13 March 2015

Classic Messenger Trick -- The RIght [Left] Turn Signal

Earlier this week I saw the following: A T-Serv messenger was about 50 meters ahead of me as the traffic light turned red and a right turn signal turned green.

The messenger glided in front of the lead car stopped at the light, then angled across the intersection staying just to the left of the cars making a right turn with the signal.  Nothing unusual (though not the technical "two light, pedestrian style" right turn required under Japanese law).

But as the messenger got to the far diagonal corner, he made a sharp turn up onto the corner just as the traffic light (and walk light) on the cross street turned green.  He headed into the crosswalk and then bore right in the street ... as I slowed to a halt and waited 60? 90? seconds for the light to turn green.  The move looks like this:

I learned this from my cycling mentor back in the U.S., as we commuted together through Washington D.C.  He told me it was a classic bike messenger maneuver.  It saves one signal, and is safe even if cars are using the turn signal coming in the opposite direction. (... as long one is careful not to sway into oncoming traffic ... maybe my drawing above needs a bit of adjustment.)  Of course, flip left and right for the version in the U.S. or elsewhere one drives and rides on the right side of the road.

I use this move regularly, most often on my commute (1) just NW of Ebisu, (2) at the Komazawa Dori/Yamate Dori crossing near Nakameguro, or (3) at Tengenjibashi.  Indeed, I can recall using it at least 3 times this week.

But Tuesday was the first time I have seen a T-Serv messenger use it in Tokyo.

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