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Cross on red, or end up dead!

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Mom always told you to look both ways and wait for the light before you cross the street, but at one crazy Bay Ridge intersection, residents have learned that it’s actually safer to cross when the sign tells them to stop.

The corner, an overpass above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at 86th Street and Dahlgren Place, is not a typical intersection, of course, but an object lesson in what happens when cars are served before pedestrians.

When the traffic light on 86th Street turns green, pedestrians on the intersection’s north side get a “Walk” sign — and the right of way. But because 86th is a two-way street, drivers making a left onto Dahlgren Place — which is a BQE entrance ramp — peel out at the first break in oncoming traffic, honking pedestrians out of their way.

So most pedestrians don’t cross until the light changes, exposing them to drag racers on Dahlgren, who also have the BQE in their sights.

“I’m not arguing with a truck,” said pedestrian Ralph Marino, a retired mailman who knows the area’s traffic patterns.

An elderly woman who lives one street away explained the crosswalk’s backward logic. “You never go when it says ‘walk,’ ” she said as a car zoomed by. “At rush hour, forget it.”

She looked up Dahlgren Place and waited until the light turned red and the “Don’t Walk” sign told her to stop red-handed.

“Now I can go,” she said, starting slowly across.

Community Board 10 is requesting a study to address the problem, according to District Manager Josephine Beckmann.

“It’s an absolutely bizarre situation,” she said.

Beckmann and others think the city might have to install a left-turn signal at the light and add signs to remind drivers that it is state law to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

But maybe another sign is needed for the pedestrians themselves:

“Only go when the hand says no.”

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