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Discussion Starter #1
Let's say I'm approaching an intersection and I'm about 1000ft from the crosswalk. The light abruptly turns yellow and then red. Is it best to stop immediately or to run the red light? If I run it I may get hit by cars whose light just turned green but, if I stop I may get rear ended. I've done both on different occasions but i just want to know whats best. Thanks!


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I don't think there is a "Best" way to handle this situation because it all depends on how fast your going, where your going to go in the intersection (straight, right or left turn?), and how much traffic is on the road.

If there is no one behind you then stop.

If there is someone behind you, you should have a small window between when your light turns red and the opposing traffic's light turns green to get thru the intersection.

If you need to make a left turn at the intersection, I'd probably just go straight thru, turn around and comeback. Due to the fact I wouldn't want to be in the middle of an intersection when everyone else has the "Go" light.

It's all just very situational.
 

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If it's straight and theres no traffic camera, I'd drop a gear and open the throttle. There's usually a 3second delay from yellow to red and another 3-4seconds before cars start crossing. It's plenty of time to zip past.

Again, it depends entirely on several variables in real time.

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Yeah that's going to be a hard decision based on many different environmental factors as well as rider skill level.

My line of thinking is that I try to ride with safe buffer between myself and other vehicles at all times so getting rear ended is less of a concern.

I'd drop a gear and go through a yellow light but if the choice was halt or blow the light, I'd stop but move toward the white line if I was concerned about being rear ended.
 

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If your going the speed limit or less then stopping would be the best option. Coming to a gradual slow stop with flashing your brakes helps with people behind you and warning them to stop. Trying to beat lights usually isnt the best option as lights all are timed differently in different areas depending on the distance between of the intersection and area surveyed. Ive had lights quickly change and ive had lights take a while to change, so your taking a chance unless you know the area\lights your crossing. I guess best thing to do is maintain a safe speed around the city and you should be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yea I should have been more clear. Sorry about that. I'm going straight and at the speed limit. Thanks for all the input and advice!

Im trying to practice blipping while applying the front brake at the same time but I gotta get used to it. Is there a downside to using this method while approaching a stop light?


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I always look at pedestrian cross walk timer when I'm approaching a traffic light, slow down a bit and scan. I do this in my car too. After taking the MSF course (2 years ago), I'm a lot more aware of the situation around me.
 

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I usually lightly tap the front brake a few times way before the stop. During the actual need to stop i dont blip i just go for the full braking. I also do engine braking in certain cases if going a little quicker then i should be. =P
 

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1000 feet at 60 MPH is 5+ seconds (1.47 feet per second per MPH). I keep a close eye on who is behind me and how close they are. Generally I slow down fairly slowly for lights and I pretty much know the light sequences where I normally travel. Two days ago I got absolutely nailed by a yellow-red light and had to almost panic stop to not run the red light, but there was no one anywhere near my rear end and I knew that before I got nailed by the changing light.
A bike rider must anticipate the cumulative effects of many situational imputs simultaneously. I time the lights very carefully and know the exact speed I need to maintain for over 90% of those lights, 23 of them in 20 miles. Most of them are concentrated in the last 50% of that distance.
To answer your question, if there is someone all over my arse, then a traffic signal becomes the lesser of two evils. If my rear is clear then I stop before the light turns red as long as I can do so safely.
Most of the lights here have a short delay between the change for red and the green light coming on for other traffic, usually a second or two depending on how long it takes traffic to clear the intersection. Also be very careful when you get a light that changes green at exactly the right moment for you to keep going at the same speed. This happens a lot for me since I know the timing of the lights. Other drivers blast ahead of me and stop for the red light while I just stay close to the average speed for which the lights are timed. On occasion I will pass the same cager several times, only to have them blast pass me and catch the next light, rinse and repeat.

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Mech
 

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If you can't get through the light before it turns red, you need to stop. If you don't and keep this up, your going to eventually get hit by a car, or even hit a pedestrian. This shouldn't even be a question :confused:
 

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This is where your riding skills and instincts come into play. Treat each situation anew.

The person behind you should be slowing down already if YOU would be running the red light by going through it.
 

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Try to be aware of what's going on around you at all times! Then when the light goes red you know if someone's too close! Also helps in many situations eg, turning! If you know someone's behind just glance your mirror when slowing to make sure they have seen you!
 

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A great clip of not paying attention, wanting to be ahead , and what happens. "Atleast im thinking he just wanted to be in front of the light or try to make it".

 

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Light changed before he crossed the line. He blasts around the car in front that stopped. Future road kill and a perfect example of how NOT to ride a bike. Passing on the right from behind the car in front of him so the truck driver has no chance to see him. Want to bet he was speeding as well.

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Mech
 

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I think its best to slow down before you even get to that point. .not break.. but let off the throttle a bit so if you can't make it then you can easily stop ..and once you get closer and can make it then you can gun it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ya 100ft sorry haha looks like my fingers are the ones going too fast! I've been really paying more attention to who's behind me and really making a conscious effort to flash my lights while approaching. Seems like more people will be willing to give me space. Thanks errrbody :D!


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You blow through it:
You make it or you get nailed just like in most intersection crashes for bikes. Plus ticket and emergency hospital bills.

You brake hard but in time:
You stop without skidding or you get tapped by someone that was following too closely (& they were never gonna make it through that light safely after you if you barely would have), but chance for minor to no damage. And no ticket.

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