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Full footage tells a rather different story - also shows cars cars turning right on red & occupying ASL boxes

London’s Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has footage that it claims shows a majority of cyclists ignoring the red light at a junction in Hackney. But our analysis of the complete video footage from one location shows that most cyclists obey the law.

The LTDA claims that of 170 cyclists who passed through the junction of Hackney Road and Queensbridge Road in the morning rush hour on one day in September, 108 failed to stop at the red light, a staggering 64 percent. At another junction in Camden, 86 out of 194 failed to stop.

But we counted a total of 750 cyclists riding through the junction along Hackney Road toward the city centre. Of 243 who arrived when the light was red, 131 stopped. And of 104 riders entering from the side street, Queensbridge Road, all but 2 stopped at the light.

The LTDA released an edited version of its footage, as well as the full hour of video from Hackney and Camden.  

“Various cycle action and lobbying groups constantly assure Londoners that cyclists are law abiding,” the LTDA says in the introduction to the edited version of the footage. “Apparently it’s only a few ‘rogue’ cyclists who jump red lights and flaunt (sic) the rules of the road...

“This theory is in stark contrast to the evidence that most Londoners witness every day. The LTDA decided to test the theory and discover the truth. We set up a hidden camera at busy traffic light controlled junctions to record what really happens every day on our roads. What we found shocked us...”

To find out if things were really as bad as the LTDA says, we watched all of the Hackney Road video. It shows 750 cyclists passing through the junction, heading towards the centre of London between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning.

112 people failing to stop at the lights out of 750 is a far lower proportion than the LTDA claims, but it's not that simple. And it's still 46 percent failing to stop at the light, so while we could quibble with the LTDA’s conclusion that a majority failed to stop, it’d be splitting hairs.

What the video also shows, though, is the behaviour of riders coming out of Queensbridge Road. All but two of the 104 riders turning right down Hackney Road do so just after the lights change, indicating that they have stopped. If LTDA had positioned their camera elsewhere on the junction, they’d have found over 98 percent of cyclists following the rules, and not had much of a story.

The hour-long video covers 52 cycles of the lights, and also shows 29 motor vehicles stopping in the advanced-stop box, and eight failing to stop at the red light. That includes three extraordinarily hairy right turns into Queensbridge Road such as the one made by the driver of the silver car at about 47:10:

We point this out not to excuse the poor behaviour of the cyclists but to demonstrate that some Londoners seem to have the attitude that the Highway Code is more what you'd call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.

Why are riders failing to stop at this junction? On the map, it looks like a crossroads, but Horatio Street is a residential, one-way except for bikes, and has very little traffic emerging from it. The risk of a collision from riding through the red light here is negligible. These riders may be breaking the rules, but it’s arguable that they’re doing anything dangerous.

In some parts of the world, cyclists are allowed to ride through junctions like this, or to turn left at red lights. In 2010 the office of London mayor Boris Johnson suggested allowing cyclists to turn left at red lights.

The junction in Camden where the LTDA chose to film has similar issues. In our forum discussion on this video, poster jamesv said: “I cycle through the fortess junction every weekday on my commute and if I were to pick one junction on my route to skew statistics it would be this one - by far the most RLJing cyclists.”

Management guru W Edwards Deming once said: "Your system is perfectly designed to give you the results you're getting." If you wanted to design junctions to make cyclists feel it was safe and reasonable to break the rules, these junctions are what you’d end up with.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

64 comments

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JonSP [63 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know about London but I spent some time in York yesterday observing cyclists and didn't see a single RLJ.

Meanwhile, it my experience that most taxi drivers routinely flout speed limits. People who live in glass houses...

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SweatnGears [55 posts] 2 years ago
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You've got to love how in the opening sequence of their hour-long video (at the 8 second mark), it shows a car jumping the red light. The irony of it all!

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700c [851 posts] 2 years ago
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However you interpret the stats it's still a lot of cyclists disobeying the rules..

Even if it's safe to jump to jump a red light at this particular junction you still shouldn't do it - we wouldn't accept that argument from car drivers, would we?

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Simmo72 [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Funny that because my experience in London as pedestrian, cyclist and driver is that most taxi drivers drive like morons.

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BikeBud [201 posts] 2 years ago
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"Lies, damned lies, and statistics!" (Mark Twain).

EVERYONE is using the highway code as guidelines - this is the truth of it.

What we've descended into is a petty argument that seems to be escalating. Boris isn't helping, the Police in some areas aren't helping, and some members of each of the groups of road users aren't helping to resolve the problems.

We're all people, we're all using the road, and we're all fallible. We don't have to be a***holes though.

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crazy-legs [720 posts] 2 years ago
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Typical selective commentating - basically you can make anything out to be something it isn't by focussing on the points you want to.
Consider the following "statistic" (it's not a stat, I've just made it up!)
25% of cyclists jump red lights!

That's the type of headline beloved of the Daily Wail but then if you put it as:
75% of cyclists obeyed all the road rules along with 68% of motorists in our 1hr survey at one junction.
it paints a very different picture.

What's very telling in that is they've chosen a junction where the consequences of RLJing by a cyclist are extremely minimal (therefore more are likely to do it) but they've not commented on the number of vehicles encroaching into the ASL...

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BigDummy [314 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not taking lessons in How Not To Be A Dickish Road User from the trade association of London cabbies.

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VeloPeo [301 posts] 2 years ago
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You know what would be interesting

Turning on GPS tracking on your phone whilst in a bus or taxi and recording the journey. Using the camera to take photos of ASL and red light violations and bombing TFL and the PCO with this evidence

Just saying...

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timbola [241 posts] 2 years ago
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I am very disappointed with the fact that, statistically, focussing on TWO junctions is NOT proof of an RLJ cyclist percentage. I had a discussion with a friend at work (he cycles in occasionally from North London) and he claims that a large percentage of cyclists jump red lights, BUT on my commute from Paddington the vast majority of cyclists do NOT jump red lights. Clearly, and this should not come as a shock to anybody, there are differences in road layouts, traffic volumes etc. I have no personal experience of the junctions involved in the Taxi Driver "survey", so will not comment on specifics. Almost anyone could pick a junction and monitor it for their own devices.
What I will say, however, is that I always try to accommodate taxis, letting them turn first at traffic lights as they are invariably quicker than me and often wave them on. Unfortunately, I do not get much in the way of appreciation from most taxi drivers. The one who blatantly went through red whilst cyclists, cars and motorbikes had stopped, earlier this week around Buckingham Palace, should be brought to book - he was darned fortunate no pedestrian was actually crossing at the time.
One more small request for taxis - please do NOT drive along in the dark with sidelights - in urban environments, they end up looking like extensions of the shops, street lamps etc.
One more thing ... last night I stopped at a zebra crossing to let pedestrians cross, as usual, when a coach undertook me with pedestrians ON the zebra crossing ...
Have a nice weekend, everyone  1

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IanW1968 [261 posts] 2 years ago
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It would be intresting to see what would happen if all cyclist didnt jump lights but did ride in the primary position.

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KnightBiker [71 posts] 2 years ago
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The video shows the behavior of most cyclist nearing a red light that doesn't really guard a crossing, as with going right on a crossing with a red light in some cases is allowed (in Holland that's left), it should be allowed here also.
Although i second that the perceived behaviour on the video is more or less correct, on a real crossing cyclist would be more carfull when jumping.
(the perception of a cyslist seeing a red light as a sign to be aware of traffic rather then stopping is correct, but in Holland it hardly leads to trouble, but i get it that car drivers will be jealous and would want to jump red lights too - guess this is what the world looks like in the eyes of taxi drivers, but taxi drivers aren't sweethearts either)

An independent count with an hidden camera on a real crossing would be a better more objective count and be of real value into seeing how behavior would endanger/hinder other road users.

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sfichele [140 posts] 2 years ago
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Note that not a single cyclist (that I saw) jumps the light from the other junction.

Equally, a lot of the cyclists I saw in the video stopped, waiting for peds to cross, and then started up a few seconds before the lights went to green, i.e. getting a head start and clearing the junction

Which makes some sense when you see some of the dodgy undertaking by drivers who swerve into the cyclists, when they are slowed down by a right turning vehicles.

Btw, good rebuttal here:
http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/response-to-ltda-ana...

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ribena [178 posts] 2 years ago
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How on earth did the LTDA manage to get the Evening Standard to run this heavily edited video as a main story?

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Ush [641 posts] 2 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

It would be intresting to see what would happen if all cyclist didnt jump lights but did ride in the primary position.

Amen to that. Be careful what you wish for taxi drivers.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Noting a majority of the cars stopping after the first white line in the cycle safe zone that is clearly...sorry poorly marked up.
Like JonSP states "Meanwhile, it my experience that most taxi drivers routinely flout speed limits"
Like the taxi driver who got four speeding tickets on the same street in one afternoon going through clearly identified average speed cameras in Plymouth a while ago.

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elvisonwheels [31 posts] 2 years ago
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in the first 1:30, which is about all i'm willing to give to this sh1t, there are two cars running reds (not counting the going very late on a yellow) and at the very least 4 pedestrians crossing without the green man. I think we should all just stay off the streets because obviously no one is to be trusted...

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cyclingDMlondon [483 posts] 2 years ago
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'These riders may be breaking the rules, but it’s arguable that they’re doing anything dangerous'

And there, in one sentence, is why other road users detest us. Because too many of us think that it's OK to pick and choose when to obey the law.

It isn't.

We either obey the law, or else we stop whingeing when others don't obey it.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Down with this sort of thing!

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Ush [641 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:

'These riders may be breaking the rules, but it’s arguable that they’re doing anything dangerous'

And there, in one sentence, is why other road users detest us.

No, other road users detest cyclists because quite simply they are perceived as getting in their way. Seeing a couple of people safely ignore a law (and from the little I watched of the video) apply courtesy and common sense in their use of the road provides them with a concrete rallying point around which to focus their animosity.

cyclingDMlondon wrote:

We either obey the law, or else we stop whingeing when others don't obey it.

That's right. If you cheat on your taxes then you have no right to object to being murdered. Similarly, if you safely procede on a red without inconveniencing other road users then you have no right to object to the reckless or incompetent handling of a dangerous vehicle (so dangerous that it requires a license to operate only obtainable after years of study and the clear demonstration of superlative skills and knowledge).

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cyclingDMlondon [483 posts] 2 years ago
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sfichele wrote:

Note that not a single cyclist (that I saw) jumps the light from the other junction.

Equally, a lot of the cyclists I saw in the video stopped, waiting for peds to cross, and then started up a few seconds before the lights went to green, i.e. getting a head start and clearing the junction

Which makes some sense when you see some of the dodgy undertaking by drivers who swerve into the cyclists, when they are slowed down by a right turning vehicles.

Btw, good rebuttal here:
http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/response-to-ltda-ana...

Remarkable. Now some are claiming that it's somehow 'to be expected' that cyclists go through on the red, because they're majority at this junction. And then there's 'car drivers do it, too!'

Can you say tu quoque?

It's simple. Stop at the red lights. If every single cyclist does so, then we can all turn around and tell car drivers to STFU, because we don't break the law.

And yes, I know that not every cyclist runs reds. I'm one of the few who don't, but in the mind of the great unwashed, we're no better than hypocritical outlaws.

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crazy-legs [720 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

We either obey the law, or else we stop whingeing when others don't obey it.

"The law" is an ass. It's actually statistically the law-abiding cyclists more likely to end up under a truck - they've gone where the infrastructure has guided them (up the left to the ASL), stopped at the red light...and then been crushed by a left turning truck.

Other countries have a "turn right on red" law (obviously it would be "left" in the UK) which is safer and more convenient for all road users so why not here?
Most riders are not "breaking the law" in the black/white definition you have. They're bending it for their own safety. "Anticipating" the lights by a few seconds (yes, technically it's jumping them but it gets the rider away from the F1 starting grid of taxis, buses etc behind them).

A bike can quite easily filter into traffic without causing anyone any harm (unlike a car which takes up 10sq metres of road space). So it makes sense that "the law" gets rewritten to take that into account. When I'm cycling on a road, my safety comes first, the safety and convenience of other road users (pedestrian, horse riders, motorists) comes second and the law comes a distant third.

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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 102 So we are shocked that a London Cabbie has a one-eyed biased view of something they don't like??? Have you never been in a cab? They're all intollerant borderline racist bigots*

*isn't it easy to make wide sweeping sterotyping statements...

IMO too many cyclists jump red lights, i'm not sure there are many people who would argue that point. In some circumstances it can be argued that it is safer to do so, but arguing, as the article does, that they aren't doing anything that dangerous is not helpful. It isn't only about safety, just because something isn't all that dangerous doesn't mean you should ignore the law and do what you want. It is that approach that seems to annoy motorists the most, and i can't say i disagree. If there is no safety reason to keep going, then f**king stop.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 2 years ago
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Red light jumpers should get at least 3 points on their driving license and/or a hefty fine, irrespective of the type of vehicle being driven. Bus, lorry, car, motorcycle or bicycle .... you go through a red light you put pedestrians crossing at risk (i don't care about you if you don't care about anyone else).

Worst of all you contribute to a free for all culture where everyone feels that they can break the law if they judge it to be safe/convenient. The problem being that not every person's judgement is sound.

Don't turn a blind eye to red light jumping cyclists and then complain about the driver who goes through a red light and wipes out a cyclist or a pedestrian. He probably isn't a psycho. He probably judged it safe to go through too.

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crazy-legs [720 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

How on earth did the LTDA manage to get the Evening Standard to run this heavily edited video as a main story?

I posted something about this the other day on another thread - basically the media (and the readers) can't cope with anything as complicated as "data" - journalists aren't paid to understand any of the stories they're covering, they're paid to make good headlines. So they'll find an article - might be quite long and involved - and condense it to fit their angle, their criteria and their readership.

So a medical journal reporting on some new drug trials ends up being reported in the Daily Express as "NEW WONDER DRUG WILL CURE CANCER!!" whereas what the report actually says is that early indications are that cancer tumours in mice show signs of reduction when given [new drug].

Same here. Show a 10 second clip, claim that all cyclists jump reds and there you go, cue a whole peloton of cyclists bashing away furiously on the comments page to defend themselves and a whole load of other newsboard commentators claiming that they're "nearly killed" on a daily basis by cyclists and we should all pay road tax. Bumps up the newspapers click-rate on the website.

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arfa [719 posts] 2 years ago
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As a cyclist I am totally in favour of everyone obeying the law. I therefore look forward to the LTDA agreeing to all their members having GPS trackers fitted to ensure compliance of their members.

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Ush [641 posts] 2 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

Don't turn a blind eye to red light jumping cyclists and then complain about the driver who goes through a red light and wipes out a cyclist or a pedestrian.

Nice comparison of apples to space robots.

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gazpacho [95 posts] 2 years ago
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I actually found the video more enjoyable then Waterworld starring Kevin Costner...

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Jimbonic [136 posts] 2 years ago
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gazpacho wrote:

I actually found the video more enjoyable then Waterworld starring Kevin Costner...

But, then, I found being stabbed in the eye more enjoyable than Waterworld!

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Interesting, the first 2 cycles, 1 cyclist jumps each time. When 1 or 2 others are stopped already. Then a stream come through indicating that a group may have been stopped just off camera. In both instances a white van encroaches the ASL, and a motorbike does the same in the second cycle also. Anyone can find fault if looking at this video

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Carl [135 posts] 2 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

It would be intresting to see what would happen if all cyclist didnt jump lights but did ride in the primary position.

The video wouldn't have been published.

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