Category Archives: Advocacy & Local Issues

Bicycle advocacy both local and national, as well as discussion of local bicycle incidents with the community and/or police

Why I want MORE red-light cameras

This is the norm, not the exception. The lead car might have made it into the intersection while yellow. Might. The following car? Not a chance. Simply ran the red light, never slowed down. This is at Jefferson & Farm Hill, and it happens more often than not.
This is the norm, not the exception. The lead car might have made it into the intersection while yellow. Might. The following car? Not a chance. Simply ran the red light, never slowed down. This is at Jefferson & Farm Hill, and it happens throughout the day (this was at about 10:10am on a Monday morning).

What is going on out there? 10 years ago I didn’t see nearly the extent of red-light running and “California stops” that I see today. The red-light running occurs mostly on 4-lane streets, rarely 2-lane. And cities are removing red-light cameras daily, because they’re too much hassle???!!!

Two common varieties-

  • Drivers making left-hand turns from a signaled left-hand-turn lane, and as long as they’re close enough to the car ahead of them, they just keep moving through, even after the light’s turned red. Not much speed is involved, since the car in front of them isn’t flying through (they’ve got a green or maybe just-turned-yellow light, after all).
  • Flying through a just-turned-red intersection. They’ve had plenty of time to see the light turn yellow, but instead of slowing down, they barrel through. They’re so focused on trying to “make the light” that they don’t even pay attention to cross-traffic.

That’s why I’m a fan of red-light cameras. There needs to be a lot less subjectivity when it comes to dangerously-heavy & fast objects moving through intersections. I do recognize a double standard here; that a red-light camera can do much for catching cyclists flagrantly violating the laws, but I suggest two things. First, that there’s a greater public purpose served in reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities than in extracting punishment for cyclists breaking the law. Both are needs, but one is far more important. And second, the motorists are getting worse over the years, picking up on the worst behaviors of cyclists, while I believe, really do, that cyclists are getting better.

Let’s be careful out there at intersections. The good news is that potential accidents are almost-entirely avoidable by being cautious and assuming the worst (that they’re going to run the light right after it turns green), and the cost of doing so comes down to, at most, a couple seconds of time. A reasonable exchange to safeguard the rest of your life. –Mike–

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To the cyclist who casually blew through the red at a busy intersection in SJ New Year’s Day-

We’re riding from the San Jose train station to the base of Mt Hamilton on New Year’s Day for our ride up the hill. We stop at a traffic light at a major intersection, and this guy on a retro road bike doesn’t even slow down, he just goes on through, weaving through the traffic and across the road. And we wonder why cyclists have such a bad reputation with many. Similarly, when my son and I come to a near-stop (almost trackstand) at Canada & Glenwood (just north of Woodside) we have to fear that a cyclist is going to plow into us from behind, because so many go sailing through at full speed.

I’m not, ever, going to suggest that we be required to unclip and put a foot down for a legal stop. 45+ years of riding and a zillion intersections crossed, many monitored by “the man”, and never ticketed or even stopped by a cop because I didn’t put my foot down.  But many of us could do a lot better than we do. Enjoy the story below. It doesn’t take much to change “driver” to “cyclist.” Comes from Mac at Mac’s Harpeth Bikes in Franklin, TN.

A London lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by an Irish cop. He thinks that he is smarter than the cop because he is a lawyer from LONDON and is certain that he has a better education then any Jock cop. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Irish cops expense!!

Irish cop says,”License and registration, please.”

London Lawyer says, “What for?”

Irish cop says,”Ye didnae come to a complete stop at the stop sign.”

London Lawyer says, “I slowed down, and no one was coming.”

Irish cop says,”Ye still didnae come to a complete stop. License and registration, please”

London Lawyer says, “What’s the difference?”

Irish cop says, “The difference is, ye huvte come to complete stop,that’s the law. License and registration,please!”

London Lawyer says, “If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I’ll give you my license and registration and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don’t give me the ticket.”

Irish cop says, “Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir.”

The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.

The Irish cop takes out his baton and starts beating the living snot out of the lawyer and says, “Daeye want me to stop, or just slow doon?”

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