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Broke my own rule and almost paid the price

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Old 05-10-18, 05:21 PM
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RidingMatthew 
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Broke my own rule and almost paid the price

Well ... today I broke my own rule and almost paid the price.

I was rushing to beat the thunderstorm that was bearing down on me. 40mph winds, half inch hail, and heavy rain. I was rolling down hill very fast then slow rolled (less traffic here) through one red light checking all directions. I got to the second light and was doing almost 30mph downhill slowing somewhat but not enough and rolled across the intersection right in front of a car crossing the road.

After I made it, I was pretty nervous and my heart was racing. Never mind the dark clouds, wind, and rain that was coming. I continued down the road north of 35mph

I feel blessed and am glad that I am no worse the wear for it. I will be stopping in the future.

I averaged 17.3 mph and Strava estimated I was weighted average power was 336 watts. Not too bad on a 31lbs commuter.
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Old 05-10-18, 05:45 PM
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Thirty mph through a red light? Yeah, you're just asking for it. Think better next time.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:10 PM
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well it went from yellow to red as I was rolling up. I wont do it again. It was dumb move and I am glad I made it okay.
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Old 05-10-18, 07:43 PM
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Glad your ok, and thanks for the reminder. Lizard brain thinking kicks in when conditions are crap (1/2 inch hail...jeez.)

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Old 05-11-18, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
Glad your ok, and thanks for the reminder. Lizard brain thinking kicks in when conditions are crap (1/2 inch hail...jeez.)
Very true. When the weather is that bad, all of my thinking shuts down, and I go into autopilot.
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Old 05-11-18, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
...and rolled across the intersection right in front of a car crossing the road.
Glad you made it okay.

Do you wear progressive lensed glasses? I ask because I tried them and found the peripheral vision to be abysmal. I've been wearing good old-fashioned bi- and now ti-focals which allow for distance vision in the full of the periphery.

Even so...both speed and physical excertion tend to create "tunnel-vision".

I've been bike commuting seriously for 26 years, and at 56 I find myself more cautious than ever before, which makes me feel like an old man, except when it saves me from disaster. Then I feel like a smart old man.

You made your rules for some good reasons...please follow them (he said to the OP as well as to himself).
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Old 05-11-18, 08:14 AM
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i know it was dumb, mostly posting to encourage us all to be careful.

Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post
Glad your ok, and thanks for the reminder. Lizard brain thinking kicks in when conditions are crap (1/2 inch hail...jeez.)
yeah the weather apps had me freaking out and wanting to get home fast.

Originally Posted by AlmostGreenGuy View Post
Very true. When the weather is that bad, all of my thinking shuts down, and I go into autopilot.
yeah i still should have stopped for the light.

Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Glad you made it okay.

Do you wear progressive lensed glasses? I ask because I tried them and found the peripheral vision to be abysmal. I've been wearing good old-fashioned bi- and now ti-focals which allow for distance vision in the full of the periphery.

Even so...both speed and physical excertion tend to create "tunnel-vision".

I've been bike commuting seriously for 26 years, and at 56 I find myself more cautious than ever before, which makes me feel like an old man, except when it saves me from disaster. Then I feel like a smart old man.

You made your rules for some good reasons...please follow them (he said to the OP as well as to himself).
yep that is the biggest reason why I posted it. to remind us all to follow the rules we have set up for ourselves. No just single vision glasses. I was just focused on going home as fast as possible.
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Old 05-11-18, 09:23 AM
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I taught myself a new way to deal with yellow lights. I used to ask myself, can I make it through? Now I ask myself if I can stop in time. If the answer to the second question is yes, then I do.
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Old 05-11-18, 09:28 AM
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In my neck of the woods, the newspapers are full of folks who traveled through a red light and got walloped. Lots of deaths, annually ... mostly pedestrians, but a number of cyclists and autos as well.

It's the one thing I always try to imagine's coming: someone barreling along on the "side" street without regard to the traffic controls.

Glad it missed ya, this time.

Be safe.
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Old 05-11-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I've been bike commuting seriously for 26 years, and at 56 I find myself more cautious than ever before, which makes me feel like an old man, except when it saves me from disaster. Then I feel like a smart old man.
Experience makes one wiser. I'm also glad that the OP made it through the intersection. This is another "what could I have done better" self lesson. If there's any motivation for speeding up, then I think 1/2 inch hail would be high on my list...
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Old 05-11-18, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
yeah i still should have stopped for the light.
I don't think it's always that easy. When you get overly stressed out on a highly physical bike commute, especially when the weather gets downright scary, your "fight or flight" response can kick in, and control your actions to a very high degree. All your blood goes to your muscles, and you just go like crazy, all without clearly thinking. It's easy to look back and say that you should have stopped, but to a large degree, you may not have been able to stop at that time. I think the takeaway from this experience isn't to vow to stop next time, but to reconsider the decision to bike commute under those harsh conditions.
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Old 05-11-18, 09:54 AM
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Yeah, we all have done stupid things. Glad you made it through okay. I always say, riding or driving fast is not inherently dangerous, riding or driving in a hurry is. There is a difference.
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Old 05-11-18, 10:06 AM
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Ask any number of adult drivers, "What do the traffic lights mean?" and I'll bet most answer
"Green = Go; Red = Stop; Yellow = Slow Down".
The correct answer for Yellow is "STOP, if safe to do so."

They always forget their Driver's Ed classes.
Ride safely.
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Old 05-11-18, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SJM205 View Post
Ask any number of adult drivers, "What do the traffic lights mean?" and I'll bet most answer
"Green = Go; Red = Stop; Yellow = Slow Down".
The correct answer for Yellow is "STOP, if safe to do so."

They always forget their Driver's Ed classes.
Ride safely.
I got reacquainted with this very quickly when driving in Switzerland many years ago. The yellow light there is *really short*. So its effectively "stop always."
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Old 05-14-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by SJM205 View Post
Ask any number of adult drivers, "What do the traffic lights mean?" and I'll bet most answer
"Green = Go; Red = Stop; Yellow = Slow Down".
The correct answer for Yellow is "STOP, if safe to do so."

They always forget their Driver's Ed classes.
Ride safely.
Not in Boston, here yellow = speed up and enter the intersection before it turns red. As a driver, as I've slowed down to stop for some yellows, I've had people honk at me and at times swerve around me to then blow through the red. When I'm on a bike, general experience shows that in 90% of the cases I'm further away from the light than it seems and the light will change quicker than I'm estimating. So, I never try to 'make it' on a bike.
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Old 05-15-18, 09:50 AM
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I was once riding along at over 20mph approaching some railroad tracks and the bells went off. It was night, and I identified the train clear across the freeway at a crawl. When my eyes got back on the road, the barrier had come down faster than I'd expected so I ducked with a backpack on. I made it OK, but I will never know how close the backpack may have come to clipping the barrier.

I'll never do that again.
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Old 05-15-18, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I taught myself a new way to deal with yellow lights. I used to ask myself, can I make it through? Now I ask myself if I can stop in time. If the answer to the second question is yes, then I do.
That's the distinction I was taught in drivers ed as well, I think it's built into the law of what it means to properly heed a yellow signal
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Old 05-16-18, 09:19 AM
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good share, we're all tempted
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Old 05-16-18, 10:46 AM
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Oh, the irony. Your sig includes "'late & alive > early & dead.' ~Steely Dan" Did you just add this, or has it been there all along?


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Old 05-16-18, 01:15 PM
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Happens to the best of us.

I once crossed red too.
Actually I was waiting – already a while – for the light to turn green. But because the guy before me started moving forward I had this natural reflex to follow him – again: I was waiting already a while – without checking for myself the light was really no longer red. That day I was riding with someone else, and that person talked me about it afterwards. I never noticed I did something stupid! And I’m usually pretty deep on safety.

I think we all have a wake-up call in our lives now and then.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric S. View Post
I was once riding along at over 20mph approaching some railroad tracks and the bells went off. It was night, and I identified the train clear across the freeway at a crawl. When my eyes got back on the road, the barrier had come down faster than I'd expected so I ducked with a backpack on. I made it OK, but I will never know how close the backpack may have come to clipping the barrier.

I'll never do that again.
People get killed by trains all the time. They seem to be timed for cars, if you are on foot or riding a bike trying to cross is a real bad idea.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:41 PM
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Yellow means different things in different states.
In Colorado you have to clear the intersection before the yellow goes red or you get a red light ticket, so people are more inclined to to try stopping when it turns yellow.
In Arizona you are not violating any law as long as you enter when it was yellow. Light can turn red the instant after you enter the intersection and you won't be ticketed so yellow means drop a gear and floor the accelerator pedal.
The Arizona law leads to a large amount of red light running and makes me extra cautions around lights of any color. On a related note the two cars in front of me in double left turn lane on this mornings commute almost got creamed when a cross traffic semi went late through the yellow with a car a couple seconds later very blatantly running a red light. That car was going fast enough that if the cars in front of me didn't stop in time I likely would have been hit by at least one of the cars getting knocked back.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
In Arizona you are not violating any law as long as you enter when it was yellow. Light can turn red the instant after you enter the intersection and you won't be ticketed so yellow means drop a gear and floor the accelerator pedal.
That is my understanding of CA law as well.

I did that just this morning on my bike, entered a big intersection when light was yellow, I was going uphill so not fast, and the light turned red well before I made it across. Cars to my right had to wait a second or two after their green because I was in their way.
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Old 05-16-18, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
Yellow means different things in different states. In Colorado you have to clear the intersection before the yellow goes red or you get a red light ticket, so people are more inclined to to try stopping when it turns yellow. In Arizona you are not violating any law as long as you enter when it was yellow.
In my Colorado, a lot of drivers seem to think that if the car ahead of them enters the intersection before the yellow turns red, it's ok to follow that car through the red. I'm always on the lookout for drivers accelerating through "pink" lights.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GailT View Post
In my Colorado, a lot of drivers seem to think that if the car ahead of them enters the intersection before the yellow turns red, it's ok to follow that car through the red. I'm always on the lookout for drivers accelerating through "pink" lights.
When I lived in CO I entered an intersection (in my car) before it turned yellow with a green turn arrow. The car in front of me slowed way down to make the turn, so slow that the light turned yellow then turned red while I was still in it. It wasn't even a problem of traffic backing up and making us slow, it was just bad driving. I was pulled over and ticketed for running a red. I guess no matter what the law is there are always plenty of idiots who will ignore it.
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