You know what irritates me
It’s not the drivers, it’s not the pedestrians. It’s the cyclists that burn past you and plow full speed through a red light while you stop and wait for the green. I actually stop at red lights and I totally understand how it irritates drivers, because it irritates me when I’m playing the role of the good cyclist.
It doesn’t irritate me because I want to do it. I want to do the right thing. It irritates me because these people give all of us a bad reputation. I really wish the cops would pull these cyclists over and give them tickets.
So long as it’s not putting anyone other than themselves at risk, the consequences are on their head; the argument about it making me look bad has never cut much ice with me, because the people who can’t tell the difference between groups and individuals are too determinedly ignorant to be swayed anyway.
Personally, I’m more bothered by anybody (pedestrian, motorist, or cyclist) who gives *me* shit for riding *legally*. I was a bit annoyed to catch attitude from some dude (on a Lager, I think it was) on Smallman a few days ago, because I wasn’t filtering through traffic on the right, and I was “in his way.”
On routes I know, and intersections with light timing, visibility, layout that enables me not to actually be in the way much, and lights that are synchronized to a sequence I can make, I often cheat the end of a light by a little. It’s just so nice to have nobody behind, riding the back of the green wave. It’s hardly unique to bikes, just in our case, the consequence of failure to judge is on us.
I can see how it’s annoying, someone half asleep at a light sees it turn green and immediately thereafter, a cyclist zip by, but I don’t do it in front of their bumper, I go to the left center of the leftmost lane in my direction for best visibility/clearance of cars for safety and not to delay them from starting into the intersection. No close calls so far and I’ve been doing this for over a year.
I agree with you re: blowing through. I think it’s OK to run a light, treating it as a stop sign but I draw the line there. You have to stop. There can’t be any traffic.
Drew I appreciate your perspective but please tell me why you think it’s okay to go through a stop light as if it were a stop sign.
I hear on this board all the time that we want to be equal to drivers on the road. That comes with it an obedience to traffic laws.
But most car drivers ignore certain inconvenient laws, when they’re convinced it’s safe to do so. (Coming to a complete stop at stop signs, signaling all turns and lane changes well before making them, speed limits, etc.)
Some cyclists do the same, but have different ideas about which inconvenient laws to ignore.
I find the “must obey all laws like drivers do” argument unconvincing, but a better argument is that a particular instance of law-breaking is bad (because it endangers pedestrians, say, or confuses drivers). Running a red light without even slowing down probably falls in that category often.
I just hate when stavassholes blow past me at close speed and don’t say anything. I usually hear their shitty drivetrain coming toward me because bike shop maintenance only.
I enjoy playing Marcel Marceau, giving nearby motorists a “wtf?” gesture while sitting out a light just after another cyclist flies through.
As long as they slow down I think it’s mostly safe, and by shaking my head it conveys a message to drivers that not all cyclist are the same. Of course I do this with cars too, only I vocalize the WTF part.
“Drew I appreciate your perspective but please tell me why you think it’s okay to go through a stop light as if it were a stop sign.”
(for some reason, the quote button doesn’t work anymore)
In Illinois, they passed a law a year or two ago that a cyclist can run a red light if certain conditions are met because a cyclist will not be able to trigger the sensors in most cases. I’ve been riding there a lot, the last couple of years, so I’ve continued to follow the same guidelines regardless of what state I’m riding in.
You can’t just blow through a light without stopping. The stop itself is conditional, you don’t just stop, count to three, and then go. I’m talking like waiting around for close to a minute or more until conditions are safe to cross (no traffic, none, you yield right of way to anyone with a green light… nothing reckless).
I’ll have to see if I can dig up the exact wording of the law. Granted, it’s not PA but it’s a good example of an objective approach to the issue.
You’re talking about 3112c2.
§ 3112. Traffic-control signals.
(a) General rule.–Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively one at a time or in combination, only the colors green, red and yellow shall be used, except for special pedestrian signals carrying a word legend, and the lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and pedestrians as follows:
(c) Inoperable or malfunctioning signal.–If a traffic-control signal is out of operation or is not functioning properly, vehicular traffic facing a:
(2) Red or completely unlighted signal shall stop in the same manner as at a stop sign, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign as provided in section 3323 (relating to stop signs and yield signs).
This means that if a signal, which includes the sensor system, fails to detect your presence, then it is malfunctioning. You will not be able to determine this in a couple of seconds. If you sit there long enough to see that the signal has gone through its entire cycle, which might be a couple of minutes, and should have given you the green, then you have determined that it is not working, and thus invoke 3112c2.
In my case, I know the precise location of various lights that do not detect my presence, and don’t bother to wait out the cycle. As soon as I see it’s safe to go, I go.
But I do not think that that is the point of this thread. We’re talking about flying through a light without even trying to stop.
Thanks Stu. I agree, I don’t think it was the point of this thread… I was trying to get Italian Blend to clarify. I get annoyed too when I see someone careless blow through a light.
To clarify, this thread came about because I was riding on 2nd avenue in hazel wood. And I stopped at a red light with some cars. After about 10-15 seconds, a woman cyclist just blows past me and the cars through the red light as all of us were stopped. Luckily there were no opposing cars, but that’s not the point.
I wasn’t commenting on situations where you can’t trigger a green light. That is understandable.
Incidentally, I got into an argument with a lady at the Waterfront, which ended with me giving her the finger and riding off.
It was at the intersection by the stacks where the buses turn around. I was going towards the Sandcastle and she was making a left towards the Homestead Greys Bridge. I was closer to my stop sign and would have gotten there before her, saw her slowing to her own stop sign, and so kept going without stopping. To this she kind of mouthed off/gestured in her car, so I stopped and then she pipped out the windows “Bikes have to stop too!” to which I replied “I was at the stop sign before you”
But given the RoW, all that me stopping would have done was delay me and delay her from going. It likely would have been that situation of “we got to the stop sign close to the same time, who’s going first?” In that scenario, I think bikes should just be given RoW
You won’t find much support here though. We are fighting an image war, and losing because of idiots like the one you describe. Not everyone who rides a bicycle wears lycra, or skinny jeans and flannel. Just like we don’t all filter on the yellow line, or blow through red lights. But the ones who do certainly stand out, and get talked about at the office, in the comments sections, etc.
Motorists are bad enough, without adding fuel to the fire. Most of them are ill informed about cycling, and transportation issues in general. Idiotic behavior by cyclists just reinforces the idiotic attitudes of the yinzers.
I generally avoid blowing red lights, even more so when cars are patiently waiting, while at the same time, I’m starting to feel increasingly entitled. If safety isn’t at risk, why stand around and wait and abide by signs and signals that were never designed with cyclists in mind?
People who regularly drive are contributing to ongoing global warming. They’re using resources that took millions of years to form and it’s costing them practically nothing. (in the short term.) Why should people who are destroying the Earth be on equal footing with cyclists or pedestrians? If you ask me, I think cars should pretty much always be on the bottom of right of way and should have to yield to everybody else. If only my lofty ideas were easily conveyed at a stop sign
Perhaps a t-shirt? “I run stop signs. You ruin the Earth” I’m not interested in waging or winning an image war to appease people (average Joe motorist) who are clearly nincompoops.
If somebody didn’t stop at a stop sign and I’m in a car, my thought process should be “Hey! That guy didn’t stop! While at the same time, I’m idling, polluting the environment, making it harder to breath for old and young people, am in a climate controlled vehicle where I’m relatively safe from harm and to move all I have to do is lightly press down on a pedal. I guess waiting another fifteen seconds is okay.”
That’s a pretty elitist attitude to have. We have to coexist with drivers in a safe, mutually respectful way. I would suggest that giving drivers fingers, even if its their fault, doesn’t covey a good image of all cyclists. There are more mature ways to end on-road arguments. Lets stop acting like a bunch of disgruntled teenagers and perhaps bike-car relations will improve.
All I’m asking is for cyclists to obey the laws and stop at a red light.
I would liken the mentality that you can ride through a red light to the drivers that feel the need to pass a cyclists in an unsafe way. Both people are simply trying to arrive at their destination more quickly and willing to break laws and endanger lives to do so.
It’s one thing to promote cycling and try to advance our ability to ride safely around the city. That is great. But it’s another to completely condemn all drivers simply because they drive. I would be willing to bet that most of us who post on this board have a car and have the need to drive sometimes.
I follow the rules in regards to stop lights and signs, but I’d say at least once a week, I have drivers honk at me in irritation for coming to a complete stop or for not going from 0 mph to 15 mph fast enough after a red light. The rules should be followed, but there’s no pleasing everyone.
Reminds me very much of how I felt a couple months before I posted this: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2013/10/26/Bikes-and-red-lights/stories/20131026006
This is kind of like watering a dead plant… but comparing unsafe passing to not stopping at every red or “obeying the laws” is not equivalent at all.
Sometimes I have clear sight of an intersection and there’s nobody around. Me not stopping isn’t endangering anybody. Now granted, that’s not the same as blowing through a red in an intersection with traffic. But still, the point is, as long as we’re carefully checking, we don’t need to obey all the laws.
Breaking laws and endangering lives can be mutually exclusive. I never focus on four feet being the law, I explain that passing closely is endangering my life. Focusing on laws should be secondary to following commonsense. So for example, if we get pissed when somebody blows a red, but they checked the intersection and there was no opposing traffic, so what? We’re smarter than traffic lights and stop signs. Those are designed to control traffic. It’s not designed for a sole person.
“doesn’t covey a good image of all cyclists. There are more mature ways to end on-road arguments. Lets stop acting like a bunch of disgruntled teenagers and perhaps bike-car relations will improve.”
Said before, but I’ll say it again. We’re a diverse group of people and with any luck, will continue to become more diverse. Trying to lump us all together is a mistake. Sometimes I give the finger, sometimes I don’t. I don’t think it’s a response that’s tied to teenagers. It’s a expression of how one’s feeling. Expressing oneself to me is much more mature and valuable than promoting a milk toast image of cyclists. Maybe I should start riding with Quizbot or something.
” it’s another to completely condemn all drivers simply because they drive. I would be willing to bet that most of us who post on this board have a car and have the need to drive sometimes. ”
Driving sometime and driving habitually when unnecessary I think can be distinct. The more greenhouse gasses accumulate, the more extreme weather events we’re going to encounter and the harder it’s going to be to actually cycle. If we don’t own up to the science of global warming, everything else is going to seem like a moot point in comparison
Sometimes I have clear sight of an intersection and there’s nobody around. Me not stopping isn’t endangering anybody.
So is it ok to go through intersection while driving car on red if ” I have clear sight of an intersection and there’s nobody around. Me not stopping isn’t endangering anybody.”?
Well I think it’s harder to see an intersection in a car and you have to be further in an intersection to see in a car, but no, if there’s no other cars and you have clear site lines and there aren’t any blind turns, what’s the danger? Cops go against lights regularly and they don’t regularly get into crashes because of it
There’s probably a bit more danger if you make a habit of going through reds, simply because some days you won’t be quite as alert. If your habit is to drive/cycle very carefully, there’s a better chance you’ll keep doing so even when you’re tired or preoccupied.
I can gauge my alertness level pretty well.
There are many times, picking up the bike at the end of a work day especially, when I just know I’m not going to filter, chase amber, look for gaps on a red, or see if I can crank out fast miles splits on the jail trail on my ride home… at all. And it’s ok, I just sit back, smile and let others go past me those days.
Just not most days :)
We’ve had this argument before, and I constantly encounter it outside the cycling world.
An Idaho stop sign is a yield sign everywhere else. If there’s something coming, you stop and let them by, otherwise clear sailing.
An Idaho red light is like a stop sign everywhere else, you come to a stop, wait for traffic to pass, and then go. But you do stop, even if there is nobody in sight. This really isn’t that complicated, or difficult to adhere to.
Let me muddy the waters a bit, though, and add one cute little maneuver I pull from time to time. I’m first in line at a traffic light that has an advanced left turn arrow, and my side does not. If I’m far enough up, I can look up above me and see the arrow go off (or yellow). If the left-turning traffic has drained, I will get a couple second jump on traffic behind me. This actually helps traffic flow better, because I can clear the corner and release traffic (necessary because I also take the lane at *every* light), so having that 100-foot head start makes it clear to everyone what my intentions are and makes it easier for anyone to pass me. To the guy behind me, it may look like I’m running the light, but in two seconds, he has the green anyway, so what’s the point in arguing? I’m doing him the favor.
Stu, you have to be sure how traffic light (TL) works. If TL has a lot of independent sensors and an advanced controller it’s always will follow this procedure. just an example — Boyce/19 in USC could skip whole cycle if there is no info from some sensors. Or if you go on Boyce from east to west and there is no traffic in reverse dirrection then next green is going to be either both turns on 19, or one way on 19 and turn, or ther way on 19 and turn — depending on traffic in different lanes.
Here is how i see it
At a Red light or sign i always slow to a track stand unless i can clearly see all is clear
I also think it is safer to filter to the front of the light and make hand signal of direction of travel . I often jump the light just by a couple seconds so cars don’t race to get around me when i have a clear line of sight that all is clear .
Most people drives too fast and over the speed limit
short cuts through most nieghborhoods are treated like speed way s no one likes to sit in traffic or be delayed even for a moment .
I take the lane when there is no safe way to pass (west carson )
otherwise i am around the white line to stay out of debris
I observe all traffic laws, all the time, in whatever mode I am using. Not even being sarcastic. I observe the speed limit, stop signs, yield signs, stay right except to pass, let the vehicle on the right at a 4-way stop go first, on the bus I go to the rear seats first and save the forward seats for the elderly and disabled. I occasionally jaywalk, so I am lying a little bit :/ . But I can be a huge pain in the ass to the travelling milieu. I enjoy watching drivers heads turn purple in my rear view mirror.
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