Red means … go!

A few cyclist traffic violations on display this morning — in the space of a few blocks downtown:

First, there’s a guy pedaling south on Olive, wearing a bright yellow safety vest. Good thing, too, so it’s easier for motorists to spot him as he charges across 13th right through the red light. Worse, it was the kind of highly public violation that gives us all a bad name, as three or four cars were patiently waiting on both the north and south sides of 13th watching him decide such an inconvenience need not apply to him.

This is the kind of thing that generates letters to the editor casting blanket aspersions on all cyclists: “Cyclists are rude, obnoxious Cretins, who think they are above the law.” I know, people who write those kind of letters are idiots, too. But, dude, you’re not doing us any favors, here.

A few blocks farther up Olive, a guy with a flat-bed bike trailer of some sort blasted through the stop sign at Broadway without even slowing down. He continued up Olive and, without missing a pedal stroke, headed through the red light as he turned left onto Eighth:

I know. There’s not much in the way of auto traffic here, but that’s really beside the point, people. And, look: I love the notion that he’s heading off to help a buddy move his couch or something without burning any fossil fuels. But that he just blatantly ignores this red light pisses me off, because it makes people who drive lose respect for cyclists. I’d rather we took the high road.

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12 thoughts on “Red means … go!

  1. There are a few circumstances where red light running is justified, such as at lights with very long timers when NO traffic is on the streets, and probably a few other specific instances, but otherwise there’s just no excuse, and you’re absolutely right, it gives all of us a bad name.

    1. There are two excuses for running reds or stop signs. One is you are lazy and the other is you are weak. I think for most people it’s a combination of the two.

      1. Meh, I don’t think so. In many cities rolling stops at stop signs are legal. In some cities it’s even legal for cyclists to stop-look-go at red lights. Also, anyone who rides late at night in bigger cities is well acquainted with the ridiculousness of waiting 1+ minutes at bigger intersections with sensors that won’t pick up bikes or no sensors at all. Besides that, I don’t think a lot of the people who run lights are either lazy or weak and I’m pretty sure you can’t support that, so it’s not even worth arguing.

        1. I don’t have an issue with safely rolling stop signs or even stopping and then going through red lights when no traffic is present. I don’t see either of those activities much in Eugene. I see running lights without stopping and blowing signs at speed, refusing sometimes to yield to peds trying to cross.

          In other words: the behavior of the lazy and the weak. If you aren’t one of those douche-bags, the post wasn’t targeting you.

  2. I thought this might reveal some differing opinions. Happy to have this discussion here. And I know we’ll all be respectful in any disagreements. :)
    I’m not so concerned about a “rolling stop” in a quiet residential neighborhood or a late-night run through an unresponsive red light — as much as those highly visible violations in regular daytime traffic, in the middle of downtown, say.
    I will continue to post on this issue now and then, and call people out when I see something that makes me want to slap my forehead.
    I appreciate you guys taking the time to read and comment. Ride safe!

  3. this russell guy sounds like a bitter,angry person.maybe he is angry because
    those darn youngsters on their wacky fixed gear bicycles have more speed and
    stamina.i dont know.keep spewing the hate rus.

    1. Usually not bitter, sometimes angry, but then every once in a while something funny pulls me out of it – like the asshat who pulled right in front of me in the bike lane without looking from University onto 24th. I did what I usually do since after a couple of close calls I know to be on the lookout at that intersection. I kept my pace of 20ishwhatever I was going and said “on yer right” as I passed him just outside the lane. He screamed and crashed. First time I’d gotten a complete face plant; usually I just get the neck jerk and gasp.

      Good times.

  4. Thanks for the link, pedalon. As I understand it, state Sen. Floyd Prozanski has twice now been part of an effort to get a “rolling stop” law passed in Oregon (first in 2003 and again in 2009). It died both times. It makes sense. I hope this will pass eventually. Frankly, though, I do think some of the “reasons” presented on the site you link to sound a little like whining or just don’t really hold up. Still, such a law makes a lot of sense.

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