So, I’m on a longer-than-usual weekend ride, and I come to a “T” intersection. I’m going to turn left, off a narrow two-lane road onto a busy, four-lane arterial. But I’ve got a red light.
I stop, and wait. And wait. And wait. Geez, this is a long light! Maybe I can goose it up a bit. I walk the bike over to the stop light, and push the button to display the “Walk” signal. And wait. And wait. And wait.
Finally, the cross traffic gets a red light. But my light doesn’t turn green. The traffic moving from my right to my left has a left turn arrow, but no one is turning left. So everyone is stopped at the intersection.
I’ve got two cars waiting behind me. They’re both going to turn left with me. I want to get out in front of them. Oh, the hell with it.
I push out into the intersection and make my left turn. I’m a good fifty yards down the road before the light where I was waiting turns green. By the time those cars catch me, I’m safely in the right lane, and signaling a right turn for the next corner.
About an hour later, much the same thing. Another “T” intersection. I’m planning another left turn, and once again the light isn’t changing. So once again, I pull out into the intersection, complete my turn, and I’m well down the road before any cars can catch up to me.
Proponents of vehicular cycling urge cyclists to ride as they would if they were behind the wheel of a car. That means I’d have to stay in my place until the light goes green.
But from a personal safety standpoint, it made more sense to me to get a jump on the cars. And both times, it worked just the way I had hoped. I put distance between myself and them, and I think the drivers behind me might have appreciated that I wasn’t in their way, either.
And notice, I did not jump ahead at a red light where I was traveling in the same direction as the rest of the cars. I would never do that. I made these moves only at “T” intersections.
Was I wrong?