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How do you Run Red Lights and Stop Signs??

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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.
View Poll Results: When do you blow Red Lights and Stop Signs?
When no other traffic is present
46.40%
When I can do so without affecting traffic flow
29.60%
Whenever I can, as long as I don't get hit
2.40%
Never - I obey the rules of the road
28.80%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 125. You may not vote on this poll

How do you Run Red Lights and Stop Signs??

Old 12-07-12, 09:23 AM
  #26  
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I#'m still not sure why it's more dangerous to stop at red than not.

I grw up stopping on red and when I returned to cycling at 42, I saw no reason to change. In 23 years of bike commuting and leisure riding I ignored red on 2 occasions (in the early hours of the morning) when this particular set didn't change. I reported it to my highways dept. and they adjusted the sensor sensitivity. Oh, and I rode thro' one set thro' sheer inattention late one evening and another when I misread which sign applied to me.

On all those signalled junctions I was left hooked (UK) 3 times, tho' without danger to me because I was always looking out for the possibility and positioned myself accordingly and braked in time. So the question is, why does right hooking seem to happen so much more often in the US? If it does happen more often, then I can see why people might prefer to go thro' on red On the other hand, I've seen exactly the same argument put forward on BikeRadar in the UK and find it wanting, since, if the argument was valid, I would have experienced left hooks far more often.

It seems to me that if you apply the same powers of observation to observing the red lights that you would naturally do when ignoring them, the degree of risk of being hooked, or otherwise endangered, would be pretty much the same, i.e. minimal. I applied the same rule when riding in Toronto on several holidays and found it worked perfectly well, altho' I accept that the timeline for this individual sample is very short and probably statisically invalid.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:41 AM
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I always stop, whether I see traffic or not.

It's not the car that you see that's going to nail you, it's the car you don't see.

Obeying the rules of the road gives you a chance to correct for your mistakes.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:44 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Chris516
I never run red lights, and only proceed through a stop sign, when no other vehicles are present.
+1 and re: stop signs only when there really are no other cars present (long sight line in cross street etc.) I do slow down anyway. "Hollywood" stop.
Truth be told pretty much how I drive a car.

With the kids I follow the ROTR exactly- gotta set a good example.

Last edited by delcrossv; 12-07-12 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:00 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by atbman
I#'m still not sure why it's more dangerous to stop at red than not.
how about this?
While waiting behind two cars at a red light on SE 60th at Division, a Portland man — with his four year-old son in a trailer behind him — was rear-ended by someone driving a car.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero

You should not be concerned about peoples perceptions of you. Your behaviors shouldn’t dictate how these motorized vehicles react to you. One single individual is not representative of any one group.

KonAaron Snake said it best in another thread, post #18 and post #21
I think I understand your point of view on this, but I don't agree with it entirely. I would argue that it is reasonable to avoid engaging in illegal behavior that offends others out of a concern as to how such behavior reflects on the group that you are associated with.

You say, "Your behaviors shouldn’t dictate how these motorized vehicles react to you". I would argue that whether they should or should not react to my behavior is irrelevant, if in reality they do. Similarly, I would argue that whether I should or should not be associated with a group is irrelevant, if in reality I am.

In other words, I care more about how things are versus how they should be. I'm all for fierce individualism, but I do feel my behavior does potentially affect how others respond to myself and the groups they associate me with. And why wouldn't I want those responses to be positive?
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Old 12-07-12, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
If the car hit him hard enough to crush the trailer and propel the cyclist onto the hood of the car, that car was going to hit the car in front of him if the bike wasn't there.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I'm hardly a dudley do-right, but I have seen some shocking behavior by cyclists along these lines here on campus. Granted, everyone drives like a moron on campus, it's amazing we don't have more serious injuries given the number of pedestrians and scofflaw motorists.
I suspect that the reason for relatively low serious injury numbers is that no matter how moronic the cyclists and motorists appear to be to the bystander, the driver/cyclist more than likely did take at least some degree of notice of opposing traffic before performing the "shocking behavior."
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Old 12-07-12, 10:21 AM
  #33  
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Traffic lights are there to control the flow of traffic. It's annoying to be sat waiting at one when no traffic is coming from the other direction. But that doesn't allow you to go through it, just as it wouldn't if you were sat at the light in a car.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by atbman
I#'m still not sure why it's more dangerous to stop at red than not.
I don't think most people run red lights because they think it is somehow safer to do so. I mean, you can concoct scenarios and cite anecdotes to support any position. We run red lights because it is convenient. Tortured rationalization to support selfish behavior is just that.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:33 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Monster Pete
Traffic lights are there to control the flow of traffic. It's annoying to be sat waiting at one when no traffic is coming from the other direction. But that doesn't allow you to go through it, just as it wouldn't if you were sat at the light in a car.
There are still many traffic lights with sensors that don't pick up bikes (20 year ago, I had this problem with motorcycles, don't know if it's still the case).

Personally, I don't have an issue with cars not coming to a complete stop at stop signs. I have an issuewith cars not yielding when they should yield (regardless of whether I'm on a bike or in a car). Luckily, I don't see this as much as I used to.

There's one other point just to confuse things:

It's often the case that I arrive at the stop sign first on a bike (and I generally find that cars are pretty good about giving me the right of way here when this happens). The law says I'm supposed to come to a complete stop and then go. If I do this, then it takes me a fair bit longer to get out of the way of the cars than if I were to keep going.

The argument is made that bicyclists should follow all of the rules of the road for respect. I'm not arguing against that, but I am pointing out that sometimes breaking the letter but keeping the spirit will help traffic flow better and this does affect cars opinions of us.

(Goes back to hiding under rock).
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Old 12-07-12, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
A car driver doing 70 in a 65 is illegal but not obnoxiously "in your face". Same with a cyclist who "almost" stops at a stop sign.

But the common practice of cyclists cruising through a red light (or making a right at a light, going 50 meters up the street, then making a U-turn and another right to avoid the hassle of stopping) are perfect example of the ******y "I'm better than the rest of you" nonsense that earns cyclists such a lousy reputation. And justifying such behavior by pointing at the motorist doing 70 in a 65 is simply stupid.

Bottom line: if you want to be accepted as a fellow road user, you need to avoid flagrant law-breaking. That this even needs to be spoken out loud should be cause for despair.
I think we agree in spirit; however, the practice you cite is not common, it's occasional, at least around here. Regarding avoiding law-breaking, I agree that "flagrant" is the operative modifier.

And discussing this is no cause for despair. Syrians have cause for despair. We're just a bunch of spoiled, effete, bike-riding foot-stomping adult children who don't appreciate how great our circumstances really are.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:50 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by spivonious
If the car hit him hard enough to crush the trailer and propel the cyclist onto the hood of the car, that car was going to hit the car in front of him if the bike wasn't there.
It didn't hit the car in front, so that belies your assertion. There are lots of drivers that are driving right at the edge. It used to drive me nuts that my wife would accelerate when the car in front of her had their brake lights on, but she has only rear-ended one car and that was on ice. She is hardly alone in this bad habit.
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Old 12-07-12, 11:10 AM
  #38  
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I always stop at red lights. If it appears there is not enough traffic in the same direction as I'm going to change the light, I will wait at least a full minute or so (I don't use a stopwatch). The only intersection this happens to me regularly on my commute is too busy to cross on a red, so I have to go push the button at the x-walk to get the light to change.

I roll through stop signs, but I'm always very slow (~3 mph) and usually unclipped, so I can stop in about 3 feet or so. If they are blind, I always stop completely, which is also pretty common around here.

More or less the same rules apply when I'm in a motorized vehicle, except I stop behind the line in my car or motorcycle in case there's a bicycle coming at stop signs. There are some lights around here that I can't even get to change with my motorcycle, and I have to either run the red, or go push the button and get it to change (too much traffic to run, even on a bike that goes 0-100 mph in about 6 secs).
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Old 12-07-12, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
I think I understand your point of view on this, but I don't agree with it entirely. I would argue that it is reasonable to avoid engaging in illegal behavior that offends others out of a concern as to how such behavior reflects on the group that you are associated with.
This is a logical fallacy. It is the equivalent of the one black guy in the room being representative of all black people. Other peoples feelings or opinions about me (my movements on the road, the shirt I’m wearing, the language I speak, my interracial marriage, etc) are irrelevant to me; and these inner feelings can’t be changed. You can’t please everybody all of the time.

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
You say, "Your behaviors shouldn’t dictate how these motorized vehicles react to you". I would argue that whether they should or should not react to my behavior is irrelevant, if in reality they do.
Drivers waiting behind me at the red light can dislike me all they want after I go through it. They can even swear to themselves: what an a*****! He is soooo rude.

However, they do not have the right to:

Intimidate me by speeding up very quickly, close to my lane of travel, or swerving into the bike lane to ‘teach me a lesson’ or verbally abuse. me.

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
Similarly, I would argue that whether I should or should not be associated with a group is irrelevant, if in reality I am.
What group are you associated with?

Presumably you are an individual with x amount of years of life and x amount of interests and desires and also belong to many different groups. If you run a red light and the driver thinks negatively of you, and by your argument “the group”, which group is the driver referring to?

Because you’re black?
Because you’re a woman?
Because you were wearing a yellow shirt and not their favorite color? Or wearing religious clothing of some sort?
Because you are dressed like a hipster and not a roadie clad in spandex?
Because you were wearing all black at night with no lights?

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
In other words, I care more about how things are versus how they should be. I'm all for fierce individualism, but I do feel my behavior does potentially affect how others respond to myself and the groups they associate me with. And why wouldn't I want those responses to be positive?
You will never begin to control other peoples perceptions of you. You will please some people when you try, and anger others. In this specific context, of running stop signs/red lights, there are some drivers who do become angry when cyclists actually follow the letter of the law. Drivers become angry that it takes longer for a cyclist to clear the intersection from a complete stop, for example. Cplager makes a good point here:

Originally Posted by cplager

It's often the case that I arrive at the stop sign first on a bike (and I generally find that cars are pretty good about giving me the right of way here when this happens). The law says I'm supposed to come to a complete stop and then go. If I do this, then it takes me a fair bit longer to get out of the way of the cars than if I were to keep going. The argument is made that bicyclists should follow all of the rules of the road for respect. I'm not arguing against that, but I am pointing out that sometimes breaking the letter but keeping the spirit will help traffic flow better and this does affect cars opinions of us. (Goes back to hiding under rock).
And KonAaron Snake in another thread, post #18and post #21.

Last edited by agent pombero; 12-07-12 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:10 PM
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FWIW, my answer is not an option in the Poll.

I will always stop at a red light. If no other traffic is present, and the light is not changing, I will ride through.
I always slow to a speed where it would be easy for me to stop at a stop sign if there is any other traffic visible, and if there is traffic, then I will stop, but if there is no other traffic, I will roll through.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald
FWIW, my answer is not an option in the Poll.

I will always stop at a red light. If no other traffic is present, and the light is not changing, I will ride through.
I always slow to a speed where it would be easy for me to stop at a stop sign if there is any other traffic visible, and if there is traffic, then I will stop, but if there is no other traffic, I will roll through.
Sounds a lot like the option I suggested: I always follow the rules regarding traffic signals; except when I don't.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Sounds a lot like the option I suggested: I always follow the rules regarding traffic signals; except when I don't.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:50 PM
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How many of these threads do we really need? Nobody ever changes their mind.
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Old 12-07-12, 12:58 PM
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First of all, there is a big difference between 2-way and 4-way stops. The latter are far more likely to be blown thru faster
(after looking), as in my case. There is no denying that full stops take way longer to cross. Cars not taking their turn are always a problem for cyclists. My motto is I stop for MOVING things at stop signs. Even in the car I very seldom full stop.
I ride a bunch of parallel service roads where bombing thru signs is usual. I look in all 4 directions and will ride left or right side according to the traffic approaching.

I do always stop at lights. If I am on a busy road crossing a quiet street, I may do the right and U turn manouever. (It is Not allowed in the RAAM !!!! LOL) There are a few bozos and messengers who do shove thru in spite of otherwise moving traffic. What pees me of is the lights Designed to delay "neighbourhood shortcutters", and still the city threatens to pass motor vehicle Idling laws.

My city has no flashing yellows after midnight while Vancouver has lots.
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Old 12-07-12, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect
How many of these threads do we really need? Nobody ever changes their mind.
Really, nobody does?
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Old 12-07-12, 01:31 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Really, nobody does?

Not that I have seen.
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Old 12-07-12, 01:57 PM
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The only times I don't stop are when I'm at a stop sign and there is literally no one around to see me blow through it.
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Old 12-07-12, 02:11 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect
How many of these threads do we really need? Nobody ever changes their mind.
been civil so far, but it's still open for comment. I get a little knot in my stomach when I see certain subjects come up, and this is one of those subjects. As ILTB pointed out above, there are a lot of people that (think they) are unbelievably law-abiding when they are operating a vehicle on the road, and they take running stop signs/red lights very seriously.
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Old 12-07-12, 02:23 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Six jours
. . . or making a right at a light, going 50 meters up the street, then making a U-turn and another right to avoid the hassle of stopping) are perfect example of the ******y "I'm better than the rest of you" nonsense that earns cyclists such a lousy reputation. And justifying such behavior by pointing at the motorist doing 70 in a 65 is simply stupid.
There is one intersection where I do exactly this about 90% of the time. (I stop for the light when traffic conditions warrant)

So sue me.
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Old 12-07-12, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect
How many of these threads do we really need? Nobody ever changes their mind.
I dunno. How many sanctimonious rants does it take for safety nanny/law&order Dudley-Do-Rights/Übercyclist proselytizers to consider their "Advocacy and Safety" mission accomplished?
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