The Birmingham Mail reports that only three West Midlands cyclists have been fined for jumping red lights in the last three years. West Midlands Police Commissioner David Jamieson has said he will raise the matter with senior officers after it was suggested that the law was not being enforced.
One fixed-penalty notice for failing to comply with traffic signs and signals was given out in 2014/15, two in 2013/14, and none at all in 2012/13. Fines handed out for cycling on the pavement have also fallen from 17 in 2012/13 and seven in 2013/14 to none in 2014/15.
Jamieson said he would speak to senior officers to see whether there was a problem. “Road safety laws are for everyone. All road users, whether they are cyclists, motorists or pedestrians, need to follow the rules. We all share the roads and need to respect each other when using them.”
David Cox, the chairman of CTC, the national cycling charity, contrasted the figures with those for London, where 4,000 fixed penalty notices were handed out for going through on red or ignoring other road signs in 2013 alone.
Cox said that police there had responded to red light jumping being perceived as a major problem by cracking down on it. “Cycling in London is very different to Birmingham and the West Midlands. You often see cyclists in London jumping the lights.”
He also said that the cyclists jumping red lights was less a safety issue and more ‘an act of discourtesy to others’. “There are far more dangerous things on the roads – driving with mobile phones, texting while driving for example.”
Last week we reported how San Francisco cyclists brought traffic to a halt by stopping at every red light and crossing in response to a police crackdown on red light jumping. Riding in single file during evening rush hour, riders approached every stop line as cars must do, coming to a complete halt and only moving forward when they had the right of way – their point being that bikes shouldn't be treated the same as cars as they don't present the same dangers.
Protesters are calling for the city, and California as a whole, to adopt the Idaho Stop law. Introduced in 1982, the law permits cyclists to treat stop signs as give way signs, and red lights as stop signs, allowing them to proceed if the junction is clear. This means that cyclists can clear the junction more quickly and it is said to increase rider safety.