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Red light running tutorial video.

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Red light running tutorial video.

Old 07-27-08, 07:32 PM
  #26  
lightningcow
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Have you had any run-ins with the Po Po? The 5-0? The fuzz? I KNOW I could get away with it here for a long time without being hassled, but in a larger city with more cyclists, I dunno. I choose to obey traffic signals, etc. to set a better example for those who don't have a clue, but it is interesting to see your style of riding.
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Old 07-27-08, 08:21 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
One big problem I have with these techniques is this:

We should all be somewhat predictable on the road, cars and bikes alike, and when you do things like hitting the gaps in the cross traffic, it's just rude to everyone else going about their business.
+1

What's the author is doing is taking advantage of the predictability that the auto drivers are offering and using that. It works out fine for him because those drivers are being predictable. However, if they felt they could weave in their own lane they'd never be able to filter immediately next to oncoming traffic (at the end of the video). And if traffic wasn't predictable about coming within 15-20% of the speed limit (I presume these are 25 zones by the street layout) they wouldn't be able to run those lights: Traffic speed would be too hard to predict.

The problem that comes to mind with the authors reasoning: That bikes aren't cars and don't need to follow the same rules, therefore lights and lanes don't apply. The problem is that if you replaced all of the cars with bicycles he wouldn't be able to do this stuff, and we'd still need traffic lights and lanes (although the need for lanes would be reduced due to massively better visibility and mobility).

What's really happening is that he's in a different vehicle which fits into the extra space in the traffic system (it fits between cars and can cross intersections in traffic gaps). If that vehicle were the dominant vehicle all of those distances would change and the advantages would disappear. They're not advantages of the bicycle, they're advantages of the bicycle within a city packed with cars.

In the end it's his neck he's risking. I mostly hope he carefully watches for PEDESTRIANS while he's running those lights. If he gets hit it'll be his broken neck, but if he hits some old lady or kid on a crosswalk...
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Old 07-27-08, 11:51 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by lightningcow View Post
Have you had any run-ins with the Po Po?
Of course...they're in the way too!

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Old 07-28-08, 12:10 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
I mostly hope he carefully watches for PEDESTRIANS while he's running those lights.
Your entire post is pretty much right on. What I do works only because everyone else conforms.

As for peds, I am looking for peds more than cars usually because they are capable of using "my" spaces (legally and illegally) and appearing from darned near anywhere. Cars are slow and predictable for the most part, and they can only move where their wheels are pointed.

My closest near miss with a ped was a gal sprinting out from between two parked trucks in the middle of the block right into the "door zone" where I stupidly was cycling. She was trying to cross 4 lanes of traffic like "frogger" (I guess) and was so focused on the crossing vehicle traffic that she didn't think about bikes. That's quite common and why I stick to the double-yellow mostly. I did not hit her.

What I notice about motorists most - they don't even see me. Some here at BikeForums are worrying that I am alienating motorists. When a motorist runs over a cyclist they always say "I didn't see him/her." So if they are going to kill me because they can't see me, I might as well use that to my advantage. I am invisible - a ghost walking through walls unnoticed by all.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:40 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Your entire post is pretty much right on. What I do works only because everyone else conforms.
You ever encountered some other non-conformist cyclist? Someone deciding it was his right to ride on the wrong side of the road, while you were also doing whatever the hell you wanted? Traffic laws are not there so Joey can do whatever he likes whenever he wants to. They are there to ensure everyone conforms, knows what's happening, and can be predictable. Unpredictability is what leads to accidents.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:42 AM
  #31  
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Though its not red light running, I find it interesting to watch the antics of drivers caught in freeway traffic backups, particularly in the evening. There's always a good portion willing to take a chance of getting stuck and running across the grass divide between the freeway and the access road. Then, there are those who try a great escape by driving the shoulders, both by the inside divider and that of the outer lane.

The picture one quickly gets is of many drivers being willing to take whatever advantage they can to avoid traffic and traffic controls. If they thought they could get away with it, more would run traffic lights. Hell, in Houston, they do it anyway. We've red, yellow, green, and pink phases to our lights...not officially, but its best to wait an extra second after your light turns green at a lot of intersections.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:43 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
You ever encountered some other non-conformist cyclist? Someone deciding it was his right to ride on the wrong side of the road, while you were also doing whatever the hell you wanted?
If you watch any number of my videos it will astound you how many contraflow cyclists there are in my town. They usually hug the door zone tho, but not always. Another reason why I don't ride far right very much. But bikes are slim and I have never run into anyone because of their lapses. Unfortunately, those contra-flow guys and gals are going to get wacked by a car way before I ever will - partly because most don't pay attention while doing that dangerous thing and don't really understand the special dangers of contraflow. I am more sorry to think they will be hit than mad at them.

Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
Traffic laws are not there so Joey can do whatever he likes whenever he wants to. They are there to ensure everyone conforms, knows what's happening, and can be predictable.
Laws get changed all the time. I find that traffic laws as they pertain to bicycling in my town are mostly dangerous - mainly because lawmakers are lazy and don't understand bicycles in traffic.

Ever heard of an event called The Boston Tea Party? American colonists, let's call them traitors and lawbreakers - because that's what they were - got fed up with British taxation and laws thrust upon them without the ability to vote on any British laws that effected them greatly. It's called Taxation Without Representation, and it pretty much SUCKED. So they went out and threw some loads of tea off of British trade ships to get some attention. They got LOTS of attention, and after a long tale of insurgency and criminal behavior, changed the world forever (so far anyway). Those criminals we now call the first Americans and Patriots.

It's all in your point of view.

I think cycling laws suck in this country. They are mostly impractical and unthoughtful. Certainly uninsightful and sometimes in my opinion - criminal. So I'm throwing some boxes of tea overboard and recording it. Maybe I will be killed or tossed in jail. But I am not being properly represented by traffic laws that actually put me in danger much of the time (at least where I live).

Give me some insightful, proper, and practical cycling laws. Put motorist in jail when they kill a cyclist who is obeying the law. Crack down on drunk drivers and cellphone users. Give me a bicycle traffic light that gives me a five second head start over motorists (some are already in place even in the USA). Give me Cycling Liberty of give me Death.

Anyway...until some of that happens, I'll do whatever I have to.

Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
Unpredictability is what leads to accidents.
Incorrect sir. I drive a car sometimes too. Everything and everybody on the road is unpredictable. What PREVENTS accidents is FOCUS i.e., paying strict attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you. Unpredictability only causes accidents when you EXPECT predictability and act on that.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:30 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Unpredictability only causes accidents when you EXPECT predictability and act on that.
You've just illustrated part of the problem with your riding style.
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Old 07-28-08, 09:22 AM
  #34  
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This is akin to what I feel like yelling at my local T.V. "news" station after a teaser video; "Just because it's on video does not make it news!"

Very interesting stuff Joey, but you will get hit one day as long as you keep riding in that manner. Bravado will go out the window when your friends and loved ones have to go through emotional trauma after the accident and through your recovery period. You are putting yourself in the position of being a burden on someone else, and there's nothing "cool" about that...
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Old 07-28-08, 10:26 AM
  #35  
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Wow - your attitude, Joey, astounds me. Boiled down, it's, "I'm going to do what I want to do and those who don't like it can suck it. Cars suck and drivers are bad."

I'm not an innocent in any way - I've gotten a ticket for leaving a red light early (trying to avoid the rush); I've put in thousands of miles commuting on my bike (until I moved to within a mile of work. . .hurts the mileage! ) and hundreds of thousands of miles in "cages" (stupid word . . .cars/trucks/vans ). I've been run off the road, I've been hit, I've had people be rude to me.

But they're less than 1% - I see a higher percentage of poorly behaved bicycle riders on SART or other places than I do poorly behaved cars.

And they hurt us more by angering those with the power to hurt us.

It seems to me that we should be cleaning our own house, taking the log out of our own eyes before we start slamming cars with it.
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Old 07-28-08, 11:31 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Dude Abides View Post
This is akin to what I feel like yelling at my local T.V. "news" station after a teaser video; "Just because it's on video does not make it news!"

Very interesting stuff Joey, but you will get hit one day as long as you keep riding in that manner. Bravado will go out the window when your friends and loved ones have to go through emotional trauma after the accident and through your recovery period. You are putting yourself in the position of being a burden on someone else, and there's nothing "cool" about that...
Actually, skilled scofflaw messengers tend to be injured less...
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Old 07-28-08, 12:17 PM
  #37  
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Actually, skilled scofflaw messengers tend to be injured less...
Less does not mean never does it? My argument is still dead on.

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Old 07-28-08, 12:21 PM
  #38  
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No, but it's not correct to say that he will get hit eventually. Most cyclists of skilled scofflaw, or skilled law abiding, never ever get hit by a car. So your earlier statement is not really correct.
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Old 07-28-08, 12:50 PM
  #39  
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No one can predict the future with mathematical precision, that's a given. But saying that Joey will never encounter an injury do to his cycling style is about as likely as aliens from outer space visiting tomorrow; you won't find that to likely unless he changes his behavior. Once you experience time, these things will appear clearer .
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Old 07-28-08, 01:04 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Dude Abides View Post
No one can predict the future with mathematical precision, that's a given. But saying that Joey will never encounter an injury do to his cycling style is about as likely as aliens from outer space visiting tomorrow; you won't find that to likely unless he changes his behavior. Once you experience time, these things will appear clearer .
The only one who made a certain prediction was you.

You said: "you will get hit one day as long as you keep riding in that manner"

I never said he wouldn't get hit. Simply that you cannot say that he will with any certainty, and that most skilled cyclists don't get hit. I also never said that Joey will never encounter a cycling injury.

Nice try at re-framing the argument, though.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:30 PM
  #41  
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Glad to see that you're hanging on my posts

But the extreme likelihood that anyone who operates in that manner will get hit and we will not receive visits from outer space makes me confident not to believe that they are not empty risks, indeed averting such high risks is what every long term succesful human endeavor is based on.

Since only zeytoun and I seem to find this portion of the post interesting I'll end my say here so the People can take it wherever they wish.
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Old 07-28-08, 01:43 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Dude Abides View Post
Glad to see that you're hanging on my posts

But the extreme likelihood that anyone who operates in that manner will get hit and we will not receive visits from outer space makes me confident not to believe that they are not empty risks, indeed averting such high risks is what every long term succesful human endeavor is based on.

Since only zeytoun and I seem to find this portion of the post interesting I'll end my say here so the People can take it wherever they wish.
If, by "extreme likelihood", you mean about the same risks per mile as other cyclists, according to the data we have, then we agree.

On the other point, I'm agnostic.. although an apollo astronaut has a strong opinion...

Cheers
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Old 07-28-08, 04:59 PM
  #43  
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you have actual data on the amount of accidents involving scofflaws vs. law-abiding cyclists? In incidents per 1000 riders and in accidents per 1000 rider hours?

I'd LOVE to see it. . .
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Old 07-28-08, 06:03 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by socalboomer View Post
you have actual data on the amount of accidents involving scofflaws vs. law-abiding cyclists? In incidents per 1000 riders and in accidents per 1000 rider hours?

I'd LOVE to see it. . .
First of all, the evidence is inconclusive. It's hard, after all, to separate causation from correlation. (For example, while it is clear that cycling under the influence, at night without lights, on sidewalks or wrong way, or under the age of 16 increase your risk, those could be correlative factors (i.e. most drunk cyclists who die might also be dumb, inexperienced cyclists). )

Also, I don't know of any information with a break down of info you requested. There are simply not that many studies done in that level of detail.

1) Summary of a 1992 Insurance study
the accident rates for bike couriers in Montreal show that they are overrepresented in accident statistics for bicycle riders at large (six times more likely than other riders), but which can easily be explained by the distance the couriers cover and the amount of time they spend on the road. Couriers probably have no more of a propensity far accidents per kilometre travelled than other bicycle riders; the difference in mishap rates between the two groups might well be statistically insignificant.
2) Boston Bike messenger study
While the numbers look high in this, keep in mind that 34% of the injuries reported were solo accidents, and that only about half of them required medical attention. When you factor both of those in, you can say accurately that most (as in more than half of) bike messengers do not ever get seriously injured in a car accident.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:28 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
During my normal 17 mile commute I may commit 50 moving violations
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Old 07-28-08, 06:57 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Markok765 View Post
Last September my wife and I moved back into our remodeled "Katrina" house in New Orleans. My commute is now 4 miles (shortest) and 5 miles (safest). So the moving violations have declined.

New Orleans has installed automatic red-light running cameras here and there. I go through two of them on the way home, and if it is after dark I go through with my hands in the air (like I just won a "Tour de Whatever" race stage) as all the flash bulbs pop! Much fun.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:58 PM
  #47  
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Thank you for this informative video, Joey. Some people may try to put out your campfire but you are only trying to do what's best for ALL of us. Reform bicycle safety laws so they actually protect us instead of putting us in harm's way! I think your confidence is inspiring but the advanced tactics you demonstrate are probably not for everyone (especially the faint of heart).
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Old 07-28-08, 07:08 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Dude Abides View Post
...but you will get hit one day as long as you keep riding in that manner.
I can't argue, and I can tell you EXACTLY how it will happen. It's my "Achilles Heel" so to speak. I will be flying down some back street and swing out left "contraflow" to pass a single vehicle on a narrow two lane street with parking on both sides. Like most suburban hoods. A parked car facing me will lurch out of it's parking spot head-on into me OR someone parked facing traffic (illegally parked) will lurch out from the curb and nail me. That's my weak spot. You wanna kill me, now you know how. Death will come from a parked car leaving it's parking space entering my line at the worst possible time.

On the other hand....I started riding this way when I got my first road bike at 15 years of age. I'm now 50 and have never been touched. I have rear-ended a few cars in those early years, but no vehicle in all those years has had to slam on their brakes to avoid me. So even if I get smashed tomorrow, your statistics will lean way in favor of breaking certain laws at certain times to remain safer while cycling.

Footnote: I have been car free for 19 years and bike everywhere. Been from New Orleans to Maine and back. Been from New Orleans to Vancouver BC and from Vancouver to Mexico. Biked the entire length of the Rocky Mountains from Pueblo, Colorado to Banff, Alberta. I have been a full time bike commuter even when I had to own a motor vehicle and must have 50,000 commuting miles under my belt and God only knows how many touring miles.

I am very rarely rude on this board, so I hope you take this in the most respectful way possible: Take this opinion and CRAM IT.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 07-28-08 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:26 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by david7700 View Post
Thank you for this informative video, Joey. Some people may try to put out your campfire but you are only trying to do what's best for ALL of us. Reform bicycle safety laws so they actually protect us instead of putting us in harm's way! I think your confidence is inspiring but the advanced tactics you demonstrate are probably not for everyone (especially the faint of heart).
Thank you for getting the point and responding. Even for the faint of heart, there may be that one intersection that they DREAD on their way to work only because they are positioned legally but dangerously on the roadway. Or that nightmare left turn across three lanes of traffic at rush hour that may be shortcut a block early with a safe but illegal move and avoided altogether.

It is my hope that a few people find something they never though of before (due to legal brainwashing) and implement it to make their commute safer. Take what you need and leave the rest! I know there are pearls to be had. Not all will see it that way though, especially those who don't bike in The Grid.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:36 PM
  #50  
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Unlike some folks posting here, I have in fact lived and bike commuted in New Orleans. I also frequently cycle in NYC, which is much hairier than New Orleans by a long shot.

In fact, I rode my bike twice a day through many of the same areas as Joey (as well as narrow and car-infused areas like the French Quarter) -- pre-Katrina by the way, when the city was significantly more populated than it is now -- and rarely had the problems he listed in his blog.


Anyway, here's the New Orleans bike laws. Basically: obey traffic controls, use lights at night, stay to the right, stay off the sidewalks in the CBD, i.e. the usual. I don't see anything different about these laws than anywhere else, let alone anything actually wrong with them.

However, it does seem quite clear that there are many things wrong with disregarding traffic controls, especially on a routine basis. The most comprehensive survey of urban cycling crashes and fatalities (done over several years in NYC) clearly indicated that in NYC, the overwhelming majority of cyclist fatalities occurred at intersections (89%); almost no fatal accidents occurred mid-block, no matter how much sensational press those types of incidents happen to get. Also, the single largest factor causing a crash when the cyclist was at fault was disregarding traffic controls (38%). Other unpredictable behaviors add up as well: failure to yield right of way (9%), wrong-way cycling (8%), emerging behind parked cars (6%), unsafe lane changes (6%). While NYC and NO are not identical, I doubt they are all that different in terms of these kinds of issues -- and last I checked, factual evidence trumps anecdotes any day.

As to the idea that unpredictability is unrelated to safety, I'm afraid to say that's bunk. If a car signals a right turn, it is now predictable and I will know how to position my bike to stay safe. If a car turns without signaling, I will not know where it's going and can easily end up in the wrong spot; no amount of "focus" will allow me to read the driver's mind. Similarly, if my bicycle is in a place that no car has any reason to expect it -- e.g. the middle of an intersection when the car has the light -- the driver may not have enough time to react and stop their car. (Especially if they're on their cell phone, fiddling with the radio and so forth.)

Or, if I am driving a car on the highway, highly unpredictable behavior -- e.g. weaving through traffic, changing lanes without signaling, passing on the right and so forth -- will all increase the risk of an accident. This is basic vehicle safety, folks. This certainly does not change if you are cruising through the CBD at 20mph on a bike.

As to changing the laws.... What needs to change? Plenty of us cyclists are quite capable of avoiding right hooks, car doors and right crosses without jumping into the middle of an intersection against the light.

More to the point, there is nothing about the existing laws that actually makes cycling "unsafe." In fact, while there is definitely room for improvement, as best I can tell cycling in general is quite safe in the first place, even in urban areas. There is nothing about waiting for a light that actually makes cycling unsafe -- unless you engage in unsafe behaviors like passing on the right, or stopping in a car's blind spot, or don't signal turns, and so forth.

What can I say. I guess some of us actually know how to ride our bikes properly.
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