Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 45
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: OldZaskar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,280

    Passing cars at red light - Is this okay?

    No. Is my uneducated, recently converted from mtb guess.

    Why the #$&^ do cyclists think they can have it both ways, e.g. demanding respect on the road - the whole "We have a right to the lane" argument... then completely ignore all driving laws and etiquette. Hey, I'm no saint - I roll stop signs and red lights if A. I'm not behind any cars (and none are coming to trip the light) and B. No cross traffic.

    But damn - I am constantly seeing roadies blow past the line of cars at the red light, only to force the cars to over take them - AGAIN. No wonder motorists hate cyclists.

    Am I wrong in this? Is it accepted roadie behavior or should I be calling these guys out?

  2. #2
    Banned forever.....or not
    Reputation: MR_GRUMPY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    22,467
    It depends.
    If there are one or two cars at a light, I'll slide over to the right and go to the line. When the light changes, I'll start rolling easy, and stay way to the right. By the time I'm through the intersection, both cars will have passed. With three or more cars, I'll wait at the end, right in the middle of the lane, until I'm up to speed.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
    How would you like it if Hitler killed you
    Dogbert.

    I>U

    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

    If you feel wimpy and weak, get out and train more, ya wee lassie!

    If Jesus had a gun, he'd be alive today!

  3. #3
    Bacon!
    Reputation: Ridgetop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    9,193
    Did they wave to you at least?

  4. #4
    Master of flip comments
    Reputation: gregario's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    1,735
    No, it is not OK, for the reasons you cite.

  5. #5
    Banned forever.....or not
    Reputation: MR_GRUMPY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    22,467
    They tend to give a "partial hand wave" when I'm in the middle of the lane until I get up to speed.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
    .
    How would you like it if Hitler killed you
    Dogbert.

    I>U

    Buying parts to hang on your bike is always easier than getting fit.

    If you feel wimpy and weak, get out and train more, ya wee lassie!

    If Jesus had a gun, he'd be alive today!

  6. #6
    Steaming piles of opinion
    Reputation: danl1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    10,523
    As a rule, it's bad form. A car or two (so that the re-pass is over within the intersections extra width) might be OK, but if there's a longer line behind that (regardless of how many you personally passed) it might make getting back into the lane messy.

    There are a couple of other situations where it can be OK, like if there's a bike lane for you or a center lane for them to pass easily.

    If you are gonna inconvenience someone a second time, that's a good indication that you shouldn't. Manners aside, it's just one less bumper to worry about.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,746
    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar

    But damn - I am constantly seeing roadies blow past the line of cars at the red light, only to force the cars to over take them - AGAIN. No wonder motorists hate cyclists.
    How is passing a bike a problem? Assuming the biker is to the side of the road I don't understand why you'd see this as some sort of big effort.

  8. #8
    wim
    wim is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    9,997
    Perfectly legal in Virginia, to wit:

    § 46.2-907. Overtaking and passing vehicles.
    A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, motorized skateboard or scooter, or moped may overtake and pass another vehicle on either the left or right side, staying in the same lane as the overtaken vehicle, or changing to a different lane, or riding off the roadway as necessary to pass with safety.


    But that doesn't mean it's the smart thing to do. I do exactly what Mr. Grumpy does in these situations (post #2).

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,487
    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Stamper
    How is passing a bike a problem? Assuming the biker is to the side of the road I don't understand why you'd see this as some sort of big effort.
    SRSLY???
    Imagine a busy road with oncoming traffic, cars parked on the right side of both directions. Guy riding on the right, at a safe distance from the parked cars to limit the possibilty of being doored. A vehicle must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance from the cyclist. That car is now a minimum of five feet away from the parked cars. I don't know how wide the roads are where you live, but round here that distance would put you into, or VERY close to, oncoming traffic.
    So in short, no it's not cool to pass the cars that have already had to pass you. Unless you want to be a D!c$.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,746
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbbmet
    SRSLY???
    Imagine a busy road with oncoming traffic, cars parked on the right side of both directions. Guy riding on the right, at a safe distance from the parked cars to limit the possibilty of being doored. A vehicle must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance from the cyclist. That car is now a minimum of five feet away from the parked cars. I don't know how wide the roads are where you live, but round here that distance would put you into, or VERY close to, oncoming traffic.
    So in short, no it's not cool to pass the cars that have already had to pass you. Unless you want to be a D!c$.
    If three seconds out of your day is big deal fine. Personally I don't think it is and I'd consider myself lucky if that's all I had to get bent out of shape over. And I'm speaking for my perspective as a car driver.

  11. #11
    Still On Steel
    Reputation: Allez Rouge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,398
    As wim says, there's legal (at least in some states), and there's smart. Also, the motorist may not be aware it's legal, so you might be aggravating a pre-existing negative opinion of cyclists even though the law is on your side.

    So, generally, No. Not smart, not cool.

    There are exceptions. Say I'm approaching an intersection where I'll make a right turn. If there are only a couple-few cars waiting and it is clear by their position on the roadway that they're all going straight, I might ease by on the right and make my turn and be on my way. Or vice-versa, when I'm going straight and all the cars are going to turn.

    Otherwise, I too do as Mr Grumpy does: sit in line in the middle of the lane and wait my turn, just like everyone else. I look around and make eye contact with the motorists and signal my intentions. They seem to better accept me and respect me as a result.
    Allez Rouge

  12. #12
    donuts?
    Reputation: asciibaron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,816
    i am not going to wait 25 cars back in rush hour traffic for 3 cycles of the light - that makes me a giant target for some tool to hit me. i pass on the right and wait at the light off to the side a little. it's smart and it keeps me moving when traffic is grid-locked. why make yourself a target for a person not paying attention?
    -Steve
    Quote Originally Posted by Chain
    Next time, save your energy for tomorrows ride and try not to come in 6th.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    361
    It's legal in NH. Common sense should prevail, though.

    (RSA 265:144-7) Bicyclists may pass a slower moving vehicle in the same lane if safe to do so. Passing on the right is allowed if the motor vehicle is stopped.

  14. #14
    likes to eat donuts
    Reputation: piano,piano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    909

    yes!

    Quote Originally Posted by asciibaron
    i am not going to wait 25 cars back in rush hour traffic for 3 cycles of the light - that makes me a giant target for some tool to hit me. i pass on the right and wait at the light off to the side a little. it's smart and it keeps me moving when traffic is grid-locked. why make yourself a target for a person not paying attention?

    +1
    “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.”
    -Groucho Marx

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Wookiebiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    5,130
    They changed the law in Oregon a few years back allowing cyclists to pass cars when stopped at a stop light.

    The reason, it was deemed to be safer because the bike could move to the front and be seen by all cars behind. It keeps cars from turning right in front of the cyclist and reduces the number of accidents that way.

    They have even built up a number of "Bike Boxes" in the Portland area where only bikes can enter the box at intersections. Multiple bikes can fit in the box at one time so they are not lined up along traffic.

    And to answer your question...yes, I pass cars at both stop lights and stop signs. At most I may delay them for 1-2 seconds, but they can see me which I'm more concerned about. As they say...I'd rather be wrong and alive than dead and right!
    Bikes:
    • 2012 CAAD10 (4)
    • 2013 Jamis Nova Race (winter training bike)
    • 1998 Marin East Peak - MTB
    • 2012 Argon 18 E-118


  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,122
    who cares if those 3 cars have to pass you again? in the meantime 8 billion other cars will be passing again as well. go to the front of the line at a red light

  17. #17
    Squirrel Hunter
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    3,893

    M Y O B

    I make all my riding decisions based on what I perceive as being safest for me and those I am riding with. Laws and rules of the road are good reference points but I will adapt to a situation as I deem appropriate. Being able to adapt and think is important.

    For example I may pull up alongside a car(s) that is going straight through the intersection and basically use them as a blocker so that some moreon coming from the other direction does not try to make a left turn as soon as the car I would have been following has cleared the intersection and cream me. Not legal but safer in the right situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar
    ...should I be calling these guys out?
    Mind your own business and ride how you choose to.
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  18. #18
    Fecal indicator
    Reputation: Oxtox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    6,105
    I do it regularly.

    it seems to generate less hostility than being in a line of cars and then not accelerating as fast as the dude behind me thinks I need to...
    eff all y'all...

  19. #19
    Moderatus Puisne
    Reputation: Argentius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    16,070

    This.

    Yep.

    I think of the far right of the lane as "my lane" or a bike lane, whether or not there is a striped bike lane.

    Laws are occasionally vague on this, but according to Mionske, "Bicycling and the Law," passing stopped cars on the right is legal in all 50 states.

    I want to wait AT the light, breathing relatively clean air, with clean line of sight to the dangers ahead of me.

    A tiny piece of flesh within a sea of steel is NOT what I'd like to be when the light goes green.

    Plus, it makes traffic flow faster for EVERYONE, like Ascii says.


    Quote Originally Posted by asciibaron
    i am not going to wait 25 cars back in rush hour traffic for 3 cycles of the light - that makes me a giant target for some tool to hit me. i pass on the right and wait at the light off to the side a little. it's smart and it keeps me moving when traffic is grid-locked. why make yourself a target for a person not paying attention?

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,138
    Agreed -- give it some thought, consider/anticipate the traffic, then do what's safest. In some circumstances I'll even pass the cars, pause at the red light, then roll right through -- if it gets me out of the intersection and out of the cars' way we all win.

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Jerry-rigged's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    588
    Quote Originally Posted by asciibaron
    i am not going to wait 25 cars back in rush hour traffic for 3 cycles of the light - that makes me a giant target for some tool to hit me. i pass on the right and wait at the light off to the side a little. it's smart and it keeps me moving when traffic is grid-locked. why make yourself a target for a person not paying attention?
    X a bunch.

    and if the light is a short cycle light, I wil take my time thru the intersection (off to the right, so I don't block traffic) and let the 4-5 cars that can make it thru the light pass, then hook it and try to grab a draft off the last car thru the light.

    Jerry
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti.

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    469
    I do this daily.... and I agree with some comments above, as it depends..

    A) one light has a dedicated bike lane, I ride straight to the stop light and stay in my lane.. no isses

    B) No bike lane if there are one or two cars I will pull up to the right, any more and I take my place in the middle of the lane and wait my turn, when I go through the intersection and feel safe enough to move right I do until then I control the lane..

    C

  23. #23
    dot
    dot is offline
    badass
    Reputation: dot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    373
    In London at traffic lights they put green area for bikes IN FRONT of stop lines.

    Nothing wrong with going first from every traffic lights - it keeps me safe at least from those who jerk between lanes and make unpredictable moves and those who turn right. I always kind of sprint at the green. Waiting behind is also a good way to breathe in more bad air from lorries, buses and old junk.

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Indyfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    845
    Good topic. I usually keep my place in traffic if there are no bike lanes. But I have the luxury of using mostly quieter back roads or rural roads on most of my rides. If I am at the front of a light, I usually slow-start to allow traffic to pass me. I'd rather let them be in front when I'm going my slowest. When I lived in ABQ my commute included a ride along Osuna Blvd. I had a bike lane and would pass a huge gridlock during evening rush hour. I could see the frustration on many people's faces, but since I had a bike lane I wasn't going to wait with them.

    Overall I'd say to ride conditions and be safe. When in a downtown area I do my best to follow traffic laws and ride like a car. People seem to respond to that better as long as I'm riding close to the posted speed limit.

    Bob

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,138
    Quote Originally Posted by Indyfan
    ...When in a downtown area I do my best to follow traffic laws and ride like a car...
    Funny -- when I ride in downtown Boston traffic cops will routinely wave me through red lights. I guess they'd rather get me through the intersection before the traffic jam starts (accidents require so much paperwork!).

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Sea Otter Classic

Hot Deals

Contest


Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook