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Is it ok to have a word with red light jumpers?

 

I live, and do the majority of my riding, around the hilly part of the Ride London course.   With it having just happened and the resultant frothing from the general public about the roads being closed, am I a twunt for mentioning it's not a great idea to sail through a red light on a pedestrian crossing to a chap at the weekend?

I'd stopped, the rest of the traffic had stopped, but he shot through and off to the next set of red lights which was a road junction.  He wove through the stationary cars to the middle of 2 lanes before being overtaken on both sides as the lights changed before he got to the line.  Result was him trying to get back to the left causing other cars to brake.  200m of terrible riding...

I caught him after a bit and mentioned that amongst car drivers our reputation as cyclists was already at a low, and his actions just reinforce the stereotype and make close passes and abuse all the more frequent for local riders like myself.

Don't know whether I was being sanctimonious or justified.   It only takes a few cyclists to reinforce what prejudices people may have and the rest need to then suffer...

 

26 comments

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sergius [439 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Being honest with myself, at 7am on a  weekend there are a few red lights I'll jump when it's clear and there are no cars about.  I always stop if cars/people are about though; as you say nothing annoys motorists more than cyclists ignoring traffic signals which they are obeying.

The filtering at traffic lights is a situational one, I tend to always pass on the left slowly until I get to the front.  If the traffic starts moving before I get to the front I then just filter in as the car next to me pulls off.

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Alessandro [126 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

RLJs in busy areas piss me off and clearly causes irritation to drivers. I tend to go with something teeming with passive aggressiveness like "that was a red back there by the way" when I go past them but a friend uses a far better comment: "if you go faster between the greens then you wouldn't need to jump the reds". 

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SurreyHiller [1 post] 1 week ago
1 like

Was lunchtime on a Saturday, so busy...

When I caught him he was having a word with a car which had passed him badly (I didn't see what had happened) so I mentioned it was probably because of the red light he jumped earlier...

Was nicely passive aggressive about it, said car drivers already hate us and think we're w nkers there's no point proving them right... 

 

Reminds me of the other guy I saw at the side of a busy roundabout casually peeing into a bush in full view...    At least go behind the bush!

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Nat Jas Moe [162 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes

What if a car drver goes through a red light after looking and seeing no traffic but the T bones a cyclist would it be ok. That's what your saying everytime you sail through a red light and you see it's clear. The Rules are there for ever road users safety. Stick to them and you will be safer. Oh and by the way most of the red light jumpers are caught by me before the next set of lights. yes. So it doesn't get them very far, and they missed the opportunity to take a breather.

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madcarew [375 posts] 1 week ago
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"Is it ok ?"

That's an entirely subjective question. I think it's perfectly ok, and you're not being a twunt. It sounds as though you're after a defnitive answer though, i.e. from the Velominati or the hideously difficult to find and even more hideously difficult to understand The complete guide to the general rules of Life and other Commonsense. You won't find that answer here.  1

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cyclisto [220 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

It is ok if ...you do the same for pedestrian red light jumpers.

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ChrisB200SX [432 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Nothing wrong with pointing out their mistake. But it depends what you say and how you say it. I just point out it was red when I overtake them. I like that go faster between the greens suggestion though  1

I've rarely seen a cyclist jump a red light and actually put anyone, including themself, in danger. The ones I've seen do that look like crack addicts who will break all the rules all day long.

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crazy-legs [883 posts] 6 days ago
6 likes
Quote:

I caught him after a bit and mentioned that amongst car drivers our reputation as cyclists was already at a low, and his actions just reinforce the stereotype and make close passes and abuse all the more frequent for local riders like myself.

Don't know whether I was being sanctimonious or justified.   It only takes a few cyclists to reinforce what prejudices people may have and the rest need to then suffer...

No - you're buying into the "collective responsibility" bollocks that needs fighting at every turn.

What someone else riding a bike does or does not do in no way reflects on YOU as a cyclist.

What someone else driving a car does or does not do in no way reflects on YOU as a driver.

No-one says that all doctors have a bad reputation becasue of Harold Shipman. No-one says that all drivers have a bad reputation because on average they kill 5 people a day on the roads. No-one says that all shoppers have a bad reputation because some people shoplift.

Stop perpetuating the myth, you're part of the problem. If he's riding badly, leave him to it, he'll fall off and learn a lesson. I bet you'd been driving and the driver in front had jumped a red light you wouldn't have gone chasing off after him, caught him up and "had a word" telling him that his actions impacted on the overall perception of drivers? No, thought not...

Concentrate on your own riding - do it safely, assertively and obey whatever road laws you feel are necessary at any given moment. Personally, I go with: 1) my safety, 2) my convenience, 3) the convenience of other road users, 4) the law when I ride but whatever works for you.

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Roadie_john [59 posts] 6 days ago
1 like

 

No - you're buying into the "collective responsibility" bollocks that needs fighting at every turn.

cannot agree more with this. He is a problem. You are part of the problem. 

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Jimmy Ray Will [703 posts] 6 days ago
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As above... have a go if it bugs you, but as for any feelings that one person's behaviour should have a k ok on affect to you or other cyclists... yeah, that has to be forgotten.
Out of interest, were people using the crossing when he ran through it?

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jh27 [60 posts] 6 days ago
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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

As above... have a go if it bugs you, but as for any feelings that one person's behaviour should have a k ok on affect to you or other cyclists... yeah, that has to be forgotten.
Out of interest, were people using the crossing when he ran through it?

Were there even any pedestrians within 100 yards of the crossing?

As an aside, there is one set of traffic lights that I jump every time - it is a Toucan crossing and the route take requires joining the shared path on the right-hand side of the road. I suppose I could join it legitimately, in the left hand side of the road and then use the crossing - but that would mean tackling the kerb and the lights would probably change in the meantime.

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hawkinspeter [770 posts] 6 days ago
1 like

It's fine to criticise other people's behaviour, if you want to be disliked as a busy-body, but if you're going to do it then be consistent. Make sure you inform all the car drivers that are speeding and leave messages on every wrongly parked vehicle as well. And don't forget every pedestrian that drops litter or is listening to music that they haven't paid for.

Or, is it only cyclists that you want to harass/complain about?

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HurdyGurdy [24 posts] 6 days ago
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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Out of interest, were people using the crossing when he ran through it?

Does it make it less illegal if there weren't?

 

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HurdyGurdy [24 posts] 6 days ago
1 like
crazy-legs wrote:

Concentrate on your own riding - do it safely, assertively and obey whatever road laws you feel are necessary at any given moment. Personally, I go with: 1) my safety, 2) my convenience, 3) the convenience of other road users, 4) the law when I ride but whatever works for you.

So you advocating obeying the law as fourth consideration only.  Remind me to get off the road anytime you are on it. this means you support drivers can do as they like you know because their convenience trumps obeying the law (you said it !   convenience second , obeying law fourth)

That will work well as defense in court though...

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Jimmy Ray Will [703 posts] 5 days ago
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HurdyGurdy wrote:
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Out of interest, were people using the crossing when he ran through it?

Does it make it less illegal if there weren't?

 

Nope... but you have to concede that law aside there is a difference between riding through a vacant crossing, and riding through crossing with people on it.

The former makes you impatient, the latter a reckless arse... in my opinion.

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crazy-legs [883 posts] 5 days ago
3 likes
HurdyGurdy wrote:

So you advocating obeying the law as fourth consideration only.  Remind me to get off the road anytime you are on it. this means you support drivers can do as they like you know because their convenience trumps obeying the law (you said it !   convenience second , obeying law fourth)

That will work well as defense in court though...

You've misinterpreted that deliberately.

When I am riding (as in, not when I am walking or driving...) if I can pull in or wave someone past or take a road that's quieter then I will do so. If I jump a set of lights (not "caning through them at 30mph shouting STRAVA" but carefully filter through if safe to do so) then that's actually more convenient for the motorists because it gets me out of their way (while also fulfilling both (1) and (2) of my list - go me for multitasking!)

They may not appreciate it for what it is but getting away from the F1 starting grid behind me gives them the space the channel their inner Vettel and I'm safely out the way.

I can't make drivers obey the law - the vast majority don't - so I'll stay safe and out of their way as far as possible and they can do what they want. It's worked well so far.

Roads, and especially junctions, are designed for vehicles first and, as you probably know from the vastly underwhelming array of "cycle lanes" that are put in as a complete afterthought, anyone not in a car is treated as a third class citizen so "the law" is clearly the 4th part of that list. Frankly if the road designers and councils can't come up with safe infrastructure to protect me, I'll do it myself.

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Jitensha Oni [70 posts] 5 days ago
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crazy-legs wrote:
HurdyGurdy wrote:

So you advocating obeying the law as fourth consideration only.  Remind me to get off the road anytime you are on it. this means you support drivers can do as they like you know because their convenience trumps obeying the law (you said it !   convenience second , obeying law fourth)

That will work well as defense in court though...

You've misinterpreted that deliberately.

When I am riding (as in, not when I am walking or driving...) if I can pull in or wave someone past or take a road that's quieter then I will do so. If I jump a set of lights (not "caning through them at 30mph shouting STRAVA" but carefully filter through if safe to do so) then that's actually more convenient for the motorists because it gets me out of their way (while also fulfilling both (1) and (2) of my list - go me for multitasking!)

They may not appreciate it for what it is but getting away from the F1 starting grid behind me gives them the space the channel their inner Vettel and I'm safely out the way.

I can't make drivers obey the law - the vast majority don't - so I'll stay safe and out of their way as far as possible and they can do what they want. It's worked well so far.

Roads, and especially junctions, are designed for vehicles first and, as you probably know from the vastly underwhelming array of "cycle lanes" that are put in as a complete afterthought, anyone not in a car is treated as a third class citizen so "the law" is clearly the 4th part of that list. Frankly if the road designers and councils can't come up with safe infrastructure to protect me, I'll do it myself.

+1

In addition the OP is concerned with "the hillier parts of Ride London" which I assume means Dorking or Leatherhead, being the only places nearby with signalised pedestrian crossings*. If so, given the appalling standard of local driving - some of the worst in Surrey, and that's saying something - I'd understand the motivations of a rider who wanted to cycle out of there as quickly as possible.

*source - I live about 1/2 hour to the north

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HurdyGurdy [24 posts] 5 days ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

You've misinterpreted that deliberately.

When I am riding (as in, not when I am walking or driving...) if I can pull in or wave someone past or take a road that's quieter then I will do so. If I jump a set of lights (not "caning through them at 30mph shouting STRAVA" but carefully filter through if safe to do so) then that's actually more convenient for the motorists because it gets me out of their way (while also fulfilling both (1) and (2) of my list - go me for multitasking!)

 

Doesn't seem like i did - you are still saying you are ok to break the law when it suits you.

Advocate for turn on red etc via legal means but if you going to leave law open to selective adherence it is no longer law. 

So you will be fine if every car driver starts jumping reds when it is safe to do so ?

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LastBoyScout [234 posts] 5 days ago
2 likes

There are a few sets of red lights around here that I will jump (carefully!), because experience tells me that being on a bike doesn't trigger the sensors and I could be waiting there for quite some time before a car comes along - a couple of sets I know aren't even triggered by the motorbike!

Other sets with established patterns I tend to wait at. There is one double set on my commute where I will carefully cross the first red light if no pedestrians are crossing and wait at the next set at the junction 20m up the road - mainly because the phasing means there is no traffic at that set and I also get a railing to hold onto so I don't have to unclip on a hill start.

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Vehlin [37 posts] 5 days ago
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I don't see red light jumping cyclists very often near me. I know a junction or two where I always see red light jumping cars tho. I do always stop for them unless it's obvious they aren't going to change for me, then I creep through.

One of the only times I've ever had an issue with a red light jumper tho was a cyclist while I was crossing a street on my first trip to London. Pelican crossing with green man showing, I stepped out and a courier rider plowed into me. I've since learned to look before I cross, but it didn't occur to me becasue the cars were stopped at the line (he was filtering up the inside). Now this incident I lay squarely at the feet of couriers rather than cyclists, every time I've seen someone doing something really stupid on a bike or moped they've either had a Deliveroo box on them or some other delivery item.

The courier that hit me got a bit of instant karma as I've got about 60 (rather wobbly) kg on the average courier rider so he might as well have ridden into a lamp post. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes I guess. Even so, being hit by a bike isn't much fun and he could have easily hit a more vulnerable person.

Anyway, bit of a ramble there. I guess I'm saying that red light jumping isn't as prevalent as people seem to think that it is, but the times it does happen it sticks in the mind, which I think alters our perception of the frequency. That and delivery riders, like taxis seem to think they own the road yes

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crazy-legs [883 posts] 4 days ago
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HurdyGurdy wrote:

So you will be fine if every car driver starts jumping reds when it is safe to do so ?

Clearly not (although there are certain exceptions) but you cannot possibly equate a car (weighing > 1 tonne and taking up approx 10 sq m of road space) going through a red light vs a cyclist (weighting about 100kg all up and taking up maybe 3 sq m of road space) going through a red light.

Don't equate compliance with the law and safety.

The general rule is "don't be a dick". If it's going to cause anyone any problems or if it's LESS safe for me to go through a set of lights then I won't do it. However if someone else wants to do that I'll let themn get on with it. Their problem, not mine. And the rule of "don't be a dick" often covers "don't ride up alongside someone and criticise their riding (or driving)".

It'll rarely end well. At best you'll be ignored, at worst, you might get stabbed or run off the road if the driver you've picked to "advise" is a psycho!

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ClubSmed [343 posts] 4 days ago
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crazy-legs wrote:
HurdyGurdy wrote:

So you will be fine if every car driver starts jumping reds when it is safe to do so ?

Clearly not (although there are certain exceptions) but you cannot possibly equate a car (weighing > 1 tonne and taking up approx 10 sq m of road space) going through a red light vs a cyclist (weighting about 100kg all up and taking up maybe 3 sq m of road space) going through a red light.

Don't equate compliance with the law and safety.

Don't even try to start trying to use the excuse of "It's OK for me to do it but not them because they will cause more damage", it makes you look like a dick!
Think of how you would react if a car driver made the same statement about not equating themselves with vans or lorries.
Anything that goes through a red light is breaking the law and puting people at risk, it does not matter what size your mode of transport is or how it is powered, it can still seriously hurt or kill people!

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hawkinspeter [770 posts] 3 days ago
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ClubSmed wrote:

Don't even try to start trying to use the excuse of "It's OK for me to do it but not them because they will cause more damage", it makes you look like a dick!

Think of how you would react if a car driver made the same statement about not equating themselves with vans or lorries.
Anything that goes through a red light is breaking the law and puting people at risk, it does not matter what size your mode of transport is or how it is powered, it can still seriously hurt or kill people!

Cycling through a red light is breaking the law, but doesn't always involve putting people at risk. A cyclist going 5mph through a red light is hardly going to seriously hurt or kill people. Another point to bear in mind is that cyclists have a certain amount of skin in the game, so experienced cyclists are unlikely to put themselves at risk. (With inexperienced cyclists, all bets are off).

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ClubSmed [343 posts] 3 days ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:
ClubSmed wrote:

Don't even try to start trying to use the excuse of "It's OK for me to do it but not them because they will cause more damage", it makes you look like a dick!

Think of how you would react if a car driver made the same statement about not equating themselves with vans or lorries.
Anything that goes through a red light is breaking the law and puting people at risk, it does not matter what size your mode of transport is or how it is powered, it can still seriously hurt or kill people!

Cycling through a red light is breaking the law, but doesn't always involve putting people at risk. A cyclist going 5mph through a red light is hardly going to seriously hurt or kill people. Another point to bear in mind is that cyclists have a certain amount of skin in the game, so experienced cyclists are unlikely to put themselves at risk. (With inexperienced cyclists, all bets are off).

Given the reports today of the court case where a cyclist is facing manslaughter charges for killing a pedestrian it clearly can put people at risk.

Maybe it doesn't every time, but neither would it put people at risk every time a car, van, truck motorcyclist did it either but that does not make it right!

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fizrar6 [26 posts] 3 days ago
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There are 2 sets of light which I will happily jump through.

One is at the park and ride in North Queensferry where the road planners have changed a junction from requiring  no traffic lights to requiring about 5 sets of traffic lights. The lights exiting the Park and Ride (where I leave my car) are not activated by bikes so in the morning when everyone is arriving I could wait 10 or 15 mins for a car to leave before the lights change to green.

The other is on a bus/cycle lane going into Edinburgh. The lights are activated by buses (1 every 20 mins) but not bikes. The cars queue at lights waiting to get on to the main carriageway so if I did not jump the lights I would have to wait  for a bus or cycle with the fast moving cars.

Sometimes its actually safer to jump lights if you're a cyclist.

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ClubSmed [343 posts] 3 days ago
1 like
fizrar6 wrote:

There are 2 sets of light which I will happily jump through.

One is at the park and ride in North Queensferry where the road planners have changed a junction from requiring  no traffic lights to requiring about 5 sets of traffic lights. The lights exiting the Park and Ride (where I leave my car) are not activated by bikes so in the morning when everyone is arriving I could wait 10 or 15 mins for a car to leave before the lights change to green.

The other is on a bus/cycle lane going into Edinburgh. The lights are activated by buses (1 every 20 mins) but not bikes. The cars queue at lights waiting to get on to the main carriageway so if I did not jump the lights I would have to wait  for a bus or cycle with the fast moving cars.

Sometimes its actually safer to jump lights if you're a cyclist.

There are a few sets of lights where I have to do the same in Glasgow. Of course the key difference here is we only jump the red lights that we know are a problem, we do it cautiously and only when there is no traffic behind us (because if there was then the sensor would be activated). As a result it should not be annoying anyone and I am pretty sure this falls under the rule 178 of the highway code "If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care".