After reading Jessica Zimmer’s article What to do when the green light never comes, I felt compelled to follow-up with my own input and experiences. This is something that happens to every rider and can continue infinitely unless something new triggers the light. As it turns out, Jessica is much more cautious than I am.
My strategy is to wait one cycle around the light system. I might have just missed clicking on whatever turns my light green. But after the other streets get their turn and my light is still red, I just move forward enough to see any traffic and go.
I also remember intersections where the signal doesn’t work properly. The freeway ramp I use several times a week has an HOV lane and another lane for the others. The HOV side often has no one in line. I have never seen that signal switch for me so I now slow to almost a stop, check if the person in the other lane is starting to move, and take off. This works every time!
A few years ago, I waited around the light cycle. The only traffic was several cars turning left from my left. They would then be on the road I wanted to use. At the end of that stream, I merged behind the last car and crossed the intersection. No one was coming from my right so things were safe.
One of the cars in the left-turning stream was a police man. He must have been surprised to see me following him. He pulled to the side and waved me behind him. He came to me and asked, “Did you just pull out from a red light behind me”?
I replied, “Yes.”
He asked, “Was the signal not working”?
I told him that was what happened.
He said, “OK, please be careful”.
He got back in his car and went wherever he was headed and I continued on my trip. End of event!
Cops are on the street every day. Many are trained to ride. They know how well the light systems work.
Another consideration for simply going ahead and crossing on red is that there are really very few cops. Their pay starts at $40 per hour and most on the roads today are making $75. Cities and counties simply cannot afford a lot of cops on the streets.
Something I put to Jessica would be the possibility that what if stopping and dropping your kickstand in the middle of the road is more dangerous than simply moving ahead? This could be an interesting conversation. Does anyone else have an opinion?
RL legal note: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and in no way constitute legal advice.