Cyclist Blowing a Red Light on Google Street View
Posted by Tom Z on June 16, 2014 at 4:58pm
I came across this image while investigating a bicycle route to Daley Plaza.
And these are the cyclists that give other cyclists a bad name. We can’t have anything nice in the City with someone ruining it for everyone else.
Reply by Tandemonium 9 hours ago
No cars up Des Plaines all the way up the hill to the Jewel, car in front looks to be turning left. No chance of traffic from other direction due to green right turn arrow (car in front has a left turn arrow at that time). Walk signal might just have turned and he got a 1 second head start. He could be practicing an Idaho stop, can’t tell. If your ride this route everyday you would understand the dynamics of this intersection.
Anyways, not like it is legal, but again it is a pretty controlled situation this guy clearly understands. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. I’m sure you could find cars in similar situations with ease:
Why is it that if we see a cyclist behaving bad ‘we all get a bad name’, yet when a motorist breaks the law people say ‘what an idiot’ and move on?
Reply by Juan 2-8 mi. 9 hours ago
Shame on him for not wearing a helmet either.
Reply by KevinM 9 hours ago
he could be turning right with the green arrow…
Reply by Marc A. Irwin 8 hours ago
If you think the cyclist is giving us a bad name look at your post. There are no “read” lights, how can anybody “blow” one. Come back and complain after a couple of English classes.
Reply by Jennifer on the lake 7 hours ago
Man, those quantum traffic lights that are simultaneously both red and green are the worst.
Reply by h’ 1.0 6 hours ago
C’mon folks, you know the cyclist has to be doing something wrong. It’s just a matter of figuring out what.
Tom Z, are you familiar with this term:
Reply by Jacky Chau 1 hour ago
I am a newbie biker, and I see other bikers run red all the time. Based on the responses here, I guess this is accepted by most members here, which is a shame.
When a car driver runs a red, everyone knows he’s breaking the law, and he will be ticketed if he was caught. But when bikers do it, they are setting an example for beginner bikers that it’s ok to run a red and that there’s no consequence. I wish there are “bike cops” in the city that can hand out tickets to bikers that violate rules of the road.
Reply by Jacky Chau 1 hour ago
wow, you sound like a real nice, outstanding person. How about you take a couple of manner classes?
Reply by Simon Phearson 1 hour ago
I don’t run red lights, and I wouldn’t describe it as a behavior that I “accept.” That said, I think the mild disapproval you’re seeing here just reflects the diversity of bad road behavior that commuting cyclists see and live with every day. We might be irritated by red light-runners, shoalers, and salmon. But what really gets to me? It’s the drivers parking bike lanes, it’s the drivers veering into the bike lane and suddenly slowing to make a right turn right in front of me, it’s the bus drivers that only partially overtake me before starting to edge over toward the curb to make a drop-off, it’s the drivers who treat the bike lane like it’s an optional lane of traffic, it’s the drivers who don’t signal their turns or cheat red lights, it’s the drivers who interpret a full stop behind another car that’s stopped at a stop sign as good enough, it’s the drivers who drive like they’re tied to the car in front of them with zero independent awareness of those around them, etc., etc. In other words, it’s the drivers whose erratic and unpredictable behavior keeps me guessing about all driver behavior, putting me constantly at risk, that I worry about, not the cyclists “setting a bad example” by proceeding through the Dearborn PBL red bike lights with through traffic’s green light or running a poorly-timed red light.
In one set of cases, you have people breaking the rules in precisely the same circumstances that the rules are designed to regulate. In the other, you have people breaking rules that fail to make sense in brief, specific circumstances.
Drivers are supposed to ‘veer into the bike lane and make a right turn in front of you‘. It might be time to take out your mouse and hie yourself over to the SF Bike Coalition site to see just how the current right turn thinking looks. You could also look here. It occurs to me that most of the blather from Chicago’s Urban Cyclist Community is an indication of the depth of their ignorance.
Reply by Michelle Milham 1 hour ago
In general, if you stop and look around and yield to other cars who have a green and treat a red light like a stop sign? It is ok and there are no consequences.
Yes, some people are idiots who blow through busy intersections like everyone should stop for them, but those people are rather few and far between. Most cyclists who do this have looked and are aware of what they’re doing.
Most cyclists don’t have a death wish.
Of course the folks that do ‘blow through busy intersections like everyone should stop for them‘ are the ones most likely to be on next years Ride of Silence Route. The idea of memorializing the death of that kind of rider really irks me. I do not mean to sound insensitive but the problem here is that the Ride of Silence is a protest ride at some level. If Urban Cyclists are as jaded as I believe them to be, it means that we really are honoring people who were they cops or soldiers or spies who had done something stupid and gotten themselves killed or a partner as well, really have no business with a Star on the Wall of Honor. It’s just that simple.
Reply by David P. 8 minutes ago
I have little patience for the idea that every time I am out going places I represent a group first. I don’t, and this kind of thinking nearly always only occurs when someone has internalized the group in question (in this case, cyclists) as one that is somehow “other”. I will not other myself – I am just a guy going places. That out of the way, I don’t think this is a very smart red light to run. You are climbing a grade from a stop, so you are not moving very quickly, and even when you don’t see traffic coming north on Des Plaines, there are short sightlines and car traffic moves relatively quickly (and you don’t), so you can find yourself out in the middle of an intersection with a car bearing down on you. Just wait for your green.
And here I thought we were all in agreement that we understood the concept of ‘victimhood‘ as expressed by H’. One of the hallmarks of an ‘oppressed minority‘ is that you lose your individuality in service of the larger stereotypes. We are either individuals or a group that suffers at the hands of ‘the man‘. Oh, wait! Most of the Urban Cycling Community is ‘the man‘. As ‘elites‘ we get to be at the top of the social order. And because we are flexible with our own kind, we get to masquerade as ‘oppressed minority‘ when it suits us.
Reply by Jeff Schneider 5 hours ago
Cyclists do get tickets.
Reply by foofy q. 5 hours ago
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/if-kant-were-a-new… reminds me of this article I read a few years ago.
Reply by Michelle Milham 5 hours ago
Yes. I was just going to suggest a review of the ideas behind Idaho stops. I’m a really concientious rider, but sometimes the laws built for cars DON’T make sense for bicycles.
Reply by Adam Kitzmann 4 hours ago
+2. It’s clear he’s in the friggin’ clear. No harm no foul. This whole cyclist shaming shit needs to stop. Sometimes the rules don’t make sense to obey, when that’s the case feel free to break them, I know I do.
I would actually like to see this same logic applied to automobiles that ‘seem‘ to pass too close. If you were not hit then, ‘no harm, no foul‘. Why should cyclists be the only ones with discretion regarding when and where to follow the law to the letter?
Reply by Jacky Chau 4 hours ago
So what makes you so special that you are entitled to break the rules? You are sharing the same road as the car. Why shouldn’t you follow basic rules of the road? So if I am driving a car, and there’s no other car around, I can run the red too because I am in the clear? If everyone follows your “rules can be broken because YOU feel like it”, then we may as well not have rules…
Save your breath my friend. The silliness is strong with this crowd. There are few things that defy logic so readily as a cycling forum where shoaling is a major concern but for many running red lights is permissible. No automobile driver would ever come to this sort of conclusion (if sober). Only cyclists appear to be dumb regardless of their breath-a-lyzer scores. It takes years of drinking to get your brain to function at this low level of operational capacity.
Reply by rwein5 4 hours ago
Because bikes >>>>>> cars
It would be great if cyclists used this logic when deciding to endanger pedestrians in the crosswalk. And please do not attempt to make the claim that a pedestrian is unlikely to be killed by a cyclist. That ship has sailed.
Reply by Simon Phearson 4 hours ago
I don’t have much patience for cyclist-shaming, either, but I think it’s worth remembering that – when other cyclists engage in it, anyway – they’re kind of scared.
Scared, that is, that drivers are going to use their overwhelming political power to make what is, right now, still a pretty free and fun cycling experience into a far more-constrained one. They did it with pedicabs. What else is conceivable? No-go areas downtown for bikes? Licensing and insurance requirements that make no sense for cyclists?
You may not think that it makes sense to observe red lights religiously – and I agree with you that it often doesn’t make sense – but these cyclist-shaming cyclists tend to view the alternative as: getting license plates for each of their bikes, finding an insurer offering legally-required coverage at a reasonable rate, and always biking with at least a few pieces of paper and ID. I know I’d prefer to wait stupidly at a few extra lights, personally.
Now, maybe that’s the wrong way to view it. Maybe viewing it that way only legitimates the risk and makes it more likely. Maybe cyclist-shaming cyclists are only helping to bring about the crackdown they fear. But I think it’s much more about that fear than it is any kind of indignant pedantry about red lights, like it is when drivers grouse about it.
To my mind ‘cyclist shaming‘ is exactly the remedy required. Why else would this forum ever keep bringing up the notion that ‘shoaling‘ or ‘salmoning‘ are bad practices? The chief problem is that if you decide to engage in ‘cyclist shaming‘ it means you no longer have the luxury of being a ‘victim‘. You now have to accept some responsibility for your actions and that means even when they are executed in the presence of automobiles. Most of the descriptions of ‘door-ing‘ that I have read leave me perplexed as to why a cyclist would ride in the ‘Door Zone‘ in the first instance. But how on Earth does one explain having this occur at least four times in the span of a couple of years?
Reply by Jeff Schneider 3 hours ago
Most people (whether they are driving or cycling) bend the rules as far as they think they can without causing harm. While cycling we have much less (though not zero) potential to cause harm by bending the rules, which I think encourages us to bend them more.
In a typical day, I spend a couple of hours driving and similar amount of time cycling. What I see is that cyclists blatantly disobey the rules of the road more often, but drivers make bad judgement calls when they bend the rules, and this much more often causes someone to be endangered.
My preference is to stick pretty close to the rules of the road as both a driver and cyclist. I just feel safer doing that.
Finally, if you get into the mindset (as either a driver or cyclist) that you need to be outraged by the bad behavior of others, you will be angry ALL the time. I can’t live that way.
Reply by Joe Schmoe 2 hours ago
It’s this American obsession with universal application of all rules. Where we can’t, as reasonable adults, take context into account (see zero tolerance). If you’re at an intersection in a car, in the middle of nowhere, at a red light, the only reason I won’t go through is because of potential legal consequences. I’m perfectly capable of deciding when and where to obey or disobey traffic laws, both on a bike and a car. I’ve done 120 mph in the Nevada desert in an uninhabited valley. I’ve run red lights in a car in sketchy parts of town when I’m concerned for my safety. I’m not “special”. But my cognitive abilities and skills on a bike aren’t the same as others. Some are much better than me, some are much worse. But we all make decisions about when and where to obey or disobey rules. It doesn’t automatically make people arrogant or self-centered.
The time I run the red lights the most, is headed N/S on Broadway. The intersections at Hollywood and Bryn Mawr both have left turn lights, and during rush hour, cars consistently block the whole intersection by making the turn w/o seeing if there’s room for them to clear the intersection. So I can either: wait for them all to clear the intersection (doesn’t always happen in that light cycle), dart between them as they’re stretched across the intersection, and avoid cars to my left trying to get around them (dangerous, because it’s hard to see the west-bound lane), OR, before the left turn arrow comes on, dart across the intersection. No one is inconvenienced, gets hurt, or has to take me into account at all. And I’m sick of cars coming at me from that left turn lane, even when they see me. I don’t do it every time. But I do it when I want to get to work faster, and I don’t think I’ll inconvenience anyone.
I do not ever again want to read that Joe Schmoe complained about any of the following:
- Shoaling at intersections
- Salmoning in the bike lane
- Cars deciding that under specific circumstances they will no longer obey Stop Signs or Red Lights
- Motorists driving as drunk as most cyclists ride following a beer gathering
Reply by Chitown_Mike 8 minutes ago
I gave up “policing” other cyclists. I stop for all red lights and stop signs. I don’t make allowances for people’s, IMO, poor choices to blow lights and such on their bikes by moving out of their way. I am usually a faster rider than most I see so if I pass and get to a light before them, I stop where it is safe for me. Sometimes that is in their way, sometimes not, either way I don’t say anything anymore.
Last time I said something I was asked if I was the bike police, which I responded no but trying to improve the public’s opinion of cyclists in Chicago as not a bunch of scofflaws. I was told that because this other rider does not own a car and commutes all year round they are exempt from laws and do not need to stop at reds. I wished them all the best at avoiding becoming a hood ornament (I was heated at this point, whatever).
Later that day I was almost hit by a fellow cyclist who decided to blow a light I was stopping at and cruise right in front of a CPD officer, the cop looked at him, then me, then shrugged and drove in the opposite direction. If the cops don’t care, neither do I. I say let them run lights, and then they can deal with any costs associated with their maneuvers.
The fact of the matter is the only reason any cyclist should have to ‘police‘ another is because according to H’ we are members of an ‘oppressed minority‘. The implication is that society is judging our class by the actions of any of us. That is what ‘oppression‘ implies. To the extent we dump this silly logic as ‘the excuse for bad behavior that it really is‘ we can be free to act as our own agents.
Reply by Mike Zumwalt 3 hours ago
Funny you mention this. I overheard a blip of a conversation at Ardmore and Kenmore about cyclists not paying attention or just blowing through. Now that’s the end of the bike trail with a bike lane going both ways on a one way street but riding in any manner that cars can’t makes you look like a scofflaw or reckless.
Reply by Jeff Schneider 2 hours ago
Mike, I also am wary of others behind me who may not want to stop. I signal (for all the good that does, but it makes me feel better) and try to slow gradually hoping they will notice. So far so good.
This is especially a problem when I am approaching very wide intersections (think Elston and Ashland) as my light turns yellow. I want to stop, because I might not have time to get across the intersection before the cross traffic begins its frantic race to the next signal. Drivers (as well as some cyclists) behind me, OTOH, often want to gun it and go (they, too, being part of the frantic race).
Reply by Davo 6 hours ago
I agree with what you have to say but what is the difference between cyclists blatantly disobaying and motorists bending the rules. It may just be semantics but it seems like motorists are more allowed to do this than cyclists. I don’t know of your exact experience but we need to equate any blatant or bending of the rules the same for cyclists and motorists. I have yielded and then went through red lights but when I see a group of cyclists stopped I have noticed that I am more likely to stop. I feel that in a few years we will see less cyclists running red lights as there are more and more out there that obey the rules of the road.
There is some warped logic in this statement. We are not called upon as pedestrians, motorists or bicyclists to behave only when the other guy does also. Society depends on unilateral obedience to its laws. In addition we as individuals demand from the state, fair and equal applications of punishment. This is the basis of justice.
Reply by J.P. 2 hours ago
I don’t see *any* cyclists who consistently obey red lights. (And I mean, not a single one) I am riding down Wells from Oak to the Loop every morning. I don’t see anybody obeying red lights, unless they absolutely have to. And what kills me is, we all know it. I wish we would stop pretending it isn’t so or make some lame excuse along the lines of ‘well, this motorist parks in a bike lane, so I am going to run red lights”. What are we, a bunch 5 year olds?
(before somebody jumps in, it’s not only on that short stretch of Wells – that just was an example, it’s everywhere on Clark, Division, California)
By the way, calling for the Idaho rule is a load of BS. Most people who run red lights, don’t even come to a stop, which the Idaho rule requires.
Our biggest problem is that we believe ourselves to be as H’ wrote, ‘an oppressed minority‘. That is not only incorrect it is disingenuous. The Manifesto that we posted below is clear evidence that we do not really believe ourselves to be anything other than the ultimate winners in this so-called struggle.
What we seem most unable to do is admit that we are as guilty as the next fellow of being arrogant and disdainful of others on the road.
- Do Urban Cyclists Empathize With Pedestrians? (BeezodogsPlace)
We have a collective narrative that must be protected at all costs. We know that the data show that we are safer on Chicago streets than in the whole of the Netherlands. And that is without anything approaching the quality and quantity of the bicycle infrastructure that country has to offer. We also know that the statistics show that if anyone is dearly in need of safer infrastructure it would be motorists first, followed by pedestrians with cyclists bringing up the rear. We are disdainful of Divvy users and yet compelled to try and put the best face possible on the sorry financial state BikeShare is in across the country. Chicago and New York like Toronto have or will need an influx of money from sources other than paying customers to remain afloat. If this were a private business it would be considered something of a failure.
Reply by Michelle Milham 10 hours ago
That’s not true.
I talk about how people blow red lights like idiots when cars are coming all the time.
Jumping busy left turn arrows is particularly dumb.
But I do believe in Idaho stop, and I believe that bikes should be able to go at t instersections. And therefore, this case doesn’t bother me, and I don’t feel its a big deal.
As for cars in bike lanes: that reflects bad on drivers because the laws, including bike lanes, have been totally and entirely designed to keep THEM safe, and yet they flaunt them at the expense of our safety and sanity. Whereas for us, the laws often don’t aid our safety or ability to ride (see: stopping EVERY BLOCK at stop signs is exhausting and unnecessary when no one is there, which designers would know and not expect if they had ever ridden a bike before.)
Reply by Simon Phearson 9 hours ago
This is an utterly bizarre comment, given that many commenters have said exactly that – including the OP itself. Unless they’re all just your sockpuppets, Reboot, I think you might be exaggerating a bit.
Reply by Chitown_Mike 2 hours ago
Is it different if I think that but don’t type it for fear of being flamed?
Reply by h’ 1.0 1 hour ago
Greg Hinz recently wrote at OpEd piece in which he attempts to ask the question:
The ‘clear‘ answer to that question is ‘probably not‘. For every cyclist who asks the question Tom Z does there are probably dozens of others who think it unworthy of response. Why is that?
the process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the group.
One of the defining aspects of the Urban Cycling Movement is its incessant need for ‘victimhood‘. Now understand all those guys you see riding to work in the early morning on BigBox store bikes on very busy streets like North Avenue (riding against traffic) are not the ones of whom I speak. Nope, its the ‘elites‘ who have managed to convince themselves that they are part of an ‘oppressed minority‘ that worry me most.
It isn’t folks who have been denied access to schools, swimming pools, lunch counters, public washrooms, housing, jobs or fair trials. Nope it is ‘whining little people‘ who despite their classification as ‘elites‘ have managed to twist space and time into a warp. They are now the ‘oppressed minority‘.
George Orwell was correct in his prediction that language would become a tool of the ‘elites‘ to establish their biases as normal. All one has to do is look at the blathering rants of the GOP/Tea Party crowd to see that you can always cast yourself as the ‘victim‘ and thereby justify being a ‘bigot‘. If you are a member of a religious group that despises ‘same-sex marriage‘ and you declare that people who are ‘living in sin‘ are unwelcome in America and then complain that your views have brought condemnation and as such are indications that you are ‘being oppressed‘ then you know why the Urban Cycling Movement is not going to simply ‘get along‘.
Never mind the fact that hundreds or perhaps even thousands of school kids have seen their schools closed while the Urban Cycling Movement has seen an increase in their ‘precious bike lane mileage‘ there are going to always be folks in that movement who see themselves as ‘oppressed‘. This is a vestige of 1960s thinking by those old enough to have at least heard about those times. But since they sat on their collective asses or were in high school drunk off their butts it has taken the advent of the Urban Cycling Movement to allow them an opportunity to ‘join the movement‘.
This is kinda like that guy who walks into the maternity ward with a really painful kidney stone and wants the nurses to know that his pain is equal to that of the women undergoing contractions all around him. He too should be given ‘a spot at the table‘ at the table on ‘The View‘ to air his story about real pain.
The only folks more inept at understanding how bogus are their claims of ‘victimhood‘ would be the billionaires 1-percent who complain about their treatment by the 99-percent. My heart weeps for them.
In the meantime could we get a giant foam finger and a bucket of horse piss to dip it in so that I can smack the faces of these ‘ersatz victims‘?
Maybe they are conflating some past situations in which their ancestors were mistreated or abused with being ‘bicyclists in urban areas‘? I dunno. It seems obvious to me however that it is difficult to claim ‘victimhood‘ if you can walk away from the classification by getting a haircut, removing your tattoos or taking the bus. You only get to be a member of an ‘oppressed minority‘ if you are unable to change your circumstances because of the ‘color of your skin‘ or your ‘inherent sexual orientation‘.
Short people are simply short. There is nothing they can do about that short of having major surgery to extend the length of the legs or donning a pair of rather ugly high heeled shoes. But try as they might they are always short. And anyone who despises short people will attempt to ridicule their situation.
Bike riders are simply humans making a choice to use a particular form of conveyance. Like their motoring counterparts they have made ‘life choices‘. Either can decide to take up the others conveyance or better yet try a bus or train. But neither is a member of an ‘oppressed minority‘. That is simply hyperbole. It is the kind of ‘up is down‘ thinking of which Orwell spoke.
By its very nature it trivializes real suffering by real victims. Allowing ourselves to lapse into this sort of thing means that every person in the Civil Right Era who was killed for being black or for ‘coming to the aid of a truly oppressed minority‘ was a chump. I reject this sort of easy transformation into a ‘victim‘.
It is insulting to every person of color on the planet. We do not need another set of ‘elites‘ tucked away in a conclave of their own making (whether it be in Idaho or Chicago) shouting that they are ‘victims‘. They are not. And probably will never be, by their own admission and declarative manifesto.