Four-Way Stop Protocol
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22-05-2015, 08:06 AM
Four-Way Stop Protocol
Maybe this is only a thing in the US -- if so, the rest of you can ignore it -- but I've been having immense difficulty getting through 4-way stop intersections (stop sign at all 4 corners) lately.

It seems like everyone else wants to take turns going into a circle, i.e., one car goes, then the one to the right of them, then the one to the right of them, etc. -- or maybe the circle goes in the other direction. I can never figure out which way it's going, and in any event, the whole procedure seems spectacularly inefficient to me. It seems like twice as many cars could get through the intersection in the same amount of time if both cars on street A go at the same time, then both cars on street B go at the same time, etc. The only time this doesn't work is if one car is turning left and the other one isn't -- in which case, the non-turning car has the right-of-way and goes first.

I try to do it this way, and what always happens is that when I try to go, someone from the cross street is trying to go at the same time as me. Is it because I'm not following the protocol (stupid as it is), or is it because I'm on a bicycle and they feel that they can just ignore me?

Either way, it's getting to the point where I'll go a mile or two out of my way just to avoid intersections with 4-way stops. It's driving me crazy!
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22-05-2015, 08:32 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
It's my understanding, that the rule of thumb in most drivers handbooks is written loosely as: "first to stop, first to leave" in the order which moving vehicles arrive at one of the stop signs. This holds true even with vehicles in queue.

I find that some people at 4-way stops aren't the greatest at logical reasoning, but that's a debate for another day. Also, most driving tests in smaller states neglect quite a bit of the nuances to driving.
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22-05-2015, 08:38 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
The rule is supposed to be if you think you've come to a stop at the same time as another person, you differ to a person on your right to go first.

And yeah they probably ignore you on a bicycle, who ever heard of a bi-cycle. Maybe a tricycle is the solution.

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22-05-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
(22-05-2015 08:38 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  The rule is supposed to be if you think you've come to a stop at the same time as another person, you differ to a person on your right to go first.

And yeah they probably ignore you on a bicycle, who ever heard of a bi-cycle. Maybe a tricycle is the solution.

That makes sense if there are only two people at the intersection, and they are not on the same street. However, in the cases I'm referencing, there have been multiple cars lined up at all 4 corners (or at least on both sides of the street I'm trying to cross) -- in which case this "rule" doesn't help at all. Everyone has someone to his/her right.

I'm starting to think that it's either (1) They ignore me because "bicycles don't count" or (2) People in general are stupid and don't have a clue what to do at a 4-way stop.
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22-05-2015, 09:25 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
In the US in all the states i have driven in the rule is...

When at a 4 way stop, if they arrive at different times, the person arriving first, has the right of way.

If four or less cars all arrive at similar times, the car on the right has the right of way.

Then everyone takes their turn from there.


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22-05-2015, 09:36 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
(22-05-2015 09:13 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  (1) They ignore me because "bicycles don't count" or (2) People in general are stupid and don't have a clue what to do at a 4-way stop.

Both. Some communities are much more cyclist aware than others. Our local cycling club has been working hard to educate the community on the rules regarding sharing the road, the amount of space required when passing, etc. But, inevitably, if cyclists are acknowledged by motorists at all, it is to express their anger at being inconvenienced by a cyclist.

If you are in a car, I have also found that we have some overly-courteous drivers that screw things up. They arrive to your right at the same time, but then they want to wave you through. While appreciate the sentiment, people just need to follow the rules and most confusion could be avoided and traffic could proceed with much more efficiency.

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22-05-2015, 09:52 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
In Michigan - we have probably the most fucked up right of way law there is.

Whoever is in the intersection first has the right of way.

No regard for left, right, who was there first....

Just whoever jumps first.....


Dumb...

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22-05-2015, 09:54 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
(22-05-2015 09:36 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  If you are in a car, I have also found that we have some overly-courteous drivers that screw things up. They arrive to your right at the same time, but then they want to wave you through. While appreciate the sentiment, people just need to follow the rules and most confusion could be avoided and traffic could proceed with much more efficiency.

This! 4-way stops aren't the problem, people are the problem.
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22-05-2015, 10:12 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
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22-05-2015, 10:14 AM
RE: Four-Way Stop Protocol
I used to cycle to work regularly in Ventura. Drivers there are blind to cyclists.

Be careful.
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