Should cyclists go through red lights?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by davidbaker999, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. davidbaker999

    davidbaker999 New Member

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    Hi all

    I am writing an article for the Financial Times on the relationship between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians in towns and cities.

    Here in London many cyclists commit what they call "minor" infingements of law because it is safer for them (such as crossing junctions when all the traffic is stopped to let pedestrians cross, cycling on the pavement to avoid traffic etc).

    I'd be very interested in any thoughts on this. And in particular if there are UK towns that have managed to get the mix of cyclists and motorists right.

    Thanks in anticipation and best wishes.

    David Baker (cyclist and motorist)
    Financial Times
     
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  2. topcat

    topcat New Member

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    Well, if there is a red light and there odvioulsy istnt anyone that's going to cross i go through it, but its so busy here that most of the time you really can't go through them, unless they're pedestrian crossings etc....sometimes, rearley, i go on the pavement if there's a big traffic jam on a one lane road, so i dont have to have the on coming traffic coming the other way, but i don't go on the pavement very often.
     
  3. spragger

    spragger New Member

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    To be honest real cyclists are at war with vehicles. Until someone takes a stand in physically protecting cyclists they will have to adopt whatever tactics to protect themselves
    Is there any real cyclist who has not been hit by a vehicle - I doubt not.
    Would you recommend your child went cycling on modern roads - I doubt not.
    Once again the fiefdom of the car wins and it should not
    What we dont want is another chattering class article slagging off cyclists.

    Get on yer bike regularly and experience it first hand, It wont take long - believe me!
     
  4. anderson

    anderson New Member

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    What about cyclists turning left to go through a red light?

    M. Anderson
     
  5. Kupe du Monde

    Kupe du Monde New Member

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    Most simply, no. Cyclists are held to the same standards and laws as automobiles with regards to rules of the road. If you can't abide by said laws, you should find elsewhere to ride; maybe a nice trail, but not the road.
     
  6. li0scc0

    li0scc0 New Member

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    I wait for the light when I am in town, but some areas more outside of town I run the red light. Not sure about overseas, but in the states the light is triggered by somebody going over an underground sensor. A bike with a rider is not enough weight to trigger the sensor, and thus you would have to wait for another car to come along and trigger. At 5:30 in the morning, sometimes you might be waiting for 5 minutes or longer. Thus, I run the light, but I do stop first (too dangerous not to).
     
  7. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    Well, I never knew that the "real" cyclist were earmarked thus...having been hit by a car and all. I'd have thought that 5000 km a year commuting might have contributed.

    What about cyclist hitting the car? I did that. Do I get any "real cyclist" points for that or does the motorist get credit for it?

    Oh yeah, and kid on the roadway...all the time. Under supervision of course.
     
  8. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    Got one of those myself in spite of repeated requests to the Engineering dept to have it changed to a magnetic sensor. I don't know what it is in your jurisdiction, but here, I'm legally entitled to go through such intersections (look both ways, of course) because the traffic control device is effectively inoperative in my case.
     
  9. never_doped

    never_doped Banned

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    IMO:

    I am a cyclist that has logged many years of 10,000 miles or more. I never cut through red lights and I have never been hit by a car. A couple of rules I use to determine my safety.

    1. Ride fast. The closing difference between yourself and cars coming up behind you will be longer and allow a longer window where you will be seen.

    2. Place yourself in the inside edge of where the passenger tire would be. This forces drivers/cars to 'deal' with you. They have to slow down. They have to move around you. Many will argue that what if they aren't paying attention and run you over? Well, the chances are they would have anyway, if they don't see you in the middle of the road they won't see you in the edge of the road.

    3. Accept your positiion. Meaning that once a car has passed you they have 'earned' the right not to have to pass you again. If between lights 10 cars pass you and 5 make it through the next intersection before the last 5 cars and you did, do NOT ride all the way up to the light and make these 5 cars pass you again. For one, they'll be pissed about it. For two, you just, in the large probable sense raised the chance of being hit 50% if you do this all of the time. Over a larger sample would you better survive unhit by being passed by 100,000 cars or 150,000 cars?

    4. Obey all of the laws to the best of your ability, ride on either sparse streets or multi-laned streets where you and a friend can have the whole lane to yourselves.

    5. Run redlights? No.
     
  10. Stealth Hunter

    Stealth Hunter New Member

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    The answer to this is a simple
    :eek: NO :eek:

    As it is your duty as a good citizen:cool: to behave in a sensible manner :cool: regardless if the fool in front does it, it doesn't make it right for you to do it. Also it is illegal :mad: and dangerous :mad: not only for you but all around.​
     
  11. sjay

    sjay New Member

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    Cyclists should abide by the rules of the road, there is nothing worse than an antagonised motorist whilst you are on your bike. In addition, if a cyclist does ride 'by the rules' they behave in an predictable manner, which hopefully the motorist can judge properly and drive safely round you.

    One question I would like to put to the forum - Do you ride according to the highway code around an island? Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, cyclists have to keep left whilst turning right at a traffic island. This, in my opion is dangerous, as you are just asking to be cut up by a driver. Personally I will sit in the middle of the correct lane to go round - much to alot of drivers annoyance.:)
     
  12. jaz

    jaz New Member

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    I used to go through red lights all the time but now I think the risk isnt worth it (unless its a really quiet time of the day with no cars about) I prefer to take my time & enjoy my ride as just getting on my bike is my favourite thing, I get pleasure just riding anywhere.
    I did have a strange experiance the other day at a red light though which shows the total disregard some motorists have to cyclists, I came to a red light & was stopped slightly in the middle of the lane waiting for the light to cycle through to green again when a car arrived behind me & instead of him waiting paitently my bike length away from the junction he just pulled up next to me missing the end of my bars my a couple of cm's forcing me to move over to the gutter & when I looked round & gestured to him "didnt you see me?" he just waved telling me to get out of the way :confused:
    This was a respectable looking man in his 50's with a suit & tie, I was tempted to get off my bike & twat him one but the side of the road was against a wall so if he decided to ram me or my bike I would have had no where to go so I just told him what I thought of his driving with a one fingered gesture & a few comments :p
    I cant understand what sort of mentality he had to just antaganize me just so he could be 3 feet further down the road than he would have been if he had shown me some common courtesy & stopped behind me, its strange some peoples attitudes when there behind the wheel as they feel safe enclosed in there cars but us cyclists feel so vunerable & they dont seem to understand that, after being hit on a roundabout last year (& still suffering the physical affects of this now) by a driver who couldnt be bothered to follow the rules of the road I wont even ride roundabouts no more.
    Since I got my new bike (last one written off in crash above) I dont mind stopping at lights as I have disk brakes on my bike so I can show off doing those front wheel stoppies like the motor bikers do :D but my attitude has changed towards road riding, I used to be agressive in my riding style as I thought it was better to act like a car & hope drivers took more notice of me but now I play it safe.
    Btw there are considerate drivers out there & there not all bad but I wish a few of the inconsiderate ones would be made to ride a bike for a day & see what the rest of us have to put up with.
    I also see plenty of cyclists who annoy drivers by going where ever the like & cutting through lights etc & I dont think that helps our image as we could be considered reckless & unpredictable, Im the same sometimes as I have this need to show off by wheelying & manualing down the road when ever I feel like it :eek:
     
  13. sjay

    sjay New Member

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    Totally agree.
     
  14. fondriest

    fondriest New Member

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    Hi, just got back from a ride on which i nearly got into a fight because of this.

    A queue of four or five cars were waiting at a pedestrian crossing with the lights on red. I slowed aproaching the lights hoping they would turn green before i got there and had to stop, and take my feet out of the peddles. Unfortunatley they didnt change in time and after checking that no-one else was crossing the road i decided to run the light. This seemed to really annoy the driver who was at the front of the queue.

    He caught me up at the next lights (crossroads rather than pedestrian) and started to give me all sorts of grief through his window "RED LIGHTS APPLY TO YOU AS WELL YOU KNOW!!!" etc etc. I just told him to get f*cked and ignored the rest of his tyrade.

    When these lights changed off we went, he was continuing to abuse me as he overtook and went off down the road. I cought him again at the next lights were he was sat in another queue. As i was crawling up the inside of the stationary cars he deliberatly swerved left in an attempt to knock me off my bike!!!:mad:

    I was prepared to ignore his little tantrum until this point. I was so mad i got off my bike and started banging on his window trying to get him out of his car so i could knock his teeth out. He wasnt so abussive at this point and drove off as soon as he could.


    Although i may have been breaking the law by riding through the light, it wasnt exactly dangerous and certainly didnt deserve the kind of abuse i got from this guy.
     
  15. Belleville

    Belleville New Member

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    Kupe du Monde "Most simply, no. Cyclists are held to the same standards and laws as automobiles with regards to rules of the road. If you can't abide by said laws"

    I agree. I'd also like to add that cycling is a valid form of transport and anyone who runs through any traffic lights etc is negating the validity of this form. Anyone who runs through lights cannot honestly argue when drivers or pedestrians harangue them.
     
  16. Roberto badgio

    Roberto badgio New Member

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    NO. red lights are there to be obeyed. it only lowers motorisst ioinions of cyclists and endangers the cyclist.
     
  17. simon98

    simon98 New Member

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    Should we?

    Probably not.

    Do I?

    Sometimes.

    Never recklessly (imo), never when the road is busy, but yes I do it when the lane I am in is free after the lights and there are no pedestrians - I slow down and am prepared to stop if the scene changes until I am upon the line. I think I only do it for pedestrian crossings and roadwork lights, can't think of any road junction lights I ever do it at, although this is not a conscious classification, just a subconscious reaction to the safety conditions.

    For the record, I also go over pedestrian crossing occasionally when there is someone crossing or about to but only if I deem it safe and they are unaffected eg. they have started crossing but are still on the other side of the road. I usually make eye contact with the pedestrian and say thanks (verbally or gesture) and I think they always understand and are fine about it. Never get any funny looks or abuse etc. I think (assume) that they appreciate that I have acknowledged them.

    Not saying it is right or wrong, but this is what I do. Never had (or been aware of anyway!) any abuse from any motorists or pedestrians.
     
  18. simon98

    simon98 New Member

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    God forbid any motorist should lower their onions to me! :eek:
     
  19. greentyres

    greentyres New Member

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    In answer to your question i would have to say a resounding "no" as this is breaking the law.
    As for reality i do sometimes run a red light, this is usually taking off at a pedetrian crossing that is completely clear (to get ahead of the traffic) , or at very quiet road junctions when a left turn onto a non busy road is i feel acceptable.
    My journey to work is through some very heavy traffic and crosses major road junctions so i really cant jump any of the lights.
     
  20. McKay

    McKay New Member

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    Many traffic lights in the UK will not change to green when there is anything smaller than a small car present above their magnetic sensor. At some of these lights there is no footpath or other way around them. Should I then wait hours until a car comes along? It is sensible and SAFER to break SOME rules SOME of the time than it is to blindly obey.

    When the UK government starts providing the basic requirements for cyclists, that is when I shall comply with all the rules of the road. The road system is designed primarily for motor vehicles and it works well for them but not always for us.

    "Negating the validity of the form?" Am I hell! Show me one person on this forum who doesn't regularly break the speed limit when they drive their car and I'll show you a liar! Why should we have to blindly follow every rule when car drivers do not? Stand by a 30 MPH road for 5 minutes and count how many obvious speeders pass you in cars.

    CJ.
     
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