Safest Place To Stop A Bike At A Red Light?

When coming up on a red light, bikers usually have to decide whether to stop behind any cars in front of them or off to the side of the stopped cars. Sometimes the particular roadway will limit the bikers opportunities. If there are cars parked in the right lane and there is no bike lane, it may be easier to stop behind a stopped car rather than to the right of it. If there is a bike box in place, the bikers may have an opportunity to pull in front of the stopped traffic.

The problem with stopping behind a car is the possibility of getting rear ended by an approaching car from behind. The problem with stopping to the right of a parked car is that the biker may be in the driver's blind spot. When the light turns green, the driver may have no idea the biker is on the right, and the driver could make a right turn into the biker. It is particularly dangerous to stop to the right of a bus, semi, or other large vehicle like a garbage truck. Even if there is no turn signal at the time of stopping, the driver could change his or her mind.

To limit the possibility of a collision, try stopping to the front right of the stopped car. This way, the car will have a better chance of seeing the bicyclist. Also, do not stop behind a parked car with other vehicles approaching. If necessary to stop behind a car, wait off to the side and then pull in after a car stops behind the front car.

1 comment:

Kathryn @ Bike Fed said...

At red lights, people on bikes should wait in line the same position they would take when driving a car, unless the intersection has a clearly marked bike box that allows bicyclists to move to the front of the line. Passing waiting cars in order to move to the front and right of the line is illegal and not much safer than waiting to the direct right of a waiting car.