Intersection Ettiquette- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Kaishingo
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    Intersection Ettiquette

    I did a search, but couldn't really find much.

    What do you guys do when approaching a Red Light with traffic? Do you cut past all the cars to get to the head of the line?

    I've always treated myself as a motor vehicle and wait patiently in line with the rest of the vehicles. My thought is that cutting is sort of unfair (I'm pretty aggravated for motorcyclists do it when I'm driving). I also feel that all of the traffic that just worked to pass me would now have to do it all over again.

    However, I watch everyone around here cut to the front of the line. I'll admit, I've done it once or twice out of frustration (stuck at too many light cycles), but what is the rule for this?

  2. #2
    Still want a fat bike....
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    I sit in the line of traffic since there is no bike lane. I try and be considerate of motorists and I think it would improve my chances of being a road rage victim if I went on ahead to the front of the line. I think its different based on each different situation.

  3. #3
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    I mostly cut to the front of the line....but not if there is a known road rager in the line.

    We have on road bike lanes and share the road signs...basically the bikes get the parking lane, cars can use it, but cars wait and pull around them in the main lane.

  4. #4
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    I always go to the front of the line, perhaps a motorist in line will see the benefits of bikecommuting instead of going into a rage. This does not slow down any motorist in the least. The only exception I can think of is at one light where I'm going left and some of the cars are going straight. At that one I wait in line, but it's generally only 2-3 cars.

    In VT this is specifically allowed by law:
    23 VSA 1139. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths
    (a) A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as
    near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising
    due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in
    the same direction.

  5. #5
    big legs, small brains
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    Jump the sidewalk while flipping everyone off and screaming at the fatties in the cars......

    No really, front of the line every time. Unless there is a right turn car stuck 1 or 2 cars back, I would hate to get hit cause they don't check their mirrors for bikes. ( and they rarely/never do) Left turn, always to the front. I can swing the corner wide and get over to the right without holding up traffic.
    Kyle

  6. #6
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    Substandard lane width: I take my place in line.

    Standard lane width: I continue in my own little lane to the front while watching for right turn on red.

    Making a right turn in a substandard width lane: If there is one or two cars ahead of me I'll zip down the curb and make my turn if it can be done before the light turns green.

  7. #7
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    I usually go to the front, although that can depend on the intersection. But basically, cars were passing me as we approached the light and I've got no issue passing them now that they're stopped.

    I actually stop behind the 1st car - mostly so that I won't get clipped if they decide to make a sudden right. I also figure it gets me all the politeness points that I need by not actually taking the "first" spot away from someone.

    I used to line up with all the cars like a good little vehicle, but I'm not 5' wide or 2000lbs so it got boring.

  8. #8
    It's about showing up.
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    I go to the front. When the light changes I let the cars zoom by while I clip in and get going. Then get into traffic, usually at the tail end, as I exit the far side of the intersection. That way everyone sees me and I have no one climbing up my rear wheel with motorized acceleration. I don't lose much time and the pressure is less.
    I don't rattle.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Depends on the intersection and the situation, but generally I`m with Dalton on that- don`t like being between the cars and the curb, so I usually wait in the lane with them. If you get frustrated by a lot of stop and go, signals at almost every block (fortunately, I don`t have to deal with that), and decide to stay on the shoulder or in a bike lane all the way to the intersection, be watchful of the "right hook" from cars making a right turn over you and your bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker View Post
    Substandard lane width: I take my place in line.

    Standard lane width: I continue in my own little lane to the front while watching for right turn on red.

    Making a right turn in a substandard width lane: If there is one or two cars ahead of me I'll zip down the curb and make my turn if it can be done before the light turns green.
    I do this.

    Waiting in line only creates a situation where a car is waiting behind a cyclist as they accelerate. Not where I want to be.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalton View Post
    I sit in the line of traffic since there is no bike lane. I try and be considerate of motorists and I think it would improve my chances of being a road rage victim if I went on ahead to the front of the line. I think its different based on each different situation.
    +1. It earns you some street cred when you show you can play by the rules. Props for having some self-discipline

    If there's a bike lane, then I'll consider coming up the side of the queue if there's not a likelihood the first vehicle is planning to make a turn across my path. But often I just get into line anyway, it's a difference of maybe 3 seconds once we roll out and I don't risk getting right-hooked.

    I can't relate to the concerns about being in a line of accelerating vehicles. The further forward in the line you are, the faster the vehicles accelerate, it's the Slinky effect. As long as you're visible, you'll be fine.

  12. #12
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Front of the line EVERY time - It is MUCH safer.
    I will not be squished between two cars because some idiot does not see stopped traffic and rear-ends me into the car ahead.
    Rear-end crashes happen all the time and I think anyone who waits behind a car is
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  13. #13
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    Nah, wedging oneself between a line of accelerating motorists and a line of parked cars, or a curb, that's As I say, just make sure your visibility equipment is up to the task at hand

    <object style="height: 390px; width: 640px"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/bDhwTV229E0?version=3"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/bDhwTV229E0?version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></object>

  14. #14
    Wierdo
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    Wait in line. Cutting between lines of cars or cars and the curb is simply an invitation to get hooked. How many of you look in your right mirror or over your right shoulder before turning right into a driveway or at an intersection?

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I vary. Most of my routes are pretty good about bike lanes. If I think there's enough width both on my side of the intersection and on the far side for me not to get boxed into a parked car or something, I'll stay on the right and roll up as far as that goes. When there's nowhere good to go on the other side of the intersection, or it's choked up with other bike commuters and I don't think I'll miss a cycle on the traffic signal, I'll take the lane. When the bike lane disappears and a right lane gets added, I prefer to take the next traffic lane that just goes straight through the intersection. People are pretty determined to squeeze their cars through the right turn lanes, and I don't really want to be one of the things they need to squeeze between. There are also some spots where there's too much going on in the bike lane, so I'll avoid it and maybe take a lane before an intersection in order to set myself up for that.

    Absent other factors, I don't feel a need to slow down someone else's day, even if they are insisting on driving a car in a dense urban area. But I'll prioritize my safety over the seconds I might possibly cost a driver any day.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Wait in line. Cutting between lines of cars or cars and the curb is simply an invitation to get hooked. How many of you look in your right mirror or over your right shoulder before turning right into a driveway or at an intersection?
    That's why you pull in FRONT... no chance to get 'hooked' - In fact, I'll go to the front, and I'll move to the left even more if someone behind needs to turn right - I usually get a 'thanks buddy' wave for acknowledging them.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Nah, wedging oneself between a line of accelerating motorists and a line of parked cars, or a curb, that's As I say, just make sure your visibility equipment is up to the task at hand
    Who said anything about 'wedging'? - I pull AHEAD so that I am in the in full view of the driver. - Rear dropout inline with the right-front of the bumper...
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  18. #18
    Swedetarded
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    We have the bike box concept in Stockholm, bikes ahead of cars at the intersections. It does make you feel safer, knowing you are seen.


  19. #19
    big legs, small brains
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbigisbudgood View Post
    We have the bike box concept in Stockholm, bikes ahead of cars at the intersections. It does make you feel safer, knowing you are seen.

    That is AWESOME! Too bad we can't do that here.....
    Kyle

  20. #20
    It's about showing up.
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    Just as with great trails access, it is all easy if there is a lot of room!
    I don't rattle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    Who said anything about 'wedging'? - I pull AHEAD so that I am in the in full view of the driver. - Rear dropout inline with the right-front of the bumper...
    Almost all drivers at the lights I deal with ignore the stop line and or crosswalks. To be in front of them as you suggest, puts me in the cross traffic lane. Definitely illegal and unsafe thing to do here. So I think a lot of this is local culture, local road situation, local enforcement and lack thereof with a decent amount of observation as to best/safest practices. I ride differently here from anywhere else I have lived.

    My advice to the OP: Observe, learn, and adapt. Courtesy is secondary to your safety. But a close second. 5 decades of riding for me, and hoping for a couple more at least.

  22. #22
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    It's kind of weird to me that anyone would get mad at a motorcyclist or bicyclist for taking advantage of their ability to split lanes or "filter" to the front. Should we get mad at car drivers for not getting wet in the rain? Obviously, the people who mention such concerns don't live in California (or anywhere else outside the USA?) where motorcycles can legally split lanes. The only time I ever wait in line with cars is in left turn lanes. If there is a car or two already waiting to turn left, it feels safer to get in line with them rather than try to pull up along their right side while cars going straight are whizzing by on the right.

    Yes, it can be slightly frustrating when driving a car if you have to keep passing the same bicyclist over and over, but that is less frustrating than stopping a bike in the middle of a line of traffic for no good reason and making yourself more vulnerable to rear end collisions.

    While I agree with the general concept of riding a bike as if it were a car, it isn't a car and there are specific maneuvers that make more sense to do when on a bike.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post

    While I agree with the general concept of riding a bike as if it were a car, it isn't a car and there are specific maneuvers that make more sense to do when on a bike.

    This is an excellent point. Further, that we do not have a throttle some cruising at stops (Hollywood stops) make more sense too.

    To that point, a major bike manufacturer has a lunch ride that is very well attended. They have worked out an "understanding" with the local police that if the first person in the group comes to a full stop, then the rest of the group doesn't have to.

    All of this, however, is with the proviso that you don't do something stupid.
    I don't rattle.

  24. #24
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    ^^^ That, just makes good sense. You treat the group as one big vehicle.
    First riders are the one to stop and go with the signal - the rest follow - easy-peasy to me!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  25. #25
    Kaishingo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    It's kind of weird to me that anyone would get mad at a motorcyclist or bicyclist for taking advantage of their ability to split lanes or "filter" to the front. Should we get mad at car drivers for not getting wet in the rain? Obviously, the people who mention such concerns don't live in California (or anywhere else outside the USA?) where motorcycles can legally split lanes.
    It's a little aggravating when there is gridlock and a big Harley squeezes by and smacks your mirror. Most of the US also doesn't have the nice wide lanes that LA has (I assume the rest of CA is similar - I've only ever lived in LA).

    I agree with treating each intersection as a different entity. I currently live in the suburban sprawl of Northern VA, where a normal 4-way intersection is about as rare as a driver with patience. Luckily, I only have to cross one major intersection on my way to work. It's a 6-lane deal, with 3 lanes going left, 5 going right, 1 going straight (obviously exaggerating, but you get the picture - VDOT's finest engineers at work here folks). I've been squeezed here too many times to count - which is why I've always held my lane.

    Good point on the rear-end collision - will have to think about that on the way home this evening

  26. #26
    r00
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    I just got a Dinotte rear light, that thing is awesome.. But same here, I mosey on to the front of the intersection on left and straight (when the light is RED).. On right turns though, I wait my turn, that's where sandwiching can happen.

  27. #27
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    Wish I could ride to work from home but I will be riding from where i park to my office though. That's a start i guess considered i m out of shape!

  28. #28
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    While traffic stats say side, front-angles, and head on car-bike collisions are about 70%, that leaves 30% for angles we only see in mirrors or by turning our heads. When taking a lane that adds a certain uneasiness, doesn't it? But with narrow lanes, they barely clear my handlebars if i don't take the lane. Cars came too close to me before pulling out to pass or at intersections where they are too close to prevent a chain reaction and squeezing me.

    Then I upped the visibility with an ANSI vest and daytime visible lights. Ten to 20 feet beats a single foot. More visibility to punch through the fog so they don't do their normal with a bumpered vehicle helps. I am dealing with a lot of sloppy, careless, and impatient drivers not obeying traffic rules and not paying attention. They respond well to an obvious attempt to help them not screw up. See 'another commuter thread about lights' for ideas. Now when I decide I need to take the lane I get a decent amount of space. The only ones who pass too close are those who do not factor in my speed and don't check before coming back over.

    So we ride where we live, and we must ride smart to keep living. I wish I could go to the head of the line to fix this. At one intersection with a large low-use gas station, it is easier to go right through that lot then left up an alley on the left than to deal with traffic at the intersection and the chicane of parked cars both sides of the next block. 100% wrong but 1000% safer. Safety trumps traffic laws where drivers don't signal, yield, or stop at at lines.

    There is a reason even retired cyclists here ride after 6:00 PM besides work schedules: the idiots are off the roads!

    BrianMc

  29. #29
    It's about showing up.
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    What is legal is not the same as what is safe or smart.
    I don't rattle.

  30. #30
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    There is a reason even retired cyclists here ride after 6:00 PM besides work schedules: the idiots are off the roads!
    Indiana has an idoot curfew? Cool!

  31. #31
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    Around here there are some signs that say something like "Bikes stop on white line for green light". I've seen them both where there is a clearly marked bike lane and where there might be enough space for a bike to ride along side traffic, but the bike lane is not marked or the line has faded away. They don't have these signs everywhere, though, only on some roads.

    I like to cut past stopped cars if it's safe. I feel like it saves me a lot of time in the city with so many traffic lights.
    Matt

  32. #32
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    It depends on the intersection. If there's a dedicated right turn lane, I'll roll to the front and split it and the dedicated straight lane. If it's a combo straight/right turn, I'll get in line, It mostly depends on where I'm safest and will impede traffic the least (in that order ). And I don't watch turn signals on the cars I'm passing, I watch their tires. Most drivers getting ready to pull out of line will turn the wheel before they hit the gas.

    On left turns, I'll take the lane about half a block ahead of time, and then behave like any other vehicle on the road.

  33. #33
    namagomi
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    Cut ahead if the line is more than 2 or 3 cars deep behind me. Better to start off at the front and get through the intersection when all the drivers are still going somewhat slowly. Added benefit, motorists will know there is a cyclist on the road when they see you move by and you won't get right hooked.

  34. #34
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    Rodar & Idiot Curfew:

    They're either at home or in the bars. Self imposed curfew, I suppose.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Cut ahead if the line is more than 2 or 3 cars deep behind me. Better to start off at the front and get through the intersection when all the drivers are still going somewhat slowly. Added benefit, motorists will know there is a cyclist on the road when they see you move by and you won't get right hooked.
    But if you're in the lane with traffic, you won't get right-hooked. If traffic is moving through an intersection and there is a lane where cars can turn right or go straight, I usually take the lane to avoid right-hooking. If there's a right turn lane, I'll ride on the line between it and the travel lane. That may be dangerous with long right turn lanes since someone could move right and not see me, but in the city they short enough that I'm usually fine, and there aren't that many to worry about. I think with longer right turn lanes I would take the lane. All of this is when traffic is moving. Like I said before, if traffic is stopped I like to move to the front.
    Matt

  36. #36
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    From riding years in NYC, I have no patience for motorists. I immediately go to the front. If the shoulder is blocked by drivers that just went by me leaving me 2 inches of room, I ride to the front on the drivers side usually scaring the crap out of em'.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by m85476585 View Post
    Around here there are some signs that say something like "Bikes stop on white line for green light". I've seen them both where there is a clearly marked bike lane and where there might be enough space for a bike to ride along side traffic, but the bike lane is not marked or the line has faded away. They don't have these signs everywhere, though, only on some roads.
    I think those signs mean if you stop here, the electronic thingy is supposed to detect your bike and change the light to green for you, so they are only at intersections with that equipment.

  38. #38
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by m85476585 View Post
    But if you're in the lane with traffic, you won't get right-hooked.
    say what - obviously haven't seen how people drive around here.

    Every time I am right-hooked or nearly so I am in the lane and they are coming from behind me or have just finished doing so.

    Take the lane all you want, people who've waited for a light see it as a challenge to move into oncoming lane to pass you and then right hook you - nearly sideswipping you in the process. No thanks!

    When there is traffic behind me I consider it the easiest and least friction causing route is to move to the front and quickly get across the intersection. Not to mention you get a car blockade from those blind left-hand turners.

    So that is my etiquette, which from what i've seen isn't too bad!

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