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When approaching a red light, do you...

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

When approaching a red light, do you...

Old 09-17-18, 09:25 PM
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When approaching a red light, do you...

So you're at speed. And in the distance you see a red light. At this point you don't know how long the light has been red. It could have just changed or it could be changing to green any moment. What do you do?

Do you continue to pedal at speed on to (maybe?) have to mash the brakes to stop at the light. Or do you slow your peddling down - coasting even - so that if you do stop it's you're not burning off wasted effort.

Just curious. This of course assumes you're riding solo.
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Old 09-17-18, 10:04 PM
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I stop pedaling and get ready to either stop or keep going. The situation is dynamic so you get ready to adjust.
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Old 09-17-18, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies
So you're at speed. And in the distance you see a red light. At this point you don't know how long the light has been red. It could have just changed or it could be changing to green any moment. What do you do?

Do you continue to pedal at speed on to (maybe?) have to mash the brakes to stop at the light. Or do you slow your peddling down - coasting even - so that if you do stop it's you're not burning off wasted effort.

Just curious. This of course assumes you're riding solo.
In this specific case and if no one is on my tail I like to maintain effort and hope. It may mean I stop hard (or get close enough to see the x-light and then adjust) or I get lucky.

In the more frequent and typical case I have a better sense of light timing and will accommodate to minimize rapid changes in speed. If I know I will get to it red whether coasting or not, I may still maintain effort into it - sometimes standing a bit longer is better than coasting and stopping anyway.
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Old 09-18-18, 03:27 AM
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I'll start soft pedaling, maybe feather the brakes a little. I generally don't coast, especially in such situations, because that's a good way to wind up in the wrong gear. The only time I'll maintain power and risk having to hit the brakes hard is if I got it into my head to show a high average speed. My philosophy is: brakes are a waste of energy, so I avoid using them as much as possible.
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Old 09-18-18, 05:46 AM
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Soft pedal and see if I can peek at the opposing lights.
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Old 09-18-18, 05:48 AM
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Keep my foot clipped in at any cost.

It's 10 times harder to get going while trying to clip your foot in, and usually the more you struggle to get your foot in while getting up to speed, the less likely the pedal and cleat are to successfully engage. I won't give up and unclip until I have no choice. It helps a lot to be able to see the lights changing so I don't unclip just as it changes. That is definitely one of my pet peeves.
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Old 09-18-18, 06:09 AM
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My recreational riding is largely done in the adjoining county, which may well be the last county in the state to have no traffic lights. So I don't encounter them on recreational rides. When i ride in the city, I pretty much assume they'll be red when I reach them, but I still only encounter about 5 lights and there's a long straight approach to most of them, so if they haven't just gone green as I'm approaching I know I won't make it. They also all have countdown lights on the pedestrian signals, so you have a twenty second warning as to when they;ll flip to yellow. Makes the timing pretty easy to figure.
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Old 09-18-18, 06:22 AM
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I slow my effort and plan on a stop...TN law allows drivers to be in the intersection when the light turns red, so one runs a real risk of being run over by crossing traffic at the turn of the green in your lane.
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Old 09-18-18, 06:55 AM
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Cars behind me? I keep mashing at speed and stop hard. No cars? I try to match the speed and slow down to what I can only guess will allow me to hit the intersection when the light turns green.

I also can't believe how many cars who had been patiently following me all of a sudden just MUST pass me to get to the light first. I guess the thought of being stuck behind a car is intolerable. I've had more cars than I can count miscalculate and they end up in the opposing lane or turn lane trying to get back into my lane. I just let them sit there.
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Old 09-18-18, 07:04 AM
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You lost me at the "at this point you don't know how long it's been red." Are there people in the crosswalk? Is anyone waiting to cross the same direction I'm going? What is cross traffic doing-- is it through traffic, or are the turn lanes active? I can tell from a few hundred yards out if I'm going to have to stop or not.

I then adjust speed accordingly. I'm coasting unless the turn lanes for my street are active, or the intersection doesn't have dedicated turn arrows. Then it's just knowing what lights favor what streets.

We have right-on-red here, so I try to stay out of that lane as much as possible. A full intersection is much easier to read than an empty one-- sometimes the sensors pick me up, sometimes they don't.

But I have ridden 60+ miles in urban sprawl, passing through 100+ intersections, and had to put a foot down just 2-3 times. As I'm crossing one intersection, I'm reading the next one.
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Old 09-18-18, 07:12 AM
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^^^Yeah. Depends.^^^
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Old 09-18-18, 07:18 AM
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Don’t try that in Baltimore City or County! A good rule of thimb here is to wait five seconds after the light has turned green so as not to get hit by the chronic red light runners.
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Old 09-18-18, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Soft pedal and see if I can peek at the opposing lights.
In addition to this ^^^ I also am looking for crosswalk indicators if they are available. The ones with a countdown are most helpful.
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Old 09-18-18, 08:12 AM
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Given the number of red light runners ion my area, I don't want to be the first thing through the intersection. I have one friend who rides a fully faired long wheelbase recumbent bike who was second through the intersection and still broadsided by somebody who never bothered to stop. In the past two weeks we had two drivers arrested for running red lights in excess of 100mph and killing innocent people. The first of the two was just charged with murder. She ended the life of an 8 year old boy. Both were also charged with driving while impaired.
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Old 09-18-18, 09:27 AM
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Interesting comments/replies. I'm in the soft pedal camp myself. But as I was riding last night I kept hitting red lights as I was riding. I'd get up to speed, see a red light and then have to soft pedal. Sometimes I was lucky and the light would change before I arrived, so I could continue to cruise through. Other times I ended up stopping. In any event, I was curious to know how others approached it.
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Old 09-18-18, 10:37 AM
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most of my riding is in busy areas of Los Angeles County with 45-50 mph speed limits where you usually get 2-3 drivers trying to beat every light so I basically slow down and prepare to stop at every light/stop sign/intersection and I try to ride up into quieter neighborhoods or in the mountains or other places without intersections when I can. The only time I run reds are on big 20+ person group rides to make sure I don't get dropped. I trick myself into believing in safety in numbers so as long as I am riding with 20-100 people that I'll be safe. It's like the mentality of the swimming portion of the triathlon in the great white infested waters here where your odds are better when you are one of 100 people instead of one person
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Old 09-18-18, 11:24 AM
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uncleat my left foot. does that help?
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Old 09-18-18, 11:32 AM
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Depends on far I have to go. The closer I get, the more I will slow down. I want to time it (of course). I check the intersection. Are cars just going through? Has the intersection mostly cleared? That indicates to me about how long the red has been up. Safety first.
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Old 09-18-18, 11:34 AM
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Around here...looks like most people continue texting, don't bother with braking because they don't have any, and just go through, possibly with no hands on the bars.

Kids are stupid. I think this means I'm old now
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Old 09-18-18, 11:44 AM
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Geez, unless the light is at the bottom of a big hill I wouldn't be going fast enough to even have to consider my options. At 30 kph that's plenty slow to see the opposing light and decide what to do...but even if the light turns just before hitting the intersection I would still slow down to see opposing traffic. Not doing so is a good way to get killed by red-light runners.
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Old 09-18-18, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman
Around here...looks like most people continue texting, don't bother with braking because they don't have any, and just go through, possibly with no hands on the bars.

Kids are stupid. I think this means I'm old now
Sounds exactly like the drivers where I live. I think most of the cars/trucks have brakes but they don't use them
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Old 09-18-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
Depends on far I have to go. The closer I get, the more I will slow down. I want to time it (of course). I check the intersection. Are cars just going through? Has the intersection mostly cleared? That indicates to me about how long the red has been up. Safety first.
Similar . . .

Keep speed then soft-pedal then brake only if it's still red when I'm approaching. And I move to the center of the lane to prevent the jerks who just have to pass you 50 feet before the light.
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Old 09-18-18, 12:17 PM
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The roads in this area of AZ are nearly all perfectly straight, so it's easy to see the lights changing up ahead(and make speed adjustments accordingly).
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Old 09-18-18, 02:54 PM
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Most didn't read the OP, but instead responded to the thread title.
I can't even recall when I had the situation described by OP.
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Old 09-18-18, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Most didn't read the OP, but instead responded to the thread title.
I can't even recall when I had the situation described by OP.
Funny, I didn't get that impression. I reread all the posts and thought most responses directly addressed the question in OP.
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