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Red light runner

Old 10-25-10, 02:29 PM
  #1  
Jtgyk
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Red light runner

Yep...turned out to be me today.
I was riding back from my daughter's High School after dropping the car off in her parking space, and caught the red light (2 residential streets intersecting). This is one of the rare lights in my area that will actually change for a bicycle, and as I was doing my best imitation of a track stand...an SUV stops facing me across the intersection. The light hits yellow for the cross traffic (none in sight) I wait for the 2 beats it usually takes to turn and proceed.

The gentleman in the SUV (off duty police officer from his patch on the uniform sleeve?) says, "you know...you can't just run a red light like that."

............................................
...................................................then It finally dawns on me (facepalm) that it's almost 3 pm and there is a longish pause wherein the lights are red in all directions while pedestrian lights are lit.

I nod and mean to say, "you're absolutely right." but just the nod comes to the surface.

If you're a member of BF, Officer......"Mea Culpa. I don't make a practice of it."
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Old 10-25-10, 02:58 PM
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Confession time: while I am one who claims to never running red lights, there is one intersection like this on my commute...if someone pushes the "I want to cross the street" button, then when the cross street lights turn red, there is about 5 seconds to give pedestrians a head start, and I usually start riding when the walk signal appears. My feeble, non-legal justification is: I'm exiting a residential area and there is almost never anyone behind me, and 99% of oncoming traffic is turning left, and they would probably appreciate my clearing the intersection before their light turns green.
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Old 10-25-10, 03:39 PM
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Witness the stop sign haiku in my sig. I kind of treat signals the same. In general, if I have a reasonable expectation of getting the light to turn, I'll wait. There are a few, though, that I know don't change for bcycles, so I wait until the way is exceedingly clear and go through. Once or twice, the next car through the intersection will be a cop and they haven't stopped me yet. My feeling is that if I am not even close to violating another vehicle's right of way, it falls under no harm, no foul. And honestly, most transportation cyclists around here don't follow the traffic laws near as closely as I do.

But yeah... getting called out? That would embarrass me.
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Old 10-25-10, 03:48 PM
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As long as there is no traffic I will bomb a red light
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Old 10-25-10, 04:28 PM
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I follow traffic rules if there are cars around. Otherwise, I treat it as a stop sign.
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Old 10-25-10, 04:37 PM
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I've seen a surprising number ( four or five ) of cars run red lights in the past week. I don't mean the way cars normally run reds, where as long as the driver was close enough to see the light before it was red, it's ok to proceed. What I mean is I keep seeing cars come to a light, stop, and then go while it's still red. It's odd to see a driver acknowledge a red light before running it; this is how bikes run lights.

Must be a full moon.
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Old 10-25-10, 04:47 PM
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In my city, the car drivers have a really courteous attitude to cyclists. So, I always stop at reds - not wanting anyone to perceive me as a scofflaw.
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Old 10-25-10, 04:59 PM
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I stop at stop lights because it would be suiside to try to go through any of the busy intersections that I have to cross. The only time I have gone through a red is when I am crossing at the top of a "T" intersection.

I do admit that I will sometimes go against traffic on the sidewalk to make a "left" turn because the traffic lights don't detect a bike in the left turn lane.
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Old 10-25-10, 05:44 PM
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I ran the same red light twice (once each way) Saturday. I'm pretty sure my bike won't trip it, so I waited for an opening and ran it.

I agree with itsthewoo though, I treat them as stop signs if there are no cars around. Otherwise I obey the lights, if they'll change for me.
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Old 10-25-10, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
In my city, the car drivers have a really courteous attitude to cyclists. So, I always stop at reds - not wanting anyone to perceive me as a scofflaw.
Curious: what would you do if you came to a red light, but the place was so empty, no one would even see what came next?
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Old 10-25-10, 07:34 PM
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There is no set rule for me. I make the decision at the light.
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Old 10-25-10, 09:30 PM
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I will stop at a red light and run it if it doesn't turn green for me. This has happened to me the past 3 days on my morning commute. I stop waiting for the left turn signal to turn green but it never does for bicycles on this one intersection.
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Old 10-25-10, 09:49 PM
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I stop for red lights unless it's that stupid long one on Sunday morning where I'm the only person on the road. Forget it. If a bike runs a red light at 6:45am when everybody is asleep, does anybody see it? Nope!
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Old 10-25-10, 10:03 PM
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I usually just avoid light controlled intersections whenever possible...by going up or down a block.

Sometimes, though, you have no other choice.
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Old 10-26-10, 12:01 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
I stop for red lights unless it's that stupid long one on Sunday morning where I'm the only person on the road. Forget it. If a bike runs a red light at 6:45am when everybody is asleep, does anybody see it? Nope!
I guess the key is everybody is asleep. My neighbor got a ticket on a Sunday morning for running a string of red lights on his bike on empty streets. The only person awake was a cop who had nothing else to do.
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Old 10-26-10, 12:23 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
In my city, the car drivers have a really courteous attitude to cyclists. So, I always stop at reds - not wanting anyone to perceive me as a scofflaw.
This is where I find myself right now. Not to veer too far into P&R territory, but let's say I fit the socio-political stereotype of a bicycle rider (to a person who's never browsed BF and seen that cyclists come from all walks of life), and let's say the pickup truck drivers of Wyoming fit the polar opposite stereotype: I've encountered nothing but absolute courteousness on the roads out here- if anything, I could vent about the excessive courteousness...AND IT'S A BEAUTIFUL THING, which I don't want to screw up by breaking the rules!

(Plus, traffic is light enough here, in the least populous state, that there's honestly no advantage to filtering and running lights (poetically similar to what we cyclists say of motorists who pass us impatiently))


It's spoiling me. Expect a fuming rant when I move back to the Big City.
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Old 10-26-10, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
My feeling is that if I am not even close to violating another vehicle's right of way, it falls under no harm, no foul. And honestly, most transportation cyclists around here don't follow the traffic laws near as closely as I do.

But yeah... getting called out? That would embarrass me.
I am the same way with regards to checking for other vehicles with the right of way. Except every now and again I fail to see a pedestrian and then I feel like a real a$$hole...
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Old 10-26-10, 02:41 PM
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If one runs a red light in the city that nobody sees does one actually run a red light? Just askin'...
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Old 10-26-10, 07:15 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
In my city, the car drivers have a really courteous attitude to cyclists. So, I always stop at reds - not wanting anyone to perceive me as a scofflaw.
I could say the same thing about my city... but... when the light changes and the hammers drop... where are you? I come from NYC where bombing red lights is just what you do. Out here the drivers honk at you if they see you stop and roll. I felt bad for awhile but it is instructive to do it once in awhile. At some intersections not stopping puts you so far ahead of stopped traffic that it can literally take them a full minute to catch you after they get the green. Put another way a cyclists can lose as much as two minutes stopping for lights and on a ~7mi. run as much as 15! My only rule: cross traffic must never be impeded or frightened by my actions. It's more than they do for me. Drivers turn in front of me all the time. It must really panic them when instead of locking my wheels and skidding to a stop I keep cranking. I've got good brakes and if I really need to stop I can do so but if they make a clean turn, rudeness notwithstanding, its all good. That's why I don't get stopped traffic yelling at me as I ride through... they're going to catch me in a minute or two and forget about me like a bad pistachio nut. YMMV.

H
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Old 10-27-10, 09:17 AM
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I try to obey traffic laws as much as possible. I feel like a dick running red lights in my city just because other cyclists doing it look like dicks in my eyes. So I try to avoid roads with lights because they can slow my progress immensely. I can see the other side of the coin if you have no other alternative route without lights, and it is safe to proceed. You might get a ticket though.
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Old 10-27-10, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by doc0c View Post
I try to obey traffic laws as much as possible. I feel like a dick running red lights in my city just because other cyclists doing it look like dicks in my eyes. So I try to avoid roads with lights because they can slow my progress immensely. I can see the other side of the coin if you have no other alternative route without lights, and it is safe to proceed. You might get a ticket though.
I believe the maximum ticket for a bicycle offense is $30 in the province of Quebec, might be different in Ontario. The only time I've been ticketed was for a critical mass rally (not riding single file), could've given a fake name/address but kind of defeats the purpose of civil disobedience to try to avoid the legal consequences of one's actions (was too lazy to challenge it in court, which I think others did)...

Yesterday I saw a cop get to an intersection when the light was red, turn on flashers, and make a right turn (no right on red on the island of Montreal). Not that I was surprised...

In general enforcement is pretty lax. It's technically against the law to ride without lights at night, but many cyclists do not have lights around here, and I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket.

Edit: Though to be fair how do you give someone a ticket if you can't see them
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