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Any Red Light Runners Here Ever Been Hurt?

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Any Red Light Runners Here Ever Been Hurt?

Old 10-15-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
They also don't write articles about people who run red lights safely without dying or being seriously injured.
That's why it's easier to look at aggregate studies. E.g. I'm looking at a 2003 study on bike car accidents in Toronto over a two year span in 1997-1998, and they show that of the 2572 reported collisions over that span, 45 had "Cyclist disobeying traffic control" as a possible contributing factor (no sign v. light breakdown). This is of course dwarfed by the 629 cases of the cyclist riding on sidewalk or crosswalk and the 355 with darkness/poor visibility as a possible contrbuting factor (and indeed there may be a lot of overlap). But surprising to me was that it was higher than the 37 cases where the motorist disobeyed the traffic control.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:36 AM
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I've told my family this:

If I die on my bike, It'll be due to the car I didn't see - or the driver who didn't see me.

The most likely place for that to happen is an intersection. I ride appropriately based on that reality. I hope the rest of you do the same.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:37 AM
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One thing a traffic light does is regulate traffic, - to make sure that traffic from all directions can get through an intersection without having to wait forever.

The other thing it does is to make the decision of whether or not to go straight through an intersection dead simple. Because the more you leave open to individual judgement, the more room you leave for error.

Part of my job is software design. You quickly learn that if the interface allows a user to do something incorrect, sooner or later they will do it, - occasionally even the ones that know better.

Last edited by tjspiel; 10-15-09 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wneumann
...But surprising to me was that it was higher than the 37 cases where the motorist disobeyed the traffic control.
It shouldn't be that surprising. IME a cyclist is far more likely to disobey traffic control. Yes, cars roll through stops all the time but again, in my experience, cyclists are far more likely to blatantly ignore traffic control.
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Old 10-15-09, 11:53 AM
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I think the key importance isn't red light running vs red light obeying that is dangerous. It is speed that is dangerous.

Being a city boy, I get brown stains if a car passes 5ft from me going 40mph while I'm riding 15mph. The speed differential is too great for me. I have no idea how you guys do it.

However, I have no problems with cars passing me with 1 - 2ft of room if they're going 20mph while I'm going 15mph.

Look at this video. If we can control speed, I feel we can control serious injuries. It's just that our infrastructure wasn't designed for slow traveling vehicles. As bicyclists, we'll always be at the shorter end of the stick unless something political happens and there's a change made to the infrastructure.

Same situation here. No traffic light at intersection, yet everyone flows through without incident at slow speeds.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:05 PM
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I haven't read everyone's post, so maybe this is covered.

I can't count the number of times posters on this forum talk about not being respected by motorists while riding a bike on public roads.

Disobeying traffic signals (red lights, stop signs, etc.) is a big reason for this lack of respect. Motorized and non-motorized vehicles are required by law to obey traffic laws. Sure, we can all state examples of motorized vehicles who do not adhere to the rules either, but most of us learned when we were very small that just because someone else does something wrong doesn't excuse you from doing the right thing.

If you want respect, you have to earn it. If you want cyclists to always be margnialized, be reckless and irresponsible, and make excuses for you behaviour.

For the record, I don't stop and unclip at every stop light and stop sign. But I slow down, and if it's not my turn, I wait. Late at night or early in the morning if my bike won't trip the light, sure, I'll look and go, but not if there are other vehicles around. Nothing enrages a driver like watching a lycra clad idiot run a light while they're waiting. Maybe you won't get nailed running the light, but encountering or worse inciting an angry driver (light or no light) is way more dangerous for all of us. Angry drivers are non-discriminatory; they'll run down anyone on a bike.

Last edited by Kojak; 10-15-09 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:10 PM
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One last point is that currently in most places in North America cyclists represent a tiny portion of the overall traffic mix. Less than 2% of total traffic running lights probably doesn't have all that much of an impact on the system.

But, we'd all like to see the percentage of cyclists on the streets grow, right? What if instead of 2%, 10% to 15% of the people approaching an intersection took it upon themselves to decide whether or not to ignore the red light? Would that be a good thing?
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Old 10-15-09, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Kojak
Disobeying traffic signals (red lights, stop signs, etc.) is a big reason for this lack of respect.
Although I can see how this can be true in many parts of the US, this is absolutely false where I live. If you want drivers to respect you, get the F out of their way when they're drag racing from one traffic light to the next.

As a driver myself, I actually want the guy on a bike in front of me to run the red light while I wait. If he doesn't, I'll have to deal with him clipping in, slowly accelerating to 15mph before I check my mirrors & blindspots before passing him.

If he runs the red light and gets ahead of me, he's someone else's problem. Most likely, I won't be catching up to him again.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
Although I can see how this can be true in many parts of the US, this is absolutely false where I live. If you want drivers to respect you, get the F out of their way when they're drag racing from one traffic light to the next.

As a driver myself, I actually want the guy on a bike in front of me to run the red light while I wait. If he doesn't, I'll have to deal with him clipping in, slowly accelerating to 15mph before I check my mirrors & blindspots before passing him.

If he runs the red light and gets ahead of me, he's someone else's problem. Most likely, I won't be catching up to him again.
The cyclist in front of you presents the same problem whether they ran lights to get in that position or if they didn't
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Old 10-15-09, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
Your problem is the cyclist that ran the light behind you and is now in front of you.
And that is exactly the point I was trying to make! If he's going to be running red lights, keep doing it! Don't stop in front of me.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
The cyclist in front of you presents the same problem whether they ran lights to get in that position or if they didn't
Touche

And Wheeldeal, you are also a cyclist, so seeing this behavior may not enrage you. But the guy sitting at a red light in his Olds Cutlass smoking a Lucky Strike and nursing a hangover is now very angry.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:22 PM
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I just about got plowed this morning by a cyclist (and I use the term loosely here) on the sidewalk who decided to run a red. Does that count as a close call?
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Old 10-15-09, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
What if instead of 2%, 10% to 15% of the people approaching an intersection took it upon themselves to decide whether or not to ignore the red light? Would that be a good thing?
That would be a GREAT thing! If only 10 or 15% of cyclist run red lights, that has to mean one of two things:
1 - NYPD is cracking down and handing out tickets left & right.
2 - Everyone is afraid of running the red because NYPD is handing out tickets.

If that were the case, I wouldn't run a red either. That would be a great thing in NYC. I would have to guess and say, currently, over 75% of the cycling population in NYC run at least one red light on a daily basis. (not run....but to creep across a red traffic light at walking/jogging pace when there isn't any cross traffic).

But I see your point. If only 10 or 15 cyclist out of 100 run red lights in NYC, we'll be such a great obedient bunch.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
The cyclist in front of you presents the same problem whether they ran lights to get in that position or if they didn't
Incorrect. If he ran a light to get in front of me, most likely he'll run the light and continue on his journey while I wait for the light to change.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
Incorrect. If he ran a light to get in front of me, most likely he'll run the light and continue on his journey while I wait for the light to change.
If he can. Even if he can leave slightly before you, you may be stuck behind him until the next red. If he waits at the red like you do, you pass and may be done with him for good. If he had obeyed the previous lights, he wouldn't be in front of you at all.

The thing is there's no way to know. He's going to be in front of somebody whether he runs lights or not.

While you may appreciate a bike in front of you leaving early, you may not appreciate a bike filtering up from behind you and entering the intersection moments before you.

Last edited by tjspiel; 10-15-09 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
But I see your point. If only 10 or 15 cyclist out of 100 run red lights in NYC, we'll be such a great obedient bunch.
I believe he meant 10-15% of all traffic. E.g. Cyclists make up 40% of traffic and 25% of them run reds.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
That would be a GREAT thing! If only 10 or 15% of cyclist run red lights, that has to mean one of two things:
1 - NYPD is cracking down and handing out tickets left & right.
2 - Everyone is afraid of running the red because NYPD is handing out tickets.

If that were the case, I wouldn't run a red either. That would be a great thing in NYC. I would have to guess and say, currently, over 75% of the cycling population in NYC run at least one red light on a daily basis. (not run....but to creep across a red traffic light at walking/jogging pace when there isn't any cross traffic).

But I see your point. If only 10 or 15 cyclist out of 100 run red lights in NYC, we'll be such a great obedient bunch.
I'm not talking about 10% to 15% of cyclists. I'm talking about 10% to 15% of ALL traffic that by virtue of being on a bike have decided they can ignore a red light.
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Old 10-15-09, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
If he can. Even if he can leave slightly before you, you may be stuck behind him until the next red. If he waits at the red like you do, you pass and may be done with him for good. If he had obeyed the previous lights, he wouldn't be in front of you at all.

The thing is there's no way to know. He's going to be in front of somebody whether he runs lights or not.
In your riding environment, I definitely see your point. You pass a cyclist once and you're done with him. But if he runs a red light in front of you, you'll have to deal with him again. As a driver, that would annoy me. (not because he ran the red light....but because he's getting in my way again).

In my riding environment, chances are....I won't be catching up to a cyclist that just passed me. If I (as a driver) pass a cyclist, most likely, he'll re-pass me again as he filters his way through traffic.

We just live in two totally different worlds. It's very difficult for me to put myself in your shoes because I was raised & lived in a large city all my life (with traffic lights every 250 - 300ft apart). And I'm sure it isn't easy for you to wear my shoes and experience 300 traffic lights a day on a 15-20 mile round trip commute.

If I lived in a more suburban area, I would definitely not run any red lights (if I only had 20 lights to deal with on my daily commute).

Originally Posted by wneumann
I believe he meant 10-15% of all traffic. E.g. Cyclists make up 40% of traffic and 25% of them run reds.
Originally Posted by tjspiel
I'm not talking about 10% to 15% of cyclists. I'm talking about 10% to 15% of ALL traffic that by virtue of being on a bike have decided they can ignore a red light.
I apologize. I read your post incorrectly. 15% of the population running reds aren't a good thing. Many people will end up dying in nasty wrecks.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:01 PM
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I had a close call running a stop sign once. As I approached the intersection I looked to the right, then looked to the left and saw a car coming. I slowed down to let the car from the left pass through the intersection, then I hammered hard through the sign. Unforunately, when I'd looked to the right I neglected to see a pickup coming. As I entered the intersection we saw each other and slammed on our brakes. The driver was (rightfully so) upset that I almost rode out in front of him. I hollered "my fault!" and we went on our way. Had I come to the stop I would have most likely taken the proper amount of time to see the truck and avoided the near accident. Thankfully it turned out the way it did, as it could have been much worse.

I also once had my car totalled by a guy who ran a red (not on a bike, though.) Thankfully I walked away unscathed, but had he hit me two feet further back it would have taken out my one-year-old son in his car seat. That crash turned out to be a blessing as I never did like the car that got wrecked.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:26 PM
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I run reds all the time, haven't had any problems and don't know anyone who has. I also jaywalk like 100% of all NY'ers. Never had a problem doing that either. Be safe and be smart about it.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:27 PM
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I have had my feelings hurt.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wheeldeal
We just live in two totally different worlds. It's very difficult for me to put myself in your shoes because I was raised & lived in a large city all my life (with traffic lights every 250 - 300ft apart). And I'm sure it isn't easy for you to wear my shoes and experience 300 traffic lights a day on a 15-20 mile round trip commute.
Yep. That why advocating (or not) something like this without considering the environment is pretty much useless. I mean, my current commute between Plano and Richardson is 7 miles each way with a total of 10 traffic lights along the path, and my previous commute, back in Albuquerque, was 14 miles each way, cut across the center of town, and had a total of 20 traffic lights the entire way. I just can't fathom a traffic light every 250 feet for any more than a half-mile stretch.
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Old 10-15-09, 03:14 PM
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Yes, I did. $90 ticket. $600-$700 in various bills. And no, I don't any more.
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Old 10-15-09, 05:30 PM
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I slow down and look both ways before I run a light.
Most intersections have empty cross walks that I
swerve into. Once I had a green, pedaling the
cross walk when a car with frosted side windows
swooped through the yellow at a 5 way intersection.
She was one micro second from smashing my left
leg when she noticed me.
That's all I said to her." You could have broken my legs".
Then rode on.
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Old 10-15-09, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kojak
I can't count the number of times posters on this forum talk about not being respected by motorists while riding a bike on public roads.
Why is it that I care for the respect of motorists?
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