Red Light Jumpers

Every time I talk to someone about cycling, the same old topic comes up, Red Light Jumpers. Ohhh give over, most of the cyclists I see on my commute to work obey the traffic laws that are so much in favour of vehicle drivers.  Only a small minority of cyclists jump red lights, and these are the kind that don’t care about other cyclists, they wouldn’t stop at the side of the road to help someone fix a puncture.

In reality, jumping red lights isn’t as dangerous as other things that some cyclists regularly do. In comparison to some, it’s actually quite safe if done in a certain way. Looking at the bigger picture, is a cyclist red light jumping really that much of an issue? Generally they do no harm, and the potential damage they could cause to others isn’t as large with comparison to motorised vehicles.

The only damage it does, is give the media *cough* Daily Mail *cough* some ammunition to shoot the rest of us with. And for some reason, they never pick up on the real offenders of red light jumping, the motorist. Not only do they do it, they do it often and at times when it is most dangerous. Just look at the video below, the driver gets impatient with waiting, so jumps the red light, whilst in this case there is no danger, cars do often coming over the hill at quite some rate despite the 30mph speed limit. And look where it gets him, 2 or 3 cars in front of where he would have been if he had waited at the red light like he was meant to.

The most dangerous form of red light jumping and the kind I see most often, is the amber gamblers. The ones that go through the amber/red light just as it has turned. Where they accelerate when they see the lights change to try to beat the lights and save a small amount of time. If the timing of the lights is short and the ones for the adjacent junction change before they have cleared the junction, the increase in speed that they have used to get through can cause crashes on a massive scale with the potential for serious injuries or deaths.

3 thoughts on “Red Light Jumpers

  1. Well, on my short cycle commute to work I certainly see a lot more cyclists jump lights than cars. It’s interesting to see the different types of light jumping though.

    Cyclists make an assessment on how dangerous they feel it would be to ignore a red light and act accordingly. So a pedestrian crossing with no pedestrians gets ignored almost all the time. Left hand turns don’t stand much chance either. It’s laughable to say that very few cyclists jump red lights. It’s obviously almost all of them that jump those extremely low risk lights almost all the time.

    Drivers on the other hand assess how close they are to the light turning red. If it is still amber or only turned red a fraction of a second ago then they may go ahead regardless of how dangerous the situation could be.

    I can’t say one behaviour is better than the other. Personally I think it would be nice if everyone obeyed the law regardless of how prudent, safe or convenient they felt it was.

  2. As a regular cyclist who drives and walks, I detest all bad road behaviour. Almost types of road user seem to do bad things and it often endangers me. I try to act sensibly and legally, but no-one is 100% perfect and I’m not always successful.

    Whether it’s:
    Cyclists that ride without lights or reflectors wearing stealth clothing after lighting-up time; morons riding on the wrong side of the road; wearing iPods and blithely unaware of anything outside their little world; on the pavement; riding on & off the pavement without looking; cycling through red lights [RLJ]; riding at excessive speed on shared paths and passing too close from behind at speed without any audible warning.

    Motorcyclists on cycle / shared paths; in Advanced Stop Lines.

    Motorists who either can’t understand or blithely ignore road signs or markings; on the phone; speeding and insane speeding; bullying & harassing cyclists by revving their engines, hooting, throwing objects, spitting, shouting obscenities, following too close behind; overtaking dangerously; opening their doors without looking; using incorrect lighting – e.g. sidelights or foglights at night; RLJ; wait at traffic lights in ASLs & blocking access to ASLs; passing cyclists dangerously close at speed; contraflow driving on one-way streets; the must overtake mentality, even when there is insufficient room; driving in / parking in & across mandatory cycle lanes & etc.

    Pedestrians who step off the pavement without looking and then meander erratically unpredictably across the road; meandering on shared paths wearing iPods, oblivious to my bell; walking dogs on those invisible retractile long leads; walking aggressive dogs [not on leads] that chase cyclists.

    Highway Engineers, who don’t seem to understand their job. Erecting signs that are not authorised: a) Speed signs on a yellow background [last time I checked, their use was not authorised]
    b) Circular white sign with red border with black bicycle struck through [use not authorised] The correct sign is a circular white sign with red border with black bicycle – means no cycling.
    or page 36 of ‘Know Your Traffic Signs’
    c) Excessive use of ‘cyclist dismount’ signs, IIRC this sign is supposed to be used only sparingly.

    So far all the horse riders I have encountered have been both courteous and law-abiding.

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