Left Turn on Red

Coming out of Adams, we’re ready to make a left turn onto Rt 44:

Left turn on red - 2014-07-24
Left turn on red – 2014-07-24

He was one car back in the left-turn storage lane when his light went yellow-to-red, crossed the stop line on the red, and was one car length over the stop line and accelerating when our light changed to green.

We’re ready to start rolling on green, but we’ve learned to wait a few heartbeats for just such occasions; what counts as a fender-bender for you would be a fatality for us.

Y’know how motorists get very, very angry at cyclists? I’ve always wondered why they don’t get that angry when motorists do those same stupid things, at higher speeds with much more energy.

We ride as though we’re thin cars, which is how it’s supposed to be done, and generally don’t get too much hassle.

One thing that is annoying, though: short-stroke yellow cycles that last maybe two seconds. We can cross the stop line on green, accelerating firmly through the intersection, and still get caught in the middle as the signal changes to green-to-yellow-to-red behind us and red-to-green for opposing traffic. No, we didn’t run the yellow, but that’s what it looks like.

10 thoughts on “Left Turn on Red

  1. The new camera light that was installed at the busiest intersection, near, where we vacation, has reduced the caution time from 5 seconds to 2.5 seconds (faster ROI?). The Camry_that_thinks_it’s_immortal is in the body shop, as, the car that clipped us from behind us thought there was another 2-1/2 seconds, and didn’t hit the brakes … common occurrence, we were told by the police.

    1. common occurrence, we were told by the police

      Given that police now keep ticket revenues (perhaps not directly, but through their budget), an obvious perverse incentive comes into play. It has nothing to do with public safety these days…

  2. California has an issue where parts of hillside roads get clobbered by landslides. When the fix is going to take a while, they’ll set up stoplights at either end so both directions can use the remaining lane. What was once my favorite bike route had one of these installed on a longish stretch. The timing and visibility issues ensured that unless you were Greg Lemond, you’d have oncoming traffic before you cleared. My heart rate was usually pretty low at rest, but not on the first (and last) day I rode that stretch.

    Re yellow lights: there’s a law on the minimum yellow duration. I gather this gets broken fairly often when red light cameras get installed. Cities have been slapped in court, but not often or hard enough, I fear.

  3. I see this every single day. We wait for at least a second after our light turns green before starting out, because of people blowing through lights that have been red for five seconds but them deciding they’re going to go anyway. There’s one stoplight in particular that I see someone go through on red probably every other day. And, predictably, they’ve sped way up so they’re speeding while running the red. Imagine getting t-boned by that.
    Luckily, the good thing is that side impacts are usually lower-injury than front or rear impacts.

    1. We wait for at least a second

      Just long enough for the fast-twitcher behind you to lean on the horn…

      The Forester has something like seven different airbags and I hope to never see them in action.

      The bikes, of course, have none …

      1. I filter: ride up beside the parked cars and stop beside the front-most one that isn’t turning right. That way I only start after the car’s already started, under the dubious theory that crazy drivers will actually hit their brakes if they’re about to run into a car whilst running a light. It’ll be a pity if I’m wrong and end up between the two.

        1. The ‘bents seem imposing enough that folks rarely creep up beside us, so we’re just another “vehicle” in line with space to our left. When the light turns, there’s plenty of traffic ahead to soak up red-light runners. Except when we’re the first in line, as in that picture.

          There’s a four-lane into six-lane T intersection a bit further along where the only safe way to make the left turn is from the left side of the right lane, where we don’t get clobbered by drivers insisting on making a right turn on red atop us. Of course, keeping left annoys impatient drivers intent on making a (legal, as are we) left turn from the right lane, as we take the entire right lane through the (huge) intersection and exit on the right side of the right lane.

          If the signal sensors responded to bikes, that’d be a major plus; we need at least one car to trip the signal at that T, so there’s no point in hovering over the sensor loop. [sigh]

        2. Ugh. HATE HATE HATE HATE “filtering”. I never pass bikes in their lane; I just wish they’d do me the same damned courtesy. Where by “courtesy” I mean “follow the goddamned law”. (Here, anyway: elsewhere it may be merely stupid and not also illegal. :) )

          1. I figure they only get one swipe at me; after they’ve passed, I’ll not give them another opportunity… [grin]

        3. (In my defense I also HATE HATE HATE HATE cagers who don’t know how to operate a four-way stop sign. Or, worse, a broken traffic light.)

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