Traffic lights position question

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Traffic lights position question

Postby sjw0410 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:43 am

Just a beginner question...and yeah I have no clue..

If I'm in a bike lane on the road coming to a set of lights (intersection) going straight through and the light goes red, and the sign says 'Left lane must turn left. Bicycles excepted', do I just go to the front and sit in the bike lane partially blocking the left turn lane even on a green left arrow, and wait until the lights change green and then continue on. And, if there are already cars queued in the left turn lane, do I make my way to the front if there is room, or just sit behind the last car going left, and then on the green arrow move to the front in the bike lane, and then sit and wait for the green?

If there is no bike lane, do I queue behind cars or try and get down between the left turn lane and straight lane? Where is the best position to stop at the front - in front and left of the first car?
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by BNA » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:09 am

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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby jet-ski » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:09 am

I wouldn't be sitting in front of cars that want to turn left if they have a green on a bike - I would change into the appropriate lane for my intended direction of travel. Ride like you would drive. For me that's the golden rule.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby sogood » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:17 am

Give convenience to other road users when can be done safely. But if in doubt, keep your ground and hog the lane.

Otherwise I and most riders would typically park ourselves in the forward right position, often just in front of the stop line. This way there's typically sufficient room for cars to turn left and keep the traffic flowing. But make sure you re-occupy the lane if there's a non-turning vehicle that comes up as you don't want to get sandwiched b/n 2 lanes of vehicles when the light turns green. Also be very careful when the turning vehicle is a truck or similar large vehicles. They can easily swipe you with their tail during the turn. Give way with some discretion.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby rustybike » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:55 am

Agree Jet _ski
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby maDKient » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:22 pm

sjw0410 wrote: 1. Just a beginner question...and yeah I have no clue..

2.If I'm in a bike lane on the road coming to a set of lights (intersection) going straight through and the light goes red, and the sign says 'Left lane must turn left. Bicycles excepted', do I just go to the front and sit in the bike lane partially blocking the left turn lane even on a green left arrow, and wait until the lights change green and then continue on. And, if there are already cars queued in the left turn lane, do I make my way to the front if there is room, or just sit behind the last car going left, and then on the green arrow move to the front in the bike lane, and then sit and wait for the green?

3.If there is no bike lane, do I queue behind cars or try and get down between the left turn lane and straight lane? Where is the best position to stop at the front - in front and left of the first car?


1. We all have to begin somewhere!

2. If there's no car, I'll stay put.

If there are cars queing behind, I would move over to the front of the lane going straight to let the cars turn left pass if it is possible. Courtesy will go a long way in changing motorist's attitudes towards cyclists. But if it endangers you some way then I'll just stand my ground.

3. I'll get to the front of the straight lane. When the lights indicate green to allow you to go straight, you can shuffle to the left side and let cars overtake you. Again, if it's too tight and dangerous, take the whole lane.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby Aushiker » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:34 pm

maDKient wrote:1. We all have to begin somewhere!

2. If there's no car, I'll stay put.

If there are cars queing behind, I would move over to the front of the lane going straight to let the cars turn left pass if it is possible. Courtesy will go a long way in changing motorist's attitudes towards cyclists. But if it endangers you some way then I'll just stand my ground.

3. I'll get to the front of the straight lane. When the lights indicate green to allow you to go straight, you can shuffle to the left side and let cars overtake you. Again, if it's too tight and dangerous, take the whole lane.


+ 1. This is pretty much what I do.

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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby sjw0410 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:21 am

Thanks guys. All sounds like common sense when you think about it. Fairly straight forward if it is a left turn only lane. :)
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby wombatK » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:40 am

sjw0410 wrote:Thanks guys. All sounds like common sense when you think about it. Fairly straight forward if it is a left turn only lane. :)

It's really worth reading the NSW Road Rules so that you properly understand your legal
obligations.

Check particularly the definition of "bike lane". Unless it has the signs shown in the Road Rules
at the beginning and end of it, it is not a bike lane. It might otherwise be what the RTA classifies as a cycleway - typically just painted symbols on the road shoulder or left-most lane.

If you have a red light, you are obligated under the road rules to stop behind the stop line. Where there is a left turn only lane, I will try to stop on the rightmost side of the left turning lane just behind the stop line so as to leave some room for turning vehicles; or queue up behind the traffic in the middle of the lane if that isn't possible. Staying in a bike lane or cycleway lane on the shoulder or to the left of the left turning lane is too risky IMHO.

The Road Rules makes provision for bicycle boxes which would make such situations much safer - they allow the rider to get out in front of the traffic stop line where the rider can be seen. Not aware of any at all in NSW, but if might be worth you writing to the local councils traffic committee with a suggestion that a bicycle box be installed to improve safety.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby gdt » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:56 pm

If you have a red light, you are obligated under the road rules to stop behind the stop line.

I often feel unsafe doing that, especially if I am first to the intersection and the road is not very busy. I rather worry that an approaching driver's attention is on stopping at the line, perhaps forgetting that to do so is to run over the cyclist. So I'll confess to often breaking that law and stopping in the pedestrian crossing in front of the stop line. It's a venial sin and I don't expect to burn for it.

For busier intersections I'll stop short of the intersection, well clear of those turning left. When the lights change I'll queue up at the rear of the traffic proceeding through the lights. I've no great desire to be at the front of a string of traffic which then has to pass me within or immediately beyond the intersection. I'd rather have them in front of me where I can keep an eye on them.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby Becker_11 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:43 am

jet-ski wrote:I wouldn't be sitting in front of cars that want to turn left if they have a green on a bike - I would change into the appropriate lane for my intended direction of travel. Ride like you would drive. For me that's the golden rule.


The 4 way traffic light controlled intersection right near my house has a combined left lane in that both turning and continuing straight ahead traffic use it but as part of the light cycle they get a green left turn arrow. You can imagine the knots in my stomach when I'm front and center at the white line on my Greenspeed trike, the left turn green arrow is shining brightly & 2 ton worth of motor car is powering toward me with it's left indicator flashing. I'm watching the car get bigger and bigger in my tiny rear view mirror and praying he's planning on stopping.

I love my trike but I could do without those moments when I'm blocking a car from getting through the green light and my safety relies on the driver seeing me and pulling up short. On a two-wheeler I'd definitely be moving aside and giving them the space to pass.

sjw0410 - This is a really great question to ask don't feel like you're a newbie or anything. I was really impressed when I read it and I was interested to read how others dealt with the same situation and I've ridden bike for 20+ years.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby il padrone » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:58 pm

Just be very wary of your position when around large trucks.

The truckdriver's viewpoint is not alway very clear at all. Best to stay behind... or if you do go past, overtake on the right and go well clear (this may not be possible if the truck is at the head of the queue).

Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Traffic lights position question

Postby DavidS » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:05 am

That is a very good video. Most of us are car drivers, we should know about blind spots and once you think about it you should realise pretty quickly that the blind spot for a truck is much bigger. I used to drive trams and still take the view that all drivers in Melbourne should spend an hour in the front of a tram with the driver while learning to drive. You would be amazed what people will do in front of a 40 tonne vehicle with no steering. As for trucks, you shouldn't pass them at lights unless you know they are not going to move off from the lights in the time it takes to pass, assume they never saw you and, as the video shows, sit well in front of them. A lot of truck drivers are professionals and good drivers but you still can't rely on them because there are a few who are crap drivers. Then again, everyone has an off day too, or even an off 5 seconds.

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