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Reason for running red lights

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Reason for running red lights

Old 06-27-15, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht
why mention "riding on pavements" in a thread about running red lights?
"There is no excuse for running red lights (or riding on pavements)."

It was merely an aside. People do that all the time.

"On my honour, I will never eat Mars Bars as long as I live (nor Snickers, for that matter)."
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Old 06-27-15, 10:20 AM
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Someone suggested elsewhere that I think they were putting in lights in Washington to indicate when the sensor has been triggered. Laying the bike on the sensor or whatever is great, but it still doesn't guarantee that one has hit the trigger... and one doesn't know until one waits for a full light cycle.

Most of the reds I run are left hand turns.
  • One, the straight through usually gets a light. So, if there is a green going straight, and no traffic coming towards me, I'll hang a left.
  • Another is on a hill. I'll cut across to the left side of the road (wide shoulder). Then when I'm sure straight traffic has a green, and cross traffic has a red, I'll proceed across. One benefit of going early is that it gets me away from the intersection and a short stretch with a corner and a narrow shoulder before traffic might build up around me.
  • A third one, also a left hand turn, I'll only go when it is clear for about 1/4 mile in all directions.
  • I also dislike lights at T intersections in to bike paths... were no traffic crosses the bike path.
  • Oh, and there is a median strip bike path crosswalk that I hate stopping to hit the button, so I'll usually go if there is through traffic on both sides of me (thus no turn lane traffic or cross traffic).

I'll usually wait if I think a car has tripped the sensor, but most of the reds I go through have low enough traffic that I can't guarantee a car will come up behind me.

As far as "risk taking" or trying to squeeze through traffic.. NO It is primarily poorly designed intersections.

In some cases, I think it improves safety and traffic flow to get me through the intersection without traffic rather than waiting for traffic to build up around me or to be obstructed by me.

Does right on red into a bike lane count?

Last edited by CliffordK; 06-27-15 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 06-27-15, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau
"There is no excuse for running red lights (or riding on pavements)."

It was merely an aside. People do that all the time.

"On my honour, I will never eat Mars Bars as long as I live (nor Snickers, for that matter)."
that's a poor example.
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Old 06-27-15, 10:48 AM
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This is so tiresome on two levels, at least.

First, the "this is what other people think" level. I am SO tired of people claiming to know what others "really think." It's perfectly understandable to suggest reasons, but making definite claims of that sort is utter nonsense, and it's infuriating. I, for one, occasionally proceed against lights or roll through stop signs because I want to get through the intersection and because I think the risk is so low, that it's just as safe or safer and altogether more prudent to proceed rather than to stop. Adrenaline? Defiance? The last things from my mind. Maybe some other people feel the same way, maybe they don't, but they should speak for themselves.

Second, the "bicycles are vehicles, subject to the same laws as motor vehicles" level. There are all sorts of additional rules and exceptions that apply to different classes of vehicles, and different circumstances. While the law may not indicate exceptions for cyclists, it's absurdly stubborn, if not idiotic, to insist that bicycles should be subject to all the same rules as motor vehicles.
In most of the US, motorists are allowed to proceed with a right turn at a red light. In some locations, however, this is prohibited, and if it isn't prohibited as a rule throughout a jurisdiction, signs are posted at locations that present special hazards to such manouvers. I don't see why a similar sort of thing couldn't be done for cyclists at stop signs and lights. If a jurisdiction wanted to allow cyclists to roll through stop signs or proceed against a light generally, they could post signs to prohibit it where doing so would be more hazardous than normal. Like there are "no turn on red" signs at select intersections, there could be "cyclists must stop" or "cyclists must wait for light" signs if the intersection warrants it. Or something like that.
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Old 06-27-15, 11:10 AM
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One of the problems with rolling stops is that the more legal they are made, the faster a person rolls through the signs.

So, in many places, the rolling stop is largely ignored, but left marginally illegal, primarily to encourage people to stop and look.

Otherwise some people would treat them as yield signs.

And others would hardly even slow down.
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Old 06-27-15, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
Helmets are not a magical talism that protects you from getting killed either.
Let's not go there.
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Old 06-27-15, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
That's right, and neither is wearing seatbelts, so what you're trying to say?
Clearly it is a reference to the fragility of all life living on Mother Gaia. Live and let live; keep your nose the grindstone and your ear to the ground; don't take any wooden nickels.
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Old 06-27-15, 01:03 PM
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When I was living in Upstate NY I came up to this intersection in an isolated country road on my afternoon commute from work. Another car came up to the stop sign on the crossing road on my right and waited for me to pass. I waited a few seconds, made eye contact, just making sure that he was really letting me pass. And so, after some dead time, I went across the intersection and the SOB went too and tried to run me over!!! I had to jump out of the way as he almost hit me on the rear wheel, almost lost control but thank God I didn't fall down. I was very visible, with reflective clothing, lights, etc. There was no doubt in my mind that it was deliberate. He took off so fast that I couldn't get his license plate.

Now whenever I come to a light or intersection in a remote area, if there's no one I go (although lately I have been avoiding solo training rides). If there is someone, even if it is my right of way, I wave them on and wait until the intersection is clear. It's annoying but it has serve me well as I'm still in one piece and posting here as you all can see.
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Old 06-27-15, 01:07 PM
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Interesting replies. I obey all traffic lights. If I arrive at a light where cars are waiting, I take my place in line as if I were a car rather than ride to the front. This prevents the people who just passed me from having to pass me again. The only time I'll run a light is if it's obviously one designed to sense a car, and no car is present.

As far as stop signs go, I always slow down. If a car is approaching, I treat the stop sign the same way as I would in a car. If no cars are around, I slow roll it.

But that's just what makes me feel comfortable. Bear in mind, I always ride in a rural area.
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Old 06-27-15, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
If I arrive at a light where cars are waiting, I take my place in line as if I were a car rather than ride to the front. This prevents the people who just passed me from having to pass me again.
Most of the traffic lights around here (East Bay, Calif.) are sensor triggered and will switch to yellow once they detect a gap in traffic, such as one created by a bicyclist taking the lane in a line of vehicles. The cyclist will frequently be able to get through on the yellow, but all cars behind him will need to wait. As a motorist I'd much rather pass the cyclist a second time than have to sit at the intersection for another full cycle of the traffic signals.
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Old 06-27-15, 02:37 PM
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only if I have to wait half a century for the light to change.
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Old 06-27-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
Most of the traffic lights around here (East Bay, Calif.) are sensor triggered and will switch to yellow once they detect a gap in traffic, such as one created by a bicyclist taking the lane in a line of vehicles. The cyclist will frequently be able to get through on the yellow, but all cars behind him will need to wait. As a motorist I'd much rather pass the cyclist a second time than have to sit at the intersection for another full cycle of the traffic signals.
We don't have that problem. Lights are all timed, which is VERY annoying when you're driving, because you get to sit at a red when NOBODY is coming the other direction. The only time they're on a sensor is in the middle of the night.
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Old 06-27-15, 02:58 PM
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I have been rear ended 5 times in my cars.

I run most of the Reds here as they don't change for bikes or trikes.
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Old 06-27-15, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi
I only run them :
1. they don't sense my presence
2. it's dead empty road
Another vote for this, it's the one reason I'll run a red light.
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Old 06-27-15, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
I just read an article in the Washington Post. A couple reasons cited by the author was a sense of defiance to the motor based transportation system and another was a sense of risk taking. It's like an adrenaline rush.

When I think about it, those make more sense over some of the other things people bring up.
Great, let's add fuel to the fire of those motorists who hate cyclists, like to cut us off or take other dangerous actions. Let's give them an excuse to hit a bike. Incredibly dumb Washington Post author, but then I've been encountering some really ignorant editors in other fields, why not add cycling to the pile.
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Old 06-27-15, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
Interesting replies. I obey all traffic lights. If I arrive at a light where cars are waiting, I take my place in line as if I were a car rather than ride to the front. This prevents the people who just passed me from having to pass me again. The only time I'll run a light is if it's obviously one designed to sense a car, and no car is present.

As far as stop signs go, I always slow down. If a car is approaching, I treat the stop sign the same way as I would in a car. If no cars are around, I slow roll it.

But that's just what makes me feel comfortable. Bear in mind, I always ride in a rural area.
Just curious. When you say "I take my place in line, as if I were a car rather then ride to the front." Do you mean you physically get between the cars or do you stop to the right of the cars at approximately the same place. Also, how do handle it if there is a right turn lane only and you are going straight?
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Old 06-27-15, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jbenkert111
Just curious. When you say "I take my place in line, as if I were a car rather then ride to the front." Do you mean you physically get between the cars or do you stop to the right of the cars at approximately the same place. Also, how do handle it if there is a right turn lane only and you are going straight?
We have a parkway (two-lane road, one lane in each direction with a double yellow centerline) that I used to ride almost daily. It's a busy road, so cars are always passing. When I arrive at a red light, some of those cars are waiting, so I just pull up behind the last one, just as I would in a car or on a motorcycle, and wait. Some other riders pass all the waiting cars on the right, which means that these cars will just have to pass that rider again. To me, every overtake is a chance to get bumped, so by going to the front I've just doubled my chances.

After 37 years and zero incidents while doing this, I think it works for me. And I think a lot of motorists (especially ones who are wary of passing bicycles) appreciate it.

I did move out to a rural area a while back, so I don't ride that parkway as much. Fortunately, on my current rides, there's really only one light I ever come across, and I'm usually the only one waiting if it's red. But one light on a 70 mile ride suits me just fine. the parkway was nice, but I can ride all day out here and run across fewer cars than I would in 10 minute of riding on the parkway. I like it!!
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Old 06-27-15, 03:56 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by BillyD
Let's not go there.
What, is your lock button wearing out?
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Old 06-27-15, 04:09 PM
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If I'm in Los Angeles, where I live, I'll stop at red lights if other cars are present. To do otherwise would be rude.

If I'm in NYC, which is a few times a year, I never stop for red lights, and certainly no other cyclists stop, either. I'll only stop if I'm in danger of being struck by a vehicle. For that matter the only pedestrians who don't cross on red lights in NYC are tourists who risk being trampled by the locals.
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Old 06-27-15, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
A couple reasons cited by the author was a sense of defiance to the motor based transportation system and another was a sense of risk taking. It's like an adrenaline rush.
Bet he likes trying to beat a train at a crossing as well. There are better ways to get a rush than blowing through a red light.
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Old 06-27-15, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
Interesting replies. I obey all traffic lights. If I arrive at a light where cars are waiting, I take my place in line as if I were a car rather than ride to the front. This prevents the people who just passed me from having to pass me again. The only time I'll run a light is if it's obviously one designed to sense a car, and no car is present.

As far as stop signs go, I always slow down. If a car is approaching, I treat the stop sign the same way as I would in a car. If no cars are around, I slow roll it.

But that's just what makes me feel comfortable. Bear in mind, I always ride in a rural area.
Pretty much the same here. I'm thankful I can do a 4 hour ride with a couple of lights and only a handful of stop signs with cars.
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Old 06-27-15, 05:40 PM
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Today, I ran a red because "everybody else did".

I passed a half dozen cyclists on a bike path then came to a red light where the path crossed the road. I, needing to set a good example as the "fastest" rider, stopped and pressed the button. One by one, the others also stopped. The light didn't seem to be in a hurry to turn. No cars coming in either direction. After 30 seconds or so, one rider started across, then they all went. I guess peer pressure got to me. I went too. If it's any consolation, I was the last to go.

I always stop at the reds at major intersections. But I frequently use my best judgement regarding safety, leaving a good cycling impression, and the possibility of getting ticketed at lesser stoplights.
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Old 06-27-15, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cydewaze
We have a parkway (two-lane road, one lane in each direction with a double yellow centerline) that I used to ride almost daily. It's a busy road, so cars are always passing. When I arrive at a red light, some of those cars are waiting, so I just pull up behind the last one, just as I would in a car or on a motorcycle, and wait. Some other riders pass all the waiting cars on the right, which means that these cars will just have to pass that rider again. To me, every overtake is a chance to get bumped, so by going to the front I've just doubled my chances.

After 37 years and zero incidents while doing this, I think it works for me. And I think a lot of motorists (especially ones who are wary of passing bicycles) appreciate it.

I did move out to a rural area a while back, so I don't ride that parkway as much. Fortunately, on my current rides, there's really only one light I ever come across, and I'm usually the only one waiting if it's red. But one light on a 70 mile ride suits me just fine. the parkway was nice, but I can ride all day out here and run across fewer cars than I would in 10 minute of riding on the parkway. I like it!!
Got it. Sounds like a good idea. If there are 4 four cars in front of you, that only cost you about 40 feet, which seems like a good trade off to me.
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Old 06-27-15, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau
Huh? Obviously "the pavements" is where people walk at the side of the road, i.e. "sidewalks" in North America. Pavement = sidewalk. The first streets were paved on the sides where people walk, and the middle where the horse-pulled carriages travelled was mud.

You've never heard the expression "pound the pavement"? You thought perhaps it meant sitting in the middle of the street and banging on the asphalt with your fist?
I was guessing something was being lost in the translation or dialect because in 50 years I have never heard sidewalks referred to as "pavements". I have not ridden on them since I was a small child.
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Old 06-27-15, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
I feel like the other poster is probably just trolling, but for anyone interested in stats...

Fatality Facts
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of bicyclist deaths in 2013 occurred at intersections.

1. Most fatalities occur on urban arterial roads
Fatalities were concentrated on high-speed “arterials” designed to speed motor vehicle traffic through urban areas. The second most frequent road category for cycling fatalities was local streets in urban areas.
8 Takeaways From the Bike League?s Study of Cyclist Fatalities | Streetsblog USA
2. The most common type of crash was being struck from behind - In 40 percent of the cases, the victim was struck from behind
(By "crashes" they seem to mean "crashes that resulted in a fatality")

3. In urban areas, cyclists were more likely to be killed at intersections
Cyclists traveling in rural areas were 3.7 times more likely to be struck and killed at a location that was not an intersection than urban cyclists.

4. Most victims were wearing a helmet
In the 150 cases where helmet use was cited in a crash account, 57 percent of the victims were wearing a helmet.

Seems like the first most dangerous place to be riding is on high speed arterial roads, second most dangerous is at intersections.
If I'm reading correctly.. combination of intersections and being hit from behind would therefore equate to probably well over half of cyclists being hit by autos? Does rolling thru an intersection at a red light therefore reduce the likelihood of being hit from behind in an intersection? If I don't wear a helmet, does this also reduce my chances of getting hit?
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