Stopping at Red Lights

During a recent bicycle ride to work on the beautiful Bryant Avenue Bike Boulevard, I stopped at a red light going North at 34th Street. There is a bus stop there. After a couple of pulls from my water bottle, I looked to the right and noticed the 6 or 8 people waiting for the bus staring at me. I thought nothing of it and peddled on until I got to Lake Street. There was a Minneapolis police car parked at the corner facing North. I thought the car was empty, but it turned out the officer was leaning over to get something from the floor on the passenger side. Anyway, I stop at the red light at Bryant and Lake as I would normally do and as I am ready to peddle away on the green, a pedestrian asks: “Would you not have stopped if the cop car had not been sitting there?” Turns out the officer was back up in his seat and was watching the intersection.

I pulled my bike over and explained to the pedestrian that I stop at every red light no matter what and that approaching age 63, my vision and reflexes are not what they used to be and that if I just stop at every red light, I can avoid unexpected traffic issues. The pedestrian then said: “Well you are only one of a thousand!” I guess the bus riders on 34th thought the same.

This got me thinking that I certainly have noticed an increased number of bicyclists running red lights and that as bikes become more common on our roadways, this will certainly be the first area where the police will crack down. This is already happening in other bicycle-populated cities such as New York and San Francisco.

The leads me pose two questions for blog discussion:

1. Do you stop, roll through, or blast through red lights?

2. Do you believe we can get a change in state law (in the near future) that would allow bicyclists to treat red lights as stop signs?

Bill D

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