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Red Light Runner Pro-Tip

They often come in pairs.

Arial photo of two intersections prone to red light runners in Woodland, CA

Red lights at the intersections of Main St. and Cleveland St., and Main St. and Walnut St. in Woodland, CA are frequently run.

Minutes ago, I nearly bought the farm from a red light runner. I see them frequently, and always keep my eyes open. What didn’t “click” for me until today was that when one vehicle runs a light, the chances of a second coming from the same direction are very high.

I frequent two intersections in my town that are very prone to red light runners. I would say I see an average of 4–6 of them per week. The up side of this is that it’s entirely built into my subconscious to not pass through an intersection without looking for them.

Today I noticed that I unintentionally wait for multiple red light runners. On my way back from lunch this afternoon, I saw someone blast through an intersection on a red light, and caught myself taking a triple take in the direction he came from. I saw another person coming down the street way too fast to stop, and sure enough, this person blasted through the intersection as well.

I had already started to mount my bike, but stopped when I saw the car coming. Had I not seen him, he would have hit me at 40 MPH or so. I really don’t think I would have not seen him, though. This is when it occurred to me that not only do I have checking for red light runners built into my subconscious, I also expect to see multiple runners coming from the same direction.

It stands to reason that many drivers will use the vehicle in front of them to judge whether or not it is their turn to pass through an intersection. I have noticed a similar phenomenon when drivers are attempting to wave me on at an intersection where I have a stop sign and they do not. I refuse (as it is extremely dangerous and illegal in many cities to follow their direction) and the next car will often stop as well, assuming it is a four-way stop.

I think it’s cool that this had become second nature to me without me even realizing. Safetly is my middle brain!