Thursday, September 5, 2013
Homebound LANL bicyclists crossing Jemez on Diamond Drive: Don't Get T-boned
Last night I saw two northbound cyclists pull into the leftmost of the two right turn lanes on Diamond Drive where it crosses Jemez Road. When the right turn green arrows lit up but the two left turn arrows were red, they crossed straight ahead across Jemez Road to work their way to the bridge sidepath.
Cyclists travelling northbound on Diamond Drive and crossing Jemez Road must note that when the right turn arrows on Diamond at Jemez Road are green but the left turn arrows are red, westbound Jemez Road traffic has a green light. Therefore, the two cyclists could have been t-boned at high speed by westbound traffic if they were oblivious to that traffic pattern. They were, simply put, running a red light.
Westbound Jemez Road traffic only (to my knowledge) has a red light when left turn Diamond Drive traffic has a red arrow AND when a pedestrian in one of the N-S crosswalks has activated a protected pedestrian crossing WALK cycle stopping westbound traffic. Or, of course, when left turning Diamond traffic has a green arrow.
Since there is no northbound Diamond Drive lane crossing the bridge any more, there is not a straight through green light. Two ways to legally and safely cross Jemez Road straight north from Diamond Drive to the Omega Bridge sidepath as a cyclist, at least that I can think of, are these:
1. Legally mount the sidewalk and activate the pedestrian crossing cycle. Cross as a pedestrian, either by dismounting and walking the bike or by riding slowly and carefully in the crosswalk. Both are legal. Do not ride fast in a crosswalk--you may endanger pedestrians and may be hit by a "right on red" motorist not looking far enough into the crosswalk to note your presence.
2. Get into the rightmost left turn lane and cross with the left turn green arrow as left turning traffic. Immediately upon crossing the intersection, signal and peel off onto the shoulder and get onto the sidewalk at the ped crossing ADA curbcut or beyond.
I'm hoping the cyclists in question did not assume they were safe because their lane arrow was activated green. That is a complex intersection and one must pay attention to all the different traffic duty cycles to stay out of trouble. Going straight on a right-only arrow is not too safe, not to mention not too legal.