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I was on my usual commute home and I tend to be the type to track stand at every light, when a guy bombs up the inside and away. I caught up with ease (he was older than me) and gently reminded him that green man is for pedestrians. I got an earful along the lines of "...you gonna tell every cyclist..." I got to the top of a hill and more lights, eh whiz zed past on the path to the lines of "...take you to the road,...back to the school run"

Am I stupid putting myself out there, am I alone in wanting to maintain that roadies/commuters obey road laws.

92 comments

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tomisitt [54 posts] 2 years ago
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I usually roll up behind them at the next busy intersection and say "Not going to jump this one then, dickwad?"

And how sad is this: I got the thumbs-up from a truck driver while out riding yesterday...for stopping at a pedestrian crossing to let someone cross.

Yes, you probably are stupid for putting yourself out there because they're always aggressive, but I'm with you all the way. These tossers undermine our position as legitimate road users and give ammunition to the anti-cyclist brigade. Maybe we should all be letting these @rseholes know what the rest of us think.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 2 years ago
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Remember overtaking a bloke on a recumbent who had run a red light and saying, "Can you not see the traffic lights from down there."

I've noticed a lot of the red light jumpers are really slow riders. You usually catch them up pretty quickly. The more sarcastic you are, the better you'll feel. Not sure what effect it has, but swearing doesn't work.

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Colin Peyresourde [1723 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done lads. If no one tries nothing changes.

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sm [382 posts] 2 years ago
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I think every RLJ should be shouted out by their fellow cyclists and shamed into obeying the law. RLJ would soon stop. Unfortunately I'll just have to watch them wobbling off and through pedestrians until I'm joined. No lights on bikes too is one worthy of your wrath. I love the fact they all get so angry but then I guess when you realise you're an idiot, then you you'd be angry with yourself too.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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I usually shout.

Something like -

"RED! It's RED! That means we STOP!"

It helps that i often have an infant in the trailer behind me - i can pretend I'm telling her how junctions work.

Also it's fun to pass the RLJ idiots, towing a child trailer.

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timbola [244 posts] 2 years ago
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Yep - in agreement, folks ... commuting through London, a women cyclist went through 4 red lights in a row. Each time I burned her before the next set. After the fourth red light, I actually rode beside her and explained (without expletives) that she had just ridden through 4 red lights and, apart from being potentially dangerous, gave cyclists a bad name. What did I get for my troubles ? You guessed it - an earful of expletives which were unrepeatable. So I just tore up the road again in disgust.
(P.S. I accept some cyclists may have a different approach to red lights - I just have my own rules and when I calmly point them out to people, I do not expect castigation)

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nellybuck@msn.com [168 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm with OldRidgeback on this, the more sarcastic the better (rather than outright aggressive). I do it to people without lights too. Maybe we can turn the tide one rule-breaker at a time.

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NIrish [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Good to know I'm not alone, normally I bite my tongue out of self preservation.

Last night didn't go down well with the wife though.

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree, they need to know they are giving US a bad name, we do need to take the high ground.

Also I need to rest and catch my breath at red lights  1

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vbvb [593 posts] 2 years ago
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In every city where cycling is popular and safe, on a par with walking - and I'm thinking of Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Copenhagen etc - there's no such thing as "our reputation" with drivers. If you are worrying about "our reputation" with drivers, then the problem is that cycling is not popular enough to have outgrown this idea of having a reputation. The goal is to make cycling safer and more enjoyable by making it more popular, making it bigger than being the activity of an outsider "other" group like skateboarders or goths or whatever. Shouting at people does not help. Shouting at them is not about safety, as every study shows.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-acciden...

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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You should get capes too:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=knight+warrior

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bashthebox [751 posts] 2 years ago
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If ever the urge does come to berate another road user - be it another cyclist, a motorist or whatever - I try to remain calm and friendly. I think at least then it has a small chance of the other person listening. If you go in angrily or sarcastically, people will tend to react with aggression without considering the argument.
It's really, really hard to do that sometimes. Especially after near death experiences.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
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Skip red lights if it makes you feel safe.

Nothing else will

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Colin Peyresourde [1723 posts] 2 years ago
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vbvb wrote:

In every city where cycling is popular and safe, on a par with walking - and I'm thinking of Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Copenhagen etc - there's no such thing as "our reputation" with drivers. If you are worrying about "our reputation" with drivers, then the problem is that cycling is not popular enough to have outgrown this idea of having a reputation. The goal is to make cycling safer and more enjoyable by making it more popular, making it bigger than being the activity of an outsider "other" group like skateboarders or goths or whatever. Shouting at people does not help. Shouting at them is not about safety, as every study shows.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-acciden...

I think it has out grown the reputation of an outsider sport. It is hugely popular, both as a sport and a means of transport. The problem is that people pick it up without any sense of responsibility and legality. It becomes safer when people are aware of the law and cycle craft/etiquette.

Going around claiming that people do you wrong by having the wrong perception really doesn't deal with the issues out there. People curse football fans, but most of them don't worry about that, most people who like football do it in a reasonable and polite manner.....people will always have a tendency to pigeon hole you. Anyway, if you are right about that, cycling will grow if its reputation is better with non-cyclists. I don't dispute that there are some issues with bigoted characterisations, but you can't stop them, and you can't rework time and decide that it is the chicken that came before the egg.

The problem with RLJ is that it is contagious. If two cyclists are at a red light and one doesn't stop the other can be tempted to do likewise. And then it becomes endemic. I realised this when I started riding in London. I was tempted to jump every light because people kept jumping them too. I talked with a friend about it soon afterwards, and they put me straight, and he was right. Now I stop at all the lights, and actually I think (purely anecdotal) that other cyclists seem to stop if I stop too.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a simple solution but, as usual, it's a little radical.

Does anyone remember the inovative scheme, a few years ago, whereby anyone who "shopped" a drunk driver received a "Community Action Trust reward" of 500 quid? Certainly a lot of cash, back in the day.

It's not illegal to film people in a public place, so why not set up a website (or maybe a Youtube channel) where people can upload footage of RLJs, and then split the reward money (for a successful proscecution) between the person who posts the video and the person who identifies the miscreant. A fixed £90 fine could be split three ways (poster, spotter, admin).

The concept could obviously be applied to drivers too and, with money involved, could become very effective at reducing all manner of bad behaviour on the road. But a pilot scheme for red light jumpers is ideal, because of the objective nature of the offence.

"Crowd sourcing" evidence gathering in this way, by providing a financial incentive to those involved, could precipitate major improvements in road behaviour, for both cyclists and drivers.

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BikeBud [205 posts] 2 years ago
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Yep, RLJ's give us a bad name. If "cyclists" don't respect the rules of the road, why should drivers? We've all "experienced" drivers who don't respect the rules of the road!

Shouting, swearing or sarcasm will always get a negative reaction. If you can manage to make a point politely you might at least make them think about it.

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Pauldmorgan [224 posts] 2 years ago
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tomisitt wrote:

And how sad is this: I got the thumbs-up from a truck driver while out riding yesterday...for stopping at a pedestrian crossing to let someone cross.

I got an enthusiastic (and possibly sarcastic) round of applause from some builders in a van when I got off and walked across a junction the other day. I chose to take it positively.

This morning's RLJ score: Bikes 4 Cars 2.

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giff77 [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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I find the disparaging put down works wonders. Once asked a jumper if he would like me to adjust his brakes for him as he seemed to have problems stopping. He mumbled something about sorting it when he got home.

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dunnoh [198 posts] 2 years ago
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Its really none of your business. It does my head in that people jump lights but its up to the police to say something. I just keep my head on the task in hand which usually means trying not to be run over by a piss poor driver

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Jimbonic [136 posts] 2 years ago
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BikeBud wrote:

Yep, RLJ's give us a bad name. If "cyclists" don't respect the rules of the road, why should drivers? We've all "experienced" drivers who don't respect the rules of the road!

I would turn that around. Why should cyclists obey the rules of the road, since car/van/lorry/bus drivers don't?

I'm being slightly obtuse. But, the number of cycling RLJs is no more than other vehicles in my opinion. I will admit that cyclists more often do it in a more obvious, the lights changed about half-hour ago way. But, that doesn't make the "other road users" any less dangerous. Also, do you really think that if no cyclists jumped red lights, all the other road users would suddenly decide they're not going to do it either?

Back on topic though, it does annoy me and I do mention it to other cyclists - sometimes. But, I always come away feeling that it's really up to them. There are laws that we all have to obey and, if they decide they don't want to, what role do I have in their enforcement? Apparently, vigilante-ism (is that a word?) is illegal. And, foolish. So, I will continue with randomness. Since, on the counter to that argument is the one that states that we should report crime. So, really, we should report all the RLJs to the police...

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 2 years ago
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giff77 wrote:

I find the disparaging put down works wonders. Once asked a jumper if he would like me to adjust his brakes for him as he seemed to have problems stopping. He mumbled something about sorting it when he got home.

Yep, same sort of thing I do. If you sound friendly and keep it low key, it takes a while for it to sink in and then it seems to work the best.

Red light jumpers get us all a bad name so I've no problem in saying something.

No need to involve the police.

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TomvanHalen [30 posts] 2 years ago
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By all means call out people who jump red lights dangerously. Plenty of people blow through crossings while peds are in the road or speed through junctions with barely a look. And they're going to hurt themselves or others.

But remember, traffic laws are designed with cars in mind. 2 tonne, unwieldy death machines. Bikes are small, nimble, and not generally a hazard to others. There are many junctions around me that are genuinely safer for me if I roll ahead and jump the light while it's clear, rather than be squeezed out by an impatient car. And if there's no one near a pedestrian crossing, why should I lose all my momentum just because vehicles need to obey big flashy lights to stop them running people over?

As someone said above, all this "bad rep" bollocks is because people hate cyclists, full stop. If we all waited patiently at red lights, that would still be true in this country. So think twice before dishing out abuse or snarky comments to cyclists who RLJ in a safe and aware fashion. Kthx

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Bigcog [21 posts] 2 years ago
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TomvanHalen wrote:

By all means call out people who jump red lights dangerously. Plenty of people blow through crossings while peds are in the road or speed through junctions with barely a look. And they're going to hurt themselves or others.

But remember, traffic laws are designed with cars in mind. 2 tonne, unwieldy death machines. Bikes are small, nimble, and not generally a hazard to others. There are many junctions around me that are genuinely safer for me if I roll ahead and jump the light while it's clear, rather than be squeezed out by an impatient car. And if there's no one near a pedestrian crossing, why should I lose all my momentum just because vehicles need to obey big flashy lights to stop them running people over?

As someone said above, all this "bad rep" bollocks is because people hate cyclists, full stop. If we all waited patiently at red lights, that would still be true in this country. So think twice before dishing out abuse or snarky comments to cyclists who RLJ in a safe and aware fashion. Kthx

I am with you TVH. I am afraid that at 6.45 in the morning I am not going to stop at a red light covering a small side road junction when no one is travelling in any direction in any vehicle; nor do I stop at pedestrian crossings where there are no pedestrians crossing. On these occasions I always slow to a roll and keep any eye out for anyone wanting to cross especially if there's a car sitting at the light as you might not see a small person crossing or a dog.

Something that really gives cyclists a bad name is when riders fly through pedestrian crossings when there ARE people crossing  14 , barely missing them and if the pesdestrians are "lucky" they get a wave of the hand as if to say " thanks for letting me through" not that they had any choice at all.  102

Respect for all road users should be the mantra, whether they are pedestrians crossing or cars, or other vehicles. If we all had a little more respect for others we would promote better behaviour.

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Crispycross [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Ahh, Bigcog and TomvanHalen's comments are at the heart of this. There's a set of rules, written down as the Highway Code, which is intended to be a common reference point for everybody. Yet they choose to obey certain of them only when they see fit. In the Highway Code, a red light's a red light, fullstop, yet for these two (I'm not having a go here, guys) and countless others, it's only really a red light if there's a pedestrian or car in the way. Same when you're driving. It's only really red if I can't squeeze through after the car in front. It's only really a 30 mph limit if I want it to be, or if there's a camera or copper about. Now that common reference point has been lost and we get this situation where drivers think it's ok to break some rules because all drivers do it, cyclist think it's ok to break others and each group of road users appears, to each other group, to be a bunch of lawless scoundrels. How are we going to turn this around?

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 2 years ago
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if you ride on the highway, obey the rules of the road, really simple. keeps you safer, and from being blamed for causing an accident.

you can try to explain your RLJ and other actions by blaming other road users, but it just makes you something of a pathetic hypocrite  2

cyclists want to be treated fairly by other road users, but also want to choose when they obey the law, it does not work like that?

I've been walking to work and back all week, since being involved in a hit & run whilst on my road bike this time last week and ending up with one arm in plaster.

I walk 5km each way from NW1 to WC2 London and being on foot has given me a different perspective, compared to making this same journey on bike: i am crossing covent garden, euston and mornington crescent into camden.

Something that has become very evident during this walk is how few cyclists will stop at red lights, or will go up onto the pavement to go around the red lights

I will walk across an area watching the junctions out of interest with a cyclists perspective. who is stopping? who is jumping lights? who is on the pavement? who is riding up the one way street?

Today i encountered a very unpleasant cyclist riding fast at me on the pavement in covent garden because he did not want to ride on the cobbled road (riding a full suspension mountain bike!) Told me to f*ck off when i politely asked him to get off the pavement lest he collided with my plastered arm.

On the evening walk back home I see a large number of cyclists will either have:- no lights, or just one light (often the front?and no rear), a light with flat batteries, a light pointing at floor / sky, or hidden behind luggage and wearing black clothing, all merrily riding through red lights.

Interesting to see if this entrenched behaviour changes once the Police blitz starts in London on Monday.

When i was riding, i found measured sarcasm very effective with serial RLJ "traffic light gangsters" and pavement riders "pavement terrorists"

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FluffyKittenofT... [1198 posts] 2 years ago
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Its entirely up to you, no?

What I would strongly object to is the idea that just because you are on a bike its therefore your special duty to police other people who have bikes. That seems to be a completely bonkers idea to me. Really, it makes no sense at all.

But on a general level, as a citizen in this country, everyone has to make their own decision about how much they want to intervene to reproach/police people on the street for anti-social behaviour.

It surely in part (though not solely!) depends on how brave/good at fighting you are?

Jeremy Paxman apparently tells people off for littering in the street, for example. If he's not afraid of getting thumped in response, fair enough, good for him. But these sorts of things are not the special responsibility of any one group.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1198 posts] 2 years ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

cyclists want to be treated fairly by other road users, but also want to choose when they obey the law, it does not work like that?

What?

Try the above sentence with "cyclists" replaced by "older people" or "pedestrians" or "white people" or "black people" or "men" or "women" and "road users" replaced with the appropriate wider group.

Are you seriously arguing that nobody can expect fair treatment in society till everyone else who has anything at all in common with them behaves totally perfectly at all times?

Where does this odd 'logic' come from? Its becuase people tend to think in this bigotted way that soceity is such a mess.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1198 posts] 2 years ago
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Looking back on it, I realise I do much the same thing when I see cyclists jump red lights right in front of me as when I see motorists do it (I see a lot more of the latter than the former, though that's partly just 'cos I see a lot more motorists in total than cyclists).

I sigh and mutter something and look cross and then forget about it. I might roll my eyes if feeling particularly irritated.

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Jimbonic [136 posts] 2 years ago
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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

But these sorts of things are not the special responsibility of any one group.

Except the police, maybe?

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm generally pretty opposed to RJLing but I have to confess I found myself doing it this morning.

It was on an empty pedestrian crossing and going on red ment that I was able to position myself (and the child trailer) safely where I needed to be for a rather awkward mini-roundaout junction. Waiting for green may have ment a tricky situation with a car that I wasn't keen to get into, especially as I was double-long and double-wide with the trailer on and less manouverable and quick than I would be without it. There's no excuse to be made, technically I crossed the line on red, but my assesment of the situation was that this was the best course of action to stay safe. As cyclists we are vunerable road users and as such I do think that allowances need to be made for us to remain safe. I'm not advocating blasting through every red that you come to but given the lack of cycle-friendly junction design in the UK I wouldn't call someone out for bending the rules in certain circumstances.

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