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Old 05-16-14, 11:19 AM   #1
Panza
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3 Way Sections and Stoplights

Hi everyone,

I went through the trouble of making this MS Paint image. When you're on a road and another road is merging into your road from the left. (Obviously doesn't work with the right side of the road merging. The light is red but you're riding in the breakdown lane. Do you stop at the light? Or do you just proceed slowly with caution?

Sometimes if I'm in a group I'll come to a stop, and then go. Sometimes if I'm by myself I'll proceed slowly, as long as there is not any danger of my path intersecting with cars. I've heard the rule is to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop lights. What does everyone else do?
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Old 05-16-14, 11:22 AM   #2
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Ride to be Safe.

Here in Texas The Shoulder is NOT part of the roadway.

So I keep riding.The Red light is NOT for the shoulder.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:40 AM   #3
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I've heard the rule is to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop lights. What does everyone else do?
That's the rule in Idaho but no other state has adopted it so you're risking a ticket elsewhere.

I almost always stop and wait for red lights, but T-intersections and the type of merge you describe (didn't see any image) are two exceptions since my path doesn't conflict with those who have the green. I'll stop or at least slow way down if there's significant traffic (and certainly if there's a cyclist), but otherwise proceed through with caution.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:45 AM   #4
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​Sorry, I attached the image.
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Old 05-16-14, 12:35 PM   #5
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I'll stop if there are cars turning left from the side road into my lane. If not, I'll proceed with caution. In most places, the latter is likely not strictly legal.
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Old 05-16-14, 12:42 PM   #6
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By law, the light applies to you and you're supposed to stop, just as cars would have to.

OTOH, this is a common sense issue and a bicycle is not a car, so you can use your own discretion. If it's safe to proceed go ahead and do so. You're violating the law, but it's a no harm/no foul kind of deal and odds are nobody will care.

This is just another variant of what people do at red lights. Some stop because it's the law, others including myself treat them as yields (with extreme prejudice) and proceed with the same caution as with unmarked intersections, and a few take their chances and fly through without looking and hope for the best.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:05 PM   #7
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I'd stop, although I admit I have no situations like this in my area. Sure, it takes an extra minute or two for the light to change, but it shows drivers that there are bicyclists who follow the rules.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:18 PM   #8
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I think a good rule of thumb would be proceed cautiously if riding on the shoulder and not entering a lane. Stop or yield with caution if there are adjacent sidewalks or there's a controlled crosswalk.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:20 PM   #9
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I have one on my route like that. It is the middle of a hill, so I stop and have a breather. It is a designated bike lane, therefore I feel the light applies to me anyway. But in general I would stop no matter what, I like the ability to not be a hypocrite when I yell at drivers.

Though in my mind it is essentially a right on red situation. I want to try to argue that in my car sometime. But Mr. Occifer I proceeded into the right most lane when it was safe. Why is there a problem?
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Old 05-16-14, 01:37 PM   #10
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I have a few of these on my commute, all along the same stretch of road, which has a bike lane. I do not stop, I slow down, look, and go if it is safe.

Really, except at one location where it intersects a large business driveway, it would be perfectly safe to not even slow down. I only do it because cops have been known to camp there to ticket cyclists.
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Old 05-16-14, 02:25 PM   #11
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If it's short, I go with caution, If it's a big intersection then I would wait.
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Old 05-16-14, 04:00 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input guys, I'll just use my discretion for each case. I usually slow down and use caution at least ... There are so many of these in New England.
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Old 05-16-14, 05:45 PM   #13
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There is supposed to be a stop line at each traffic signal. If that stop line does not extend into the shoulder to the asphalt's edge, then you may have a legal case to proceed.

Secondly, it's unusual for the side road to have a dashed yellow line leading into a traffic light.

A link to the google satellite view for the intersection might provide more information for us.
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Old 05-16-14, 05:55 PM   #14
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It's not dashed there. I'm bad at MS paint. Forgive my impudence
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Old 05-16-14, 06:52 PM   #15
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I was more interested in whether there was a stop line and if it extended into the shoulder.
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Old 05-16-14, 06:55 PM   #16
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I was more interested in whether there was a stop line and if it extended into the shoulder.
I don't see what difference that would make.

Plenty of (possibly most) intersections lack stoplines entirely. Likewise, stoplines where they exist rarely, if ever, are painted extending onto he shoulder, but I don't buy that the lack of the line across the shoulder would somehow trump the obligation to stop on a red.

If moving over to the shoulder was some sort of red light loophole, it would be chaos as every impatient motorist worked it.
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Old 05-16-14, 07:07 PM   #17
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I stop. In fact, I don't even filter up to the car in front.
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Old 05-16-14, 07:09 PM   #18
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There's an intersection like this just down the street from me. If there are cars turning left into my direction of travel, I will wait. Otherwise I go through. It's technically illegal of course. Maybe I should hop the curb and take the sidewalk through the light then get back on the road.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:17 PM   #19
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I was more interested in whether there was a stop line and if it extended into the shoulder.
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I don't see what difference that would make.

Plenty of (possibly most) intersections lack stoplines entirely. Likewise, stoplines where they exist rarely, if ever, are painted extending onto he shoulder, but I don't buy that the lack of the line across the shoulder would somehow trump the obligation to stop on a red.

If moving over to the shoulder was some sort of red light loophole, it would be chaos as every impatient motorist worked it.
It does make a legal difference if the stop line does not extend all the way out. Same even counts if the stop line does note extend into the bike lane.

Since motorist cannot legally ride on the shoulder, your vision of chaos is prevented as police can cite the motorist for illegally driving on the shoulder. In most states, it is legal for cyclists to ride on the shoulder, thus the loophole exist for cyclists, skaters, boarders and pedestrians.

Hawaii has realized the loophole with bike lanes and now paints the stop line across them as well.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:30 PM   #20
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It does make a legal difference if the stop line does not extend all the way out. ....

Here in NY, the obligation to stop on a red doesn't depend on a line (most intersections don' have them). One might successfully argue that a separated bile lane is a different roadway, and the light doesn't apply, and might prevail depending on distance and light placement.

Now, odds are no ticket would ever be issued in the first place, but if issued odds are it will hold on court.



from the New York law.


1. Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady circular red signal, unless to make such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or in the event there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of the approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown except as provided in paragraph two of this subdivision.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:42 PM   #21
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NY and Maryland often go their own way with laws, both traffic and criminal.

The reason I never use either state as an example.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:48 PM   #22
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NY and Maryland often go their own way with laws, both traffic and criminal.

The reason I never use either state as an example.
I'd be willing to bet that most states have similar language providing for the requirement to stop on a red, line or no line.

You might read section 3a of the applicable Hawaii statute below.


(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in the next succeeding paragraphs....


One might argue that a bike on a separated path is on a separate road entirely, but I doubt they could claim the same if legally riding on the shoulder. To allow it would give shoulder riding bikes free reign to ignore all traffic signals.
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Old 05-16-14, 10:17 PM   #23
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I'd be willing to bet that most states have similar language providing for the requirement to stop on a red, line or no line.

You might read section 3a of the applicable Hawaii statute below.


(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in the next succeeding paragraphs....


One might argue that a bike on a separated path is on a separate road entirely, but I doubt they could claim the same if legally riding on the shoulder. To allow it would give shoulder riding bikes free reign to ignore all traffic signals.
You should also read in the law that the shoulder is not considered part of the roadway for which the cited law applies.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:33 PM   #24
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You should also read in the law that the shoulder is not considered part of the roadway for which the cited law applies.
Well then, following your logic, it still wouldn't matter if there was a line or not. By extension, traffic lights don't apply to bicycles who could freely move over to a shoulder, and be off the roadway where the light doesn't apply.

I don't know about judges in Hawaii, but some in New York would enjoy the laugh and knock a few bucks off your fine as a reward for the entertainment.

BTW- In most states red lights also apply to pedestrians on the sidewalk, which also isn't part of the roadway.
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Old 05-16-14, 11:51 PM   #25
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Well then, following your logic, it still wouldn't matter if there was a line or not. By extension, traffic lights don't apply to bicycles who could freely move over to a shoulder, and be off the roadway where the light doesn't apply.

I don't know about judges in Hawaii, but some in New York would enjoy the laugh and knock a few bucks off your fine as a reward for the entertainment.
And some judges would actually observe the law and dismiss such a citation.

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BTW- In most states red lights also apply to pedestrians on the sidewalk, which also isn't part of the roadway.
Do you really believe that to be true at a T intersection as being discussed here. Does NY really put walk signals at the top of T intersections?
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