. At minor intersections when I am quite certain they are clear, and after stopping. Never on an arterial.

I find that it's usually easier just to time the lights, because it involves less work.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:44 PM
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One more vote for always, except for a long light not sensing I'm there and it's safe to go. Trying to make up for the animosity caused by other cyclists who blatantly run them.
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Old 10-25-07, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnBrooking View Post
One more vote for always, except for a long light not sensing I'm there and it's safe to go. Trying to make up for the animosity caused by other cyclists who blatantly run them.
+1

If a light cycles three times, and never gives me a green, I'm gone.
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Old 10-25-07, 09:14 PM
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The way i see it all these traffic controls are not designed for bicyclists. Most cars take the interstate or other major highways with fewer controls. Bicyclists can't really do that and prefer quiet residential/secondary streets with huge excesses of stop signs/lights. Such routes were not designed for efficient long distance travel. Therefore cyclists have the necessity to adapt and decide how best to manage them.
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