I’ve heard several cyclists state that they only go through red lights because it is the safest thing to do. They are scared of vehicles behind them, the big scary lorries and busses. They state that they go through the red light because many cyclists are killed by large vehicles and being in front of them is obviously dangerous.
Quiet obviously going through the red light is not the safest thing to do. All you are doing is moving your contact point with the large vehicle, moving it from a stop start to them overtaking you further down the road, where the speeds will be larger and the whole thing will happen a lot faster. Not only that but there is the actual fact that you are going through a red light, something which some people argue can be done perfectly safely, and whilst that might be possible, you will always get caught out eventually. You could hit a pedestrian, be struck by a car crossing in front of you or you could even SMIDSY another cyclist.
There are two scenarios and one way to keep safe for each.
The first being where you are stopped and a large vehicle pulls up behind you. If you are scared for your safely, the best thing to do is to remove your self from the situation. Many people think this means going through the red light but as I mentioned above, you are just moving the contact point. The safest thing to do is to move onto the pavement and wait for the vehicle to pass you, then re-join the road and continue on your journey.
The second being when you approach a large from vehicle behind, I regularly see cyclists filtering to the front, they see it as a target. Of course some use the danger factor to then jump the lights because it ‘is’ safer. The safest thing to do is wait behind the large vehicle and control the lane as you set off.
There is of course only one time where the safest thing to do is to go through a red light. That is when the light turns red and you don’t think the vehicle behind you will stop. Stopping would cause a collision and that is of course, a bad thing.
Some say that a handful of drivers think that all cyclists going through red lights and thus presume that you will not stop when the light changes.