Red light 'hoppers'

by bikeboy76   April 10, 2014  

Not a new phenomenon, but it seems to be on the rise and very erksome. I am getting very sick of red-light hoppers, not jumpers. The fact is a lot of red-lights at main junctions can't be jumped because of crossing traffic and the very real chance of being squished. So I am riding to work and overtake another biker, but get to the next junction and stop at the light. Same biker comes cruising past and stops at the corner in front of me. Not looking at the light or the line but looking at the traffic to see if he/she can pull away as soon as there is a gap or they stop coming. They pull away and so do I but now I am stuck behind their slow moving ass. I can't overtake them because they are moving so slowly and overtaking cars are moving too quickly to move out and the road is too narrow, I am boxed in! I have no choice but to wait for the road to change or a gap in traffic. If I do get to move out a few hundred yards down the road I just get to the next set of lights and the whole maneuver repeats. Thankfully I can often put some distance between myself and them if I catch the end of a green.

I know this isn't a piece of etiquette anyone ever gets taught but if I get overtaken by another rider (this rarely but inevitably does occur) who then stops at the next lights I don't put myself in front of them. There are a lot of new people cycling, which is good, but by-heck some of them are knobs.

Feel free to criticize my don't-get-in-my-way/holier-than-thou attitude, or my use of run-on sentences.

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This is the bane of my life on one stretch of my commute. Four sets of lights set a couple of hundred yards apart.

Further down the road is a bus lane which ends at a set of lights with an ASL box at the front. Usually, I'll stop behind any buses because they have a clear run for a quarter of a mile to the next bus stop... Mr and Miss slow however, invariably sail past me, wriggle their way into the box and hold everybody up as they wobble away from the lights at 3mph. There is no feeder lane into the ASL box, and frequently they'll be pushing themselves along with one foot on the kerb to get up the side of the bus.

These two sections of road really make me hate a lot of other cyclists.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
10th April 2014 - 15:10

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bikeboy76 wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:
"Same biker comes cruising past" <- explicitly states OP was occupying a section of road wide enough for others to pass. There is no obligation to not utilise all space available, particular to then obtain primary position ahead of motorists - which is the purpose of ASL's that TfL et al instruct cyclists to use.

Nice try at a quote out of context. I said "get to the next junction and stop at the light. Same biker comes cruising past..."
Why would I not have already stopped at the appropriate stop line? Why would I not have already stopped in a ASL if one is available? I don't know if you ride in the UK much KiwiMike but the lights are always set back from the junction. These guys are riding past me, through the lights and stopping on the edge of the junction just as far as the traffic will allow.

If your argument is 'let them get on with it' then fine, others have said that already, but you are attempting to dress this up as my mistake. I suspect you regularly get out dragged by roadies at the lights. See you next Tuesday.

Heh. No need to get personal there petal. I do about 6-7,000km a year in the UK and cycle in London semi-daily. Am I allowed to comment now? Smile

I wasn't taking anything out of context - I can envisage your setup exactly. So you're right on the second white line of the ASL, and your gripe is with them riding a meter or so beyond then stopping. OK, that's a £50 fine if the light is red. You are actually talking about RLJ. Different discussion.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [474 posts]
10th April 2014 - 15:24

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KiwiMike wrote:
I wasn't taking anything out of context - I can envisage your setup exactly. So you're right on the second white line of the ASL, and your gripe is with them riding a meter or so beyond then stopping. OK, that's a £50 fine if the light is red. You are actually talking about RLJ. Different discussion.

Jeez you really are trying to be obtuse. Nowhere have I said I am at a 'second' line. I am at the stop where I should be. I specifically distinguished between these 'hoppers' over RLJs because they can't get through the junction but still put themselves ahead of other cyclists even if they have just been overtaken by the same. It is this blocking behaviour I am talking about. You still seem to be under the illusion that it is something I am doing that makes people act like this.


Leviathan of Riderstate

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posted by bikeboy76 [1248 posts]
10th April 2014 - 15:57

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bikeboy76 wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:
I wasn't taking anything out of context - I can envisage your setup exactly. So you're right on the second white line of the ASL, and your gripe is with them riding a meter or so beyond then stopping. OK, that's a £50 fine if the light is red. You are actually talking about RLJ. Different discussion.

Jeez you really are trying to be obtuse. Nowhere have I said I am at a 'second' line. I am at the stop where I should be. I specifically distinguished between these 'hoppers' over RLJs because they can't get through the junction but still put themselves ahead of other cyclists even if they have just been overtaken by the same. It is this blocking behaviour I am talking about. You still seem to be under the illusion that it is something I am doing that makes people act like this.

OK, fair point - let's just call it 'the line' - whether there's an ASL behind it or not is irrelevant. It's a line you are not allowed to cross if the light is red. The people you describe are red light jumpers. £50 fine. The fact they then decided not to go much further is kinda irrelevant. If there's no ASL it would explain their behaviour even moreso - they want to get away from the cars and into a primary position.

(noting you did say 'Feel free to criticize my don't-get-in-my-way/holier-than-thou attitude' - this is exactly what it is. The infrastructure is crap (otherwise you'd have room to safely pass), and people are just doing what feels right/justifiable)

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [474 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:05

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I don't understand the description of the problem.

If you don't want anyone stopping in front of you why not just stop just behind the forward-most stop-line? I presume you aren't saying you stop right at the back of the ASL and then object to anyone else entering it, but I don't understand what you are saying is the problem.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [660 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:12

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bikeboy76 wrote:
These guys are riding past me, through the lights and stopping on the edge of the junction just as far as the traffic will allow.

OK, so they are jumping the red. OK, agreed, that (in the circumstances you describe) is a bad thing.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [660 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:21

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
I don't understand the description of the problem.

If you don't want anyone stopping in front of you why not just stop just behind the forward-most stop-line? I presume you aren't saying you stop right at the back of the ASL and then object to anyone else entering it, but I don't understand what you are saying is the problem.

I think the problem is that sometimes some slower cyclists make their way to the front ie in front of cyclists that are already waiting. In this case placing themselves in front of a cyclist that has already overtaken them and whom they know is likely to cycle more quickly than they do. In so doing they are trapping other cyclists behind them in moving traffic. It's a common courtesy thing that probably most sensible people wouldn't do.

I can suggest several courses of action but am not prepared to write them down on a public blog. One I am prepared to offer is to stop them passing you in the first place firstly by bike position or failing that by verbal prediction. By which I mean predicting that the effects of karma are strong in that location they may find themselves blocked in or treated discourteously by another cyclist one day. Maybe today. Maybe soon.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [566 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:27

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I have had similar and think that there is a basic ettiquette issue. If you want to go to the front of a crown of waiting bikes, do it. But don't then block the bloody way because you want to amble along at 10 mph. If you are in a hurry and want to ride off quickly, fine, otherwise stop being a c**t and wait you turn.

There was one guy on my old commute who regularly combined rolling just a bike length through the stop line and then as the lights turned green and everyone went he would veer left back across the path of all the people he just hopped past at the light. We had some words after he did it a 4th time in the same morning on one stretch of road. He didn't seem to understand what was wrong or unsafe about that...so at the next set of lights i set off as fast as possible and damn near cleared him out with a shout of 'hold you f£$king line'...he seemed to get it then.

posted by md6 [156 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:38

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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
I don't understand the description of the problem.

If you don't want anyone stopping in front of you why not just stop just behind the forward-most stop-line? I presume you aren't saying you stop right at the back of the ASL and then object to anyone else entering it, but I don't understand what you are saying is the problem.


Have you been reading KiwiMike's muddled posts because it is pretty obvious what I am talking about. Nowhere does it say I am stopping in the wrong place. I am at the forwardmost line. I am talking about people weaving around you and stopping ahead of the lights [which FYI is nothing to do with adopting a legal primary position, Mike]
If you don't know what I am talking about you must be one of them. Rolling Eyes


Leviathan of Riderstate

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posted by bikeboy76 [1248 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:39

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Step away from the thread, people. Step away from the thread.

There's a lot of knicker-twisting going on here, so why doesnt everybody just go read something else for 10 minutes?

That'll give the rest of us time to try to understand why there's so much knicker-twisting going on.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:42

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"at the next set of lights i set off as fast as possible and damn near cleared him out with a shout of 'hold you f£$king line'...he seemed to get it then"

...just...er...wow.

This was a *public* road, right?

For god's sake don't let the Daily Mail see this thread.

(steps away)

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [474 posts]
10th April 2014 - 17:20

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Is it OK to criticise you for misspelling irksome?

I do this all the time (roll past people who have stopped at the back of/in the ASL "box"). I think it has become a habit because I tend to commute at a time when the ASL box looks like a scrum and most of the people on my commute - especially the ones on bicycles - make me feel nervous for my personal safety so I want to get away from them as quickly as possible. I don't recall having any complaints but then I don't hang around to take views from other road users, so maybe there's a whole crowd of aggrieved individuals behind me.

My strong advice would be to drop the self righteous adherence to a pointless rule and get as far forward as you can at intersections. Or was the point of your of your "question" to explain just how much quicker you are than everyone else?

posted by surly_by_name [142 posts]
10th April 2014 - 17:37

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I'm with bikeboy here - It's annoying. You overtake a wobbler and arrive at the red lights before them, you take most advanced position available making sure there's plenty of space behind you in the bike box, only to find that same person you just overtook rolls through the empty bike box and through the red and stop a few meters ahead of the line (technically this is going through a red) and stopping in the middle of the road. When the light turns green, said person wobbles off slowly getting in everyone way only for them to all have to over take them again.....and breath

If anything its just bad manners. Wait behind the line like everyone else.

posted by Scoob_84 [193 posts]
10th April 2014 - 17:49

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bikeboy76 wrote:

If you don't know what I am talking about you must be one of them. Rolling Eyes

Bit presumptious there.

Its simply because you didn't make clear you were talking about those who go beyond the stop line. Breaking the rules (indeed, the law) in order to get in front of cyclists already there and who are obeying the rules is inconsiderate, I agree. I was just thinking If you aren't at the front of the ASL then you can't object to others using the available space. If you are, then fair enough, its just that the law already agrees with you.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [660 posts]
10th April 2014 - 18:06

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I'd recommend keeping a couple of elastic bands in your jersey pocket, but practice your innocent face first.

Oh, and make sure you're not the only one waiting at the line. That would be a bit of a giveaway Big Grin

posted by bikebot [490 posts]
10th April 2014 - 18:36

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surly_by_name wrote:
Is it OK to criticise you for misspelling irksome?

I do this all the time (roll past people who have stopped at the back of/in the ASL "box"). I think it has become a habit because I tend to commute at a time when the ASL box looks like a scrum and most of the people on my commute - especially the ones on bicycles - make me feel nervous for my personal safety so I want to get away from them as quickly as possible. I don't recall having any complaints but then I don't hang around to take views from other road users, so maybe there's a whole crowd of aggrieved individuals behind me.

My strong advice would be to drop the self righteous adherence to a pointless rule and get as far forward as you can at intersections. Or was the point of your of your "question" to explain just how much quicker you are than everyone else?

You, as a faster rider, rolling past others in an ASL "scrum" is an entirely different scenario.

Your encouragement to others to break the law on "safety" grounds is also questionable.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
10th April 2014 - 18:39

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[[[[[ Yeah but no but...has anybody tried queuing, politely, at a bus stop any time in the last 20 years? You're 3rd in line, the bus arrives---you're suddenly 13th.
Do we expect cyclists--or people on bikes--to behave any better? The words "rat" and "race" occur to one, and it will only get worse. Try not to get wound up, I tell myself.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [277 posts]
10th April 2014 - 19:14

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If the ASL box is unoccupied and there's a small group of cyclists, I generally take the primary and let people zoom off on the nearside, while I ease out in the primary. Blocks the left hook in its tracks, and slows me down a bit.

But after seeing two very close shaves from left hooks recently (including this morning, blackhatchbackman, the next one may not have disc brakes you miserable bumbduckcunglefunt), it's so worth it.

Some of the more blatant RLJers and Pavement Hoppers. There's only one sane rational response. Burn 'em, drop 'em hard. And freewheel past 'em singing some of the lyrics from Disco Inferno.

posted by Argos74 [289 posts]
10th April 2014 - 20:10

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If you cross the stop-line then you have jumped the red light. Whether you go on through the junction against the red light, or not, is immaterial. Devil

posted by levermonkey [360 posts]
10th April 2014 - 21:01

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Storm in a teacup.

Just forget about them and try not to get to wound up, its not worth it !

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2706 posts]
10th April 2014 - 21:36

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stumps wrote:
Storm in a teacup.

Just forget about them and try not to get to wound up, its not worth it !

+1, or if not buy a BMW and drive like a twunt
Smile

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2182 posts]
10th April 2014 - 22:48

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I jump red lights (not all, but when it's safe). Traffic lights (and roads) are designed for cars these days. Cyclists are merely an afterthought, if even that.

When I'm in the Netherlands I obey all the road rules because it is efficient and works.

Here I feel like I'm being forced off the road by traffic, and rarely feel safe. In fact, one of the few times I feel safest is when I jump a red light and have the road to myself for a while. After all, traffic lights are about safety, are they not?

Until the government proportionally respects the wishes of cyclists against that of motor vehicles, and supplies proper infrastructure, I will not obey their one-sided laws.

Liberty.

The glass is 50% capacity.

posted by mrfree [33 posts]
10th April 2014 - 23:36

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mrfree wrote:
Until the government proportionally respects the wishes of cyclists against that of motor vehicles, and supplies proper infrastructure, I will not obey their one-sided laws.

Liberty.

Stupidity.

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posted by fukawitribe [365 posts]
10th April 2014 - 23:53

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If you have taken primary position properly you can hold that position, controlling the following traffic whilst passing those slow starters and then allow traffic to pass - no need to look for gaps or to pull out to overtake them.

Biggest things though:

It's not a race
Not even with Strava
Crossing the stop line on red is an offence (calling it RLJ or hopping doesn't change that)
It isn't worth the rage
Swearing on public forums indicates significant rage and we don't much like that in drivers do we?

Cycling is supposed to be good for stress levels and it is if you avoid getting worked up with everyone else's behaviour.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [221 posts]
11th April 2014 - 0:04

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I don't really get why people feel the need to do this stuff. It mostly doesn't really get them anywhere as far as I can see.

I see a few people on my commute who seem desperate to get on the pavement to avoid lights or having to wait at junctions, even though it often saves them no time (because they have to pi$$ about with crossing the road they've just left on the pedestrian crossing) and often makes them worse off 100m down the road when they have to wait for a gap in traffic to rejoin. If they just wait at the lights in primary they'd be far better off.

EDIT: I also think justifications on safety grounds are mostly red herrings, although I accept there might be the odd case where it makes sense. I'd say all the examples I see are driven purely and simply by not wanting to wait, or wait behind cars.

posted by Chuck [366 posts]
11th April 2014 - 11:20

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Can we get the thread back on topic please?

Here's my favourite. 550 grams.

image.jpg

posted by Nick T [796 posts]
11th April 2014 - 11:59

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mrfree wrote:
I jump red lights (not all, but when it's safe). Traffic lights (and roads) are designed for cars these days. Cyclists are merely an afterthought, if even that.

When I'm in the Netherlands I obey all the road rules because it is efficient and works.

Here I feel like I'm being forced off the road by traffic, and rarely feel safe. In fact, one of the few times I feel safest is when I jump a red light and have the road to myself for a while. After all, traffic lights are about safety, are they not?

Until the government proportionally respects the wishes of cyclists against that of motor vehicles, and supplies proper infrastructure, I will not obey their one-sided laws.

Liberty.

So in the same argument does that mean it's ok for a driver to run you over because the laws being one sided mean you are an ' inconvenience ' to other people in their eyes?

So why is it you obey the laws of one nation but not another? Laws are laws they are to be complied with by all I am pretty sure there is no law that says " well mucka you only need to follow this one only if you feel like it". Traffic lights are designed to control the flow of traffic and not safety.

posted by cavmem1 [42 posts]
11th April 2014 - 13:08

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Nick T wrote:
Can we get the thread back on topic please?

Here's my favourite. 550 grams.

So that's the problem, bloody hipsters!

posted by bikebot [490 posts]
11th April 2014 - 15:14

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Drivers do run cyclists over. And get away with it.

I thought I made myself clear. I'm of the opinion that law has little bearing on morals. Your right, there is no law that begins, 'well mucka'. But you can live you life perfectly within the law and still be a c*nt. It works both ways.

Your argument is that traffic lights are designed to control the flow of traffic? Well ok. How come when I stop at a red and there's no motorised vehicles around to make the sensor work, I have to sit at the light until a car turns up? Could it be that they are designed for motor vehicles?

I'm fed up of the complacency that cyclists are second to motor vehicles. Cyclists pay their equal share for the roads and don't get much in return.

The glass is 50% capacity.

posted by mrfree [33 posts]
11th April 2014 - 19:44

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cavmem1 wrote:

So in the same argument does that mean it's ok for a driver to run you over because the laws being one sided mean you are an ' inconvenience ' to other people in their eyes?

So why is it you obey the laws of one nation but not another? Laws are laws they are to be complied with by all I am pretty sure there is no law that says " well mucka you only need to follow this one only if you feel like it". Traffic lights are designed to control the flow of traffic and not safety.

I'm not even defending RLJing (which I don't do), but your comment here lacks logic. For starters, you start off making an analogy with a safety issue (running people over) then finish by declaring its not about safety, but traffic flow. Those two points contradict each other.

And as for obeying the laws of one nation but not another - well, I was going to say something about that, but decided it went way off-topic, so I've deleted it!

It is true that traffic lights, like everything else on the road system, are designed around motorised traffic. But, personally, I don't think individually breaking the rules is the way to go, it just means you lose the moral high-ground while nothing really changes. I'm not going to defend a RLJing cyclist who gets nicked or injured doing it - you want to take the risk you accept the consequences.

But nor am I going to bang on tediously about other people with bikes doing it or invoke the 'giving us a bad name' crap (unless they do it while I'm crossing as a pedestrian, then I might have a go at that particular individual) - its just not the central issue.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [660 posts]
11th April 2014 - 20:40

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