Red Light Surprise

Yesterday as I approached a light on Mass Ave it turned red. The cyclist ahead of me rode blithely through it. I came to a complete stop. That was apparently a very unexpected move to the cyclist behind me…

Red Light

Should this really be that much of a surprise?

However, this is why I sometimes signal when stopping at a red. Of course then the cyclist would be confused about what I’m doing with my hand… right before crashing into me just the same.

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62 Comments on "Red Light Surprise"

Megan Ramey
March 8, 2012

This totally brings me back to safety school in 3rd grade. Stop signal is right hand turn signal flipped upside down.

March 8, 2012

I know the feeling, I get yelled and sworn at when I stop for red lights by drivers expecting me to run the red so they can make a right turn.

March 8, 2012

I’ve almost been hit on my bike multiple times by other bikes when I had right of way and they were running the stop sign or red light on the cross street.

Wandering Woman on Wheels
March 8, 2012

I, too, am one of those law-abiding hindrances to those without brakes. Yah, I stop at red lights, so sue me!

Just yesterday, someone zooming on a bike swerved around me as I stopped at the red light by The Monument in JP, which isn’t a typical 4-way intersection, so many bikers seem to feel that stopping is optional. Personally, I am not going to mess with those buses on the sideline, especially if I do not have the right of way. At 4-way stops, if I want to avoid waiting at a red light, I hop off my bike and walk it in the crosswalk, then hop back on and go on my way.

Now at Forest Hills, taking the lane, as I tend to do more often, I have nearly been sideswiped by cars AND bikes. As I merge left around the double-parked cabs, I also worry that the fast car or big truck on my tail might not stop when the light changes.

Although I am tempted to keep going when I can see it is probably safe, I take into consideration the perspective of people in vehicles, as I do not wish to add to the bias many drivers have towards we cyclists nor do I see a need to take unnecessary risks. I’m not timid; my first “car” was a motorcycle, and I learned a lot about safety, having once flipped off a tailgater, thinking he’d back off, only to find him now 3 feet off my rear plate at 75mph, until his turnoff came, thankfully. I also learned that just because you HAVE the right-of-way doesn’t mean you have to INSIST on it. But some drivers WILL, so don’t get in their way.

As with cars hitting cars, the driver to the rear is considered to be ‘at fault’ in a rear-end accident. So if you choose to blow through lights (thus pissing off everyone in cars who sees you), plan on taking financial responsibility for the physical damage you do to both the bike and the rider ahead of you. And if you hit me, you are going to get an earful and potentially worse. “No, Officer, I didn’t punch him, my arm slipped as I went flying when he crashed into me at high speed. I think I need an ambulance…and an attorney!”.

😉 Happy trails.

Mark Stiles
March 8, 2012

Yeah, I get the impression that most people on bikes are don’t know the law very well and just do what other people are doing. I hope that each time I stop at a light I give someone else pause to think that it might be worth stopping. Although I’ve seen people blow through a full red light through Kenmore going down Comm Ave towards Mass Ave. Yikes.

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