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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, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by catonec
So for the poll I voted D, I never blow off stop signs or red light. that is only partially true. I never blow off or go through redlights, stop signs however... If it is in a neighborhood, Not a major intersection, and no other traffic is present I go through it. Depending on the visibility at the intersection sometimes I dont even break cadence.
Why did you vote for D: Never - I obey the rules of the road? Sounds like either A or B should have been your vote.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
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?

Apparently, more than we have seen so far.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:41 PM
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On a bicycle I'll do a rolling stop/yield at a stop sign, mainly because they're only there for traffic calming in the first place. But I won't blow past them and I won't run a red. I don't think I've ever deliberately blown through a red in any vehicle. So many reasons not to ... even when it appears that no other traffic is present or you're not affecting traffic flow.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:55 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.
My default approach is "no witness, no stop." When I'm riding, I'm out for exercise so it doesn't hurt me to stop and restart, but I see no reason to be all preachy about it.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:58 PM
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I run through red lights/stop signs everyday... I have no problem doing that as long as I don't compromise
my and other peoples safety. Sometimes it may actually be safer for a cyclist to run a red rather then stop and wait for it to change.
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Old 12-07-12, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Why did you vote for D: Never - I obey the rules of the road? Sounds like either A or B should have been your vote.
red lights I always stop and wait. the poll asked about red lights AND stop signs.
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Old 12-07-12, 04:29 PM
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Correct, my reading mistake.
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Old 12-07-12, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect
How many of these threads do we really need? Nobody ever changes their mind.
Sorry for the memo from the Department of Redundancy Department -- Actually, I didn't see another thread addressing this directly -- I have seen a lot of complaints about how cyclists "frequently" blow red lights and stop signs, along with rationalizations on why or why not we do it. Then everyone goes around in circles because they can't even agree on what running a red light actually means. So that's why I posted this - to bring some clarity and context to the discussion. Not that anyone will change their mind.

Actually, that's not true -- I've changed my mind as a result of reading some of these "discussions" -- I just have to filter out all of the anger and bitterness (what's that all about?) to get to the essence of the ideas being expressed.
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Old 12-07-12, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
Actually, that's not true -- I've changed my mind as a result of reading some of these "discussions" -- I just have to filter out all of the anger and bitterness (what's that all about?) to get to the essence of the ideas being expressed.
Care to provide any examples of cycling issues on which you changed your mind as a result of BF discussions?
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Old 12-07-12, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
I have seen a lot of complaints about how cyclists "frequently" blow red lights and stop signs, along with rationalizations on why or why not we do it. Then everyone goes around in circles because they can't even agree on what running a red light actually means. So that's why I posted this - to bring some clarity and context to the discussion. Not that anyone will change their mind.
I think most confusion on this issue emanates from the quite likely possibility that the people who complain about how cyclists "frequently" blow red lights and stop signs (without looking) are grossly exaggerating the frequency, if not totally fabricating the events.
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Old 12-07-12, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Really, nobody does?
I used to disagree with Lostarchitect, but I've changed my mind, and now I agree with him 100%
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Old 12-07-12, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
I think most confusion on this issue emanates from the quite likely possibility that the people who complain about how cyclists "frequently" blow red lights and stop signs (without looking) are grossly exaggerating the frequency, if not totally fabricating the events.
Hmm, I dunno ILTB, although certainly a possibility these kinds of events are fabricated, large #s of cyclists do in fact roll through stop signs and red lights here in Portland. For the sheer number of people doing so vs the number of people getting killed, it is a very safe thing to do!
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Old 12-07-12, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
Hmm, I dunno ILTB, although certainly a possibility these kinds of events are fabricated, large #s of cyclists do in fact roll through stop signs and red lights here in Portland. For the sheer number of people doing so vs the number of people getting killed, it is a very safe thing to do!
Rolling through red lights is one thing, "blowing red lights" without even looking for opposing traffic, as claimed by the OP (in another thread) and some others is another thing. It is the later behavior that I believe is grossly exaggerated and/or fabricated.
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Old 12-07-12, 06:11 PM
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Another reading mistake today
I agree with you, I don't think many cyclists are going to go through stopsigns/red lights without looking. I see "blow through" and immediately associate a disregard for personal safety or other road users. I used to use "go/roll/blow through" interchangeably when describing what I do, but realized to blow through a traffic signal isn't an accurate way of describing the process for myself or most people.

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
Then everyone goes around in circles because they can't even agree on what running a red light actually means.
Yes!

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Old 12-07-12, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Care to provide any examples of cycling issues on which you changed your mind as a result of BF discussions?
Several
- Even though I still feel helmets reduce risk, I am now persuaded that promoting (and certainly mandating) their use is counter-productive
- I spend a higher percentage of my rides out in the lane versus in the shoulder or bike lane than I used to -- I used to only take the lane when absolutely necessary. Now I take it as the default and move to the right when necessary.
- Based on posts and links to accident stats by Robert Hurst, I'm more open to the idea that a drivers can fail to see a cyclist taking the lane directly in front of them -- I used to think that taking the lane virtually guaranteed that approaching traffic would see me.
- Based on your posts, I'm more skeptical of accident stats that do not include context and severity. I also now more firmly doubt the conventional wisdom that riding on the sidewalk is far riskier than riding in the street

My attitude is that I don't see the point of participating in a forum if I'm unwilling to be informed by it.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero
(snip)... large #s of cyclists do in fact roll through stop signs and red lights here in Portland. For the sheer number of people doing so vs the number of people getting killed, it is a very safe thing to do! ...(snip)

People that roll and blow stop signs in Portland, aren't making any friends amongst most of the people having to drive and ride the bus...or that live in neighborhoods where cyclists roll through without stopping at stop signs. On one of the main routes having become popular for bike commuting in recent years, people not stopping for stop signs as they enter one of the city's most heavily congested thoroughfares, Broadway, pose particular problems on a complex section of NE Broadway intersected with small but important cross streets. Articles about this can be found on a search at bikeportland: 'Broadway Flint'. People on bikes not stopping at stop signs here are not the entire source of the problems, but their not stopping, raises potential for close calls and collisions.

In Portland, problems from people on bikes not stopping at stop signs have existed for years in another location on a street that started out as a sort of urban scenic recreational byway, and that gradually became a defacto bike commuter route, passing through a small, 7-9 block square, older 'garden style' Portland neighborhood. Search at bikeportland: Ladd's Addition. People living in the neighborhood don't mind bikes riding through, but but have found that bikes not stopping or even slowing at the stop signs, to at least a walking speed, works against the quality of life the neighborhood can offer.

Portland, as I suppose occurs in other big cities with some regularity, has had people riding, cross streets in front of buses, obliging the bus driver to stop short...passengers falling, injuring themselves.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:43 PM
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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.
Wrong. When drivers see us blow stop signs, it pisses them off and they like cyclists less.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wsbob
People that roll and blow stop signs in Portland, aren't making any friends amongst most of the people having to drive and ride the bus...or that live in neighborhoods where cyclists roll through without stopping at stop signs.
People that safely roll through stop signs = Very little to no risk to themselves or other road users.
People that blow through stop signs = As ILTB pointed out previously are exaggerated fabrications.

I also don't care about making friends with other road users, wsbob.

Originally Posted by wsbob
On one of the main routes having become popular for bike commuting in recent years, people not stopping for stop signs as they enter one of the city's most heavily congested thoroughfares, Broadway, pose particular problems on a complex section of NE Broadway intersected with small but important cross streets. Articles about this can be found on a search at bikeportland: 'Broadway Flint'. People on bikes not stopping at stop signs here are not the entire source of the problems, but their not stopping, raises potential for close calls and collisions.
I know this area very well and use this route often. Click the picture to expand it.


Visibility is EXCELLENT. If you're biking to this stop sign many times cars are not even approaching yet from the left because they're held up by the lights. For every 7 times I can roll through the stop sign safely, there are 3 times I actually have to come to a complete stop because motorized vehicles are already coming down Broadway.

This is also a popular stop sign for bored cops to ticket bicyclists.

Thousands of cyclists a week will run this stop sign. I can't recall the last time a cyclist was killed doing so, or caused any kind of car accident. The dangers you mentioned about Broadway are from other issues entirely. Like right hooks onto the side streets.

Originally Posted by wsbob
In Portland, problems from people on bikes not stopping at stop signs have existed for years in another location on a street that started out as a sort of urban scenic recreational byway, and that gradually became a defacto bike commuter route, passing through a small, 7-9 block square, older 'garden style' Portland neighborhood. Search at bikeportland: Ladd's Addition. People living in the neighborhood don't mind bikes riding through, but but have found that bikes not stopping or even slowing at the stop signs, to at least a walking speed, works against the quality of life the neighborhood can offer.
Yes, when the Rich Elite of Portland in Ladd's Addition complain, oh boy are there police coming over to throw up a sting operation! Where are the police stings in East Portland? A STOP SIGN AT A ROUNDABOUT IS DUMB. Visibility is so good on the roundabout it is laughable they'd want me to stop. I know how to yield and this works 100% of the time. This is another area that thousands of cyclists a week will roll through the stop sign when it is safe to do so. Where's the harm? The quality of life in this neighborhood is haaardly hampered. What is far worse is the litter that pedestrians and cyclists are leaving in the gardens instead of using the trashcans.

Originally Posted by wsbob
Portland, as I suppose occurs in other big cities with some regularity, has had people riding, cross streets in front of buses, obliging the bus driver to stop short...passengers falling, injuring themselves.
Yes, I recall......that one major incident with the bike ninja. When was that again? This is NOT a common occurrence, wsbob.
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Old 12-07-12, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sdold
Wrong. When drivers see us blow stop signs, it pisses them off and they like cyclists less.
But you, sdold, are not going to be able to convince many people (a large # of people, look at the poll so far) to discontinue treating stop signs and red lights as yield signs.

So whether you do or not, you will always be looked badly upon by car drivers, right? The perception will never change because thousands of cyclists everywhere are treating stop signs and red lights like yield signs.

You will always be looked upon in a negative light by someone, somewhere, for any number of things. Why care?

The only thing we can do is to implement the Idaho stop law everywhere. That way drivers won't be able to hate us, because, well, we will be doing what is legal, right?

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Old 12-07-12, 08:10 PM
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I'm left with my standard question, never satisfactorily answered, of how red light/stopsign runners train themselves to overcome a lifetime of habit and learn to do it. Are the habit patterns never really established, or are you people just really good at deconditioning yourselves?
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Old 12-07-12, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I'm left with my standard question, never satisfactorily answered, of how red light/stopsign runners train themselves to overcome a lifetime of habit and learn to do it. Are the habit patterns never really established, or are you people just really good at deconditioning yourselves?
I guess when the habit is revealed to be illogical (like smoking, putting the toothbrush on top of the fridge, etc) people start questioning why they keep doing it.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
Several
- Even though I still feel helmets reduce risk, I am now persuaded that promoting (and certainly mandating) their use is counter-productive
- I spend a higher percentage of my rides out in the lane versus in the shoulder or bike lane than I used to -- I used to only take the lane when absolutely necessary. Now I take it as the default and move to the right when necessary.
- Based on posts and links to accident stats by Robert Hurst, I'm more open to the idea that a drivers can fail to see a cyclist taking the lane directly in front of them -- I used to think that taking the lane virtually guaranteed that approaching traffic would see me.
- Based on your posts, I'm more skeptical of accident stats that do not include context and severity. I also now more firmly doubt the conventional wisdom that riding on the sidewalk is far riskier than riding in the street

My attitude is that I don't see the point of participating in a forum if I'm unwilling to be informed by it.
Those subjects that you've changed your mind about have been discussed at length with some intelligent arguments (at least by some of the participants) and it seems you have indeed learned well. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 12-07-12, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I'm left with my standard question, never satisfactorily answered, of how red light/stopsign runners train themselves to overcome a lifetime of habit and learn to do it. Are the habit patterns never really established, or are you people just really good at deconditioning yourselves?
Who sez a habit needs to be reconditioned or overcome? I've treated red lights and stop signs the same for the last 60 years of bicycle riding.
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Old 12-07-12, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishmonger
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.
If you blow through a stop sign and no one sees it, did you really blow through it?
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Old 12-08-12, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
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.
A dictionary definition of "common" includes "widespread, prevalent." Come sit on a street corner in Orange County during a summer weekend and you'll see our local Lycra crowd meeting that definition. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is sailing blithely through reds without a thought, but that's not what I said. Running a red means running a red, i.e. anything not including waiting for the light to change.

Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here
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.
A dictionary definition of "despair" includes "To be overcome by a sense of futility or defeat" which perfectly describes my feeling about the state of today's recreational cycling. When we are reduced to arguing that obeying traffic laws in public is in fact a good idea, despair is a perfectly appropriate emotion.
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